Dear Dr Gray,
I have been with my partner for 8 years and unhappy I think for 7 but I am too scared to leave because I am worried that I won’t find anyone else and I don’t want to be alone. I am starting to feel really depressed and at times quite anxious about the whole thing. What should I do?
Dr Gray Replies……..
Change of any kind is difficult because you are swapping what is familiar (even if this is less than desirable) with what is unfamiliar. This is why we get stuck in the proverbial rutt because in the short term it feels safer to stick with what we have even if in the longer term this leads to feelings of depression and anxiety as our confidence and self esteem is eroded by unmet needs and unachieved goals. It is very common for people to stay in the wrong relationship believing that it is better to be unhappy in a relationship than unhappy and alone. However, if the relationship is the cause of the unhappiness leaving will mean that although you may be alone for a while, you open a door to the possibility of something better, a door that remains closed if you stay.
Therapy or counselling of some description can often be helpful when we are thinking about making a change but discover seemingly insurmountable obstacles to that change. Therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you to assess the short and longer term pros and cons of making a change, help you to build self esteem and confidence and manage negative feelings like depression and anxiety, putting you in the strongest position possible to make the change when you decide the time is right.
Therapy in Clapham is available with the Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists at The British CBT & Counselling Service. Good luck Henry.