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Starting a New Relationship

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From Canada: Starting a new relationship, (we are a month in) and the person I’m with struggles with depression. I have spoken about supporting this person, and taking the journey together, as I want to be a support, and going it alone has not worked so far for this person. Is this the right thing to say? Also, will having sex confuse things for the other person? Is this something we should hold off on, or is it seen as something positive and we should try and add some joy back into this person’s life? This would include going out, playing games, or being intimate… I don’t want to mess this up, so any assistance will be welcome.

Starting a New Relationship

Answered by on -

A.

I think you are doing a very good thing for yourself by asking this question. There are several important red flags in your question that I would like to highlight.

First, this one-month relationship has somehow moved into the center of your life and you are now in orbit around this person’s depression. You are talking about supporting the person, going on the journey with them, worried about if sex will confuse them, and if doing it will bring joy back into his or her life.

All of your questions are focused around his or her depression. This isn’t the way to start a healthy relationship. The question you want to ask yourself is if this relationship helps you feel joy AS IT IS. The greatest error people make in a new relationship is thinking it will get better once they help change the other person. This immediately sets up a dynamic where your needs are secondary to the other person’s well-being.

I would not jump into the relationship taking on the responsibility of correcting the other person’s depression. I would first ask if there is enough in the relationship as is — and then make your decisions from there.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Starting a New Relationship

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Starting a New Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/06/09/starting-a-new-relationship/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.