I am someone who has dealt with depression for most of my life. Because of this, I have not really had any successful relationships to speak of. In the past, I found it difficult to be open and honest with partners about my depression, walking away when it began to feel like things were moving in a serious direction.
All of my friends are starting to get married and settle down now and I feel a lot of pressure on my shoulders to do the same. Given all of my close friends now have girlfriends or indeed wives, I am often left out of the group as the single guy. The odd time that I am invited out, I struggle to enjoy myself.
I feel that I have a good handle on my depression now that I have grown a bit older. I will be soon approaching my thirtieth birthday which is making me feel anxious. I do want to have love in my life and have a wife and a family one day. But I confess I have no idea how to go about it and the whole thing makes me feel uncomfortable.
Recently I have had a couple of blind dates which have not gone too well. I am on some online dating sites, however I find myself ignoring messages from potential matches and I am often stopping myself from even logging on.
Do you think I can be in a long term relationship given my history of depression? Is there anything I can do to make this whole dating experience feel a bit easier?
Thank you for your time,
Depression is an ongoing battle and I am glad to hear that you are feeling in control and that you are wanting to focus on what you feel is missing in your life. In answer to your question, yes. Dealing with depression will have given you a wealth of empathy and a depth of emotional understanding that is invaluable in sustaining long term, successful relationships. The only thing holding you back, is your reluctance to utilise this strength. Of course, being open about your feelings is not easy to begin with. If at all.
The truth of the matter is that sometimes you may not have the language to explain the pain you have undergone. With the right person however, you should feel at ease in expressing your emotions, or at least trying. It will help you to think about how painful it is for a person to watch their partner suffering and to not know why. In making efforts to be upfront and honest about your depression you are letting any potential partner share in your experience. The right person will stick around and accept you for who you are. It is always worth remembering that should you need it, now or in the future, counselling is always an option that can support you or a future partner through any difficult moments that may arise, as is the same for any couple.
It is important to remember that no matter how daunting, unsettling and generally terrifying it is to venture into the dating world, you are, right in this very moment, at such an exciting point in your life. Moving into a new decade can often be loaded with negativity, as we berate ourselves for things we have failed to accomplish. We all do it. We were supposed to be married by now or have our dream job or house or car. Looking at your birthday through an encouraging lens and as an opportunity will help you considerably. You are turning thirty! What do you want for your life? What is going to make you happy? What is going to make you feel fulfilled? This time can be the start of a new journey, full of possibility, if you allow it to be.
Currently it feels that your focus is on sharing your life with someone. And not just anybody, but the person you are meant to be with. In spite of how vulnerable it feels, you have already taken brave, considerable steps by attending blind dates and creating online profiles. You mention that you refrain from logging onto the sites and that is entirely normal, the process is frightening! Having experienced some heavy lows in your life can often take its toll on your self-confidence. Having dates not go too well can only add to this sense of insecurity. The main thing to focus on is that it is a good thing the dates did not go well, because the people you met were simply not the person you are seeking. You will know when you find her. Until then, it may be wise to balance your search with some focus on yourself.
Jean Claude you have so much time ahead of you, there is no need to rush nor feel pressurised to meet your match. When our peers hit certain benchmarks, be it in their personal lives or career, it can often become polarising in that you feel you must do the same. Take one day at a time and move at your own pace, one that feels comfortable for you. Self-love right now should be your main aim. Feeling contented in your own skin will help you to combat your depression over time.
You asked as to what might help to make this experience somewhat easier. Reading between the lines you have experienced some dark times. Spending your free time on activities that make you happy and fulfilled will fill you with confidence and in turn make the challenge of meeting new people infinitely easier. Take a moment here and there to praise yourself for your efforts. Feel so very proud of the courage you have demonstrated in putting yourself out there and embracing life. I have no doubt a lucky woman awaits.
Wishing you love and happiness,
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