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KatyJaneD

Nudging someone with depression to spend time with you

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Hello again to this kind community. I’ve posted a couple of times recently about a man I'm pretty crazy about who suffers from depression.  A couple of days ago we met and talked about our confusing involvement that took place about a year ago, and the subsequent awkward push and pull between us since then.  He told me that the reason he’s been distant and hard to read is related to feeling poorly emotionally and like he hasn’t had anything to give.  We didn’t come to any conclusions about whether we’d start seeing each other again; it was clear that it wasn't something to ask for an answer about at the time.  He talked as if this thing between us is not over, but said nothing explicit about dating or making plans to do things together. Despite this, it was an important conversation, and I deeply appreciated that he made the effort to talk with me in person about this - in fact, I did not ask to meet; he volunteered that we meet after I’d candidly texted him to inquire about where we stand.

What I’m here to ask about is input on how much to nudge him to spend time with me vs letting go for now.  I’m working with mixed signals from him and limited knowledge of what his behavior and words may mean about what he needs and wants:  He’s often sweet and flirtatious with me and demonstrates his continued interest, but can also go awol for days and usually need prompting before engaging with me (me texting him, or us crossing paths in town).  I’ve come to not take his leaves of absence from text communication personally.  Same goes for delays or absences of any other sort, for that matter.  One thing that really has me puzzled is that twice recently, (both times alluding to our involvement with each other) he’s made a point of telling me that he’s "not very proactive” but that he’s “responsive” - meaning he’s there when people reach out.  Also, he told me that he’s “good at being attracted to someone without acting”.  I wonder whether I should take that to mean that he’s asking me to push to spend time with him. I genuinely don’t know, and I'm not sure whether I should assume that him not reaching out indicates that he's not interested enough to, or whether it's the much more complicated effects of depression.  I would assume the latter, but I just can't be sure about anything here.  And regardless, I don’t mind being extra patient and taking more initiative than I would with most men, but I also need to be met part of the way there and not have to jump through hoops.  Any thoughts on all of this?  It’s all quite difficult to navigate.

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Posted (edited)

from my experience  as a depressed male when i have the mood i want to

meet a girl and go on dating sites ,speak with her ,engage.we talk regularly

and then my mood gets worse i dont have the energy anymore to stay in touch and replay to messages,i just dont have the energy or will for her(other things flood my mind and romance gets shoved to the back)

just want to sleep or something like that and to be left alone but i dont want her to disappear,i want her to nudge me gently but to understand   if i dont respond(i know its alot to ask from someone) and to not give up on me.

its just my opinion,i dont know if he feels like me

Edited by 6dantex6

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Posted (edited)

I agree. People with depression may not have the energy at times to respond or be proactive. I would keep gently requesting to do something together and if he doesn't respond, just give him some time and then ask again or just let him know you still care. You have a good heart.

BW

Edited by BeyondWeary

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I also agree with what the two others here have said.

Human beings are the most complex beings in the universe.  We have trouble understanding each other in the best of circumstances and hardly understand ourselves very well.  In addition we are often moved powerfully by psychological forces which we may be unaware of or barely aware of... so we often not only surprise others but surprise ourselves.  I think that perhaps this gives a "messiness" to all human relationships which can never be completely overcome.

I had a mustache for awhile.  I had a sort of troubled relationship with a girl.  Years later I was told that this girl had been emotionally and sexually abused by her father who also had a mustache.   She had this "thing" against men with mustaches but even she did not realize it until she was in her late 50s.  Sometimes insight doesn't come at the time we need it most.  This mustache thing was a powerful obstacle between us that neither of us were aware of.  Things like that happen in relationships.  We see the tips of icebergs but not the 90% that is under water. 

Your friend is probably a victim of many forces that neither you nor he are aware of:  barely conscious fears, desires, weaknesses, hopes, dreams.  You are not going to be able to deal with these things since they are not just out there in his words and deeds.  He might have secrets even from himself.

Depression can make things even more unpredictable and messy.  It can make the idea:  if he does x what should I do, very difficult because so many things are working under the surface of things.  You might actualize certain desires in him but also certain fears.  Those might be at war in him with the outcome uncertain or alternating like the up and down of a yoyo.  How to cope with the situation?  How to deal with it?

I wish I could say:  "if he does x, you should do y." but I really doubt this would prove helpful.  General principles are the easy part.  It gets hard in the details.  For example, it is easy for a moralist to say:  do good and avoid evil.  But sometimes a problem is far done the chain of reasoning from principles like the conclusion after a chain of arguments.  Did you ever do a math problem where the proof was so long that any mistake along the way ruined the outcome?  That is nothing compared to the complexity of human relationships.

Absolute certitude is not possible in human relationships.  Even experts in the field of human dynamics cannot offer principles that work all the time.  There is so much that is just trial and error.  We get the best and worst from others.  We also give the best and worst.

As a depressed person I know that my illness seriously messes with my emotional stability.  I am very moody and a burden to those around me.  Those looking for a rock, have been disappointed in me and found me to be a rock of jello.

Any kind of relationship can work if it meets the needs of both people in it.  I have seen relationships that seemed to work even when one of the people was on death row in prison. I have also seen so called "perfect" relationships that fell apart.   This really shatters my ideas about what works.  Sometimes only time will tell.  

I think there is always hope.  I am sure the relationship you are dealing with will either work out or yield something better.  I cannot see the future, but I think there is always hope.

One of my hopes today is that you will get better words from others than my poor words ! ! ! !  You deserve better ! ! ! ! !     - epictetus 

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My thought is that this man is not available to you in the way that you need and it's not something that you can change, whatever the reason.

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