Dear Miss Emily:

I am worried that girlfriend is suffering from depression and need some advice. First off, let me give you a little background.  We are both 25 years old. My girlfriend is American, and we met at university in the UK.  We dated for around a year, taking transatlantic trips every 4-6 weeks to see one another. One year ago, she moved to the UK so that we could be together. She was initially on a tourist visa which lasted for 6 months but then found work and managed to get a work permit.
The following things cause problems in our relationship:
1.    She gets very upset about living with our house mate – everything this person does seems to upset her.
2.    She misses her family and friends from the US.
3.    She misses the US culture and finds it hard to find things she enjoys to do in London.
4.    She worries that all she has is me, and that she is overly reliant on me.
5.    She worries about money and that she isn’t achieving enough. (Although we are both on good salaries.)
6.    She doesn’t find her job fulfilling enough or challenging enough.
I love her very much and we get on extremely well. We both think that we have a future together, and the idea of being with her forever makes me extremely happy.   However, she is feeling so low at the moment that we seem to be arguing a lot.  The standard argument is she gets upset, I try and cheer her up, it doesn’t work, I get annoyed and then we argue. I am not sure what to do, as I accept she has made a big sacrifice to be here, and a lot of her problems/concerns are valid.  I suppose being depressed by a depressing situation is a pretty normal response!  I try and do things that will make the situation better. We are moving out into our own place next month, and I try and arrange fun things for us to do and encourage her to try and make friends.  I just get very frustrated that she can't look on the bright side of things and be happy with what we have.  Do you have any advice?  Is there anyone she/we could talk to? Any help you could provide would be really appreciated.  Thanks and kind regards

-------------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------------

Der Bummed:

Some people just don’t acclimate well in new surroundings.  As you said, she’s experiencing a culture shock – it just isn’t home in the states where friends and family reside, and it takes a fairly sophisticated approach to embrace a new world, and appreciate the differences.  I’ve been to the U K and, for the most part, the weather is abysmal.  Is that part of the problem?  It’s often overcast, even in the best months, and there are some people who will be negatively affected by little exposure to sunlight; especially if they grew up with sunny days and real season changes.  Personally, I love it there, but I’ve only visited.  She should make every effort to try and make it work, but she will not succeed in her attempts if her heart is not in it. Antidepressants, and/or a few trips to therapy could help, but she would have to be willing to take this approach.  She could, at least, express her discontent in an objective environment and move closer to a solution. You may not like it, but she may be determined to go back to the states, and that probably would mean the end of your relationship.  Be prepared for this, but do not give up hope at this time.  Perhaps when you get your own place, her mood may lift, and you can take a rational approach to this problem.  But you cannot hold her hand and walk her through life, hoping she will embrace the plans you make, and pursue new friendships. She has to come to these conclusion on her own.