Why Depressed Men Leave – 1

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About a year ago, I wrote a series of posts about my experience with the fantasies of a better life that often prompt depressed men to leave their families. You can find the first of those stories here, here and here. Those brief pieces tell only a small part of a long and troubling story. To stay in recovery I have to know more, and so I’m starting a new series of posts specifically about why men want to leave, how we change, where we want to go.

Of course, this story is not mine alone. I’ve been there with many other men, and we’ve all been cold company. Whether depressed men leave by walking out or by emotional withdrawal or aggressive rage and abuse, they go through a baffling transformation and provoke the most devastating crisis for those who love them most. My own experience has been bad enough, but I read the same story and worse online each day. The pain, confusion and desperation are always fresh, even though repeated hundreds of times in forum after forum.

- He won’t look at me anymore. – Whatever I do is wrong. – I can’t understand the anger when he comes home after work – and I haven’t done a single thing. – If I ask him what’s wrong, he goes into a rage. – He gets so abusive and blames me for everything he doesn’t like. – His rages scare me to death. – I don’t know who this man is anymore. – I can’t do anything right. – This is not the life I thought I was getting into. – I feel so small around him. – What have I done to make him so angry? – It’s all driving me crazy. – I can’t take much more of this. – What can I say? – What can I do? – Please help!

It’s one thing for me to blame depression for causing behavior that inflicts such pain. It’s another to get clear about exactly what I did in order to recognize it early and stop myself  from repeating the same thing over and over again. To stay in recovery, I can’t focus only on what’s going on in my head but need to be able to face squarely the effects on those closest to me. Seeing what the reality has been for my wife and children in those dark periods makes it so much more urgent that I get to the bottom of what I have done.

Only in that way can I break the forces of mind and feeling underlying my hurtful words and actions. What was I thinking and feeling when I was isolating myself from my family emotionally, if not actually leaving? Why didn’t I see sooner what I was doing? When I did see part of it, why couldn’t I stop? What was changing deep down? I have to be able to answer these questions and a lot more so that I’ll be quick to recognize the problem if it begins again. If I do see it, I’ll have to know what to start doing to turn that mindset and behavior around. Recovery depends on alertness and action every day.

Here’s a quick overview of what I want to explore in this series. This is the way I’m seeing it through my analytical brain. I’m sure as I tell the stories each evokes, I’ll change and refine the picture I’m looking at now. It’s almost a model of how this state develops, and that means to me it’s far too neat. I’m separating each element from the real experience, but it is never so simple as this line-up might make it seem.

  • Control and Denial. Whatever the internal crisis may have been, I had to keep it under a tight lid, hide it from everyone, including myself. Denial is a common word. What isn’t always clear is how much energy it takes both to keep inner turmoil under control and to keep it from getting too close to awareness. That took so much out of me, I was always tense and run down with the effort.
  • Refusal. If there was nothing wrong with me, there was no need to talk about it. Every time my wife would try to engage me about what I was feeling, I refused to talk about it. I was genuinely angry at the suggestion that I had a problem. This behavior is frequently described, but what many miss is the sense of power men can get from holding back words. There is a perverse satisfaction in keeping others guessing, and the silence also prevents me from knowing more than I want to know. Strong and silent are paired for good reason.
  • Isolation. Isolating from others doesn’t mean physical separation so much as creating distance while you’re with family, friends, everyone who’s close. I could do this by being angry or abusive, or by an emotional and mental disappearance in plain sight. On any given day, I could shift from one unmindful strategy to the other.
  • Blame. Naturally, if there’s nothing wrong with me, the explanation for that hurt and turmoil buried within has its cause in someone or something else – family, job, city – probably the combination of it all. The feeling builds that the life I’m living is a trap that’s ruining my chances for happiness.
  • The Cure. Since the problem comes from outside, I can also find the cure for it there. Everything will be better there, everything is hopeless here. So the yearning to leave and the fantasies that go with it get stronger all the time. Whether they’re acted on or not, the damage to others is already done.

This is what occurs to me now. How does it sound to you? What’s your experience like?

Image Credit: Some Rights Reserved by lepiaf.geo at Flickr

215 Responses to “Why Depressed Men Leave – 1”

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  1. Alice says:

    Hello everyone,

    My mate left me in the spring if this year. He and I had an argument .I got so mad I broke something of his. I have always had a temper. Let’s blame it in my red hair.. lol
    Well I was upset because I’d just moved back in with my love. it didn’t take long before he started treating me badly.He was telling mW to shut up.He even refused to sleep with me.He also wouldn’t touch me etc.. That morning we had it out he told me I’d moved myself back in. For me he had just declared war! After all I gave up a nice rental to come back to him.Not to mention i allowed him.to woe me all over again. When hw told me I’d moved myself back.in, and that he didn’t ask me to come back I was so mad.. I felt so confused and dirty and unwanted.. Well as you might have gueesed he left me that morning .Since his leaving me and my kids , ivw seem him a half dozen times since early spring. He’s staying at a famukt members place. The family member rarely vists so he’s by himself most of the time.he’s literally 20 mins away from us.He left me his place and doesn’t ask me for to much money.. in fact he’s taken good care of us even thou he’s sick. I to have been so sad for months. since I dont get on with his parents etc I can’t find our if he’s OK.I assume he is or I’d get a knock at the door saying he’s gone etc.. Friends tell me to leave and go on but I stay on here because its cheap and I have faith my love will come home one day soon. All the signs were there in theonths leading up to my friends breakdown. He even talked about hearing people at his job that were dead.He also stated to me and my kids he saw things out of the corner of his eye at his job.. funny thing only a few work the night shift at the foundary he works at. At the time before thought he was being silly. Since he’s watched way to many shows about the dead etc murder shows etc.. He also had always been more of a downer than an upper type person. He’s always been moody and almost manic at times. So I brushed his behaviors off as silliness. Now I see it all clearly. Me and my kids leaving triggered the begining if his desent into the darkness. By the time I’d moved back he was teterring in the edge . I should have been more careful with him. Well I don’t think any of us know when another person us about to lose it.When it does happen we too lose our minds almost. So do they come back ? Nobody can predict the future. I think you must have faith in God to get through this.For if not for him I’d be locked up by now.. You must go on with your life. You must make as many happy memories with your children , famuly and friends. You must start a new hobby and embrace your life .and do not allow your loved one that left to destroy you too. Which they don’t mean too, it just happens if we don’t keep our distance from them. Give them rhw space they need to find themselves. Give them books and write a letter a few times a month and mail it to where they are. Do not say to much.and remind them they atw not alone
    If they allow you to take them to get help. If they refusw help like my ex then let them learn the hard way. Do not allow them to drain you.. seek out a support group. Also avoid people that think they know it all. They will only drive you mad.keep away from negative pushy people. Seek help through support groups prayer thearpy etc. You have to continue to live your life. Will it be hard? Will you breakdown at times? Yes!! Yes you will because your human . Try yoga or work more hours keep yourimd busy. At some point you will either let go of your husband wife etc or continue to wait. No situation is the same. Remember you are important too. The world does nor revolve around your partner. You must move on and continue to live a happy life. if you do not you will fall down the rabbit hole too. Or land in Oz .. good lycl and god bless everyone !! Hugs

  2. kerry says:

    UPDATE
    my husband told me the weekend he could probably see himself coming home one day but not yet ,that is a big improvement for the last 6 months he as said he can never come home ,hopefully the meds are kicking in and there is light at the end of the tunnel

  3. Devan says:

    Okay so about a week ago my husband of 13 years said he’s leaving me and our kids b/c he doesn’t think he loves me. Then he tells the kids I push him away. So I finally convinced him to speak to a therapist because he stated that ever since his father passed away about 15 years ago he feels empty, big hole that can’t love anyone and feels that he is hold ong is back. After speaking to the therapist as an eval they stated he had severe depression, and possibly treatment wouldn’t work to help him. So I have asked him several times to seek medications and then possibly goin back to therapy but he refuses. Then one night taking he got tearful and apologized for being a worthless husband and father, I reassured him that he isn’t. He still apologizes to me for supposivly ruining things and I cont to reassure him he doesn’t. He also says he has to find himself. And then he’ll come up with all theses “what if” statements about therapy and how it will go, or hell say he doesn’t want to go that deep and talk about it cause he doesn’t want to know the ending. He is still at our house, we sleep in separate rooms, we talk occasionally. Then last night I asked and he said he’s looking at a place to rent this week:-( I Dnt want him to leave, we all love him and want to help him. But I Dnt know how to do this.. And neither my kids or I know how to act or what to say to him. I’m lost, empty and sad… And Dnt want him to go

  4. kerry says:

    why are they so nasty? he’s been gone 6 months now he rings me most days. i rang him today to tell him about one of the children and its like ive done something wrong by ringing him he said i should only ring him if its a emergency, and i said to him u rang me 19 times in 15 minutes the other day and he put the phone down on me i know there ill but i don’t know how long i can stand this ,ive been married to him for 20 years and he just changed over night

  5. Shauna says:

    It’s been 4 weeks since my fiancé moved out of our home I’d been feeling really lonely and unloved for awhile now and became emotional for reasons I couldn’t understand we never talked about he’s feelings seemed like he didn’t have any and he’d lost interest in us and our recently turned 3 year old son he hasn’t worked since we met but has been trying just never got lucky always knew he lacked confidence in he’s abilities but he never showed any emotions so we just didn’t talk about it but since getting engaged I felt he had got ton more distant than usual so began to think it was me he just didn’t fancy me anymore he made no effort in making dates just went along with everything I suggested which was starting to grate on me a lot and constant thinking about it and asking him about it ( which it just shoved under the carpet and said nothing) I told him I thought we needed a break from each other just for a few days living under each other’s feet wasn’t good for us anyway or our little man so I presumed he’d go to he’s parents get a reality check and come back with open arms but instead sold the car moved to an apartment and said he felt in cappable if loving me and our boy which completely threw me because everyone knows how great he is and has been a huge part in Dylan’s life he had done just as much as I have done so I was shocked to say the least and angry he sold the car how was he gong to see us and how would we work it out why couldn’t he fight for he’s family so many questions went through my head, 3 days later I get a call and a message saying goodbye he loved us both and we we’re better off without him thankfully we got to him in time I feel it was more of a cry for help because deep down I know there’s a part of him that doesn’t want to leave. It was then I realised depression had been taking over and for quite some time he’s seeing a doctor every week which hasn’t pet scribed him medication and hasn’t given him any diagnosis and he’s seeing a counsellor once a week which I’m going with him tomorrow to see what he’s telling her, he has totally detached himself from us at home he’s back living with he’s parents and his mum is worried too we just can’t get through to him he’s never once asked how any of us are said sorry for what he’s done and seems more interested in playing computer games and watching football then what’s going on at home I’m devasted my heart is breaking for me and our little boy who thinks the world of him I think about it all the time instantly when I wake through out the day I’m thinking what’s he doing and I’m missing just having him here to talk to I go to bed early and read all about depression and everyone’s stories which has been a huge help in realizing I’m not the only one.. If I could have one question answered it would be how do I get him to realised this is an illness and not just him he seems to think he’s wired wrong and he’s incaple of love or being loved how do I get him to care about what he’s throwing away without pushing him away because right now he is adamant that he won’t b coming home.. Which will have to be ok if that’s really what he wants but I don’t want him to miss out on being a dad because only seeing him once a week for the last month has been extremely hard and without him ringing or texting to see if we are dead or alive is just so scary

    • Annie says:

      Shauna I am experiencing some of this too. My DH is so disconnected from our children and me. He gets triggered around them. It’s so difficult because he is such a great father to them and this illness has completely made him numb. He became aggressive and lashed out on me during a discussion about his therapy so I told him it was best to not have him in the house until we could feel safe. He did not hurt me but he could have. I’ve chosen to be supportive of him even though he has made some very destructive choices over the last few months and completely removed me from his emotions. His dr changed his meds and he has been seeking more intensive therapy in addition to seeing his therapist. I miss not having him at home but I make an effort to see him and make and go to appointments with him. It’s so painful dealing with the push and pull of it. Some days I see what may be a glimmer and then nothing. I pour out me love and get nothing on return. I feel like I’m initiating all contact and he is just going through the motions. I think we finally found a program that he is willing to go through. He still doesn’t want to come home until he’s done some work in therapy building skills he so desperately needs. So all I can say is if he doesn’t want to see you there is not much you can do to change his mind but you can influence him if he is still responding to calls, emails or texts. I know how much hurt you feel. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps me to know I’m not alone. Nothing is hopeless and people CAN change.
      Best

  6. Amanda says:

    I would like to start off by thanking everyone for sharing their own experiences of living with a depressed partner on this site. I’ve spent numerous hours over the past month or so reading various articles and individual posts on this site.

    My boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me 5 months ago and 3 and a half month ago he left our home. This occurred after months of him working lots of overtime, spending little time with family and friends, drinking most evenings, complaining of aches and pains and experiencing insomnia.

    Since my ex decided to break up with me and move out, like practically every woman that has posted on this site, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. One week he would be sorry for leaving and want to resolve issues, but the next I would receive emotional abuse. At first I believed when my ex broke up with me that I was a horrible partner toward him. After all, I was being told that I had caused him nothing but upset and stress that no-one else caused him on a daily basis. My first thought was that I need to get help from a professional to become a better person who would be loved in a relationship. After a couple of sessions I began to feel better about myself and felt a change for the better; I became more confident and happy. My ex thought it was fantastic but as soon as I suggested he seek professional help his attitude changed. Just recently it dawned upon me that perhaps my ex has been depressed for most of his adult life and that I mistook his depression as mood swings/being over tired/under pressure from work. My professional suggested that perhaps my low self esteem suited my ex at the time as I was more than happy to take responsibility for anything that went wrong in our relationship.

    Over the past couple of months despite moving out my ex has still been speaking to me/seeing me and telling me how he is still feeling depressed. However he refuses to seek professional help and thinks he can work through it alone. More recently the more I try to suggest help/a solution the more verbal and emotional abuse I have received to the point where I avoid conversations with him about anything other than every day topics. A lot of the time now I am ignored or he will not engage in any form of conversation with me unless he feels like he wants to speak with me. I took great comfort in reading the article on this site about depressed men shutting their partners out, but not completely, but far enough just so they felt comfortable and knew you were there if they needed you.

    Just yesterday, two days after I spoke with him and he said he would talk to me about the way he was feeling, he told me he cannot stand that ‘I am so happy’ and ‘it’s like I’m on happy pills’. I was then told that he blames me completely for the way he feels and it is all my fault for him not wanting to be in a relationship and for him not wanting a family. As if that was not enough I was then told that he is happy now and that I shouldn’t bother him anymore because he will deal with his problems without any help, and that he has wasted 4 years of his life with me and it is now time for him to get his revenge. As I’m sure you can imagine I was left completely baffled by his conflicting points.

    My family and friends think I should move on, but again like most women I am clinging (unfortunately) to the memories that I have where we were blissfully happy and I want those times to return.

    Does anyone have any useful advice?

    • Alice says:

      Amanda

      Our situations our similar. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years. He too has always been moody.He has not been over to our home since late may.He has paid all the bills up until Oct. I received an email from him saying he was solo stressed out and couldnt handle all the bills anymore.I have offered money to him in emails. All he needed to do was come get it.If course that was to hard for him. He has never told me he wants me to leave his home. Hus last email told me I dont want to throw you out either. I’m giving you time . Which is confusing me since he’s not giving me a date to move. Nor has he ever told me it was over? His actions tell me and my friends n family he loves us still. And I cant help but hope he will one day return. I keep mysejf busy but there are days like today where I can’t seem to sleep. Well I pray your situation is better. If not hold on there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel were in.

  7. kerry says:

    My depressed husband left me 4 months ago he comes ounce a week to see the children and rings me every day to ask what i’ve been doing he said he can never come home so why does he ring me every day? some have said its out of guilt, i don’t know if its the best thing for me to answer to him he never talks about us just everyday things i don’t know what to do for the best i do want him back he has been on meds 3 weeks now

    • K says:

      Kerry, your husband thinks he can’t come home because his illness is making him think that way. It’s great that he still rings every day and I would recommend you continue to just treat him like a friend and not put any relationship pressure on him.
      The fact that he is now on medication is also a good thing, but please be aware that it could take some time for it to start working properly. The Depression Fallout message board is a fantastic place to receive advice from people who are going through the same thing.

      • kerry says:

        k
        thank you for your advice he has been told recently there is a problem with his thyroid levels i wonder if it could have anything to do with the depression he is suffering.i’ve not read any success stories of depressed spouses going back home

        • K says:

          I believe that low thyroid levels can cause depression and hopefully he will be treated for this.
          Depressed spouses sometimes do come back, but you are unlikely to read many success stories because once the couple are back together, they rarely post again on sites like this.

  8. Kelly says:

    Help! This is exactly what I’m going through! How do I save my marriage and save my husband?!

  9. Stephanie Rowan says:

    My husband and I would have been married 20 years this Oct and together 22. We have a daughter that will be 18 and a son that is 16. We have been best friends and have been through the good, the bad and at time the ugly. However, we had many good times. We come from two great extended families and are surrounded by good friends. My husband had a business for 10 years and at the age of 40 we decided that it was time to close it down as he was hitting burn out and it was not worth the amount of time away from the kids and I. He started a normal good paying job 5 years ago this year. Whenever he appeared stressed, we always were able to talk. I started a career as well so that we could make the changes. (I was always home PT with the kids and family helped) My job does come with stress due to my responsibilities, but we both allowed ourselves to vent and then move on. For over 19 years we made a point of waking up at 6:00 am to have coffee and conversation, then we both had a routine between kids, the dog and getting ready for work. We did this because after dinner, we had limited schedules that revolved around the kids and to also just have time to hang out as a family, get organized for the next day etc. Money had been a stress because we did not declare bankruptcy and we had refinanced our mortgage. Even though we both make good salaries, we still deal with all the everyday expenses. We do however have a family cottage to escape to, took the kids camping, entertained family and friends at home. We took the kids on annual ski trips close to home, we did almost everything as a family and then as the kids got older we each had some of our own hobbies. he would go fishing, I would go with my daughter on short trips. However, we very seldom spent time alone doing things. We did take mini dates from time to time and our sex life had no concerns. My husband just appeared to hit this funk during a large job he was overseeing. This job was over a course of 2 years. Last May I noticed his appearance was off, he started to gain weight, drinking just became frequent and he just would always lounge on the couch after work. I would ask him if he wanted to go out, if he was depressed, demonstrated concern over his weight and his drinking etc. Any arguments we had, appeared to be normal married arguments. Some heated, but I thought we resolved this as we would always then have normal chats in the am and I at times explained what made me happy, what hurt by what was said etc. He started to turn this into more anger every time and it started to feel that he would place blame on me overreacting etc. In fall of last year I noticed him losing weight, I then noticed just a change that seemed different. I was complimentary, but it just seemed like he did not hear me. I started to notice a text that had x0:) from a woman that was overseeing the job that he was also overseeing as the vendor. This was sent by between each of them to indicate he was home safely. They celebrated the wrap up of this job with other contractors. I was very hurt by this as prior to our relationship it took me 3 years to get into a serious relationship due to a boyfriend that cheated. He knew how much this hurt and how much I appreciated that I could trust him. He use to say at least he is one who stays home and has a drink when he could be out at the bar and doing other things like some people we know. He then started blaming me for making him feel guilty for going on fishing trips, snowmobiling every Sunday, took up hunting. I told him I do not mind as I think we both need to have our own hobbies and at the same time date. Our kids are older. I started thinking more to this text and then in Nov 2013 I discovered some intimate texts, that he called her babe, went by his middle name, she said i can’t wait to lay with you. This devastated me. He panicked when he got caught and promised me nothing happened, they are good friends. So 9 months since, he just got more depressed. He disclosed to our daughter when he was 17 he held a gun to his head, she now is worried for him. He insists he is not suicidal. He has admitted to getting help, but never did. His parents played tough love and his dad too is in a state of depression (had midlife and drank back at this age too) Whatever his parents said put him into a further state. We could not communicate without arguing and him becoming angry at me. He said I irritate him on everything I do. He kept telling me he ended it with her and always got mad at me for bringing this up. (He called her the day I found the texts to end it while I was with him) He however would not be transparent with me and my trust for him was not there. He would get caught with a text from her and insisted it was work related or would lie that he had not contact. When I found out, I did lose it and became emotional. He took off one night for a 6 hr walk and then 2 days later for 8 hours. Both times at night and returning at 1-2 am. We would go looking for him, kids were worried, I was sick to my stomach. He promised the kids when he returned he would not do this again, he so far has not. (He has done this 3 other times in our relationship) I just never picked up on it. Prior to this walk, he would sleep with me and we seemed to work on things a little. However when I would confront him on how we are doing, he turned into this mean person I did not know. He would tell me there is no change, he loves me but not the same way, he said his mind is foggy, he can work this out himself as he always have, he then would get angry place blame , say our marriage was over a long time ago, 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, months, there was no consistency. This was killing me and the kids and our families as he started becoming more silent and pushing everyone close away. On July 7th after my return from a much needed mini vacation to see my sister he told me he is leaving. He just literally left. Stayed in a trailer for a week at a nearby campsite, would come and go and it just seemed strange. Then all of a sudden he said he found this place with free rent, he was to watch the house while this person travelled. Just in a period of 2 weeks, I found out this woman is best friends with the ladies who’s home it is, she bought a house near by. Last year her marriage was coming to an end and she left her husband after therapy, she has a young son. She said she does not love him anymore and he was devastated (we met for the first time as it became a small world, he needed to know for closure as he was blaming himself) She comes from a family that all divorced within the same time as her marriage was falling apart, she suffers from depression and is on medication. Through all this she became emotionally involved with my husband by asking him for a hug and discussing her problems. Last week my gut told me he’s home alone and I just felt like she was there, I drove by and all of a sudden she was walking up his driveway at 11:00 pm. I confronted both, she was in porch and he was just sitting in living room. She finally left but threatened me to leave. I laid into him and he just said so many hurtful things. I told him to move everything out (he still was doing the living there, coming home and doing things at home) He literally just up and left me, the kids and the dog. I am exhausted mentally, physically and I am seeking help and I have been medicated so I am coping well on my job and for most of the time. That night he said he is not in a relationship and that I am spreading rumours, he said he had no idea it was a friends house and that he did not know she lived near by. (I found each of this out within a week and called him on everything, I know he is lying but he insists I am nuts) He told me in a very mean tone that our marriage was over a long time ago and it is not about her. I felt like I was being punched in the stomach. He even took the kids out for a talk (I told him they need him) and he told them he has never been in a relationship with this women. To-date he is getting more angry and will not communicate with me. He tells me I am a stalker and he is tired of my e-mails. I do not know this man and I am ready to throw in the towel. I have been patient, attempt to be forgiving and supportive knowing he needs help. However, I can’t take it anymore. It is like he has forgotten his life with me and our families and found newness. He keeps saying this is what he wants. He at one time compared me to her and this hurt. We will be meeting next week over the next step and this is because I had to initiate it. He insists it is just another one of my threats. I must add, he did threaten at Christmas after drinking and me being suspicious of his phone to push me down the stairs if I did not let him go. It was -25 out and I knew he would go walking. We live near a bush and this scared me so I did everything I could till he would just go lay down on the couch. Then a month ago he got a text from her and I told him I had it, I asked him to show me his phone as it was in my hand, he aggressively took my wrist, twitted it and held me to the ground till I dropped it. He became emotional and said he is so much his dad now and I do not want him, he is messed up. I again attempted to support him. My son saw this and told him to stop. He’s a good man, but I am afraid he will have destroyed everything in his state and it will be too late. I can’t live like this or be strong for my kids if I stay in this marriage. Will he ever get better? Will us separating legally be a trigger for him to realize he can get help before it is too late? I am rambling, but it is because I am forever trying to figure out what happen to the man I love.

    • MR says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your pain and suffering. I too am in a very similar situation and am trying to survive. I recently started counseling on my own to help me. This is the first time in our 18 year marriage that I am putting my needs first. Throughout our relationship he has always insisted that he wanted more, more sex, a nicer house a more expensive car, never satisfied with the here and now, and never really enjoyed the small gifts of life. His father committed suicide when he was 7 and his family forgot to tell him until he was 29. He recently went on a work detail where he was treated like a king and because I would not move the family there ( our oldest kids are in high school) he returned home and told me that he has not been happy with out marriage of or a long time. I feel like we have have a wonderful family life and marriage and I was looking forward to our retirement together. This really caught me off guard. He lost 35 pounds and is bleaching his teeth yet denies having an affair while on the detail. ( I don’t believe him). He has been home for 3 months and cries almost every day. He has been in counseling for 3 weeks to work on himself to try to understand why he is so unhappy, but claims that he is not depressed. Shortly after he began therapy he proclaimed that our intimate relationship was over, I was devastated realizing that he was really ending things with me. He insists on living in our home while he goes through “his” pain while not caring about mine. I do believe that he is in a very deep depression but until he can see that he is seeking the wrong kind of treatment, and I can’t make him see his depression.. I think the best advice for both of us is that we promise eachother that we take care of ourselves. Starting with the little things, getting a manicure or doing some form of exercise. It sounds like you are a very strong woman and focusing on your needs will lift you up. I hope that it helps to know that you do not have to go through this alone.

  10. Alice says:

    I’m afraid for my husband. We have been together for over 8 years, married for a year and a half. After reading some of these comments, I’m afraid if I don’t do something then this will also be MY fate.

    Last night, he suggested moving 11 hours away from our families. We both grew up in the same town and have purchased a house 15 minutes away from our families. Two years ago, this was exactly what we wanted. We were on the same page. Within those two years he’s lost a lot of his close friends to either moving or growing apart. Within the last few months, he’s been heavily drinking and contemplating calling his Dad (who left five years ago, never to be seen again) because he’s angry and wants to talk to him. I’ve been worried that this has been causing his anger and frustration. Within the last year he has also given up on his career dream (this might be for the best) which is leaving him with no GOAL to achieve. He’s just going day by day working and sleeping… working and sleeping. Within the last month, he’s also started finding reasons to not come home until late at night. He’s always where he says he’s going to be (GPS on his phone, so I know he’s not cheating), but why does he need to go to Walmart at 11 at night?

    I will admit that I’m a doormat when it comes to my husband’s needs. I try my hardest to cook, clean and make him happy all while working full time and going to school full time. I married him and fully expected to bend over backwards to make him happy, because I’d rather be unhappy with a happy husband. I am a good wife, even if he doesn’t think so.

    Last night, he said he wanted to move. He said he wanted change and that he was bored with is life here. He said he was bored with me and that we didn’t have the excitement in our life that we used to. We just come home from work, watch TV and go to sleep. He wants more to life, and wants to move to another state to achieve that. He’s been spending money like crazy, right when we’re at a time I need to save money (to get my degree, I have to do a 4 month, unpaid internship. I’m trying to save every dime, since I now wont have income, and he’s spending anything he can get his hands on).

    I’m afraid his reaction here is that he’s running away from his problems, and thinks a new city will solve them. I’m all for trying to make us “not boring,” but moving away from both of our families seems extreme. Does anyone have any suggestions on if they think this is caused by depression, or what I should do before he up and leaves?

  11. kerrie says:

    My bf of 8.5 years left me last week. I had a strange feeling it was coming, but in the back of my mind, I always thought whatever problems we had, we could work it out. We always have before, so it was like a hammer coming down when he just gave up.

    My bf has changed dramatically over the last few months and maybe a bit longer. He has suffered a great deal of personal loss, beginning with the death of his father several years ago. Then his ex father-in-law, a co-worker’s wife, and more recently 2 close friends, one withered slowly from brain Cancer and one suddenly in a car crash, as well as his favorite uncle. My bf has always been somewhat negative, but lately he is angry at every thing: his job, his truck, me, the dog, people in general. Despite his negative outlook, he always made me feel safe and loved. When we did have a problem, he would assure me that he loved me and felt he wouldn’t make it with anyone if he didn’t make it with me. It seems like everything suddenly changed after the death of his friend and uncle. He started isolating from me. Spending all his free time playing computer games or sitting in front of the computer in silence. Going out with his friends rather than spending time with me. Not having sex or any meaningful conversation. He also began drinking excessively, which had never been an issue before. I would try to check in with him, but I mostly let him be so I wouldn’t aggravate him further. He did confide in me recently when I asked if he thought a bj would help his mood. He declined and said he was no longer interested in sex and didn’t think anything would help him. He suggested not being alive would be helpful. I took this statement offensively and after reading all kinds of things online, I fear I reacted inappropriately. I asked how he could possibly feel that was an option with all the love we have in our home. (I have a daughter who adores him and considers him her father) I told him he was being selfish. After calming down, I offered to find a grief counselor, but he refused. Last Sunday he drank so much he fell down and my daughter helped him up. He later puked and passed out. The next day I came home from work and he was packing his things. He told me it was over and that we didn’t get along anymore. I objected because we rarely even fought. We used to have so much fun. We shared the same sick sense of humor. We enjoyed the same t.v. shows, music, cars, food, etc. When we had sex it was always good, maybe a little stale, but still good. I couldn’t imagine how things could have gotten so bad that he was ready to give up on all we had. Now he is gone and my heart has been ripped from my chest. For a week I have been choking down my tears trying to function. All I want to do is throw myself on the ground and cry. I lost my partner, my confidant, my best friend, my soul mate. I went from havng someone I shared everything with to a stranger who won’t talk to or even look at me. After reading all kinds of information online, I believe he is depressed, but what can I do now that he is gone? I am a very sensitive person, myself, so I am very careful about leaving myself vulnerable. I have not attempted to see or contact him since he left because the thought is just too painful. Is it too late to do something? Should I do something or leave it alone? I wish I would have recognized what was happening sooner :(

    • Monica says:

      Let him be. You did nothing wrong. Stay strong and focus on your daughter. You don’t need someone like this around your child! He knows what he is doing.

    • Alice says:

      I fear your man maybe on drugs and doing other things like stepping out on you.I’m a lot older thsn you I think so I’ve been through alot of crap in my.life. I’ve lived years with a man that cheated and drank.in fact 12 years ..Then another 2 with my youngest sons donor who was on drugs and acted strange too. Drugs change a person overnight.you can’t always know whose on drugs . Your ex sounds mentally unstable. Many self medicate with street drugs and achole etc because they are to sick to get help. A somewhat sane person will see they are sick and get help before their life goes down hill. Yet dome need to lose it all before they get help. You must learn that you don’t need another person and sex etc to be happy. Your child needs you more than any man or woman. To be honest I’m enjoying my break from my boyfriend. While he’s off pouting and acting like a child I’m finding me. I rather like the person I’m becoming . I do not need anybody god n my kids.. sure have friends n other family but nothing is more important than my kids n God.. I suggest you focus on you. I suggest we all find ourselves and we will become wiser better human beings in the end.. one last tip you should never need any one. You should want them in your life. Be self suffcient and always save money for a rainy bdau. Never let a spouse or signifcant other know you have money set aside. Always be ready and have a plan B!

  12. Sarah says:

    My husband finally physically left me but he mentally left over 15 years ago. He has never been diagnosed but he has a strong family history of depression, bipolar depression, alcoholism, OCD and suicide. I have my own issues of depression but I feel they were made greater because of the abandonment I felt from him. He was loving, attentive, thoughtful and gentle. And I still love him. We were together 32 years. But he pulled away emotionally and physically. And of course there was never any issues to talk about, as he obsessively avoided them by over working, long hours at the gym and obsessively cleaning the house. Then he turned to pornography and alcohol. Then even more alcohol. We spent so little time together and I was alone and lonely. We are divorcing and he seems much happier without me. And that breaks my heart because I want the person I married back. He finally got the courage to end our marriage as so many men do, by finding another woman.

  13. teri says:

    You’re article and the blogs have been a blessing. Not long ago the man who is the love of my life started exhibiting the same signs. I had no idea what was wrong.I believed it was the alcohol.I have tried everything but with no good results. Now I know what needs to be done.Thank you so much for educating me.

  14. teresa says:

    I met a man who had been seperated for four months, he had finally left after his longtime partner had slept with his brother. He told me she had been his brothers girlfirend before they had got together and he had spent four years trying to do what he felt people expected of him before finally leaving. He said he sometimes felt he should go back for the sake of his kids but didn’t think that was the right reason. i had been widowed a year previously and this was the first man since I had felt anything for. We became close and started a relationship, we talked alot and he was consumed with guilt about gaining his happiness at the cost of his kids. Just before christmas he decdied to go home and try again, I understood this and didn’t try to stop him. He is now in counselling and on antidepressant but we still talk daily. We probably need to let go of each other but we can’t, I feel like we ave embarked on an emotional affair and don’t know what to do.

  15. Sara says:

    My husband walked out on our daughter and I Tuesday (2 days ago). He abandoned the car down the road and never told me that he was leaving. He called that night and told me he had left. He didn’t take anything with him. He refused to tell me where he went. I finally found out that he is in Mandeville, LA. We are in Spring Hill, TN. It is so far away and I am so hurt and confused. Before he left he was literally blowing every dime he made on beer and lottery. I tried so hard to help him in a positive way. I didn’t do anything wrong. But he wants to blame me instead of looking in the mirror. It hurts so much. I was a stay-at-home mom with a Pre-K aged child. I cooked from scratch, cleaned, everything. He never had to lift a finger except to go to work. I got up every morning and started his shower for him, laid his clothes out, made his coffee the way he likes it, kissed him goodbye, and told him to have a good day at work. I pampered him and spoiled him and kept my mouth shut when I shouldn’t have. I gave him great sex and did anything he asked or told me too. Basically I was submissive, obedient, and I bent over backwards to be the best wife and mother I could be. I have no job, he left me with no money (not even a dollar), and very soon I will have no place to live. I am scared. All I have is 1/4 of a tank of gas. What do we do? Where do we go? I feel completely lost, as if I am walking in circles with no sense of direction. How could he do this to us? Why would he do this to us? I am not a bad wife or mother, so I just can’t find a reason why. No matter how much I try to. Where can I get help? I have no family. I have no friends in TN. The friends I have are too far away or unable to help. :'(

    • Sara says:

      Also, we have been married for almost 6 years. He also told me that he does love me. There are no other women involved. He does have PTSD, but he takes medicine for it. Did he need a break for our life together for a little bit? If so, he should’ve talked to me about it. We could’ve worked something out. Is he depressed even though he’s medicated? Does he not love us? He says he does. I just don’t know :(

      • Sarah says:

        Dear Sara,
        I am so sorry. I have no words of wisdom, no insight, nothing that will help anyway. My depressed partner of 17 years also left. It blows your world apart, it is the most unbelievable pain. You are not alone though. Depression might be a reason, but it is not an excuse. You are strong, you are wonderful, unique and powerful and you will get through this. My thoughts are with you.

    • Deborah says:

      Sara,

      I read your story and truly feel the pain you are feeling. Really I do and am so sorry you are hurting so much. Please keep your head up, because it was “Him-not You”. I know you feel that it was something you did to cause him to leave you, but it wasn’t.

      My husband of 33 years walked out on me and our sons on September 16th, 2014. I know something was terribly wrong because the air mattress in our master bedroom had a small leak in it, and the auto-fill motor that filled up the air -would run constantly all night trying to refill itself. Because of this, I couldn’t sleep in my own bed due to the constant noise from the motor running in my ear, so I went to sleep on the living room couch-and landed up staying there for 6 months, until he finally left. He hadn’t made any attempt to tell me that we were going to buy another bed so I could come back into the bed with him. There was no affection from him at all, and I knew he was having a mid-life crisis of sorts, especially with his age being 55 years old, and hated his job as assistant manager at the local Walmart here.

      I married my husband, Kent, while both of us were in the U.S. Navy and were only 22 and 23 years old. To make a long story as short as possible, I got out of the Navy once I had my oldest son and then 8 years later, another son. My husband stayed in the Navy for over 20 years and worked as an IT consultant for 8 years, bought a franchise business that went bust and lost over 200,000 and his 401K, real estate and many other adventures. I didn’t work after that, and stayed home raising boys who had emotional, and behavioral issues and still do. I call myself the “Wondering Jew” like Moses, but instead of wondering the desert for 40 years, I wondered all over the United States for 33 years cooking, cleaning, sewing, raising his kids, taking them to doctors appointments, and waiting faithfully for his return. I never complained at all, but looking back I know now that I gave up so much for him-including a life with long time friends nearby. Every 2 to 5 years, we would relocate and not only did that effect me, but his children also didn’t friends for too long. Looking back on this type of wondering life, I now see just how damaging it is, with no roots firmly planted, like Gypsies.

      What really surprised me was it only took me 4 months to stop crying over him but I did want to take my own life during that dark time for me. How could someone did this to another person, especially his wife and best friend for so many years? I started doing my own research into this phenomenon of men suddenly abandoning their wives, usually for younger girl friends, and stumbled onto a book by Dr. Vicki Stark, called Runaway Husbands. Ms. Stark’s own husband walked out on her all of a sudden and she decided to find out just how often this happened to other wives and women, who like you and me, dedicated our entire lives to pleasing our husbands and helping them obtain their dreams and aspirations, many times giving up our own identities and lives in the meantime.

      Please click or copy and paste this link to the book Runaway Husbands and read the many stories from others who are so livid, hurt, appalled, devastated, angry, lost, bewildered, and lost. Please write back to me if you ever want to talk. My email is deborah@kentdills.com. Women who this happened to need the support and love of each other and the motto of Dr. Stark is at the end of our healing journey, we will emerge the best people who have survived such a horrible trauma done to us.

      http://www.runawayhusbands.com/

  16. Issy says:

    My husband of 28yrs left me and his family a few months ago for a younger co worker, interested to read about the porn and heavy drinking. The same sort of traits my ex has, always looking porn up and passing out on drink. His manners were also questionable, not knowing boundaries even when sober. I think all in all him leaving was the best thing that could have happened to us, although at first I’d have moved mountains to have him stay I would now build them to keep him out. The fog has lifted and the only thing I regret is the years of trying to change him which could have been put to better use. He is a complex man that’s for sure and the lack of commitment to his immediate family was and is questionable, he now spends most of his time with his new family and his sister’s which is no surprise because most of his married life was spent licking up to others. I hope he will now go on and lead the life he missed out on, I’m just glad I’m well out of it. I’ve learnt to like myself and others again and no one will ever make me feel like a lowlife again, I’ll let his new partner have the pleasure of all his fun and games because it’s what they both deserve.

  17. Eliza says:

    My husband of 19 years told me a month ago that he wants to leave me. He had met a woman, who was an old high school friend, 2 months ago and had an intimate sexual relationship. He told me that he no longer loves me, and he was tired of this loveless marriage, and that I have gain too much weight so he no longer finds me attractive. He longed for a happier life and believed he has found it in his new love. These words haunts me and I am now suffering from my own depression of being abandoned, unloved and not worthy. This was the man that I loved unconditionally, and we have 3 beautiful children. In my despair I have looked into the last 2 years to find answers to my husband’s behavior and what I have done wrong. We are typically parents to 3 teenagers, a household and bills to pay. Perhaps I took him for granted? Nevertheless, I was not going to let him go and was determined to make things work. However, this became very hard to work on since he had emotionally disconnected from me. I asked him not to see the other woman why we work things out, but he couldn’t leave her since he couldn’t shut of his heart. He said he is a man full of love and needs love. This was too much me for me to handle so I packed his things and asked him to leave. My actions left me into more depressed since I pushed him out of the house and straight to his lover’s house.
    A couple of weeks ago, the youngest of our children said I shouldn’t be too sad about him finding a new love, which I found quite an odd statement from someone so young. But she continued to say that she found pornography, and sex messages to younger women on her dad’s computer over a year ago. He would have been so drunk and passed out in bed, while his computer was still on in plain view. It dawned on me that this was a behavior I failed to recall due to my own despair, because I have also found him passed out and had seen the pornography on his computer. I also realized why I stopped sleeping with him for almost 2 years. The last intimate we had was brutal and it left me feeling dirty and scared. The biggest problem my husband had was that he would laugh off anything I say to him even when I mentioned about our last intimate night.
    I finally confronted him about the things my daughter and I have seen and it seemed to have affected him deeply and he decided to see a therapy. Since his decision he moved out of his lover’s house and into a hotel. I also found out that he was on depression medicine since 2008, and as part of his therapy he had to stop taking them immediately, and also stop drinking. His excessive drinking has hurt my family for the last 2 years.
    I have been sitting at home alone for weeks, trying to find answers, trying to cure my broken heart, which brings to this page. You provided me with such insight and I can now understand my husband’s condition. My only torment now is waiting for my husband to open up again and not look at me with resentment and disgust. He completely shuts me out. I pray that his therapy will help him.

    Thank you for all the women who shared their stories too. Perhaps my broken heart will mend soon.

    • Eliza says:

      I failed to mention that my husband is actually a gentle and loving man who values and adores his family, but he is a little lost in his depressed state and going off his medicine. His affairs and the painful words he expressed about me came as a shock. Everything that I read about on this page, starting with 11 Relationship Traps of Depression makes so much sense now. I just wished we had talked about his depression earlier and tried to salvage our marriage. I also wished I had paid more attention to him and reacted to his odd behavior lately.
      I fear that I have lost him forever.

    • Randy M says:

      Hello, I am the beaten down, discarded, shell of a man that loves a bipolar woman… I have been called stupid, insane and crazy by everybody I know, including my own children… I’ve been told to just forget her and walk away. But there is an innocence about her, All I wanted was to love her and care for her, she is absolutely addictive. She is my world, she is everything I have ever wanted in a woman. After 46 years, I had finally found my soulmate, my world was absolutely blown away!!! We meet in Oct. 2012′ we were both married, but fell in love instantly. In Jan. of 2013′ her and her husband separated and he moved back home about 6 hours away (where they had originally come from, he moved her away from all of her family and friends because he is very manipulative and controlling. She stayed behind because of me she said. But by the end of Jan. she moved back home as well, her and her husband were staying at his parents house. We talked every day, she would tell me how much she loved me and wanted to spend her life with me. In March she moved back and got an apt. I finally left in Aug. and we moved in together, I had been noticing that the closer we got to actually moving in and being together, the more nervous and anxious she got, almost manic!!! (at this time, she had not been diagnosed as having bipolar II).
      Two weeks after moving in together, (early Sept.), she woke up one morning and told me she was moving back to her hometown, (meaning her estranged husband). Once again telling me she wasnt in love with her husband but that she had been feeling increasingly depressed with thoughts of suicide and that she needed to get some help. She said she had to move in with her husband because it was the only place she could go. By now her husband had moved into his own place. She also said that she was moving back in with him because she felt that he was the one that had “screwed her up and he should be the one to fix her”. Well two weeks later she told me that she was coming back to me and that she was already packing her belongings and that she would be leaving the next day. We hung up and everything was fine, (I thought).
      Well about an hour later, I get a txt msg from her daughter telling me that her mom was in Lakeside Mental Hosp. in Memphis, Tn. Her daughter said that her moms husband said that apparently he had called her after I had gotten off with her. He said that she just started crying and talking about killing herself, so he committed her that day. She spent 9 days in the hospital, after getting out she stayed at her husbands house for another six weeks, all the while, I was living at our place going freaking nuts. She finally came home to me, but within a month, she woke up one morning absolutely manic. I knew instantly something wasnt right that morning, the way she looked at me like I wasnt even there. So she packed up her car and her kids and took off back to her home town, Within two weeks she was back again.
      Everything was going fine, she was taking her meds and things seemed ok. Then one night while she was taking a bath, she changed into someone I didnt even know…It was like she was in another world!!! By noon the next day, she was gone again!!! And once again, she was back in her husbands house!!! We talked and txtd each other multiple times everyday and it was always the same thing; She would tell me she doesnt love him, was not having sex with him and would make fun of him and tell me what a crappy person he was… Well 4 weeks later (Oct. 14th) I picked her up and brought her back home to E. Tn. Things were fantastic, we were getting along great, made love all the time and told each other how much we loved each other… (and as always, she would swear to me that she would never leave me again). On Dec. 27th me, her and her children headed back to Memphis for the weekend so she could see her mom and her oldest daughter.
      The entire trip to Memphis, I felt that things were just not right, (they hadnt felt right in over a week) while there at her mothers she was very stand-off’ish), on that Saturday, her and I went out shopping and going to the wolfchase mall. Things were kinda weird but I didnt say anything. With bipolar folks, sometimes its just better not to “rock the boat”, antways, we went out shopping and even bought some items for our house, (her idea), she even talked about some of the things that she wanted us to do after the new year, once we got back to E. Tn. We went out Saturday night, partyed on Beale St till 2am. We woke up the next morning and “fooled around” and besides her acting a little strange I thought everything was getting better. We got up, her mom made everyone breakfast, she made me coffee, like she would always do. Well as the day went on, she told me that her mom and oldest daughter had been giving her a hell of a time… they would tell her that she abandoned them and that she didnt love them anymore, among other things.
      Around 2pm that afternoon her and her daughter started putting their coats on because they were gonna go out in town and spend some time together before we had to leave to come back home. About an hour later her daughter comes in all crying hyserically telling me that her mom went back to Lakeside, she told me that they had been in the store when all of a sudden her mom started having a kind of break-down. They go back out to the vehicle and her daughter said that she started crying talking about ruining everybodys life and that she had ruined my life (because my two daughters have hardly been speaking to me, they didnt approve of her) and how she always wanted to kill herself. She told her daughter that she didnt want to come back to E. Tn with me because she couldnt be happy here because her family was putting so much pressure on her!!! and that I should just go back home to my family and be happy!!!
      I was standing there trying to take it all in, I was numb, kinda like an out-of-body experience. Here I am, in a strange place, with people that I hardly knew and I had to be back at work the next morning and have the rental car back by 8am. Im asking all of these questions but not able to make sense of any of it. My babys gone back into Lakeside again, and now I dont know what to do!!! I knew full well that by her going into lakeside again, the first person they call is her husband and I know that means that hes gonaa be going back to his house when she finally gets out… IM IN HELL at this point, absolutely going out of my mind, on the verge of breakdown myself and Ive got nowhere to turn !!! After talking to her mom and her oldest daughters I have no other choice but to leave and drive six hours back home, I will tell you that, that was the hardest thing Ive ever done, leaving my sweet, precious, perfect, fragile baby there in Memphis. It was the worst drive ever and yet I cant seem to recall much of the drive back… I came home and for the next four days Im losing my mind. I cant eat, I cant sleep, I cant keep my mind on my work. Im trying to contact everyone on that side of Tn to find out all I can about how she is and what shes doing.
      Im sitting on the couch in deep thought and I get an email from her husband saying that hes gonna come and get all her and the kids belongings in a few days. I respond by saying that I didnt believe him, that my baby was coming home when she got out of Lakeside. He then sent me screen shots of his phone where she had ben txting him since at least Dec. 22nd, 2013. She was saying how much she missed him and how much she wanted to work things out, how lonely she was here in E. Tn and how empty her heart was without him. It was absolutely devastating to actually see those words coming from her. All the while she was here in E. Tn with me, making love to me everyday and night. Telling me how much she loved me and wanted to be my wife. She even told me Christmas day that this was the happiest Christmas she had had since her childhood. Ive been here alone in this apartment since Dec.30th. Going out of my mind.
      How could she been so cruel to me? Ive had time to replay everything in my head a million times. That day she left to “go shopping” with her daughter, she knew what she was about to do. She never even told me goodbye or hugged me or looked me in my eyes or nothing. She just turned around and walked out of my life and never even said goodbye to me,like I never meant anything to her!!! :( (( Thats the hardest thing Im trying to deal with. Why did she do this, did she really ever love me or was I just a “fling”, “something to get out of her system”?? I cant believe in my heart that she didnt love me, I looked her in her eyes and I know that somewhere in her heart that she loves me… People who are in love with someone suffering with bipolar can understand, others cannot! They thik were the crazy ones,… and to some extent, I guess we are!!!

      • beenz says:

        They say that trying to understand some people is like trying to smell the colour 9. Reading your story I believe that the woman you are in love with doesn’t even exist – that woman that you love is just one side of her that she has, at times, chosen to show you. I don’t think SHE even knows who she is and is in a very troubled relationship with herself. Often, people who are unhappy with themselves start blaming their current situation or the person they are with and start seeking some way of ‘escaping’ their unhappiness. The problem is that wherever they go, they take themselves with them and also their unhappiness. The novelty of the situation and the new hope they hold might keep them going for a while, but then the same unhappiness creeps back in. It seems that this is the case with your partner and this is why she keeps on going back and forth between you and her husband. Each time she feels unhappy she blames it on the fact that she is with the ‘wrong person’.

        You ask if she ever loved you? It may be hard to hear, but I believe she never did truly love you – it may have been a kind of love, but not true love. This is not because of any lack in you – I also believe she doesn’t truly love her husband and maybe never did. This is because anyone who doesn’t truly love themselves and accept themselves can never truly love or accept anyone else. It sounds as if she has a problem with getting close and intimate with anyone – usually this is because the person really fears rejection. The reason they fear rejection is because they don’t believe they are ‘good enough’. That if you got close to them and found out who they truly were, then you would reject them.

        While you may understand this, feel sorry for her and may want to prove otherwise, you never can. She has to sort out her relationship with herself and the best way to do this is for her to realise that her answer doesn’t lie in being with another person, but in with sorting out her own issues with herself and being alone for a while. It may take her years to reach this point as she is still trying to ‘run away’ from her problems.

        I believe you need to start asking what is best for YOU right now. It sounds as if this relationship is driving you crazy. You believe that if she will just sort herself out and BE that person you love, that you will be happy. Sad to say, but unless she is one of those rare people who hits a crisis and have a sudden awakening and realisation, it will take a very long time before she is ready to be in a healthy relationship. You need to develop your own relationship with yourself and be your own best friend. Chasing after this relationship, as much as you long for it, is doing you no good.

        You can probably never truly understand why she has done what she has done, as she is so mixed up and probably doesn’t even understand it herself! She is just reacting to her pain and trying to escape it all the time.

        You CAN get through this. It will be painful, yes, but I don’t see that you have any other choice than to let her go. You will slowly detach your feelings from her and things will gradually get better. One day you will look back and wonder why you put up with all the crap that you did and will wonder why you ever loved her so much with all her issues. Many people have gone though similar situations and come out the better for it. You will learn and grow from this, as painful as it is – I know…I’ve been there myself :)

      • Not worth it says:

        If you bookmark this and read it in a few years you will think “what the hell was I thinking?” I join your daughters’ choir to you. Run. She doesn’t love anyone including her own children who shouldn’t even witness a second of this and are also unfortunately going to probably be very dis functional in their adult relationships as a result of this mess. It’s unhealthy. Dramatic. Confusing. … I wouldn’t put my children through a situation like this for a second! … I couldn’t find in your post one positive thing about your relationship so what’s your question? Seriously. …
        Bookmark it.

      • Monica says:

        Oh my word! Focus on your daughters! … Read back what you just typed and there’s your answer.

  18. Sherri says:

    My husband of 27 years and father of our 22-year-old son and 16-year-old son told me on Dec. 21 that he was leaving me — he did not love me anymore. When I asked him to wait until after Christmas he said he had thought about it, but did not want to ruin Christmas. Well, he certainly did ruin it. He is staying with friends about four hours from us. He has suffered depression for years and is on medication for it. He lost his job, we lost our house and everything seven years ago when he was first diagnosed with depression. Then, four years ago, he got angry with me for criticizing the way he cooked something and left us for five days. He did not mention divorce this time. I have no basis for my feelings — no concrete proof — but I just feel like there’s another woman. He will not communicate with me or the children and did not see them at Christmas. It was terrible — I told him even if we were divorced he would see his children on Christmas Day. He is so angry with me and he won’t tell me why. He just says our marriage has been over for years and I should know that. This has just come completely out of the blue. We had a big argument over Thanksgiving, but we have had worse arguments. I did apologize for what I said, but when I asked if he were going to apologize, he ranted and raved at me for 30 minutes while driving. I did not say anything because I did not want to enrage him further because he would have wrecked the car. My kids say they are so angry with him and don’t want him back. It is so very hurtful and I just really don’t understand why he would act this way to me and to his children. For the majority of our marriage, he has been the most loving person you could ever meet. People would still ask if we were newlyweds because he always held my hand or kissed my cheek. I just feel like the last 27 years of my life has been a lie.

    • Dee says:

      This story is very similar to mine. My husband suffered from terrible anxiety and he left abruptly like yours right after Christmas 2010 after 30 years of marriage and 4 months before our oldest and only daughter’s wedding. He said life with us was routine and he knew he had “little” time left (he was 53) to “be happy”. After weeks of wondering what was up, I did find he was seeing another woman out of state he met while traveling…then I found out about young women he was seeing all 35 to 40 year old divorcees in every city he traveled too!!! This was also a happily married man to all who knew us (even me) and a deacon of a large church who helped coach our son’s teams and was active in the youth group. Now 3 years later he has relocated to be with the woman who is 15 years younger, she moved him in immediately with her 4 year old twins…they married in April and my husband of 30 years is now her 3rd hubby and a step father to twin first graders…my adult children did NOT go to his wedding nor have they met his “new family” When they do see him for a quick dinner ( he lives 10 hours away) they say he is weird acting and always wants to go out to the “hip” pick up joints with them… I think they just snap and become a different person my counselor says it is a form of sexual addiction and narcissism coupled with some type of depression and anxiety… Hang in there for your kids sake:)

  19. Mira says:

    First I’d like to say its amazing how strong and powerful all these women are for dealing with a depressed loved one.

    My boyfriend of only 8 months broke up with me his reasoning was because he’s depressed. I know he was a bit down a few months ago due to the loss of his job and not being done with school yet. I stayed by his side until he broke up with me. I helped pay his bills as well as helped fill out job applications for him. I tried my best to take away some of the pressures so he won’t go into such a deep depression. Within the last month he really pulled away. Went from daily texts and calls to once a week. I been respecting his space.

    He would still send loving texts. But not like before. He called me for my birthday and wished me a happy birthday and he put his friend on the phone and his friend said that my boyfriend cries because he misses me. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I even said on the phone it’s not true and my boyfriend sounded sad because I didn’t believe it.

    We are in a long distance relationship and I mentioned I would be in town close to his birthday and that’s when he snapped saying how he feels guilty not having time for me as well as having me wait for him to finish school. He asked for a break. I respected his wishes. 3 weeks later I came to his town for my best friends party as well as to see how he was doing. When I went to see him he was in the car with a couple of his block friends drinking and smoking since it was cold outside. When he came out of the car I could see he had a fake smile on and was really forcing it.

    We went into his car to talk and he said he felt bad he had me waiting for him as well as felt pressure that I’m waiting for him to finish school. I wasn’t putting any pressure on him at all. Guess it’s the depression. He also went on saying that I deserve someone who’s willing to talk to me and have time for me since he’s busy with school.
    He got the job I applied for him. Said he’s appreciative of all I’ve done for him. But as of right now he doesn’t see a happy future for himself let alone out relationship or any other relationship for that matter. He hates everything right now. His neighborhood his life his friends. He said he’d feel bad making me wait for him and to live my life. But wants to be friends.

    I honestly don’t know if he’s just acting like he’s depressed or if he really is. He’s in his early thirtys and I’m in my mid twenties. I keep thinking something is wrong with me. I see myself as a good wife one day. And was hoping it’d be for him.

    I know it’s a lot to ask for but can someone please help me? Should I be friends with him or leave him alone? I love him with all my heart. We’ve known each other for four years went our seperate ways til now.

    • susan says:

      Hi;
      Sorry you are going through this. Hope you get this message. Don’t have much time to leave a message. My husband is depressed. Your boyfriend sounds depressed. It will hurt in the short term but it is not great being with someone who gets depressed. Be glad you don’t have kids with him and find someone who enjoys life.
      Leave him alone. He needs to find a way out.
      Susan

  20. Lauren says:

    5 years ago I was in an abusive relationship I was weak I stayed there cause I never thought u could get better etc… N I thought this was my life…. Alot of stuff hapoened and one day just snapped and ended it with him….. 7mths later I met a great guy that I worked with and he absolutely wined and dined me acknowledged me , communication was there trust everything I could possibly want….. Not knowing or realizing once things started to get serious I started becoming my ex not in a violent way it’s like rubbed off on me … Hard to explain , so my poor boyfriend had to cop alot of unwanted shit, all I wanted was his support and he could never understand y I was like this etc….. Anyways we finally got passed it but then I started worrying bout the relationship all the time, he started lying cause I was so insecure etc… I would go through his phone and found out he lied to me etc… So after that I know it was one lie but they kept continuing… I was so angry upset that he couldn’t tell me the truth… We broke up for five months but were still casually seeing each other… We’d have sex but the weirdest thing was everytime he’d go out with the boys the sex would be great the next day… That’s when I noticed he stopped looking at me during sex… I thought something was up…. We got back together and the sec was still going good… But then out of no where it’s gone it’s like on weekends now it’s once… He complains I want it to much just the whole rejection makes me upset he gets angry that I’m trying to force it its like when he’s only in the mood or when it suits him….. How can ppl change am I missing something, and now if I say something he doesn’t like he goes off the ricta scale … I’m lying here with tears rolling down my face, thinking when I want it there’s no passion or love it’s just like jump on then….. Help I need answers to this…….????

  21. H is for hope and happiness says:

    I’m 37 and my husband 36, we have a 8 year old boy and 3 year old twin boy and girl. We’ve been together for 17 years and married 11 years. 3 Weeks ago my husband told me he is depressed. He told me he feels dead inside and unhappy in himself. He is angry all the time and says he doesn’t know why. He told me he loves me and always will but has no affection towards me. He said we drifted apart and are different people now. I was shocked because I thought we were just going through a rough patch in our marriage but were still happy. He doesn’t talk to me or look at me He leaves early in the morning to go to work and comes home late at night. As soon as he walks in he is irritable with me and the children. He became a stranger overnight. Our kids realise something is going on and acts out, which only makes everything worse for him. I try and be as normal around the kids as much as possible. It felt like my whole world collapsed.

    One night as I was undressing my 3 year old son for his bath, he (my son) took my face in his little hands and said to me: “I can see it in your face.” Me a bit confused asked: “What do you see in my face?” He said:”I can see it when you’re sad” That just absolutely shocked me! It was as if an adult spoke to me. It was such an eye opener. I started doing research about depression. Everything became clear about my life. Thinking back, my parents probably both had depression and never got help for it. My sister and I grew up in a loveless home. I was unhappy as a child and teenager. I had lots of relationships trying to find happiness and love. I had a boyfriend who was very jealous and insecure for 3 years and met my husband in that time. He was so kind and soft hearted. And showed me what it was to be really loved. It was not love at first sight, but a friendship grew first before we fell in love with each other. (To him it was love at first sight). Back then I was quite the hot babe that every guy wanted. But I was so in love with him because he made me feel special and only had eyes for me. We were together for 6 years before he proposed to me. He said he took so long to ask because he wanted to make sure he’s doing the right thing and we both felt the same way about divorce. We don’t believe in it because of both our parents being divorced. We said we wanted to prove that happy marriages do exist and we can make our children grow up in a loving home. Back then he said that it is so easy to get divorced these days, when things don’t turn out the way we want and that a marriage is hard work. You have to work hard to make things work. Through the years all our friends and family said that we have the perfect marriage and they wish to be like us. They asked us our secret. We said communicating and always be mindful of the other persons feelings helps. Also to keep the flame of romance burning. We did all that.

    Everything was still fine after our firstborn, it was difficult to cope with this new edition to our lives, but we managed. Couple years later, I said we should try for another baby, he said he is happy with one because he is an only child. I have a sister and I wanted our son to have a sibling. (By the way, my sister and I had a brother who died when we were young, maybe that’s where our parents’ problems started). Anyway, we tried and I had a miscarriage. After that we struggled for a year before I fell pregnant again with the twins. My husbands grandmother was a twin. She died a month before our twins were born.

    What a difficult time for us when they were born! My husband fell ill in the week they were born, so my mother moved in with us. My husband moved into the spare bedroom and my Mom moved into our bed. She stayed with us for 4 months to help with the babies. She moved into the spare bedroom after the second week. My husband was absolutely wonderful in helping with the kids. Our problems started after my Mom left. I felt she was getting a bit too much for us. My husband started to go out with his friends, I let him because I thought he needed a break too from us. Couple of months afterwards I found a message on his phone from another woman. I confronted him and he told me SHE kissed him, that’s all.

    My trust in him was totally broken, I became depressed, because of my body changes. I was so insecure and I thought he didn’t love or want my body anymore. I only realise now that after all these years I have sucked him into my depression.

    I am seeing a therapist now to help me heal myself. I feel better about myself, I have lost weight through healthy eating and exercise. I can’t help him to get better, he must do it on his own. I will support him through everything and I still love him. He wants to move out but he says he doesn’t want to hurt me or the kids. It’s going to happen anyways so he might as well do it, even though I know it’s not him talking but his depression. He is the sole breadwinner. I don’t have a job or any skills, so I don’t know how I will support my kids when we do get divorced. All I know is that I just want happiness for our children and that they can grow up to be what they want to be and not what their parents have become.

    • One day at a time says:

      I so feel for you, but the first thing you need to do is stop beating yourself up over this. You say your husband was cautious in proposing because you both wanted to not fail at marriage yet he wants to walk away without even trying? Or really bringing you in to the decision? There are two sides to every story and I don’t think we are hearing the full side from him. My situation is quite similar to yours I’m 39 was married 17 years together 22 with two kids but my husbands depression brought around the end for us, he wanted to leave saying he no longer felt the same etc he loved me but wasn’t in love, and although I knew he was ill again (he’s has it twice before) it never occurred it was because of us. Everyone around us friends family etc were gob smacked because we were great together. He moved out in feb this year and even though it was heartbreaking and there have been lots if tears from both of us along the way, it was truly the best thing for me and our kids. I’ve got my happiness and fun back. My ex still has up and down days but he’s getting better and we are managing to be good friends. I have reflected a lot on what triggered this latest episode and it’s interesting you mention your husbands kiss as mine had a drunken kiss with a friend about two months before the depression became really noticeable and for me on reflection this was the beginning of the end. It completely killed my confidence and self esteem, I became the clingy wife who checked his phone. Something I had never dreamed of before. I don’t blame me I blame him it was his fault. Anyway I guess what I’m trying to say is I clung on for a long time believing that I couldn’t be happy without him and as the saying goes ‘ here I am being all happy and shit’. I wish you luck and hope my words offer some comfort that one day you will feel happier than even before xx

  22. Melinda KM says:

    As a wife of someone I’m sure is situationally depressed because he isn’t happy in our relationship (among other things), I don’t know what more I can do. I just think married life is not what he thought it was going to be (or at least married life with me) and he regrets it, but thinks he can’t dissolve our relationship for whatever reason. Not sure what the reason is for his hanging on – he’s not religious, etc. I’ve given him so many outs and even told him I didn’t think he was happy in our marriage, but he denies it and not convincingly. I’ve asked him to talk to someone – a counselor, anybody but me hoping he’d come to the conclusion he needs, and he refuses, saying he doesn’t need it. Sorry if I’m not convinced, but I have reason for it – I was situationally depressed in a relationship I didn’t want any longer and I exhibited some of the same exact signs. The depression went away once I ended the relationship. I don’t want to be the bad guy, but I’m tired of feeling bad about myself whenever I’m around him. I’m ready to leave. It’s just a matter of when. I mean, do you know how awful it feels to have your spouse unable to look at you? I’ve got other crises going on in my life right now that take priority over this so it has to take a backseat for now, but I will end my comment with this: men, if you’re unhappy in your relationship and your wife/girlfriend calls you on it, admit it and let her go. The sooner, the better. We will survive and are probably catching up to you in your level of misery anyway.

  23. jess says:

    hello, i feel terrible for the women who have been treated this way by their boyfriends or spouses. But here is my take on this. I have been depressed too for several years and last year was the worst. I suspect that my boyfriend started getting more depressed because of his emotionally abusive parents. He would disappear for weeks in communication and be very passive after that. This pattern began like in the last 2 years of our 5 year relationship. We went into ldr for last 3. Anyway, i was going crazy myself and alternated between sadness, rage, resentment and numbness towards his constant abandonement and excuses after all our efforts to stay together.

    I admit i cheated on him months ago as i got fed up. I never told him though. Anyway, the point is this. I broke up with him a few months ago when he told me he doesnt want to be in a relationship and only wants to meet up for sex. I was so angry and i put my foot down and told him to get lost for disrespecting us.

    I regret cheating on him but i dont regret leaving this toxic relationship. My depression got worse for months after the breakup but i kept reminding myself that i would never allow any man to ill-treat me again for whatever reason. I decided to seek help and i am still fighting to be stable.

    What i have realised is that love is beautiful and addictive. Also the need to not abandon the man we love so much. But lets face it, why should i let him blame me for his lack of accountability and his emotions. We may be designed to give like crazy and forgive all shit.

    I cant do it and i deserve better treatment. I have my own self-respect and refuse to let such men hurt me. I have already been abused in the past where i was truly powerless as a child.

    Ladies, you may love your man and hope he will again become the awesome man again. Dont drain your own life in the process of being a giver. Draw your boundaries or just leave. You are not betraying him because he is not the man you loved anymore anyway in this state. Protect yourself if you cant take it. There is no shame in that. This is for the gals in non-marriage and non-children state. I cant say a word for the others except

    “protect yourself, your life and your kids. it isnt you.”

    • Jenny says:

      I was living with a man for about a year. Known him for 6 yrs, dated for about 2. 1 month ago he walked out on me and our cutie little dog that he bought and once cherished. I understand where you’re coming from. It’s a traumatic experience to try and not take what these men say personally, but at the same time you can’t help it. For a month, I had hope that he would want to come back and be with me because I knew how much he loved me and wanted to have a life together. After meeting with him one time a week, i realize that it’s toxic (how you put it) and emotionally, mentally and even physically (since I can eat for days after these mtgs) draining. I met with him for what I plan to be the last time, yesterday, and decided that I have to move on because this person is not the same. It’s as if someone cast a spell on him and he became an evil version of who he was. Because he was an amazing, loving, funny man. Now he’s the opposite on every account. The longer I “hope” and stay open to the possibility of this relationship, the more hurt I’ll be and the less chance we would ever have in fixing things (though that’s not even an option at this point, seems like). Furthermore, the more we meet, the worse it is for him too. He’s a mess and tells me how tough this is for him but is so lost in who he is and life altogether that he wants me to move on. Depression is a brutal, real thing if someone doesn’t have control over their mental health and can ruin lives. I don’t recommend anyone get involved with people that aren’t mature when it comes to mental control. I agree it’s harder and much more complicated when there are wives and kids in the mix, but still believe no one should have to take the mental illness on of another person. You’ll kill yourself trying to.

  24. Becci says:

    I’m not sure if this is a misplaced comment, but thought I would write just in case it offers any comfort for those on this site.

    About a year ago, I was desperately searching for answers as to why my depressed boyfiend had left and clinging to any hope he would return – asking everyone and anyone if they thought he would come back to me. For 6 months I spoke not barely a word to him, he would exchange only emails after me gut wrenchingly and bravely, asking for some sort of finalisation (with the hope he would say he didn’t want it finalised) I just wanted him back and I didn’t care how. But he was so far sunk into his depression that he couldn’t see what he was doing to me. He cared about no one – himself mostly.

    We met up and he looked ill, thin and awful. I had planned to travel oz and we agreed to keep in contact. He was still ill but more receptive to ideas. I got him a counsellors number and HE made the call.

    Since then I have come back from oz, we are back together and he is ten times the man he was before. He is wise and emotionally intelligent and his depression has gone – although there’s always a ? over it coming back again.

    I just wanted to give you hope, I wanted you beautiful ladies (& gents)on here to know that there is hope if you want it – but that doesn’t mean you have to wait. It can feel like you’re battling with some dark force, which you are. Depression is not the man you know, don’t blame yourself. Stay strong.

    • Liz says:

      I just wanted to say thank you. Your post gave me hope and made me not feel so alone. My boyfriend of 5 years just left me because he is battling depression. I feel so lost at how to handle all of this. Your encouraging words helped so much!!

      • Melinda KM says:

        Liz, please take it from me – you’re noble to be so committed to your boyfriend, but don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. For whatever the reason — depression or not — he left you. Period. Sorry to be blunt, but you must understand that. Someone who is right for you will not leave you. It may not be his fault or he may need to find himself or get help, but no matter the reason, you’re left out in the cold in this situation and you don’t deserve that. You don’t have to blame him, etc., but you may have to accept that you must move on and let him follow the path meant for him. We all have our own paths to follow which means we might have to say some hard good-byes. Good luck.

        • Jenny says:

          I don’t believe there is reason to stop hoping that a person that once deeply loved you who is suffering a mental illness will come back – esp if the relationship wasn’t the trigger. What I will say is that you still have to move on with your life. You can’t spend time thinking, worrying, etc. He has to get through this on his own because that’s the road he chose. If he comes back and your heart is open to him, great. But, I recommend starting the healing process w or w/o him.

    • Better life? says:

      Hi-

      So I just read the 3 parts to this topic and I thought they were excellent! I now have a better understanding of why men leave. However, one thing I’d like to know more about is, what usually happens when they do leave for their ‘better life?’

      My soon-to-be ex husband has been depressed the 8 years we were together and I’ve watched it get progressively worse. He went through an ‘episode’ 5 months ago and told me he no felt the same about me and didn’t think he was ever happy with me. Things went downhill fast from there. He was soon blaming me for his depression and verbally abusing me and that’s when I got out.

      Our house is now going on the market next week and we’ll soon be filing for divorce. This all came about though after he went on a business trip to Ireland. He said being in Ireland was the best he’s ever felt in his life and he didn’t experience his depression or anxiety while he was there.

      He’s now making plans to move to Ireland (from the states) for work after our divorce is final and I suspect that there is another woman there waiting for him as well. So, new life, new woman, new country and same job but in a different location. B/c I’ve watched him suffer from depression for so long, I don’t think moving to Ireland is the answer.

      So I’m curious about what happens after they leave? Will they feel happy for a while but then when things get routine or settled feel depressed again? Does anyone have any experience with this?

      Thanks!

      • Faire says:

        I think the depression will be on the back-burner for a while till the novelty wears off, then he will be even more depressed because he will be away from people who truly know him and understand him and because he will realise that nothing has really changed and he has thrown everything away for nothing. On top of it all he will also feel guilt over what he has done.

        My husband left me for his childhood sweetheart and ‘true love’ and they are no longer together because reality set in and he is very depressed and hopeless, and feels very guilty. I feel bad for him but what can I do – it was his choice and there’s no going back.

    • Yvonne says:

      I believe you are right but it hurts how do you walk away knowing he is depressed my guy have 7 months sober , wife passed after 17 years leaving two girls now 17 and 11 that he decided to keep our relationship is 4 years. He recently told me he does not want to be in a relationship, he has never been alone jump to quick in ours, feeling the urge to cheat and has a lady in mind. i know my question is stupid how do i get over it. Help I feel I going into fepression

      • Yvonne says:

        Hello John and friends I now think I am In the wrong sections I have read many posts and book passages and still need help and understanding if i should walk or be the push to maintain. My guy was there for me when I lost job everyday let me in his life wife died after a 17 year relationship leaving 2 girls now age 17 and 11 I helped him he helped me. We are best friends I know everything even the relationships he had when he was with his wife, him wanting to leave her feeling he got into a relationship too young in life he was 19.
        Here is the kicker. He was drinking the entire time 1/2 of his life 4 years with me . now 40 he is sober after 7 mos I was there for the bottom and helped. Now he sees clearly and states he is depressed about now feeling guilty about her death, not being there for his children , they are with him he kept them one of my reasons for helping, being in a relationship to young, jumping on one with me. He says he must find him self, don’t want to be in a relationship at all, answer to no one, feeling the urge to be with another women and have a women in mind oh the last don’t feel the same about me the I love you dearly everyday and me saying the same has stopped .
        Is he depressed or for the first time he is truly on his own and wants to spread his wing (he told me that). What happen with me we were perfect I gave him every encouragement to be who you want to be even bought him a tattoo he wanted. Help me I feel like my heart is breaking into two I can’t move

  25. loving someone who doesn't love himself says:

    My husband left me and our children. He was in a deep depression for about 6 months. We finally got him help and he decided that he was not happy living his life with me and the children. We have been married for 20 years. He ran away. He was not honest about leaving. He was angry and said that we trapped him in this life and blamed me for everything wrong that ever happened to him. When I tried to talk to him it just turned into him spewing venom and lies about me. It has been a year now. We don’t know where he lives. He has tried to change his entire life. He has moved a few times, changed jobs, bought a new car, new wardrobe. He comes and goes as he feels. He claims he is the happiest he has ever been but he looks awful. He does not act like a man who is happy. He can’t see how his decisions have affected us. He thinks we all should just accept this and continue on.
    He has since stopped receiving help. It didn’t seem to matter as it turns out he was not exactly honest with his counsellor and was twisting what she was working with him to justify his actions. I am finding it hard to maintain the status quo. I want to help him but he needs to want help first. My children waver between being so angry to so worried. He is a good man. One day he loves me and the next he wants no accountability. I am lost….

    • Monica says:

      Thank you for this blog, reading this has been great for me. It may seem like ‘misery loves company’, but I am glad that I am not the only one with this weird, dramatic, crazy life! I have put up with my husband’s depression for 14 years and it is so draining! He has a history of depression, lots of drinking, physical abuse here and there. He has even managed to turn this around and say he hates me and is divorcing me! The nerve! My story is as bad as everyone’s here, sad and depressive. My husband is in a state of denial, has blocked our kids and I from calling him, acts erratic, has started making these crazy facial expressions at me, the list goes on! It has been hell for me and the kids these past six months. He abandoned us, we had to drive cross-country to live in another state and were homeless for 2 months and he knew we had no home. It is unbelievable that I have lived with this man and presently I have no idea who he is! He got all hot and horny over a young woman in my own home, then denied it, then I found evidence in his computer that my suspicions were true. He tried to reverse this situation by telling me that I was making him feel guilty and from there on, he continued with his depression even more intensely, became erratic. I am so tired and fed up with his crap. I’ve had it!. I have been such a damn good woman to this man. I cook, clean, take care of the kids, do laundry, take kids places and to their activities, I handle all kinds of problems the kids may have, I take cars to dealerships, take kids to doctor appointments, do grocery shopping, I hold down the fort when he has volunteered so many times to go to war overseas! He has 2 masters degrees already and he says he is tired of me! He is depressed everyday and everyday I have counseled him and consoled him. I have done all of those things for love, because I love my family, but I have been betrayed by such a “man” and I say that loosely. He became so depressed over this woman, he didn’t give a crap about his family! It is such a sad situation. My life seems over, I have no joy, no happiness in my heart. I am blah. This situation has made me so depressed, it is terrible to have no joy in you.

  26. Andrea says:

    Hello-
    You write from a context exclusively of depressed men. I am a 41 yr old woman that has suffered from depression since childhood and in the last 5 yrs it has become major depression, and just finding out about it after reaching rock bottom a few months ago. I have envisioned a future on my own for the last 4 yrs and have started working to put a plan in motion in the last 3 months as a fantasy that i will finally be happy and alone to be who I am. I have 3 children age 9 and younger and want them with me, but honestly look forward to equal custody arrangements with my spouse to have opportunities to be completely alone. On top of all of this I am suffering intense isolation at work with colleagues reacting by gang harassing me, maybe to get any kind of interaction or reaction from me. In my situation I have created I have no one to turn to, bc if I turn to my spouse as he desires it undoes all the work I have done to isolate from him. I read this post and all your others and recognize myself in so many of them. Reaching out to people is excruciatingly difficult to me because I think no one wants to be burdened and that I’m so self centered its all about me. And I see that when I put myself on the outside looking in.

    I just wanted to let you know that what you describe in this post is not exclusive to men. I just found your website today and it is such an eye opener.

  27. Scott says:

    Adding my experience, twice I thought of leaving once I acted on it, the first time I thought the grass is greener on the other side of the fence theory, this prompted me to seek different help, (side note, my physician commit suicide at around the same time so must have been dealing with somethings themselves) I kept my family together due to their support and even though we had issues love never left the relationship so allowed us to keep the family together. Now 6 years later and much more experienced in fighting and dealing with my depression I find myself wanting to leave again now thinking that they would be better off without me because of all the pain I cause as I fight through my worst battle in 6 years.

    • K says:

      Scott, I’m sorry that you are suffering so badly. Can I ask what type of help you are getting for your depression?

      It’s lovely to know that your family are supportive and that ‘love never left the relationship’ and I’m sure that they would be devastated if you left them. If you take a look at the Depression Fallout message board forums, you will see that there are so many spouses/partners who are in pain due to their depressed loved ones leaving or isolating themselves from them. There are also posts from depressed spouses/partners telling their stories and trying to give advice to others. I hope it helps you in some way.

      Keep fighting!

  28. Norma says:

    Hi There,

    It is so great to read all this stories. Three years ago i found out my husband was cheating on me. After I confronted he denied everything, I forgave him. Six months later I find out he is cheating again, up to today he still cheats. Every time I confront him he denies it. I have read the dirty messages he sends. He is 45 yrs old and abuses alcohol. He holds a full time job as RN. He is currently suffering from ED. I believe because of his ED he has become a very depressed man. He abuses of me verbally every day. We have three children and have been married for 22yrs. My kids friends dont want to hang out with them anymore because of him. He is verbally abusive to everybody who passes his way. I honestly dont know what to do anymore, part of me wants to leave him but the other part feels so sorry for him. I know if I leave him his depression will get worse. He has no friends because the friends he had dont wanna be around him because of verbal abuse. He recently at a church function started verbally abusing me in front of our church friends (i was so embarrassed). Now our friends dont talk to us anymore. He says he Loves me and does not know what is happening to him. I beg him to get help but he says im the crazy one not him.

  29. Kelly says:

    WOW. I thought I was the only spouse going through something. I am so gutted right now. Recently my fiance snapped on my 11 year old daughter. she became his target after a tonne of stress in our lives. He went into a rage. Normally I can handle his moods but this time he went to far. Even to the point that I had called a friend to get away for the weekend. AS I was packing up my 11 yr old and my 7 month old ( who is ours together who he absolutely loves and is an incredible father as it released a new sense of joy to him) He heard us making noises upstairs so he screamed “do you want to hear some noise” He revved a chainsaw. Now I normally would just say WOW thats a bit too far but my daughters were here and the look in my oldests face was clearly a “make the call ” face. I called the police. He was arrested and went to jail for 2 weeks. He is out now but not permitted to be in our house ( which is under his name and has already been on the market for 6 months because we found our dream home up north and were looking forward to moving) Hes not permitted to have contact with me or the girls until Jan. He is missing out on our daughters first christmas. I am gutted that he reacted this way because I am the one struggling now. He has recently called teh realtor to reduce the price for a quick sale( I spoke with a lwyer and I get nothing from this except child support) Alls I want is to reconcile and help him through his treatment but he has shut the world out and he wont communicate with anyone. I just want to be with him and i feel so lost. I am having a hard time coping because we were having this baby together and now I’m a single mom of 2 that will be homeless. I feel so lost. How can I get through to him that we can get through this? what do i do?

  30. tina says:

    Hi,

    My ex fiance of 7 years dumped me in 1 week,
    we had been having alot of problems because of the last 2 and a half years long distance and his parents are pure evil,caused us alot of problems,he supported me and stood up for me,but i couldnt get over the depression,and no matter how much we tried i would keep on having nervous breakdowns because of his parents and i would remention every wrong thing he did to me throught out the 7 years.we were planning our wedding…and he told me that he just cant tolerate the drama anymore,and i wasnt making him feel loved and im too distant all i do is talk about the wedding and his parents,and he is so depressed from all of this,he doesnt feel the same anymore,and he knows with the current circumstances things wont change,i asked him to give me a shot but he said we both know ill end up doing the same nervous break down again.he just wanted out,alth in our previous years we only broke up once briefly,and he wanted me back,he would never ever tolerate being away fro me…but at this point he wanted to leave.so i said fine,he kind of cried towards the end,and when we were saying our goodbyes and wished each other the best,he kind of freaked out when we said all will become memories and he said i will always have hope we will get back together when the time is right. what does that mean,was it a reaction of guilt,bcz it doesnt make sence if he says he no longer feels the same,why would he want to have the hope to get back.he never contacted me after that call,nor his shitty parents he ddnt contact my parents either.he deactivated facebook,and basically disapeared. he loved me from the age of 19 till the age of 26….will he ever forget me…and what was he thinking..i mean yes we were both unhappy with the relation,and it would have carried alot of problems to the futur with me hating hid parents….but what is he thinking! im not sure if he found someone,or cheated,or was simly depressed,i dont know! 15 days after the breakup it was my birthday,he emailed me,said he was thinking alot about me and he misses me,and he hopes next year if its meant to be we would be together! what the hell! is he saying this to keep me attached because hes simply selfish!

    I am handeling this much better than i thought i will,but im just wondering whats going through his mind.
    ps: i was 18 years old when we started together,im 25 now. he is a year older than me…we were both the first serious relation for each other

  31. Anne says:

    This is great insight. I hope and pray my husband reads this.

  32. scared-n-confused says:

    I have been married to my husband for almost 13 years, but have been together for 15 years. We have 2 kids together. My husband is in the military, meaning he deploys a lot and we move around a lot. I was only 18 years old when we got married. 6 years agao I found out he cheated on me, I chose to forgive him and stay with. Then 2 years later I found out he had cheated on me again, this time I found out years after it had happen so I figured we made it this far and I can forgive him again. Well a year ago I found out he was talking to this girl on the computer. Once again I let it go and forgave him. This past June he came back from a short deployment and said he wanted a seperation. I went along with it. He blamed it on me and said he’s tired of feeling like I dont want to be with him, I shw no effecton, or passion towards him. I did have issues when it came to having sex. So I excepted the blame and got the help I needed. In July I found out the real reason he wanted to be seperated, he had a girlfriend he had met on deployment. Over the summer we spent a lot of time together and decided to work things out. So we moved to a new duty station, which has been a very hard move for us. Well 2 days ago I found out he had cheated on me back in February while he was deployed again. I confronted him and he admitted it. I was ready to take the kids and leave, but after talking with him for hours and hours I’m not sure what I want to do, or better yet what I should do. He says he wants us to work on things but then there are days where he wants to be by himself. He says he loves me and will always love me. He finally admitted it was never my fault for why he cheated. He doesn’t understand why he does it. He tells himself he won’t do it anymore then he turns around and does it again. He says he doesnt know what he wants anymore, but at the same time he doesn’t want me to leave. I can’t keep doing this. I think I need a break from him, but I’m afraid to do it. He is a great father, and despite the cheating he has been a great husband. He has been my best friend for 15 yrs. We don’t even yell at each other. We are always able to talk through things and be there for each other. I think he needs professional help, but with his job and what he believes he will never get it. What do I do? When do you know it’s time to leave and how do you do it? I really do want to see him happy, with or without me.

  33. grace says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been married to my husband for 7 months. We dated 5 years, he is 25 and I’m 29. We have been up and down our whole.marriage as now I.realize he may be suffering from depression. He works as a prison guard from 10 pm to 6 am and works every weekend for.the past two years. Two months ago after some knock down drag outs and me being super emotional he told me his heart wasn’t in it and he felt numb, not just about me but everything. Said he felt rushed to marry and he could not give me anything emotionally because he had no.emotions left. But he never physically left, just said he was confused and that some of his needs were being neglected.
    Said he honestly didn’t want anyone else and didn’t want back in the single world and backed it up with his actions (didn’t stay gone away from.home or.out to bars)

    So although hurt and insecure, I worked at taking care of myself mentally and physically and tried to.start meeting the needs he states. Things turned around a whole lot for about a.month, he said so himself. However I began feelings tired of giving when he wasn’t doing much in return. I called him on this a week ago and he quickly reminded me of how he was feeling numb and coildnt give me.what I need right now. It turned into another fight and he left for work.without speaking.

    I lost my cool.and texted him to not come.back to this house and how cruel I thought he was. He responded by saying the whole spiel of I can’t do this anymore, hearts not in it, we are in two different places, etc. Next morning I calledand apologized and said I was just angry and didn’t mean it. I asked if he meant what he said and he said yes. He has been at his parents house for a week now, contacting.me here and there but now only a text a day. He is super withdrawn and parents say he isn’t going out and won’t tell.them what’s going on. He has a psychiatrist appt in two days so he is wanting help.

    My dillema is whether he is saying a lot of this out of depression or just can’t handle the stress of conflict at this time. Or if he truly wants out. If he texts me he is miffed when I don’t respond but if I initiate an I love u text or an im here for u text he won’t respond. Is the no contact rule best here? He wants to be alone but is prob clinically depressed. Need advice, struggling because a husband shouldn’t be gone from.home like.this and I feel like one wrong .move on my part may Make or break us

  34. Lost&Confused says:

    Within the past week I found out my husband was cheating on me again. This is the second time in the last two years. I was ANGRY, to say the least. I reacted badly, very badly. I screamed, threw things, told him to move out. He actually started crying and because I couldn’t see through my anger, I blurted out a “What the HELL are YOU crying for?”. Now that I have gone past this (and believe me, I am not proud it ever happened) I have realized This is not my husband. For a long time now, every time I have confronted some sort of bad behavior on his part, he’s sworn he’s done nothing wrong. But now he is crying and telling me he hates himself. One day he’s telling me he doesn’t love me – he wants a divorce. The next day he tells me he has “Feelings” for me and doesn’t know what he wants. We have been together 11 years and married for 8. I want to help him, I’ve told him that I think he needs to be evaluated for his sake, and the kid’s sake. I suspect he has depression, but we will not know that for sure until he’s seen a doctor. As angry as I was and as much as I really did want him to go, I couldn’t make him leave. So now, we are living in this VERY uncomfortable situation. I am trying to be as normal as possible, but after everything I don’t know if he’s glad i’m talking to him or wishing i’d fall off the face of the earth at that very moment. I am not a nervous person by nature, but this is abosultely driving me crazy and it’s not even been an entire week. I love him, I want to help him. But he is blaming me – saying i’m controlling. I asked him to point out exactly how I control him, but he couldn’t respond to that. I do not check his phone, ask him where he is at all times, tell him where he can go, how much money he can spend etc. I do handle the money, which he likes to micromanage and I have offered it over to him a dozen times in the last six months. He has had serious issues with control over me in the past, for example about 6 years ago he made me quit my job and move to another city or he was going to divorce me. He has not wanted me to work since then, and now is pushing me to get a job. I am suspicious that all has been because he wants to walk out on me feeling less guilty. I am lost, confused and feel like I am living with a stranger. These are very foreign emotions to me as I have always been pretty sure about where my life is at and where it’s going. He has always been a guy who has had trouble talking about his feelings. There are things I want to say, like that I am proud of him, that I love him and apologize for reacting so badly to all of this – but I haven’t the slightest clue if he wants to hear it. If I even happen to glance at him at this point, his response is “What?”. I feel like i’m living in an alternate universe, any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi –

      I wouldn’t start blaming yourself for having gotten angry – or imagining that what you have and haven’t said is driving his behavior. You write that he has been cheating on you, lying to you, asking for a divorce, refusing to talk about his feelings and refusing to check with a doctor to see if depression might have something to do with the way he is feeling. Getting angry is a natural reaction. It’s a way of responding to a serious threat to your well-being. If you don’t set some boundaries for him in the way he behaves in your marriage, I think you will continue to suffer and be at the mercy of whatever he feels like doing. He has to take responsibility for his actions and for dealing with depression, if that is at the heart of what is happening. My wife told me that I had to get treatment or risk losing the marriage – that was years after my problems had started disrupting our relationship and after she had gotten to her own breaking point. There have to be some consequences for acting destructively in a relationship, or things just continue to go downhill. There might well be good periods when he feels better and expresses more love to you, but that can disappear just as fast with his changing moods. Depressed partners often go back and forth in talking about divorce and avoid making a decision. His getting treatment and/or seeking the help of a marriage counselor who understands the effects of depression on relationships could be the opportunity for turning things around. You also need all the support you can get.

      John

      • Lost&Confused says:

        He saw a psychiatrist last Tuesday. They diagnosed him as Clinically Depressed and prescribed Effexor XR. He says he is already feeling better. He is having more conversations with me (of the everyday variety) and acting more like he did before all this started. I told him it can not happen again, no matter the reason. (Not the depression, the cheating) and that he will have to make a decision. One way or another. I am hoping for the best outcome but a part of me is still preparing for him to leave. I am currently working on finding a therapist for myself to help me cope with these feelings. Thank you soo much for your reply. I have found your blog to be extremely comforting in knowing im not alone in this.

    • Maggie says:

      I found myself in exactly the same position as you. At the time of your post I was living at my parents with my two children. For two years I’d tried to support my husband while he lied, had online relationships (he won’t admit to anything more than that) he was angry and blamed me for everything no matter how small, if he lost his keys I’d moved them and it would be a major thing. It had gotten to the point me and the children were walking on egg shells not daring to speak or make noise so we didn’t stress him out. Then after discovering another lie and confronting him by text was the only way he would communicate honestly with me he end our 22 year relationship by text. He told me I had to leave. I had so many emotions going on I thought I was going mad , first was guilt how could I allow my husband to be on his own when he is so ill. Then worthless because he’d been talking to other woman (who when I spoke to them said they were helping him with his depression). I was angry at myself for allowing him to treat so badly. I’d got to a point where I was doing everything and anything to try and keep him happy forgiving things I shouldn’t my self esteem was at an all time low. I was angry at him for getting ill and not fighting to keep our family together. Lastly at the one I’m most shamed to admit is relief, to be free from living in such a negative confusing environment. I never would have left because I’m too loyal and I really wanted to help, I loved the man he once was. Now 7 months on me and the children live in our own place. The children (12 & 14) have shared their experience of living in a house with someone who has depression and it is damaging to the children. They are happier and don’t what us all to live together again. Our home is full laughter teasing, sibling rivalry, singing, dancing, arguments everyone is free to be who they are. I can only hope this will repair the damage done by the depression. My youngest sees his dad every other weekend my eldest wont have any contact with him she doesn’t miss the negativity and she feels nervous and scared to be around him. We are getting a divorce I am not interested in another relationship I feel it’s important for myself and my children to live a simple uncomplicated life. I hope this reply won’t be met to negatively I know maybe I sound heartless I’m not trying to encourage others to walk away. But I will say as parents we must protect our children from damage if that means not living together that’s what has to be done. I’ve also learnt just because you love someone does not mean you can treat badly and just because you love someone does mean you have to keep accepting it.

  35. julie says:

    Just an update 7 weeks later, I found that my ex fiance has been communicating and reconciling with his ex from 3yrs previous for the last 5 weeks.. She has a lot of issues herself and their relationship was very dysfunctional, full of rows abuse etc. Ours was solid, stable and the complete opposite. I am very confused still, I still love him and want to reach out but he doesn’t want me. Not sure where I go from here

  36. Julie says:

    Hi Suzanna. I’m so sorry he’s done this to you. As you may have read my man has done the same. You probably won’t like what I would suggest for you though as you love him but here it goes… because you have only been together a few short months I would run for the hills. Did he leave that ex relationship and take one up with you quite quickly? as you may be the rebound girl.. I might be wrong but if thats the case you need to run and not look back. Go out with your friends and remember who you was before him. You love him but you don’t need him, you haven’t been together long enough to depend on him for anything.

    He is probably finding your loyalty and commitment worrying because of the length of time you’ve been together. Take a step back, don’t text him, you have no reason to. If he feels the same way he will come back to you but move on as if he isn’t. Men like woman, want something they can’t have so make yourself a life outside of him x

    • Suzanna says:

      Hi Julie

      Thanks. They have been split over a year and a half but had slept together at Christmas. We spent a year getting together with other commitments we just could get together so when we did we both fell hard and fast. If I could just get rid of this heartache I could get on but the mixed signals are messing with my head so much

  37. Suzanna says:

    I really need help don’t know what to do I’m lost

  38. Julie says:

    Thanks for your reply John. We have cut all contact for now.. with our son too because he is 3 weeks into treatment and thinks there isn’t much wrong with him really despite a therpist giving him treatment 3 times a week too! He doesn’t want to talk to anybody or see anybody, he’s turned his phone off for a while and said to contact his mom if we need anything! He is cutting himself off from the world and the people that love him. He still insists he doesn’t love me or want to be with me. I still find it incredible because I know the decent man he is. I just can’t see him right now.
    I believe it’s going to get worse for him now before he gets better, I am leaving the door open for him but need to concentrate on my children for now and just pray he wants to come home when he’s feeling better so if this ever happens again we’ve both learnt a lesson and can see the signs in future.

  39. Suzanna says:

    Please help
    My boyfriend of a few months broke up with me as he is depressed over a past bad relationship and recent miscarriage not with me. We met and talked he is finding it very tough dealing with things but I love him so much. I told him I would wait for him to sort it out and just text him now and again admittedly I get frightened when he doesn’t reply and panic and text again. He tells me how special I am and he’s lucky to have me. But I don’t know what to do he says he doesn’t want to lead me on and set me up for a fall and my commitment is worrying to him. When we are together everything is brilliant but he goes away and freaks out. His ex is the source of his stress but is still in contact with her.

  40. karen says:

    John, also I was reading through some of teh comments and it seems to hit men more than women..is this true?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Karen –

      The statistics say that twice as many women as men get depression, but I have to question that. There are so many men who will never mention depression or even be aware of the possibility that I believe the prevalence with men is understated.

      John

  41. Allie says:

    Hey,

    My boyfriend suffers from depression. It was amazing to find this article and relate his actions to what you said. Recently we broke up and I really didn’t understand what happened. He was all for working it out for months but recently he just gave up. I just didn’t get it. Reading this I see it was his way of finding solace, even though he won’t find it without help. I just don’t understand what to do. I want him back but I don’t want to cause any damage. He has pretty moderate depression, he has good days and bad days. It kills me when just the day before we broke up we were holding each other and saying how much we loved each other, making plans for the future, etc. Then the next day he just decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. I told him it came to his feelings for me and if he thought it was worth it. He said he had feelings for me but he didn’t think is was worth it. So i told him that if he couldn’t tell me yes then he was obviously leaning more towards no. He agreed and I told him then it was done. What happened? In the last few weeks he just gave up. He wouldn’t talk to me I guess hoping it would either go away or it would get worse like it did and he would be done. He never talked to me about what was wrong, how can we to expect to fix anything if we didn’t communicate. We worked so hard to build our relationship and did so much to make it work. But obviously something changed. It’s like he let all the little things build up till he couldn’t take it anymore and decided he didn’t want to deal with it. I refuse to believe he didn’t have any feelings for me or why would he keep it up for so long? But how could he just give up. What happened?

    Allie

    • karen says:

      Allie, you are def not alone in this. It’s such a common occurrence and you mustn’t blame yourself. My partner and I were together for 10 years…I moved thousands of miles to be with him and up until a week before he withdrew we were just as close as ever. then he just stopped comminicating or talking or eating. It was esp horrible as his friends and workmates said he was just fine when he was with them. I came to learn that it’s common for those with depression to blame those closest to them…external things rather than address the problems within. After 4 months of me just taking care of hima nd making siure he ate and showered he finally said more than 2 words to me…those words being that he didn’t think he loved me anymore and he was moving. He did finally go to the doctor and get some anti-depressants but doesn’t think he needs talk therapy. He decided he would move out and see how he felt…to see if the time away helped. Then on the morning he left as he was going out the door he suggested I looked upon this as us breaking up. After weeks of me being on teh floor and not underatnding and crying everyday I finally got him to actually speak out loud some of teh things he thought were wrong with our relationship…and as is common and as you know they were all petty things that people in a relationship should talk about and nothing taht would break up a loving couple. It’s been 6 months since he left and I still cry and I still iss him and because there is no proper closure it is hard to move on. i have come to realize that there was nothing else I could have done. I held him when he cried and left him alone when he didn’t speak and I encouraged him when he needed it. He was and indeed still is the love of my life and my heart thinks one day he will come back but meanwhile my brain tells me to just keep going and live. Depressed people sometimes become people we don’t now…they stop doing the things they used to like and it is as if they become a totally different person. Sometimes they aren’t thinking logically and often they are very selfish…my partner tells me that he doesn’t understand it but it feels like teh right thing to do…but to me it’s like he threw teh baby out with the bathwater and abandoned the only person that understood him(me!). I hope that your boyfriend gets better and you can work things out. Look after yourself.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Allie –

      Depression is an effective killer of feelings. Even if you think you’re just slightly depressed or think you’re fine, you’re quite capable of walking out on your closest relationships. Nothing seems to matter, though some people convince themselves that the relationship is at fault, and they need someone new to spark real love again. They keep thinking that an external change of some kind will bring life back, but it’s more the case that depression has blunted the ability to feel very much beyond short-term excitement and highs. What your boyfriend is going through right now may have little to do with his feelings for you since they might not be very accessible to him. It’s not so much that he’s just given up on you as that depression has made it hard for him to feel much and could well have left him deeply confused about his feelings. Depression is doing the damage, and there wouldn’t be an harm in your assuring him of your love and support. I have a post called How Can You Communicate after your depressed partner leaves – no easy answers there but a few ideas that might help.

      All my best —

      John

  42. Julie says:

    Long post so I can fill you in on the details but here it goes.

    My fiance ‘D’ when he was 20 met a girl, had sex a couple of times but. the relationship wasn’t going anywhere and he broke it off. She then revealed she was pregnant so they tried again, didn’t live together until baby was born but 2 weeks in his anxiety got too much and he left. He didn’t love the mother and felt overwhelmed by the baby. The child is 7 now and he is a great dad, always has her weekly, regular and pays for her.

    Now!
    We met 3 years ago. I have 2 daughters from a previous. We fell completely in love. He was romantic, affectionate, everything a girl could dream of after a 7yr violent relationship with an ex. He restored my faith in men and we have been soooo happy.
    Last year by accident I fell pregnant whilst using contraception. We knew D’s anxiety was going to resurface but thought we would deal with it as it happens.

    We had a beautiful baby boy in February this year. Perfect! We had the 3 girls between us and now this little boy.
    About a week after D broke down crying in my arms, said he don’t think he could be a good father and believed himself unable to do it. i reassured him he was doing great and we moved on.
    When our boy reached 4months I noticed D was sliding downhill. He was getting migrains, palpatations, palms sweating, couldn’t sleep, feelings of guilt, feelings all he did was work and look after kids, nothing was fun anymore.. missed our old life. Loved our son dearly but missing the time we used to have together. His mum would babysit for us once a week so we could have ‘us’ time and it was great. D would be so more relaxed, happy and affectionate with me.

    We had one bad week, he was quiet, distant and tired. He went to work and never came home. He is now sleeping on his mums sofa he said he didn’t feel any love for me anymore and hadn’t felt it for a couple of weeks and had been thinking of leaving for a couple of days because he can’t relax around me or baby.
    He is now 11days into strong anti depressants, beta blockers and sedatives to help him sleep. He is also having cognitive behavioural therapy 3 times a week to begin cos he’s that bad.

    I have tried everything to get him home but he wont because he can’t relax around us right now and because he doesn’t love me. I have told him he turned the love switch off and it will come back on but he isn’t so sure and worried if he comes home and gets better and STILL doesn’t love me then we are back to square one.

    Saying this he is keeping in regular touch and visiting us 2-3 times a weeks for several hours to try integrate back into homelife. I keep breaking down and begging him home cos i can’t stand it without him. We was supposed to be getting married in 3 months time! I am trying my best to be normal around him so there isn’t any pressure but I’m terrifed of losing him :-(
    Help!

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Julie –

      This must be a frightening time for you as well as for your partner. There’s a lot going on that I can’t pretend to sort out, but D sounds like he’s in a generally confused and alternately fearful and unfeeling state. Whatever he says about his feelings for you in the midst of a severe depression, panic attacks and the effects of the antidepressants and sedatives, is more likely the result of his condition than an accurate reflection of his relationship with you. It’s great that he’s getting intensive therapy, but all the treatment takes a lot of time to work. It does happen that men get postpartum depression as well as women, and something about birth clearly triggers a crisis. It might help you to try some counseling as well to sort through all the anguish and hurt this trauma is causing you. It might give you some help in how to talk with him when he does visit as well as try to find a little inner peace of your own during a trying time.

      All my best to you —

      John

  43. Becci says:

    Dear John,

    I will try to keep this as short as possible,

    My boyfriend of two years left the town where he and I lived to move back home with his parents. He had been suffering from depression before I met him and when we got together he said that the relationship had ‘brought him out of it’ he used me as an inspiration to stop smoking cannbis, come off his medication and try and sort his life out slightly (none of which I asked him to do). We clearly adored each other for so long, then last August we broke up for a month. During that period, I was a mess but I got on with things – yet he slipped back into his depression. When he came back to me, he was begging, crying, didnt know how to live without me and I took him back in a heartbeat because I was lost without him.

    In the months following (6 in total) the relationship suffered, he seemed to get more and more depressed, his business was going down the pan, he felt like a failure as he always seemed to do for as long as i remember. He started using cannabis again and sleeping all the time, not eating, not engaging in anything, he was like a zombie. He would react so badly when I got upset, as if the sight of me crying made him angry or under pressure. I was losing who I was and it all got so horrible in the last month or so. He told me he was leaving town, moving back home a month before he was due to leave – he said he wanted to make things work but he needed to know what he wanted to do for himself and to find himself…yet he was becoming increasingly distant and wouldnt even say goodbye to me when he left. His eyes were dead. He would cry every now and then and then would stare into space. Nothing there. He had told me on numerous occasions that I was the one, that he had never felt like this for anyone else – but he couldnt say goodbye because it was all too much.

    Anyway, we met a week later, decided we needed to learn who we were as separate people in order to hopefully make the relationship work again in the future, but to keep in contact. However, at the same time, his mother who was already suffering with cancer had been told that her secondary cancers had grown, that she would need to have a life threatening operation. My ex went into lockdown, cut me off completely and has since old me he felt nothing and thought of nothing but his mum – which I understand, because I cannot imagine being in that situation. I did not speak to him for 2/3 months. I was in hospital, and was devestated when he didnt come down to see me, but his mum was very sick – and he did text me asking if i was ok, he seemed concerned.

    Anyway, his mum is now in recovery and my ex and I are beginning to speak but only via email. This comes from me saying that I needed to get closure, to move on, because I was (and still am) breaking my own heart longing for a man that I dont know if I have lost. I didnt really mean that I wanted closure, but I just needed to know where I stood. He has refused to meet up with me, insisting that he needs to make all contact via email at first, and then we will meet up. He says in his emails that he has never felt so low, dejected, lost – he even sounds resentful towards his parents because his ‘advice goes unheeded’. Bottom line is he feels like a failure, I dont know why, I think he is the most beautiful man in the world. I think he believes i am worth more, he puts a lot of emphasis that I am young (23, he is 33), I have a degree, a future, everything. In his emails he says that sometimes the thought of me breaks him down because I have been the most beautiful thing in an otherwise ugly life. That he wants to find a friendship out of it now, that I am important to him. He says he is scared if he sees me that he will break down, or say something he doesnt mean, or not say what he feels right – therefore email gives him the chance to work things through in his head. He says i inspire him to get counselling and that he has eventually picked up the phone and called a doctor so he wants very desperately to beat this.

    I want to be there for this man, I love him regardless of what he seems to do. I want to be compassionate, but I want to get him back as my boyfriend, even if it takes a year – I have brought a ticket to Australia to try and learn things for myself, I have also been getting counselling to work on my issues. I guess I am scared that this is all a lost cause, I dont know if you can come out the mist of depression and still love the person you were with when you were in it. I am terrified. Im even more scared that so many months on that I still dont want to give up on him, and he will just find someone else.

    Thanks, sorry this is so long

    Becci

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Becci –

      I’m sorry this is happening and can understand how hard it is to deal with the uncertainty and the radical changes in your boyfriend’s behavior and apparent feelings toward you. It’s natural to assume that his feelings relate directly to you, but it could be that they are mostly about depression and not about his feelings for you at all. The terrible thing about depression in a relationship is that you can’t tell what’s going on. There really is no cause for his dead eyes and shutting down apart from the fact that he is depressed, but you can’t help but feel his behavior as anything but a rejection of you. The problem seems that he isn’t doing much to get well. I’m glad he’s called a doctor – that’s a hopeful first step. He has a long way to go to get well, and that needs to happen, I think, before he can get clear about feelings for you and the rest of his life beyond depression. There’s just no way to know what will happen. I hope you will take care of yourself since this is clearly such an agonizing time.

      All my best – and thank you for sharing this story.

      John

  44. Carolyn says:

    Dear John,

    I stumbled across your site today and read with great interest. My boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me suddenly this past February. I was stunned, shocked and terribly hurt. It seemed to come completely out of the blue. He had mentioned in the past that he suffered from mild depression but in the 3 years we were together there were no major depressive episodes and if there were minor ones he hid them well. He also suffers from what I now have learned is Anxiety Disorder which appears to run hand in hand with depression. I am the only one who knows of his depression and just how bad its been lately. No one in his family or any of his friends know what’s going on with him. For the past four months I have been extremely supportive – finding websites, ordering books for him to read as well as for myself to read, encouraging him to get help. All the while he insists this is something he needs to handle on his own – by himself. I’ve told him its dangerous for him to isolate from the only person who knows what’s going on and for the past 4 months he’s been good about returning texts and emails. However, this last week he’s begun to become more distant and when we talked he stated that if we’re meant to be we will be. He was colder than usual and still insisting that he needed to do this on his own so I asked him if he saw us together in the future and he said ‘not anytime soon’ so I finally told him that I was letting him go, that I hoped he would be okay and I wished him the best. After I said this he told me that he had begun to slide back down and so he’s pushing me away again. I’ve told him that I love him, that I am here for him if he needs me but that I can’t continue to be the one to reach out to him. I told him I won’t contact him but that he can contact me if he needs to and I would be there for him. He says he loves me and misses me. He is going to his first appointment with a therapist this Saturday and I’m so happy for him that he’s getting help. He told me that he’s going because he loves me and now I feel like I have abandoned him but it was just too painful for me. I’m so afraid that I may have done more harm than good by cutting ties and now I don’t know what to do.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Carolyn –

      I think you’ve acted with great courage and have given him good advice. You haven’t abandoned him at all. He is the only one who can work on his own recovery, and you’ve given him all you can in setting him in the right direction. But he has to do it on his own. Recovering from depression takes a lot of time, and I hope he does it not out of a sense of obligation to you but because he is committing to a long struggle to get his life back.

      My best to you both —

      John

  45. Hopefull says:

    I have been with a guy for three years, two of them we have been living together. 6 months ago he started feeling depressed. He didn’t know why, and still dont. He is a student (27 years), stoped going to uni, used all his time sleeping or watching TV. He told me that he was very disappointed with himself, but could not figure out why he was so tired and depressed. He took a whole lot of tests at the doctor, but everything came back normal. After a while he started going to theraphy. Still he was tired and careless.
    Two months ago he decides to break things of with me. He said that he needed it to be over so that he could just focuse on himself. He moved out. We have had a lot of good talks after the breakup. He says that this is what he needs to do for us to “survive”. He tell his friends that “he will not be suprised if it will be me and him again for the long run”. And he tells me that there is still hope for us to get together again, but for now we cant be togther.
    I have tried everything. The first few weeks after the break up I showed him how sad I was, told him how much I loved him and that our relationship was to important to just let go. The last month I have only been supportive, positive and kind whenever we have contact. He knows what I feel, and that I am here for him whenever he needs me. Still Im always the one to take contact. One week ago we talked on the phone. I told him that if less contact was what he belived will bring us togheter again, then I would stop with the every second or third day contact. I would give him time, and try to trust him. He said that this ment alot to him, and that he still belives that its hope for us.

    It is really hard to be positive. Every day I think of him, miss him and it hurts. I feel like the only thing that can get me in a better mood is him, but then again I cant contact him. And I dont want to tell him just how much I cry and pray, because I belive that he has enough dealing with himself. I try to be strong, but I miss him so much. Should I just move on, or should I wait?

    In three weeks I am moving to another town to work for two months… this scares me, since its a 5 hour drive, and we will never see each other during that time.
    Some people say that if he needs time I should give it to him and not contact him. Others say that its important that I stay in contact, if not he might feel that I have given up on us. We have an agreement that when one of us feel that there is no hope left, we will tell the other. What should I do? Should I wait for him to contact me, even if it will take weeks, or should I call him now and then to hear how everything is going?

    He is still seeing a therapist and started on meds one week ago.

  46. DragonGirl says:

    Thanks for the reply. I’ve been striving hard to take care of myself and keeping busy these past few days. Going out with friends and exercising helps me a bit. I’m a bit confused with his actions. One day I was the first to communicate with him and asked how he was doing and asked him out which he responded with yes. We had a brief conversation. A few hours after our conversation, he left a message on my wall (which isn’t much.) which probably just reminded him of me. I also learned from a friend that he asked her how I was doing. Some of my friends say that he’s just probably doing that because he feels guilty that he hurt me and so that I won’t get that much mad at him or so that he could ease the pain he caused me.

    I’m torn between wanting to ask for a second chance and fight for this relationship or just respect his decision. I don’t really know what to believe in since now I’ve learned that a depressed mind works a bit differently with people who aren’t depressed. I’m so confused.

  47. Ashley says:

    Follow up question:

    Does it still seem to be depression causing all of this or does it appear he isn’t depressed anymore and blames me for the depression he was in before he left…or both?

  48. Ashley says:

    My husband and I have been together for 4 1/2 years married for 2 of it in April. Before the wedding, I knew he had ptsd and depression issues. He agreed and went to a bit of counseling which seemed to work and we got married. Out of our 24 months of marriage he has been deployed for 13 months. The remaining 11 months have been in small increments (5 months, 3 weeks, 3 months, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc). He is Air Force. When he came home from Greece in May 2011 he was extremely withdrawn, slept all the time, had migraines, nightmares, etc. I was able to convince him to see a doctor and he was diagnosed with low lever PTSD and low level depression. He then received orders for a 1 year remote tour in Saudi Arabia and left Jan. 2012. We had several small arguments before then and 2 big ones. I will admit I started most of them because he was so withdrawn. He wouldn’t talk to me or anyone. He didn’t want to go anywhere except ride his bicycle. All the while, he was telling me it was the PTSD and work issues…etc. I did get him into marriage counseling but we were only able to complete 3 sessions before he went on a TDY in October 2011.

    When he returned home in Dec 2011 I asked to go to counseling again and he stated he just wanted to spend the next 3 weeks getting as close to me as possible. We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. He left New Year’s Day and left his wedding vows on my pillow for me to find when I returned from the airport.

    We spent the next 3 months skyping and IM’ing via facebook. All he did was complain about Saudi and how much he missed home. We made arrangements for me to travel to Saudi to visit him for 6 weeks. 13 days before I made the trip, on March 26thhe called and told me he wanted a divorce. I was totally blindsided. Only 5 days prior we had finalized the trip details and he was telling me he couldn’t wait to see me.

    I waited a week to email him and he says he feels “numb”. He admits he became submissive to me as a way to prevent arguments (not who he used to be) and now is doing something about it, running away. He said he didn’t want me to make the trip to Saudi that he was “disgusted with himself”. He said he realized that “all he was doing was running”. He also said he felt he was “too frail” to deal with anything. He doesn’t believe a divorce is still running.

    I flew to Saudi anyway to talk and we had a mostly wonderful 3 days. I left with such high hopes we would be okay. Then he arrived at our home in Arizona on April 23 with a moving truck. No warning, no phone call etc. Instead of moving out however he stayed and talked to me for 8 hours and couldn’t actually do it. He admitted he volunteered for the remote in Saudi back in September (while being treated for PTSD and depression) to get away from me. During our 8 hour talk he said he was “afraid” to go back to the routine we had been in since he returned home from Greece. I tried using logic to show how we could prevent backsliding to no avail. He said he had “no faith in himself” to prevent that and he was sorry. He also said that he has been blaming himself for any problems in the relationship because I made him believe he had PTSD and depression. He said he wasn’t going to blame himself anymore. That night he did agree to go speak to a Chaplin and we could talk more the next day.

    The next day he arrived with his dad and a moving van and moved most of his stuff out. He didn’t see the Chaplin. He refuses counseling. I can’t dare say anything regarding PTSD/depression because that would only push him further away. He hired a lawyer but says they’re “standby only” and wants to work things amicably. I do NOT want a divorce. He is back in Saudi now and I haven’t spoken to him in 8 days.

    I have found out he is likely having an affair. He is also telling all of his friends and family I was verbally abusive, manipulative, controlling, crazy, and generally not a good person. He has spent over $14k in the last 4 months. Of course before the D bomb, when I tried to bring up money he would get defensive and/or stonewall me. Now he is using my responsibile financial prowess against me as a demonstration of how I “controlled” him. My main solice is knowing I am none of those things…well not any more than any other woman anyway…I have been seeing a counselor on my own to soften my tone and work on cognitive techniques but he says it’s too little too late. I love you but I am not IN love with you.

    His parents are no help. They told me to “put my feelings in a box” and go back to work. They do not acknowledge he has ever had any issues and therefore he must be right and I must be the problem. He has pretty much abandoned all of his friends here in Az and I have no knowledge of what he is doing in Saudi. I am just trying to pick up my life and make myself happy as much as I can. It’s easier said than done. To me, it is sooo obvious. He is trying to have his orders changed so he will not have to return to AZ because it will “remind him of me too much”.

    I am clinging to hope and trying to mentally prepare for the worst, hoping that God and love will gets us through this. He wasn’t able to look me in the eye and tell me he wanted a divorce. He has only told me via phone and email a total of 4 times.

    Is there anything else I can should be doing to try to save my marriage? I mean he is 7000 miles away. He is currently not the man I married but I truly believe with help, he could return back to himself and hope and pray for that everyday.

    Thank you in advance,
    Ashley

    PS-it should be noted be noted that he has “run” from his problems before and he has developed what seems to be a compulsive lying disorder. He says he is ashamed he lied (the times I have caught him) but he was only doing it because he was “afraid of my reaction” if he told the truth. I have never gotten angry over the truth, only when I discover a lie.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Ashley –

      I’m sorry you have to go through this without being able to get clear answers, but your husband seems to have cut off communication pretty effectively. One of the worst things is the torture of not really knowing what he’s been feeling, thinking or doing. It’s only natural to focus on what he is going through, but I hope you can put your own needs at the head of the list. Whatever role depression and ptsd play, he has not treated you well – especially in blaming you for his problems and describing you so viciously to his family and friends. You mention seeing a therapist, but it sounded as if you were doing that as a way to work on things your husband didn’t like – I can’t be sure – but I hope you can keep working with a therapist entirely for your own sake. The only way marriages are saved is by two people trying to repair whatever damage has been done. Treating depression or ptsd is a crucial step in that direction for him, but it doesn’t sound like he is willing to do that, much less stay engaged to work things out in your relationship. Taking care of yourself is one of the few things you do have some control over in this situation. You haven’t caused any of this, and given what you’re finding out about the behavior he concealed from you, he hasn’t even given you a chance to have the sort of marriage where two people can work through bad times. I think you’re doing what you can do by taking care of what you need right now. I know the longing to bring back the person he was, but the reality is what he is quite consciously doing to you now. I hope you get the support and sympathy you need to keep yourself well. All my best —

      John

  49. Gina says:

    Hi John –

    My husband of 13 yrs. “feel out of love” with me almost two years ago now. I had to file for divorce (he hadn’t after
    8 months of living apart), he told me “I needed to move on”, but for some reason seems to continue
    to reach out to me for “silly” things.

    He always needs me to watch his dog, gave me a birthday and gift card, sends me “Happy Easter”
    text, wanted to know if I knew of any AC companies, etc.

    I now know for sure he suffers from depression and anxiety and is an alcoholic. The day he “feel out of love” he described having an anxiety attack and had been withdrawn from me and my boys before the
    “big announcement”.

    He says he’s “moved on” and is seeing someone (which he wanted to know if I’m happy he has someone) which I think is really strange to ask of the wife he’d ambushed with the news that he was
    out of love with……and thought things in our marriage were good.

    His father passed away a few months ago, and the entire time his dad was passing away he would text me almost a “play by play”. He also wanted me to know that he told him I loved him just as he was passing…..I know he was my father in law for 13yrs, but it did seem strange he felt I needed to be included in such details, at one point I asked if he knew he was sending the messages to me and not his
    new girlfriend.

    I know some of it must be guilt because he was not honest with me during our marriage, and I’m sure
    he feels bad that he kissed me and told me he loved me earlier that morning and them “dumped” me after dinner that same day.

    When/if does the guilt for him go away? I’ve made it more than clear that I’ve forgiven him, I show him
    by my actions, that I’m not angry with him….I don’t understand how he reaches out about dogs, AC companies etc, but we can’t have a conversation ever about our son.

    I love this man, but know that true love is letting go. He makes it difficult when he does such nice things, such as putting a birthday card on my front door, or when he thanks me so many times after I
    watch the dog (it was my dog too before the divorce, so I’m just spending time with him).

    I also wonder if he’s happier with the new girlfriend. I wonder if his depression will get better now that they are together…….she drinks also I hear.

    I do believe he does these things for himself and not really for me. He told me the day he was “out of love” that “I’m his best friend, the best mother to our son, his number one supporter”, etc.

    When I do get text from him wishing happy birthday, Easter, needing my help with things, I do get really confused, this is a man who has the means to get anything he needs, and the business connections, etc. It makes me wonder if he’s just
    trying to stay in some type of contact with me. The last text about needing an AC company was really
    strange, he stated “I think I need you…..LOL! then went on to mention his AC may be out.

    I guess I have to remind myself not to read too much into these text, or pretend to myself they mean anything or that there’s an emotional connection. I also have to remind myself of the statement he made to me months after we separated was that
    “he’s empty, sad and soulless”.

    I just don’t understand these actions, and can’t understand how or why he feels the need to do this
    knowing this was not an amicable break up. He doesn’t seem to be of any help with our son. He
    only see’s him once every two weeks for dinner, and doesn’t even text about him, his grades, school,
    therapy or overall well being.

    just confused-

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Gina –

      I can understand the confusion, but the behavior you describe is not that unusual in depression. Sometimes, you are so remote from your own feelings that you go back and forth. It’s often true that a depressed partner will not make a decision about divorce or take any step toward finality. They can drift because they don’t know what they feel – or don’t feel anything deeply – and can’t let go of the emotional security they’ve had, even with the partner they’ve been pushing away. One way some people deal with this is to be clear about boundaries – to make your own rules about when and why he should get in touch, rather than remain dependent on his confusing signals. He probably won’t stop behaving this way on his own. Being clear with him is one way of getting back in control of your emotional life. Does that make any sense?

      John

      • Gina says:

        Thanks John, It does make sense. I just didn’t see this in him during our marriage. He seemed
        so “together” and in charge in his personal life as he is in his business life.

        He still seems so “together” to others, but I see a side I’m not sure anyone else can or will ever see.

        I wonder if he’s happier now, and maybe I’ve been the cause of his anxiety, depression and
        alcoholism?

        I hear myself even say this, and I don’t think I or anyone can ever be the reason someone feels
        “empty, sad and soulless”……but I often wonder if someone else will make him feel full, happy
        and a man with a soul.

        I wish I had the education I now have on this illness and wish I could have reached out more to him, to try and help him or just tell him I understand it.

        My son also is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and has admitted he gets depressed and is in
        therapy……which I see a connection between his actions, and what I could see looking back in his dad.

        My son’s therapist has also mentioned “bipolar disorder”, which makes much sense to me as I see the text book signs and symptoms in not only my son but also his dad…..could explain the
        “on and off” behavior of my ex.

        I just want to stop “blaming” myself, or “questioning” what/if I could have done more, been
        more supportive.

        Why do I doubt when the evidence is right in front of me? I once thought I was in a good place
        mentally, but I find myself even wondering if I’m emotionally and mentally healthy?

        I can’t tell you how much your site has really helped me and I find I need to visit it and remind
        myself that these actions are his.

        I pray for him and my son and know that I “didn’t cause this and I can’t cure it”.

        thanks-

  50. Donna says:

    My Husband has left me to see his family in England and doesn´t want to come back to Spain. He has been depressed for a year and wants to move back to the UK permanently. He has been looking for work in the UK also.

    I have agreed to this but we cannot sell our house here and all our commitments are here at the moment. His work has dried up and he just wants to provide a future for us which is making him feel guilty. I just want to concentrate on getting this house sold so we can move back to the UK together. My father lives here and my husband doesn´t want me to be far from him. My father wants me to be happy and do what I feel is right. My husband and I have no children and he is living with his parents. He has left a few messages on our answering machine and says that he loves and misses me. He has been gone nearly two weeks but won´t come back. I can´t speak to him because he is so dismissive of everything I suggest. He keeps putting barriers up and finding ways just to be left alone. He seems to have left me with everything to do here and is living in a bubble with his parents. He seems to have gone back to being a teenager again where he got spoilt by his parents and they are taking care of him. We have been married nearly ten years and he is the best husband in the world (until the last year).

    I can´t see my life without him and I am heartbroken.

    Please help.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Donna –

      I’m sorry to hear about this – it must be really frustrating to feel so blocked when you try to get through to him. I can’t tell from what you say if his depressive isolation is new or there’s a history of it in his life or family. If this is a problem brought on by the trouble with his work, then it could be a one-time episode that would respond well to therapy or other treatment. Do you know what his parents think of this? If your husband isn’t listening to your suggestions, could they persuade him to talk to a counselor? You don’t have to think of yourself as depressed to seek help in that way. It’s a matter of sorting out difficult issues and making important life decisions – just a way of getting unstuck. Is he resistant to that sort of thing?

      John

      • Donna says:

        Hello John,

        My husband has never been the depressive type and comes from a solid family background. He doesn´t talk very much and never opens up about his feelings. He was coming back to Spain last week but some temp work has come up for him in England. He now says he doesn´t love me enough to carry on but he does care and thinks about me every minute. He also said he cries every night and misses me so much. I have told him I love him very much and want him back but he said he can´t. He really is the nicest person in the world and this is so out of character. His father treats him like he is 10 and loves having him back there. I know he misses his family but we agreed once we sell here in Spain we can go back to be near them. (My husband is only 31). I believe he is torn to leaving them and coming here. He hasn´t called for 5 days – shall I leave him and try and move on? He has all his stuff here in our house and a mortgage and joint accounts. I feel as though he has died and I am grieving seeing all his stuff around. 3 Weeks ago I had my husband here and now he has gone and I am devastated. I have a few friends here and my father lives nearby. We are all so shocked at his behaviour.

        • John Folk-Williams says:

          Hi, Donna –

          This situation is recent and must feel so raw emotionally that it doesn’t sound like a good time to try to make a final decision about anything. Has your husband expressed any willingness to talk with a counselor about his own feelings or perhaps jointly with you to work on staying together? He seems confused about his feelings but not ready (?) to see himself in the midst of a crisis. Have others besides you told him how shocking they think his behavior is? Sometimes it helps to hear things like that from people you respect but who are outside the central relationship.

          John

        • mary says:

          This situation sounds so much like mine… I would love to know what even happened with u2..

  51. DragonGirl says:

    Hi John.
    The love of my life broke up with me a few days ago. We’ve been dating for more than four years. the reasons he said were that there are others who are far more deserving than he is and that he has a lot of problems. Last four years have been rough on him. He experienced the sudden death of his dad, brother got sick, and recently failed major subjects in his school. he blames himself for the death of his dad and puts a lot of pressure on himself because he said his relatives expect a lot from him due to his dad’s death, and even sometimes thinks about killing himself. He told me that he thinks he has depression and I told him that he should get help but he doesn’t want to.

    We have been in a long distance relatinoship since we live in different parts of the city and our jobs are so time demanding that he hardly has time for me. We rarely see each other and seldom talk. I have complained to him that he has more time with his friends in school than he has with me. i felt neglected but tried to be understanding and patient because of what he was going through. I told him that he should make time with me even if it’s just leaving me simple messages. I have told this reasons to him and it gets better for a while then it will happen again. I told him to open up to me when he has problems or when he feels like it but he became emotionally distant as well and preferred to be with his friends drinking and smoking the night away.

    I asked him what he wanted and he said that he wants to continue what we have in our relationship but said that things would just repeat itself and we would just have fights all over again.

    All of our friends know that we broke up but he still hasn’t told his family. I told him that I dont want to be just a label because we really had something. He said I was his bestfriend. We ended on good terms and we still talk. I asked if there was a chance that we could still be together in the future and he said, “maybe.”

    But I guess he’s saying, “maybe” so I wouldn’t expect. Because he said if I expect, I might get hurt. In addition to the “maybe” that he said, when I asked if there was a chance that we would be together in the future, he also said, “maybe. when I’m stable,” which probably meant that when his internal problems have been resolved. He also said that because he says that it’s unfair for me to be doing my role and giving efforts to be a gf while he isn’t able to do he’s part. He says that he doesn’t feel like a man for how he’s treating me. I guess his pride got lost too. It pains me to see him self-destruct.

    he’s the type of person who usually keeps problems to himself. Also, in the span of time that we’ve been together, I’ve seen him cry only about 4x-5x. And when he broke up with me, he cried. It’s a matter of pride and his ego I think. And his mother always told me that he was just like his father. His mother said that it really is not in his nature to share his deepest thoughts and feelings. He makes sure that he is in control of his emotions. I also can’t blame him for acting the way he does because he’s going through a lot. All his life he has been sheltered by his parents and never really had big life changing problems. This is the reason why I think he doesn’t know how to handle what he is going through.

    I know I should move on but thinking about what we had makes me hopeful that someday, he’ll regain himself back once all of this is done. I know it’s selfish of me, but I think I’m best person he should be with.

    I still love him very much and I am hoping that we still end up together. Do you think things will get better for us? I have stepped back so he could have space. I don’t text him or message him first. I just let him initiate contact when he wants to.

    Most people I know told me to move on and take care of myself (and that is what I have been doing for the past 5 days). One friend of mine told me that when she was sad, she shut everyone out until she fell out of love for her ex. I’m scared to know if my ex also fell out of love for me or if he really just has a lot on his plate. Please help and pray for me.

    Now I am thinking if I did the right decision in accepting his wishes. I am thinking that maybe I should’ve fought for our relationship and asked him to stay and tell him that we’re in this together no matter now hard times may be for us. I am regretting my decision for not fighting for him, for us, and for what we had.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, DragonGirl –

      I’m sure you’re feelings will shoot all over the place about this. If you’re worried, you can always send him a message to tell him how important the relationship is … whatever you need to say. But it’s easy to start thinking that something you do or say will make a big difference about his depression, and I think you know that’s not true. From everything you say, it will be very hard for him to get help – even though he can talk about depression and suicidal thinking to you. If he can’t get clear about his own deepest problems and deal with them, he certainly can’t be all that clear about his feelings for you and the importance of the relationship. Depression isn’t always about despair, it’s often about not feeling much of anything – it’s easy to hibernate away from those closest to you because you don’t feel connected and it’s hard to imagine that anyone could feel deeply about you. If he can realize that help is available and that it’s OK for him to ask for it, there would certainly be hope that he can get back in touch with his feelings for you. In the meantime, you need to take care of your needs too.

      John

      • Sandie says:

        John,

        Your reply to DragonGirl was actually timely for me. The line: “Depression isn’t always about despair, it’s often about not feeling much of anything – it’s easy to hibernate away from those closest to you because you don’t feel connected and it’s hard to imagine that anyone could feel deeply about you,” is clearly how my husband feels. We used to be so connected, best of friends. When I try to converse with him now, he looks everywhere…but at me. The TV, out the window. He walks into the kitchen and busies himself, all while I attempt to connect with him in some way – any way! Our son said of trying to talk to his dad one day, ‘it’s like talking to a brick wall’.
        Even though he is going to therapy and really seems to like his therapist, she will often call him out, saying she doesn’t think he is being completely truthful or is telling her everything. This resonates with “if he can’t get clear about his own deepest problems and deal with them, he certainly can’t be all that clear about his feelings for you and the importance of the relationship.”
        I am working to take care of myself, as that sometimes is all I can do.

        Thanks, Sandie

        • John Folk-Williams says:

          Hi, Sandie –

          I’m afraid I’ve seen that brick wall when I’ve looked in the mirror during bad depressions. It’s good that his therapist calls him out on his holding back – and a good thing that he tells you this. The fact that you all seem to be open about what’s going on is another good sign. Keep taking care of yourself. That is the important thing you can do!

          John

      • DragonGirl says:

        Hi John,

        Thanks for the reply. I’ve been striving hard to take care of myself and keeping busy these past few days. Going out with friends and exercising helps me a bit. I’m a bit confused with his actions. One day I was the first to communicate with him and asked how he was doing and asked him out which he responded with yes. We had a brief conversation. A few hours after our conversation, he left a message on my wall (which isn’t much.) which probably just reminded him of me. Some of my friends say that he’s just probably doing that because he feels guilty that he hurt me and so that I won’t get that much mad at him or so that he could ease the pain he caused me.

        I don’t really know what to believe in since now I’ve learned that a depressed mind works a bit differently with people who aren’t depressed. I’m so confused.

  52. Mg says:

    Hello John, I’m going through about the same as this other lovely persons here, gives Me peace to see it’s not unusual.
    My husband suffered depression about two years ago we were not married yet and he broke up w Me w no reason, but two months later he said he couldn’t see life w’out Me and we came back together, we got married last year, he lives in another country and I was supposed to move in w Him this month, but he’s been depressed since last December,out of nowhere, no reason at all as we never argued or anything, so I thought it was SAD disorder, then he lost his job in January, after that the depression symptoms have gone worst he said he was feeling hopeless and there was nothing good coming to him, he is like another person now, even his voice sounds diferent! Well about 10 days ago he said he wanted to live alone that he couldn’t help feeling this way…that’s all he said, I reminded him we are married, most of my belonging are w him already we are in the middle of paperwork for my moving to his country and last thing I said was fine try living alone for a while, I’ll be here when you need Me :(.
    Now it’s been 10 days without his even trying to contact Me.
    He didn’t accept he was depressed, I suggested him to get help, go to therapy, he sad he was not sad, that it was just daily stress, I asked for help from his family and friends to suggest him as Me Not to take any drastic decisions now… nobody wants to get involved, they agree he seems different but they say it’s this tis time of the year people gets blue (but it’s April already!!)… I’m just hoping like last time he’ll “wake up” to reality soon … but it’s been over 4 months now!
    Anybody’s going through this too…?? Any one has seen recovery?
    He wont let me help.
    I’m taking care of my mental health, taking reiki and sending him healing reiki, at least it gives me peace.
    Anyways, Thanks for reading Me.
    Mg

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Mg –

      I’m sorry you’re going through this and can only hope that your husband soon recognizes depression for what it is and gets some help. In the meantime, you’re doing the right things to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot more you can do, except let him know of your support. Depressive episodes don’t have a time limit, although I’ve read that an average length is about 8 months. Averages don’t say anything about one person’s experience. It’s not just the length of one episode, however – the worst thing is that it can happen again. If he doesn’t get help and do his own hard work of recovery, his chances for recurrence keep increasing with each new episode. His family and friends seem to interpret the idea of getting help as “drastic decisions” – but there’s nothing drastic about it. There are cultural barriers to admitting emotional problems, and the label “mental illness” only makes it worse, but depression is so common worldwide that it’s treated almost like routine healthcare. Checking with his regular doctor is one place to start – that’s what most people do. Whatever happens, I hope this works out best for your both.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      John

      • Mg says:

        Thank you John for your blog and interest in other peoples cases, believe me it helps a lot reading Your story and others too! I hope too he recognizes he needs profesional help! Reading other stories depression appears to be something pretty common in English men as my husband therefore don’t take so seriously to get professional help.
        Anyways I hope I bring good news here and cheer up some other readers then.
        Stay well John, thanks for all.
        Mg

      • Mg says:

        Hello John, I am so confused right now, my husband, (as I said bfore, he lives in another country, at his parents’ house) he’s just moved to his own flat,  as I’ve been told by my sis in law…So now I’m confused, last thing he said was he wanted to live on his own, to live by himself… very cold just said he was sorry this would hurt Me, he didn’t really seemed to be worried about Me didn’t show any regrets, remorse, nor guilt at all … are this non-feelings part of the illness? now he’s moved out, could this be a start for him to feel better?  He hasn’t gotten any help, Will his being by himself help him at all or make him miss Me?  However, he’s not comunicating w Me at all!  :(
         Hope you can clear my doubts w your experience. Thanks always John.
        Mg

        • Mg says:

          I’d like to add John, he hasn’t said goodbye neither mention he does not want to see me again, like a robot just said ”I just feel I want to be by myself now and live on my own, sorry I just can’t help the way I feel”
          Thanks John, I just keep trying to convince myself he is depressed and someday his head and emotions will be back in track again.
          Take care and thanks again.
          Mg

        • John Folk-Williams says:

          Hi, Mg –

          I’m sorry to hear about this – it must be so terrible for you. But it is true that depression often deadens feelings. Nothing, even the closest relationship, seems to matter. I lived in that state for a couple of years, thinking I was fine but completely unreachable and uncaring about anyone’s feelings. I doubt that he will get better without help. Depression can come to an end by itself, but then it can return and the same problems come up all over again. In my experience, you need to try different types of treatment until the right one is found. I hope he will come to realize the importance of getting help.

          John

          • Mg says:

            Thank you as always John, stay well.
            Mg

          • Mg says:

            Hello John, things are not going too well, my husband just said that “It’s time to realize he is not coming back this time … that he is not depressed and don’t need Me to save him from anything! That he just wants to be on his own. That I have to go on w my life, and he is fine that he just needs to be alone” This made me feel worst than I was, my hope for him to recover was killed, BUT he wrote this in a Saturday night after 2am, I know he was drinking … ! And obviously is in denial of his illness,
            Is it possible that depression won’t let him any GUILT … any remorse or regrets on his acts? eventhough I’ve seen him changing drastically into this ‘monster” w all the symptoms for the last 6 months I’m sure he is depressed, how come in depression can’t ask for divorce or dividing our things which is “normal” things to do or say in break ups, isn’t it? Just says he wants to be alone … yeah but he don’t mention at all anything else, you know legal issues, etc! I feel as if he’s evading reality!! I’m gonna step aside for a while as he wants, eventhough I’m sure when he “recovers”or wakes up to reality and he notices what he has done … the GUILT, pain regrets and remorses will hit him bad, I feel so bad for him, I just hope it’s not too late for us when he realizes it all. You’re my inspiration to go on John… well actually Your wife and you for writting about it, makes me think there’s hope, eventually … cheers for you both!!
            Thanks for reading me John, hope you are ok.
            hugs
            Mg

  53. Sarah says:

    Thank you John for this wonderful site!
    I have been with my partner 4 years (we are not married but are currently building a home together, due to be completed in Sept this year). We have a very loving, supportive, honest relationship. As of feb 2012 he told me he feels he is depressed (I had not noticed any signs, and even looking back now, I still can’t??). Since him opening up in Feb, he dramatically went down hill in the following week, with suicidal thoughts, claiming he “didn’t feel a spark” so that meant he “must not be IN love with me”.
    He works in a very stressful job usually 12hour days, and trains for triathlons when he is not working. I feel as though his job and teh training has burnt him out completely. Although, he is not willing to explore or admit that perhaps his job is causing the stress.
    He has been great in seekings professional help, seeings his GP, psychologist and using chinese medicine too! This has definately taken it’s told on me……. I am constantly stressed, anticipating what will I come home to today? will he talk to me today?
    I am constantly confrontd with the roller coaster of emotions that are “being in a relationship is too much right now” , “maybe I just fell out of love and we are not meant to be” .
    The hardest part about this is he seems to think its our relatinship that has caused the depression (even though he has a father, aunty and 2 cousins with depression).
    He has now developed anxiety, which is he fixating to the isea that “he is not in love”. To constantly hear this from the man you love so dearly and would do any thing for, really takes a toll on your self esteem and emotionally drains you.
    His therapist has told him that he has a “fear” of me, and that fears cannot be over come, so if he stays with me, he will never recover from his depression. I am speechless about this!!!

    When I questioned him as to why is has the “fear” of me, he stated he “doesn’t know” but his therapist is a very wise man so it must be true.
    Sometimes I question whether I am cut out for this. I deserve to be in relationship wheer I am happy, feel secure and loved…….. BUT I love him.

    Any help or advice would be great. Is this common for the partner to be blamed, or thought not to be in love with??

    Sarah

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Sarah –

      There may not be much agreement about what causes depression, but it’s not the relationship with you, especially with his family history. The advice from the therapist sounds very strange, to put it mildly, but you’re hearing your partner’s interpretation of his therapist’s comment. That’s not necessarily what the therapist actually said. It might help you to get your own counseling, since you’re being blamed unfairly and have to live now with so much stress. You seem to be thinking of your own needs, and that’s important.

      Thanks for commenting.

      John

  54. Sheridan says:

    Hi there,

    My partner of 2 years who has a problem with depression is a national sports person and his sport has been his life moving from country to country since he was very young playing it in the summer season. Last year he moved back home to be with me and make us work. Was his first winter at home. Other than being with me he hated it, he hates Auckland for various reasons within his sports world and just how big it is and how long it takes to get around. He is in another part of the country after we secured him a contract to play softball there for the summer and I have been commuting flying to him as often as I can. However the big national finals were just recently and he made it to the second innings and was then pulled off and replaced as he as the pitcher let in a few runs. The team end ed up losing and he was embarrassed and totally devasted. He completely had a melt down that night and cried like a baby while hugging me and I could see the dispair. I really felt for him. He text me after his flight home to say ‘baby I need you’. I replied and said I’m right here and only a phone call or plane flight away … always here for him. Since that day however he has gone into a FTW frame of mind and has withdrawn from me and gone in to a really dark place and almost anything I said would cause him to bite ande it just felt like I oculdn’t do anything right to please him. I even told him this. The arguments became more frequent over really trivial things and then just last weekend he was up for the long weekend … again we had an awesome loving time together but atleast once every day we argued over something silly. The final straw was when because of his behaviour I had asked (in a nice way) if I could have a look at his phone (he has lied to me earlier on in the relationship with texts and emails – that he so regretted and I know he learnt his lesson and I do trust him) however the long distance with the change in his behaviour I couldn’t help but ask the question – honestly was hoping he would just say ‘go for it’ and then I wouldn’t have looiked – his reaction howver was mental. He went in to a rage – why can’t I just trust him and let him go etc… It was a really bad and he stormed out wanting to leave and not be in the house. The next day we sorted it out and were telling each other how much we loved each other and making plans to be together agasin for good in the same place. No more long distance. The last thing he text the night he flew home was baby I love you … night xx. However the very next morning I woke up and there was a text from him at 3am saying ‘long distance sucks’ and I replied saying ‘sure does’. He then came back with ‘struggling’ … and after to and froing with him saying he had no intention of moving back to Auckland and that he lied when he said he wanted to on the weekend so I sent him an email from work saying I don’t want to be in a long distance relationship if he is not 100% committed to us’ but I’m not ready to give up on us … but it needs to be two ways. He came back saying ‘yip I need time out from us’ … I can’t commit to you now. I was so hurt and replied ‘ok’ and tried to focus on work. I later tried to contact and he has cut me out and will not reply to my texts or answer my calls like he normally would. We have made contact twice via telephone where I’ve rang and rang and rang till he picked up. He wasn’t shitty with me when we spoke however said he was in a Fuck the World Self Destructive State and needed to be on his own to sort it out. I am absolutely devastated and feel like I’ve done something wrong and not done enough. With his reaction I’m finding it hard to comprehend that he’s gone from loving me so much to not (well it feels like he doesn’t now cos he’s pushing me away and shutting me out). He feels like a complete failure because of losing the final, not getting selected for the national squad which he was confident he would and he is now all alone where he is staying as the other guys have left now the season is over. He is staying on to finish a personal training course he is studying for – as he has never done anything to enable him to get a real job that he likes because of always travelling with sport. He has a lot of pressure with the study and doing well with that to set himself up. He also wants to get selected for the major world championship next year and feels if he pushes everyone away he can focus on himself and be the only one to blame if he fails again. I am trying to be understanding and have sent messages saying as much. When he did talk on the phone the other night although clearly in a dark headspace he was responsive and I know if I was in front of him physically things would be different and I could help him. He keeps saying you can’t help you’re not here and when I said i would move down he said no because we just fight and can’t focus. We don’t fight when we are livng together though it’s only been the last few months since all these things have happened to him and we are living apart so he feels like he has to be the big kid and think about himself cos knowone else will. I love him so much and want to give him his space to figure this out but I also want to be able to support him and help him get better and be happy together again. I would walk over coals for this guy. Human nature has me doubting what we had and how we felt / feel about each other – can he go from loving me whole heartedly one minute and then not the next. He does have a history of this sort of thing in his family as his mother had a problem when he was young. I am 8 years older than him and I would appreciated any advice you have to help me figure out what I can say or do that will bring him back to me if not physically straight away emotionally so we are atleast communicating while he works through this. I am prepared to wait – I think he’s worth it! Heart is broken as we have gone from talking about marriage and him telling me he wants me to have his babbies to this in only a very short matter of time. Help me to save my relationship.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Sheridan –

      I’m sorry you have to live through this with someone you love so much. As I’ve written in several posts, your partner needs to recognize his own depression and make a commitment to get help. Since it sounds like he’s not ready for that, it could be that consulting a sports psychologist might be more acceptable. A great many major sports figures do this to improve their game, especially the ability to focus under pressure and to build resilience in crisis. This has nothing to do with mood disorders, but a psychologist of this type should be able to give him tools that would also help with depression – and would likely recognize what his overall state is. The wall of isolation he’s put up is hard to get through, and it might be impossible at this time for him to hear what you’re saying as a form of support. (I’ve written about the problems with communication in this post.) It might help you to get some counseling also to help sort through what your needs are in this situation. If he does come around and decide to get help, you might suggest couples therapy once he’s gotten out of his deepest funk. I would suggest finding a therapist skilled in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and you can find out more about that method from the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy – the website has a Find a Therapist section, and they have practitioners listed for New Zealand.

      All my best to you — John

  55. Amina says:

    Dear John,

    Thank you for your insights. I’ve been following your blog for 3 months now, just a few weeks after the depression of my boyfriend started to show severely. He and I have been together for 2 years, we have had an exceptionally strong loving bond, until a few months ago when he started to withdraw. I have to add that we don’t live together yet, but within vicinity, in the same neighborhood. In December he detached for a week, wouldn’t see me. Being well-informed about depression, I already suspected this could be one. Then at the end of 2011, we had an argument and I – usually patient, strong, stable – reacted destructively. In anger I said that maybe it’s time to end it. I took it back a few hours later, but the damage was already done.
    He was immensely hurt. There are no words to describe it. Now being informed about depression, I know that I am not solely ‘responsible’ for so much pain, in spite of what I said to him.

    What followed this incident is that he wanted to pause our relationship and withdraw. He said he couldn’t see me, temporarily. We went through several phases, now 3 months later we still haven’t ‘re-activated’ our relationship. We see each other from time to time, other than that we’re restricted to phone-conversations. We are however at a stage where he acknowledges that he has emotional issues, even the word depression is accepted on most of the days. He also talks to me about his emotions and mental state at times. So I can surely say he acknowledges that this is an ‘exceptional’ phase in his life, that he is not his usual self. He told me that he appreciates my patience, strength and love, that he even is surprised at this. He is also afraid to lose me for good, because he knows that one day when he will get out of this, he might curse himself out for having messed it up for good.
    However, (and here is my big issue, the big BUT), he is not able/willing to take any action, to get better. He agreed to take SamE (3 times), which I then got for him, however now 10 days later he still hasn’t taken them. He’s “afraid of the side effects”.
    He has a self-help book about depression, did he read it? I don’t know. Next week he has an appointment with the GP (finally!), when I asked what his motivation was to make an appointment, he only mentioned some physical symptoms (aches and pains he had in the past few months which wouldn’t go away – oh what coincidence!). “What about your melancholia?”, I asked. He fell silent. “Oh no I don’t want to talk about that with him.”. On leaving his house today, he said, okay I will take the SamE. “But will you speak to the GP?”. Answer: “I’m so sorry, I can’t make any promises right now. Sorry.”.
    John, my question to you at this point is: A) Why is he stopping short of taking action? Despite of his (relative) awareness of his situation (thus, not complete denial) and despite his acknowledgement for me, for us. And B) How should I react, how can I convince him to take this step? I know that I have to set boundaries, but in my situation (not living with him and not seeing him regularly), that’s pretty difficult. The only means of pressure I could think of is saying “if you don’t… I will end this for good.” But this threat has proven so destructive in the past.

    I would really appreciate your insights.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Amina –

      I doubt that putting pressure on him will do any good, especially if it comes across as a condition for keeping the relationship. There isn’t much you can do until he faces the fact that he needs help to deal with major depression. There are lots of reasons people don’t ask for help. You mention that he’s going to the GP because of pain – that’s the primary reason most depressed people go to primary care doctors. Treatment for pain is OK, but emotions are not to be shared with doctors – seems to be the reasoning. I’ve written a couple of posts on this site about how hard it is to communicate about the need for help with your partner in a way that will be interpreted as you intend. He might take your words not as advice about help for depression but as expressing your need to get him back – i.e. – your agenda instead of his health. It’s terribly frustrating, I know, but I think the best thing you can do is assure him of your support and hope for his recovering at his own pace, in his own way.

      John

  56. Sandie says:

    Thank you, John, for being brave enough to share this with all of us. I am in a similar situation, and my husband constantly threatens to leave. Although on the advice of the therapist I constantly tell him, ‘I will support you whichever you choose, but I would like you to stay'; there are times that my words do not mirror my thoughts. This is so very hard as I have been married to this person for 31 years. We had so many good years together, but health deterioration 7 years ago brought up childhood anxieties and depression. It was through therapy I learned this runs in his family. His mother left his father after repeated threats of harm to her. My husband has never tried to harm me, nor threatened to…as he saw this in his own family. But, his inclination to run away has been constant since his diagnosis.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Sandie –

      I’m sorry you’ve been going through such a painful time with your husband. What your therapist advises you to tell him is good, but I don’t think you should say anything that you don’t really feel. There are limits you – anyone – has in the sort of behavior you can tolerate. It was important for my wife to be clear to me about the sort of behavior that was too hurtful to tolerate no matter how depressed I might be. It’s not uncommon for a depressed partner to evade a real decision and keep threatening to leave without ever doing so. There’s just so much of that sort of thing you can take, and it doesn’t hurt to be honest about your feelings, while still being supportive.

      John

  57. Alice says:

    Ive been going crazy trying to find answers when i came across this site. Ive thought my partner is depressed, mostly due to having too many stresses (ex wife, kids, mother, job, not enough time/skills to juggle everything) and he’s recently admitted he thinks he is too. His plan is to leave and “sort out his head” and doesn’t know if he wants to even be in a relationship with me anymore. He says he’s not good enough for me and i deserve better.

    I just dont know what to do. I moved countries to be with him only a few months ago and wasn’t expecting anything like this. I want to be there for him as if he is depressed he may not really mean what he’s saying. Its so hard to know what he’s thinking or feeling and i dont want to loose him. Hes a great guy and I just wish he could see it.

    If anyone has been in this situation or has any advice please reply, im lost and dont want to loose the love of my life too.

    • Jana says:

      To Alice,
      I am going through something similar with my partner, also have moved … A lot invested in our home and new life. He has gone though a lot of loss and trauma since we met and is saying hurtful things, blaming, my child is lazy etc. he thought he should leave because he is making me unhappy but not realizing what hardship and burden that would cause.

      • Blath says:

        Hi Alice and Jana,
        I can relate so well to your posts. I am in a very similar situation. My boyfriend and I have had on/off relationship for over 7 years. For the first four years, there were breaks(looking back now I can see a large part was due to depression). Then we broke up for good and were separate for three years. During that time I rebuilt myself and had moved on. Last Sept, we met up again and after much thought, we started again-he promised everything would be differenct again. Since Christmas he has seemed down again-two weeks ago I got a text saying that he needed to be on his own. I asked ‘are you breaking up via text?’ or ‘it it that you want break and space from us for a bit?’ He said I need space. Sorry. I texted and said ”take the space and time that you need. You know where I am. Look after yourself’. That was ove two weeks ago and have heard nothing.

        I have begun to think that I can’t help him if he won’t help himself. It is a v big world out there…maybe this is the end?? My heart breaks-again..

        Hope you both find peace.

      • Alice says:

        Hi Jana,
        Im so sorry you have to go through this. Im afraid i dont have any real advice to give you. My partner has just broken it off for good in a very cold phonecall. Saying he needs space to sort himself out and wont be coming back. He feels this is the only way he can deal with everything and get himself strong and healthy again. I see it as him spending the next six months hiding and running away from the realities of life.

        I still dont understand how he thinks running away will help, how he thinks leaving his only source of happiness and support will help.

        The only thing I can say is what everyone else has been saying to me. Accept the reality of the situation, he has left (or in your case is thinking of it). You can’t change other peoples actions/feelings all you can control is how you react to them. This is a horrible thing to have to go through and being in a foreign place with no support (friends/family) makes it so much harder. If you ever want to talk leave me a msg.

        *hugs*

    • Mg says:

      Hello Alice I’m reading your situation it’s so similar to mine except the fact that I was just about to move in w my 1 year husband into his country he fell into depression which he denies but he has all symptoms!
      Aswell just now he says he wants to live by himself… he’s like in automatic, responding like a robot … no emotions, no feelings … I don’t think he realices the magnitude of this as all my belongings are w him already and I was about to get my paperwork to move in there … now I’m on stand by as he was depressed about two years ago … one day out of nowhere he realized he was doing it all wrong and losing me so we were back together … now his depression is worst after 4months I’m just hoping as last time he wakes up and start feeling and living again , in the meantime it is so painful!!
      Hope all goes well w you!
      Mg

  58. Kez says:

    Hi There,

    I just want to congratulate you on this wonderful & insightful site. I would just like to share my story with you. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. I have so much running through my head, l am finding it difficult to write it down. I don’t really know where to begin.

    My husband & l have been together since we were teenagers & have been married for 10 years. We have always had a wonderful & loving relationship & have two beautiful young children. We brought our business mid 2008. l gave birth to our second child in 2009 & by late 2009 my husband had become distant, withdrawn & become obsessive with remote controlled (RC) helicopters & aeroplanes. He would constantly sell, buy, build & fly.

    In early 2010 his symptoms became worse. He become totally withdrawn from me & our children, he would come home from work, have dinner & go straight to the garage to build his planes. At the time l was unaware of the amount of money he was spending & losing on his RC hobby. It felt like he would do anything to avoid spending time with us. It was also at this time that he decided to help an female employee who had been sexually abused in the past and as a result was suffering from alcohol & drug dependancy. My husband is Mr Fix it, he likes to help people, often to his own detriment. He was spending alot of time talking to her & trying to help.

    The business was not doing well financially however l was unaware of how bad it was. He hid it from me. Our relationship was becoming extremely strained. He became irratable, distant & withdrawn & we began to argue for the first time ever! He suggested that we see a therapist & l agreeded to go. She asked my husband if he was stressed & he said no. I addressed his relationship with our female employee & how uncomfortable it made me feel. He denied that anything physical was happening & that he was only trying to help her. The therapist said for the sake of our marriage he should just keep things professional with this employee which he agreed to. The therapist also said she didn’t know why we were really there.
    My marriage was falling apart & she doesn’t know why we are seeing her & seeking help!!!!

    He transformed into a stranger right before my eyes. His behaviour was so out of character. I told him that l wanted the “old” him back & he replied he’s not coming back. At times he told me that he didn’t love me & that there was nothing there. He contacted a realestate agent & was applying for rental properties. I told him that he left that was it. He said that he just wanted to be happy. How could the kids & l not make him happy. We were living comfortably & never wanted for anything. What more did he want? What the hell was going on with him? This is a man that doted on me since day one & made me feel like a princess. Yet at times he seemed ok. It was like living on an emotioanl rollercoaster. Our arguments were becoming more frequent & unbareable. It’s very difficult to reason with someone who is being unreasonable.

    I found out that he was still contacting the female employee out of business hours & l was devastated. He couldn’t spend any time with me or the kids but he could find time for her. For the sake of our marriage he was suppost to stop contacting her. Why was she a priority over me & the kids? He continued to deny that anything was happening between them. Friends & family were now starting to get involved & told him to sack her as she was coming between us. It took a while but he reluctantly fired her. You could only imagine my relief, however l was suffering from low self esteem & self worth.

    We ceased seeing the therapist & started moving forward with out lives. He was never back to his old self but he was getting there. He occasionally had his ‘meltdowns’. But nothing compared to what he was like. Last year l discovered that he did indeed have a 31/2 month affair with the female employee. I was shattered. I told him to leave & he moved back to his parents house. He sought therapy & it was discovered that he was suffering from deep depression. After several months of therapy he come out of his depression. It took alot of work, talking, tears & disagreements but l believe that he is now fully recovered.

    He discovered that he slipped into depression & didn’t even realise it. It happened so gradually that he thought that was who he was. The depression became him. The stress of out business & financial strain. The birth of our second child & his RC hobby that had become out of control (he would buy an expensive plane & feel gratified but then guilt would set in & he would sell it at a lose. Then he would want to fill the void again so he would buy another expensive plane & the process would repeat). It all contributed to his depression.

    He didn’t feel happy & like so many others he looked externally. He blamed me for how he was feeling. He wanted to escape his life so badly that he had an affair (with someone inappropriate on so many levels). When l discovered the affair l could see it for what it was. I refused to believe that he would do that to me & our children in his right mind. Cheating goes against everything he believes. I fought hard for him to see that what he was seeing was through depression goggles & severly distorted, not real. After months of therapy he now knows this, he sees it all clearly now. He now has a explanation for his actions.

    He moved back home 4 months ago however l am now struggling to deal with this. I have read up on depression & l am aware of how much a person can change as a result of depression. Depression does effect people differently. Your mind is so powerful that it can lead some depressed people to kill themselves. However l am still struggling to deal with the affair. Where did the depression start & my husband begin? He said the affair would never have happened if he was not suffering for depression. I know that my husband is not the person that depression turned him into & he is doing everything he can to prove that to me. But how do you not take your partner having an affair personally? I am torn between my love for my husband, how much depression changed my him, his actions while he was depressed, who he is now & my own values & belief’s surrounding marriage & affairs. Can you forgive your husband for having an affair whilst depressed? While they were ill & not themselves?

    My husband is back to his old self & is very regretful. He is the one that found this site & wanted me to read it. He found the article Why depressed me leave & could relate to it. Reading other people’s posts has helped me as l know that we are not the only one’s going through this crisis. The site has given more insight into depression & given me more compassion to the people suffering from this illness. It is an illness, not a choice. (So are the actions you take while depressed your choice or that of the depression? I think l know the answer but would like to hear it from someone else!) I know that it is hard to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense, that isn’t rational. He is doing everything in his power to help me through this. I am currently seeing a therapist & hoping with my husband’s love, support & reassurance that l am able to sort through this in my own mind (as l am the one starting to withdraw) & that we will be able to make it through this.

    Thank you once again for your wonderful site.
    All the best
    Kez

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Kez –

      It’s heartening to hear that things have come this far in moving through depression – and that you are getting the help you need. On the question of whether he or his depression is responsible for an affair or other things he might have done that hurt you, I’d say that, short of delusional psychosis, no one ever stops being responsible for his actions. Just as I was, he could have been put into a state of mind where escape into an affair seemed Ok – then realized how wrong it was after coming out of depression. It’s possible to blame the depression, but that doesn’t explain everything. When I realized how stupid I had been, I was full of grief and had weeks and months of intense work to do with my wife to restore the basic trust that had been lost. I had put so much at risk that I couldn’t excuse my conduct because of depression, though that was a big part of it. But whatever the cause, the damage is completely personal and devastating – as you well know. Why it happened is far less important than the healing work you two do together. It’s a lot for you both to recover from, but it sounds like you’re doing what you need to do.

      John

    • Ashley says:

      Kez,

      I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that you shared your story here. 2 months ago, I thought my husband and I had a perfect marriage and a perfect life. the only things I ever aspired to have were a successful marriage, a family and a house–the american dream. My husband is military so he works away from home a lot and anyone that has ever watched a movie in their lives as fantasized about welcoming someone home. I’ve done it more times than I can count. 4 deployments and 10 or 20 training trips that kept him anywhere from 3 days to 6 months. He left 2 months ago for another training that was only a month long. I know he was having fun while there and hanging out with the guys and I wanted him to enjoy it because he deserves to have some fun at night after work, especially when he gets the chance to just be with the guys like that. This time he didn’t call as often but he kept making excuses that were logical so it bothered me a bit but not much. Of all those homecomings, this one was the first bad one. After being gone a month, we went to bed and he just wanted to sleep! He said he was worn out. Next night, same thing. 3rd night he gave in to me and I had to stop and leave the room because I felt so degrated somehow. He didn’t do anything specifically horrible, he just wasn’t my husband. Since then we’ve bickered a bit which we’ve never done and he’s been so busy and wrapped up at work lately that he went on 2 more short trainings in the next 3 weeks. Over the last month hes not the same man at all and I kept trying to ask him whats wrong and suggest things we can do together, entice him at night, ANYTHING! I was all but screaming for him to just pay attention to me. He traded in his dirt bike that he just bought not even a year ago for a harley so within that time he started spending all of his time obsessing over it. He now comes home from work, goes to the gym, eats dinner and then out to the garage. On the nights I wait for him, he stays out there until I’m fed up and go to bed. I of course was taking this personally but it wasn’t just me. He isn’t spending any time with our 2 kids and he snaps at them for no good reasons. Finally a few days ago I needed to know what was happening. I asked him one morning if he was thinking about a divorce and in the back of my mind I thought he would tell me I was being silly and of course he wasn’t, but he didn’t. He told me that he didn’t really know what he was feeling right now. He left for work which was the first day of a very rigorous schedule that is keeping him there for 4 days because he only has about 4 hours between getting off and having to return so he is sleeping there. He sent me a message later that morning that said he had thought about it and he wanted to give me a better answer. He said he didn’t know what was happening but he was unhappy and had been for a while. He also said that he wanted to have this conversation after a weekend trip that we already had planned but since I brought it up and he was making everyone miserable that we should have it sooner. He came home that night instead of sleeping and we had a talk and he said that he cares about me and doesn’t want to hurt me and he really does want to fix things but he doesn’t know how to make himself happy and he refuses to be this man that makes his wife cry every day and snaps at his children so that they are afraid to even talk to him. He agreed to couples counciling and said he would do his best to try and fix it but if not he would leave rather than cause us so much pain with his attitude. Then he told me that leaving would be the lesser of two evils because the way he felt he honestly was afraid that he was vulnerable to hurting me in an irreversable way (which of course meant cheating). The next morning I hit the internet with everything he told me he felt, the wanting to be alone and the irritablity and the feeling that he needed the freedom to make some stupid decisions. Every way I searched it I came up with depression. Almost immediately I found this site and while I have to say the story was only mildly helpful to me, I read the comments and immediately took to yours. It was like reading my own life in the first paragraph, together since teenagers, 10 years later, 2 kids, and the husband who always treated her like a princess. I decided I believe depression is probably the cause of this and wanted to bring it up with him. Of course I knew I wouldn’t see him for 3 more days but I couldn’t wait that long so I copied and emailed it to him and asked him to read it. He of course immediately took the defensive and said he couldn’t be depressed because he isn’t down all of the time, he’s perfectly happy (he’s lucky enough to really love his job). I left it alone when he said he would read it and thought there was no way he could refute this when it is the exact same situation! I finally relaxed from all the panic of the last 2 days and fell asleep. A few minutes later he sent me another message that said he didn’t want to discuss it over the phone so he needed me to think on it for the next couple of days but that he felt it was time and I deserved to know that something had happened while he was training that month. He had a one night stand in a bar. I asked him why now after I specifically asked the night before and he denied it. He said that he did read your story and he didn’t want to postpone the innevitable any longer because it was going to hurt me either way. He did see the similarities that I had hoped and while he still doesn’t think it is depression, he agreed to at least start with a questionnaire and consider the possiblity. He can’t seem to understand why I am not furious and throwing him out of the house over the infidelity but I had already read your story over and over again all day and I wanted to tell you that I agree with you on blaming depression. I feel like the man I’ve been married to for so long would never do these things and if he gets help, I honestly believe I can put it behind me. While I know we have not sought treatment yet, I’m convinced, and I want to tell you that after hearing how far you’ve come and that your husband can now tell you that it was a mistake and he is truly regretful and trying to make amends, it gives me the greatest hope that we may come through this and we may be very lucky to have not had to suffer for years or tear our family apart before he agrees to work on it. He says that he has been feeling unhappy for about a year now but he thought it would go away on its own.
      I know I have a long road ahead of us, but I wanted to thank you for the hope that I may still salvage the life that we worked so hard to build.

      • John Folk-Williams says:

        Hi, Ashley –

        I would like to support your hope that it is possible for two people to survive depression together, as my wife and I have been able to do. The first huge step, as you say, is for your husband to recognize the problem and commit to getting help. It’s exciting to hear that he is willing to consider the possibility – it sounds like he’s ready. It can be hard to move your thinking past the traditional culture of manhood, especially in the military, that discourages admitting or talking about emotional difficulties. He has a lot going for him in your support and your focus on depression as the problem. You’ve helped him make the first breakthrough, and he’s had a year to see that doing nothing isn’t helping. I would just add that I hope you get support for your own needs and health as well. Even though it may be depression that makes him difficult to be with, the effect on you hits pretty hard.

        John

      • Kez says:

        Hi Ashley,

        I hope all is going well for you. I would love to contact you privately. I have emailed John and given him permission to give you my private email address. If you would like to get in touch with me, please email John or leave a reply to this comment and request your desire to do so. I hope to hear from you soon.

        Regards
        Kez

  59. Sharon says:

    What a great site. My soon to be ex husband started to suffer with depression about five years ago. He refused to spend time with our family for no reason. If I questioned him, he would tell me he had stress at work. Instead he sat in a chair in the bedroom from Friday nights after work until Monday mornings refusing to engage with the children or me. However, by Monday mornings he sprang out of bed and went to work. Last year, while the children and I were out of the house he moved out, taking all of his belongings and all of the household money. Prior to leaving, he had taken my name off of all of all of the accounts. Additionally, he had borrowed against the value of our home and now it is underwater. He also bled through a 1.2 million retirement account. What I learned is that he has been cheating on me for the last ten years of our 25 five year marriage. He had an entire other life, with friends I do/did not know, etc. It was as though he had a double life. He had two cell phones, one I knew and one I did not know. His brother and best friend are lawyers so they taught him all of the tricks of the trade. All the time I thought we were building our lives together and planning for our future, he was dismantling my life. He has destroyed our two teenage children emotionally with his deception and lies. He has not admitted to leaving us and has told his friends, family and therapist that we (the kids and I) threw him out which is a total lie!!!! He plays a victim to anyone who will listen to him and cries that has “depression.” I learned that he was seeing a therapist and taking medication for three years, during the last three years of our marriage and never told me. After he left us I learned he takes Lexapro. He was a responsible person and I never thought he would do such a thing. The bottom line he does not care about me or the children. We live in poverty as he has traveled around the world, drives a Mercedes and dates lots of women. He rents a very expensive apartment with all new furnishings. He never sees the kids, although he claims to love them. He refused to go into therapy with the children and is answer to them that they will understand one day – whatever the heck that means. In the meanwhile, I have had two attorneys fire me for not having enough money. He has spent close to $60K in attorney fees and makes sure I don’t step one inch out of line. He has manipulated the courts, his attorney and so many other people. The kids and I have really suffered and are isolated financially and from people who used to be a support. Is this depression or psychosis?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Sharon –

      This is so shocking – I can’t imagine living through such a nightmare. I wouldn’t even try to speculate about a disorder that could lead to behavior so lacking in conscience or basic humanity. Does it really matter? People are responsible for abusing those who have trusted them. I can only hope you find some personal as well as financial support – it must feel like having to start life all over again.

      All my best to you — John

  60. dee dee says:

    It really helps to hear I am not the only one “blind-sided ” in this situation. My husband of 30 years left our family last Feb for “another life” during the middle of our only daughter’s engagement. He holds a stressful job and has recently gotten a promotion. He traveled at least 2 to 3 nights a week, it seems he was seeing women in every city, some were employees. He finally met one that he felt he was “in love with”. We have always had a great marriage, plenty of things in common, and a very active sex life. He told me he had a really big ego and I wasn’t stroking it enough. We are all floored as he was a very dedicated man and deacon of the church. It is like he just SNAPPED last holiday season lashing out at everyone and blaming it on job stress when in fact he was trying to decide to leave or stay. He informs everyone I was too controlling and life is short and he deserves to be happy. Our divorce will be final next week, he has moved to another state and is living with her and her twin 5 year olds(our kids are 22,25 &26) He is starting over and will not listen to anyone even his own mother and siblings.
    His family does suffer from depression but he will NOT go get any help.
    Dee Dee

  61. Nicole says:

    This site has been extremely helpful to me during my husband’s most recent bout with depression. He left about 2 months ago, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading and researching to better understand what happened and why. He’s been a little more responsive lately and says that he’s feeling happier now that he’s out of our house and on his own (makes me relieved to know he’s feeling better, but hurt that he thinks I was the cause of his depression). My question is: Do you think that it would be helpful to share this blog (or a specific article on it) with a spouse who was willing to read it, or do you think it could make things worse? Trying to help him see through the fog.

    Thanks for all you’re doing!

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Nicole –

      There’s no single answer to your question. I have no real sense of what the dynamic between the two of you might be or whether this could help or not. But blaming anyone else for your own inner pain is a way of sidestepping real treatment – it’s more a symptom than a reasonable explanation. If that’s his state of mind, I doubt he’d interpret anything you urged him to do or read in the most positive light. While it’s only natural that you want to help him, he really has to make up his own mind and get the help he needs. If he’s trying hard to get better, then he might well appreciate your suggestions. But if he’s not looking into depression on his own, he could also see it as part of your agenda, not his. Unfair but common response.

      Sorry I can give you a straight up or down answer, but it’s just too complicated for that.

      My best — John

  62. Roland says:

    Valediction seems to be the way to avoid more pain. A way to lessen the burden on others. Anger is reserved for myself and those who won’t let me work or give my share. I was a successful hard-working, depressed guy who raised two exceptional children. No steady work for the last couple years has me looking for a change of scenery. I am insulted when i hear this is fantasy. Hell, even the 12 steppers have to leave the rut to break out. I am ready, willing and able to get out and do things but i have run into a part-time world. I have high expectations and feel a gig at Home Depot is akin to death. Death is more appealing as it is the release from pain and day to day frustration that afflicts me now. My life skills should be earning me a six figure income but i am considering subsistence farming because of the lack of employment. Depression isn’t helping and i don’t want to support the Pharma world. I am glad to have found you and will study your site with hopes of salvation or the steps which might lead there.
    peace

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Roland –

      I’m glad you found the site but sorry to hear about the combination of depression and employment problems. It’s so terribly common to meet people who can’t get work at anything like their level of skill and experience. That in itself is a big cause of depression these days. Your situation is not at all like the fantasy escape idea that I refer to in several of these posts. It seems to me you’re not trying to escape anything but are looking straight in the eye of each problem you have to deal with. I wish you the best and hope you’ll stay in touch here.

      John

  63. tracy says:

    i have spent the past our reading all these entries. i am sorry everyone has suffered so much but it helps to make me feel not so alone.

    my boyfriend of nearly three years broke up with me about two months ago. we were living together and had just renewed our lease the month before and had visited his parents, too. out of the blue, he tells me he wants out, that he loves me more than anything but isn’t “in love” with me anymore. i ask him for a better reason because we had a great, solid relationship. we had three fights in three years (nothing vicious) and always did fun stuff together. we both love good food and traveling and funny shows and music. we had a good sex life, too.

    he has been depressed his whole life, since he was about 10, he once told him. his father has it, his uncles have it. his father is also an alcoholic and is denial about other wrongdoings. anyway, my ex’s clinical depression returned in january of this year. he would come home from work and look so alone and sad and say, “i sometimes want to cry, and can’t physically cry.” it would make me feel so sad for him. i would hold him and rock him to sleep. i told him to get on meds and start seeing a therapist. he started taking anti-depressants in march but didn’t seek therapy until AFTER he broke up with me.

    things were getting better once his meds took effect. i was a great girlfriend: i encouraged him to go out with his friends, do things solo and take a new job. i was always positive even though i had lost my job but was having a hard time finding a new one. i never asked him for monetary help the entire time we were together. i saved enough money and did a lot of freelance work to pay my portion of the rent and bills and create a nice home for him. i worked on my freelance projects and washed his dishes and folded his laundry and cooked most of the time.

    anyway, it’s been more than two months. we broke our lease and i moved out first since he said i was going to drag my feet about it. i moped in front of him for a week after the breakup, trying to make sense of why i was essentially going to be on the street, without a home soon and no prospect of a home (i live in a major metro area in which it’s VERY hard to find an apartment unless you are financially solvent and have a job). after that week, my friends started taking me out for drinks and fun and i wore nice clothes and heels. he stayed up waiting for me each night to see if i would come home and how i looked. and after a week of this, of me sleeping on the couch, he asked me to come into the bedroom and cuddle. cuddling led to sex and we have been having unprotected sex on and off for the past two months. i believe i got pregnant and lost the baby pretty quickly because of the stress.

    he is now living with a friend of his. he calls me or texts me and tells me, “i am lonely without you. i miss you. i just want to hear your voice.” i go over to his place EVERY time. i know it’s self destructive but i can’t stop myself. my birthday was a month ago and he made me a special dinner at his house, kicking out his roommate for two hours, so we could have a romantic dinner. he held my hand throughout the evening telling me how happy he was, how he didn’t want to be anywhere else, that it was perfect, that i looked beautiful, etc. we had probably the most transcendent sex of my life that night and the following morning. he was practically crying. i left thinking, what the hell just happened. and then i thought, “he wants to get back together.” of course, that dream came crashing down a few hours later when he was matter of fact in an email he sent me.

    he also posted a profile on a dating site within two days of dumping me, looking for a long term relationship. he has gone on numerous dates with various women and told me, when i confronted him about it, that he will probably have sex with one of them this week, “if she let’s me.”

    i have talked to family friends of his about him. they know about the family history of depression. they tell me it’s not me, it’s him, he is ill and thinks that drugs and yoga will cure him of this. i believe my ex thinks i am the cause of his depression coming back. i think he thinks that all of his emotional problems stem from me. i swear, i was a great girlfriend to him. i was loving, kind, supportive, never nagged him, always positive. he would worry that i would leave him for someone hotter, like a hollywood type but i always swore to him that i never would, that i would never cheat, that i would never stray, that only cheating and abuse would make me leave. he was very paranoid and insecure. now, i feel like the insecure one. the one who has to start over after three years. i am older than him and want to have a baby and i feel as if i have wasted three years on someone who once told me, of his own accord, that he wanted to marry me eventually, that he hoped i could be patient, but that i was the one. why did he tell me that after 10 months of dating when i didn’t ask it of him? i wasn’t picking out china patterns then. i was just happy to have found someone kind, smart, loving and honest. i thought i was the luckiest girl in the world and for two years, i was.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, tracy –

      I’m really sorry you’ve been going through this and that you’ve been treated so badly. As I’ve mentioned to others, your ex is doing something a lot of depressed men do – holding on to your love but in a double-edged way. He wants sex and the reliability of your feeling for him but refuses a full relationship. He won’t take responsibility for getting real treatment or for doing anything decisive. This fence-straddling may be common enough among men with this illness, but it is still manipulative and abusive behavior. I’m not altogether clear on the sequence, but it sounds like you’re still in the position of going to him every time he calls. I know the pull of such strong feeling, but you know it’s only hurting you. He’s not only blaming you for his depression but also putting on you a decision for a final break. Doubtless if you declared you’d had it and wouldn’t see him again, he’d try his hardest to lure you back. He has no incentive whatsoever to stop doing that. You mentioned that you told him, when he was testing the depth of your feelings for him, that only cheating and abuse would make you leave. If you could follow through on that – and you have ample reason – you could start to recover from the emotional damage he’s put you through. None of this is your fault, and I wouldn’t put all his actions on depression. It’s a terrible struggle you have to go through, but I hope you have the strength to do what’s best for you.

      All my best to you —

      John

      • tracy says:

        thanks john. i really appreciate all that you’ve done on this site to help us women try to understand why the men who love push us away.

        the sequence usually follows with him feeling low, most likely because a date hasn’t gone well, and calling me for comfort and love. because i still love him deeply and miss our physical closeness, i run to him. when we were in a relationship, i never felt insecure. i knew i had his love, that he had my back, that he adored me. now, i feel desperate. i know he’s dating other women. he has told me. he has told me he will be sleeping with them soon. it makes me want to vomit thinking about it. but i know he is not mentally ready for anything with anyone else. the man still has feelings for me and how can you start a real relationship on a rebound? i have gone on a few dates, just to date, but find no interest in the men. i compare them to him, and find them wanting. not because he is the best looking man in the world but because we had a connection from the get go. i would like to feel that again but i know i won’t for a long, long time. i’d just like to feel desired and wanted. i don’t feel very attractive even though the men i have casually dated have indicated they think i am. it doesn’t sink into my head at all.

        i find it so hard to let go, especially since i have invested three years of my life into a relationship that i thought was going very well and was heading for marriage. i am older than my ex. and i am at the age when i need to make concrete decisions because i want a child and that window is closing. to think i have to start all over and find someone new who will love me and want to be with me for the rest of my life, fills me with dread. one, i am not ready for a real relationship and two, who knows if the next guy will stick around? this is part of the reason why i still run to him when he calls. i have a vague hope that he will figure it all out and come back. i know in my heart that won’t happen but i can’t stop thinking there is a possibility. he and i have never loved someone the way we loved each other. he has told me that. he also told me 10 months into our relationship that he wasn’t ready to get married and have kids yet, but that he was serious about me, that it was a foregone conclusion. that i just needed to be patient. i spent two more years with him with that promise in the back of my mind. now, where do i stand?

        i was homeless because of him. i didn’t have money to find an apartment because of him. i didn’t have a job. i looked at women’s shelters as a living possibility because i was so desperate and the majority of my friends wouldn’t or couldn’t let me stay with them (not even on their couches). i was so lost, alone. i couldn’t tell my parents what was happening because they would have felt so ashamed and my father would have wanted to hurt him. when i think about how awful my life was two months ago, it makes me so unbelievably angry. because he caused all this. i got pregnant and lost the baby right away because of the stress. and now, i still can’t find a job and will have to leave the city i am in to move across country to save money and restart. it makes me sad to think i probably won’t ever see him again. maybe it’s good in the long run.

        • John Folk-Williams says:

          Hi, Tracy –

          What I keep hoping as I read about the grief, anger and hurt you’re living with is that you don’t lose faith in yourself. After an experience like this, I can’t imagine anything being clear or looking very hopeful. One friend told me it took him 3 years to get over a divorce. Another was lost for 2 years before settling into life again. In my 20s I went through a breakup that took me several years to get over. The thing is that all 3 of us got into some form of treatment to deal with everything and sort our lives out. Family and friends offered a lot of support as well – though it took me a long time to admit the loss since I felt so ashamed about it. I would urge you to get some sort of counseling to help bring you back to a center line in your being when you need to find it again. Also I’ve never found it helpful to hold things back from my family. I wouldn’t prejudge their reactions. From what you say, the love and support they can offer would be most important for them and a help to you.

          All my best — John

          • tracy says:

            hi john,

            it’s been many months since i last wrote and i wanted to give you an update on how i am doing.

            i moved across country in february. the last time i saw my ex was right before i left. we met up and talked. i didn’t yell but i was very sad and matter of fact. he said he was sad i was leaving town, he couldn’t believe it, that seeing me and being with me was always emotional for him, that he couldn’t separate the physical from the emotional with me, that he wasn’t going to be dating anyone any longer, that he was going to be by himself for a while and try to get better and that he wouldn’t have a girlfriend for months and months, maybe a year. he also asked me if we were going to be able to be friends. i told him i didn’t know. at the time, i was trying to forgive him for everything he had put me through. i told him about the miscarriage although he accused me of having an abortion, which made me beyond angry and hurt. i told him how i had nobody to talk to about that, that i had needed him with me, to help me and hold me. anyway, i stayed over his apartment that night. we didn’t have sex, we just listened to music, drank some wine and held each other all night. it was very sad in the morning when we were saying goodbye. i wanted to cry and he looked as if he wanted to, too. but i left his apartment with a lighter heart.

            a few hours later, my heart was heavy again as i found out he had been sleeping with at least one other person all the time he was having unprotected sex with me in the fall. i was devastated. not only had he gotten me pregnant but he could have possibly given me a disease. i immediately got checked and it was negative. but i was still so angry and hurt. how could someone you knew and loved for three years treat your health so abysmally? it was my life he was playing with!

            i came to hate him again. even more so when i found out a month later that he had a new gf (not the girl he had been sleeping with last fall) that he was introducing to friends. it was a knife in the gut. she was a girl he had met online in february, the day i left town. i couldn’t believe he could say he still had feelings for me, that he needed to get over me before he got with anyone else and yet, he now had a new girlfriend (he hadn’t had a girlfriend for five years before he met me). i called him on the phone and let him have it. he denied it all and then hung up on me but he responded via email. it was so cold and callous and passive aggressive. as if we had only been casually dating for a month instead of being together for nearly three years, meeting each others’ families and living together for one. he even talked about the new gf. about how it was new and he liked her and blah blah blah.

            i was suicidal, john. i called a hotline and the only thing that stopped me was thinking about how my family would suffer with my death.

            i cut him out of my life. out of social media. then he retaliated by blocking me and my friends from him. as if my friends even knew he was still connected to them. the girl is his gf officially. her pictures are everywhere and from what two people have told me, she is the polar opposite of me. she is dumb, a bimbo, dresses and acts inappropriately and doesn’t fit in. they couldn’t believe he would date someone like that after me. but i guess that’s what he wants. i had to delete one of his friends, who i thought cared about me and who said as much, because she was posting photos of them all over the place and it was hurting me.

            for months, i have cried myself to sleep. i haven’t been able to get out of bed some days. i have been a zombie, barely surviving. but in the past month, i have been much better. i have finally made a friend in my new city, started dating someone (very very casually) and have been thinking about myself instead of my ex. i have been applying for jobs back in my old town, where he lives, and overseas as well. i am hopeful that i will get something soon and have been trying to have fun, with my new friend and more importantly, on my own. losing the baby was the most horrific thing i have ever gone through. i think about that every day. but i also lost my job and my career was adversely affected. i am trying to get that back on track now that my frame of mind is better. i am not over him. not by a long shot. that will take a long time. i still think about him and have feelings for him. but i am trying not to think about him and this girl and am just trying to put one foot in front of the other and do what i have to do for MYSELF and not for anyone else. i have some travel plans for the fall, which have me very excited.

            i just wanted to thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and help me. i really needed a male perspective that wasn’t emotionally invested. you do a great service. thank you for that. and to the poster below who said SSRIs can cause behavioral changes, thank you for that. i never had any idea. he definitely did a 180. a jekyll/hyde change. going from a great human being to a complete douche bag. it is all so tragic. none of this should have happened. if only he was more attuned to his feelings, we could have worked out the problems he was having. you don’t throw away a good relationship. i guess he wanted out and that was that. i have to live with it, no matter how hard it feels.

            i do know i will never love someone this wholeheartedly again. i know i can love again and that someone amazing is out there for me. but i don’t think i can give my body and soul completely to someone. i need to guard my heart. i hope to find someone better someday. sooner rather than later. but thank you, john…

          • John Folk-Williams says:

            Hi, tracy –

            Thanks for writing again – I hope it helps to get that difficult story down in words. I’m sure you get a lot of advice to move on and stop thinking about him, but, as you know, it doesn’t happen that way. Trying not to think of someone or something is a surefire way to keep them in mind. It takes a long period of grieving to get over such a painful experience, especially with the miscarriage and the deception and betrayal more than once. I just hope you can attend to your own well-being as you go through this.

            All my best —

            John

    • Anon Nymous says:

      Actually, the strange behavior (no longer in love and dating many women) probably came from the SSRIs he began taking. There is anecdotal evidence of this all over the web.

  64. Melissa says:

    I thought this would be something you could help provide some insight on, John. By the way, I am so glad to have stumbled upon your website. I’ve been really trying to understand depression as much as possible, perhaps just as a desperate reflex to dealing with the recent end of a relationship. The love of my life and I met through a work colleague and we fell in love very quickly. Things were well…..indescribably happy between us. One of those out of the blue relationships :) but the past caught up with him as he had to deal with guilt from leaving his previous long time relationship just before me. We stayed in touch after the little break when he dealt with that aspect of his life and quickly fell back into the groove of us. However, his guilt and depression started to linger after feeling this major guilt episode so we kept together and committed to one another through nightly talks. We kept close but at a distance, you know? 8 months of this, yes 8. We were dying to see one another but his depression was still there and unresolved. We didn’t want to get back into us completely until that was done and over with so it would not interfere in our relationship ever again. However, he noticed himself spiralling downwards quite badly……until eventually this end of August he spoke to his doctor who freaked out on him and told him to immediately cut out the top 3 stressors of his life. He told me he worried about us, our future, worried about me being there for him when it’s not perhaps the best thing for me……god, I was crushed and I still am. I agreed that he needed to get better and if stopping communication/ the relationship entirely is what he needed, so be it. Up until now, I have stayed away and I worry about everything- whether he will ever come back, why I became a stressor and yet he can maintain his friendships with his friends…..I am working on focusing on work, etc…but anyways, it just really crushed me to know that his therapist recommended cutting me out. I understand that a person can’t be in a relationship if they are not well but yes, just another reason I suppose as to why they leave. Not because they want to (because my love didn’t want to and I think that’s why he resisted seeing his therapist sooner rather than later as I recommended)….but because they well, have to. I think it’s important for others to know. That some people leave not because they willingly choose to, but because that is what is ultimately needed for things to progress, for things to move forward either together or apart. I feel deep down we are just so connected after we envisioned the same future together. Life will happen as it does but it does provide some reassurance to learn about depression, and why our male partner may leave.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Katherine,
      Thanks for your reply, it’s nice to know girls like us aren’t alone at times like this…..Now, I’ve had a lot of time (4 months almost) but I do think about my situation and my ex (I hate this word) and have come to learn a few things after reading a lot on forums, other people’s advice and my own private thoughts which may help you. When my insecurities rise up from this and I feel that maybe he left because it was easy, that maybe it was not necessarily because of the depression, I remind myself of all his loving words and gestures. I read his love letters (well, emails) which number in the hundreds. I remember he is truly a loving, gentle and most wonderful man and that how he felt about me (hopefully still feels…) was very real and I should not second guess myself and those moments. I think it’s important to also come to terms that we are powerless. I mean, I have become confident in myself knowing that I did everything I possibly could and that ultimately this is something he must conquer alone. Having a relationship but being unable to provide is stressful and what my ex ultimately agreed with his therapist was that it was all “too much” for him to deal with. We have no ability to force anything (it’s how life is) and that things will happen as they are meant to. You can only hope and pray he is now able to devote his energy completely in getting better.
      On one forum, someone wrote this which I found quite enlightening on one depressed man leaving his girlfriend:
      This reader’s reply to the girlfriend who was left:
      “This is a very responsible thing to do, for him to understand that girlfriends are NOT nurses, or miracle workers, or anti-depressants.
      You should give him as long as he needs to get better.
      When he’s ready, he’ll call you.
      You need to find some other hobby besides him, or yourself. Get to know more people, you don’t necessarily have to date – but socialize. Don’t bar yourself from meeting new people and introducing new ideas and cultures in your life.
      He’s helping himself – that’s not going to change until he gets better.
      Help yourself by moving on…by the time you both get in touch again – maybe you’d have grown to understand and value each other better, or maybe you might have grown apart yet learned a valuable lesson about who you each are.”

      When my mind goes crazy thinking of the worsts (that he is happier without me, etc)., I remember our deep love for one another, his love for me, I remember that I did as much as I could and that ultimately life will happen as it’s supposed to. Everything happens for a reason.
      Or, as my ex has said to me during our previous time apart,
      “….have faith that no matter what, the best things will always prevail if you do everything with the best intentions.”
      I hope you find confidence and peace in what you’ve done and enjoy the holidays too. Stay well,
      Melissa

      • John Folk-Williams says:

        Hi, Katherine –

        Sorry to take so long to reply, but I wanted to read through all your entries first. I am glad to hear that writing the story down and hearing what others are going through is helpful in the midst of such a terrible time. There is always a painful tension between a few guiding ideas you “know” – like the need to take care of yourself and the responsibility of the one with depression to take care of his own treatment – and the torture of living through the intense pain of such loss. I think one of the worst things is realizing how powerless you are to change what is happening. It’s so hard to believe that the bond you thought was so strong doesn’t seem to matter much, that you can’t appeal to the love he once had for you to pull him back on track.

        You see how impossible his behavior is – at one point you said he was acting like a disturbed teenager looking for attention. That seems like part of it, and depression explains a lot more. If the illness is so severe that he’s lost the power of independent judgment, then he needs emergency care to stabilize. But it doesn’t sound quite like that. Illness can’t relieve him of responsibility for what he’s been doing and how he’s treated you. There’s a mixture of depression, manipulation and emotional abusiveness. It’s very common for depressed men – (I’m sure it’s not restricted to men but these are the stories I hear most often) – to wait for partners and ex’s to make decisions for them – to avoid any action or decision with finality and to hold on as long as possible to those who want most to support him. He might easily begin another round of trying to draw on your support as he finds things are not changing where he is now.

        It’s also common for depressed men to blame their partners for everything that’s gone wrong. You’ll probably just have to accept the fact that no amount of space or time will lead him to understand what the truth is and how you’ve been trying to help. I would say he’s not serious about getting the type of help he really needs from professional mental health providers. He hasn’t yet begun to recognize his illness and that he can’t get better through manipulative behavior. Unless I missed something, you haven’t said anything about treatment. It’s not up to you to persuade him to get it – and it’s definitely not your responsibility to make sure he stays with it. But until he makes a serious commitment to do this, I don’t see how you can expect anything to change.

        All this is so hard – and advice is easy to give. If he looks to you again, telling him about your own emotional limits and the hurt he’s inflicted on you would be the best thing. As Anne Sheffield says in Depression Fallout (a good book for you to read, by the way), drawing a line about what you’ll accept and won’t is one of the important things you can do for yourself. So is getting your own support – perhaps with a therapist – to guide you through this.

        All my best to you —

        John

      • John Folk-Williams says:

        Hi, Melissa –

        I think you’ve come out of a tough time in a good place. I’d agree that you’re powerless in the sense that you cannot hurry up his healing and that you can’t be his nurse. It’s good to hear that you feel accepting of the situation and seem to feel some tranquility about it – though I’m sure you have your up days and down ones. Whether or not he had to leave to deal with his depression, however, is more of a question for me. Of course, I can’t know any more about his state of mind and feelings than you mention, but leaving is a common thing among men who resist treatment – and your ex seems to have put it off until he felt almost out of control. To me, leaving a good relationship is another way of isolating yourself, and that may do more to deepen than resolve depression. As much as I urge getting professional help, I have to say I’m really puzzled by the therapist’s recommendation. I guess I’m not so clear on why a good relationship would stress him so much, but even if it did, the relationship didn’t cause the depression. It seems strange to me that a therapist would urge him to get out of it as a first line treatment strategy. Every relationship is stressed by depression, some to the breaking point. That’s a given. But I can’t believe that ending this one will help him get beyond a severe depressive episode any sooner. The reality is that he has a recurrent condition and is likely to have further episodes after this one is resolved – though hopefully not for a long time. However, leaving a loving partner isn’t going to be the answer in the future, any more than now.

        I’m probably way off base since these things don’t follow any rules, but those are my thoughts for what they’re worth.

        The most important thing is that you feel OK about yourself and able to face whatever comes.

        John

        • Masako Nigro says:

          Thank your for your reply to Melissa,

          My husband and I have been married for 37 years. I have been struggling with my husband’s depression for a while. Luckily, he has agreed to seek professional help for his condition and he is working on it. However, he still seems to have urge to isolate himself by saying, ” I need time and space to think clearly by myself. ” However, he does not seem to know what it is, but confused. His therapist has convinced him not to do anything for now. He appeared to have agreed with him. I am scared, but hopeful that his therapist will help him to reach the bottom of his condition and treat him. I want to see him happy again (of course with me).

          Thanks,

      • Brig says:

        You have just summed up everything that I have been going through! I hope life is being good to you. Take care, Melissa

  65. Gina says:

    Hi John,

    You have no idea how much you have helped me already. I do have a few questions I’d like to ask you
    regarding my situation.

    If you find a moment can you e-mail me? I’m getting to a better place in my life, but would love your
    help for more closure.

    Thanks again for what you have already given me.

    Gina

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Gina –

      I’m glad these posts have been helpful to you. Why don’t you send me an email at the address I’ve given here – john@storiedmind.com.

      Look forward to hearing from you – but please be patient about a response!

      John

  66. Karen says:

    I read this stuff all over and everytine I do the one thing that pops into my head over and over is…i wish i could get my partner to read this…but from what everyone says it wouldn’t make any dofference as depressed people cannot follow the logic of the discussion…is that true?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Karen –

      No, I don’t believe that depression prevents you from following the logic of the discussion, if logic is the right word. It’s more likely that when you’re depressed you can’t believe that what you’re reading could help you. Or you might simply deny that depression is the problem, so whatever is being said doesn’t apply to you. Depressive thinking is reliably negative but reflects inner belief, not just the logical flow of thought. As with treatment, there really isn’t a single pattern.

      John

  67. Estdel says:

    I have been married 24 years only to find out that my husband had an affair which resulted in a child that is now 12 years old. I found at his mother’s funeral.

    All this coming to fruiticion at once has gotten him into a deep depression.

    He has now left the house and calls all the time. But at the same time he is acting quite distant. I really cant understand any of this and I am quite confused to say the least.

    I am trying to be supportive but I know that I too must carrying on with my own life, since I believe I was living a lie for so long, when everyone new what was going on about him having this child and I was in the dark about the whole situation.

    Sometimes I think it would be better just let this marriage go and start and focus entirely on myself.

    So confussed, I dont know where to start.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Estdel –

      I should think you’d be the more likely candidate for depression than your husband after these shocks. This is such a painful and humiliating betrayal. You’re right that you must carry on with your own life. If I were in your position, I would seek out therapy simply to get an objective and professional view for what you’re going through. A great many therapists work with people to handle terrible situations like this – you definitely don’t need a diagnosed disorder.

      My best to you –

      John

  68. Sarah says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for taking the time to tell me your story. I’m so sorry it’s be so hard.

    Like you say it’s very hard to walk away from someone when you love someone unconditionally. I feel my ex has some very deep rooted problems that date back to years ago, he also has an older brother who attempted suicide last year so it’s not a straight forward situation. It’s the only time in my love I can ever imagine loving someone who has treated me the way he has over the past few weeks and still believing that I am right in the face of him saying I don’t love you. I do truly believe he is seriously depressed and that this has clouded his judgement. Like everyone says it is only his choice to address this though and recognise his problem and I simply don’t know if this will happen.

    I do keep a little bit of hope though as this is all so far removed from the man I met, whose problem is he feels too much. I do hope he gets some perspective whether from medication of a psychologist, but I simply don’t know. What is clear is life with a depressive is horribly difficult and I would need to be significantly stronger than I am now to deal with this were he to come back and that is my immediate focus in this hellish situation.

    I wish I didn’t love him so much but unfortunately I do…..

    Thanks,

    Sarah

  69. Liz says:

    Hi Sarah — I can go on and on about my journey with my DP. If you search Storied Mind, I have commented a number of times of the past 2 years which will give you a good indication of what I went thru. In any case, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. My DP has battled anxiety and depression almost his entire life. It goes deep…very, very deep. It runs in his family and is evident in his childhood experiences such as moving over 10 to 15 times as a child. So he has learned to cope – sometimes better than others. His coping mechanism is to be by himself. Not count on any one and try to live his life. He can get obsessive over things and get caught up in habits that become that make him very self-involved. He is never abusive to me or purposely mean in his actions when it comes to our relationship. There has always been a mutual respect for each other. If I was treated like what you mention or what Rhia stated, I would have walked away. But our mutual respect for each other didn’t lessen the blow of emotional and physical withdrawal. It was and still is the most devastating thing I have ever been thru. We separated from time to time sometimes 2 months…sometimes a bit longer. However, I kept communicating with him even when it was a super dark time for him. I reminded him how special he was to himself and to me. I was honest in how he hurt me but understanding at the same time. I always told him how I loved him unconditionally. We are each other’s best friends. It’s not perfect. I know it won’t ever be. I hope he is in my life forever but we live each day as its own entity and not discuss the future too much when it relates directly to us. It creates a bit of anxiety within me as I know what I want and I’m not sure he will ever know what he wants. I may be a little older than the both of you so I have had my children from a previous marriage so that is not a consideration for me. MY only focus is on him and our relationship. Nurturing and loving every single day. We are good together. He knows it. So I just keep on…and hope for the best. So far so good for the past 9 months. I wish you the best.

  70. Sarah says:

    Hi Rhia,

    Thanks for your reply to me. It really sounds like you had a dreadful time of it. I guess the difficult thing for me is that up until the last few weeks my ex showed his depression by being so low and tearful and isolating himself. He has never had anger or shouted at me. I think what has been so overwhelming is the change from someone who is essentially ‘weak’ to a cold and callous man who I simply don’t recognise. i do think you are right though in that you have to be careful what you wish for and a life with a depressive is not what anyone would choose…however, I’m sure in the same way you think this, you can’t choose who you love and unfortunately we fell in love with men who were sick….. Only time will tell for us all in this horrible predicament what will happen but I do think it’s important that we get ourselves back to the positive and happy women we were at the start of these relationships so that whatever the future is with or without our depressed ex’s coming back we are in a better place ourselves…..

    Sarah

    Sarah

  71. Rhia says:

    Thanks Liz….yes indeed it’s been a very tough journey for me. I can feel the turmoil and pain in Sarah’s words and it reminds me of the darkness that surrounded me over a year back. My love for myself and the selfless love of my friends…including my ex’s friends….and my family….have helped me survive what I can definitely say was the most painful and traumatic days of my life. As Sarah says…the change was very sudden for me too and to add to my situation I was overseas and felt more helpless. He not only left me…but he left the city to go back to his town. I didn’t know what to do. Anyway…it has made me stronger but it has left an indelible mark on me…I am not a cynic…but I feel exhausted from fighting to forget my love for him. My meditation teacher has been instrumental in my recovery…and I know one day I will be fine….at the moment…still baby steps. I am a very emotional person and feel things a little more than others I guess. I didn’t even get to choose my future – I probably would have stayed with him. My father is bipolar and I am conditioned to dealing with tough situations. However, my ex called me a ‘psycho’ and tried to kick me out of the house at 4am in the morning. That was the lowest point in my life….and I really don’t know how I survived that..but I did…and here I am…better than before…more successful that before….hurting less than before. I still feel one day my ex will return but I am not waiting anymore. To feel so detached from a person I loved so much is painful. It’s been the biggest loss of my life so far. I even sent links to this website and depression related sites to my ex after our breakup – I was petrified he would verbally abuse me but instead he thanked me – took me by surprise. I did the same mistakes a lot of girls make – called him when I couldn’t breath any longer – and he verbally lashed out – even when I told him all I wanted was to listen to his voice. He said that was a ridiculous wish when I knew he would insult me. He has since then interrogated me about my dating life, bad mouthed me to his friends who can see through him and even gone to the extent of telling me he was enjoying ‘random sex’ with girls who were better in bed than me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He then blocked me on facebook even though he was the one checking up on me every day – even went to the extent of going off at me on my profile page a few seconds before his b’day out of the blue – in full view of all our mutual friends! He demanded I delete mutual friends since they were ‘his’ friends. When I mentioned this to one of ‘his’ friends to explain why I was about to delete him, he was adament and stopped me – told me he had no right to dictate who I was friends with. All his things were at my place for over 4 months – I didn’t harm anything – but he still wouldn’t return the money he owed me – said it was ‘insurance’ in case I decided to damage anything. I can’t believe how much he mistrusted me after I gave 200% – even got him jobs and did his job applications.He befriended his ex who had dumped him and had cheated on him. It was like I was his enemy. I guess the reason is because I reached out to his parents for help right at the beginning when I was still waking up to what was happening – he sees this as a betrayal – that I had dobbed him in. I have explained so many times that I was desperately trying to help him but he doesn’t see it that way. I still have questions that will probably never be answered…about why he hurt someone whose only mistake was to love and protect him…..but I know I cannot fight depression…and certainly not a depressed alcoholic.

    Sarah – I really think my ex did me a favour by pushing me away. He treated his dog better than me when he was depressed. Do you want that for yourself? As Liz says – do think hard about what you want from life and remember if you decide to remain with him you’ll have to be very strong….and you will have to take care of yourself first and foremost. He is in a lot of pain…but you are important to yourself and your family & friends….so do put yourself first.

  72. Sarah says:

    Hi Rhia & Liz,

    Found your posts really helpful…this forum really has been amazing in keeping my sanity.

    It is reassuring to know that you aren’t alone and the behaviour of your partner / ex is (unfortunately) all too common when depression is present. For me the hardest thing is the change in him…he is very sensitive, in fact too sensitive in some ways, I spent the last 6 months with him being very tearful (crying in the street on one occasion – this man is a former international rugby player, something of a shock to see!), low, morose. He didn’t really want to see his friends and essentially it has just been the two of us for the past few months and that intensity makes this all the harder again.

    Liz – you mention that you have been through this a few times with your partner for which I am dreadfully sorry. Whilst I have to be realistic that I may never have my ex back, unfortunately, depression or not, I do still hold some degree of hope. Did you get to the point where you partner was saying he didn’t love you and then left? What happened that ever changed this? I feel like my ex has just totally shut down and puts on a frightening facade with friends / work. One of his friends bumped into him recently and said you wouldn’t have a clue he had just broken up with his girlfriend….. he doesn’t act all happy by any stretch but equally just shuts down any connection with his emotional side so nobody has a clue. I suspect he does feel a false sense of relief that a ‘burden’ has been lifted for him but clearly as we all know he isn’t understanding the reality of his problems. He is going to see a psychologist but this is as far as I know. Would be interested to hear your own experience if that is okay?

    Above all trying to tell myself I must look after myself…hard when you have spent so long looking after someone else.

    Thanks Sarah

  73. Liz says:

    Why do we allow our partner’s to love us any less than we love ourselves? That is what I battle with every day being in a relationship with a depressed partner. I love him with all of my heart and soul and no matter how good it may be — and gratefully right now it’s good — I know that b/c of his upbringing and his chronic depression he can’t love me in the same way or as deeply as I do. It’s all a choice…to stay or to go. I have chosen to stay. I have been thru all that Rhia and Sarah have experienced. I find a common thread in all partner’s of the depressed. It’s emotional and physical abandonment at its deepest level and it can be devastating…I know as I have been thru it a few times with my partner over the past 4 years. Today we are good but I am always on the lookout for signs…signs of happiness and signs of the depression. It’s not fun sometimes but it’s the choice I’ve made for the man I love. Each of you have to make the choice that is right for you. But I do say this…and John has said this to me many times…take care of yourself first. And, make sure your partner loves you as you love yourself.

  74. Rhia says:

    So true what you say about forming superficial friendships and putting blame on your partner for how one is feeling, John! My ex did the same to me – as I say – I was his dartboard. He told me I was the reason his life was a mess…that he was an alcoholic. Even his mother lashed out when I mentioned this – ‘don’t let him blame you for his alcoholism’ she told me. And you are spot on about seeking therapy. When I was a complete mess…I started seeing my meditation teacher…it was more counselling but boy did it ease my pain and confusion. He was a god sent to me at that point.

    When I read Sarah’s post I went ‘oh no that sounds like what I went through’. My feelings were mirrored in her words. I still question how I could have loved such a monster..and still do…!! But he wasn’t a monster when I met him…he was sweet and lovely….and then my world came crashing down and he was a stranger to me…not the person I knew. I felt like I was treading on egg shells round him…had to measure what I said. This was the same person I felt so at home with…never had to think before I spoke…and there I was wondering how he’d react to this and how he would react to that!!

    It is so sad to love such a person….knowing that the lovely person is still in there somewhere but we are helpless and cannot do anything to bring that person back.

    I still wait for him to come to his senses…..and maybe come back to me. Maybe one day……

  75. Sarah says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your reply, it has been helpful during such an awful time.

    I think you are right though that his depression has had a huge impact on me, the madness of it, the speed at which it has got to such a bad point and how it has left me feeling in terms of doubting myself. The other thing I find very frustrating is the sense that other people don’t understand or don’t have the insight I have, especially his friends and family who seem to think he had made some ‘positive’ steps as he’s got a fitness plan together and mentioned seeing a psychologist this week but are much more focused on dealing with issues than depression. I find it hard to hear what a ‘nice’ guy he is when the depressed reality for me is so very far from this….

    I noticed he had removed all photos from facebook yesterday…I thought this was very telling as I had to ask him to remove photos of his ex from facebook which he was oblivious were still there but for me it’s like erasing me is of paramount importance. Leaves me feeling very low about myself.

    I suppose the fear as well is that he just goes on and finds someone and then suddenly everything is well for him….my mum (who is a doctor) has told me it is unlikely someone who loves isolation so much is going to want anyone near him, and if in the future he does meet someone it will be a disaster and they will leave long before i did. Not sure if that is any consolation though.

    All so very damaging and I just hope for a day when I don’t have the horrible vivid dreams about it all….

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply,

    Sarah

  76. Sarah says:

    Hi,

    Hoping for some advice. I have read through all the above comments which have been very helpful for me.

    I have been in a relationship for a year and half with a man I fell head over heals in love with. Relationship was great from start he was very keen and moved things forward in terms of our parents meeting, discussing living together etc. I new he had previously been on anti-Ds following a combination of giving up a professional career in sport and end of a very bad relationship (emotionally abusive from her). After about a year of blissfulness his mood started to go down, he had always had a problem sleeping but was getting increasingly tired. Then one day he admitted he was feeling low, no confidence, scared of everything and was very tearful. He said he needed some space, but didn’t want to break up. I was totally taken aback but gave him space. The next 6 months were very tough…he missed me and was quickly back in contact but was very low, morose and tearful at times (whilst always maintaining facade with everyone else). He went to GP was given anti-Ds but these didn’t initially work, was then put on another type and finally after months I noticed a really difference and it was like he was coming back…. Having thought we had turned a corner I then came down one morning to see him low and morose again, discovered he had just stopped taking the anti-Ds doesn’t know why. I was gutted, pushed for him to go back to GP, never did. Just watched him getting lower. Following weekend we had a bit emotional blow out, started by me as I feel so insecure as he was withdrawing again and having literally kept his head above water for 6 months I thought we were going to go through it again. He was being irrational….saying he loves me but why can’t he express his feelings / want to spend every second with me. Tried to reason with him but to no avail. We then had another week’s break and then I persuaded him to meet me. When I saw him he was like another man like something had emotionally died in him. Said he loved me but has doubts if he can’t say how he feels, needs to be alone and doesn’t know if he would want to come back to relationship…he was cold and distant, never apologised. I was absolutely broken. 3 weeks then passed with no contact then he came to see me. Again he was like a different man so cold and withdrawn said with time apart he has realised he doesn’t love me and in fact the pressure he was feeling about things was a pressure to feel that he loves me…I couldn’t believe it, like he was transferring everything to me. I told him he was wrong and asked if he could feel emotion about anything to which he said no…. He never said sorry, in no way considered my feelings, just so cold.

    I have been left absolutely broken and on the verge of depression myself. I fell in love with this and had a brilliant relationship and now I hardly recognise him and don’t know what to think. His close friends know he has some ‘issues’ to deal with but he has a frightening facade and I truly don’t think they understand the depth of his problems….

    Don’t know how to move forward and how to stop hoping he ‘wakes’ up….

    S

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Sarah –

      This is so hard – I really feel for you in the middle of this nightmare. All the coldness, emptiness, inability to feel – that’s one of the defining symptoms of depression. I found – though this isn’t true for everyone – that antidepressants made that worse, though they may have taken the edge off the deepest depressed mood. In that state, I felt completely detached and oblivious to the needs of my wife. It’s a bad time to make big decisions since it’s hard to get your brain clear in depression, and you have the tendency to withdraw from all close relationships. I think the most intimate relationships are the hardest to deal with and the first to want to get away from. It’s far easier at those times to have superficial friendships and put the blame on your partner for what you’re feeling.

      You’re right – he’s not rational. And that’s why it doesn’t help much to try to reason with him. I think you’re in a good spot in looking at your own need to move forward and stop hoping for a turnaround that may never occur.

      I strongly suggest you look into some form of therapy or counseling. You don’t need to have a diagnosis or suffer from any mood disorder to get a lot out of seeing someone. Most therapists and counselors are there to help you look more clearly at what’s going on than perhaps you can and help you focus on how to find your way through this. They can help you get some distance from the impact of his depression and give you some ideas on what to do for the sake of your emotional health and independence.

      I hope you’ll let us know how this works out for you.

      My best —

      John

  77. Rhia says:

    Hi Marlo,

    I feel for you and I wish you weren’t in this state of confusion – wondering if he still loves you and if he will come back to you once he can see clearly. I had the same questions…and I guess my questions are still there….just that I’ve learnt or rather been forced to learn how to live with them. I still love my ex and I still feel betrayed by him but time is healing me. I do understand that I cannot blame or be angry at him for his predicament but when one’s heart is breaking to pieces it’s a bit difficult not to be angry at the instigator. I guess I blame circumstances and fate too for pushing us into a situation where he pushed me away. To answer you question about whether they do push loved ones away – yes they do. I remember trying desperately to help him…I remember his mother’s efforts…and his close friends efforts…and he pushed us all away….he lashed out saying ‘I can take care of myself’. I put it down to the ego…being a man he didn’t want people to view him as helpless…that affected his self esteem….maybe made him feel less of a man. So I pulled away…..but then there wasn’t much more I could have done…..he had brutally pushed me away….in his anger he had bruised me…he was a monster to me. But I knew it was his depression speaking…that wasn’t this beast. As I mention in my earlier post, my meditation teacher told me to exercise ‘tough love’. He told me to leave him to get back on his feet – this would engender in him a confidence in himself – the confidence he lacked since everytime he had a problem someone would help him out. He was a very lovable person and so he was surrounded by well wishers. You notice I speak in past tense – that is because it’s been 1.5 years since we broke up and over 6 months since our last contact. I don’t know him anymore and it hurts. To be cut off from someone’s life when you were their life at one point hurts like hell – specially when I had done nothing wrong but love and take care of him. People in such situations also need the time and space to clear their cobwebs up.- to address their confusion about why they are feeling the way they are. It can be a terribly disturbing time – and they can be misunderstood making their confusion worse. I for one have gone through circumstantial depression – we all do from failure or loss. But I always bounce back like the rest of us – so I thought he would too – snap out of it. But it doesn’t happen like that for some. I thought at times that he was using his depression as an excuse for his failures and would lash out – I was hurting too. And this didn’t of course help matters. I have apologised for that – explaining I didn’t know where he was coming from. What I am trying to say is sometimes it’s best to let them be instead of adding our pain to their confusion – or allowing them to watch how they are hurting us – since that can make their pain worse – the feeling that they can do no right – that they mess up everything in their life. My ex told me he was being cruel to me to be kind – in other words he was pushing me away for my own good. He didn’t listen to my protestations – that I am strong enough for the two of us – he didn’t give me the credit and that certainly hurts – that he didn’t give me the opportunity to show him how strong I could be for us. But the point remains that they can often hurt the people they love the most and are closest to them the worst. And I was his dart board – the scapegoat for everything that was going wrong with him. Such was his verbal abuse and rage towards me that I nearly went over the edge myself due to the confusion and shock seeing this 360 degrees change in the person I loved so much. I’ve faced a lot of adversities in my life and pride my strength – so when I nearly went into that state of mind I had to pull away for my own sanity – then again he was the one to break up with me but being the ‘never give up’ types I tried and tried to win him back – hoping the fact that I was giving him space and treating him gently would bring him back to me – but no – the more I was nice the more intense the verbal abuse and his ire towards me became. He accused me of ‘playing the victim’ and making him look like the villain – such was his twisted vision. Your man sounds in a far worse condition than my ex was. To be able to take care of someone in this state one has to take care of themselves first. So please take care of yourself. And remember if someone doesn’t take your helping hand…keeps slapping it away…it’s best to leave them alone. As for love – hate is just another face of love. Indifference – now that is the opposite of love. But then again…we cannot really relate to a person in the depths of depression and assess their reactions according to how we would have responded in a similar situation. I will say one thing – and this is what I have told myself so many times – if it is meant to be it will be but there’s no use pushing. I know it’s a cliché but it’s true. It’s a great thing your man recognises his situation and is seeking help – that’s a huge step. My ex confessed to me – and that too after the breakup – when I confronted him seeing terrible facebook status updates. He confessed that he was depressed and that’s why he didn’t want to hurt people close to him. He called himself a loser and asked me why I cared for him. So can you see the pattern here – he pulls away so as not to hurt others. But he wouldn’t seek help since he had no faith in counsellors. I don’t know what he’s doing now. And if you read the other posts here you will find this a common theme. They don’t understand that by pulling away they are hurting the people who love them. To them it’s an act of kindness. Lastly I will tell you something that my meditation teacher told me in our very first session – I was a mess at that time – asking the same questions you are asking – especially about his love for me though he kept telling me it’s over. My meditation teacher told me ‘how can he love you when he doesn’t even love himself?’……simple….but astoundingly true. My ex didn’t love himself….how could he give me any. To love others we have to love ourselves. Hope this helps you. I know it’s terribly tough and confusing for you….these times. I found immense strength from forums like these – found solace in realising I am not the only one. This forum actually opened my eyes and when I read other people’s posts and John’s posts I found a bit of peace….I calmed down and in a way realised it was futile fighting something out of my control.

    Take care!!

  78. Marlo says:

    ***Some important fatcs about my ex*** That may help you offer me some advice…

    There has been so he says 2 suicide attempts..:last one being about 2yrs ago.

    He stated that he is seeing two docs…one for his meds he sated hes been back on since about 1st of March…as well as his psychologist…Although he stated in April meds arent working and he doesnt feel like hes improved….

    He tells me he is very volitile and to stay away…
    He has told me that hes been in a mental hosp with each suicide attempt…last time about 6wks

    He has neer shown any anger,agression nor been physical with me. In fact hes very gentle,guiet and all….I guess I dont know whats the truth however if hes telling me this why would he if it wasnt the truth…

    He has asked me on a few occasions to not give up on him and that he hopes I dont loose faith in him..

    He has told me a few months back that he has a plan on how he would commit suicide and has nightmares about actually doing it. He has stated that he is fine with me however there are times that his mind wonders and thats why he leaves. He says he wants a normal dating relationship with me and wants to do so many things…I guess I wonderif there is more going on here that I realize and I saw it 6 wks ago and thats why hes really really pulled back w me this time….

  79. Marlo says:

    Hello all,

    WOw so many of these stories are the same as what ive been going through. Ill give you brief history here. Met my boyfriend on-line the beginning of Jan.2011. We hit it off,fell in love he told me a month into our relationship he was diagnosed w/major depression about 5yrs ago after the death of his Mother. Its been a rollercoaster this entire time and periods of not seeing eachother like a week to three inbetween visits always maintaing some kind of contact like texts etc…He has said he wants to get better so he can love me like I deserve to be loved etc etc all the usual stuff. He stated both of his wives cheated on him and the second marraige he shouldnt have gotten into that he rushed it was a mistate but still being nice to her…Hes been in the Navy for almost 23yrs and started the process in May of deciding on retirement of going to apan for 3yrs…Maybe this is why this episode has been so terrible between him and I. I have not seen him since about mid to late may when I went to see him. One thing led to another and it wasnt a argument no yelling,screaming,name calling like that however I think i saw for myself that this may not be just plain depression maybe some psychosis involved-delusions or something…He looked down at floor and made statement out of blue that I appearantly sent him a text a couple months prior that I was on my way up to his house to kill him. I dont know if he was saying this kidding but needless to say i was shocked and said”are you f-ing kidding me?” ANd he said no…Well of course id never send text like that to him or anyone so im wondering if this is the reason he has really pulled away from me this time? He is deciding on retirement as well so may be combination of things not sure. He has said this month and a half to move forward that hes trying to do that to and i think he may mean move on…He has said that beofre but came back those times…I know this man cares deeply for me as he sates…said he has such deep feelings for me that it scares him…hes afraid of heartbreak. I will pull away and give him little space but will stay connected to let him know I care and support him. I told him this week that I will never leave him and will always be here. The one things I have changed is that I can see he isnt ready for a relationship so I have accepted what he has told me in a round about way that this relationship is over…dont know if it really is but I act like I accept it.I want to keep doors open with no pressure. Well Iw as very nice lastnight told him im sorry bout what happened at his days house and my mistatkes along the way. I said I cant change things but id like to be friends and that I realized ive lost him so im not scared to tell him anything nor come up there and drag him out as his friend. I told him this is unhealthy and i cant just sit here and watch this. Im trying to back off but leave door open cause I know he cares. Guess my question is: Does depression and maybe seeing what I saw make a man push away someone they care for? I think he may be embarrassed that I saw this depressive episode that night…DO they really want to be alone and if so why? Can they still love you and care but tell you its over? ANy insight will be helpful…Im doing ok but needs friends and advice…thank you

  80. Kim says:

    It is now exactly a month later and unfortunately I had to ask him to leave. I had to in order to keep my sanity and to have a peaceful house for my children to live in. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this separation will make him take a look at himself and hopefully get some help. But…..it seems that so far after nearly three weeks, he still blames me for not keeping the house clean enough and it drives him nuts. I am the blame for him being so miserable not any other thing that may have happened to him in the past. I am in counselling to help me through this. Funny thing is, now I am the person with the problem and he left….changed the story to suit his needs I guess.

    • John says:

      Hi, Kim –

      I’m sorry things have turned out this way, but he clearly doesn’t want to look at himself at all. That sort of anger and blaming obviously have nothing to do with you. I think it’s good you have support through counseling – taking care of yourself after living with this sort of treatment doesn’t mean you have a problem. Anyone on the receiving end of abusive behavior needs to deal with the impact.

      My best to you — John

    • Cheri says:

      Omg! Too funny! Not in a serious “ha ha” kind of funniness but more like “so I really didn’t imagine my ex doing this exact thing to me recently!”.

      Long story short-he let other people support him while he tried to find a job. Well he wasn’t ever looking for one because sitting on his ass like he was special and working at a job that wasn’t the sweet laid back job he wanted was not good enough for him. I was pregnant and spending all my time with my best friend and started staying there with my daughter for days at a time because every time I saw him he treated me like I caused him to not be able to look for work because he had to help with the kids and insisted on doing things for me (as I was pregnant) that he believed I was unable to do for myself. My daughter was from my first marriage and I can tell you that my ex husband was lazy and didn’t do ANYTHING ever to help me and I managed just fine then and have come to appreciate that he at least didn’t blame me for his not wanting to do anything.

      Well had baby number 2 and he was supposed to have paid for the cost of the birthing center and my midwife, but blames me for telling him exactly how to arrange that or when and what to pay. And my parents ended up telling me that I could come home and I warned him that if I left him it would be for good because I don’t do make up break up games and then packed my stuff up and I left. As I was leaving he lied to his mother telling her that it was his idea for me to move out because he needed to focus in work. His idea!?!?!? Hahaahaha. Now he claims I’m preventing him from seeing his son? He doesn’t drive down unless he thinks he can maybe get lucky with me or I have something that benefit him-gas money or something. But he won’t take the initiative himself and suffer a loss to see him. It’s been 4 months and he has visited only twice and spent the visit lecturing me. My son has a dad in his life and doesn’t really need one that could benefit greatly from a kick in the pants but I think it’s sad that he is too proud to take a good look at his life and accept he had control of it all along and it’s no ones problem but his own.

  81. Kim says:

    My husband and I will be married for a year come this January 9th, 2010. He will not get help for his depression and it is ruining our marriage. He isolates himself from us, is sarcastic, mean and then out of the blue he is this Mr. Joking around guy. It is like a rollercoaster. Our counsellor told him that he needs to get tested for ADHD but he still hasn’t. Guess it is easier to blame me or the kids for his problems. He lives in the past and can’t let go of his old lifestyle. The big house, toys and freedom to come and go as he pleased. He was married for 23 years and she left him with their four kids. You would think that he would have worked on himself…..not! I am losing him and don’t know what to do, he can’t snap out of his state of mind. Not happy, doesn’t want to live like this…going to do something about it…..hepl….advice please.

    • John says:

      Hi, Kim –

      I’m sorry you have to go through this. Living with someone who won’t get help is one of the hardest problems to deal with. His behavior is typical – I used to put my wife through a similar rollercoaster experience. She gave me the wake-up call by demanding that I get help – but she did that by showing me the terrible effect I was having on her, pushing her into depression and wearing her down. It wasn’t an arbitrary or angry demand, and it showed me the damage I was inflicting on her and our children. Even though I could protest, it’s not about you – she had to live with the behavior. Talking with your husband in a supportive way, while making clear your own limits in living like this, might wake him up too. Sometimes parents or siblings can help with this as well. That’s about all you can do because he’s the one who has to get serious about working on his problems.

      My best to you –

      John

  82. anon says:

    thats nice and all but what am I supposed to do…. a car needs gas to run and for me its the same way. If someones depression is so crippling they cant muster the energy to move more than 3 fingers to bitch online and futilely look for help on google, i dont see how any of this helps…

    What can jump start your motivation

    what can guide u thru the sadness and convince your muscles that there is a point to contracting and moving your useless lump of meat from A to B.

    i dunno

    • john says:

      Hello, anon –

      I’m sorry you’re feeling so depressed, and I only wish there were a simple answer I could give you about getting your motivation and your body moving again. This site tells about what I went through for decades before I could start getting my life back – and also the things I’ve done to recover. My advice comes from my experience. That’s all I really know. The first big step for me was waking up one day and realizing that waiting for medications – or the latest treatment fad – to take care of the problem wasn’t working and never would. Meds can definitely help (it took me about 15 years of trial and error to find the right ones), but I had to put together many treatments, including writing this blog and corresponding with people online who have gone through similar torture.

      In a desperate time, medication can be important to take the edge off the worst symptoms and episodes and give you just enough energy to help you get going on the rest of the work that has to be done. Are you using any kind of treatment now – meds, therapy, meditation, anything? If you are, it sounds like it’s not working, and it’s time to try something different.

      Another thing is talking to someone who can listen without judging or trying to tell you how to fix the problem. The more you can describe what you’re feeling – either by talking or writing – the more you can start to distance yourself from the depression and get a little breathing room. I have a couple of posts on how writing helps (talking to someone can work in the same way). Here’s one – and the other.

      I know you can’t do much when you’re feeling as low as you are now. Talking to a psychiatrist about medication is one immediate step – though the meds themselves can take a while to work. If discussing things online helps, you’re welcome to add more through this comment space about what’s happening – or you can email me – or try one of the active depression forums online (Depression Forums, Depression Fallout, forums at PsychCentral – among many).

      Unfortunately, nothing works for everybody. You can find several sites that provide the 10 best ways or top tips for all the phases of depression. A few of them might work for you – they’ve been fairly meaningless for me.

      Do feel free to write again – to bitch or whatever – if that can help in any way.

      All my best to you –

      John

  83. Lisa says:

    John,
    I want to thank you for this site. Your life and description of your depression and family situation are so familiar it’s as if I wrote these words myself. My husband has been building up this fantasy of “the grass is greener” in his head for about 6 months now. He finally told me this week that the only way he can live a full life is if he leaves. You and I both know this is so far from the truth. When I even suggest that this might be depression he almost laughs and says “There is absolutely nothing wrong with me, I am thinking very clearly.” I am beyond frustrated. I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff waiting for someone to pull me back or push me off. I am exhausted. This answers so many questions about his behavior or a very long period of time.
    The irony of it all is that I too have suffered depression since our 2nd child was born eight years ago. He is the one that pushed me to get help, medication, and counseling. He even called the Dr. for me. Now the mind-blower which I just realized is that my depression is his “cover”!!!!!
    And for so long that made great sense to me. But now I see everything differently. Your words, experience and wisdom may be the very thing to save my husband from many more years of denial and to save our 17 year marriage.

  84. Rhia says:

    My experience is so identical to Patch it’s scary! My ex was this lovely, caring, soft person and now he’s changed into this person I cannot recognise :( I have told this to his dad. Recently I told this to him. But he says that the reason he was different during our relationship is because at that point he was trying to make it work and had to live with me.

    I know that this change in him was triggered by his job loss. But he won’t admit it. He has basically decided that his move to this city and to be with me has caused all the damage and that running back to his hometown will resolve everything.

    This has happened in the past when he was overseas – got fired and ran back to his hometown blaming everyone overseas.

    When he was trying to break up with me he kept telling me that he was in this exact same place with his ex gf and he only ended up dragging the relationship on and hurting her. He said he didn’t want to hurt me the same way. Of course when he was saying this I hadn’t fully realised that he was depressed and kept asking him not to compare two relationships and two people – especially when his ex had repeatedly flirted with other men in front of him and was so suspicious of him that he cheated on her. Not that I am condoning his actions but he said – ‘if I was going to be blamed for something I hadn’t done, I might as well do something and get blamed’.

    While he was trying to break up with me and I told him how cruel he was being to me he said – ‘sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind’.

    This man would melt at my tears – he told me to bring my walls down to allow him in – he genuinely loved me and would get so happy when someone praised me. And now he’s this stranger I cannot recognise.

    I am not in touch with him – whatever contact we have is about all his things he left at my place (including his passport) and about the money he owes me. Now he is using the money as a bargaining chip – he’s paranoid I will throw his things away if he pays me. I have told him gently that he’s being paranoid and I would never do something like that to things I loved taking care of at one point.

    He is posting morbid song lyrics on his facebook, abusing people with expletives and writing misoginistic comments. It has reached such a point that friends are threating to break of friendships with him.

    When I apologised for speaking to his dad (prior to our breakup) about intervening and getting him some help – he flew off the handle and blasted me. The man I knew last year would never have done this to me.

    This 360 degrees turnaround happened while I was overseas but I could see signs when he got fired from his job in early November. Late November I had to go overseas. Then he ran back to his hometown and decided to stay on there. I was fine with it since I was planning on moving there myself – it’s my hometown too.

    He drinks a lot – has had this problem for 2/3 years prior to meeting me. But now he blames me for his drinking, blames me for his financial & career woes as well.

    He has psorasis and was abused by a paedophile in his teens. His own mum told me, while I was visiting my hometown to resolve issues, that he needs psychological help. She said this out of the blue and startled me. But he doesn’t like his mum and his dad hates confrontation. His brothers and sisters are seemingly not bothered.

    His low self-esteem also comes from the fact that he never got a degree and has lost jobs regularly or has had small little contracts – nothing that he feels proud about. On the other hand he pointed out that I have a degree, house and a job – something he knew from the beginning but became glaringly big when he started spiralling down.

    Also when he drinks he makes a fool of himself. So he gives his friends plenty of ammunition and when they tease him he tries to act all cool about it but it hurts his pride.

    When he was breaking up with me he told me that he loved me but wasn’t in love with me. That he missed me initially when I went overseas but not when he moved back to his hometown. I cannot and won’t believe that his love for me is gone. But as my meditation teacher has pointed out – he doesn’t love himself so how can he offer any love to me?

    My meditation teacher has also told me to leave him to hit rock bottom. ‘Exercise tough love’ he told me. Besides even if I want I cannot help him – he has pushed me away very hard. When I went to his hometown in a last ditch effort to make him decide since till then he couldn’t make up his mind – we were deliriously happy on one day and the next day he got drunk and verbally abused me – told me that my culture is self centred and that I have very few friends and so we should break up. He called me a psychopath when I was trying to calm him down. His soft face was twisted in anger – I had never seen him like this. Usually in our relationship I used to be the one with temper and he was the pacifier. He tried to kick me out of his place at 4 in the morning. He was terribly rude and cruel to me. And I couldn’t recognise this man. Obviously he slipped into this depressive state while I was overseas.

    Now he has enrolled at university and working full time. However this pressure is causing him to go downhill more – as is evident from his facebook.

    I am 31 and he is 28. We were together for a year and a half and lived together for 6/7 months. He had chased me, professed his love and moved cities to be with me. I fell in love eventually. We had a lovely relationship and he was really nice to me. So all the more I cannot believe he has snapped like this. All I can do is leave him to hit rock bottom and hope that he can pick himself up. Then maybe he will rediscover his love for me – which I know is dormant somewhere in there.

    I accepted him in spite of his psoriasis (which is he very sensitive about), his thinning hair, his alcohol issues and his financial woes and career issues – don’t think there will be too many women who will love him as much as I do. I wish his depression hadn’t created this chasm between us :(

  85. Patch says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks so much for all your really helpful articles on this subject. I’m doing a lot of learning.

    My boyfriend of 1 year broke up with me recently. For a month or so before that he’d started changing into someone I didn’t know and didn’t understand – he was trying really hard to make out everything was fine with him, but it clearly wasn’t. I know he’s dealt with depression before (although he didn’t call it that – he said he’d been to some really dark places) shortly before I met him, and before we broke up he started slipping back into those same behaviours – drinking too much, not sleeping, pushing everyone away. I’ve been reading about hidden/covert depression, and that describes him exactly.

    When he broke up with me he said he couldn’t stand to turn back into the person he’d been before at those bad times, and he couldn’t stand to keep hurting me, and he just knew he needed to be entirely alone to work out why he was ‘broken’. He told me he didn’t even want to be in touch because ‘that would be a connection to you, and I can’t deal with a connection to anyone right now’.

    He’s said (and I believe) that he does love me – but that he knows he’d end up hurting me and letting me down if he stayed, and that he has to be totally on his own, nobody around him, to work out what’s wrong with him. But now, he seems to have changed his mind about wanting a connection with me; he emails a lot (just chatty stuff, but regularly), he’s really reluctant to do anything ‘final’ like swap belongings back, and we’ve agreed to talk about getting back together in the future after time apart now. I don’t know if we ever will or not (I’d like to!), but at any rate I’d like him to get better. This unhappy, shut-in, self-hating person he’s turned into isn’t the person I knew.

    He told me when we broke up that he was going to get counselling to work out why he was ‘broken’ and ‘so bad at dealing with stuff’. I’ve told him more recently that I really hope he does, because it seems to me that he’s depressed, and he needs help to deal with that.

    In the meantime I’m trying as best I can to get on with my own life and concentrate on doing things for me, while still giving him his space, staying in light casual contact, and making sure he knows I’m there if he needs to talk. I hope this is the right thing to do. I just feel so bad for never noticing, until now, what a bad state he was in mentally.

    • john says:

      Hi, Patch –

      It sounds like you’re doing what I would do, if I were in your place. He may be a little beyond covert depression at this point, since he’s aware enough to know he needs some type of help.

      Taking care of your needs is always the first thing I suggest, and your level of contact sounds right to me. The one question I have is whether or not you’re telling him exactly what you feel. I don’t mean only the love and empathy you have for him nor what you’re willing to offer by way of support. I’m reading a lot in your comment about what he’s feeling but not what your feelings have been in reacting to his leaving and his communication with you since then. I think it’s important that he hear about the hurt/loss/grief you may be experiencing and what his behavior does to you. I can’t tell if you’re letting him know that or if you’re reluctant to discuss it out of fear that it might push him away for good or add to his worries. As I see it, he needs to know what his effect on you is. I don’t want to go into this further since I really don’t know the full scope of what you’ve been talking to him about. But that’s a thought.

      All my best —

      John

  86. Victoria says:

    Even with the knowledge that my partner was dealing with depression and sexual addiction, leaving him was and is, one of the toughest choices I have had to make in my life.
    I believed him when he told me we would grow old together, in fact, it took him quite a bit to convince me it was fact, so, when it became apparent, after 5 years together, that fact was really fiction, confusion set itself deep into my system.
    A year later, I am still confused.
    Did I make a good choice when I chose to leave him?
    For my own sanity, Yes.
    Does it still hurt to know how much I love him and could not help? Yes.
    Am I going to be okay even though I still feel I left a man I really did want to grow old with? Yes.
    Do I feel that “okay” feeling every day? No.
    Some days I do ask myself the questions…
    IF …
    I had not left, would he have ever admitted his issues to himself and sought help outside himself, as John has.
    The answers are not to be found.
    I have to keep allowing the past to be.
    I have to keep loving.
    I have to keep believing.
    I have to.

    • john says:

      Hey, Victoria –

      It takes a long time – at least that’s what every person I know in your position has told me. I’ve seen it close up in the experience of someone in my family as well. I’ve known a couple of cases where leaving left no doubt and turned a life around – for the better. But for most people – how could there not be second thoughts and grief at the loss of what had been such a great hope.

      Getting yourself back together after that experience can’t be easy, and I know that changing expectations in your mind doesn’t change your feelings for quite a while.

      All my hopes and wishes for the best –

      John

  87. tonia says:

    John,
    Thank you, your words have shed a little more light on how he is feeling. It makes more sense.
    I’m thinking that since he is not talking to me at all and it has been 6 weeks tomorrow, I’m not gonna get a chance to ever get him to realize what he needs to do. I’m afraid that if no one seems to want to offer him their thoughts on his behavior or what he might want to do, then he is somewhat stuck.
    I am trying every day to just hold on but at the same time not stop my life. I do send emails and a text here and there to let him know how I feel but I don’t think I will ever hear from him as much as I hate to say that.
    I have tried to understand depression the best way I can and I hope that someone is able to get to him so he doesn’t have to struggle like he may think he has to.
    I just wish I could get rid of the feelings of always having to think about; Is he thinking about me?, does he still love me?, does he want to call me?, what does he think when he reads my messages or sees me calling?
    Thanks for all of the advice guys!
    Take care! Hope to read some new stuff soon.

  88. tonia says:

    I think that one of the things that bothers me the most is the fact that we were SOO close and we had just had dinner together and watched two movies and things could not have been more perfect. the only thing I could remember was that I have never gone home after spending the evening with him and he never even aced like he was asking me to stay so here I was walking out his door to go home at 2am. He went to my car with me and that was it. I got home and saw he was online and we chatted for about 2 mins and I just mentioned that when I kissed him, he seemed distant. He replied that he didn’t think anything was wrong and then I said well I know I just usually stay and he replied, Its not you. I tried to reply back but it said he logged off. He would never have done that before!
    I know I explained all this before but anyway, I’m beginning to think that its not just his leaving but its the fact that I have absolutely NO closure!
    Ive have tried to subtly ask him if he could explain with out being pushy or pesky and he has not said word one since that night. Not one! Is this normal for a depressed person? After being that much in love?
    I mean, I hear people say that they are in this same situation but I will hear them say, well he said or she said and we did this and then we argued yada yada but there is No contact! Your are right Shelly, I am already over analyzing things but I know its due to feeling like Its not fare that I did not get a response as to why this happened. Its such a crappy situation when for once you felt like you finally met someone that was different than others,smart,funny,great times together and then they become the least likely to this!
    My daughter plays the bass guitar and she borrowed his. Well, after never hearing from him, she got hers fixed and wanted to get his back to him asap. He would not even contact HER! He did finally answer her 2 weeks ago through a text but just to say “I will get a hold of you soon to let you know when you can bring it and I will give you your moms movies I have here.” Still hasn’t called. My daughter said that it just seems to her like he isn’t wanting it to end but needs time. ugh. I don’t get it.

    • john says:

      Hi, Tonia –

      Just another thought to follow on Shelly’s advice from her own hard experience. In the midst of depression, there is so much self-contempt and obsessive thinking about every wrong thing you’ve ever done that real love, even attention, for someone else is impossible. The darkest part of the self takes over, and there isn’t room for anyone else. Depression convinces you that you can’t love or be loved and pushes you into isolation. One friend of mine hit bottom this way, left his wife and lived alone for a time, spending most of his evenings in a dark, bleakly furnished room. You can feel a deadly form of self-absorption – I remember being in that state when my wife and a few close friends would offer so much love and support. I could not even hear the words – literally had no memory that they had ever been spoken. That’s how far away you can get from close relationships. I can’t say what your friend is going through, but cutting off contact – hiding out both physically and emotionally – often happens not as a conscious decision so much as almost compelled behavior. It’s a horrible shock to feel that sudden loss when you’re the one trying to reach out. I think you know a lot about some of the possible reasons for his behavior, but it’s another thing to recover emotionally.

      I wish you well.

      John

  89. Shelly says:

    Tonya,

    John is correct. I was confused as you are as my now ex-boyfriend just broke things off out of the blue, his excuse? “I lost passion towards the relationship”. But as time went by, he actually isolated but did not completely disappear, his isolation was more on the emotional side. I would ask him again why we broke things off, sometime he would say that we had too many problems, others he’d say he did not know and many times he admitted to still having feelings towards me but that he was not good enough and he was pushing me away so that I did not go through his suffering.

    For me what’s hard to understand is how he isolates from me, his family and even old friends but pretty much acts very normal and cheery with his new friends who do not know of his Clinical depression.

    He’s fully isolated now from me, and is slowly walking away from his family and starting a new life with his new friends. I agree that he may feel emotionless or have lost feelings due to depression or perhaps even the effects of the medication. what is hard to understand is how he’s actually now seeking a new relationship with a new girl who does not know he has depression.
    How can he not have feelings towards me even thouhg he’s admitted to loving me sooo much and walk away and then move on and start dating someone else and have feelings (or attraction) towards a new girl. I thought depression effects applied to all situations? John perhaps you can shed some light on this as you’ve gone through it?

    Tonya everyone suggested that I leave my ex-boyfriend alone and allowed him to miss me so that he can make an analysis of what he’s losing. Perhaps that would be something you should do. I would encourage that you do not overanalyse the situation because you will drive yourself to get anxious. If he is depressed, he will act as a totally different person. I heard that with men, due to their role in society sometimes its hard for them to recover becuase they do not seek therapy and/or medication and in most cases, they have to hit rock bottom to really start recovering.
    My ex takes medication like painkillers, when he’s actually feeling depression or hurting, he takes the medication and he gets the effect of feeling “nothing” afterwards and he’s comfortable this way.

    If it helps to talk to someone that’s been through this, feel free to leave your emial and I will contact you directly. Its killing me to lose my relationship of 6 years but I’ve realized that I cannot help him if he does not want the help. He’s now fantasizing with a new life and no one will be able to change his idea of this until he realizes it himself.

    Shelly!

  90. Tonia says:

    Thanks Shelly,
    I sort of don’t have a choice since he wont talk to me. With him, He barely talks to others either. He doesn’t really have motivation to even go anywhere. It was SOOO sudden though. That’s why I’m so confused. As much in love as we were and to just shut off. I mean, I guess it sort of was over a short period I noticed changes but to just stop talking or communicating with me just like that without it seeming to bother him, and no explanation, I just get so frustrated because we were amazingly great for each other. I forgot to add that he did get distant like a month prior that lead to this same thing but after a while he finally communicated by email and said he loved me dearly but that it wasn’t me. Well at least I got SOME answers then but no phone at all. When I finally took a chance and called out of the blue a week or so later, he didn’t answer but called right back. he said his heart nearly pounded out of his chest because he wanted to talk to me plus he was nervous from being embarrassed about how he had been acting. After a while on the phone, i asked him what he though we should do and if we should just wait and figure out whats going on with him or what and he said well by then you could be moved on and I don’t know if I will ever find anyone so compatible like we are. Now this again only way worse. Ugh! Its frustrating and after really reading about depression ( he has EVERY sign) i cant understand if he is just extremely depressed and ignoring the world and holed up i his house until he snaps out for a while and realizes, or if he IS done and just doesn’t feel like telling me or is embarrassed. I love him enough to wait but at the same time it isn’t fare to me.

  91. Gerry says:

    Very interesting and powerful write up.

    This article has made me think about my father of all people and the behaviour he had towards my mother. As a young adult I internalised his violent and withdrawn behaviour to normal everyday stress that struggling parents go through. Now that I am a father myself and much older I realise that there is a strong possiblity that depression played an intergral part in his hot and cold personality.

    In retrospect, it would of made life a lot easier for my family if he did go and leave us. That way home would of been a safer place.

    Thanks for the post!

    Gerry

    • john says:

      Hi, Gerry –

      It is hard to figure out that kind of behavior when you’re growing up. I think children – at least when very young – somehow work things out in their minds to find a way to live with what their parents do. Depression could very well have been part of the problem. Terrence Real’s book – I Don’t Want to Talk About It – offers great insights into how men handle it. He refers to a phase of covert depression in which the man doesn’t understand what’s going on and directs inner pain outward as blame and violence, often targeting his wife or children. He recreates many powerful scenes from his therapy practice in which men finally start to see what they’re really experiencing.

      It sounds like you came through in pretty good shape.

      Thanks for your comment –

      John

  92. Shelly says:

    Hi Tonya,

    I understand what you are going thru because my now ex-boyfriend had a depressive crisis (tried to commit suicide) two months ago and he has broken up with me saying his feelings are no longer there and has slowly isolated. Since we are in different countries, when I call I think he screens my calls and does not pick up. Ironically enough, when people call him and these are people that are not aware of his situation, he actually pays more attention to them.

    I asked John for some insight and his website alone helped out a lot. I thought I was going to be able to support him throughout this depressive journey but it got to the point where he basically ignores me and does not want to talk to me. Its like he thinks everything in his life is making him miserable and he’s fully focused on making new friends, creating new hobbies, traveling, etc.

    I decided to let the relationship end completely so that I can heal and get over my broken heart because a couple of days ago, I logged into Facebook and found a profile for him in which only his new friends were included, none of our mutual friends or even family were connected to him. I also saw that he’s talking to a girl that’s physically in the same location as he is and she thinks (by what he’s told her) that he has depression because of his break up with me. SHe doesnt really know that he tried committing suicide.

    Tonya, I’ve personally concluded after reading on this website that if they do not want help, you cannot encourage them to seek it, much less think that you can cure them. It was tough reality to accept but I’ve decided to accept it. I feel that my exboyfriend of 6 years is seeking a new life, with new friends and even a new girlfriend and even though I know its his depression, the hurting effect is still the same towards me. I would not encourage you to leave him because its something you have to decide. I’ve decided to leave my exboyfriend because he doesnt seem to want to seek therapy and get on the right medication and thinks that he will feel better by going to the gym 7 times weekly. Ohh weell

    • john says:

      Hi, Shelly –

      I’m really glad to hear that you’ve reached a resolution about this. It sounds like it was the right decision for you, and it’s great you’ve found a way – a really hard one – to take care of your needs. I agree that your healing couldn’t really begin so long as you kept getting one hurtful rebuff from your ex after another.

      That’s one of the hardest things to do – so congratulations!

      My best to you –

      John

  93. Tonia says:

    I was dating a man for 5 months that I had dated back when I was 17. We reconnected and realized that we had so much in common and we just really hit it off. we laughed constantly and just loved spending time together. he came to all of my daughters softball games and would have us over for dinner after.
    I started noticing little by little that he seemed sort of distant and didn’t call as much. When we did talk, he wasn’t as affectionate as usual, he never seemed as into us visiting, we stopped having dinners and he just seemed kind of sad. He kept saying it wasn’t me and the last night I saw him, he is usually so kind and loving and affectionate but he acted like he really didn’t want to kiss me or anything. He started sounding like it was hard for him to get “I love you” out. There are other thinks I cannot think of off hand but I read up allot on depression and he had every single sign.
    When I got home that night, he was online and I told him it was good to see him (we hadn’t seen each other in 2 weeks) and he said Oh you too sweetie. Well, I asked him if things seemed sort o strange that evening and why he seemed different and he said he just doesn’t know and logged off! I tried texting him because this was so out of character for him and he ignored me. I have called and left messages asking to please just tell me if I did something wrong..nothing. I sent nice emails and again…nothing. earlier that week he said that his mom was noticing his withdrawal and hermit-like behavior and then I though about how in the last couple of weeks he didn’t eat as much and his sleep pattern went to crap. He was going to bed between 9:00am – 11:00am and getting back up at around 3:00pm and doing it all over.He hasn’t worked in almost a year due to lay offs. I have NO concerns of him cheating and if you knew him you would understand but I’m just wondering how you can go from making a fuss and telling me he has NEVER felt this way and now he knows what love is to just going off line and ignoring me for 5 weeks now? I just couldn’t figure out how you couldn’t be upset after being in love like that to nothing and being ok with it. Is it a possibility that he will ever look for me again or do you think he could be done? I also read up the fact that if you stay away from a depressed person and not just “check in” once in a while to let them know you are still there, when they do have their normal feelings, they will learn to prioritize you right out of their life! I know you cant possibly know his feelings about our relationship and what he plans to do but is this normal when a person is depressed to walk away completely like they never loved you and NEVER give you a reason no matter how much you ask? I guess I just wonder a lot if he is in a deep fog that he will come out of in weeks,months whatever and see he still feels the same. Does that happen? Sorry,
    So confused. thank you for reading and sorry so long!

    • john says:

      Hi, Tonia –

      I’m afraid it is possible for a severely depressed man to change from loving you to feeling nothing and isolating himself. He may feel so badly about himself that he can’t face anyone else – and he may not want to talk about it because he doesn’t recognize what’s happening. A depressed person isn’t the same anymore – and that’s so hard to accept or make sense of. Depression is a powerful state of mind and feeling that takes over when it’s really bad. I’m sure it’s hard to imagine that his feelings for you could disappear, but that’s not just his feeling for you – there may be no emotion at all. Or at least no positive feeling – since he may be so preoccupied with a sense of inner worthlessness. Depression is insidious.

      And it is possible that he could come out of it and have his feelings for you back – I’ve been through that more than once. Depressive episodes do end at some point, or at least let up a bit. That also is hard to understand – and could well leave you far less trusting than before. My wife felt she couldn’t count on me after years of this sort of thing. The illness has a terrible effect on every close relationship.

      I hope he gets help. If this is the first time it’s happened, there is a very good chance that treatment could keep the problem from becoming a permanent part of his life.

      My best to you,

      John

    • Cheri says:

      It sounds more to me that he may have a substance abuse problem. Does he drink, smoke or use other things including (especially) prescription medication? I’d check that out and treat that as a symptom of depression as well.

  94. john says:

    sarah –

    It would really be irresponsible of me to try to offer advice on such a big decision. You should seek advice from those who know you and your family. Also, I just speak from my own experience here and am not a counselor or therapist. If someone has symptoms that seem to resemble depression, I would urge consulting a professional mental health provider. I hope you do get support and assistance for dealing with a crisis like this.

    My very best to you — John

  95. sarah says:

    hi john, it may well be depression, i notice when things go wrong he seems to go on a downward spiral and no matter what i say or do to make him happy it is only short term and he goes all withdrawn, he is constantly tired and has loss or motivation and i get frustrated tell him exactly how things are going and he runs away. hes told me he loves me but hes also saying when he goes back to his mums home to have a break, he likes it but only short term. ive told him if he left me again there would be no turning back, i wouldnt take him bk despite the love i have for him. the pain that he leaves behind on me and our children is too much to bare but its like hes trying to teach me a lesson for the times ive had a go at him for the way he is behaving. should i keep taking him back, that makes me a weak person doesnt it.

  96. john says:

    sarah –

    You haven’t mentioned if he has depression – there are lots of people who behave this way and don’t have a mood disorder. Whatever the cause, I’m sorry you’ve had to put up with this. The reasons he cites only let him off the hook for whatever is going on inside him – leaving is pointless and abusive to you and your kids. He doesn’t sound like he’s open to any self-examination, but getting into good couples counseling might be a way to get him to hear an independent voice. I hope you can take care of yourself and your kids with all the support you can get – don’t keep it a secret – ask for help.

    My very best to you — John

  97. sarah says:

    i have been with my partner for nearly 10 years and in the last year he has left me 3 times for 3 weeks at a time and always comes back and promises he wil never leave again but only yesterday we had a silly row and he packed half of his stuff and me and the kids watched him driveaway with not a care in the world. he leaves us devastated everytime, he blames the situation on me, money worries , my attitude towards him when he doesnt talk to me, he is 100 percent faithfull, so i never doubt him or mistrust him so why do this to us all the time.

  98. john says:

    MJ –

    I hope the stories may be helpful, but I’m sorry you have to deal with that level of denial. As I discuss in today’s post, the second part of this series – and also in the response to Lynn, if he won’t or can’t accept responsibility for what he’s done, you can’t do it for him. I wish there were some direct way to get someone to wake up, but there isn’t. My wife tried for many years – but ultimately I had to get it at the very deepest level – she suffered through it and we managed to pull out. We were lucky. I hope something will work for the both of you.

    My very best to you — John

  99. john says:

    Lynn –

    I’ve tried to answer some of your questions in the second part of this series – but whatever the cause of depression and however severe – the impact of the behavior on you shouldn’t be excused. And none of it has anything to do with what you do. As I say in today’s post, you have to take care of yourself – if you can, confront your husband as directly as possible with what he’s doing to you and the marriage. If he can’t or won’t listen, nothing you say will change that. He has to change. As with an alcoholic, a man may have to lose his family and hit rock bottom before he gets it. In the meantime, look out for yourself and children first.

    All my best to you – and thank you for telling your story here.

    John

  100. MJ says:

    Your post was sent to me by a very dear friend. It was like I was reading about life with my husband of 39.5 years. At the 36.75 mark of marriage he surprised me with wanting out. No other woman involved just wanted excitement and adventure. Most of his family take antidepressant and he feels he has escaped it. Only reading Longing to Leave was like reading my life. I hope he will read this. He did leave and seek a divorce but finally went to my therapist with me. I went to therapy since he said all this was my fault. We go to therapy together and it is helping but he still thinks he has no depression problems. Your stories are like looking in a mirror. Thanks for writing them.

  101. Lynn says:

    John,
    Your writings describe so much of my marriage of 10 years to a man suffering from depression. Like you, he is intelligent and able to express himself through writing. Unfortunately, he is not able to control his actions. In the ten years of our marriage he has left five times to live elsewhere for periods of 2 – 5 months only to return saying he won’t do it again. He says he loves me and does not want a divorce but still cannot accept responsibility for leaving. He denies infidelity and says he leaves because he is depressed and needs to be alone. He is so filled with anger, blaming me for his depression, calling me the “crazy” one, refusing to talk with me, and leaving all household responsibilities on my shoulders.
    This has happened so often that I sometimes question the use of “depression” as an excuse to just do what he wants, but I know he is deeply hurting. He is seeing psychiatrists, on medication, and goes to marriage counselling with me. He is a kind, gentle, loving man when he is not depressed, but can the cruelty, total disregard for others, self-absorption, and rage be merely due to a “neurochemical imbalance”? Where does the illness end and the moral character of the person begin? I really want to understand and help him, but the more I learn, the more questions I have.

  102. Hanberry Pie says:

    I just want to say how interesting I have found these posts on why men leave, I was very briefly involved with such a man early last year, he had left his young family and had numerous affairs, going back to the family each time. Unfortunately I was one of those affairs and felt very used and betrayed by him. There were so many lies, so much distress, he was suffering badly, horribly confused and lacking direction. I was unwell myself at the time, having just come out of hospital, I was vulnerable, and at first was grateful for the affection of a new relationship. Later, as I became more aware of his situation, I found it very difficult to understand his actions, recognised how unhealthy our relationship was and put an end to it. Your posts have been very helpful in giving me an insight into what was potentially going on beneath all the lies.

    Hann x

    • john says:

      Hann – I’m so sorry that you had to be on the receiving end of that kind of abuse and betrayal – your words about your feelings reflect the reality, I’m afraid. I can’t imagine what his wife goes through. If the posts were helpful, I’m glad – and thank you for letting me know.

      Thanks also for the review!

      — My best to you — John

  103. john says:

    untreatableonline –

    People do get that subconscious message but have a hard time understanding what it is – so they take it personally, quite hard if they’re really close. When I’m in that state and have to be alone, it’s difficult to be clear enough in mind to tell my family what’s going on. These days I’ve gotten a lot better about saying that it’s depression and I can’t respond to anything else very well. That is dangerous – I’m so glad you’ve gotten a handle on that and, frankly, survived the isolation.

    You take care too – John

  104. When I became ill I basically forced the people close to me to leave at some subconscious level. Part of me needed to be alone with the depression and remove anything that would distract me from the fight that I was in. I could blame the male stigma where we are expected to handle everything internally and not express our emotions. In the end thinking that I was trying to protect my loved ones from the monster of mental illness I put myself into a dangerous situation. Take care

  105. John D says:

    Thanks, Ari –

    Suppression began for me at such an early age that it had to be a primary force in the depression that evolved over time. The trouble with depression, though, is that the longer it goes on the more self-sustaining it becomes. Dealing with the origins and suppressed emotions usually isn’t enough at that point to get rid of it. The causes of this problem aren’t well understood, and I think most explanations get at an important part of the truth. It’s also the case that depression isn’t one thing for everyone who has it. I find that some people are helped enormously by treatments that have had no effect on me whatsoever. We’re all trying to figure this out!

    Your thoughts are always helpful and insightful. Thank you for coming by. – John

  106. John D says:

    Thanks, Melinda –

    You’ve hit a central point – we take ourselves wherever we move. Understanding that, at least dimly at the time, helped stop me from running out on my family. I’d tried changes of location in the past, and nothing ever changed inside. It amazes me how many men – and I’m sure women – just assume that problems they blame on a partner will be solved by going away and starting again with someone else. There are times when the relationship was just wrong to begin with and a break can help. But that’s not usually what I see.

    Thanks for coming by! – John

  107. John D says:

    Eileen –

    I’m sorry if this hit home in an uncomfortable way, but an honest and hard-to-write comment like this is always supportive. Thank you for telling that story! This behavior of your partner does put you in an impossible situation, and he has to be responsible for the effect he has on you. Even if he’s in the grip of a depression he doesn’t understand, that doesn’t excuse the destructiveness of his behavior. One of the hard things about depression is that the impact on the partner really is devastating. When I’ve snapped out of it long enough to communicate with my wife, I can’t undo the hurt I’ve inflicted. At some point, you have to own up to that, and I’m sorry this person couldn’t get enough awareness to see what he was doing before driving you crazy.

    My very best to you! John

  108. Ari says:

    You describe the chain of thoughts in a depressed mind pretty well.

    To me, depression comes from suppression—like keeping too many secrets. When a lot of hurt is suppressed inside without proper outlets, it weighs you down and trigger these negative behaviors and thought patterns.

    It’s hard, particularly for men, to have a safe place for a break down. Men just aren’t given tools and methods to express their emotions.

    Small breakdowns here and there can prevent big ones—I think true cure for depression can only come through actually allowing depression to manifest itself. Hopefully in a safe and constructive environment.

    It’s tough, though. It’s very tough. My heart goes out to everyone suffering from depression.

    ari

  109. Melinda says:

    John,

    As usual, your post is so beautifully written and also allowed me to reflect on my own recovery in new ways.

    I don’t think it is just men that leave-women leave to. When I was immersed in addiction, I used to make geographical changes all the time-with the belief that it was a place that caused me problems (i.e., if I can get away from San Francisco, I will stop using drugs). But that didn’t work-because in the end, we travel with ourselves wherever we go-and we cannot run from ourselves.

    Take care, my friend—

    Melinda

  110. Eileen says:

    I was in a relationship that was very important to me, though not committed as a marriage. It ended a few months ago. To tell the truth, this is the kind of behavior that this person displayed with me. Basically withdrawal and denial that anything is wrong until the whole relationship came tumbling down. This person also wishes to find the perfect woman, who is not me. I agree I am very imperfect. In any case, this was so hurtful. It made me feel crazy, doubting my owns feelings about what was actually going on, never knowing what the problem might be, fearful and on edge.

    Well, you’ve touched a sore spot here. I think it’s great that you are able to realize, through much soul searching, that this is not good or helpful behavior, and gently and kindly (hopefully) trying to change it. We have to be kind to ourselves.

    How can a partner address or change what we don’t know about? Not that it was all his fault, but in this respect, yes it was.

    It’s really interesting in any case to see this described from the other side, the ‘strong and silent’ man’s view.

    I apologize in advance if this is not a supportive comment – as I said, this touched a sore spot. And when writing touches someone, that’s good in itself I figure, however it does that. It’s communication….

Trackbacks

  1. douglas pitassi

    Why Depressed Men Leave – 1 • Storied Mind

  2. […] speaks of why depressed men cheat/leave. He is a very compassionate man and writes beautifully. Why Depressed Men Leave A book you may want to read is called "How You Can Survive When They're Depressed" by […]

  3. […] Storied Mind, John takes an introspective look at the thought processes that often cause men to disconnect from family and society in the midst of […]



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