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Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Senior Contributor

Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Hi. I was dating a guy for 8 years, and 6 weeks ago he abruptly ended the relationship because of his depression. We spoke about 3 weeks ago and he said that he will start counselling and if it goes well we can get back together. He said he doesn't even understand why he ended the relationship. Does anyone have any experience with a similar situation? His depression was caused by a family situation and not by our relationship, he said a few time I was the happy part of his life.
39 REPLIES
Community Guide

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Hi @Anna88 ....and welcome to the forums.

I don’t have a more structured answer for you than this - depression is an altered and dysfunctional way of operating, and under the effects of depression people can do things that appear to be out of character or without their usual sensibility.

My son is undergoing counselling for depression, amongst other things, and I have heard the counsellor ask him, “What is Depression telling you to do ?  It’s telling you to stay in bed, in a darkened room, and sleep all day.  What do you need to do in life to achieve your goals ?First of all, set some goals, even if they are small to start with, then, get out of bed, open the blinds, stay awake, and step out towards your goals.  In other words, whatever Depressioin is whispering in your ear, stand defiantly and do the opposite.”

This tells you / me that Depression has a controlling and disabling effect on the mind.  To end the relationship when it wasn’t what he wanted to do in a rational state of mind meant that he was listening to the voice of Depression in the moment, and that voice is geared to undoing his life .... shutting it down ....

Being in a close relationship with him. It will be important for you to learn and understand the nature of his illness, and how to empower yourself in a carer role, and it’s not easy.

Keep Chatting here, and we will teach you what we know, and walk along with you on your journey.

Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Thank you very much for your reply.
At the moment we aren't speaking as he asked to be left alone while he did his counselling so he didn't feel pressure about the relationship, he thought if I was to check in on him I'd only be doing it to get back together. This wouldn't be the case as I'm concerned about his health in general and not just us, but I guess his depression makes him think that way. Do I just give him his space and wait to hear back from him? I imagine this could take a while.
Community Guide

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Hi @Anna88 (@ symbol “tags” you to the post)

I think if you want to earn and keep his trust, you need to stand back out of respect for his wishes.

My son who is battling mh issues at the moment has reduced everyth8ng to baby steps, and really can’t cope with multi-tasking or sensory overload at the moment.  If he is asking to you press the pause button on catching up, then that is likely what he is trying to tell you.  He needs to focus all his attention on his inner world and treatment at the moment.

Former-Member
Not applicable

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Hi @Anna88

This is a tricky situation and very difficult to discern and respond to with so little information. You must be feeling very hurt and distressed. I hope you are receiving support. Was there any type of relationship problems leading up to the breakup? Or was everything happy and good until 6 weeks ago? That would answer quite abit.

Its true that depression can see those afflicted push others away. Having suffered from it severely in the past myself for quite some time, and still battle with it periodically -  I have struggled with friendships and relationships as my perception was out or I would withdraw into myself and stop nurturing them - but never would I leave someone I loved whomtreated me well because of it. I knew my feelings there and was quite rational in that area. And my husband and self would discuss it and worked it out. We are extremely close. If anything his support of me through my depressive and anxious episodes is what has brought us closer together.

The only way you will know for sure what your partner's true intentions are is to step back and wait and see what your boyfriend does - to learn whether he wants his freedom and can't bring himself to tell you this fearing your hurt - or whether he wants to rekindle a relationship when feeling better. And whether you are willingly to take a risk of rekindling a relationship where you did not have a say and the scenario could happen again. Your mental health, feelings and well being is equally as important as your partners. All the best

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Thanks for your reply. We had got along very well and he became withdrawn due to family issues. He told a friend I was a "10/10 girlfriend but can't care for anyone else at the moment".
Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Hi and welcome. This must be a very confusing and emotional time for you. Please keep checking in and everyone here will offer what they can. I was going to write a few thoughts, but then wondered if I could ask a question instead. Do you know if he has started therapy? Is there a way for you to know if he’s asking for time and space (which it sounds like you are really trying to give him)?
Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

I'm not sure yet if he has started therapy, but was told by a mutual friend today hah he is trying to be more positive and look for the good in things instead of being negative and only seeing bad things. Apparently he is very sad and hurting a lot about our relationship being over.
Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Don’t want to assume, but it’s quite possible he hasn’t started therapy. Going anywhere when in that pit of depression is very hard, but going to therapy might be something he thinks people want to hear, but he might question how useful it’ll be. I joined this forum as my husband has schizophrenia (as does my brother), but I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was about 12. I’m doing ok, but thought I’d mention that in my worst periods the hopelessness I felt meant that I didn’t think anything could make it better, and there was little point anyway as I didn’t really care about anything. The worst part of depression is the feeling of nothingness or emptiness. Not sadness, just nothing. No sense of joy, desire to do anything, pleasure from anything, real feeling for anything. Again, I don’t want to assume, but perhaps if your partner is experiencing this, he can’t find the energy or feeling to be in a relationship (stress: at this time) and might even think he is doing the right thing by you. If he is also feeling worthless and useless he may not feel he deserves to be in a relationship. This probably doesn’t help with how much you’re hurting, but I agree with Enigma that giving him the space he’s asked for is probably the best thing to do. He’s not in a position to think about what’s happening rationally and will only really be able to do this when ‘the fog’ lifts and perspective returns. It will lift, but when I can’t say. I’m not sure if this will help, but perhaps if you take the perspective of this being a separation, rather than a break up it might help? Break up has a sense of finality and the grief that goes with that, but from what you’ve said, this doesn’t seem absolutely final???
Senior Contributor

Re: Depressed boyfriend ended relationship

Thanks for you reply, it's very helpful to hear from an other perspective. It doesn't feel absolutely final, as he said we may get back together once he feels better, and also because the relationship was very happy and positive, so I have a little hope. I want to think of it as a separation, and a close friend said "is this even a break up". It hurts like a break up though and I miss him very much. I'm just worried if I think of it as a separation and he doesn't come back then I might be hurt all over again.