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Tell Girlfriend About Depression?

Joan JerkovichAugust 5, 2014

I’m in a new relationship wondering when is a good time to tell my girlfriend of one month that I have depression. I don’t know how to approach this new relationship because I had a past bad experience with my ex girlfriend.

My ex had lots of issues with her father’s depression, mostly because he couldn’t keep jobs. When I had trouble getting a job, she passed this issue she had with her Dad on to me. She tried to get me to make promises about working and keeping a job. It was like she projected her issues with her Dad in to our relationship. She knew that I also have depression. Eventually she broke up with me.

Now, I’m in a new relationship wondering when to tell my new girlfriend about my depression. Because of my past relationship history where my girlfriend broke up with me, I don’t want to mess this up.

It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? Your story, my dear friend, seems to reek of an ex girlfriend who was entangled in issues with Dear Ole Dad. Those were her issues. Think about it. If her Dad’s illness created instability in her childhood, it would make sense for her to freak out over your not having, or keeping a job. Trying to get you to make promises you couldn’t keep was probably her way of trying to control a situation that made her anxious and harkened back to a past that was unsettling. Again, more of her stuff with Dad coming through.

On the other hand, I could also see her thinking that getting in to another relationship with a depressed person as “been there”, “done that”, and “not going to go through that again”. Her breaking up with you may have just been that she wasn’t willing to be in a close relationship (it was Dad before you) with someone who has depression. If this is her mindset, your relationship was doomed from the start, and I hope she finds a boyfriend who doesn’t struggle with mental health issues, as they will always be a trigger for her.

Enough about her stuff…does any of this make you less desirable as a partner in relationship?? Hell no! Millions of people struggle with depression and they, with medical and lifestyle management, lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Does having any illness, not just a mental health illness, cause stress in relationships? You bet it does. Your illness was probably just too close to what she lived through with her Dad for her to be the compassionate, caring partner you need and deserve. Again, these are her issues, not yours, so don’t let this breakup keep you from moving forward in this new relationship!

We all know that eventually you will have to tell your new girlfriend about your depression. This is, after all, who you are. Assuming she doesn’t carry the same baggage as your ex, she will most probably treat this news with care and concern. If she does, she’s a keeper. Believe it or not there are people, mostly the artsy-fartsy types, who welcome their depression. They us it as their muse, their angst for creating the music, art and poetry that speaks to all of us!

This is real life, and you’re living it, so tighten the straps on your parachute and jump out of the plane. You’re either going to have a smooth landing or get a bit knocked around. After all, you’re not jumping from a plane at 3,000 feet without a parachute; this isn’t a sudden death situation. If things go wrong, you will live another day. So, strap it tight buddy and take the leap! Happy sailing!

Embrace your Personal Power with Life Coaching~

  • When will you man-up and tell her about your depression?
  • If she reacts poorly to this news, how will you decide if this new relationship is worth pursuing, or one you should let go of?
  • What life lessons does your depression teach you?
  • Are you getting the professional help you need to treat your depression?

Listen to the podcast from The Joan Jerkovich Show about how “Depression Affects Relationships” and “When to Tell Girlfriend About Depression”.

Joan Jerkovich, BCC Board Certified Life Coach

Joan Jerkovich, BCC
Board Certified Life Coach

The Joan Jerkovich Show
News Radio 1150 KSAL
Saturdays @ 6:00 am CST
Podcast posts to Mondays

Click HERE to anonymously send Joan your question!


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