Please help: Newbie with relationship predicament

Hi all,

Apologies in advance for the length but I need to offload otherwise I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

For context, I’m 34F, my partner is 40M. He suffers from a number of chronic pain challenges including fibromyalgia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, degenerative discs, and now the bones in his left foot keep randomly dislocating. He also has gut and sleep issues, as well as being depressed with almost daily suicidal ideations. Because of all this, he’s been advised that he shouldn’t work more than 10 hours a week. He’s self-employed but business isn’t so good at the moment so he now only works 1 hour a week. He’s also a keen writer, and is very good at it. When we first got together, he made me aware of all his physical, financial, and mental challenges (the work situation happened as a result of the pandemic) and I thought I could handle it and be a supportive, loving partner. I’ve tried my best in all aspects of this. I do the cooking, cleaning, washing, managing of our finances and sometimes the shopping, whilst also working a full time job and trying to deal with a whole mess of family issues which literally tore my family unit apart in November 2019.

When our relationship is good, it’s absolutely wonderful and I don’t want to be anywhere else but I’ve found myself struggling to come to terms with the reality that I’m essentially going to be my partner’s carer forever, and I also don’t like how slow my life feels right now.

I’m very aware that I’m not a particularly good communicator but I’ve made vast improvements since we first got together. My partner craves open and honest communication constantly regardless of whether it’s good or bad. I struggled to deal with that initially because I’ve always been a person who just gets things done and never really considers my own feelings or emotions. Because of this, we’ve had a number of arguments over the years, namely when he notices a shift in my mood, tries to pull me up on it, I’ll not be in a good place to discuss it or just don’t want to, he pokes and pokes, I eventually - and reluctantly - divulge my feelings, then he gets upset because I didn’t tell him sooner. Rarely is what I raise discussed, dealt with, or acknowledged. It always focuses around my lack of communication and his feelings off the back of that.

I’ve reached out to Talking Therapies, spoken to NHS psychologists and psychiatrists, and paid for a number of therapists to figure out what’s wrong with me because at one point, I thought I might have BPD. I’ve been told by a couple of partners in the past that I can be quite cold and almost robot-like when it comes to difficult discussions but having accessed therapy, I know that’s a trauma response from childhood. Because of that, I try my hardest not to let his words or energy trigger me but as soon as it happens, I shut down and require space and time to get myself back to a neutral place. He rarely acknowledges that need and makes me feel guilty for wanting to get out of the house to calm myself down. Conversely, his triggers are my silence. His mind “fills in the blanks” and it’s almost always catastrophic and overtly negative.

As much as I love him when things are good, at the moment when things are bad, or when he’s in a low head space, or he’s in flare-up, or sick and in flare-up, I just don’t want to be around him. I literally feel like I’m being pulled into a black hole. And because he’s empathic, he picks up on all of that and wants to talk about it and thus the cycle continues. I spoke to a friend today about all of this and I think I’ve come to the realisation that although I can be caring and I do care about (and love) him, I don’t want to be a carer. I find myself feeling resentful about the amount of time spent caring for him because I want to live a full, happy, and free life. He’s currently sick with Covid and as a result, requires even more of my time and attention, but then makes me feel bad when I don’t want to sit and hold his hand for hours despite everything else I’m doing. I just don’t feel like I’m cut out for this as my future and I don’t want to break his heart…but I also know that how I am currently is breaking his heart too. I feel like he deserves someone who can be happy, loving, and caring all the time but that just isn’t me.

I’ve always been a fairly optimistic person and want to believe there’s something I’m missing that can help us, but I also feel like I know the answer to what’s going on in my head.

Hi Saturdaynightwist,

Welcome to the forum!
Please know that you’re not alone and we are sure that many on here will understand exactly how you feel and offer support.
It’s brave to voice how you are feeling and the Carers UK forum is a great platform for you to seek support from others going through similar situations.

I will provide further contact details below for you to contact Carers UK just in case you ever need any advice or information in the future.

Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email

Some of the guidance Carers UK can provide can relate to:
Benefits and financial support
Your rights as a carer in the workplace
Carers’ assessments and how to get support in your caring role
Services available to carers and the people you care for

Best Wishes


Thank you, Lucy :blush: