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Hi Yana,

My boyfriend of three years and I are both going through a really tough time. My parents are divorcing, he’s applying to schools, and plus our relationship has been long distance for the past two years. We’re both depressed, and I’ve been asking him to go to therapy lately.

What advice would you give to a couple who’s going through a tough time, and how to weather the storm together? I’ve been terribly hurt in the past, so my instinct is to run away, but I know that’s not the right thing to do here.

How can I assure myself that everything will be okay, and make things as best as they can be in these hard times? Are there things I should be doing to help our relationship, and if so what?

I’m sorry if this is a really heavy question to ask you, but if you have any advice at all, I’d really appreciate it. Your column always gives such sound advice to seemingly hopeless situations like mine.

Best,

Depressed from a Distance

Dear Depressed,

We all have our own things that we do to find anchors when our seas are choppy AF. Some of these things are healthier than others, and some of them are more productive to our relationships than others.

There a few types of storm-weathering strategies: one type might be directly beneficial to you and indirectly beneficial to your partnership (exercising more, meditating, journaling). Another type might be mutually beneficial to you and your partner (for example, making space and time to connect amidst the hectic-ness. This could be sexual, or it could be casual like FaceTiming at least twice a week or playing Words with Friends together in your free moments).

Another type of strategy might be partner-focused: sending them a care-package, getting them a gift card for a massage in their city, or taking care of some stressful logistical thing on their behalf.

A final type of weathering the storm strategy might be directly beneficial to you that your partner isn’t too pleased with. Or, in the reverse, might be something that’s really helpful for your partner but doesn’t leave you all too gleeful. This type of coping strategy might look like taking space, taking a break while you each work on your piece of the choppy waters puzzle, or taking up a hobby that reduces their available time to spend with you or vice versa.

It can be incredibly painful and difficult to watch your partner suffer…continue reading…