Love, like depression is individual. Only you know how your version feels and it’s very hard to articulate.
My definition agrees with the cliche. You really do “just know”. I think love is part attraction, part trust and part respect. Of course you have to be physically attracted to the person, but that is what draws you in at first. The excitement that attraction causes wanes with time too. When you get used to them or if you start off from a dating website, their personality has to be attractive. You come to respect even the traits about them that drive you nuts. Their personality transforms their looks, so that its them you see and not just the body they live in. They could gain tons of weight, get a bad haircut or dress terribly and it wouldn’t end the relationship because you would still be attracted to them. It’s not butterflies, it’s not a yearning for the person, it’s beyond that. It’s a calmer feeling.
Trust makes the relationship last. I trust my husband. He can go out without me and I’m not going to be worrying about what he is doing. Even though most of his friends are girls, I know he isn’t going to hurt me. I am not going to be anxious or jealous or any of those negative emotions when he isn’t with me. I know I’ll be with him again soon.
I admire my husband….what he has done, how hard he works and the goals he wants to accomplish. If I didn’t respect him and the choices he made, I don’t think I could love him. The last guy I dated I was with for two years. I lost respect for him. That’s what ended the relationship.
For my husband and I, being together fits with our goals and values, the people we want to be and what we want from life. I am not afraid to tell him how I feel either…even if I know it’ll hurt him or make him angry. You have to be able to talk about everything and be ok with having a fight. Fighting isn’t fun, but when you love someone, you know you’ll get past it and be all the better for it. I married my husband because I feel like whatever life throws at me, I can take it on with him standing beside me. We’re a team. I can’t imagine life without him. I have tried life without him, twice. I know it’s better with!
When is love not enough? Love is not enough when you are poor, have unreliable communication and have the Atlantic Ocean between you. Been there, done that, but that’s another story. Is love enough to conquer depression? No. Can it co-exist with depression? Most definitely!
Depression interferes with every aspect of life, relationships included. I find it hard to love me when I’m depressed, so it must be hard for someone else too. This summer, it will be ten years since I met my husband. We haven’t been together all that time. We were off and on and finally did tie the knot last summer. We have quite a story, but another time. In that ten years, we’ve both learned a lot about how to handle my depression together. This is how we survive.
- Don’t pretend to get it. It’s important not to pretend you understand what the other person is going through. You don’t. Feeling depressed is not the same as having depression. You aren’t in the other person’s head, you don’t understand the reasoning behind their thoughts. When I’m depressed reason doesn’t make sense to me and it’s almost impossible to articulate what I am feeling to my husband.
- Recognize the bad spells. It’s important that you are both aware of a bad spell. I have to tell him, I can’t expect him to know what I’m thinking. I need to think before I react too. He may comment on how I look. “You look nice today.” The thoughts that come into my head are 1) he’s being sarcastic, there’s something wrong with my outfit or 2) I don’t usually look nice on other days. Both of those conclusions are a little ridiculous, but that is how my brain is working. He just thought I looked nice, so he said so, that’s all.
- No magic cure. I don’t expect that being with him is going to solve all my problems and change my thought processes. As much as he wants to be, he can’t be a superhero and swoop down and “fix” me. Depression is usually a combination of things, don’t expect a single person to be the answer.
- He is allowed to be selfish. He still celebrates his achievements and goes for his goals. He needs to remember that although it seems like everything he celebrates will be like a big slap in the face to me, it really isn’t. I will be happy for him and proud of him despite my current state.
- Space. My illness is hard on him and sometimes he feels like he can’t handle it. If he needs space, time away from my doom and gloom, I need to let him have it. It can be really draining to be around someone who is depressed. I understand that he is there for me, but he needs time to recharge too.
- Ration the positivity. Yes, thinking positive is good. I try to think of something positive everyday so I don’t completely drag him down. He tells jokes and what not to cheer me up and get me to smile despite myself. There’s a limit to this though. Too much positivity gets annoying and frustrating. Sometimes depression is a complete lack of emotion. You can’t fix what’s not there.
- Don’t take it personally. Depression causes it’s sufferers to be withdrawn, this can leave a partner feeling unloved. He has to remember that it’s not something he did, or lack of interest in our relationship. It’s hard to be myself when I am depressed. It’s still me underneath the depression, but anything requiring energy, coordination or spontaneity is going to affected.
- Know it will pass. We both know we have had good times and will have good times again. Think of it like a cold or recovery from surgery. You need to be low key and gentle for a while, but you recover.
- Feeling miserable is allowed. Sometimes I just need to feel what I’m feeling and let it pass. Instead of trying to cheer me up and make me forget about whats going on inside me, he lets me just go through it. We accept that I’m feeling bad and that everything sucks and all I need is for him to be there and give me hugs. Lots of hugs.
- Consider each other. As much as he tries to accommodate my my moods. I have to manage them for his sake. When there is something bothering one of us, we don’t discuss it during a down spell. If he has a problem, I am more likely to react badly and irrationally. If I’m the one with a problem, it may not be a real one. If it is a real problem it will be there when the cloud passes.