Here’s how to recognize the signs of depression in men, plus tips on how to help a depressed boyfriend. This article is inspired by a reader who wants to help her boyfriend deal with depression.
How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed: Living and Coping With Depression Fallout by Anne Sheffield, Mike Wallace, and Donald F. Klein is the book you need if your boyfriend is depressed. Depression is a serious emotional health issue, and it can’t be treated or solved in one blog post! Please go to the experts to get help when your boyfriend is struggling with depression.
How do you relate to a boyfriend who is depressed? How do you act, and what should you say? These tips are for girlfriends who aren’t sure how to handle depression in their relationships.
Here’s what Krystie says: “Dear Laurie, I have every reason to believe my boyfriend suffers from depression – he has all the classic signs. For the first time three weeks ago, he said he thought he was depressed. He is a very supportive, kind and loving boyfriend, but recently that has changed and he can be rather cold and hurtful. I try to understand that this is just the depression talking, because I know the person that he otherwise is. His depression has put a real strain on our relationship and it hurts me. I told him that I felt his depression was the core of our issues and other issues in his life, along with ADD, which his kids also have. I told him depression clouds, confuses and masks emotions, feelings, desires, wants and needs. I don’t know what else I can do. Do you have any thoughts? Whatever you can offer would greatly be appreciated. Most sincerely, Krystie.”
Another book to read if you think (or know) your boyfriend is depressed, read Is He Depressed or What? What to Do When the Man You Love Is Irritable, Moody, and Withdrawn. It’ll help you recognize his symptoms, and help him to get the help he needs to manage his depressed feelings. The book will also show you how to take care of yourself and not get lost in his depression.
Signs of Depression in Men
The tricky part of recognizing male depression is that often doesn’t look like depression at all. Depressed guys often mask their depression with workaholism or substance abuse. Sometimes they withdraw from their girlfriends, wives, and other loved ones – or they lash out in aggressive ways.
If your boyfriend is depressed, he won’t necessarily walk around crying or being glum and sad. Rather, he may show signs of extreme fatigue, listlessness, social isolation, weight gain or loss, changes in sleeping patterns, or feelings of being overwhelmed. He may abuse drugs or alcohol, or take his feelings out on you.
Getting help for depression can be as complicated as seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, or as simple as getting the right information about depression. Sometimes medication helps; other times talk therapy is most effective. It depends on your boyfriend’s depression, personality, lifestyle, and other health issues. Unfortunately, all you can do is learn how to help a depressed boyfriend – you can’t actually make him happy with his life.
Signs of depression in men include
- Inability to concentrate
- Unexplained changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in sex or physical intimacy
- Withdrawal or detachment, in communication or otherwise
- Irrational thoughts, phobias, or emotional issues becoming increasingly evident
“These signs of depression differ by personality and by gender,” says depression expert Rich Naran. “The most intimate person – the partner of a depressed person – will perceive the subtle changes before a co-worker or a neighbor does. In fact, partners will see changes that others don’t grasp.”
You may recognize depression in your boyfriend before anyone else does, because you’re closest to him. You may even be in a codependent relationship.
When Your Boyfriend is Depressed
Helping a depressed boyfriend depends on the signs of depression and how your boyfriend is coping with the idea of being depressed. Because of the social stigma of mental illness, denial and retreat are common when it comes to men and depressed feelings. Depression affects all relationships.
Learn all you can about depression. Depression can be the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain or a hormonal imbalance – it’s not necessarily caused by a difficult life or recent tragedy. Depression can be caused by less sunshine or a lack of certain nutrients. To help with your boyfriend’s depression, think about what the possible cause could be. You don’t need to diagnose or treat him — just think about his lifestyle and way of handling life’s problems.
Never treat your depressed boyfriend like a sick child. Let him know that you perceive something is wrong, but don’t demean your boyfriend by “trying to cheer them up.” In fact, never use the words “cheer up” in any fashion. You can’t raise his self-esteem or make him feel better — depression is more serious than simply “snapping out of it.” This is one of the most important tips on how to help a depressed boyfriend.
Be watchful, but respect his space. Your depressed boyfriend has an illness that needs to be treated if it goes on too long. But, he has to be ready to get help before he can be helped. If you think he’s ready to think about accepting and overcoming his depression, read Natural Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It offers a few tips for treating depression that aren’t as scary or threatening as medication or counseling. The treatments will help men overcome the signs of depression.
Avoid being a crutch or “enabler.” If your boyfriend is depressed, don’t take over all the responsibilities or create a situation that allows him to stay depressed and not get help. You need to find the balance between giving space, and encouraging your boyfriend to get depression help. Don’t turn into his mommy, caretaker, housekeeper, or personal assistant.
If you’re considering leaving your depressed boyfriend, accept that there is no easy way to separate. Make a clean break, not a slow agonizing weaning off, which only fosters more guilt, emotional pain, and stress. The breakup has to be clean, or it will mess up both your lives even more. Read How to Break Up With Someone Who is Depressed.
If you feel guilty about your boyfriend’s depression, get counseling or a support group. Don’t struggle through this alone – find out if there are any depression support groups in your community. Going online and reading about signs of depression in men is good, but it’s important to get in-person support if you want to learn how to help a depressed boyfriend.
For more help with depression and men, read How to Cope With a Moody Boyfriend.
How do you feel about dealing with a depressed boyfriend? I welcome your thoughts below – but I can’t offer counselling or advice. Please call a depression help line if you’re struggling with your relationship.
13 comments On How to Help a Depressed Boyfriend
hello, I hang out with a guy with depression few months, in the beginning i havent see something so weird, he just sometimes didnt want to have sex and prefer to do other thinks like movies and so on. Though he was very fond and kind with me. Sometimes he suggested to do something and the other day he canceled it with some excuses. I have seen that he was sleeping a lot and many times he feels tired. He also some times refer to some thing like “my familly dont care” ” i dont like to talk with my father” . But i havent been around with someone with depression to know the symptoms. the most of them i see them now that i read about depression. So i just thought he is not so interested about me anymore. Generally i have heard from his surrounding that he spend so many hours in his room and they have to see him with a girl two years. One day he had sexual inability he couldnt act. But it s really normal cause of many reasons like stress and so on. However after that night he called me once and he told me to see me the next day but he cancel it . after that he didnt contact to me again for one week. and we live in the same building in different floors. I didnt sent something cause i thought he may feels awkward about what happened. After that week i sent him a message to see if he is fine. And he told me that he had a lot studying and other staff, so i told him when he has free time to meet him. He called me the next day for dinner. We met ,we dinnered, in friend zone , he didnt approach me like or kissed me. So when i was to go i asked him you wont kiss me? And he tried to avoid it. When i asked him what s going on he tried to leave this conversaton for the next day but i pressed him and he told me as an excuse sth really bad reffering to my body and that he want to be friends he liked my company and so on. I was hurt for his silly excuse , i went to my room. And after 15 minutes he called me 3 times and he sent messages to talk to me , and that the reason he told me wasnt the truth. I accepted him to talk and he told me that he suffer depression and he visit pshycologist for it. He told me about the problems he has and lead him to depression. i asked him what i can do and he told me to give him few time . After that, i just hug him and he kissed me . The next day i saw him again for a while two times and he kissed me again like everything is ok. But again is almost a week that he didnt contact at all . he didnt answer at my last message. He also didnt wished to me for my name day. I read about depression and i decided to sent him and asked him if he want to have a dinner tonight but he answered that he will be at a friends place and he cant. I dont know what should i do. I read that the best way is to give him space. But i care and it hurts that he avoid me like this. I also even till now have a lot of questions. “he told me the truth about it?” , ” if it s just a way to avoid me?” , “how i will show that im here for him without press him” Of course to give him space is the best i can do right now. Thats what i will do and we ll see. As i said we live in the same building and i dont know which should be the appropriate behavior of me if i meet him in random here. I suppose to be just friendly and normal , but if he try to kiss me ? i understand his problem but i will feel like he use me if i let him even as i care for him. I knoww this behavior it s not about me but right now i am only full of questions
I’m in a difficult situation.
Me and my partner were together for 2 years, we have travelled the world together many times and were madly in love. He comes from a rich, very close family.. He has always tried to live up to their expectations but never really has.. He has done really well for himself, he is a builder and has a really good life. There were little things wrong with our relationship, but we always got through them..
2 months ago he broke up with me suddenly, pretty much out of no-where.. We have talked about our future and how we could never live with out each other. His moods were always eratic, he would be on extreme highs and then bad lows but i never thought anything was actually wrong..
When we split up, he said that he hasn’t been happy for a long time, but i know that it wasn’t true.. He started seeing a therapist and he was diagnosed with depression.. It was the worst time for me – words cannot describe how broken hearted and devastated i was. The hardest part was, i knew how much he loved me and that he would come crawling back..
A month later, he made come over and see him and pretty much poured his soul out to me and begged me back.. I said we can try taking it really slow and see how it goes.. we even meditated together. A couple days later he got scared and told me that im never going to trust him again etc so i called it quits and didnt talk to him for 3 weeks.. It was horrible
I booked a one way ticket to move to vancouver last week, and when he found out he said if i get on that plane, he will loose me forever. The next day he sent flowers to my work and took me on a suprise date.. ( The day that was meant to be our 2 year anniversary ).. So i thought wow maybe he is changing, he opened his heart out and told me everything.. He’s even planning to chase me to canada… It has been an amazing last week until today..
The last couple of days he hasn’t been texting me all lovely or being very affectionate.. i had a bad gut feeling that something was up, and i always trust my gut. I called him today and said we need to talk.. I told him that ive been feeling very anxious about our relationship and that im finding it really hard to get over my insecurities, because he hurt me soo much. He then starting freaking out and crying, saying he doesnt know what to do and that maybe we rushed into this and that he is trying to get through his depression.. I told him everything is going to be okay and he said ” No i am freaking out, im shaking, im angry, scared and anxious all at the same time, and i keep doing the same thing over and over ” he hasnt spoken to me since and that was 7 hours ago..
Its absoloutely killing me inside, and i dont know what to do – he is a beautiful person, we are best friends and soul mates.. but he keeps doing this to me… and it really is messing me up 🙁
I am writing because I am going through a real rough patch in my relationship. My boyfriend has been diagnosed with depression, chemical imbalance, and right now he is going through a major slump. For a little while he slowed us down, and backed off for a few days, due to he felt overwhelmed. And it started to show, when he came back, that his meds didn’t seem like they were helping.
Well last night we had a fun converstation, then with one question he sent himself into a spiral. He accused me of calling him a bad boyfriend, that I don’t treat him right, and all that jazz. I of course reassured him I did not say that, and I am here to support him.
Then he shut down, when I finally got to talk to him several hours later he said he knew it wasn’t me, but he was having problem controlling himself. He couldn’t handle anything and he wanted to be alone. He’s still with me. And only with me, but,he needs time. His meds are not working, and he feels like nothing is worth it. He feels horrible and terrible…but he cant think of anything else.
He doesn’t know how he feels about us, cause he cant feel anything. But he wont let me be there for him. I said I’m on the sidelines to help and I’m giving his space….I was supposed to be coming home this weekend and was supposed to see him from vacation. He wants me to still tell him when I depart and land…is all I can do is leave him alone?
I want to be there for him…badly…but, he wont let me.
I am a senior in high school and have been with my boyfriend only for about 5 months now. We had known each other for about 4 years prior to our dating and have always been flirtatiously dancing around the thought of us together. We have just about everything in common, or how he puts it: “the same brain”. We feel such a deep connection it’s honestly hard for me to consider it a “childish relationship” or a typical “high school relationship”.
A few months ago he confided in me that he has depression. He told me that he is getting professional therapy and taking medication to help him along. I have never dealt with anyone suffering through depression before so this has all be very new to me. 3 weeks ago I received a call from him saying that he had tried to commit suicide the night before and that he was in the hospital psych ward, and would be there for close to a week. I was absolutely terrified at this news and was not at all sure how I was going to deal with it all. I visited him every day in the hospital and he seemed like his normal self–which I found extremely encouraging. Since this time, I have been more able to notice his mood fluctuating from high to low in very short amounts of time. I can recognize that his emotional distance is a symptom of the depression, but it is an emotional roller coaster that I am not used to yet.
I have tried to get advice from websites, which all say that he does not mean to be distant and that the last thing he needs is my plea for attention. By no means do I want to be needy, but things seem to have changed between us ever since his attempted suicide. He doesn’t seem to have the “newlywed” attitude that I still possess: I have an urge to text him often and he usually does not reply. Not only does this worry me about his emotional state, but it also worries me about our relationship. I never seem to know where we stand, but I am always reluctant to confront him about my thoughts or feelings for fear that I will only be adding to his list of stressors. I am not really sure how to deal with any of this, and it has become extremely overwhelming.
How do I know whether his emotional distance is a symptom of his depression, or he has lost interest in our relationship? How can I talk to him without the fear of hitting a trigger? Any advice for coping in this situation would be much appreciated. Thank you!
I am in love with my boyfriend but i am very tired now very consumed i feel like i can`t deal with his problems anymore, i feel like i am dawning into a depression myself.. we have been together for almost 3 years now, his life was so difficult and affected him badly ( he is most of the time depressed doesn`t have friends AT ALL there are only 3 people in his life that he relies on his dad, mom and me, his hand and shoulder start to move in abnormal way shaky too, he speaks fast and some times very very slow , his memory is very weak, his personality is weak and have no confidence in himself and has the tendency to cry , he feels always rejected but never admitted.. i am really scared i don`t know what to do i feel like i want to walk away and end this relation but thinking about how bad this would affect him , i don`t know what is the right thing to do .. my dad passed away and i need support i need a positive happy person to get me through but unfortunately he can`t.. please advice do i stay miserable with him or leave him and live with guilt??
I’ve been reading the comments that have been posted on this website and it helps so much to know that there are other women going through the same thing I am and have the same exact feelings and I wanted to share what I’m experiencing. I have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now and we are still a young couple but we were very much in love and have always planned our future together. He was the sweetest guy I have ever met and cared for me so much. In the beginning he was crazy about me and everything was so great. But over the passed 6 months my boyfriend’s mental health has been slowly getting worse with every passing day. A week ago was probably when he and our relationship hit rock bottom. He has been very depressed with suicidal thoughts and is a completely different person. I finally decided to call his mom and let her know how extreme his emotions really are and she called a counselor to get him help. He continues to push me away when I try to help him or talk to him about it. I have asked him about how he feels about us and our relationship and because the depression makes him feel so numb, he can’t feel any love for me. The worst part is that he doesn’t know if he doesn’t feel like he loves me anymore because of the depression, or if that’s just how he really feels. It’s gotten so bad that he told me if I died he feels like he wouldn’t care. I’m pretty much heart broken at this point and don’t know what to do. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I have been reading about all of your difficult situations in your relationships and thought i would share my difficult time as it is completely new to me and affecting me alot. Me and my boyfriend have been together 3 1/2 years and have always been very solid and like soulmates. We got a flat beginning of last year and he set up his own business as an electrician. Towards the end of last year his behaviour became more erratic and he would start coming home very late at night without telling me when earlier he would have phoned me to say he was coming home at such and such a time and then i would be trying to get hold of him and he wouldnt b picking up. He wasn’t handling his paperwork well and so he wouldnt b paid on time. Also 1 guy he worked for fobbed him off so he wasn’t paid. The estate agents wouldn’t renew our tenancy for a 2nd year as even though i am a nurse and i was paying my half of the rent on time he wouldn’t be paying his half on time.He never told me anything was up and he would be telling me everything was fine so i never thought otherwise. So we went to live at his dads for a while during which time me and his dad found out my boyfriend was addicted to cocaine seriously. We were trying to help him but he completely changed and pushed me away to the point where i had to leave as i was losing weight and sleep over it and nothing i would say would get through to him. We were apart for 4 monthes when he contacted me again and he was clean and got his business back on track. I had started seeing someone else as he was ignoring me and i truely thought we were over. However i still loved him so i gave him a second chance and stopped seeing this new guy.Everything was perfect and we were so loved up. Now 3 monthes on he has started behaving bad again. He has fallen out with his dad recently and his dad has kicked him out of his house, and his business is not as good. This past fortnight he has been ignoring my phone calls again. He will say that he will come and see me in the evening and then when he hasn’t turned up and i phone him he won’t pick up and won’t turn up either. He has developed depression now due to being homeless and having virtually no work. He was meant to see me this saturday evening after my work and the same thing happened again. When i contacted him sunday he said he was going away with his friend as his friends mum was helping him sort out somewhere to live. He said he would come back and see me tonight but when we spoke today he said that he wants to sort himself out by himself and that i will get in the way. He said that he loves me but he is not good for a relationship right now. Natuarally i am very upset and confused as before this we were fine. When i said to him that i want to be here to help him as i am his partner and iwant to b there for him he pushes me away and becomes angry with me when i havn’t done anything wrong. I am going to meet him after his doctors appointment tomorrow morning but now i don’t know where i stand and when i say this to him it just makes him angry. He wants to get himself better then he said we can be properly together but i am fed up as he did that when he was on coke. Why should i be pushed to 1 side and wait for him again when we should be sorting this out together. When i got back with him he was only having a second chance. Now i don’t know what to do. All i know is i love him and he loves me and we want our future together. But at the same time this is the second time he is wrecking my life and i don’t know if i can do it anymore. Any suggestions i would be very grateful for xxx
Me and my boyfriend have been together for nearly 2 years and i love him so much. He is a fab boyfriend. He had lately started a new job and we have just move house, first time completely on our own, the new jon is a managers role for a huge company. He had never worked for a huge company before let alone the managers role and he is struggling. He comes home down and just goes to sleep all the time. He doesnt see his friends. He hardly talks. He doesnt want to have sex. When i see him at work he had a constant worried and stressed look. I just dont know how to help! I want him to be that fun, sexual person he was before! He works most days and we really only have one day off together every other weekend! He has got like thos before when we lived in a horrible house and it upset him. I just think he is sensitive! Has anyone got any ideas how i can help him. He used to go to the gy
All the time and that has stopped, he has lost weight, he doesnt really eat much. So tricky to know what i should do?
I am going through a simular problem and not really know what to do. I read all the comments and it is so amazing. 25 years ago I met a wonderful man, I left him because I had problems that I didnt want to drag him into. I knew that he loved me very much. I thought about him for 25 years knowing how much I loved him, I called him we got together, and it was great. We have been on and off now for 3 years, we have hit a lot of bumpy roads. I was calling him several times a day, because I loved him so much, and he would not call me back. He had his phone disconnected and he will not give me his cell phone. I live 2 mins away, 2 weeks ago, he told me that he did not want anything to do with me, that broke my heart. Last week I went over there 3 days, we talked and laughed and he didnt kick me out or anything, he just told me that he needed to get away from me, the 3rd day we had sex, I thought everything was ok between us, I didnt see him over the weekend and went to visit him today, his attitude changed and told me to move on with my life without him. I was so hurt by this, I did not understand, he told me that he did not have to give me a reason. He refuses to talk to me about why he broke up with me, everytime I say anything about it he tells me “i dont want to talk about this crap anymore” and will never tell me any reason why this happened. He tells me over and over that he loves me, but not in love with me anymore, and that he still cares for me. I am trying to understand everything, all I ever do is cry. I have left him notes on his door, and he is always saying that they are nasty, and they are not. He is so wishy washy and I dont know how to deal with this. I know that he is having problems with his job that he really doesnt like. I have always been there for him when he needed someone, but he never was there for me. I know that we need to fix things in our relationship, but he tells me just to move on, not right now, maybe I will call you, I have things to work out. I just dont know what to do, I loved him for 25 years and I really want it to work. I tried to convince him, but I feel that I am pushing him away, something I dont want to do. I have been divorced 2 times and so has he, he has so many ups and downs, since I can not contact him by phone, I go over there to visit, and never know what kind of mood he is in, whether or not he will let me in to visit with me, or bite my head off for coming over. I dont want this to end, but not sure what to do. I am so sad all the time, I want to be there for him, I just dont want to give up on us, I feel as if he already has, and I want to get back with him and show him that we can work things out.
I have been in a state of massive confusion for the last 3 weeks. My bf of 6 fabulous months broke up with me for absolutely no reason. In all of 36 hours we went from celebrating our 6 month anniversary 5 days prior to let’s just be friends, my life has all these life changing decisions coming up (no truth to that), he had to move because of his business to he couldn’t impose on me by asking me to come with him. so with all of these excuses he ended the conversation with he needed a few days to think cause he was so confused. I was just speechless and hurt and confused.
After 2 days we had a 3 hour conversation were we both reiterated how this relationship has been the best we both have ever had, we were just taking it day by day with a natural progression – no pressure on either of us, he knows how supportive i am, we are an amazing team together, etc. He’s been married once (no kids), another 3 year relationship prior to us, has a great job and starting his own business. I have been married twice, second divorce has taken a year and half (cause ex is trying to take all my money), 1 kid from each marriage, great job. Definitely no complaints on that stuff. He’s been very supportive through this time and it hasn’t been an issue with our relationship. My marriage has been over for 5 years so no life changing decisions upcoming. I thought things we back uphill I could tell over the next few days he was avoiding me. He said he wasn’t. Had another conversation with him mid week and he said he had a bad day at work, felt like he was being pulled in a ton of different directions. Next day i texted during work day, i invited him over for dinner that night and he stood me up. Next morning, Friday all i got was a good morning and nothing else. I was so hurt by midnight i called him – no answer, sent him text that I was going to give him what he wanted and I was going to stop fighting for a relationship that he doesn’t want.
About five days ago I started to think – in between crying every single day, did I mention we have been together non stop since the day we met and had all of these plans over the next few months. So this has been a huge adjustment for me – I lost my best friend and lover in all of 36 hours and I don’t understand. Something clicked for me. I am a pharm sales rep so at times I think I am a doctor Lol. I started researching and was immediately like wow!!!! this is so him. He’s told me before that when he needs to think he just closes the world off but I didn’t take it as literally shut the person you love out of your life. We don’t live together so sometimes we do go a couple of days with not seeing each other, but always talk.
I am so hurt. I have sent him a text telling him that I think I figured out what is going on with him, and I understand if he doesn’t want to talk but i am hear for him and want to help. I miss him and I am worried about him. I asked him would he please respond and just tell me he’s ok. Told him this doesn’t scare me and I have a huge part of me that I am holding back because I don’t want people to perceive me as weak and fragile so I understand more than he knows. When he is ready maybe we can share our secrets. (I have MS and only my immediate family knows.) He won’t respond to me, he won’t even acknowledge my texts. I have been trying not to call him but broke down today and just left him a message (cause of course he didn’t answer) that I just wanted to say hi.
I don’t know how to deal with this. I have been reading everything I can and it seems like I just have to wait it out and see if he will contact me. I don’t even know if this is what he has. He’s never told me but all signs point to this. It’s killing me to not hear anything from him at all. I understand from reading that it all may be to overwhelming for him to deal with but I can’t just stop loving him on a dime like this. I cry everyday. I miss him so much. At this point I don’t know if I will ever hear from him again and if I do when?? and what do I say??
I am such a mess and now I feel depressed. It’s hard to just walk away. But I feel so alone.
Well friends, the call came in that I was expecting. “I’m not up for the movies tonight. My mom is coming in town. She is worried.”. Wasn’t surprised just again felt pushed to the side. My response was no problem I am sure I can fill the ticket to which I did and bought another one for my friend & her daughter. He said he knows he needs to try to push himself so he invited my daughters and I to lunch tomorrow. Told him that I felt like I am being shut out of his healing where he was quick to respond no I wasn’t. That’s when I said that I understood and couldn’t fix or help him. I was completly helpless with the exception that I began to journal my emotions for other people who struggle with this as partners, family and friends. It was then that I told him to peel back a few layers and tell me if he wants me to continue to care for him. I don’t want to care for someone that can care back but in this case I know the level of reciprocal care is skewed. I am not confident that I will have lunch with him tomorrow not because of him but because of me. I refuse to let this beat me so tonight I had a blast at the movies and at a late dinner and made sure to post these pictures on Face Book for him to see & within 20 minutes he liked the pictures I posted. I am doing this for me to show that I am an independant woman , strong and courageous and I do not him to complete my life. Again, it is night time and I am processing the day. Here’s what I have to say to this depression:
I am an educated and smart woman that has been effected by your damage to someone I choose to care for. I am telling you that get ready for a fight because you will not win and you will not beat me. You have consumed my loved one but you will not have a chance to hurt me. I have the strength to confront you and the devil at the same time. Although you think my man is weak he will stand up to the adversity and face these demons. He is stronger than you give him credit for. I know this because my love isn’t given to just anyone. It is given to this man who will find the power to take his life back.
I am just like everyone else struggling to find answers on this depression and how to “fix” it. I have finally realized that I can not! It actually feels good acknowedging that I finally cant do something I want and pray so hard to do. First, my boyfriend and I have been friends for 3 years before we started to date and get emotionally close about 8 months ago. Let me begin by first saying that my boyfriend is a professional 47 year old male that caught my heart when we first met. I cant explain the connection but it was solid and strong. I was married and he was involved with what would begin this depressed state. She cheated on him numerous times, had a VD, no career or stability, and the final straw was she aborted what he believed was his child. We began talking and eventually started to date. I have two children and going through a divorce which had nothing to do with him. I noticed many off’s and some very high peaks and very low valleys. After 4 months of wondering why the odd behaviour patterns he finally confessed his depression to me. I decided to embrace it and continue to see him, although it became evident that he would tell me lies about going out of town when he would be locked up in his house. There was NO sex ever but an occasional passionate kiss that he would give me in a spontaneous and strange way. We would lay naked next to each other and we would hold each other but never any sex which became a big topic of discussion and discovery for me. I found some Cialis pills in his overnight bag so I kept hope that these pills were his attempt to begin a passionate intimacy as well.We spendt weekends away together and nothing but a its not yet right tone. Well I couldnt be more wrong. When I approached the subject he became tense and almost very ego controlled. He said that if I hold this over his head he would back away. I told him I heard the warning and that I was perfectly good with letting that part of our relationship mature natrually. Honestly I am a sexual woman and I am also an understanding partner as well but the depression has now interferred in my life causing me to become highly hyper sensitive to him almost putting my universal beliefs on hold to continue to see him. I became an enabler by cooking for him and cleaning and laying next to him to hold him. The hardest day was watching him drink on the weekends. He would drink massive amounts and become a fast talker and say things that I wished he would say sober, such as, I can be a great dad figure to the girls, I am thinking about finding a bigger place so we can live together to trips he convinced me he was taking me to. Each time I felt like I was not getting the verbal words I needed to continue to see him and told him I needed these affirmations. I was watching him lethargic to staring at the TV to being a hyper drunk. His peaks and valleys became as high as heaven and a low as Hell. Last week he told me another lie that he was going out of town butwhen I noticed his distance I called and asked him what he was feeling. He said he finally decided to take the medicines to regulate the Seratonin and that he needed to pull back from everyone and allow himnself the alone time to heal right. I was SO hurt that he did not include me in this and I have been crying for the whole week. He texted me to say that he wanted to say hello but I ignored it. Then I finally responsed to a Face Book comment he made about some pictures I posted and we chatted briefly until I finally texted him to call me. He said he had demons still and cant talk. I told him I would love him through this but it is way bigger than me! I dropped off a care package to his door for him during this alone time and he texted me that he appreciated the package and also to thank me for understanding that he needs this alone time. I told him I would grant him this time and that I would provide encouragement for him during this dark period. I have found that seeing someone with this depression/bipolar disease is one way to truly test my own strength. I do not want to walk away or perhaps his request for alone time for the medicine to work perhaps is the end but I wish on every angel and every star in the sky that he can find his way. I feel helpless and care so deeply about him even without having the physical sex it was the emotional intimacy that I held in such high regard. I have read so many books and studied on how to help with this disease from a partner perpective but have yet found the proper solution to help other than granting the alone time. I have texted positive words and vocalized how much I believe in him. I am afraid this depression is winning the battle. Do you have suggestions from the “otherside” of a depressed partner? I would SO value any feedback. I read all the posts and this disease is clearly nondiscrimating for any age. I really do love him and believe in my heart that love heals but this one all it does is pulls him further away. Thank you!!
It’s so frustrating and sad when an illness like depression has such a negative, strong effect on a relationship! I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s depression – and thank you for sharing about it here. Your experience will help others, and show they they’re not alone.
I think one of the best ways to cope with your boyfriend’s depression is to take care of yourself. Like you said, you can’t fix his depression – no matter how much you love him or how emotionally connected you feel to him.
The only thing you can do is become as emotionally and physically health and strong as you can. I think the reason you haven’t found the proper solution to helping a partner with depression is because there is so little you can do…the best way to help him is to be as healthy as possible yourself.
I encourage you to create a life that is interesting, fulfilling, fun, creative, and adventurous. You need to figure out what kind of woman you want to be, what kind of relationship you want to be in, and where you want your life to go. If your boyfriend can be involved, then that’s great!
But you need to be realistic — I think you need to decide if you can live with him exactly the way he is right now, depression and all. If it’s too much for you, maybe you need to start thinking about your future.
It’s such a tough position to be in…you don’t want to abandon someone you love because he’s depressed. On the other hand, you need to be in a healthy, happy, growing relationship!
I wish you all the best as you find the balance between supporting your boyfriend and staying true to yourself. It sounds like you are a strong, smart woman who knows when something is beyond her control…and who knows how to take care of herself.
Let me know how things are going…and remember that you can support your boyfriend even if you’re not in a romantic relationship with him. Maybe he just needs time and space to settle his emotional and mental health, and then he’ll be ready to be a healthy partner.