Hi. I'm really struggling with my boyfriend at the moment. Its not going to be easy to summarise the situation here, but I'll try and give enough info to help. A quick introduction - I'm 39yrs old, am a successful freelance consultant, don't have kids (but really want to) and am trying to find a relationship in which this family 'vision' can become a reality. I've had two serious relationships in the past but for various reasons they didn't work out. Early last year I decided to be a bit more proactive about it, and started internet dating. Met several interesting people, made a couple of friends and finally met my current boyfriend (let's call him David for today). We met up for lunch and were still chatting to each other at 4.30pm. He was interesting, intelligent, funny and sporty and I really thought we had a connection. We met up several times, started seriously dating and everything seemed to be going really well until all the insecurities started popping out of the woodwork. We've been going out for 8months now.

David is a lovely guy. He's a doting father to his 14yr old son (who I get on with very well), and is on the final stages of retraining into a new profession (a process which will effectively have taken him 9years). The course he's doing is very demanding, and he's struggling - not in terms of his ability to do it (to my mind), but his ability to persuade himself that he isn't capable of doing it and so tying himself up in emotional knots that he prevents himself from doing it and therefore making his anxieties a reality.

David has NEVER treated me badly, but our relationship is exhausting me emotionally. He's getting increasingly clingy and needy (of reassurance). When we talk on the phone, most of our conversations seem to be about how he's feeling about his course/colleagues/father/son/emotional wellbeing. He says he has a lot of fun being with me, and I make his life 'simple'. On my side - I feel overwhelmed by his negative energy, my own wellbeing taking a backseat and I find myself giving him reassurance that I know isn't going to help in order to try and buffer myself from his emotional rollercoasters. Its difficult to talk to him about how I'm feeling, because this initiates more negative thinking on his part. I'm now mildly depressed myself and while I don't blame him for this (I'm responsible for my own emotions), I do think our relationship is contributing to it.

Basically, he's a lovely guy and if he could just sort out what's driving this low self-esteem, start to believe in himself and take a more positive view on his life he'd be a wonderful person to be with. As he is currently, his behaviour is counter productive. He ends up turning people off who would otherwise be there for him (which is what he needs) - his course tutor, supervisors, colleagues and friends. These are all things only he can deal with. I realise that, but I care very deeply about him and would love to see him happier, less anxious, more positive and relaxed. I've tried being supportive but am running out of energy myself and he can see this.

Part of me wants out, so I can get on with my life. Part of me want's to be there for him, if he wants to deal with the problems, because he'd be a lovely partner on the other side of that process. What do I do?