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Depressed Boyfriend


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Okay so this is my first post...

I'm not sure where to go. My boyfriend has become depressed recently. I'm not sure when it exactly it started for him, he hid it from me for a little while, hoping it would get better. We moved out together in April. We had been hoping to do that for over a year. All was well for a few weeks, but then he suddenly started becoming distant. He didn't come home for a couple nights, he'd never done something like that to me during our whole relationship. We got into a fight about it, I was so angry at him. I still hadn't realized what was really going on with him. For the next few days he was trying to make it better and I blew him off to continue being mad (which I regret so badly now). Then he started intermittently not showing up at night again. Then he came clean about how he'd been feeling. Told me he felt numb, couldn't feel anything for anything. Didnt know what he wanted. I tried helping him, being there for him. Sometimes he'd be home and seem okay, then he'd disappear again. Dispite all this, we still decided to go on a trip we had planned for my birthday. He put on a happy face but I could tell he was being weird the whole time. And he had been texting someone...a lot. The day we got home I looked at his texts on his apple watch while he was at the store. I found him texting a girl from his job. He had been telling her that he wasnt enjoying the trip with me and that he'd rather be at home....and that they should take that same trip sometime. And then I found texts between them describing a sexual encounter between them in detail. He came home then and I immediately asked him if he was cheating on me. He insisted that he and the girl never actually did anything physical and that the texts were only fantasies. He agreed that that still wasnt okay, but that's all it was. That he was being stupid, not thinking clearly. From that point, everything has spiraled downward. He told me he wants to take a break from us since he's unable to feel any emotions for me. He can't be who I want him to be. He says he just wants space and time to do his own thing. He said he doesnt mean for it to be permanent, he just doesnt know what he feels about anything right now. Now he's never home with me. He never comes home at night and he even stopped coming home in the morning before work. He'll show up maybe once a week to play video games but then he'll leave again. He says he's being seeing a couple friends, but other than that he'll just find somewhere alone to be and will sleep in his car. I brought up my anxiety that he's really been seeing the girl from his job, but hes extremely insistent that he's not. And he's had a very obvious lying voice lately and he wasnt using that voice. He seemed genuine. So I've been trying to leave him be. I don't ask him to come home anymore, I dont ask him where hes been. I'm trying to give him the space he wants. But on the occasions that he shows up at home, I end up crying because I miss him so bad. And I beg him to remember the relationship we used to have and to try seeking help for me, for us. And all he'll say is that he can't feel anything and he doesn't know what he wants. Or that he doesnt deserve anything nice. When I tell him I want him, he says I shouldnt. When I tell him I need him, he says i dont. He's convinced that no one really cares about him and no one really needs him in their life and that he's not special to anyone. Even as I'm crying my eyes out telling him how much I care about him and want him around. 

This is all completely tearing me apart. I'm falling apart. We have never been in a fight before this. We have always gotten along perfectly. We've always been each other's other halves, always obsessed with each other. I've never felt love for anyone the way I do for him. And I know the him that I know, the one that isnt depressed, loved me to death and never wanted to lose me. He was the most affectionate man I'd ever met. I know that man is still in there. And that if he would seek help, we could find that person again. He could recover. All of this has me feeling lower than I ever have. I haven't felt happy since this started. I feel completely unable to find the joy in anything. It feels like all the color in my life is gone. I'm just going through the motions, getting through each day. I look forward to nothing. I wish I was dead. I think something is wrong with me now. I know everyone would tell me to leave but I never could. I want nothing more than him. Leaving would do nothing for me. And I could never walk away anyway.

So, I know that was long and theres pieces of the story still missing but; is it possible for him to figure himself out without medication? He's so stubborn, I don't think he'll ever decide to get treatment. He just wants to wait it out. Can he emerge from this on his own? Is there hope? I just want the man who still loves me to come back. And I know I can't force him to get help. I just wonder if its actually possible to come out of a depressive episode on your own.

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Hi Whatsername1039,

    I am so very, very sorry for the unhappy situation you are enduring.  How awful.  The situation you describe sounds utterly heartbreaking to me and it must be so difficult to endure.

     I wish I knew what to say that would be helpful but sadly I lack the wisdom.  Hopefully others here will have better words for you than my poor and powerless words.  You deserve a good life where you can experience peace of mind and the joy of living.  I am hoping, hoping, hoping that things turn out for the best for you!  - epictetus

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Sorry this is happening to you. Honestly, I only see two options, both of which you don't want to hear... Either he gets help or you need to leave him for the sake of your own sanity. Love alone isn't gonna fix this, he's gonna drag you down with him and that's not doing anyone any favors. You're already showing signs of depression, how much worse will you allow it to get? If he doesn't get help and you're forced to leave him it'll hurt, a lot, but at least you'll survive and be able to rebuild your life. Doing that with depression and trauma is a whole different story.

It's not gonna be easy to get him to seek help. As a guy I can tell you it's incredibly difficult, society tells us we need to be strong and independent so getting help is like admitting that we're not "real men," most of us would rather continue the downward spiral than emasculate ourselves like that. If he feels bad he's not gonna care enough to do it for himself anyway but if he truly loves you he will choose to get better for you.

2 hours ago, Whatsername1039 said:

I just wonder if its actually possible to come out of a depressive episode on your own.

It's extremely difficult. If the depression is circumstantial then I would say yes, IF he can change the situation that's causing him to be depressed but nothing you said indicates that this is the case. While depression can resolve on its own it's rather unlikely and the longer he stays depressed the more it'll shape his thought patterns to the point that it's increasingly difficult to break the cycle. One thing that's important to understand about getting help is that medication is not automatically the best or only treatment, many people can and do benefit from therapy alone. While not always necessary meds can jumpstart recovery by alleviating the symptoms and making it easier to regain control over his life. 

Do you know any of his friends so you can check up on him? Somehow I'm not buying that he's just spending time with them or sleeping in his car... It sounds like he's trying to hide something from you to be honest, could be that he's cheating after all or perhaps he has a substance abuse problem that he's hiding from you which would also explain his mood and behavioral changes. I obviously don't know him so I could be wrong....

Edited by lonelyforeigner
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5 hours ago, lonelyforeigner said:

Sorry this is happening to you. Honestly, I only see two options, both of which you don't want to hear... Either he gets help or you need to leave him for the sake of your own sanity. Love alone isn't gonna fix this, he's gonna drag you down with him and that's not doing anyone any favors. You're already showing signs of depression, how much worse will you allow it to get? If he doesn't get help and you're forced to leave him it'll hurt, a lot, but at least you'll survive and be able to rebuild your life. Doing that with depression and trauma is a whole different story.

It's not gonna be easy to get him to seek help. As a guy I can tell you it's incredibly difficult, society tells us we need to be strong and independent so getting help is like admitting that we're not "real men," most of us would rather continue the downward spiral than emasculate ourselves like that. If he feels bad he's not gonna care enough to do it for himself anyway but if he truly loves you he will choose to get better for you.

It's extremely difficult. If the depression is circumstantial then I would say yes, IF he can change the situation that's causing him to be depressed but nothing you said indicates that this is the case. While depression can resolve on its own it's rather unlikely and the longer he stays depressed the more it'll shape his thought patterns to the point that it's increasingly difficult to break the cycle. One thing that's important to understand about getting help is that medication is not automatically the best or only treatment, many people can and do benefit from therapy alone. While not always necessary meds can jumpstart recovery by alleviating the symptoms and making it easier to regain control over his life. 

Do you know any of his friends so you can check up on him? Somehow I'm not buying that he's just spending time with them or sleeping in his car... It sounds like he's trying to hide something from you to be honest, could be that he's cheating after all or perhaps he has a substance abuse problem that he's hiding from you which would also explain his mood and behavioral changes. I obviously don't know him so I could be wrong....

I don't know all the friends he says he's with. I do know he does go to see his best friend sometimes, but also that he hasn't told him anything is wrong. He likes to hang out with the people that dont know anything and wont try to talk to him about it. We have a mutual friend that he's also been avoiding because he knows what's going on and talked with him about it once. This friend also went through something very similar a few years ago and was trying to help. He let my boyfriend know that seeking help is what really helped him and he almost got him to want to. But now my boyfriend always avoids him and wont text him back because he doesnt want to talk about it. 

As for sleeping in his car, I wouldn't be horribly shocked if this is what he was doing most days. I can tell he hasn't been showering anywhere else. He always smells really bad now, he'll shower maybe once a week when he shows up at home. Other than that, he's not. If he were even with another woman I feel like he'd be showering.

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9 hours ago, Whatsername1039 said:

I don't know all the friends he says he's with. I do know he does go to see his best friend sometimes, but also that he hasn't told him anything is wrong. He likes to hang out with the people that dont know anything and wont try to talk to him about it. We have a mutual friend that he's also been avoiding because he knows what's going on and talked with him about it once. This friend also went through something very similar a few years ago and was trying to help. He let my boyfriend know that seeking help is what really helped him and he almost got him to want to. But now my boyfriend always avoids him and wont text him back because he doesnt want to talk about it. 

As for sleeping in his car, I wouldn't be horribly shocked if this is what he was doing most days. I can tell he hasn't been showering anywhere else. He always smells really bad now, he'll shower maybe once a week when he shows up at home. Other than that, he's not. If he were even with another woman I feel like he'd be showering.

Also, forgive me for quoting the entire thing when I respond, I cannot get it to not do that.

Anyway, I was also curious about something. I've never been in his place before, where you feel numb towards things you used to have a lot of feelings for. Its obvious that he's unable to feel love for me now because of it. But he does seem to feel emotion about something. Like today he told me about how a scene in a movie he watched got him all choked up. And he still gets excited about a new video game coming out or something. Can you really simultaneously feel numb to intense emotion like love but still cry during a movie or be excited about things?

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Yeah, it's entirely possible. It's not at all unusual to be triggered by a sad movie, particularly if it hits close to home. He may be excited about video games because it's an escape strategy that allows him to not think about his issues. What would worry me a lot more is the fact that he makes time for other friends but not you...

I kinda tend to agree with @morecoffee, depression is not an excuse for what he did, even if nothing physical happened with his coworker it was still extremely disrespectful. It's up to you whether or not you want to forgive him but you do need to stand up for yourself and your needs, don't let him walk all over you because he's depressed. Just out of curiosity, is there any reason other than love that would make him want to stay with you? Do you pay his rent or bills? 

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@lonelyforeigner No, I dont pay his bills for him, but we do share our bills. We each pay half the rent, each pay half for the groceries, and one pays utilities and the other pays for the internet. Honestly, he's pretty much giving me money for things he hardly uses.

And again, I do agree that depression doesnt excuse him from being unfaithful to me. He seems genuinely remorseful for having done that, too. I also don't know if I can really say he's even walking all over me. I'm upset because I miss having a romantic relationship with him and I miss the person he was before depression. But it's all me just asking him to try for me. All he's done is take a step back from me and our relationship because he finds it all overwhelming. He brought us down to just a friendship level which I'm having a really hard time with because I still love him deeply. So he'll talk to me like friends would and occasionally ask me to hang out, but in just a friendly way. He doesnt get anything from me, we don't kiss, we don't have sex anymore, we dont sleep in the same bed. We dont do anything friends wouldn't do. I'm just the one who's having a hard time just being friends. And he says he just wants me to be his friend right now because he can't be the person I want him to be right now.

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@lonelyforeigner Oh and yeah, I have found it upsetting that he'll see other people and not much of me. I've brought it up. That's when he says he's not always with someone, that he's alone sometimes. And I have noticed that he'll only see friends that don't know about what's going on and therefore won't talk about it. I think he's just trying to avoid it and take his mind off of it by seeing them. And seeing me, he can see the hurt I feel and it makes him feel bad. He's just running away from his problems instead of dealing with them

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4 minutes ago, Whatsername1039 said:

He's just running away from his problems instead of dealing with them

Certainly sounds like it. At some point you will have to sit him down and force a decision though, either he needs to get help or you need to move on. You can't stay in limbo forever, it's not fair to either one of you. If he won't change his mind and just wants to stay friends you'll have to accept that, you can't force someone to love you no matter how strong your feelings are. 

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I hate to be so blunt, but I have been through this. I won't get into long winded details, but I've been through almost exactly this. You need to move out and cut off contact with this dude. He's a complete a$$clown and he's not going to get better. Do not let someone walk all over you, lie to you, string you along and feed you crumbs of hope. Aren't you better than that? Do you seriously want to be that person? If I were you. I'd tell him you're done, you're moving out, and best wishes on him getting his sh*t together.

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@morecoffee

I've known this guy for years and he's never done something like this before, its completely out of character. You can get better, I dont expect him to stay depressed like this forever. I cant walk away from him when he's ill like this, it would just confirm his thoughts that no one really needs him or cares about him. I dont want to push him into becoming suicidal. Again, he's really not walking all over me. That would be if he was getting things he wanted from me like sex or affection but he's not. He backed off and just wants to be friends. I may not want to just be friends, but I love him and I'm not going to tell him "no **** you I wont be your friend, get lost" when he's clearly hurting. And I'm not moving out because I'm the main lease holder and neither one of us technically makes enough money on our own to afford this apartment, and ending the lease early costs $1000. And I dont want to have to move back in with my mom. So I'm just going to stay here and I'm going to try to give him his time to figure his out and be here as his friend.

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Well we only get one side of the story so anything anyone here can see you will have to take with a grain of salt.

That being said, if what you're telling us is essentially the whole story then I'm sorry to tell you but there's nothing to salvage here, regardless of the reason this man has clearly shown through his actions that he doesn't love you and not even respect you.

If he does indeed suffer from depression well I can certainly say that depression doesn't cause infidelity, it may obviously really hurt a relationship but in no way does it excuse the likely deception and cheating happening here. A seriously depressed may choose to push others away, but it's not a free card to get away with such unethical behavior.

In fact we can't even really know for sure if there's actual depression at play here, because wanting to be isolated is a very common symptom of depression but a person going through that won't usually be at the very least flirting with some other woman. There's a real possibility he simply grew tired of the relationship and instead of taking the mature way and just saying it so, that he's faking all of this as an excuse and to save face, I can't say for sure but it could be.

And I know it's hard to comprehend, how can somebody just go from feeling like their your other half to almost complete strangers? it feels so wrong and like all the air has been take out of you. But that's the sad reality of life we have to face, that human emotions are mostly incredibly shallow and often short lasting and that if you want something more permanent it has to be based far less on passion or strong feelings and more on mutual respect, appreciation and empathy. And sad to say, a man that has probably been lying through his teeth and cheating on you probably doesn't have much of any that for you. We never really get to know people, it just doesn't happen no matter how many decades a couple have been together, the human mind is far too fickle and arbitrary and people can drastically change for no real meaningful reason. It feels to me that you so desperately want to go back to that better past that you're blinding yourself to the current reality of what's happenings because you're so emotionally invested and strong emotions almost always overcome reason. But I think living in that denial will only extend this hurtful time for you.

And if that's the case then there's no easy or painless solution for you, heartbreak like that is just terrible and it feels like your world has ended because who was the center of your emotional life has suddenly abandoned you for reasons you can't understand. But the truth is that your world hasn't ended and you will bounce back, even if right now it seems impossible.

Try to focus on your work, or your studies if that's what you do, hang out with your friends or try to make new ones if you don't have many, find new activities, go to the movies even if it's just you alone, go volunteer somewhere, literally anything will be better than to sit around dwelling in your pain, that will eventually pass I assure you, but you can help yourself by making the process quicker.

And try to take it as a life lesson, you should never put all or even most of your eggs on the same basket because humans are very unreliable things. Sure, it's great to be madly in love, but that often passes one way or the other and if you don't have more in your life then you're eventually left in this terrible position.

Or at least that's my point of view as a random stranger with no real insight into the situation besides what you wrote.

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I'm sorry anyone ever has to deal with relationship issues like this.  I've had my share in several decades on this planet...and that's real life.  That said, you're probably not going to like my old man perspective and may even resent it.

If I can be blunt, why aren't you seeking help for yourself?  You mention reading his texts on the sly.  Really?  Honestly, if someone did that to me I'd be furious because - whether or not I was a jackass - you crossed a boundary and you clearly demonstrated you didn't trust him.  Just speaking as a guy, I, too, would be driven away all the more quickly by coming home to constant tears and recitation of my faults...and that I was being forced out of my own home.  Yes, it's HIS home, too.  I'm not being his apologist but, imo, you've backed him into a corner and he'll take the first escape route.  In fact, it sounds as if that ship has already sailed.

You mention "the color having gone out of" your life and that "if he would seek help...he could recover".  Recover from what?  Not meeting YOUR expectations?  Not living up to YOUR fantasy?  He's his own person, flaws and all.  He is NOT your property.  He's told you plainly - the most truthful statement I read - he can't be who you want him to be.  And why should he?  Who made you the boss of him?

To my admittedly old ears this sounds like unhealthy co-dependence.  Most of what you write is about HIS shortcomings.  You write about how miserable you are.  I believe you.  So, what are YOU going to do about YOUR OWN misery?  You're not helpless, you know.

I recognize I'm being tough with you.  It doesn't come from a place of anger.  I get that your upset.  I get that you have shared financial obligations.  I also get that it sounds like you're so laser-focused on him that you're using him as an excuse to neglect your own well-being, hiding in some past fantasy world to avoid addressing the tasks at hand.  As your first priority, I'd strongly suggest you get therapeutic help for yourself.

Edited by MarkintheDark
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I'm sorry you're going through this.  Relationships can be very challenging at times and hard decisions have to be made.  While your boyfriend is trying to figure things out for himself, have you considered getting counseling for yourself?  Maybe counseling would help you with coping mechanisms on the emotions your are currently experiencing.  We can't make people get help if they are going through tough times but we can only suggest it.  Have you thought about how to move forward with your life?  Maybe think about what you would like to do with your future and write down a plan on how to do it.  There is hope for your future.  Wishing you the best. 

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