But now, things are quite different. To begin with, she’s put on quite a bit of weight. Now, she was already fat. Not chubby — she was genuinely a fat girl. And that was fine with me. But the weight she’s at now is outright concerning. She doesn’t ever want to go out anymore. Getting her to come with me to the local diner is hard, let alone to somewhere nice. We usually just stay in when I visit her now, order something, and watch TV. She doesn’t even want to play video games together anymore. She just wants to watch Netflix or Youtube while lying on her bed.
She’s not taking care of herself either. I only see what she does when I visit, but during that time (2-3 days each week) she doesn’t shower, or brush her teeth, or do anything with her hair or nails. She’s usually freshly showered when I arrive, but that’s about it. She lives in her father’s apartment (I’m not judging, I live at home at the moment, too), and nothing is ever cleaned there. I’ve taken to wearing socks around the house because the dust gets all over my feet. Her bedding and pillows are stained and torn to the point where tiny little feathers are all over the place. Every item on every single shelf in the house has a thick layer of dust on it. She lies to her father and says she walks and feeds the dog, even though she doesn’t. And she eats junk. At any given time there will be leftovers from three to four different kinds of takeout in the fridge, and she sends me to the store to get Ben and Jerry’s ice cream every week.
We actually broke up a year ago for more or less the same things that I’m talking about right now. When I would discuss these things with her, she’d ignore my concerns or guilt me into not talking about them anymore. A friend convinced me that I should leave, and at the time, although it was the most painful thing in the world, it felt like the correct thing to do. I’m a fairly sensitive guy, and I felt terrible about hurting her, and it was only a few months later that I found myself back at her door to apologize for hurting her. She actually seemed to be doing well without me — she’d lost weight, she was getting out more. We ended up getting back together, only to have the same problems cropping up again. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the problem and I’m just bad for her.
I’m insanely ashamed and guilty about this, but I’ve been fantasizing about situations in which I can leave without having to hurt her again, like catching her cheating on me, or us having a fight, or… her having a heart attack. I feel absolutely reprehensible for having those thoughts, but I can’t pretend they don’t pop into my head.
In the end, I do love her, and I want her to get help. She does see a psychologist already, and he prescribes her quite a bit of medication. I’ve tried to talk to her about these issues in the past, and it always seems to be ignored, yes-yes-yessed away, or she makes me feel guilty for bringing it up. We’ve been talking about kids and marriage and moving in together, but I really don’t want this to be the way things are for the rest of our lives. I know I have to do what makes me happy, but I worry about her.
Right now I’m thinking maybe I need to try one more time to get through to her about how things have been going and, if it doesn’t work, telling her that we need to take some time off for a while. But I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. Please help. — Guilty and Worried
Your girlfriend has been diagnosed with depression and everything you describe about her seems to affirm that diagnosis. Talking to her about your/her issues isn’t going to change anything. That’s like talking to a person with lung cancer about the concerns you have about her cough. The behavior you’re describing is a symptom of her depression. She isn’t going to get better until she has treatment that works for her. Maybe that’s finding a different doctor, maybe it’s taking a different combination of medication. You could encourage her to consider both of those options, and to get a full physical to rule out other health concerns, but yeah, just, talking to her about how you want her to change isn’t going to have the effect you want.
All is not hopeless though. There is something you’ve been part of in the past that has seemingly had a positive effect, and that was breaking up with her. After you broke up with her the first time, you say she seemed to do well/better without you, “losing weight and getting out more.” And then you got back together (why???) and she went back to exhibiting signs of depression again. Yes, maybe you are part of the problem.
And, yet, despite all this, you’re discussing marriage and kids?! Why on earth would you do this when your relationship sounds so bad and you fantasize about your girlfriend having a heart attack so you can leave her without guilt? WHY do you even feel like you have anything to be guilty of when leaving her in the past turned out to actually have a positive effect on your girlfriend? It would make sense that if you really love someone and are worried about her and know that a previous action had a positive effect, you’d be more inclined to repeat that action than to continue doing the thing that has had a negative effect. Unless, it’s YOU you’re worried about, which is what it looks like to me. It looks like you’re afraid to be alone and lose the hope you had for a life of video games and hockey events with your girlfriend, and, if only you could get her to be like how she used to be, everything would be great for you again.
I don’t see that happening. At least, not without a big change. And part of that “big change” probably has to include you not being in her life. There’s nothing to feel guilty about in terms of ending this relationship (if you do it kindly and with compassion). Neither of you is happy and your girlfriend, according to you, was better off without you. So, do the kind thing and move on. If you don’t — if you stay with her because you “feel bad about hurting her,” you’ll continue being part of the problem, and THAT should make you feel more guilty than anything.
P.S. Tell her father than the dogs need to be fed and walked.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].