Poly & depression
As is often the case, I want to bounce an idea on the forums before broaching it in person.
I have a husband and a boyfriend. I understand why having other partners works for my husband and I. Our bond remains strong and hasn't been diminished, in fact in a lot of ways it's stronger. I love both of them a great deal.
My boyfriend suffers from depression, something I've been learning to accept and trying to understand. He is monogamous and when we met he expressed his views on marriage and kids, both were things he had no interest in. He enjoys being in a committed relationship, but doesn't believe in the need for any kind of ceremony to define it. At the time, this didn't phase me. My thinking was that I also didn't want children and I was already happily married. We had stumbled, blindly, into polyamory and I was very happy to explore this new relationship, to let it develop as it went along.
It is within my nature to be supportive and nurturing and so I do my best to be a loving partner to him. He doesn't have another partner so I am "it". At times, it has been an emotional rollercoaster to accept his depression as a part of him. It clouds his emotions and at times has made it difficult for us to communicate.
In many ways, he is a loving and kind partner, very thoughtful and generous. He also tends to shy away from the "big stuff", making plans, talking about the future, and being there for me emotionally is not usually possible.
I want to be selfless, to be my bfs partner but it seems that he is not able to offer himself to me in the same way. I know that relationships aren't 50-50 and I'm not naive enough to believe they even should be.
I wonder if part of the reasoning of getting involved with someone who is poly is that different partners can fulfill different needs. He wants to be loved, as all of us do, but he isn't capable of offering love in return - not in the way I sometimes need. I also wonder if he believed that because I had a husband/partner already, that I wouldn't need him to ever be one.
This is going to be a tough conversation, I'm trying to decide how I can even begin to have it. He has expressed that he is happy to be with me and enjoys what we have. It's not that I want to change what we have, I just want to know what it is. It seems that within any relationship, a discussion of what each party wants is pretty straight forward. Poly and depression seem to be making this particularly difficult.
I dislike the term, but he seems to want to be "secondary". He wants to be loved and considered, but doesn't want to be elevated to a "primary" role. And yet he needs me, he leans on me, and I want very much to be in his life. I'm just not sure how much he wants to be in mine. I think his depression makes him feel less capable of being a husband/partner.
I'm not sure what I'm asking, there wasn't really a question in all of that, just a venting really. If anyone has experience in dealing with a depressed partner, I would greatly appreciate any insight.