How Can You Communicate After Your Depressed Partner Leaves?

It’s the worst scenario of life with depressed partners. They leave, shutting out a lot of love and support because of the illness. If you’ve been abandoned in this way, the first thing you’re likely to try is to get in touch. You need to say you still care and want to help in any way you can. They may refuse all contact or send an answer full of anger and blame. Or they might say the opposite. They still love you but need to stay away to deal with the problem and protect you from its impact. Or the messages can switch from one extreme to the other. What they say makes no sense, and you can’t figure out what to do.

I hear so much about this from readers here and at Health Central. They say things like this: (I’m putting together composite remarks here based on several letters and comments. These are not direct quotes.)

  1. I sent a note and said somewhere that I hoped she could think of some happier times – it was just a small thing when I was really saying I wanted to help. She came back with a text about how I couldn’t possibly understand and how dare I tell her what to do. I tried to talk to her on the phone, but she just shouted to leave her alone and hung up on me. What can I do now?

  2. I told him to remember that I still believed in him and felt a lot of love for him, but he answered right away with a huge outburst, blaming me for everything.

  3. At first he said he was so sorry and that he was the one with the problem, not me. I really believed him and talked about a lot of things he could do to get better. But his only answer was to go through all the problems he said I had caused. He claimed I had forced him out of the house and how could I live with myself.

  4. This is all no-win. If I try to talk to him at all, he shuts me up by saying I have no idea what it’s like for him. But if I stop trying to get in touch, he accuses me of not loving him at all and that all I can think about is myself. Is there any hope? I’m getting really desperate.

I’ve written a couple of posts at Recover Life from Depression (here and here) about trying to find hope in this extreme situation. I hope you’ll read them. They represent a somewhat different take from the many earlier posts I’ve done here, such as Why Depressed Men Leave series.

I’d like to add here a few additional ideas about why it’s so hard to communicate after a break has occurred.

If you’ve been left, the initial impulse, almost inevitably, is to try to hold onto whatever remains of the relationship, to find out why and how this could have happened. Staying in touch is the first thing you need to do, and the messages usually offer love and whatever help might be needed for your partner to get through the crisis. You might also make specific suggestions about starting therapy or taking medication.

The intention behind the words is loving, but the way the messages are interpreted can be completely different from what you intended. There are a lot of reasons for this.

First, they are depressed. The illness has drastically changed their thinking and behavior. They might have fantasies that leaving for a new life is the answer and that all the problems have been caused by the “old” relationship. Others just pull into themselves and can’t handle discussing their turmoil with anyone.

They probably aren’t doing much to get treatment. For them, leaving itself is the primary way they’re dealing with depression. Whatever they might say about you openly, the underlying message is the same. I’m doing this without you.

So when they hear from you, anything you say is going to be fitted into a depressed mindset. They’re going to search your words and offers of help for proof that they’ve done the right thing by leaving.

You, on the other hand, may spot depression as the real cause for their going. That gives you reason to hope that, as soon as the illness is gone, they’ll be themselves again and return to the relationship. You’ll find once more the loving partner you know is hidden by depression. So the solution is to bring the partner back to health as quickly as possible. You can offer all the love and support they’ll need and also can suggest the types of help they can get.

Those messages of helping, though, inevitably convey the underlying message: I want you back. In such a life crisis, it’s impossible to offer help in a disinterested way, and the urgency of your need gets the partner’s attention. They interpret what you say as all about you, not about them. Letting you in to help them can seem like stepping right back into the problem they’ve just tried to get away from.

The two of you are talking from completely different mindsets and needs. Small wonder that nothing is making sense. To make it worse, a person whose thinking and feelings are dominated by depression is going through an ordeal that could flip him around. One day everything feels great and seems to justify leaving, while the next can be filled with anguish and doubt. You’ll go through your ups and downs too, baffled, loving, angry, hurt. The messages from both of you are going to convey these shifting emotions.

There’s no easy way to deal with this. Keeping in mind the impact of depression on your partner is probably most important. That is behind the sudden changes in outlook and behavior, but getting rid of depression can’t be rushed. It is up to the partner to get help and to get serious about following through with treatment. No one else can take the lead. The process of recovery and healing is usually slow, and each person does it at their own pace.

Sometimes the messages do get through, communication works and your partner invites you in to help. But if your efforts keep backfiring, perhaps it’s best to step back for a while. No suggestion works well in every context, though, and it may well turn out that the relationship will never recover from this shock.

No matter what happens, finding your own support and taking care of yourself are probably the most effective actions you can take.

What has your experience been like in trying to communicate with a depressed partner? Have you been through a crisis like this?

Image by psyberartist at Flickr

278 Responses to “How Can You Communicate After Your Depressed Partner Leaves?”

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  1. Worried says:

    I’m not sure if my situation falls into this category or even if there is any hope but I thought I would post to see if anyone has any thoughts. My ex partner and I had been together for over 4 years, and last year had been planning on buying a house together and starting a family – we were very happy together. About 9 months ago it became apparent that my partner’s father had mental health issues. It was a very difficult time for him just to get a diagnosis, it is Alzheimers. At this time I knew my partner was struggling with the situation, but he kept pushing me away saying he was fine. Two months later he lost his job, whereby his confidence hit an all time low and over the next few months we became more disconnected. He didn’t even really attempt to find a new job and he was trying to get care for his dad – he is an only child and his parents are divorced and so it was his sole responsibility – he wouldn’t let me help. Work was very busy for me, and he just wanted to spend the evenings with his friends. In January, my partner blindsided me and ended our relationship coming out with all sorts of ridiculous reasons that we should split up, he seemed so unhappy but was convinced that life would be better without me. I kept trying to help him, calling, texting etc but he kept saying I should leave him alone. In March it seems that things became worse, I found out that he had been having an affair with his friend’s wife for the last four months of our relationship, and telling me that he is in love with her,that he hasn’t loved me for a long time and that I am never to contact him again – he blocked me on Facebook, blocked my number and blocked my email, the only way I can communicate with him is via his friend. He has even created these bad things about our relationship which just didn’t exist, but he seems to believe they did. He is still seeing this woman, even though she is still with her husband. I would expose the affair, but she has two young children, and I don’t want to be the one to ruin their lives. My ex used to stand up for everything that he believed in, but he just seems to be a doormat where she is concerned and does everything that she tells him – I don’t think she has any intention of leaving her husband. She has also blocked me on Facebook and so has her husband. We have two cats who he adored and his words were “they’re your cats now, they’re nothing to do with me.” He is also drinking a lot, which is out of character as he would normally only drink now and then. This whole situation has left me devastated, as well as my family and friends. They are all so worried about him, thinking that he is depressed. He is one of the kindest people I have ever met and cared so much for me, he would go out for his way to help other people. He had so much ambition and drive, and it just seems to have to disappeared – he still doesn’t have a job, and doesn’t seem to be trying hard to get one, he is living with his mum who is finding him difficult to live with and as far has I know spent most of the money that he had saved for a deposit on a house. He is a shadow of the person, that I know. I realise that some of this is down to guilt, but this self destruction started prior to this affair. Only my family and friends, and his best friend know about the affair, I am certain that if his friends knew what he was doing they wouldn’t be so friendly towards him. I have done nothing but support and love him whilst we were together, and I want nothing more than to help him now, but he doesn’t think that he has a problem and is being nothing but horrible to me and as I said completely cut me off. He is making out that he is so happy and better off without me. I am unable to stand by and watch him destroy his life, and so I have taken the decision to move away, at least for a few months as I need time to clear my own head as I am starting to feel very low myself. I don’t condone what he has done, but he is a completely different person to the person that I was in a relationship with and I have the same fears as my family that this is depression. I still love him very much and really want to help him. I’m not even looking for a reconciliation at this time, it is his well being that I am more concerned about. I just don’t know what to do, and it is playing on my mind all the time. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

  2. Nettie says:

    You will find a lot of support at the site , it’s helped me a lot.

    http://depressionfalloutmessageboard.yuku.com/directory

  3. Grieving says:

    I dont know whether this is a place to tell my story but i really need to know how to deal with my husband, who left us but i seriously thinking he is suffering from depression.

    I have had the most devastating experience of my life around 2 weeks back. My husband of 10 years left me and my two toddlers for a life of promiscuousity and alcohol and fun. We have been married for 10 years and prior to that we dated for around 4 years. We were madly in love with each other. He was always a bit aloof and he had control issues in that he always reacted even if he felt remotely controlled by anyone and his idea of “control” was very wide. Even “Why do u have to go to that party? Why cant we hang out by ourselves?” requests made him feel controlled and he would retaliate by partying even harder. I knew about these so I tried to give him as much freedom as possible; not even complaining when he took trips abroad with friends or acquaintances and without me. He was always a workaholic and seemed to excel in his work but he had a tendency of losing interest in a particular set of work within a span of 2-3 yrs. But we loved each other madly. The first time i felt he was changing was after the birth of our first child 4 years back. My husband decided to quit job and start his own consultancy work. This new venture, finances, the pressure of looking after a little baby, everything together drifted us apart a bit. The more i tried to be supportive and helpful, the more i felt he was imposing on me. Ofcourse, there were times when i lost it and said stuff. Things went really sour when our second child was born 1.5 yrs back. Right after her birth, my husband had a heart attack, albeit a minor one. He is only 37. After that, he became really irritable. Everything we (me and his mother) did irritated him. He tried to do everything we told him not to do. Ate fatty food, became an alcoholic, started smoking like a chimney; and he continuously blamed us for trying to control him. He increasingly came home late, mostly after midnight, drunk most nights. He even started partying hard and having affairs with other women. I tried to pursuade him to atleast be good for the sake of the children but that seemed to have the opposite effect. Then almost 3 months back, he told me clearly that he is sleeping around with other women and he feels suffocated by family bindings. He doesnt even want to stop sleeping with other women because he doesnt find me attractive. Despite this, i wanted to try and save our marriage for the sake of the two little children. However, 2 weeks back, he just came home, told me he feels very suffocated by family and just left us. He even cut of all contacts with his parents and all family members. I know he is now living alone and partying hard with booze, drugs and lots of fooling around and he says he feels free. But somehow I feel he is suffering from depression. He used to be a very loving and caring person. We have been together for almost 14 years and other than the last 1.5 years, he never seemed to hate me. His family also seems to be at a loss because he was never this type. I dont know how to get him to understand this or even how to convince him to seek help because whatever I say just makes him angrier at me. But I somehow feel he badly needs psychiatric help. I would be grateful for any suggestion.

  4. Cameron says:

    I am very aware of the ripples that depression can cause in a relationship. I have been with my girlfriend for around nine months, five in which the depression spell has heavily impacted our relationship. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have been in this situation. After all the time I spent trying to be supportive but also making sure not to enable the healing process, I always end up realizing that having space is key. It seems that majority of people who suffer from this crippling disease, will usually end up pushing their partner away, leaving their supportive partner devastated. While taking space might seem drastic and selfish, is it not. You want to prevent feeling any negatives emotions towards them at all costs. The number thing to remember here, is you have to look out for yourself and your best interests. I am a firm believer that time heals everything and can make a world of difference in any situation. Be strong and stay confident in your decision.

  5. Susan says:

    My boyfriend of 6 years almost left me almost 3 weeks ago.Actually on Wed the 23rd makes 3 weeks. Anyways we just separated for 6 months .I rented a house on the other part of the city we live in.At first we kept our distance from eachother.But after a few weeks we were back in eachothers lives. He would stay every Sunday and a a few days during the week. So i moved back into his house with him recently .Well not even 3 weeks into me being here he started acting cold and not wanting to be intimate or affectionate.He started making excuses again and sleeping in his chair.I got so angry one night that i tossed the remote at his bestfriend the tv. This was after he said you moved yourself back in.In other words he didn’t want us back he was implying.I totally lost my cool because he went back to watching tv instead of trying to settle the argument. So he left that night with the police asstisting .He woke my kids up yelling at me too.So i called the police to help see him out. By the way he started packing after i broke his tv.So after that he finally came by that Sat.He tells me he had gone through some horrid events in his childhood sexual etc. And apparently they happened in the house we lived in.So now he was not sure what he wanted. He said to many triggers here between me and the house . Since that night he rarley returns an email.He doesnt have a cell phone .So i have to email him .He stays at his parents house where there is a home phone.Yet he doesnt want them involved he says so he told me to get him a phone>?My friends said no if he wants to contact you he can get one.After all cheap pay as you go or contract phones are everywhere these days right?So i didnt get him a phone.So another week went by with only one short response to an email i had sent him.He then comes over and sits down but not looking me in the face much.He acted like i might hurt him or something.He said he was having a breakdown.Which he claimed the last time he stopped over.So we sat and talked about the awful things he had gone through and the age of the incident etc. He knew i too had been hurt as a child many times. I told him he needed to be strong.I then asked him how he was feeling at one point.He replied saying he was having bad thoughts .I asked what these thoughts were?He said i feel like kicking a cat sometimes. I told him theres a big difference between thinking of it and doing it in reality.He was about to tell me more but then my daughter came downstairs . Also i took his house key on the first night because i was scared of him a little. The cops told me i could but he could legally break in too. Since then hes refused a key to his own house.He told me he wants me to feel safe. Which kinda gives me a uncomfortable feeling.He also wont get on meds and his parents are very relgious and controlling. He tells me he wont throw me and kids out but i live in fear of it daily.I just dont have the energy to move again right now. My oldest son of 20 is having a breakdown too because he was very attached to my boyfriend. My son operates mentally like a 10 to 12 year old most of the time.We are in the process of his ssi case . My other 2 kids are younger and one is angry and confused. My other child a girl of 16 is trying her hardest to help more around the house.Its been a tough few years with the kids dad passing , and then my mom 2 months later.My boyfriend knows this and he says we can stay here .He states he would never throw us out.He says that he doesn’t know if and when he will come back.He says this is hard on me too .He said i couldn’t sleep at night not knowing you and kids were ok and had a decent home or place to live,In fact he said i would not ever throw you and kids out.i couldn’t live with myself …My friends in family say stay for now because i cant afford to be on my own just yet.My oldest boy needs supervision because he has accidents and forgets the simplest things.He needs 24.7 supervision or something could happen.My x or whatever he is says he knows this and that is why he will let us stay.Again he says things like why do you want someone like me im no good?
    He just turned 43 this month .In fact our fight took place a few days after his birthday.I am so lost please anybody out there with advice? I would love to email others or talk here for support.
    What should i do ? Wait it out for now? Im in his house and my kids schools are here etc. Im at my wits end ..
    p.s. he said he doesnt know if he can ever be sexual again with me due to past abuse from many years ago.I dont understand this because bad things happened to me as a kid .Yet i still want to love and show love etc.? Is this deprrsssion or is he using his past to dump me? I just dont know what to think. I told him toi see a dr but he says no i dont like doctors. He says he cant be fixed too..
    Lost in Chicago
    Susan

  6. Alejandro says:

    I am also going through this really tough situation. Me and My wife thats weve ben married had our ups and downs but the thing is my mother and father in law. You see when I first met her she was really depresed due to her parents, they hit her and she had no choice but to leave with her ex but she wasnt.happy and she came.back to live with her parents she was cutting herself due to this but I talked her out of it got her happy and in love with me and Im really happy. But the thing is she lives in mexico and I live in Usa and im fixing her papers we have about 4 more months so we can be together good I go from time to time she gets sad when I leave but I talk to her and get her to fel better. But receantly we found out my father.in law is cheating and they are always arguing and my wife is tired of this and she warned me if they dont change in 3 weeks shes leaving far away for nobady to see her. Im recantly working and I dont want to loose the immigration just because its atressful there where she is. I told her if its necesary I need to go to talk to them and show her I care I love being with her id live overthere but I see there is no future due to econimic things I want her to come to the US so she can see and make her have a better future for us. She recently told me she dont care anymore about me she ignores when I call I get frustrated but I let her know shes not alone and she cant leave because if she does ill be there But I just dont want to loose the papers almost a yr. Like this and everything was well just recently about her parents they argue and shes tired of it just wants to leave Everything and start a new life.I told her a couple more months we can be together With a new life just her and me. I need help trying to decide what to do? Im thinking of going for a week and talk to them and be there and show her I care and Love her. Sorry if my english isnt well

  7. Roisin says:

    I am really confused, my boyfriend and I had been dating for almost two years and while we had out ups and downs everything seemed to be going fine. When I first met him I was in the early stages of receiving therapy for some self esteem and anxiety issues but he was very supportive and understanding. He has a very stressful job and issues of his own that have led to him attending counselling recently however despite all this he continued to remain an affectionate and caring boyfriend.

    A few months ago he became concerned about not knowing what our future would be stating at times he could see a future with me and at other times he could not. Maybe I was naive but seeing things in the long term can prove challenging for me as I often doubt things will work out and as such I reassured him that nobody knows their future for definite and that all I asked was that he was with me because he wanted to be right now, that the future will work out if it is meant to be – after this our relationship returned to normal and we continued to spend time together, it genuinely felt like his initial concerns were caused by a friend telling him he should just know if we had a future or not. He continually told me he loved me and acted affectionately towards me.

    A few days ago however he told me that we are over. This breakup took me by surprise as earlier that day we were making plans for seeing each other the following week. He told me he doesn’t know who he is and wants a clean slate, that he cannot see any kind of a future not just for us for for himself and does not want to waste my time. He acts like he does not deserve happiness but he is a genuinely loving and caring person who deserve to be happy.

    I am very worried about him and accept that he might just no longer love me, but I cannot stop worrying about him. I wish there was someway of him understanding the person I saw in him rather than the negative view he has of himself.

  8. Jeannette says:

    I started seeing the most amazing man last May. We found each other after both having gone through so much.The more time we spent together, the more it became obvious that this was ‘it’. Fast forward to 1 month ago. Things were still wonderful. His father, who’d had really bad health, became even sicker. “J” had to go to him. “J” had a very long history of abandonment, resentment, etc. with his father, so this was not easy for him. Having a 21 year old son himself, he really wanted to set the right example. Anyway, he fled to his dad’s state to be by his side, and he passed away 1 week later. He really wanted me to go with him to the funeral, and to be with him for support. I did. That’s what you do. Needless to say, there were a lot of feelings coming up that he didn’t expect. A lot of anger, a lot of sadness, etc. We got back home, it was Christmas – another stressful time in its own. I noticed him getting a little more distant in this time, and I completely understand that considering what he’s going through. 2 days ago I volunteered to not come over to his place, to give him space, and he told me that we needed to “talk”. He didn’t feel that his love for me was as strong for me as my love for him. OMG. I’m devastated. I know this probably has a LOT to do with him grieving and not being able to handle any other emotion at the moment. When I asked him when he’d started feeling ‘not as ‘in love’ as me’, he gave me a very specific time of 4-5 weeks, as opposed to a wishy washy response. This is basically the time he started dealing with his dad. He said he’s very sorry, he wish it could have worked out, but he feels that my feelings for him (just in the last few weeks) were much stronger than those he felt. need some hugs. I need some advice. I need some help.

    • sarah says:

      Just take care of yourself. Be strong. Get on with living. Hope that he gets better but continue taking care of yourself. All you can control is your self. Good luck. Lots of hugs.

      • Jeannette says:

        Thanks. I need all the help and support I can get right now. I do hope he comes around. Is there anything I can say to him at all? (If he does for some miraculous reason come in contact?

  9. Alex says:

    Hello, I’m really desperate here. Any help would be priceless. I’m 23. I met my 23 Finnish girlfriend in a uni exchange. She had a 4-year-relationship with a guy but we kissed and started dating. Basically she cheated on him. She returned home for Christmas and I was sure they’d break up but apparently they didnt. She told me she wanted to take it easy cause her ex was suicidal. I was quite inexperienced and anxious and 5 weeks after starting sleeping with her one night she returned to Finland I couldnt take it and I tried to sleep with another girl. I told her everything, that I was sure that situation would ruin me eventually since I loved her and that was the best ending for the thing, but she told me that if I wanted to be with her she would accelerate the process and we would be together. After 8 months she returned home finally, maintaining a long distance relationship , but after meeting a couple times she was diagnosed with depression and the cheating thing began to conquer our conversations and dynamics. she was feeling guilty about her part regarding her exboyfriend (she hadn’t told him anything) and uneasy regarding me. Besides. Stress and distance made me untrusting at the same time regarding her exboyfriend and I didnt see properly how bad her illness was. mistreating her like a healthy person. Finally two weeks ago she dumped me in 10 messages, telling me she has never loved me and I have ruined her life. Sincerely, now. I wake up in the middle of the night and i panick and it feels like dying. I love her so much and I feel so guilty I can’t be with myself. Some piece of advice would be incredibly well received. Thank you very much in advance

    • MHD says:

      This is a mess. Your relationship started with lies, distance, and using other people. Learn to not handle rejection by using another person first. It’s insecure. It’s mean to the girl you used. It also destroys your character. On top of this now you have depression to deal with. You’re young. Run. Start over. This is drama and doomed. Be on your own and be okay with it. Any relationship started on this foundation and then add the depression to it is doomed. Some of us have had children and decades of happy years with our depressed partners and the depression still won. That’s my advice. Simply, grow up , get some help with how you handle fear and rejection and move on. When you love yourself and honor that first and live your life the best you can then you’ll find a woman worth the chance. Make her earn it rather than just giving your heart to a woman you haven’t built a foundation of love and respect with. And then you won’t be on a board such as this at the age of 23. Go find yourself. She’s trouble. Not what you wanted to hear but it’s my take from experience.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I have been married for 13 years. He has always been depressed and has been on medication. Life has never been enjoyable for him. We recently relocated and he started acting very different…enough for me to count his pills to make sure he was still on his medication. One night we were watching television and the next day he came home and said he wanted to go live in a box. He came home the same day crying and said he couldn’t leave and I accepted it and made him feel better so he would not have to deal with the shame. The next day he moved out….I am trying to be civil but I don’t think I could ever take him back.

  11. Hoping aka Carl says:

    Hey, Just wanted to give an update on my situation. My now exgf of 6years has been suffering since about March/April well thats when i noticed the symptoms. Broke up with end of May via text and has avoided me and emotionally withdrawn. I did all i could to try and get her to see something was wrong this wasn’t her this cold and uncaring person who frankly didn’t give a crap about me or my feelings. 1st month blame it was all my fault i lost nearly 2stone nothing made sense. 2nd month she told me it wasn’t anything i did she didn’t feel happy thought it was a phase and would pass it didn’t. I would text email she would ignore everything. So i cut contact for the 3rd and 4th month as advised here i took a step back. I sent her a bd card in Oct she thanked me for it. A few weeks later she seem panicked worrying about my nephews bd he was 3 would i give him her best. She hasn’t once asked how i am yet shes worried about my nephew who shes left be-hide with the rest of my family who adored her. 21st of Oct i send her flowers its her mother anniversary 6 years shes been gone. Also sent a letter stating how i know how her mothers death has effected her and i was always her for her, flowers showing my respect letter showing i cared. That night i got a very flat response (thanks 4 flowers sorry) then found myself blocked on FB and Twitter.

    I have recently learned she is drinking alot. She didn’t like to drink as her mother was an alcoholic the reason she died. And also shes dabbling in drugs and wait for it…and is seeing someone else. So im at the end i did all i could i was waiting to see if there was gonna be a change but obviously her depression is worse than i thought. She could have told me she was seeing someone take some accountability for the damage shes done to me. I get a better emotional response off a cold wind. I know 5 months is early days shes filling that gap and still cant look inside for her pain. But all at the cost of destroying me. Shes showed me no love or respect its not time to show that to myself. Ill leave her alone now but will always have love in my heart for her. And i know this isn’t her and she wont see the damage shes done until shes out the dark. This fake projection of how happy she is now i cant stand i know it wont last. Yet im left helpless the same way i started.

  12. Hears hoping says:

    Hey all. Here I am sat reading all of your comments and thinking wow I am going through the exact same thing.

    Last year my ex moved out of out house said she didn’t like where we lived and wanted to be closer to friends. I was upset at first as I had changed my whole house and spent a fortune to welcome her in my home to make her feel that it was also hers. This caused arguments, but she also has issues if me cheating etc (by the way I haven’t nor would I) so she left and went into counselling as she had issues with driving her car etcand felt she wanted to kill herself. She is taking tablets for the depression it says she feels she needs her dose upping.

    I offered my support and told her I will be there for her. She told me that she needed space which I have her, and the. Out of the blue she said she wanted us no more. I fought for her to change her mind and she did. I took her away on little trips had good times to keep her positive, took her to her favorite restaurant and she was so loving towards me kissing, cuddling etc. Then suddenly last week out of the blue again she said were done, she doesn’t want to see me no more and feels that she is pressured. Before all this I used to say to her I would hate if she left me and she used to get upset by saying don’t be silly I will never leave you.

    I’m totally heart broken and have no idea what to do.

    All I keep reading is that the depression is making her do this… Now she won’t reply to my texts nothing… I am so confused. I love her to bits and would never ever cheat in her I adore her more than anything.

    She is in real bad debt problems, for which I have been paying off for her to get her out the shit. Everyone I speak to keeps telling me that she needs to appreciate what I’m doing. What I can’t understand is why everyone else can see it but she can’t?

    Any help or answers would be magic

    • Denise says:

      It’s a cruel disease our loved ones have as it destroys so many lives. It’s 11 mths now since my husband left and despite telling me in Aug to hang on, our relationship has hope we are now only talking via txts when we have to. He refuses to talk to me and tho I know it’s his illness it makes me angry he is off doing what he wants while we struggle as his family. I’m trying hard to move forward and a little of me is back with the help of anti depressants. They unfortunately have no concept of the pain they are causing because they are in so much pain they can’t think beyond themselves and until the medication and or they get help they will continue to behave like this till it becomes the norm for them as it is with my husband. He contacted his daughter last night after 2 mths of silence, asked how she was and his granddaughter then his txt was all about him, this shows me he is no better when he can’t carry a proper convo with his daughter also shows me I can’t sit around and wait for him cause it’s not going to happen. You may have to make this decision for yourself as well and she can’t appreciate what u are doing for her as she has no feelings in anything. I have paid all my husbands bills for 10 mths now have had no thanks just expectations I’m slowly handing them on to him but no appreciation for what I have done. Have u sought help for yourself? Going to my Dr has been the best thing Iv done he put it all into perspective for me and I didn’t want to go down the same path as my husband.

      • Here's hoping says:

        Hi Denise.

        It all makes no sense to me and I read so many people going through the same thing it puts hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel and she will see through the other side and realise I am there for her and her best friend. I am paying her debts off and the same way as you getting no recognition of the help and support I am offering. I’m just getting shut out and told to leave alone. I have debt collectors coming to the house I own to pay off her debt which I do with my own hard earned cash. She has stolen money from me, which I didn’t go mad about. But she doesn’t tell me what it is for. I am really at my wits end. I don’t want to let go as I love her so much and don’t want to fail her as a partner or as a friend. It destroys me even thinking of her being with someone else or even me for that matter. I don’t think the pills do any good. I’ve read about them and they just cause a numbness to the brain I feel. The loss of dopamine in the brain because of the pills is truly destructive. She used to be so loving. Now she is someone I don’t recognise and I feel sad to see her like this.

        I’m just hoping. I’ve suggested we both go to counselling but she just snaps at me. There is no reasoning. I couldn’t imagine ever treating anybody like this it’s soul destroying.

        • Carl (hoping) says:

          Alright mate, i see your story and brakes my heart this is happening more and more. I can relate my gf left out the blue wouldn’t talk to me ignored my texts has been someone i dont know uncaring selfish. I know shes in pain yet she wont admit to it. She contacted me 3 weeks ago worrying about my nephews BD seem to worry because i didn’t response right away. I sent her flowers on the 22nd oct for her mothers anniversary with an lovely understand letter a dawning and a poem. Things a healthy person would really like. I got (thanks 4 flowers sorry x) I did two months confused as hell, then two months no contact till i heard from her as said above. Now i find im blocked on FB and twitter again. its the hardest thing to deal with when they wont reason or be rational i dont want to give up but it is soul destroying.

          Denise im sorry its still dragging on its torture and so unfair on us all here.

          • Here's hoping says:

            Hey Carl

            It’s horrible. I have offered her help, support you name it I’ve tried. Now all I get is leave me alone, or I don’t want up be with you..

            I don’t think she realises what she’s leaving behind. I have a Labrador who she loved to pieces. The other day her words were I don’t care about the dog no more. No way would she say that and yet she still can’t see she is sick??

            I really don’t want to lose her with this illness. I would trade anything to get her back healthy and thinking straight. I just don’t know what yo do when she’s shutting me out and saying hurtful things. I know she doesn’t mean them but she’s adamant she does mean them. It leaves me confused. She’s stubborn and won’t listen to what I say to try and reason with her. I love and miss her so much. Just wish she believed me

          • Carl says:

            Get your self over to the fallout site you will get the help and support you need to help you cope during this very hard time.

            I to tried it all you just cant reason with them, you cant control them or the illness you have to respect the time she needs to see it for herself, its the hardest thing ive endured and will be for you.

  13. Blinded says:

    Like everyone I am left with unanswered questions. My bf of over 12 years was secretly packing up everything in the house that was his. Three weeks ago he told he he needed to talk to me about “us.” He was moving out of town! He needed to get away from everything causing him stress. Me? He wanted to find a job, he wants to feel like a man. This was a wed. And Friday he said he’d be back…..like we could talk…..no he returned to finish off everything. He refuses most communication. A week later I called and he said he’s done! I’m devastated.
    Our lives were picture perfect. They began to unravel when my mother became sick. Her two year illness took a toll on both of us. My bf’s parents were no longer living. My family was like his family. After losing my mother in ’07 my life was filled with sadness and stress. My father moved in with me. At this point my bf had his own place.
    We struggled to have time for each other but we still had a good relationship. As the economy headed downhill so did my bf’s work. He worked closely with his family. They struggled to keep their doors open when out of the blue his boss took his own life. My bf was thrown into an instant situation of caring for all the other family members along with dealing with the trauma he just faced. Finding his boss would have long term effects one that triggered depression throughout the family. After caring for the aging depressed parent of his family member it all has taken a toll.
    During time of the suicide I was losing my father to cancer. What a devastating time. My bf surrounded me with friends. He wanted me to establish a best friend I could talk to and turn to. He shared a lot of information with her….more than with me. Our friendship grew stronger as my best friend’s mother was losing her battle to cancer. My bf would spen hours talking on the phone to various family members and not really talking to me. I needed an ear I wanted to be his ear.
    Constant stress and family issues took a toll.
    I told my bf 3 weeks ago we were both broken people trying to stay alive. I never dreamed he’d walk out the door. I never thought I’d hear him say he’s done. He shut me out. He hasn’t worked since discovering the suicide that was almost 3 years ago. His days were filled with busy stuff and his nights were filled with alcohol.
    He spent the month up to leaving tidying everything around the house….pressure washing this and that, repairing different items…why? To relieve him of the guilt.
    I can barely manage my days. Why am I left with all the questions? Before he left he said I’m not happy with myself….I can’t be happy with anyone. Now it’s that he’s done. Why does he want to confuse me?
    I’ve been reading through this site and reading many comments and posts.
    I pray I’m not expecting a miracle….but I mss him so much. He never gave us a chance to try and find answers for us.
    Am I too hopeful?

    • Hoping says:

      Blinded, Hope is so hard to kill. Im sorry your in the same place as most of us the other side of the coin of depression. Its a struggle daily. Im now 5months into this only pit and i still have no answers. My gf also said she wasnt happy she thought it was a phase that would pass that she didn’t love herself. She let it strew didn’t talk to me about how she was feeling..then just dropped me out the blue, shock to me and everyone who knows us. In this state we wont get any answers any closure its a lonely thing fallout.

      I see couples all around me braking up and getting back together coz thats what healthy people do they talk work things out. She haven’t been fair or reasonable with me shes not rational cant see my side. If she had none the doctors they do say not to make any life changing decisions for 6months. Its odd she pushed away the one person that will make her feel better even alittle, but id also make her see the doctor hence why im none. Now im waiting, she asked my auntie how i was on Monday yet shes not asked me that in 5months to hard for her. Im gonna stick it out despite my friends telling me to move on, isnt that easy they dont understand shes ill. And i carry our love just takes time.

  14. Hoping says:

    So i sent my ex flowers for her mothers anniversary, she died six years ago i think this is the main reason for her depression, i know how deeply its effected her. So Ive been on edge all day waiting for a good/bad reaction? 10pm i get a” msg thanx for the flowers sorry x” as confused as ever. But i had to do something nice its who i am, i wrote her a letter to explain why ive not been in contact to give her the space she wanted, and that nothing has changed for me feelings and so on and that im here for her.

    Thats the thing with fallout we get dropped and left with the feelings we have always felt and hit with a wall of apathy its heart breaking.

  15. homesick says:

    I’ve been having a tough week. I haven’t communicated with my husband in over a month. I’ve been trying to remain hopeful about our situation however I find myself lately becoming incredibly angry. not just with him but with mutual friends. every time they plan an outing he is always included and I have not once received an invitation. when I see that he is out and about I question whether or not my assumptions about him being depressed are correct. his behavior towards me is exactly what we are all describing on this site. I just don’t understand how no one else can see what I see. especially since one of the friends he spends a great deal of time with is a counselor. I feel as though I am in a room filled with people we know screaming at the top of my lungs this is depression!!! and no one is paying any attention. I’m still seeing my counselor for the situation. she is trying to get me to see how destructive his behavior is to me. and that I deserve better then this kind of treatment. its so hard when you believe that they are sick and you want to help and support them but the illness itself prevents you from doing that. if this was cancer I would not turn my back on him. its so hard to watch all of your hopes and dreams as newlyweds completely fall apart and disappear : (

    • Dazed & confused says:

      Homesick- I can honestly say that I know exactly what you are going through. And it’s hurtful, and frustrating when you are the only one he is rejecting…and nobody else sees it, because he doesnt let them see it. My situation is the same as you are describing. However, I’ve come to learn that what they are projecting is textbook depressive behavior. Not that it makes it any less hurtful, I know. After ten months of the same turmoil, my husband is just now starting to come around….somewhat. I think the turning point for him was me moving out of town. I think (hope?) we are going to work on “us”….. But we have a long row to hoe…. he is still not the man I’ve known & loved for 14 yrs. All I can say is that there is hope, it takes time…and take care of yourself, so that when the dark cloud does lift, you will be healthy enough & strong enough to work on rebuilding your relationship. Don’t give up.

      • hoping says:

        Dazed, I to know exactly what you are going through i to feel like im the only one shes rejecting, and yeah no one see it, And it is text book but she doesn’t feel depressed..how she feels is real to her normal and i cant get past her apathy towards me. I haven’t done a dam thing wrong yet i cant get her to fight with me instead of against me. I have hope because i know her and she don’t know herself right now.

        Denise, when depressed they fake it till they make it hes not happy its fake but it keeps him going. Denial is a problem.

        Denial equals rejection, which leads to negative response. Denial equals disagreement, which leads to conflict. Denial equals denunciation, which leads to condemnation, criticism, accusing, reproof, and scolding. Denial equals to defiance, which leads to rebelliousness. Denial equals refusal, which promotes negative response.

        If you continue with the counterpart definitions of denial, soon you will see where many depressive symptoms creep into the mind.

    • Denise says:

      Homesick, It is depression he has you describe it textbook. He can mix with other people because he doesn’t feel the pressure that he feels with his family, the guilt for having failed and the anger that he has, they are very good at hiding it from people. I thought my husband had improved a little after seeing him in Aug but after a txt last week where he still blames every one else for his woes showed me that he is still in the same headspace he was 10 mths ago. I have decided to let him go, I am now myself on anti depressants something I never dreamed I would ever need, but they have cleared my head and helped me think straight. I also see it as you and think if he had cancer I would be supporting him, I will still support him, but not at the expense of mine or my families health, my daughter is having to see someone as she doesn’t think her Dad can love her as he doesn’t contact her either and she’s 26 with a family of her own. I went to Adelaide last week and saw his Mum as he has not told her a lot, she asked if he was depressed and he told her no, still denying it. I told her he was happy doing what hes doing and she told me he’s not it’s an act, she can see it in his face. It is hard and a daily struggle for us left behind, time is a healer and you will get to a point where you will need to make a decision what you want to do, tho don’t try to push it take your time, if your having constant stream of thoughts going on in your head as I was maybe its time to speak to your Dr you might just need a little help to control the constant chatter in your head and clear it so you can think straight. Keep up the communication let us know how you are doing, take care

    • Hoping says:

      When you’re depressed, you feel this complete and utter inability to be yourself, and it makes it ten times harder when you’re around loved ones; i.e., people who know the real “you.” Being with friends can sometimes be easier for them. They get to put on a show. They get to pretend that they aren’t depressed for a short amount of time. It can really hurt you to see this.

      My exgf can put on the same show..makes me feel crazy but i know the truth. Its easy for her to be with friends go out and have fun, they ask if shes okay she will say shes fine. They wont push any more, as they dont want to get involved. Ive tried to talk to afew of her friends BUT she acts so well, they think its something im making up to explain our out the blue break up. Even some of my own friends think its all in my head. Its hard.

      Depression has dampened everything down, placing the depressive in a near-soundproof room. They may be able to hear you, but their lack of reaction isn’t because they’re being spiteful and ignoring you; it’s due to depression smothering them with apathy.

      • Denise says:

        My husband has gone one step further and has completely cut himself off from his friends and has made a whole new set with people he doesn’t know from a bar of soap also who don’t know the real him only the shell and what he wants them to see, he thinks it’s what he wants because he feels no pressure with them and can say and do what he wants when he wants , but Iv been told by his mum he is not happy, his mum is the only person he still sees. I understand this is the depression but I have bad days where I really have to remind myself he’s depressed and so where deep down he does love his family but just doesn’t know how to at the moment

        • homesick says:

          Thank you for the responses to my post And the insight you offered. It’s helpful to hear other people’s thoughts. At the beginning when all of this started We went out with friends. When we got home I called him out on his behavior that night. I told him it was the grossest display of fake bullshit I had ever seen. he responded with I was having fun. I did not suspect depression at this time. last time we got together I told him that I believe he was depressed. I gave him the rundown of symptoms that he was displaying re down to the fact that he was saying exactly what the people describing their depression in the countless post that I have read were saying. I even got him to read one of the post that I felt best fit our situation. he told me he didn’t feel depressed. I asked him what he thought depressed people look like.mopy his feeling was that they ask such a broad questions to diagnose depression that anyone will be diagnosed depressed. one of the symptoms I pointed out to him was that for about a month before this all happened and from what he is saying he would wake up very early in the morning even on weekends. I made the mistake of pointing that out to him. he texted me last night I was asleep so I texted him back this morning he got back to me around 1-1:30 starting the text with how he had slept in that’s why he was responding so late. my counselor keeps asking if we are talking. after dealing with him and seeing the way he’s behaving up close and personal and reading the post above I just don’t know what talking is going to do at this moment. I wish I had an actual diagnosis to go off of. but I don’t and probably never will.
          know probably never will.

          fun.**

      • hoping says:

        So surprisingly i hear from my ex yesterday ,first time she has contacted me first in 4months..asking about my nephews bd and would i wish him a happy birthday from her, then mins later a second msg saying she couldn’t find me on fb to msg me. Well for at least two hours i was analyzing the fact she had even msg me. In shock, then one of our mutual friends msg me out the blue aint heard off her in months as i felt she picked her side and i wasn’t mine. To see how i was? random? No my ex got her to msg me to see if i would reply to her coz i haven’t replied to my exs msg yet. I cut contact over two months ago as me trying to help wasn’t, she didnt want to hear about depression..but i hear she misses us me and the family hopefully the apathy is fading but i dont want to get my hopes up…Slow steps from her and i dont want to put the pressure on her. Tho two weeks early she thanked me for a bd card i sent her even wrote (I still love you on it) little bits and little hope.

        • dazed & confused says:

          hoping- I hear the frustration and confusion in your post. Sounds like she is making some progress? Even though her behaviour seems erratic to you, and it is, it’s progress for her…. she is perhaps trying to see if you are still there for her. My husband did the same thing…back & forth, for months. I felt like a worm @ the end of the fishing line…cast me out, reel me in, and so on. It is not easy for depressed people to “feel” anything, so in my humble opinion, she is making progress. It may seem like a small thing to you & I, but to her, it’s HUGE. I know it’s difficult to not get your hopes up, but if your goal is to save your relationship, you have to remain (cautiously) optimistic. And the fact that she wrote that she still loves you on a birthday card, that alone speaks volumes. She still does love you, she just can’t feel it. It can be a long, slow process. Try not to analyze too much, take it as it comes, know when to back off and when to show support. There is hope. Stay strong.

          • hoping says:

            dazed & confused, sorry im the one who sent her bd card to her with i love you still on.
            But the acknowledgment is a first.
            I also am abit weary this could be the start of the push and pull dance? But ive got a cooler head on me now, think before i act.

        • Denise says:

          Hoping, so pleased to read your post, like you said, baby steps it may be two steps forward then one step back but it does sound promising, good luck nice to hear some positive news

          • hoping says:

            I dont think we can lose our loved ones to depression, we just lose ourself in our reactions. The love is there they just cant feel it coz there so sad.
            It is positive she even msg my mother to she aint done that in months they where close. She hurt her to turning on all of us.
            I just want her to be reasonable “without saying something feels off” “something has changed i dont know what” so ill blame you and leave you. Small steps.

  16. Stephanie says:

    I am currently going through this incredibly difficult situation. My husband of almost ten years is all over the place. I admit some fault with the past difficulties in our relationship. No one is perfect, we argued, said mean things out of fear, and put a band aid on it. This time is different. I have decided not to fight any longer. It takes to much out of me. I want to repair our relationship and be a friend to him.
    In my eyes he has been battling depression our whole relationship. He sleeps all day, irritable, body aches, and will not get help. His depression stems from his childhood. His mother abandoned him and was never there for him. Ironic that now he is doing that to his family. We have a 15 month old child who he just won’t help with. Within the last few months I was asking him for help with her and his response was to not do anything at all. I believe that is what tipped him over the edge. He now says he is leaving and does not care if he ever sleeps in our bed again. I understand he might have said this just to try and get a reaction out of me. Yes, it hurt quite a bit. Instead of verbally responding, I wrote a short note saying that what he said confused me and let it go. I was confused because a few days before he told me divorce was not an option and he loved me.
    My question is how do are you supposed to accept that your partner is leaving? He has no time frame, no separation rules (i.e dating other people, how to co-parent our child, etc.) We certainly cannot afford two households. I suggested moving our daughters bed into our room and allowing him his own space in her room. His response was “ten feet is not far enough away.” I do not think I can bounce back from his leaving.
    I am trying to be as supportive as I can. But we have a young child and he is leaving me with all the parental responsibility so he can “see what it is like to live on his own.” Yet he still wants me to be intimate with him. How can I give myself to someone who treats me this way? I do not want to lose him, but I cannot be treated this way. Our daughter cannot be treated this way.

    • susan says:

      This was exactly me five years ago. I had a 15 month old and a 3 year old. I felt helpless, hopeless, and all the advice I could find was ”this is his journey youhave to let him do it”.
      Five years on and can look back with some clarity and perspective and would offer this:
      - yes it’s his journey but the reality is that he is NOT thinking straight.
      - that means he simply isn’t ABLE to be a husband to your nor a father to your child
      - the more capable you appear as spouse/parent, the more incapable he feels – a vicious circle

      My FDH finally said he was leaving, that love ”wasn’t enough” and this life with wife and children ”wasn’t what he wanted”. It took 6 months of living in the same house, separated before I, yes me, finally had enough and moved out. It nearly crippled me financially and emotionally, but in fact, it was when I took that control back that he hit rock bottom – and slowly started to get well.

      Of course in an ideal world the depressed person will use their wife or husband as their main support person, but in reality that isn’t how it is.

      My suggestions:
      - look after YOU. If this situation is toxic for you and your child you have to get out. you just have to. I kept a suitcase of clothes in the car and would often just turn up at my parents house and stay the night. We never talked about it, but they knew something was wrong, and just were simply there, for me.
      - do everything you can to get him medical help – but if he won’t go, there’s literally nothing you can do – ultimatums don’t work at the best of times, and certainly not with someone in an irrational state of mind.
      - again…look after YOU. live each day, one day at a time. Be in the moment with your baby – she has no idea what is happening and needs to simply feel loved and cared for.
      Good luck

    • Elizabeth says:

      Stephanie,

      Please let me know how things are going. I know I must be twice your age but I think I could help you with your situation. I have the same thing going on just with an older husband. My husband slept in a closet for 6 months to get away from the household and I am not a terror to live with…he just wanted to sleep and retreat,

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