The Loss of Feeling in Depressed Partners

Disreality Illusion

Living with depressed partners can mean living without the feelings of love that are at the heart of every relationship. What is it about depression that could turn intimate companions into cold and blaming strangers?

Readers ask about this over and over as their partners start blaming them for their own unhappiness and want out of the relationship. How could the person they most loved and trusted suddenly turn on them?

After years of affection and intimacy, how could they suddenly declare that they don’t feel love, even worse, that they have never loved their partners at all?

One answer I’ve often given in the posts at Storied Mind is about the fantasy of escape. Depressed partners may refuse to face the inner pain that’s wrecking their lives. Rather than seek treatment, they want to blame the existing relationship as the cause of their collapse. They may come to believe that they will feel better if they can leave and find happiness elsewhere.

That answer comes out of my experience and seems to match what happens in many relationships once depression comes into them – though certainly not in all cases. The specific effects of depression will differ in every relationship, but this is the problem I hear about most often and the one I lived with.

What exactly is the inner pain that can’t be faced and dealt with? Reciting the usual list of depression symptoms and the effects they can have on everyday life only gets you so far. General lists don’t capture the experience.

Talking about “inner pain” suggests despair or other unbearable hurt that demands an explanation and must be escaped as quickly as possible. Since depression is a condition that can vary from day to day, that active side of pain can be the driving motive. But there is another dimension of depression that can lead to the idea of escape as the answer.

It’s the one that causes depressed partners to say they’re no longer in love and have never loved their partners. It’s called anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure or interest in anything.

For me, it was a kind of deadness. Rather than an excess of painful emotion, it was the lack of pain, the lack of feeling, that was the undercurrent of all the surface turmoil. I felt no satisfaction in life.

I believed that the relationship was holding me back, that it had become hollow, empty of the intensity I longed for. I was sure that I could only find happiness and passion with someone else. It was the fantasy of the perfectly passionate mate that was a constant lure.

I recently re-read a chapter in Peter Kramer’s insightful book, Should You Leave?, that captured this exactly.

As one of the dwindling number of psychiatrists who still practice psychotherapy, Kramer often works with clients who are dissatisfied with their relationships. They want to know if leaving is the best thing to do.

When he encounters someone who is convinced that the marriage is dead, he says that he always suspects depression or another mood disorder.

He can sense that the person before him could well have an undiagnosed depression that has emptied him of all feeling. Anhedonia is the cause of the desire to leave to find a new, more intense life. The depressed partner’s relationship feels loveless because he can hardly feel at all.

The problem is that the unaware depressive has such a high threshold of feeling that it takes extreme arousal to evoke excitement and passion. He can erupt with anger and rage because these are more violent emotions that stir him as little else does.

Kramer says that these clients often believe that they’re perfectly capable of feeling. After all, they can go out and have fun with friends. They can feel passionate with others who likely have no constraining relationships or might be seeking the same kind of escape.

But they feel good precisely because these experiences offer exceptionally high levels of stimulation. They may also turn to addictive habits like recreational drugs, drinking, gambling or pornography for the same reason.

Fantasies of escaping into a life full of new intensity seem like the perfect answer to their inner emptiness.

No single explanation covers the diversity and unique facts of every relationship threatened by depression. This one fits much of my experience and also fits many of the stories people write about on the blog and in emails.

Does it make sense in terms of your own experience? Have you lived through such a crisis or been close to someone who has?

(This is an edited version of a Storied Mind NewsLetter from 2011.)

67 Responses to “The Loss of Feeling in Depressed Partners”

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  1. Lisa B says:

    I fell in love with my bf but lost him when he came off anti depressants. I hold on to the hope that it’s withdrawal from the tablets that caused him to end a wonderful relationship and hope he comes back to me. However, 5 weeks have passed now and I’m losing hope. Anyone else had this happen. He said he was so happy now he had me in his life and that’s why he felt it was the right time to stop the tablets but then on day 6 of no meds he text to say I deserved somebody so much better than him and ended it. Wants to stay friends etc but avoids me. Do I just leave him be?? I’m gutted, he was wonderful but seems so cold and distant overnight

    • Carl says:

      Hey Lisa, Im sorry to hear your all to familiar story. Did he talk with his doctor about coming off his Anti Ds?. It sounds like hes slipped back into his D..and there you will be able to reach him. I lost my gf to a MDE over 10months ago i haven’t seen her since. In the darkness everything good is skewed and twisted depression lies to them. Its out of your control as it was out of mine..The only thing you can do is look after yourself. In this state they simply do not care about us and we have no power to effect that.

    • MM says:

      Yes. Waited a year. The whole year he said he didn’t want to lose me and was glad I loved him. Then he flipped when I said I had to have an answer or move on and I started getting bitter and being pushy. It ended with him taking away and denying everything he had said to me. He screamed in my face to let him go. He didn’t want me and I was the only one still thinking he could be the old him. This once quiet easy going man I dated for years said things to me when well he wouldn’t have said to his worst enemy. He then punched the floor until his hand broke.
      My advice is to leave him. Read these stories. Many of us had great relationships and I haven’t read one story where it ended happily.
      Save yourself. I wish I had.

    • Kiki says:

      Same thing happened to me Lisa, just over a year ago my boyfriend (now ex) decided to come off his medication because he didn’t feel like he really needed it, his doctor wasn’t his usual doctor and his family were worried about it too. I was naive and didn’t have a much of an understanding of depression at the time, I didn’t even think it would affect me. He came off cold turkey, his sex drive slowly diminished & he got distant, and he said it was due to where he was coming off his meds & nothing personal. In the space of a week he went from a loving happy boyfriend making future plans with me, to saying it was over, and to this day he still can’t really give me a reason. He just gives me different excuses but says its hard to explain. I could tell it was no coincidence and he says the breakup was nothing personal. It was hard to start with, as he was completely irrational, sad, angry, in despair about everything and the shock of him leaving blew me for six. But with time and effort, I have managed to eventually get through to him why he was so down, he doesn’t like to talk to me about any of it because it upsets him. So I’m trusting he’s getting better. I don’t think he likes me being involved in his problems. But I’ve stuck by him the whole time, only seeing him 3/4 times in the year. Sometimes he”ll want you and sometimes he won’t. My Ex says he finds me sexually attractive but doesn’t want the “relationship” it’s not you, it’s what you represent. I have said to him is not uncommon when he’s depressed to feel that way. I guess we”ll see, he’s coming out of it now slowly. It’s been a tough year, it’s nothing personal but sometimes it feels it, so confide in someone close as it’s good to express your own feelings and have support. My advice is read up as much as you can about the illness to help you both, always look after yourself, it’s very easy to get low about it, so keep doing all the things you would normally and socialise & vent when needed. It does get easier with time, I don’t see him much (although recently he’s been asking to see me so that’s got to be good!) but we keep in frequent contact by text. You have to be supportive from afar and let him have his space, but be there when he needs you. All the while looking after yourself. Honest communication is key. My ex told me just a week before we broke up how he thought I was such a great counterpart & how much he loves seeing me and wants to see me all the time. I’m sure it was coming off the meds that was the reason, he was under a lot of stress at the time too, your situation sounds very similar to me. I’d stick it out for a while and see, it could take a long time though. My ex went through a state of denial for quite a while after coming off of them. Supporting from afar is my best suggestion, use this time to work on yourself if you need to, reading books on depression or the internet is extremely comforting at times when you find yourself feeling lost and confused. You have to decide whether you think the relationship is worth waiting for or not. It comes down to how much you care about them really. But honestly my ex was exactly the same, he did avoid me for a bit but then begun to text me a month later. And has since been showing all sorts of behaviour, but there is improvement at last, I see glimmers of the man I dated in there. So I say give it some time and see what happens :) And decide how much it means to you :) Good luck!

      • Lisa B says:

        Thank you for your thoughts and experiences. I thought I would update you as last week a received a text asking if my ex could come over and chat (huge step as no contact for 6 weeks). Said same as what you put in your comment Kiki that he still finds me very attractive but can’t do a relationship. I can see a huge improvement in him but also that he still has a way to go and am hoping that he will be able to “do the relationship’ in time. I see it as a step in the right direction and am ok with just friends for now. Giving him plenty of space still and not texting him so we see what happens next. Keep strong fellow sufferers xx

    • Lisa B says:

      Thank you so much for your comments everyone. There has been a development, last week he text me and asked to come and see me then came round for an hour or two to chat. I can see a huge improvement in him but also that he still has some way to go. Said he still finds me very attractive but can’t do a relationship but wants me as a friend so so bad. Same as Kiki put in her message!I’m hoping this is one step closer to getting him back and will have to settle for that at the moment and hope as he gets better he can find the love he had for me again. I’m keeping my distance and not texting him, he knows where I am and how to contact me and then I know if he does it’s because he wants to and not because I’ve hounded him. It’s a small step for me but it must seem huge to him. Keep strong fellow sufferers xx

  2. NH says:

    Hi everyone. After reading all the posts on here I feel torn. Half of me is so relieved to know that I’m not alone in any of this.. and half of me feels hopeless and scared about the future.

    I’m 22 years old and my boyfriend (ex boyfriend?) is 31. I met him at my brothers wedding more than a year ago and we started dating this time last year. He lives in Dubai and I’m in London so he came to see me here once we admitted to be interested in each other. I’m from quite a conservative family where we don’t really ‘date’ but more so get to know someone and then after an appropriate amount of time, get engaged or married. It’s very normal for this to happen in mine and his culture and so we both knew there would be a certain degree of family involvement in our relationship. Everything was perfect last year- we had a wonderful time together in London and he quickly said he was falling in love with me. In August he came to meet my parents, and when we went on a date, he told me about struggling with Depression. I was surprised that he was dealing with mental health issues because he is a trained Child Psychotherapist and runs his own Play Therapy Clinic. Anyways, I said I understood and asked him what measures he’s made in getting better. He said that he was on psychotropic medication and saw his psychiatrist regularly (as well as trying to eat healthier, work out and maintain a social life).

    I started researching Depression online and reading blogs about partners of those dealing with Depression. Everything was fine. In September I went to meet his parents in Dubai and we all had a lovely time together. We had some trouble in our long distance relationship- what with the time difference and the fact that both of us are very physical people (as in we like to be around the person we are in love with- hugging, kissing and cuddling) and sometimes we would have communication breakdowns that took a couple days to recover. We saw each other n November 2013 when he came to London for my birthday. It was the best week of my life. We laughed, spent time with my family and his siblings and their kids. Anytime there was a misunderstanding of a sort we would both diffuse it within minutes by discussing it and apologising when required. We kissed, held hands and at night in bed we spoke about his depression. He told me about his struggle with bullying at a young age, and his use of drugs in University. I was so appreciative of him opening up to me and telling me how he felt like a burden and how fuzzy his mind was all the time. He slept in my arms and I felt so much love for him. He is just the kindest, most genuine man I know.

    After he left we suffered many more communication breakdowns in December 2013. He is really bad at keeping in touch over Whatsapp and text messaging, and in between he didn’t message for a couple days at a time. Given that we’re in a long distance relationship, I would try to not panic about his wellbeing and would try to keep myself from obsessing over whether he’s experiencing a major depressive episode. I understand that there is very little I can do all the way from London. Still, I tried to send him encouraging messages to let him know that I care and that I’m missing him.

    In January 2014, we wanted to meet in Dubai but we both knew that our parents wanted to get involved. As I mentioned, in South Asian culture, it’s frowned upon when two unmarried people are in contact for too long or have been ‘dating’. Thankfully, both our parents were educated in the UK and so have more of a liberal mindset. My visit to Dubai with my parents was fine. They all got along well and we decided that we wanted to move things forward. He said that his parents would call mine to sort out an engagement within the week. They didn’t. For the next two months, till the beginning of March, he kept putting it off. He would keep promising to commit to our relationship and then making an excuse of ‘having the flu’ or ‘being busy with work’. One day he admitted to not being able to provide any sort of commitment to this. We fought about it because I felt like I had been strung along.. when I initially said that I felt like I was too young to get married, both him and his mother convinced me that I was at the right age and that long engagements don’t work. I released a lot of anger and frustration on him and he would profusely apologise and say that he was ‘sorry for not being good enough’ or ‘sorry for being the source of my anguish’. Finally about 2 weeks ago, I told him I needed a break. I said that I understood that he couldn’t get married until he sorted himself out but that I needed some kind of commitment. My parent’s do not know about his illness and he asked me to never share it with anyone, which I am trying to respect. I just have no one to turn to.

    I told him that I thought it may be best for us to not contact each other. But I told him that when he is ready that he should contact me. He said that he would because deep down he hoped we would come together again one day and that I wouldn’t move on from this. He said he thinks I’ll make an amazing wife and mother and that those are two things he’d stake his life on. He just wants to ‘have some sort of internal and external control. To not be so fuzzy minded, in despair and thinking of the end.’ (Those are things he said in his last message to me). So now its been about a week since we spoke. I don’t know if I’m just being immature but I’m aching to talk to him. A part of me feels like what I’ve done is best for me, to perhaps give myself a chance to move on. What if he’s not ready for years? But a part of me feels like a selfish brat. I love him and I want to be there for him. Am I really letting go of that just because I can’t be patient? I don’t know what to do. I am constantly going back and forth in my head- yes I should give him his space and try to get on with my own life. I am only 22. – No, I should be patient and support him. He is trying to be certain that he can be a good partner and that’s why he can’t commit to me.

    What do you all think? It seems everyone has many more years of experience as partners of a depressive. It’s so hard to let go of this because he isn’t abusive in any manner. He is just quiet when he has no answers. He is sad. Never angry. He loves cuddling me. Says I make him laugh. But he also won’t commit to this.

    Thanks for taking the time to read. I’m looking forward to receiving some kind of light on the matter


    • MM says:

      You won’t want to hear this but run like the wind. I spent three years in this same situation. His words could be a mirror of my ex words to me. I was told that he didn’t want to lose me and he wanted me to hold on. He said for a year he would come talk to me. After space of a few weeks, sometimes less or more, and even a few encounters where we would run into one another and kiss and connect-he still never fully showed up. I was waiting on something that doesn’t exist. He’s too sick and his holding onto you with one finger is selfish and manipulative.
      I know…not this guy. Not us. I’ve been there
      Trust me, you’ll wait, worry, be pulled in and pushed back out and live in uncertainty about how the man you love truly feels about you. It ripped me apart and eventually I went from patient and loving to bitter and angry and feeling very foolish and unwanted.
      But he still to this day tells me he doesn’t want to lose me. At this point that statement is ludicrous. He does nothing about it-whether he’s able to or not–he for years did nada.
      Run. Run. Run. You’re young. He’s sick. Find someone who knows your value and doesn’t hold onto you until he’s well. I didn’t listen to this advice but wish I had. I loved him and we were amazing together. But depression kills everything unless he changes that. Only he can do it. And if you read all these sad stories and posts you won’t find happy endings for a reason.

  3. Aniko says:

    Hi ,
    My boyfriend since his childhood is hypochondriac, and he was diagnosed with anxiety, and maybe If i’m right, he takes antidepressant since 2 years.
    He only warned me about this fact, – that he takes these pills – when we were going out for 1-2 months. But he said, that he has control over himself, and he’s about tapering off! Slowly the act of the first few dates, i recognized, that he isn’t that strong guy he wants to look like. In fact.. he cried a lot, really a lot, and was extra-sensitive sometimes.
    In our relationship a special point is that we got fallen in love with each other after nearly breaking up for 3-4 times! These hard moments made us believe, we want the other one for good! In most cases i was the one who initiated the ‘we should keep on’-idea, and he was always glad to hear it from me, firstly he always acted like strong and unconvincable, but then cried of the relief, that we are keeping on. But it was always my mistake, at that time i couldn’t really trust him, and i showed him my true feelings only at the breakups. Then our relationship flourished, we were extremely happy with each other. He did everything to me every day he proved his love for me, i did it too.
    So we were going out for 15 months , and since one and a half week, we are finally over.
    Why? We two had hard times in our lives. In september, I’ve taken up a new 2-year-course while my university (i’m a student, 21 ; he’s 27, and working) ; and he’s also started one (but lasted for 2 months) while his work. Slowly we totally left our friends, and became best friends with each other. As December came by, i sometimes felt really bad about missing my friends, i often felt lonely while being at my boyfriend’s place. I nearly lived with him, he often begged me to move to him, but i did not want to because of my school. So he turned to be very sensitive and convinced, that i don’t love him anymore, and i don’t feel myself good with him. But it was only a winter-depression, a huge amount of stress i’ve had. And he thought that he’s not good enough. And as January came by, he got sick – and when he gets sick, he gets really anxious. He did not care about his antidepressants, and his other medications. And one weekend he increased his dose of antidepressant without asking his doctor ! At that time i did not know what i know now, that antidepressanst often have an influence on relationships. Whoever takes it can fall out of love in a day.
    And that’s exactly what has happened :( From day 1 to day 2, at first he proved he never want to let me go, he loves me the best in this world. Then next day he drives to me, and says he never loved me, he just acted like that, he does not want this relationship. Nobody, even his mother did not get it why did he say these things. (He lives in the same panel house with his mother, but not in the same flat, so she knew things). And what was strange, that when i spoke to him, i convinced him, that it is not true what he says! I told him we should keep on, and that i will help him in his hardships. And since January for 3 months that game was happening all the time. For a week we were fine, and WHENEVER i wasn’t smiling he came again with the sentence ‘Nono we should break up, i am not i love’.
    When he was normal, he often said to me, that i should slap him in the face when he turns crazy and say illogical things. No, i did not do that. I always said nice things to convince him from the past and for the future what would happen if we keep on.
    But it was humiliating for me. That he never really fought for me. And after a time, i got tired. When i got tired in the first few times, he begged me to keep on, because he needs me, he does not want to lose me ! but as February came by, whenever he saw me being tired, he always offered the wonderful idea of breaking up .
    On the 8th of march he turned crazy again because of me saying ‘you are so silent, why?’. We were planning a holiday week, and even our summer holiday. And he again said HE’S NOT IN LOVE, what should he say? He said even when he was looking like he’s in love, he was NOT! WHY DON’T I GET IT. And the next moment he brought me home, and aked for my keys. I didn’t want to convince him anymore. I left him without a word. He said he goes home to collect my things. After only ONE HOUR he called me on phone, and cried, that he can’t collect my things, he doesn’t want to leave me, he misses me, this relationship is the most precious in his life, we should meet up now. I said it’s not a good idea, so he offered a 2-week break. He even admitted that his antidepressants might be a reason for his bad months. Only a week was over the break, he called me cheerfully and said, that he’s fine (without me), so he collected my things and will get to me in 20 mins……………..
    When i came to the door while crying so loudly i saw that his face was red too of crying.
    He even wanted to hug me, but i ignored it. He said he’s sorry for the painful things he did, he wants to keep the contact if we both have moved on………
    NOT A WORD about ‘sorry i want to cure myself before the reconciliation’..
    I didn’t beg, didn’t say a word.. And since that day i followed the no contact rule, yesterday was an exception.
    He has never been that active on facebook.. he deleted ALL the pics of us (100 photos at least), he even went to his facebook wall and deleted everything what was connected to me.. he liked photos of girls he knows i was jeleous about, he posted a lot of blog posts, wanted to show me, show everyone, that he’s fine, and he is the most released person in the world. Nobody got this. Because nobody knew about his depression, only me and his mother.. He talks to noone about his feelings. I know he’s now having a psycho therapy – it was my suggestion during February..
    I didn’t do anything on my facebook. I disappeared for him for a week. We have NEVER spent a day without getting in contact with each other! So it was extra hard for me not getting in any contact. But i knew that he might feel terrible about letting me go. I knew he made himself believe that i was the reason for his illness, and he has to experience life without me.. And then i finally got a facebook message YESTERDAY. after only a week !
    The message however was not that positive. It was about feeling sorry about NOT GETTING IN CONTACT WITH ME, and DELETING of our pics, he had to do it because he felt awful when he looked at them… (Which is hilarious due to i did not show him any sadness about it) He wrote that he is totally sorry for causing me a lot of pain, it hurts him a lot. And that we should talk soon, as he wants to be friends, but not now, because it would harm the wounds…………. Also he said he knows my friends will take care of me, and admitted (again, like we had a conversation before…) that we had wonderful times together (then why did he break???).
    He also wrote that he WANTED TO HAVE A BETTER CLOSURE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP, but circumstances made it impossible…….. (like he was thinking of the closure for months, like he was never begging to keep on when i got tired of him…)
    Also he wrote, that if i want to talk, he’s absolutely fine with it, if it HELPS ME (to forget him?), so i should contact him, if i want to talk, because it’s a minimum after me helping him a lot……
    He also complained me how a strong woman i am, and how few people are there with such an ambition i have………….
    I freaked out. At first i thought it’s a sign for a REAL closure. But when i showed it to my mom, she bursted into loud laugh. She said HE IS TOTALLY MANIPULATING ME.
    He got used to me begging for keeping things on, but now i disappeared and he can’t get it.
    But he is not that brave to write ‘i miss you’, instead, he writes awfully hurtful things to freak me out, to get the phone to my hands and call him to meet.
    After an hour, i answered him only ‘thank you, have good evening you too’. I bet he was shocked when he got that answer :( It hurted, because i know he suffers, but at the same time it’s really annoying, that i can’t help, it’s HIS task to get well..
    What do you think, was my mom true? Is he really manipulating me?
    I am continuing the NC, and hope to have him saying ‘i want you back ‘, but i am not sure is it working with depressed people :(

  4. MM say something right link :) says:

    Sorry this one is right link

    A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something – YouTube

  5. gg says:

    Dear MM,
    Seems we’re on the same boat. I’m really sorry for all he’s done to you. I wish I could say something to help, but I just feel I can’t think straight right now; sometimes I just get so revolted! I’m on meds now, because couldn’t cope with the disappointment… it’s difficult to believe it all happened. I’m really trying to be positive, optimistic, but sometimes it’s just deep sadness and loneliness. I really wanted to know if they somehow realise how mean they became. Or do they just don’t give a s@#t anymore? You’re right, depression or not, it’s abuse!!

    Aanyway, remember that everything will pass, sooner or later; and you’ll find someone good to you, because that’s what you deserve. Try to keep busy with things that will give you some pleasure, take care of yourself… that’s what I’m trying hard to do: positive thinking, get some serenity, peace… And I’m trying not to think about him, because it just makes me angry to remember I gave him everything, my heart and soul, money and time, and just before he dumped me, he said he’s going on a trip with friends…. So I think “Is he depressed? Bipolar? Just a mean person?” But it’s so exhausting I don’t want to think about that no more.

    Let’s just try to take care of ourselves and carry on somehow. Deep in my heart I feel we (all the loving people that cared so much for their partners but suffered such a disappointment) are going to be ok, we deserve to be loved and at peace. Just a bit of hope about better days… Like Cabiria’s smile at the final scene of Nights of Cabiria….

    • gg says:

      “A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.”
      Charles M. Schulz

    • T.J. says:

      Thank You gg!!!

      That was a beautiful post and just what I (and I’m sure others) really needed to hear!!!

      Everyone have a wonderful and blessed week and thank you for sharing. This sharing that we can do is so valuable and precious!!!

      Take care everyone!!!

  6. MM says:

    Carl, Sarah and TJ…thank you all for being so open and sharing your stories. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.


    • T.J. says:

      Carl, Sarah and MM,

      Thank you all so very much for your responses!!! Reading them fills me with such a sense of comfort and relief.

      I’m sitting here after a long day of work with my eyes filled with tears because despite having good friends and a wonderful therapist to help me though this, nothing has compared to hearing the stories of others that are so very similar to my own.

      What Sarah said specifically about going crazy with the question of “Why?” and wanting to read and find out all there is to know about depression as a sort of way to get some closure…I am so going through this right now. Also what she said about “reality” and questioning our own judgement about people is so true for me.

      I’m somewhat afraid to date anyone else actually because I feel that in a sense I was very deceived by my ex and I fear that the next person I date will deceive me as well and turn out to be something entirely different than the person he could initially present himself to be.

      I’m sure we all consider ourselves quite intelligent and intuitive people so did we miss some “sign” that this was about to occur in our previous partners?

      I think the reason that I need the “why” so badly is because it would help with my pain. If I could blame his desertion of me on depression rather than thinking he could just turn his back on me without it then it would make me feel better somehow. If I’m truly honest with myself, despite the fact that I have no desire to be with him (as he is now) again, I would give anything to be with the person I met. So perhaps knowing that he doesn’t love me anymore is easier to take when I think he feels this only because of the depression. Otherwise it’s just too painful for me to bear.

      Again, thank you all and bless you all! I look forward to communicating more!

      • MM says:

        Carl, GG, and All,

        Carl I saw your reply. You’re handling her reaching out well. Don’t grab it. Just sit back and see. Damn hard to not be hopeful though, isnt it?

        I’ve explained to others how hard it has been to detach from my DP -it’s been nearly 11 months since he left. It’s only because I love him that it’s been hard. The depression factor made it much harder to walk away from than if it was a breakup for other reasons Ie he found someone new or we drifted apart etc. A break up w a DP is very different since often the illness not the relationship caused the break up. Or at least that’s what we hope for and we hope for a return from that person we used to know. It’s unlike a normal break up. I held on. For a long long time.

        Well I started dating someone a month ago. He is good to me. Attentive. Caring. But I’ve told him if my DP returns I may support him. I’ve explained I’m in a bad spot. I have to be honest with this innocent third party. And I’m trying to move on.

        I think about my DP still and even feel guilty after a great fun date or a nice kiss. I also still feel deeply connected to my DP.

        I called my dP on Sunday. I heard some hopeful things. I was very special he said in a half grunt but he did admit it. He missed me. He was making strides with cognitive behavior therapy. Things i have encouraged for a year. Part of me was angry I wasn’t included. He said he was holding onto me and wanted to talk soon. The conversation then led into me seeing someone. I was honest. He was silent. Said he didn’t know what to say. I said I had to hold on or get on with my life because the UNCERTAINTY I could no longer take. He saw that as pressure. A trap. But it’s not. I had told him months ago I had to move on. I hate that I’ve become a source of anxiety to him. I get why (it’s the depression) but I’m not sure what he thinks I’m holding onto after a near year. Half the time I’m not sure he even thinks of me. Weeks go by and I always contact him first. Sometimes he missed me. Sometimes I got rage. I had to move on and yet I’ve still held into hope for his return. The things he said Sunday showed some improvement but honestly I’m at a breaking point. My time has run out. In short the conversation turned to a fight of sorts sadly. I explained to him he was worth fighting for. My hero still. That he was irreplaceable but I could no longer have faith in something I don’t know exists. He responded with anger and some expression of needs and missing me etc. Messy. Confusing.

        My new guy is now asking after a month of dating and three months prior to that of pursuing me, if I will commit to him.hes funny. Nice. Fun. But he’s not my DP. And I’m torn.

        What a mess. I decided I am not doing a thing for now. I’m usually proactive but I’m going to sit back and watch it unfold. I learned from compra deepak meditation to hold onto something tightly kills the life in it.

        My DP said a song reminded him of me. I highly suggest you all listen to it seems his ten year old daughter loves it so he’s subject to it often. I had asked him if he had heard it when I heard it for the first time the other day. He said yes, a lot, it made him think of me. It’s heartbreaking.

        Say something by great big world.

        I wish you all well. Hang in there. I’m amazed at how a group of strangers has become my main support with this situation. Truly a blessing though.


        • Carl says:

          So someone i know see my Dex last week…she is heavily pregnant (which i knew) just didn’t know how far gone she was. So its likely it was weeks to a month after we split it happened. How can you kick someone so hard in the face like that? She told me she wanted to be alone that she didn’t want kids right now, she was a mess and needed to sort her head out. Granted she may have been court out..But still be honest with me oh wait she cant…letter after letter ignore she knew how i felt…yet she couldn’t give me a release. And what shes pregnant with some losers kid who will likely leave her like he did his last one…and yet shes spying on me on twitter it baffles me.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi everyone. Thanks for all your responses, it means a lot. Today was a really bad day for me…I think I am coming out of shock, and the reality is beginning to set in. I have searched everywhere, and so far I have not found anybody who left their partner because they were suffering from depression, but then miraculously realised their mistake and returned! What sort of fantasy am I living in!? I am beginning to believe this is more my problem than his. I simply cant come to terms with the end of my relationship. We were together half my life. I cant seem to separate my life from our life. I read that the second stage of grieving is anger, and I just cant find it in my heart …for everything else around me, yes, I get furious with inanimate objects(!), traffic and myself…but him, no. And maybe this is why we are stuck? I have this narrative in my mind that says he is suffering, he is not himself, and that makes it impossible to really be angry…he never behaved badly, weirdly yes, (not himself, withdrawn, even a bit loopy) but he has never stepped over that line. Who can get angry with a sick person? So then I come full circle back to where I started…is depression really an excuse, not for him, but for me. Am I just desperately clinging to this because the alternative is unthinkable. All those lovely things people say, like take care of yourself, get on with your life, seem like a distant dream, or maybe a joke! Every inch of my life as I knew it has gone. I guess we have to begin again? I sincerely hope you are all having a much better day!

      • Catherine says:

        Sarah, your post is as though you have written my thoughts. Everyone’s contributions help me immensely. And have done since I first discovered this site. It’s a year now since my depressed ex boyfriend left, vanished. I’ve not heard a thing. I feel trapped in a vicious circle of letting go, when a small part of me doesn’t want to. I’m holding onto hope. . A hope that I have no sign of. Im tired of this, it wears me out sometimes. Ive lost friends and heard my family give useless advice and unwanted comments. I agree, there are good days and worse days. I’m back seeing my counsellor which helps. But I’m starting to feel pathetic, why can’t I get over this, move on. Why am I stuck, still hoping. Desperate for the person I knew to return. For him to be the person he was and not the total plonker he became overnight. I share all your thoughts and worries.

  7. Sarah says:

    My depressed partner left just over a month ago after what I thought was 17 happy years together. I have spent endless hours researching, trying to understand, and even accept what has happened. Seeing my situation echoed in what is happening to others. For me, depression MIGHT be the underlying problem, the “reason” he left, but it can no longer be an excuse. I think maybe I have been so shattered by the suddenness of what happened, the coldness, the change in character in my partner, that depression has become a crutch for me. An explanation that makes what has happened easier to accept. Neat and tidy. But worse, I think I clung to depression, because it gave me hope. It’s such a horrible thought, to hope that it is depression that “made” him leave, because maybe then he will come back. He will return to himself, and to me. How can I hope that the man I love is suffering such an ordeal? I think, as partners of DP, we have to stop seeing our partners as victims and ourselves as rescuers. It’s so easy to slowly find yourself in the role of career. Don’t get me wrong, I love this man and would never, ever, have left him no matter how bad it got. But in the end, he left me. I have to face this, not hide behind depression, because by the act of hoping I cannot mourn the loss of my partner. I cannot move on. He has made the decision to leave. To hold onto depression is to stay in the torturous limbo of wondering if he is OK, of what I did wrong, of what went wrong between us…did he leave because he had to, or because he wanted to? In the end, he has not let me help, he has gone it alone. As somebody said to me, we cant go around this pain by hoping, we have to go through the pain to reclaim our lives. I am not sure even now if I will ever be able to accept what has happened, it will be the hardest thing I will ever do.

    • mm says:

      Wow. You are way ahead of that realization that the clinging onto hope often can leave you helpless. To move on. To forget. To make him, not just the depression, responsible. To heal.
      It’s a vicious cycle. The things you are realizing at one month took me a year to figure out and honestly I wouldn’t be here typing this if I still didn’t cling onto that painful hope that I still have left. However it fades daily.
      I was thinking just today that honestly it’s like dealing with the death of my DP. The man I knew is gone. Way gone. And this new man, so belligerent and cold and distant and filled with unjustifiable and misdirected rage, isn’t a man I would’ve ever fallen in love with or wanted as my partner. My man, the one who I never heard curse in two years, the one who laughed constantly and got along well with everyone, the man who cared about his life and mine,well despite my battle and his, that man is gone.
      When I look at it this way, that the man I knew is dead and not returning, it makes it easier to let go of the hope. I found over 10 months since he left that the hope is a painful claw clutching to me and not allowing me to accept the reality that he is gone. He deserted me and he is gone forever.
      He held onto me for months with small things. Saying he missed me. He needed me. Chance meetings where we would run into one another and he’d kiss me. Looking back he was so selfish to hold onto me and still not really hold onto me. He’d go crazy on me if I asked how he felt about us and then disappear for weeks. Shew. What crap I put up with. Why? Because I knew this wasn’t him. However I didn’t realize it is the new him. Sadly. Only he can fix it and if he won’t let me be his friend when his mind is in despair and if he doesn’t trust my intentions after our solid history together then having hope is self destructive. Three weeks ago I told him after his millionth request to have a few weeks of separation to get his head straight (he’s been saying this since July and left last April) that this cycle wasn’t going to change and I was moving on. Yep. Took me that long. I believed in him and in us. Depression has won. And I’m not sure he is even well enough to fight it and care for himself. Actually I know he isn’t or he would have done more for himself than he has. He has accepted this state of being and lives in, as he explained to me, robotic mode. Dress. Eat. Work. Sleep. That’s all he can do. And he won’t let me help him or gently encourage him to seek different treatment. I even at one point sent him deepak meditation mp3. He never even looked at them. This place is horrible. When you know they can’t help themselves and they see you as an enemy , a pressure they can’t handle rather than allowing you to support them and discreetly direct them to do something!!!! It’s maddening.
      I haven’t heard from him in three weeks. I asked him one last time to let me in or to let me really go. That this holding onto me without holding on would no longer be an option. I said I’d love him through it if he’d just allow me to.
      His silence in responding is deafening. Big surprise. He picked the latter of the two.
      If I could I’d kick depression in the ass. It ruined our very happy relationship and possible future. Not just for me but also for our children. Some days I can’t imagine not growing old with him and then I have to remind myself that he is “dead.”

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks so much for replying mm. It is great to hear from somebody who knows this feeling…if you have not actually experienced it, it is impossible to explain. I have tried, and sometimes hearing myself through the ears of somebody else, I sound mad! I can see them thinking, get over it, he just does not love you anymore, move on, you are in denial. Maybe I am? But every part of me feels like somewhere in there he loves me. It is one thing knowing in my mind that I have to let go, but knowing it in my heart is another thing entirely. Listening to you is like hearing myself. How can somebody change that much? How can your whole life, your entire future, just dissolve in front of your eyes like that, and be totally powerless. And what’s even harder is that they seem to recognise the change, but somehow they are themselves powerless in the face of it. He has given up everything in his life too, he just goes to work and back to a rented flat. It seems to be all he can do too. It is absolutely heart breaking. I miss him every moment of my day. I do feel like I am mourning his death, but then I know he is out there, just out of reach. He would say things like we should get married or break up. How can you hold those two thoughts in your mind at once? A part of me will never let him go, but the hope is impossible to live with. I cant imagine what it must be like for you to go through this with kids too. My thoughts are with you mm. This is a long journey…and a lonely one.

        • mm says:

          Oh I know that lecture. I got it from friends for 10 months. At first they were sympathetic to him, our situation, the depression. . . but eventually they saw me still being loyal, taking care of him, and not getting any return. My needs vanished and his depression took the driver’s seat. They saw me hurt, cry and worry. Eventually they stopped supporting me supporting him. And then I knew, they were right. As my best friend said, who lucky me is also a therapist for couples, that I was doing the right things at first–contacting him every week or so, sending encouraging notes, and even meeting him for quick meetings to give him things like a box I made once with a ton of slips of paper in it reminding him of who HE was–ie: you are the man who packs your daughter notes in her lunch, you are the man who reads the Bible every night, you are a man who enjoys music and the sound of drums, and so on. When I gave this to him , he cried. So I held on. I kept this up for 10 months!!!! Now ten months later , she has told me to leave him. That’s it’s the only way I wont get depressed myself. She said there is nothing I can do. She told me that I was damaged deeply–and I am. I finally am resolved with the fact that I have to move on. She said, “You are being loyal to something, someone who doesn’t exist until HE does something to change that. If you walk away, and he lets you, this time, keep walking.”
          So I did. I’ve been walking for three weeks. Today was a bad day. The worst one I have had yet. For some reason I miss him a lot today and it’s combined with a great big helping of guilt (what did I not do? what did I do wrong? how can I date again?) , pain (why doesn’t he love me? what a loss of a great relationship and future?…) and anger (how could he do this to me and us? why did he hold onto me for so long to just vanish? why am I not worth it too?)…and the combination of these three feelings is an internal emotional battle field.
          I am so sorry you are going through this. I completely empathize with the things you say he says such as “we should marry or break up”–what confusion. For ten months I got, “I don’t want to lose you. I miss you. I want you to love me but I need more time to get my head straight.” I heard this over, and over, and over. Even if I was away for three weeks, when I would resurface I never knew what I was going to face–anger and perhaps guilt he was feeling or a guy who missed me and was “glad for me.” He’s called me an angel for standing by him and a fucking bitch in the same conversation several times–within five minutes of one another. . . and all I did to provoke that change, was ask him how he felt about me. . . . There were even times when he would mock me when I would cry. Literally mock me. This same man for years never even cussed in traffic. Never lost his cool. Never said a mean word to me–ever. Who opened my door EVERY time we traveled…even to a gas station!!!He was gentle, and soft, and kind. In the end when the verbal abuse started–and would flop back to “I need you. I want you” and then back to verbal insults during fits of rage…it became to much for ANYONE to stomach. I had no choice but to leave. I wish I had left a long time ago honestly. This really put an emotional toll on me, tested my feelings of self worth and in the end taught me to regain my dignity and know when to walk. I did EVERYTHING I could..everything. I have peace in that. I just some days can’t believe that he doesn’t love me to not at the very least tell me and hold on. I would have loved him through it–I wasn’t just in this for the good…
          I feel for you in all ways. It’s lonely and a loss for all parties involved. Try to stay busy. That’s my best advice. And if I could do it all over again, I would have walked much much much sooner. It would have saved me a ton of heartbreak if I had given up a long time ago. I just loved him so much, I am not sure I could have. Just remember it isn’t you or even your relationship–his actions are depression talking. Do your best to not internalize it all. And do your best to not analyze it either–it’s not going to make sense–your partner isn’t acting in a rational state of mind or being. . . why bother analyzing it?
          Try to do something you enjoy today. : ) Take care of yourself.

        • Carl says:

          Sarah MM. You say so much so i don’t have to say anything its all there in your posts…i know how you feel. I lost her 8months ago still miss her..shes carrying on untreated i did all i could to help her see. I know what its like to wake up and wonder where did my life go? And ive had the same problems with friends they don’t get it. But ive always found this quote sad but true.

          “Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair.”

      • T.J. says:

        I just want to deeply thank all of you for sharing your experiences and thoughts here! It is such a great relief and such a great comfort to know that there are others like me out there!!!

        I was dumped for another woman by my depressed boyfriend back in April and though I have moved away and moved on there are times when it all just seems like this nightmare that I still can’t believe happened to me. I am still deeply damaged by the whole experience and the experiences I read on here so mirror my own. As Sarah so nicely put it, “This is a long journey and a lonely one.” I feel sometimes, like someone else here mentioned, that I too am suffering from some sort of PTSD.

        I go through fits of anger that are so strong I am sometimes afraid of the amount of rage that still exists in me but then I cry when I remember what a wonderful, loving, kind man I thought he was before the depression hit him and how happy we were together. I remember all the plans we had for the future and our 3 hour long phone conversations. He was the only man in my life that I was one hundred percent sure I was meant to be with. As Sarah said, “How can your whole life/future just dissolve in front of your eyes like that…?”

        Though I too know that the person I fell in love with doesn’t exist anymore it still hurts me and I too just wonder WHY? Why, Why, Why did this have to happen?

        Again, thank you so much everyone for sharing. This site is a great resource for all of us in dealing with our hurt and pain.

        • Sarah says:

          Wow, it is wonderful to find you all, I am so touched that you have taken the time to post on here. There is so much out there in the way of support and understanding for the person suffering with depression, but not much for the partners who go through a living hell too. That sadness is our reality too, and just as painful to us as depression is to them, because it has impacted, and devastated our lives too. Just because we experience it in a different way, does not mean that it is not as real, or as deeply felt, a journey. Carl, thank you, I have read Noon Day Demon too, it is a brilliant book, and I am about to read it again. I would recommend it to everyone here. TJ, it is those questions, why, why, why, that circle in my mind, until I think I am going to go crazy, and the thing is, will we ever know? In order to move on, I feel like I have to understand, to have answers, but no matter how much I read I am never satisfied. Depression is such a slippery thing, just as you seem to grasp it, it eludes you. You are sitting talking to your person, then suddenly there is a shift, and they are not there, they look like them, they act like them, but they are like an illusion. Then you wonder, is this all in my mind, or is this real? Is it me that is going mad? Was it all ever real, or did I make up this person in my own mind and live a delusion? Gradually the other half of you has become a husk, a shadow, that you cant hold onto. It is hard to be strong in the face of such an erosion of your own reality. It feels like my whole life, everything I felt certain about at the very core of my life, as become unreal…so what do you move on with? What was real? What is real now? How do we ever trust our instincts again? Thinking of you all.

          • Carl says:

            Once again you have said it all. Don’t try to understand why they act the way they do, we have no idea whats going on in there heads. You will get no answers and no closure from this..they have no answers for themselves let alone us.
            I to feel like where is the person i spent 6 years with? where did she go? How is it that she can decide the fate of our future together on the premises of “something just feels off” “i don’t have it in me to try” Weeks later she started with another man they will avoid feeling jump into things fast they need somthing to break there fall. Seemly turn against us….There is a great site depression fallout its great support Both of you are welcome even just to vent to be around people who understand.

            Part of fallout is the criticism. It can wear to the point you ask yourself if you’re missing some horrible character flaw everyone else can see.

            Don’t do this. Realize you’re dealing with someone that is dealing with an illness that makes their life miserable. Their misery is reflected in their interactions and it’s rarely good for those closest.

            So, remember it wasn’t a terrible person that sought answers by visiting this site. You did so because you wanted answers and it was a selfless effort to help another. That’s a good thing and honors those you’re trying to help. “

          • gg says:

            Sarah, MM, Carl, TJ… Thank you all again. It’s sad, obviously, but so comforting to read all those testimonials. It’s a big relief at times of terrible dispair. John, you don’t imagine how this space is blessed; it saved my life many times, thank you.

            Well, finally I got dumped by my depressed boyfriend. As I already said here, that caring, affectionate, wonderful man turned, overnight, into a cold, selfish, careless and distant stranger… you all know this story very well, it’s always the same.

            I’m hurt. As some of you said, we know ít’s the depression talking/ acting, but it cannot be a crutch, an excuse for everything. A few months ago we were making plans of moving together, he was really excited (it was his idea), even told me we should get married and that he would be looking for houses so he would be the luckiest man on earth if I became his partner. He asked me where in the world I wanted to live, said he was willing to go anywhere to be with me; we were happy. A few weeks later (2 weeks, I guess) he started getting cold and I said I missed him and asked when we would meet again (we lived in different cities), his answer was: “I cannot go to see you because I’ll probably spend all my saving on a house I’m visiting and I’ll probably buy today”. ….. After that I offered to pay for him to visit me (even if he has 100 times more money than me), no answer.

            Once, out of the blue, he told me “you’re my wife; we should name our first child after your (deceased) brother. That made me feel really emotional, but on the other day, when I brought the subject up, he just said “I don’t want to talk about children” (!).

            Once I was at his house and got really ill, couldn’t barely stand on my feet. He just left me on the bed and went playing “candy crush” for hours at the living room.

            Didn’t give me anything for my birthday (I wouldn’t want anything fancy, expensive, just something to show affection – a card, a single flower would do).

            After all of this, I asked if he wanted to break up and he said no (he was still saying that loved me and wanted to persevere), so we carried on..

            Finally, I had a miscarriage and his reaction was a send a sms saying “I’m sorry you had to go through this alone”, and nothing more. Not even a hug, nice words, nothing. He even got upset when I complaint about his behavior…

            So after all this he finally started showing that he wanted to break up, didn’t even waited for me to stop bleeding.

            Oh boy…. I’ve been relieved, angry, deeply sad, feeling betrayed, depressed… sometimes I hate myself for still loving him.

          • Mm says:

            I’m still here unfortunately. Your story is so similar to mine it hurts. Mine came back for a few weeks in December and then shut me back out. That means I’ve had him for two weeks out if ten months in my daily life. I am tired of accepting so little. The longer he’s gone, the more I disconnect. He’s now gotten rage full. I don’t recognize him he’s so mean. :( He said the worst things to me in our last conversation. He talked to me like a dog. That I just can’t stomach and I don’t understand it. Depression or not. It’s abuse. :( it’s left me empty and questioning everything.

          • Carl says:

            Hey, Guys i see you all are not doing so well..i have my days myself..nearly 9months into this..its so hard to forget what you once new that person you love that you just havent see. Oddly the last two weeks my Dex has been indirectly reaching out with odd behavior on twitter Favorited afew of my tweets one was “forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me ” then she will follow me unfollow me..i dont know what to make of it all..shes obviously thinking about me spying in me, yet shes scared to say something..maybe shes starting to see what shes done ? maybe shes getting some feeling back? I could go on forever i dont know what to expect. But im alot stronger than i was just wish i knew what was going on.

  8. Sarah says:

    Dear John,
    Firstly I want to thank you so much for this wonderful resource. It is a great comfort, and place to learn more from the perspective of a depressed person, which is hard to find. I wonder if you might be able to give me some insight? My partner of 17 years left around a month ago. We have been together since we were 18. He also left exactly a year ago after a long period of stress….and unhappiness. It took us both a long time to realise he was suffering from depression. (He has a family history of serious depression.) He came back a week latter is such distress, saying that he had to leave because he felt he was going to explode, that he loved me and always would, but he needed to heal. I understood entirely…he got help in the form of medication and weekly CBT. We decided to sell our house and move closer to his work to relieve some of the stress…found a lovely new house and even made an offer on it. Then three days before Christmas he drove home in the middle of the day leaving work in an extremely un characteristic dramatic way, to say it was over. He could not really give me a reason, just that it is not working anymore. I am in such shock, because I thought he was out of the worst. I noticed him withdrawing, but not in any serious way. My question is this…how do I tell if it is really over or of this is depression, again? I have not heard from him, but know that he is not seeing anybody else, but he is going to work as usual.The thing is, I feel like I cant mourn and get on with my life because he came back last time. I cant understand what happened…why did he not take me to see the therapist if he thought there was a problem in the relationship, would that not be standard? I love him deeply, and swing from feeling deeply concerned about his mental state and wanting desperately to contact him and support him…to deciding he has made a decision, and I have to face it. What is the difference between a break up based on a real decisions and one based on depressive thinking? Surely this year of medication and CBT has helped…maybe that could even be what has lead him to this conclusion about our relationship? Maybe it was our relationship that made him depressed? I thought we were very happy, and dealing with the fallout of the break in trust from the last time. He has never expressed any problems but that does not mean he did not feel any? But then why come back to me last time and say it had nothing to do with me, and even make an offer on a house together? I am stuck in this cycle of thinking and cant come to terms with what has happened. After 17 years of talking everyday, he has not contacted me for almost a month. Any thoughts would really help. I have tried going to therapy, but the person was very unsympathetic to him, and said that depression would not make you act like this. Could that be true? He is a very good person, has never cheated, never said an unkind thing, but the joy has gone out of his life. I know he is just sitting at his flat alone…could this make him feel more in control of his life? More able to heal? I know he is not happy, but that does not mean that this is not a rational decision, does it? What do I do? Thanks again, it is so important to have a resource like this. You are a great inspiration.

  9. jenna says:

    My husband of 21 years has just walkout out on monday of this week; leaving behind 2 girls (12 and 15). He has been depressed for many months following the suicide of a close friend, from then it just went down hill, his business failed and he had to change jobs. During this past year I myself have suffered serious health issues; leading up to surgery to fix a spinal cord compression; i have also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I have always stood beside him and tried to support him. He has asked me before thanksgiving to just up and move away from anything; i told him yes i would do that if that’s what we needed to do to move forward. I had surgery right before christmas and the recovery has been difficult. He was there for it all; showering me, shaving my legs, cooking foods i liked and just being very caring. I was so happy to see this show of emotion that it truly made me believe that we could overcome all those issues in the past. Around the begining of January I started to notice a quiteness and sadness come over him; i’d ask if he’d like to talk or if i could help in some way…..he took off for a whole week; he went to work and was living in his truck but was telling friends that he was going to take his life. After friends of ours reached out and got him to come back; he told me that he just doesn’t know what to do, I asked him to go for help to which he agreed. I printed out a list of therapist and said that he had to do this for himself. 4 days later he took off again; no one could find him, i had to file a missing persons report; which they found him and asked him to return to the home residence to confirm that he was not a harm to himself. He refused any type of treatment; he came in the house and just said i can’t do this anymore…..packed his clothes and walked out…..i feel lost, i’m still trying to heal from surgery and i am home bound do to the surgery……I just don’t understand how I am to just let go…I’ve been with this man for 20+ years and yes we have had ups and downs but nothing this traumatic for me and my girls…i’m beyond hurt, scared and not sure what to do…I know me and my girls need some type of therapy but how are we to move forward with a reason of I can’t do this? He has texted me and asked if i needed anything, and that he would send the girls some money…but when I ask if he’s ok…no response……if i ask if we can talk no answer…….I’m at a loss……

  10. Michelle says:

    This describes my husband right now. He just recently told me that he’s unhappy, but doesn’t know why. He also said he has never loved me….in almost 13 years of marriage. I am determined that this is his internal struggle. These blogs have opened my eyes to what I’ve known for years. Unfortunately, he is refusing professional help. Maybe someone can get through to him, but it isn’t me.

  11. Bo says:

    This article describes exactly what happened in my relationship.
    My husband of 28 years left home two months ago. Although I feel deeply hurt by what he did and said on me I have been trying not taking it personal. I remind myself all the time that this is a mental health issue instead of a relationship issue.
    My husband started taking antidepressant six weeks ago and I can see he is less depressed now. Although he still hasn’t moved back home he never stopped coming back to do work around our house whenever he has time. I really feel like showing this article to him to let him see our relationship from another angle. Can John or any other one here tell me when the right time is to introduce the article to him?

  12. Carl says:

    Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair.

  13. gg says:

    (M, If you don’t mind, I’d like to know how long have you been in this situation)

    • M says:

      We dated for a few years. His depression started last December. By April he left me. I held on for quite some time. But now I have to put myself first.

  14. gg says:

    Dear M,

    Your story sounds just like mine, you sound exactly like me… I’m happy to know you’ve made a decision.

    My best wishes for you. Have a great new year, full of love and happiness – you deserve it.

  15. Ben says:

    Are you the one in a relationship with a depressive? I am. I have done this twice. The 2nd time, going into it with “eyes open.” Actually, the woman is bipolar with many other issues. Although she has been under care for years, she is treatment resistant. Most of the time she is depressed. I thought, optimistically, that by showing her love and attention I could help her. For the most part, no. The sad truth is that there are some people that just can’t be helped (or at least to where they can function in a healthy relationship; in GF’s case, even though depressive, she is far better off than some of her worst manic/drug abuse periods.) Sure, if you love someone, work on them getting help. Some can be helped. Some can’t. If you are the partner suffering from Depression Fallout, there comes a time to admit defeat and get out of a bad relationship. In my own case, there is nothing I can do and anything I try simply backfires on me. It is time to admit defeat, get out of a bad situation, clean up the damage as best I can, and move on.

    • M says:

      True. Sad but true. My New Years resolution is to move on. My partner left me in April. I used to be active on this board all summer. I tried everything it save us from the darkness he was enduring. I tried to be supportive. Eventually I grew depressed myself and bitter and deeply saddened by watching him change and loss himself to depression. Now nine months later, I see glimpses of him but the darkness looms. He won’t let me in. Still. Without that I can’t be empathetic to him and his dark struggle. This sounds selfish but there is no payback. It’s one sided. I need to be happy and feel loved. I too need support. I need to feel wanted rather than an annoying gnat expecting him to continue the fight. It’s become too much. Too hard. I’m ready to let go. When the hope is gone, only a miracle in him could renew our situation. And that seems as likely to happen as snow in July.
      2014 is going to be happy. He can join me or let go. Either way I’m not living this way for a man who doesn’t even seem to want me around, rejects me, is “mad” and not willing to even discuss his condition. He seems to struggle between holding onto me and letting go with defeat. Often I feel he is angry at me for not giving up on him. But I feel like when I do, it will make him believe what he’s felt all along that he is not worth loving. What a terrible position I am in. I want out. I’ve lost hope and feel guilt on top of worry on top of anger on top of sadness. There are no changes in my prediction. I can no longer put my soul into someone who fights me for being here. What a shame. He was once kind and gentle. We were once very wonderful together. Sadly I think it’s a permanent memory. Losing him and enduring this has been one of the worst and most painful experienced in my 38 years of living.

      • gg says:

        Dear M and Ben,

        I’m here to thank you. Your testimonials helped me a lot, and I’ve made a decision: to move on. Never thought I’d say that, but I feel peaceful and serene with this resolution. I’m gonna be happy. The man I once knew is not there anymore, he’s gone. I gave him my best efforts, but I’ve had enough.

        Again, thank you very much. All the best.

        • Ben says:

          April 17, 2014: a postscript. Five months into the break-up, nothing has changed. On Mar. 12 I kept the last “big” promise I’d made to my depressed ex-GF: to get her a car (she had given up her junker before moving to FL). Once the car was hers and her plate was off, I asked her for my credit card I’d allowed her to use for two years, and my house key. I told her to “take care of her self.” She was angry that I had reneged on my promise to buy her a $150 GPS. Apparently giving her a car worth 100x that (plus paying some unexpected fees for transfer) did not make an impression. That, to me, was the last straw. I know that is depression talking, but the point is … she can’t be fixed (not by me anyway!). I cried on the way home, and had a small ceremony where I threw into the trash the old license tag, a photo of her, and the friendhsip ring I’d bought to celebrate our relationship. I think it’s worth mentioning that I am a 52-year old man, and this is the only woman I’ve ever cried over, twice at least.

          I have kept my distance, but still need to deliver the occasional mail. I have left her a card saying that I am open to friendship. She received it well, at least. She can make the effort this time. Man or woman (ladies, you are the most supportive, and thus the typical martyr in a relationship) take heed: set limits, try to get him (or you!) “repaired” but set a deadline and get out when you’ve had enough. Hope is a waste of time, and you only have one life. It should be a happy one. In large part, that depends upon what you will and will not tolerate in your own life.

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