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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I feel trapped because of previous bad decisions

    I have got into a relationship and bought a house together all for the wrong reasons. To me we are more like best friends. I don't feel in love. I don't feel chemistry. Otherwise she is all I wished for.

    This is not my first relationship. I have been in love, but there were some inconsolable differences. In hindsight this was better than not feeling love. Why is it that I don't feel love for my current partner when we have much in common? Could it be that I really dislike my job and feel stuck with it because of the house we bought and therefore feel resentment?

    I would rather not be in debt so to have an opportunity to change jobs, but I'm not prepared to sell the house at a loss. It would be easier to enjoy my job, but I find that hard to do that.

    I find it hard to get up in the morning and I am always tired (Blood tests all ok). The job has no meaning except the income I get. I find it hard to get motivated to do thing I once enjoyed, as I need to resolve these issues first.
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  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    I agree with Grant - it sounds possible that your lack of positive feelings toward your partner and job are symptoms of depression rather than its cause - and the tiredness you are experiencing in the morning is another symptom. Having this assessed by your GP will be helpful so you can start to receive treatment. Treatment for depression comprises both medical and psychological elements, and these may well start to improve your mood in a relatively short time.

    I'd also like to respond though, to your comments about your relationship. Many people start to feel bothered that they are no longer ‘in love’ with their partner after a while. This is entirely normal! Feelings of being ‘in love’ and having chemistry are a feature of the honeymoon stage of a relationship - at best these last for 12 - 18 months, and fade with time and familiarity. After that we can certainly continue to create lasting, satisfying relationships, but this takes an attitudinal shift - to ensure our relationships endure over the long haul we need to work at them, it simply does not happen all by itself! A skilled relationship counsellor can help you, preferably with your partner, to identify the areas where you may need to make improvements, and how to effectively work on these.  Some good resources that may help to guide your thinking here are - “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr John Gottman, ‘Hold me tight“ by Dr Sue Johnson, or ”Passionate Marriage" by Dr David Schnarch.

    I would support Grant’s suggestion, though, that it would be important to find out whether you are suffering from depression, and if so, to have this treated, before embarking on relationship work.

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