Why Depressed Men Leave – 3

I’ve written a lot about the form of depression in which men look outside themselves to find the cause for an inner pain that simply can’t be faced. They may feel anger, rage, a longing to act out fantasies, or a compulsion to blame and abuse those closest to them. That side of depression is the most aggressive and obviously damaging to relationships of all kinds.  In my experience, it is not the only phase of severe depression that can cause a man to leave his partner, whether that departure is a literal one or an emotional withdrawal that can be just as destructive.

In looking back at what I’ve been through, I realize that I’ve lived at various times in four different mind/feeling states over decades of chronic depression. In the past, I have behaved differently as I felt in turn each one. Each in its own way has threatened relationships of all kinds, most vitally with my family but also with colleagues at work and with many friends. Thinking of these separately is more helpful to me than listing them as differing signs of one condition. They may well be that, but describing them this way has spurred me to recognize more quickly what I am starting to feel and do, and so take action to reverse what is happening.

Briefly, what I have felt in these different phases looks like this:

  • angry, obsessive, blaming, looking outward for causes
  • empty, lacking all feeling and attachment
  • despairing to the point of suicidal thinking
  • apparently restored but convinced it’s only a temporary reprieve


One is the aggressive side of depression that has probably not yet come to full awareness (“covert” in Terrence Real’s description). This is the mindset of looking to external circumstances, often focusing on family, as causes of inner hurt or emptiness. It leads to the destructive blame, rage, sense of being trapped, longing to escape, etc. that I’ve written about in several posts. Thinking can become fiercely obsessive and paranoid, finding threats, malevolence, betrayal everywhere. The anger, even rage, can explode at my family for little or no apparent reason. That is immediately hurtful and damaging. It turns intimacy on its head and puts in its place the drive for complete control.


Another phase involves the loss of feeling about everything and a kind of removal from human attachment. Nothing is painful or pleasurable, and nothing matters much. I’ve imagined feeling “fine” in this state while really distancing myself from my family and co-workers. I’m standing in place but no longer there. The effect is an understated absence that is no less hurtful than raging outbursts. I have a brief story about this in the next post.


Depression comes to a different sort of crisis when I’ve felt extreme despair and shame about being me. It’s then I’m constantly tearing myself apart, obsessing on every mistake, every failure – and everything looks like failure. Freud’s early description of anger turned inward fits this exactly. Thoughts of suicide are common because I feel this me isn’t worth enough to keep alive. Of course, that means I’ve blotted out the love of my wife and family and feel I’ve failed as well in those relationships. I can’t even hear the words when my wife and close friends offer love and support. My family can only be baffled and hurt at my inability to be present and constant hiding away in solitude. Often, I’m actively pushing them away because I can’t face dealing with anyone.


I want to include a fourth state because it appears to be the “normal” one. One day I wake up and feel fine – I’m restored to my “real” self. My mind is working again, I can handle anything that comes my way. Once more, I’m the responsive, loving husband, father, son. The problem is that, even when it’s happening, I believe this “recovered” state is unstable. After a good day or week or month, I’m certain I’ll wake up and find myself in the midst of one of the destructive states – or it might just arrive without my being aware of the change. What that means, as I see it now, is that my real self isn’t whole, isn’t recovered. I don’t trust myself, and my wife can’t trust me either. I could turn on her or shut her out in a flash when I disappear again.


I have my own stories to tell about each of these, but first I’d like to ask a question. What has it taken to restore trust in a relationship damaged by any of these behaviors? Has it been at all possible in your experience to come back from the emotional impact and regain the love and closeness you once knew? Thank you for anything you can offer for the rest of us.

127 Responses to “Why Depressed Men Leave – 3”

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  1. Sadtimes says:

    My husband has now left me. He left three weeks ago but only last night properly told me that it’s over. I feel sad because I found this site yesterday and now it’s too late to help. He has struggled with depression a lot over the 16 years we’ve been together. Although he never called it that and never would ask for help, I helped him through all of it.

    Over the last 2 years drink has been a massive problem. He is unrecognisable now. I think I got caught up with the immediate and obvious effects of his drinking and stopped focussing on the depression. I tried everything I could and did everything I could but nothing could stop everything spiralling and when he was in a spital I couldn’t get through to him no matter what.

    I feel completely broken by what I’ve been through. Worse than any of it though is the emptiness I feel now I’ve lost him. And the frustration I’m left with knowing that he has chosen a life which is not going to help him over us, drinking with people over ten years younger than him who have demonstrated just how little they care about him and sleeping on couches with no plans of how things are going to change… it’s a nightmare. I feel like I gave it my all but if there was anything left I could do to help him heal and to help him be the man he used to be and help him face up to and deal with the things he has done well then I would… I am struggling to give up on him when I love him and care about him and when all of this seems like such a massive waste of his talents and of out hard work and struggle over the years to get to where we are. I feel also like it’s such a massive waste of the future we could have had. Everyone I have told he has left me have been shocked and upset they all say we seemed so strong and a proper team that we’d got through so much together they thought we’d last forever. That’s how I felt and it breaks my heart to hear the man I love tell me this isn’t how he sees it and that everything is black.

    He has said he can’t cope with life he knows it’s selfish but he can’t cope with the daily grind, he says he hates his job, he says he hates me “nagging” about his drink, he says he hates the kids being difficult at tea time and school time. He says things like IRS always been terrible and forgets his amazing our life has been at times and that is tough to hear but also makes me think there’s no way through to him to see sense because he has told himself a dishonest story and his brain isn’t allowing him to see the truth.

    My daughter told me that she knew he wasn’t the sane man when they watched a Simpsons episode together, it was about Homer messing up and drinking and losing Marge. She said she felt it was just like what was happening to us and it made her cry. He has regularly cried at the Simpsons but this time he didn’t even seem to notice. I know that’s a little thing but it wasn’t to her and I understand why.

    I am just so so sad and sorry that this has happened and a very much want him to be OK.

  2. Amanda says:

    My boyfriend has been depressed for a while but recently has cut all communication with me pretty much. He says that he really isn’t okay and that he doesn’t know what he is going to do. He barely makes it through the day. Hws sorry for letting me down and he never meant to hurt me. He needs to focus on himself. I said I’m not going anywhere and I’m here. I said I wanted to help him. He said no one cam help him. But thanked me for being there. I told him I hurt that he’s hurting and I wish I could take his pain away. I told him I love him. I’d give him his space to figure it all out. But I’m not bailing on him. I told him I’d do whatever he needed. I just don’t know if I did the right thing or how to help him. I’m so worried. What do I do.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Amanda, my name is Amanda too and I could have sworn that I wrote your post. Have things gotten better? Any updates?

      • Suzanne says:

        Hi Amanda,
        My guy is depressed and just broke up over my my questioning him on an incident he refused to answer. Blamed the failure of us all on me( days b4 took accountability for not being responsible). He refuses any communication. I’ve had it with him. I’ve been supportive and loving.. Has anything changed with u guys? Thanks

    • Amy says:

      Hi Amanda,

      I was shocked when reading your post because my story is so similar to yours. My boyfriend of then 7 months has started to become a completely different person in February/March this year. He’s turned from the most loving, loveable guy in the world to an extremely cold individual. He’s also told me then that he’s suffering from depression (which he had never told me before, nor were there ANY signs and he said up until this year, he had feld perfectly fine and happy).

      He’s in therapy now (well, only every 5 weeks and he has only been there twice, so far), started medication a few days ago and has broken up with me several times over the last few weeks. Last week, he said it’s definite and irreversible and that he’s still deeply in love with me and misses me like crazy – but that he couldn’t be in a relationship right now.

      He said that our long-distance relationship has caused his depression because he couldn’t deal with me being so far away. That he just misses me too much. We were planning on moving in together next year, but he said that he couldn’t wait another month because he’s feeling so miserable. I can’t do anything about it. I can’t move immediately and when I wanted to come see him on Monday (I was about to buy plane tickets), after having listened to him telling me 28349202 times that he needs me there, badly, he told me to stay home and that this would be the worst timing ever since he’s so busy.

      Yesterday was a very good day on which he had repeated that several times and was very talkative and kind in general. He had told me that he would still care about me, so much, and love me deeply. Today, it’s the exact opposite. He’s cold as ice and has just told me that he wants to sleep with other women and is already looking for one.

      This is seriously killing me on the inside. I’ve scheduled an appointment for myself at a local psychological crisis institution (they also help spouses of depressed people) for next week – but after having heard *this*, I don’t even know how to make it through the rest of the day today.

      I’ve asked him to please rather stop talking to me altogether today because I can’t handle it anymore and he replied by telling me that he’s just being honest and if I wanted him to lie to me. Never ever in my life have I been hurt like this before.

  3. felicia says:

    I left my most recent ex due to his depression. He’s getting help now, but I didn’t stick by his side.
    I feel really bad because I know he needs someone, and he is really hurting. I know we love each other and he doesn’t mean me any harm

  4. Soph says:

    I’m not sure if people still use this but it’s worth a try. I met a man 10 years older than me with 2 children. At first he was amazing, always asking to take me out and make a lot of time for me.
    He lost a child at 2 months old and around the birthday of the child who died I noticed him becoming very distant. He turned to alcohol a lot and when he was drinking it was as though he is a different person. A few months on from this he suddenly said he doesn’t want to have anymore children. At first I said if he doesn’t want more children then I can’t be with him. He has suffered depression on and off for years and I didn’t know if it was because of the depression that was making him think like this. I asked him if it was the depression. He said he doesn’t know it might be but he’s not sure.
    We met up a few times however it always me saying to meet up and I would go over to his. He tried to phone me before I went over to tell me not to come but I said I need my answers. When I went over he was drinking and this was a weekday and he has work the next day. We discussed everything, he said he feels he has lost his bond with his children and he can’t see me every weekend. He lives at home and says he feels so down about living in a “box room”. I said I’m not asking him to choose between his children and me that I would do things with them aswell. He said he doesn’t know if he can be in a relationship the now and he feels empty and as though he should be unhappy. When I left his we texted a couple of times and he said give me a couple of days to sort my head out. So after a couple of days I text him asking what’s going on with us. If we’re together I’ll help him through this and if not I’ll need to walk away. He said he will phone me the next day when he takes the children back home. He never phoned me and was online on Facebook and I could tell he was drinking which was a work night also. I then text him the next day and asked why was he doing this and accused him of cheating because he is constantly on Facebook but making no time to text me. He turned it around on me saying I’m probably speaking to other men. Eventually he said he doesn’t think he can 100% be in the relationship the now and he doesn’t want to hurt me and I deserve better than him. I explained that he was the best boyfriend before all of this and I wanted to help him through this. He said he doesn’t need anyone’s help and he will get through it himself and he is refusing to go see a doctor. He isn’t just depressed he is turning to drink where I worry he might be an alcoholic. His family members have died before with alcohol and I reminded him he doesn’t want to do this to his kids. He still gets them at the weekend and making time for work, but he constantly drinks and makes no time for me. I have tried to be there for him through all of this but feel it getting thrown back in my face. It seems I’m the only one getting the brunt of everything and he said it’s because I know most. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to be with me because he has fallen out of love with me even though he says he still loves me or if it’s because his throughts are telling him he can’t give me what I deserve. I’m really torn on what to do because I love him so much. I am heartbroken over this as before he was the nicest most caring person ever and now it is as though he has changed. It is like he has given up and got it into his head I deserve better than him and he can’t have a relationship the now. This confuses me as would you not want someone who you love and who loves you to help you through this. I’m really torn on what to do. I’ve messaged his mum about his drink addiction and sometimes drugs but she never replied and he got angry I told her. I feel hopeless, I know I love him and deep down he loves me but he has just given up. My family seem to think he just doesn’t want a girlfriend the now and to be single and make me feel worse about this because I had it in my head he would get better and we would go back to the way we were. Am I being naive ? I’ve tried to walk away but I constantly just want to text him to know he’s okay. I’m hurting so much right now. He was the happiest, nicest most amazing man before but I knew he has been depressed in the past. This is the first time being depressed in the relationship. Is anyone else experiencing this and could give any advice ?

  5. Jessica says:

    My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years has been going through a depressive episode for about two weeks. We got into a fight about how much he had been working and after that he started slipping into depression. He’s sleep was off, he wouldn’t be affectionate, he didn’t want to talk, he stayed on his phone, etc.
    He has had depression a long time. In high school he started to get suicidal and went to a hospital them therapy. He has dealt with depression ever since.
    I try to be as supportive as possible but it’s hard. He doesn’t say I love you back and plans the fight on me and the depression on that fight. He went out last night wanting to be alone and ended up making out with some girl. He said he stopped it because he thought of me and is sorry. But he is still depressed and not feeling anything. I want to work on things because I think he cheated because he was feeling worthless and numb and wanted to feel something different. It doesn’t make it ok but I love him. But idk if I’m just being delusional. Help!

  6. Tatum says:

    Hi, is someone able to give me advice or clarification? My ex-boyfriend of six months and I began dating in January. He had depression before he met me and never did anything about it. He told me how I was all he needed and I was his “reason to get out of bed in the morning” and I got him through everything and made him happy. We were in love and everything was going great…until July, that was. He had told me that a few days after our six month anniversary he had started feeling different. “Every thing feels different, but nothing has changed”, he said, and that nothing made him happy like it used to. Not even me. My heart was shattered. The last time i saw him was the 21st, when he was planning on breaking up with me but he couldn’t do it. He didn’t want to. I told him everything is going to be okay and if he needs to break up with me to help him then he could. He was crying. Then I started crying and he told me that seeing me cry was the slap to the face he needed to get help. He started seeing a therapist. I’ve been giving him space, talking to him less, and seeing him less frequently. I waited a week and asked him if he wanted to come over. He told me that he doesn’t think he’ll be seeing me any time soon. We had still been talking and a few days later something happened. We always text “goodnight, love you” before we go to sleep. I said it and he just said “goodnight”. I was confused but didn’t do anything about it. The next morning I asked him if he loved me anymore and his answer was that he didn’t know. He broke up with me that day. He said nothing was my fault and it was all him. A few days later I contacted him and he said he just didn’t love me anymore and he was sorry. He also mentioned how he doesn’t feel anything, though. This makes me wonder if he truly fell out of love or if he thinks he doesn’t love me because he’s numb to any emotion. Or am I in denial? Please help

  7. Jenny says:

    I have been with my husband for almost 6 years. He has been suffering from depression for almost 2 years from now and refuses to see a psychologist. We been to counseling and he insists that he must divorce me. Counseling was painful and I stopped going with him. He still went on his own for a while and does not feel like it’s helping. He said he does not know what he wants. He cannot be himself when he is with me. He pushed all his family away. Yelled at his mom and sibling. He also said he does not love me anymore. It’s extremely painful to be in this situation. Sometimes I even wonder if I love him anymore (or does it matter?) I am planning on moving out and file a divorce soon.

  8. India says:

    Hi I’ve been with my boyfriend for nearly six years we have two little boys and even been engaged and also he asked me again a year ago. We’ve been going through this for the whole time we’ve been together but he is actually in denial that he is depressed but when under the influence of alcohol he tells me he is depressed and thinks about ending his life almost everyday but it’s his sons that stop him from doing this. There is a pattern with him he will get really low and then one thing that wasn’t a big deal will make him walk out our lives or he will do something purposely that will split us up and he’ll blame me for everything insult me and so on he’s even told me he doesn’t love me etc, then a few weeks will pass and then he comes back telling me how much he loves me and and we are everything to him, hes full of affection and so on but then 6-8 months later sometimes less we’re back to square one again. When we’re together we don’t argue he treats me to holidays city breaks for birthdays and valentines day we go out for meals etc. It’ll firstly start off wirh him not speaking he stops all affection no more telling me he loves me he gets angrier goes away to his bed really early. At the moment he has been away from us for nearly 5 weeks but still comes to see our sons doesn’t speak to me and doesn’t make eye contact but will text me asking me things nothing to do with us or what he’s doing though, just now he’s putting on a front acting like he’s happy that he’s not in a relationship or living with us which he usually does and puts everything into his work and training to keep him busy then the angry stage with the nasty texts etc will come then him wanting back. The thing is there are mental health issues in his family such as schizophrenia and also depression, but he will not go to the doctors he did go once but didn’t open up and tell the doctor everything so the doctor thought it was just day to day stresses that everyone goes through. Even though he blames me I know it’s not down to me because he was like this before I met him and thought he had manic depression but yet he’ll still put all the blame on me etc and be in denial about everything he’ll also lie and keep things from me and even accuse me of things that’s never happened. Right now I’m at a point whether I walk away for good or hang on to see if he’ll actually get help the hard thing is that I love him so much and we have two little boys, right now I don’t contact him unless it’s about our boys I’m hoping the space will give him time to think but then again there’s also a chance that he won’t get help and then move onto someone else. It’s such a hard thing to go through especially when kids are involved but how can he help us if he wont help himself…….

  9. Morwenna says:

    I feel so relieved that there are others experiencing the same. My partner of four years suffers from depression. We have a son who is now 3 years old, this weekend he walked out on us. I am absolutely devastated, we have supported him for almost two years. This man who I would do anything in the world for has displayed every single thing in this article has finally managed to push his family away. I just want to know it will get better and how could he just walk out while his son slept on with out a clue? I know he is ill but how can we make him see it. On his good days when we are all together as a family it is perfect why can’t he focous on that? I understand he will have black days but to throw it all away? We are both in the military and we do have to spend time apart and this is when he deteriorates badly, usually I can help him through and help him think of the good days. This week though he had it planned. As soon as I got through the door on Friday every single item he owned was gone from our family home and he said he was leaving, I even took him up to look at his sleeping son and asked him if he really was walking out of his boys life, he said nothing and left us. I hurt so badly it’s like some one is opening my chest and crushing my heart. I just hope he comes back to us once he hits rock bottom and then re builds

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Morwenna,

      I understand your pain, as you can read below my info. Mine is gone and with a new girl now it appears. It’s so shocking and sad. He was never the type to have done that, but now I see it is a pattern for him and his depression. Your partner may come back, but if he does he may always cause issues for the rest of your lives. Focus on yourself and your child. Many times they do not come back and if they do, they are never the same 🙁 I am so sorry to be so blunt about it, but from my own experience and many blogs/forums, that seems to be the case…Hugs! Keep us updated

      • Adele says:

        Hi its been 2years since your comment so you may not read this.I met my husband 4years ago.He swept me off my feet.My children from a previous marriage loved him.We got engaged.I knew he liked a drink and could be very moody on times and angry.But he hid it well not only from me and my family but he was in denial looking back.We got married and things got worse.I supported him through his admitting he had a drinking problem and getting help and support and his doctor told him he was suffering from bipolar and referred him to a psychiatrist who said he has had adhd all his life!He’s 50years old.He’s waiting on an appointment to see a specialist.Then things spiralled.He stopped taking his meds for bipolar and drank.I’ve recently found out he had a secret stash of bottles and topped up a bottle i could see to say he was drinking less.I felt like I was on a roller coaster and trying to keep it together for my kids and going to work.We were arguing and he said cruel things about my past.Then last year he just walked out on us.Moved all his things out a few days later and wouldn’t talk to me.I was devastated.We loved each other so much but he said he’s let us down and can’t do it anymore.We weren’t in touch for a few months i have him the space he needed.When we did get back in touch.He wanted to get help and try again.He went back on his meds, did a cognitive therapy course spoke to a counsellor for a few months and joined an AA group and had support and stopped drinking.Things were looking up he was starting to see life differently and was so positive.We got close again and he moved back in.Then a few months ago he was struggling with not drinking and went in himself.he shut me out and didn’t want to do anything with me and kids.I felt so alone and tried everything to help him.I was told i was nagging him andi was only trying to change him.I was only trying to make him feel loved and wantedTold me he rocks the balance of me and the kids and were better off without him.I was starting to feel not myself and wasn’t sleeping being snappy with the kuds.We were all walking in egg shells.He couldn’t deal with any family issues to do with kids and when one was naughty he’d not talk to her for days.Leaving a terrible atmosphere and us arguing because I didn’t agree with him.Just before xmas he went to his first AA meeting.I was so proud of him and went to a few more.Then we had a lovely afternoon out and lunch.Then we had a disagreement i slept downstairs and next day we’d split up.We both cried and still love each other but it just wasn’t working.I tried everything i could think of and i think I wanted to make him better.I was making myself unhappy and making sacrifices of the things I loved to do to support him.Im now day by day building on mine and kids happiness and starting to smile again.I ‘ve not heard from my husband since he moved out.I hope with all my heart he s not drinking again and his family are looking out for him.Anyone who reads this who s been through similar how did you cope?

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Morwenna,
      Have things improved? I hope that time has given you some perspective and that you are on the path to healing. It is possible to heal a broken relationship, that is what this blog is all about. I have been with my husband for 20 years through some dark times. That being said, it is important for you to put yourself first and make sure you are healthy and happy. You cannot change him, or make him better. The only person you can change is you. I sincerely hope that things work out for you and you son.

      Take Care,

      • Kaye says:

        How long do you stay? We’ve been married 26 years…he ran away over a year ago. He does provide financial support but only communicates randomly. He has totally cut off his amd my parents as well as me (except for random texts). His kids are mad at him but don’t want to tell him because they say he won’t change or care. How long until I move on? I don’t want to live like this.

  10. Annie says:

    My husband of just over a year (though we’ve been together for nearly 10) recently told me he’s reached an impasse in our relationship and can’t continue with it. His realization was brought on by us trying to become pregnant (we’re not). Apparently, he’s realized he doesn’t want to raise our kids in my faith, and doesn’t feel integrated – nor does he want to become integrated – in my family. He wants to end our marriage, and start a new life, where he can develop his own identity. Several other incidents surrounded this realization I can’t tell if his feelings are real, or brought on by depression, or both. For as long as I have known him, he has struggled with anxiety and addiction. His depression has gradually worsened over the years, and though he is seeking help and on meds, he uses both sporadically. Mental illness runs in his family, and he is clearly in a tremendous amount of pain. I also have real doubts about the future of our relationship. Though I love him – I am in love with him – I simply don’t know if I can contend with a lifetime of his demons – assuming he decides to stay, which is a big “if.” I don’t know if our relationship can recover from this strain, or if I can forgive him for the tremendous pain he caused me since his depression took a severe turn for the worse – 1.5 years ago. But I took vows, and I meant them. And how I can leave the love of my life when he is clearly in so much pain?

    Right now, we have separated for the holidays to give each other a chance to breathe. Prior to this break, we attended two incredibly painful therapy sessions, and have another planned in the new year. I’m just searching for the strength to get through this time. I’m an action oriented person, so standing still – in limbo – is the hardest thing in the world for me.

  11. Lisa says:

    It’s awful. He refuse’s to move out and basically ignores me. He won’t evenue look at me and if I dare speak to him looks as though he wants to kill me. He sleeps in the same bed, eats the food I cook but is so hateful it has stopped hurting me now. He speaks to our daughter horribly too (she’s 13) and she told him her dad was dead as he had no interest in her at all. He seems to have so much hate for me-and I don’t know why as we were so happy. I’m seriously thinking about going away for Xmas but am scared in case it tips him over. I’m walking on eggshells constantly. Really is like a living hell.

  12. Kristin says:

    Hi Margaret, Lisa, Lana and Tab,

    How are things going now? My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years did this to me as well at the end of September, while on vacation. He was loving and flirty, then on vacation became a different person. I realized he was not taking his Zoloft (which is bad for him anyhow we found out later) each day while on the trip. So that must have really made him into this monster on the trip. Prior to that he had been acting off the entire last year, but still seemed loving, caring, flirty and happy with me. I am still so lost and sad over 2 months later. I know I need to try to move on, but it is so hard! We talked for a while after he moved out, but he ha been quiet the past couple of weeks or so. He also was lying about things (a common thing depressives do). I miss him so badly.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi-thought I’d give an update. Everything is returning to normal. My partner “broke” on 2nd January-said he had been wrong and did need me. He is doing CBT every day along with meditation and is getting there. We have talked about how we need to recognise the signs if this returns. There is hope out there.x

      • Myriah says:

        Hello Lisa,
        so my boyfriend hasn’t been talking to me for a couple of days and he is suicidal and has depression so I worry about him. I gave him a call yesterday and he said that he wanted to go on a break and go to a hospital to get help and today he broke up with me in the morning because he says he loves me but he can’t feel anything at the moment so he feels like he can’t commit and said he still wants to be friends, talk, and hang out. He also said in the future after he gets better we might be able to get back together. It hurts a lot and I feel selfish because I know he needs help but I love him and don’t want to lose him. Can you give me advice on how to be supportive and help him through this also how you coped with the pain if you experienced any ? I just want to help him and hopefully we can get back together. Thankyou

  13. Tab says:

    My boyfriend of 11 months is suffering with depression, after the loss of his mother the holidays are understandably hard. He has no family and doesn’t get to see his son but every other weekend. A few months ago he was ready to marry me, now he barely wants to see me. He has said hurtful things to me about me and my child. I forgive him because I love him, and I think he loves me. If it were just me I’d probably stay and try to help him if he’d let me, but I have a young child I must think of. The first fight we got in was on our vacation with our children, it got physical, he threatened to kill himself. Our children were horrified. I was scared for all of our safety. The fact I’m still with him shows how little I must love myself. Life with him is showing to be very difficult. I hate starting over, but after reading others stories about a depressed spouse/ significant other, I should call my losses. I have also caught him in lies, I’m very confused and feel depressed and sad myself.

  14. Lana says:

    I had to say something because I am going through something similar. My ex boyfriend of 2 years has been currently dealing with depression for a year. I started to notice him changing when he moved his homeless mother who use to be on drugs and hasn’t spoke to in 15 years. I think that’s where his depression comes from because he was so excited for her to arrive. and when she did arrive he realized he didn’t know her and his childhood wasn’t as happy as he remembered. but back to our relationship, I have been there for him through everything which he agrees to. In this year of depression we haven’t had sex because he just couldn’t get into the mood. so eventually I told him he had to go therapy because I could not be in a relationship like this. So in October we went on a break, on this break he started therapy. But we went on a break because he said he loved me and I was the best women to ever come across but he felt so guilty because I was there for him all the time and showed him so much love that he couldn’t do the same. So I suggested we take a little break because I was feeling like I couldn’t please him. But I didnt want to break -up because I know he was going to feel better, eventually. Which he agreed too and said you’re right and I know I will be begging you back. In our break he wouldn’t answer my calls or texts and I was hurt and confused but still I wanted to be there for him because I knew it wasn’t him. A week later he said he could not do this and he feels happier now and sorry its not with you. I was so shocked and hurt I asked him “is this what his therapist wanted?” and he said “she thinks I need to focus on myself and when I can fully love myself I can let others in.”so I told him to never contact me again and called him a coward. The next day regretting that statement I apologized and said I love you and still want you to be happy. I hope we can be friends. and he replied I don’t know if we can you meant what you said. and I said okay. We haven’t talked since. We havent talked in a week and I am not mad at him or upset I understand and know that where he is isn’t right for me or any relationship. I just want him to understand that with bothering him or making him feel more guilty for leaving someone so amazing lol, maybe have sex one more time! something

  15. Lisa says:

    Hi, I am going through something similar at the moment. My husband and I have been together 22 years and 2 weeks ago told me he doesn’t feel anything. Up to this point-we had been really happy-or so I thought. We have a 13 year old daughter who has really been testing the boundaries for the last 6 months or so-staying out late/misbehaving at school/generally refusing to do what I want. Around 6 weeks ago-this escalated and she hit me in front of my husband who did nothing. I obviously shouted at his lack of support etc and that he needs to discipline her. He has also come put in several cysts which have had to be removed by the hospital-since then he has said it’s all my fault,i’be caused the cysts and his state of mind. Initially,I was upset and begged him not to throw it all away but I can’t reach him. The last week,I have stayed really calm and quiet-made sure there is a meal for him when he gets home from work etc. He will let me hug him-but refuse’s to get help. It is killing me inside but I want to help him and don’t believe he no longer loves me. We have had a couple of episodes like this during the time we’ve being together-usually last 2 weeks. It is so hard-I work at least 50 hours a week and am dealing with everything single handedly.

    • jean says:

      WOW I feel like I am living the same as you lisa. my husband has been angry avoiding me past month or two. always is sad around Christmas. late at night before he left for a trip with his friends tells me he is depressed tells me something wrong with him goes onto to say our marriage.

      comes back after trip he says he is going to get help. he is angry that I am upset I am in shock I haven’t slept all week he was away. keeping it together for work and two teenagers. I can’t tell him how I am upset as he says then I am selfish.

      I hope you are having a better week

  16. Margarrt says:

    Hi, I have been dating a man I love very much for the past six months. He has anxiety issues and is medicated for them, but has recently suffered a bout of depression and broke up with me out of the blue. He did this once before after three dates, but we got back together a couple of months later. One night we were in love making plans, then, on the night he met my daughter for the first time, told me he doesn’t know what he wants. I had questioned why he seemed a little quiet and withdrawn. He was on 1 anxiety and 2 depression meds and it was keeping us from an intimate relationship, so he was in the midst of changing meds. It made him feel awful and I think this contributed to it. He said he didn’t like himself, did not know how to let me in and was insecure I would leave him.
    We work together, so i see him…he won’t talk to me, look at me, return a text or a v/m. I have only reached out a few times to tell him i love him and am here for him and everything has been completely ignored. I am having a difficult time coping and cry part of every day. My friends and family are very upset that I now seem like a different person…withdrawn and sad. I can’t reach out again, I feel like a fool and I want to respect his space. He has been in therapy since April, which is great, but I am having trouble accepting that this is over and I need to move on. He has not been in a relationship since his divorce 7 years ago, and I know he is scared. He won’t let his family in either. Who is going to help him now? Why d I feel so responsible? I went to see a therapist who told me to run for the hills. She also thinks he may be mis-diagnosed and be Bipolar 2. I would have been willing and even wanted to go to therapy with him, but I had not brought the subject up yet…now it is too late. I have never been this sad. How do I move on? Do I have to change jobs???? I ran into him last night and for the first time in a month he looked right at me and asked how I was. It was pointless to tel him my heart is broken. He knows and I am sure does not want to think he has any responsibility.

  17. Marie says:

    I’m after some advice or reassurance. My husband and I have been married 24 years . About 4 years ago he said he wasn’t happy. I knew this as I’d been asking him fir months what was wrong. He’d shut himself off from me and our 3 children and I knew he was struggling in work. He runs our family business with his parents, the recession has taken its toll in the business, he didn’t get paid for o over a year. Anyway, he moved out 2 & half years ago, initially with his parents then lodging with a friend. He was diagnosed with depression before he left and prescribed antidepressants. He felt they didn’t work so gradually stopped them. He began cbt by which he still goes to periodically. The past couple year have followed a cycle of push me pull me. He works his way back when he’s feeling good, then starts to feel low again, and pulls back and shuts us out again. I have told him I’m not going to give up on him as I can still see him deep inside when he relaxes, the man I married reappears. I went to stay with ny sister for a 5 week break with our daughter, leaving our two grown up sons at home to look after themselves. He was still living away from us at this point,but everything was positive, he was spending a lot if time at home and seemed happier. He generally seems to be happier,at work too, when he’s here more. Whilst away he must’ve text, whatsapp, face time, sent pics an very intimate texts, about 100 msgs. This followed a similar cycle as before so I was very wary. When I got home, without any discussion he’d moved back in, but not his belongings, just a hold all of clothes, which he couldn’t bring himself to hang up. I asked him after a week what was going on, and this has sent him downwards again. He has been saying for Months that he’s not depressed anymore, I lost sight of the fact that he actually may still be. He struggles in work and has same symptoms as before. He gets through the day and manages to appear ok to the outside world. He’s still living here, after me giving him the choice of leaving las t weekend. He says he doesn’t have the feelings he used to and finds it hard being home when sometimes he doesn’t want to be around anyone. He couldn’t make a decision to stay or leave. I have said if he didn’t have feelings for me they’d never be there, which they are when he is feeling ok. But he doesn’t think it’s to do with depression. I have tried everything to help. This is so hard, should I give up and tell him to go. Maybe it’s being with me that’s making him depressed? But if it was why would he keep pushing his way back in? I’m so confused and hurt by the cycles and seeing how work pressure has a huge effect on him. He’s tired all the time, no interest in doing anything, irritable can’t concentrate and seems to be buying new clothes all the time as he was told by his counsellors that he should do what makes him feel better. I really don’t know what to do or how to be around him when he’s closed off. We had the most amazing and beautiful marriage until he started thinking that I didn’t love him when I was just shattered bringing up our children. What should I do? Tell him to go or battle on against this .

  18. Sophie says:

    Hi, I’m not sure if anybody still visits this site but I’m desperately looking for somebody to speak to about the heart ache I’m going through at the minute..

    I have been with my partner for two years, he was the most loving, caring man who would do absolutely anything for me. I have a text message on my phone from him telling me how much he loves me and I am his soul mate and best friend, and that he couldn’t bare to imagine his life without me. He sent me this when I was sad one day about something silly.. That is the type of man he was..

    Two weeks after sending me this message, he text me out of the blue, after leaving my house in the morning telling me he loved me, and said he doesn’t want to be with me anymore. ‘He doesn’t want a girlfriend’

    This came as the biggest shock ever and I can’t understand it, he can’t give me any answers at all apart from ‘I just need to be me’ or ‘I’m enjoying being me’.

    Anyway, this was 8 weeks ago and I’ve been pleading with him to change his mind and fight for what we have together, he says he just wants to be friends and that he does still love me but he just doesn’t feel the same about us anymore. We have never spent a single night apart because HE hated not to sleep next to me. Since that day, he walked away and never came back.. He seemed to have lost every ounce of emotion towards me.. But still spends all his time with his friends. I still tried to keep contact but he finally told me to ‘leave him alone and move on like he has’.. So I did completely cut contact for one week..

    After this week, his friend turned up at my house and told me that he had tried to commit suicide. Thank god he failed and is now getting help from therapists. He blames his depression on his stressful job and the strain it’s put on him mentally.. He is now a professional sportsman and his job is very physically and mentally tough.

    I went straight to his house and did nothing but hug him for an hour solid. He sobbed his heart out and told me that he loves me and he’s sorry for what he’s done. I have continued to keep in touch with him every day since because I can’t accept what he’s done, I’m so worried about him..

    I finally thought I had some answers to what happened to him and how he changed his feelings so quickly.. Today he has sent me a message and told me that his depression had nothing to do with his feelings changing, and he appreciates what I have done but he wants me to move on again, like he is. I’m utterly devastated.. I just can’t understand any of it. I got angry with him and he told me he had met up with a girl he has been recently speaking to and he genuinely feels so much better in himself.

    I am absolutely crushed. How can he lose all feelings for me, but invest those feelings into somebody else so quickly? How can he be okay after attempting go take his own life not even a week ago? And why won’t he let me back in and help him?

    I’ve told him today that I will give him one week to think about his decision before I am moving on.. Although I feel this is impossible. He said he wants me to move on so he won’t change his mind.

    I feel so desperate to cling on to the person I know is under that dark cloud but he wants nothing to do with me and I fear I can never move on from that.

    Has anybody got any good outcomes of anything like this? Or have I lost him for good..

    Thank you for reading, I hope somebody out there reads this and understands what I’m going through, it’s the loneliest place to be when the man you would normally turn to for comfort acts like he doesn’t care about you anymore..

    • caz says:

      Hey Sophie.. I know how you feel I’m still looking for answers aswell… It sucks so much I don’t even no how to help.. I feel helpless myself like I have no motivation to do anything

      • Cleo says:

        Hey Sophie I completely feel ur pain. My partner of 6 years left me two days ago. Said he feels ’empty inside’ and that he doesn’t love me anymore. He claims he has tried to love me over the last few months, but he cannot force it. I am devastated and I feel my whole future has been ripped out from underneath me. I wanted to marry this man. My question to people is this- does the man we originally fell in love with ever return? I can’t help but hope, but I wish so badly I didn’t have to feel this pain. I wish you all the best, and u are not alone in what you are going through xxx

        • Michelle says:

          Cleo and Sophie,
          First of all ladies I am sorry for what you are going through. I have been with my husband for 18 years and have endured more than my fair share of these episodes. My husband suffered childhood trauma and carries the scars of that, the doctor and I both think he is bipolar or borderline personality disorder but thanks to a bad psychiatrist he has no faith in therapists and so he trudges along seemingly just fine and the when depression hits it hits hard. He talks of being emotionally disconnected and not feeling anything for me, he says he knows we have had good times but he cannot remember them. He tells me I would be better off without him. The cycles above, the empty, angry, despairing a restored are bang on. It is really hard not to take it personally. Mental illness is ugly and it robs people of the very best of themselves and it blindly robs the ones that love them as well. I would never tell you to leave the man you love, I know how hard that is. You cannot just shut your feelings off. During these times I feel like my husband is the Captain of a sinking ship and in his head he wants to get the kids and I safely on a life raft before he sinks for good. I always feel like that is my time to step in and lead the ship, I would know more leave my husband in the midst of depression than I would if he had a brain tumor. It is hard road though, we have had many beautiful years together but there have been some difficult times that wear on you and break you down. The very best thing you can do is work on you. For people who do not suffer depression happiness is a choice and we need to choose it everyday. Remind yourself that you are strong and enduring and worthy of love and happiness. Take up hobbies, read good books, go to bed early, invest in yourself!! If you do not have a sense of who you are you will very easily get caught in the riptide and risk sinking too. You matter. You cannot expect to convince anyone else you matter if you do not show love and compassion to yourself.
          Depression can be confusing for everyone, the trust that you lose can be hard to restore, you need to set boundaries. Ladies I truly wish you the best of luck. I just spent the last year blissfully happy and when depression hit I was blind sighted like I always am. It will suck the life right out of you if you allow. It is their responsibility to get help and even pushing that can cause a row. It needs to be discussed gently while your partner is in a good frame of mind. You cannot love away mental illness. The best you can do is love yourself because if they know that you are OK it makes coping a lot easier.

          In January 2016 I created a mindfulness/happiness project on my blog called The W.I.S.E. Project. In July of 2015 my husband suffered a bad spell and it really took it’s toll on me. I knew that I needed to work on me. I would love it if you follow along with me. Being mindful and learning to live for the moment instead of worrying about the past of the future can be very freeing. Realizing your many blessings and being grateful as well as truly being who you are meant to be can make a huge difference in your lives. If you want to visit it’s http://www.michd74.com
          Feel free to message me there anytime as well. Good luck.

          • natasha says:

            I know how all of you feel. my hubby of 7 years just told me for the seocnd time he wants out and its broken my heart all over again. its so weird how there are so many of us out there going through the same thing. its so easy for people to say look after yourself, and let him go but harder to do. when you love someone so much its a huge slap in the face 🙁 none of you are alone. depression robs all of us. email me nmccardal [at] gmail [dot] com if any if you want to talk xxx

          • ej says:

            Michelle, I would be very interested in chatting with you about your experience. I am losing someone very dear to me to depression (“am losing” because it’s just in the last couple of months, and he has shut me out completely) and I’m floundering a bit in the space he has left behind. I admire your optimism & openness from what I read on your blog. Will look for a way to contact you there, as well.

          • Michelle says:

            E.J. You can contact me @ michd [at] live [dot] ca
            This has been such a helpful site for me. I am happy to chat 🙂

          • Emee says:

            Thank you so much for writing this. I, like so many others on this site, am losing the love of my life because of this terrible illness. I wish there was so much more I could do to show him how much he means to me, and how much I love him despite all his scars.

            But you can’t love away a mental illness.

            Those words hit me like a brick.

            Good luck to you.

          • Michelle says:

            I am so sorry, I wish I could say it gets easier. It is difficult when the one you love is suffering and you cannot take away their pain. Even though I am sure you know that there are ways that he can help himself you can’t force him to take those steps. My husband holds unto his pain like a security blanket, he has so many unresolved things with his family and I know that it can never change the terrible things that happened to him but closure would be good. He feels very convicted in holding unto his resentment, he thinks that they do not deserve forgiveness and I cannot make him see that forgiveness would not absolve them of hurting him but it would absolve him from carrying around the weight of it. We had a good, quiet holiday but my heart is still trying to heal the wounds of the past several months. The best thing I can do is focus on my well-being, when I am OK it is one less thing on my husbands shoulders. He has told me that he pushes me away for my own good, it hurts him immensely to see me suffer along with him. That is why it is so important to take care of yourself. I really do believe that love is powerful and loving yourself is just as important as loving your spouse. Take care and I hope that things get easier for both of you.


    • Karen says:

      Hi. I fell in love (still am) with a man in another country. We Skyped every single night for a year and then we finally met and spent two weeks together. We each stated that we’ve never felt so at ease and in love with any other partner we’ve ever had. We had a connection that was too good to be true. He told me early on about his depression. We said goodbye after our two weeks and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I came home and began making plans, but for personal reasons it is not possible for us to start living together for another 12-15 months. I won’t go into why. It’s now been two months since we’ve been apart and he suddenly began slowly pulling away. He finally said that it’s too painful to have felt the love from me only to have it taken away and to now be facing the long wait to start our lives. He cut down communication with me and within two weeks he suddenly said “I don’t feel the same way about you”. He began to get angry about “putting his life on hold”. He can’t face being alone and where our time together reinforced my love for him and energized me to work towards us being together as soon as possible, he went in the other direction. The separation from me having been in front of him and suddenly being back over a phone screen has sent him into a severe depression. He has completely shit me out and before he did, he told me he feels ashamed, lost, lonely and alone. That he feels empty. And now, he’s just gone. Also before he was suddenly gone, he told asked me a few times – “Baby, please be there at the end of this”. I spend days crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. But after doing much reading, I feel I have a better understanding. This is not the man I know. This is someone else. And I have decided to wait it out until he comes back to me. I think it’s all about what YOU can handle as far as this is concerned. Of course, I’m across an ocean at the moment. I’m not sure how I’d handle it if affection was suddenly cut off and we were living together. It’s all so exhausting.

      • Tiffney says:

        This is so similar to what is happening to me right now. i fell in love with a man online from another country. We Skyped for a year, talked all day every day ( because he is a truck driver we could), when we finally met in person we spent a wonderful 8 days together and I met his family and friends. We worked so well together as a team and I knew I had never been so compatible with anyone. We began planning our future together but we knew for financial reasons we would not be able to be together for another year. Well the year went by and he was my best friend, supported me through so much, my son began to call him dad and he promised he would adopt him and marry me and we could try for a baby of our own. Then his dad died of a sudden heart attack where my boyfriend tried to desperately save him through CPR. My boyfriend spirialed down int o a deep depression, I felt it was my turn to be there for him like he had always been there for me but everything I did didn’t seem to be working, he went into denial that his feelings were cause by what I believe to be grief, depression and trauma even though he admitted he was deeply depressed. he got really needing wanting me to watch him fall asleep on Skype every night and needing me a lot but suddenly he just left us both. Said he no longer wanted to move or have the life we planned together. He doesn’t even want to keep in touch. He is mad now that I convinced him this was his depression talking because that can’t be true-he must have just “changed”. He is empty and can barely feel anything. We were in the midst of planning a second visit since our plans for him to move got delayed and he seemed in high spirits about this but he told me after he couldn’t even focus on the happy time we would have only on the last day when I would leave again and he would start another separation full of loneliness all over again and the dreading of that day over rode the happiness he would feel during the time together. He said his anxiety and doubts might still be there after the visit and then it would be that much harder to leave, this was just days after planning to buy me a promise ring and saying it wouldn’t be bad if I got pregnant on the trip. The hardest part is he doesn’t want anything to do with my son either who he always promised he would a dad to even if me and him broke up. He was also mad because people were suggesting he needs to see a counselor. Suddenly all the problems we thought were worth overcoming for the past two and half years were too big of hardships to him and he couldn’t imagine overcoming them. I am beyond devastated. I don’t think i can afford to wait for him because he is too stubborn to admit this is his grief and depression and that he probably just made a mistake so he will avoid me and if I trust him again then it could potentially hurt my son again and I don’t think I can risk that. I miss my best friend of the last two years. I love him so much, I really did envision our entire lives together and I don’t know what to do now.

      • Amy says:

        This is EXACTLY my situation right now, except for the fact that we met in August last year (in person) and have been flying back and forth ever since, every 4-7 weeks. And we were planning on moving in together next summer (2019). I’m so heartbroken right now, I can barely breathe. I scheduled an appointment at a local psychological crisis institution (they also support partners of depressed people) for next week but right now I can’t even imagine living through the rest of this day. After having had a very good day yesterday (he was so supportive, loving and kind), he’s the exact opposite today and has just told me (for the very first time) that he wants and is planning to sleep with other women. I’m devastated.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi all. I am going through the same thing as well. He said similar things to me “he’s tried for a while to make it work” but feels unhappy & broken. But that he does love me. Just wants to be on how own to get better. This week has been the lonest we’ve gone without texting each other. He first told me all of this about 7 weeks ago. I miss him so much & im afraid he will forget about me, move on & won’t realize his mistake (it was the depression only) once he gets better & by then it’s too late. He has hung with an old co worker (girl) who he says is just a friend. But I’m not stupid. I know it could develop into more….if it hasn’t already :/ it’s so sad how their feelings for us are taken away. It’s like a death we are mourning. I hope his new med works great for him and he comes back to me. Anyone else still checking this site?

  19. Lekiesha says:

    my boyfriend of 6 years ( on and off) says that he no longer loves me and that he needs to focus on himself. that i brought to much drama and i have an issue with everything. we recently had a child in august and this all came as a shock to me. we had our problems, i did not like the way he spoke to me, often spoke down to me and would ask for sexual favors that to me where extremely disrespectful. i had an Emergency C-section and just 3 weeks after he said he “needed sex”. I have a 6 year old daughter(previous relationship) who he practically raised, but she calls him “mean” because of his way of discipline and how he speaks to me/treats me. also recently had a miscarriage this october and there was no support nor affection from him. He is an army man, and did spend over a year over seas. i am still in complete shock that he could just decide that he no longer is in love with me. he has issues when i walk away if an argument is becoming to much for me to handle ( he has serious abandonment issues from childhood) which is the reason he gave me for breaking things off ( i left, after he told me to get the *bleep* out *bleep) because i was trying to explain to him how my daughter felt. i went to my mothers house for 2 days ( no contact what so ever) and when i returned i was given the silent treatment for 2 days. when i finally confronted him about the situation and how could we fix things i was greeted with a coldness like no other. ( all this happened the weekend of thanksgiving) since then we sleep in separate rooms. he closes and locks the door and is on the phone majority of the night. He goes out and does not return for hours. and when the children are visiting relatives he makes sexual advances at me. he will hug me, hold my hand in passing, carries my face, then shove me away and go on rants about how unhappy he is. he says he has felt this way for a very long time. i move out tomorrow, and when i told him he said
    ” good finally” you speak about confronting your depressed partner ( i am 150% sure he is depressed) but i want to know how do i do that? i do i continue to communicate and deal with someone who has broke me down so much. even my daughter is severely affected and i do not know how to comfort her. i have cried since everything happened, have barely eaten a meal, i find myself replaying the entire relationship and wondering what did i do wrong why didn’t i see he was unhappy.

    also he had brought me and engagement ring but i declined because the only reason he proposed was because i found conversation with another woman and i told him i could to be in a relationship with someone who speaks to other woman and he told me the reason why was because ( he was about to take a huge step in life by asking for my hand in marriage and he was getting nervous and scared and i must understand where he is coming from and how he feels)

    there is so much more to our story, i just don’t know how to help him, how to help myself, my daughter. i know in my heart that we are meant for each other, but i no longer know this man.

    thank you,


  20. Mandi says:

    I believe it is possible to regain love and a healthy relationship with a depressed partner, but it is up to the partner that is leaving. Which creates a power struggle, because the depressed partner is in control or attempts to, as you put it, when he/she externally blames the other in angry outbursts or silent resentment and frustration. But also attempts to be in the power center by withdrawing, stone walling, and leaving.
    My husband has been dealing with depression ever since he got diagnosed with epilepsy, which caused memory and cognitive problems at times, and also epileptic psychosis. He never learned to cope with his illness and only became aware he was struggling with depression when he left me the first time. I asked him to get help, and he clsims he went to the doctor and was prescribed an antidepressant, but I knew this wouldn’t be enough and I was beginning to have trust issues even though we agreed to revisit our relationship after a month or two
    A month later we attempted to work things out, he never brought home antidepressants, claiming he ‘lost them’ at his mothers. He apologized and wrote me a love letter. The next day he disappeared for 5 days, no call or text. I was beyond upset and hurt. I told him I could no longer take it and the relationship must end. He got suicidal and ran out in front of cars on the highway by our house. I decided to comfort him, for I still love him. I later found out he had not been taking his medication for seizures. He stated that must have been his problem, then went into tbe 4th state you mentioned for almost 3 weeks, where he appeared happy and almost back to his old self. He told me he loved me, that I was the world to him, a saint in his life, that he doesn’t understand his ‘destructive nature’. He promises never to leave again and then leaves again after the 3 weeks with just the clothes on his back.
    It has now been 11 days with no contact from him, which I have tried and failed. He did not bring his seizure medicine with him. His mother called him from work on the 8th day and some guy answered the phone asking who it was. She responded and the man said that he didn’t want to talk or be found. I am devestated. I still love him, but there’s a point where I have to love myself more.
    However, my heart is still open. But I am deeply afraid of going through this again and must keep my distance if that is the path I choose. If he wanted to get better and get help he would. And when he is ready, he will. I hope that we survive it, but I must prepare for the worst.

  21. Anon says:

    Please can someone one help me. My husband of 13 years together 15 said I broke him and he left. He’s been distant for months and in turn I’ve lost my patience but he never told me what he was going through. He hot a new job the commute was an 1 hr and 30 min doing from 6pm till 10pm 7 days a week for two months. When he left work asked him to help in another part of the country he didn’t tell me or his mum where for days that was 6 weeks ago his mum only found out last week through me he’s now back to his old depo. One minute he’s ok with me the next he’s saying he feels nothing. He’s been to the gp and is on tablets for his depression but he’s still blaming me. Saying I nagged and pushed I was drinking alot which I was but I now realise it was because of him being emotionally distant. I don’t drink so much know not since he’s gone. We have to beautiful girls who he says he lovestablished more than anything but nothing for me. We’ve been together since I was 16 so I’ve lost myself. The pain is unbearable and like a lady said earlier I can’t live with it he’s left me in debt heartbroken with very little reason to carry on other than my to girls. I came sout close to ending it all last night. But it didn’t work. Everytime I talk to him about us he snaps and becomes angry. I know the tip is to take care of yourself but I don’t know how. I want to be there for him I love him with all my heart. I have to remind myself everyday to do the stupid things like breath one step in front of the other go to work everything in my life is defined by seconds each one more painful than the last. He tells me he has though of ending it also I’m just worried it’s going to be a race of who gets there first but oke I say I could never put my girls through losing me but the pain is too much for me to live with. I’ve lost my dad my nan my dogs and now my husband. Please any advice in to helping him to see that it’s the depression not me that is to blame. I honestly don’t know how long I can cope.

    • Anon says:

      6am to 10pm

    • Michelle says:

      I am really sorry you are going through this but please please realize that your life is worth a lot and losing your husband does not mean that you are not enough. You have children that adore you and lots of life to live. Right now both you and your husband are hurting. You are not the reason he is hurting but right now he needs something tangible to blame his pain on and unfortunately the saying “we hurt the ones we love” couldn’t be more true for couples facing depression together. I am certainly no expert but I have learned some things during the last 18 years suffering through my husbands depression. I always remind myself that although it feels horrible and heart wrenching for me that I cannot imagine the chaos going on inside his head. When he says he feels you have broken him it is not true but he truly feels like that. Every unkind word, every accusation, every guilt trip is amplified to him and he feels like he is no good to you. Your pain and heartache is something that he cannot handle or sooth or solve because right now he can barely manage his own day to day. You do have to take care of yourself because if you do not you will be no good to him or your children and certainly no good to yourself. Seek out reasons to smile, breath, relax and enjoy life. Seeing you be OK will ease the pressure for all of you, including him. Your responsibility is to yourself. We all have this great desire to be loved and felt and desired. My husband often says his “feelers” are broken. Sometimes he remembers the great times we have shared and the love but others it is like watching a movie reel with someone else’s memories, there is a slight familiarity but it feels vague and impersonal. It hurts like hell and unfortunately our pain is not something we can share because it is so very different. Do not lose anymore of yourself in his pain or yours. This is the time to unbecome everything you thought you were to everyone else and become who you are truly meant to be. You are strong and enduring, if you weren’t you would never have reached out here. Take one small step everyday to do something for yourself. Set small goals. I truly hope that you and your husband can find your way back but if you do not you will find your way forward, I know you will!! Being in a marriage makes you half of a couple, not half of a person. It is time for you to realize that you are whole, you are enough and live your life that way, one beautiful moment at a time. The past cannot be changed, the future is uncertain so make your plans for today and choose happiness at every opportunity. For some people that is not a choice so for those of us that it is I feel we have a responsibility to grasp onto it!! If you push your husband right now he will retreat like a scared child. He may need time, patience, understanding and no added pressure. Do not put your life on hold, it will make him feel worse and confirm his suspicions that you are better off without him.

  22. Karen says:

    Hi John.
    Just over two years ago my partner left while I was at work. The night before he made love to me and the next day waved me off. We had problems as we have four teenagers between us and were squeezed into my three bedroom house and he ran his business from the living room, his belongings stacked everywhere in boxes. Our living conditions were stressful. We had been together for 5 years. The shock of coming home to a half empty house and a note saying ‘sorry it didn’t work we need to sort out Virgin broadband’ took its toll and I cried for 5 weeks.
    I desperately kept contacting him and by the Thursday after he was sleeping with me again. Looking back I think he was flattered/amused / smug that I was so needy and desperate for him. He refused to tell me where he was living for about 3 months. I spent 9 months begging him to come back (he blamed me for being aggressive and controlling which I was to some extent). I paid for a break in Venice where he told me he loved me and he moved back in.
    My children were annoyed with me and refused to help around the house and my partner moved back in on his terms and said his kids would have to sleep in our room and we would sleep on a sofa bed in the living room. I agreed to do this for 6 months.
    Within 6 weeks he was back to his aggressive self, moaning that he felt like a lodger, working obsessively as usual and not taking care of our relationship like he promised he would. He is very insular with his kids, by that I mean they all shut themselves in the bedroom whispering about what to do at the weekend and sharing news. They rarely included us in anything they did. He started picking on my kids. One day he was friendly, the next he was hostile and criticising which alienated my kids.
    He got worse, he got so frustrated with me (because I can’t shut up and I’m opinionated – that’s me being honest about myself) that he hit me a couple of times in a foul temper then immediately denied it like he was shocked he had done it. He became more withdrawn and critical (ie ignored my kids and told me I was not very bright), said he loved me only a little bit and refused to kiss me passionately.
    We discussed putting outhouses in the garden for our bedroom and an office but he put priority on the office and not my health so I became despondent about the idea.
    After 14 months of sleeping on the sofa bed I told him I wanted my bedroom back in 4 months time ie plenty of notice waiting until his oldest daughter went off to Uni.
    He then started telling me he couldn’t work from home any longer and he wouldn’t put his other daughter (age 15) on the sofa bed. As I had ruined the plan to build in the garden he said he was going to hire an office, which I wasn’t happy about as he is a workaholic.
    He looked at one office with ‘living accommodation’ ie a bed in the room out the back with no windows and I was negative about it. He put in an offer for that one but he didn’t manage to get it.
    So a few weeks later he found another office and refused to tell me where it was in case I was negative again. He eventually he admitted to me it is an industrial/ storage unit and he shouldn’t be staying there but his plan was to live there with his daughter on her weekends and every Tuesday evening and come back to me around 8pm on the other nights and spend half his weekend with me.
    He kept me guessing about the location of the office for four weeks and considering I have a trust issue about him leaving again I suspected maybe it was a flat and he was planning to move out again.
    He eventually told me the location after I lost my temper and said I couldn’t be with him if he can’t even tell me where it is. He thought it was a funny guessing game. Out of frustration as he started moving all his kids stuff out, office equipment and personal items to release space in the house I got angry. So he arranged to have his post redirected and made me shut our redundant joint bank account with him. I lost all control and suggested in a loud voice in a busy bank that perhaps he was having an affair. My anger became intense and I kept prodding him and nagging about the office at night and wouldn’t let him sleep. I told him I hated him, I spat at him and told him I would dump him and chuck his stuff in the front garden. I didn’t mean any of it I just wanted him to show me his office so I knew he was telling the truth. He said my anger was making him want to leave..
    I went to Europe with my daughter for a week’s holiday last week. He was so petty he took his TV remote controls so my son couldn’t watch it while we were away. As I left he said he was going to do some serious thinking about our relationship. I rang him the day before we were due back and asked him if he had moved out and he said yes.
    And so now I’m devastated.
    We met up for a coffee two days later when I got back and we got on ok. I told him how much I love him and he said he still has love for me inside. I said all he has to do is move in some clothes and bathroom stuff back in and we could try and sort this out, he said he would think about it. He was still angry though.
    The next day I stupidly sent him an email link to a house for sale which would have been ideal for us to show how our living problems could be solved and this is what the future could offer and he rang me up and was nasty, saying he felt ill. I drove out to the area he said he was in and he refused to meet me. He said he would talk to me soon. (He’s apparently living in this unit, taking showers at the sports centre, microwave meals and sleeping on a mattress on the floor.)

    I rang him again 48 hrs later and he is now really ill with a virus, hasn’t worked for 2 days and was extremely distressed blaming it on the break up. He has a massively important job that has just come in lasting for 6 weeks. (We’ve got a trip to Paris booked in early November)
    I sent him texts again which he hasn’t answered but he did ask for me to ring him in a couple of days time to see how he is feeling.
    Depressed?, Bipolar? a messed up bunny? Passive aggressive?, narcisstic? Power crazed, controlling? I love him loads but frustrated and not as devastated as the first time.
    He left his wife of 7 years when his kids were 6 and 3 and dumped 3 other girlfriends before dumping me twice.
    Hmmm. I still want him but not on his terms anymore. This man has issues.
    Obviously I haven’t said about the good times (fewer) and I admit I have an anger problem, I wish I hadn’t said hurtful things.
    Please tell me your view?

  23. Ellen says:

    i need help!!!! The love of my life is suffering from depression. He is a great wonderful fun man. Well once was all those things. He has went through the loss of his father, very stressed at work, and found out a few months ago he has a 8 year old son. I have stood by him through so much!! He asks all the time why I love him because he has hurt me so much. But I know the love we have is real. Yes we have had tons of obstacles thrown at us the last 4 years and we seem to make it through. He has shut me out several times but then acts like hes ok and shows me love again. I am 42 and he is 53. He is also going through financial struggles. I didnt realize its depression until reading so much this weekend. He says hes not happy with himself. For mistakes he has made. Not getting to meet his son yet. He says he loves me and thinks about me every day. Hes just became withdrawn to me. I know for a fact about his stress at work and financial struggles. I even stood by him when he found out about his other boy. He has 3 grown boys that also depend on him financially. He talks about that stress but he keeps giving to them. I love this man like I have never loved before and the love I received from him was a love I had never been shown. The last 2 years have taken a toll on him. Should I keep being there for him or move on. He says its nothing to do with me. Says Im great and he doesnt know why I put up with him. But I always smile and say because I love you. Hes finally admitted he needs to see a counselor. Should I wait a bit longer since Ive already been through this much with him? Im so hurt when I get shit out. I try to give him space. He messages me that he loves me. But if I send him something it may take hours for him to respond. If he responds at all. Im so confused and hurt. But I love this man with everything I have. Please help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Ellen. I am going through something very similar so you are not alone! I find these articles really good to get other peoples perspective. My boyfriend has shut me out. I am 26 and he is in his mid 30’s. He has a daughter. He has been struggling financially and has admitted he is depressed and he needs a break from the relationship even though it was perfect. Its so difficult when the shut you out when you just want to be there for them. Stay strong. Stay by his side and show him your support if you love him. For me its only been a few weeks since everything came to light. Its an emotional rollercoaster. I hope both yourself and me get some inner peace at some point. I will stick by him until he gets better…. How long that will take I dont know. Stay strong and look after yourself in the meantime 🙂

      • Kaz says:

        … I left a man who was depressed to raise my baby daughter. He become violent and aggressive and tired to ruin my life. I’m sorry but he was so selfish. I get he was depressed but tried to wear me down and my baby. Financially he could not support us and he does nothing for her.

        I just wanted to be blunt dont get involved otherwise you will be used financially, emotionally and weighed down just like I was! Luckily I had a great escape and moved countries !!

  24. Alli says:


    I am desperately asking for advice here. We have been married for 5 years with a good marriage with no real problems which he even admits to. We have 2 children and last year I suffered postnatal depression which I am still medicated for. My husband is in the army so we live apart 5 days a week. He is suffering from depression which the army are treating and when he is home with me and the kids he seems so much better, happy even. Then he goes back to base and changes completely again saying he doesn’t love me, has no feelings for the kids. He has now left us and said he feels much happier. I’m in such shock as he was such a devoted loving husband but it really is like a swith was flipped in him 3 months ago. There were glimmers of hope when he was home but as soon as he leaves us it is back again. He has now said we are done and there is no hope as he missed out on stuff as we married young. He has also attempted suicide after I had enough and didn’t speak to him for a few hours as I felt he had lost the only thing left to loose, then as soon as he was back in camp 2 weeks later decided there was no hope for us and left. I’m so distraught I just want my lovely husband back but I am losing hope.

  25. denise says:

    My husband and I have been married for 3 years and we have 2 kids together. Recently he has started displaying aggressive behavior at what I believe is a simple disagreement. I will admit my problem is I don’t see the trigger coming. I can’t place it until after everything is said and done. This last trigger really got me. He began to get a bit physical which lead to me calling the police for the safety of my kids and myself. In the end, he got his stuff and left. I have no heard a word from him in the last 2 days. I pray that he is OK. I am now going through the motions wondering should I reach out or let him have the time. My fear is that he won’t come back and that he will refuse help. It’s a terrible feeling when your partner isn’t the person you’ve known for a little while. Our pastor is going to attempt to talk to him but for now I am still committed just keeping my distance until he is ready to emerge if he is even ready at all. It’s not like me not to attempt to communicate but I am human too and I have to take care of our kids and myself. I’m struggling with whether this is the right decision. Any advice?

  26. Darron says:

    My ex-girlfriend and I were together for 5 years and have a 4 year old Son together. She tried to push me out of the house in the name of depression and being unhappy. I worked extreamly hard to keep things together by taking on as many of the parental responsibilities as I could, unfortunately she finally succeeded to finalise that our relationship was over by announcing to having a new boyfriend, and that she wanted to move him into the family home.

    I am now living in a small rented room and I get to see my Son every weekend. It’s really messed up the great relationship we had and I feel that I am missing out on so much.

    The whole thing has now left me feeling depressed, to the point that some days I can’t muster the energy to get out of bed. I know I am being silly but what has happened has hit me hard. I feel as if I am being punished, and for what? A huge unjust has been committed.

  27. SMR says:

    I wondering if anyone can help shed light/has been through this before or can help me feel better. Today has been a bad day and i am struggling.

    My ex and I started dating approx oct/nov last year. Thing were perfect at start, he lives hour away diff city but works in mine. He is seperated and looks after his child thurs-mon every week. No family up here as moved up with ex so not many friends probably those just mutual. He made such an effort with me and we got on brilliantly.

    Anyway come january he admitted to being in a ‘funk’ due to redundancy fears and this linked with money worries to being a single parent. I think this was a big thing for him to admit to me considering we had only known each other a sort time – this spiralled and he got worse – days off in bed with lost mojo, feeling down etc. He wasnt made redundant but moved jobs so was not doubt replecting on that and his self worth at work. I was supportive but communication went from phonecalls and 200+ texts a day to one or two texts a week at best. I researched as much as i could on depression. Said everything i could to try to support him and NEVER told him to pull himself together or any other sort of line. Our mutual friend his work colleague even noticed and mentioned it to their boss but he denied anything was wrong to boss, to his colleague he said he was fine but she said in a not convincing way. I did not imagine all this as i sought advice and support from a friend who has seen his replies to me.

    After not seeing each other for over two months i voiced my own feelings in the best way so as to avoid resentment on my part and guilt on his, he said he was very sorry and had never meant to cause me upset and wouldnt blame me if i didnt contact him, he mentioned he had taken personal baby steps that week but nothing mind blowing and had done things around house that were getting him down. Things then took at turn for the better and he seemed his normal self ( 200+ texts a day, chatty affectionate etc) although I’m beginning to think he felt ‘restored’. We arranged to spend an evening and next day together and everything was fine although stupidly i never brought any of what had happened up for fear of ruining the moment. The next day he seemed strange and complained of aches and pains like flu then was off with flu ( i now think this was physical manifestation as neither myself or the work colleague caught anything) and things felt awkward. As I left to go home he said ‘ oh so you are leaving me to feel miserable’, maybe i should of stayed but figured he wanted peace. I dont think the disconnnection over the two months helped but he was keen to get back to the way things were and had said so before that evening.

    He went distant and a few days later i receive a text in middle of night. Saying im amazing and he really likes me but doesnt see a future for us and doesnt know why but doesnt, he said he would love to be friends but thought that would be uinlikely. Again symptoms of depression I think. I responded saying i had expected and deserved more form him, that an impersonal message was not nice or cooll and was a cop out. I said he obv had issues to sort and that i had wanted to be there for him during a difficult time, most people would have bailed on him and i was decent person and an amazing woman. I said i wouldnt unfriend him on facebook as wasnt petty but that we couldnt be friends and wished him good luck. That was 3 and a half weeks ago and i have maintained no contact for 22days now since I responded to the message, although we can still view each others facebok posts which I am avoiding best I can. I havent heard anything from him and it feels like he doesnt care.

    I’m struggling to come to terms with it all and miss him dearly, I want to fight for something but need guidance as to whether I should or shouldnt. Do I respect his decision? Do I get in contact? I’m trying not to take it personally but I feel broken, I never questioned him in regard to his decision, I just walked away with grace and dignity. Those involved in supporting me think it is not a personal rejection but unfortunate timing, and that he is not able to have a serious relationship, am I being niave?? I have been kind and understanding and no way clingy or needy. Help , I keep blaming myself and think im not good enough even though i know i am smart, pretty and good fun. I’d really appreciated a reply. Thanks.

    • Chloe says:


      Your post has really resonated with me. I have been in a really similar situation, hopefully I can offer some solitude for you.

      This time last year I met a young dad. The most amazing man I have ever met and we were instantly close. Sadly living 300 miles away I wasn’t able to see him as often as we wished. Everything was going perfect (no signs) and then one day he called me out of the blue, and said we had no chemistry and that he couldn’t be with me anymore. It was like I was speaking to someone else entirely. I was so shocked and hurt, I disappeared for a few days convinced he must have been right despite disagreeing with this entirely, i felt such a bond, it couldn’t be true? A few days later he got in contact saying he missed me terribly and explained he suffered from depression and anxiety and that he was having a really bad time with it, it wasn’t my fault and he couldn’t remember what he had even said to me. I stayed in contact, completely in love and not able to part with him. We got back together a couple of months later and again, everything perfect (it hadn’t really stopped being apart from that horrendous couple of weeks).

      Sadly the mother of his child plays severe games with his little girl and him. In the run up to the last week she had been causing utter chaos and he is truly terrified of losing his little girl which she threatens. He had organised a birthday weekend for me and invited his group of friends, which for me wasn’t appropriate for them to join as it was also our year anniversary and we have only had one meal with just him and I within a year (he is a very social person). I mentioned that I didn’t think they should be there and he cancelled the weekend and broke up with me within a matter of minutes. The anger and frustration of weeks of his ex backing him into a corner was now on me for such a small thing. Again I find myself absolutely heartbroken. I miss him terribly.

      He said my kicking off had caused him to have panic attacks and made him make big mistakes at work which he can’t afford to do because he isn’t number one priority, his little girl is. He has apologised for the level of reaction to such a small issue but he cannot be with me anymore because he simply can’t deal with the issues that come along side a relationship (we have very little issues). I will see him this weekend to talk this through in person but the outcome will remain the same, once they have made their mind up, they truly believe this is the right way to go when in reality, getting help and support is the right way forward. They shut down their feelings as they overwhelm them rather than addressing the root of the problem (his little girls mother).

      Its simple for me though, they may be unhappy now, but without us, surely it’s much worse? Deep down if they allowed themselves to feel our loss, they wouldn’t cope at all. They pretend the relationship wasn’t right. I’ve never been as certain about someone in my life. I don’t know who I will find who I will have these feelings towards, who will understand me like he does. I have lost a major part of me and I aren’t sure if he feels the way I do. He says he doesn’t but it’s just not enough because his little girl comes first, always.

      As I said, I will see him this weekend but I won’t walk away with him being mine, he’s made his mind up. This type of loss affects us deep. I feel your pain xx

  28. Terri says:

    I have to say, I’ve been living through this nightmare for over a year and add an affair into the mix and it’s not good. I’ve been married 30 years and it’s time to let go. He’s come back four times, is at home now, miserable to be with. He cried depression, talked about everything he’s done to our daughter and me and why. And then turned around and did it again.

    I should have left also and never looked back. I believed him and it was just more lies. It has to stop somewhere and unfortunately they usually don’t get help so your left to protect yourself. I wanted to believe that time would help, but it just doesn’t.

    I love my husband deeply, but it’s time to move on. I wish I’d done that when this first happened. The pain they inflict becomes too much and puts you in a place of needing help. I wish I’d used what little strength I had after he left to just divorce and move on. I read here all the time, so that I can understand as much as I can. It’s a wonderful site. At least I will be leaving without hating him. That’s the best I can give to him anymore. I get nothing in return, of course, and expect nothing anymore.

  29. anna says:

    It all turns out the same..you love them so you try to be there even of they say they need to do it on their own. Then you tell yourself that its all because of their illness. The fact is that at some point they need to take responsibility. Its always the same story and it never ends well. The person that was once there will continue to hurt you and you will never get answers for why their actions. If they can still do things with their friends or continue with work or other aspects in their life then just walk away before. I wish I did at the first sign and I wish I didn’t continue searching for hope.

    It doesn’t matter why they left. The fact is that they did leave and so should you. If with time they realise what they have done then that’s their lesson to learn. Don’t let it be your problem. Let this experience be something that makes you stronger and find someone who will fight for themselves as well as for you.

    It breaks my heart that carers and sufferers go through this. It is so unfair but no matter how much you read up on it there really is nothing left to do but walk away and never look back. I’ve cared for my ex partner and still feel like I want to be there but my head knows that all I will ever achieve from this is that I will become more broken and hurt

    I am in therapy now trying to come to terms with everything and the fact is that if this person I loved cared about the relationship then they would seek help rather than walk away and continue with life like they could care less

    • Marie says:

      Anna: I have mostly stopped reading comments but I am happy to have glanced at yours as I go through the archives. I’m trying to come to your way of thinking. My ex is the same- still hanging with friends, still doing alright at work (as far as I know) and it adds an extra layer of pain. It makes me question if our breakup was in fact due to the depression or if it was separate and a coincidence that I was receiving suicidal messages fairly soon after. Either way, even though he is now on medication because of my interference, he still claims our relationship is one of the main reasons he is now in this condition and that he does not want me anymore. I might save your post to repeat to myself as I try to convince myself to give up hope.

    • Lucie says:

      Thank you Anna for writing your post, its a good contrast for reflection. Its bolstering and shows that, despite the pain and frustration that is felt while going through the shock of it all, there is a life ahead if we choose to give ourselves one and not dwell on the plethora of available details should they only serve to bring us down. If you are alive and still living you must fight for your happiness, baby steps at first, and remember to look after yourself. If you are barely surviving then have faith that in time you will stand up and see the light within you and believe you can/deserve to live a full life again.
      A BIG Thank You to John Folk – Williams for writing these posts and sharing your valuable experience, you have really helped me to understand my husband’s behaviour.
      I am here for him if he chooses to want to work things out but his behaviour is so volatile, immature and unfair that I’m not sure that will actually occur. After 12 years together, 2 baby boys and all the crap I’ve had to put up with despite being an amazing girlfriend, wife, mother and (prior to having our boys) earning just as much as him,.. and now he packs his bag and says he’s leaving?! I’m grateful to this site for helping me identify my husband’s condition, that’s a big step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned.

    • lucy says:

      I am going through a similar thing right now but its hard that my husband will not even accept he has depression even though it has been diagnosed twice before during our 12 year relationship. We have been married for 7 years. Its like sheer hell for me searching and screaming in my mind for answers. I have been blamed for many things and to be fair life hasnt been easy for him overall and I wasnt always as supportive as I should have been. But..and its a big but oveall ive been a good wife to him and devoted pretty much my whole life to him and have had no other life outside of our marriage other than working. Probably at times i worked more than i should but at the time believed i was doing it for the right reasons, taking on extra work apart from my full time job to allow us to afford nice holidays mainly. my husband is a lot younger than me but this never seemed to matter and we loved each other dearly. 3 years ago he suddenly told me he was deeply unhappy and left. 2 weeks later he returned and now 3 years later he has left again. pretty much all the same reasons as before. he blames it more on patches he goes through and wont accept he could be depressed again or visit a doctor. This time is worse as its been such a personal attack on me, some of the things said have been so hurtful i am even questioning myself as to if i will ever recover from it. I love him dearly and he insists he still loves me and believes he owe us both to try again. But i can see in my heart his mind is telling him he will do this again even before he returns. I really dont know what to do for the best and have clung on to the fact that im sure its depression again and i shouldnt be giving up on my husband who i believe to be ill. Since reading your post I am wondering if I should do as you did simply to save myself the hurt as throughout all this confusion and sadness he still appears to be enjoying company of friends and can function at work while feeling such anger towards myself and others close to him.

  30. april says:

    Hi, i am new to this but hoping to gain some more insight to what i can do etc.
    My ex and i were together for 2 years and have a son together, 2 months ago he decided to end the relationship saying he cant commit to anything, wants to be on his own, doesnt want me to be hurt etc, luckly he also wanted to stay close friends.
    Prior to his decision things between us were good with the exception of the last 3 months of our relationship where he started to withdraw from me, not wanting to talk to me, touch me or even see me, i naturally found myself clingy towards him when he did this because he went from a loving supportive partner to basically a ghost.
    During this time he was dealing with stress from work, financial stress, legal stress, ex wife, and a death in the family so it is no wonder he started to become depressed and needed space.
    Since ending our relationship he has reached out to me on a weekly basis each time opening up to me a little bit more however as soon as he opens up he withdraws again.
    I believe his depression is to blame he is not sleeping, not eating has lost so much weight, he is drinking more and has cried. He admits he is depressed and that his depression is killing him he has made remarks like he hasnt the energy to keep fighting and that he feels the whole world is against him. Hearing these things rips my heart out.
    He still refuses to get professional help as his mates all stupidly think depression is an excuse and not an illness, so i often have to fight this as well.
    The positive signs he has given me is that he will want to see me, he does open up to me and say he misses things we use to do, he has also made mention of future plans.
    It is hard taking two steps forward and one step back. Especially when you dont know where you really stand, it pulls on my heart strings.
    I get disappointed when he says he will be in touch and then days go past before i hear from him, however his friends have.
    I often struggle with making the decision whether or not to contact him as i want to give him space but i also want to hear from him etc.
    I have been in love him for the last 9 years and dont want to give up on us but its affecting me now where i lay awake wondering if his ok etc.
    I just wondering if anyone has any siggestions on how to handle the pull and push thing he has going, and how to be there when he is ripping my heart out but needs me.
    Any advise or encouragements would be greatly appreciated it can be lonely supporting someone who you dont know wants you.

  31. Jill says:

    You are a poet. I have just sat down for two hours, composing these three pieces into a perfect poem. Don’t worry.. I won’t take any credit. And it is so profound because of the emotion and the depth and sincerity of what you have written.

  32. Annette says:

    My bf of 6 months has thrown me out, he was so loving in the begining. Couldn’t do enough for me and we went everywhere, then he started pushing me away. No cuddles, no kisses nothing, i was worried he didn’t want me . He just became angry said we dont always have to do it. Wouldn’t let me touch him in bed i had to turn away. He then said he might have depression, i thought he was lying and just wanted me to leave. I didn’t do housework as if i touched anything he would fly into a rage. I then looked at his i pad as i thought , he had someone else.

    There was messages to his ex wife , she was saying if he had of got help she would have stayed with him. Its to late now he said i am unhappy. So i thought he wanted her back what would anyone think. He said he just meant he was depressed and she knew what he meant as they had been together for years. He didnt mean unhappy with me. So i asked about it, he went mad and threw me out saying i dont trust him. I am lazy only wanted him for sex and moved in to save money. Its all my fault he threw me out at christmas. We are still talking but it hurts and i dont know if he will ever want me back. He said he does miss me

    • Yarisa says:

      I went through a similar situation, but you can’t blame yourself it’s the illness. I too peeked at his email. I couldn’t understand why he was so angry. He threw me out saying the same thing. But in reality all those messages to his ex wife he could have been taking that time to try and fix things with you. The problem is they don’t want to face their illness so they stay stuck in the past on the problem, rather than facing it with you.

    • bluebird says:

      Hi, I am going through the same thing. I got thrown out after 5 months in November. Its been so hard to move fprward because no one did anything. He wont even let me talk to him but at least he responds occaissionally to a text. he started to pick fights and started to look at imperfectinos in me so he could convince himself he doesnt want me….he also told me he cant feel anything when before he could not stop doing things for me and was so loving and attentive.

      I am just so hurt and in a whirlwind of emotional hell. I am trying to work towards my own goals and give him space now. I told him I knew he was in a funk and i want to help but I also understand and dont want to put stress on him and I have backed of temprorarily. IT IS SO HARD THOUGH.

      It is great to meet you and be able to know that it was not something I did or said. it feels awful to be abandoned.

      • catniss says:

        You deserve recovery and peace. I do not mean to sound harsh, as I have been in your place, and his. If he is aware that there is an issue, and refuses (100%) to get help, then I feel as if it is your turn to make that leap. Recover and hurt like hell or just hurt. I eventually choose recovery (therapy for co dependency and severe chronic depression. I wish you happiness and hope.
        P.S You deserve mutual love as well.

      • Annette says:

        He still won’t take me back , said all he can offer me is friendship as he doesn’t know what he wants and doesn’t want to hurt me again in case he goes funny again. He is on tablets but is so distant and when i say i love him, he tells me to shut up. My friends say i should walk away. They all hate him and said i should not talk to him after what he has done. They don’t believe he has depression they think he is just saying it because he doesn’t want me

      • Jess says:

        Hey, I am at the exact same stage right now. After 7 months, he kicked me out yesterday. He has been suffering with agitated depression for months, he was admitted to a mental institute for three weeks before being discharged on Thursday. He hasn’t improved, he holes himself away on his computer playing online games with his gaming friends. All night every night, no kisses or cuddles. He doesn’t come to bed, if he does sleep its for hours on end during the day then he is straight back on his computer. It’s been killing me see him self distruct. he bought a lot of alcohol after he kicked me out… We’ve been living together for four months and he called me selfish, uncaring and immature. I’m 19 years old and now he doesn’t want any contact with me at all. I have no idea what to do.

        • Annette says:

          Jess it’s hard my ex has now started seeing someone. He said they are friends they met on the same dating site i met him on. He said he just wants a friend but won’t see me at all. He has taken her out on his motorbike today which hurts. He says move on with my life then texted and said he doesn’t know what or who he wants and needs space as i keep pushing him away. I think you and me need to take a step back and see what happens. I am going to try and be strong and not contact him and hope and pray he texts me. I am going on a date tomorrow to try and cheer myself up although i would rather be with him.

      • Annette says:

        Bluebird any progress with you and your ex. Its been nearly 4 months since we split and i still want him back . So wish i didn’t

  33. Marie says:

    I was in a happy loving relationship for 4.5 years, I heard snippets from my depressed exs mother that he may have had depression in the past but thought nothing of it.
    It’s been nearly a year since he went downhill and went on a path of self destruction.
    At the time we were living overseas so our friends and family didn’t see what emotional abuse he put me through.
    I am still in contact a little but we’ve been apart since March.
    He’s very up and down still saying he’s trying to get better but being so far apart it’s only me who hears and sees this.
    He moves around always visiting various friends and family so no one has a chance to even get close, he’s very good at putting on a front.
    It’s been extremely difficult for me, it’s felt like we’ve been going around in circles, we’ve managed a few phone calls but even that he can’t manage to keep his word to and when he has called, I have to be careful what I say otherwise he retreats and gets angry.
    Just asking what he’s been up to, he thinks I’m interrogating him! I don’t get his behaviour. What I saw before I had to walk away was a beautiful man turn into a monster, he started drinking heavily, everyday, pushed me away, ignored me. Said awful things.
    I have tried contacting his family, I was once apart of it.but they seem to be ignoring me.
    I told his gran he had been to the docs, she didn’t know, we spoke on the phone and she said leave it with me, I’ve heard nothing since.
    I would love to maybe get in contact and speak with people going through the same.
    It wasn’t a normal break up and he wants to come visit me in the new year! He says he wants to be apart of my life but ive never been invited into his

  34. A says:

    First I’d like to thank you for sharing your story and for all the posts from others here. We are all looking for answers to something none of us completely understand. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

    To answer your question about the possibility of reconnection, yes I believe it is possible. Despite all the emotional abuse and pain caused by the instability of it all one thing I remind myself daily is that love is not essentially a feeling. It’s a way of thinking and acting in the best interest of someone else regardless of how I am feeling. It’s very difficult to do this in a relationship because we feel if our SO truly loves us they should feed our need for security in the relationship. While reciprocation is healthy, I don’t believe it is necessary in order for me to choose to maintain an attitude of love towards him. I believe one person taking this point of view in the relationship can open it up to new possibilities and that gives hope. If he chooses to leave than that is his choice but I will do what I feel is right and support him while he is ill. This is not to say we should accept the abuse in silence. As you mentioned, it is important to show support without enabling the negative behavior. I think by expressing how your actions were impacting her and the
    family it gave you a clear message that the abusive actions could not continue to move forward. When my DH lashed out in aggression towards me when we had been discussing his therapy, I made the choice to not allow him back in the house until he could work on himself to ensure it didn’t happen again. He did not hurt me physically but he could have. I needed to ensure that he was safe as well as my children and I during this process. I told him I didn’t know if he loves me or not but his actions were not showing love and that I love him too much to allow him to continue doing that to us. I would continue to support him and go to marriage counseling to learn how to better communicate. I didn’t care what therapy he participates in as long as it’s helping him. I was not abandoning him, that I am loving him. He has responded with a desire to get better. He is actively working through his therapy and processing his emotions. He is working to engage with me. It’s a long road and I miss his love and I miss him just holding me but I feel we are doing all we can at the moment. This has been a process over time and at times I feel like we don’t even know each other anymore but I do see glimmers of who he was before and who we are together and that gives me hope. I truly believe that we can have a fulfilling life and marriage together and I have told him that.

    • J says:

      As I am exactly where you are describing, being there and loving him through his illness, I wonder if you can share your current status as it is almost a year later. I am hopeful that the man that I’ve been in love with for over 20 years will return to me.

  35. Anna says:

    I can’t begin to say how reading all of ths has helped me feel not so alone. My fiance is suffering with major depression right now. He sent me away last week as he wanted to be alone then he wanted me back. He wont let me help him nor will he get help for himself. I have suffered from depression before but I am really struggling to understand how it is possible to push everyone away even the one you love and retreat into yourself to the point where you hardly speak.
    I am trying so hard to be strong for him but in the meantime it is killing me. His behaviour is so erratic, not violent but up and down. I don’t know what the day is going to bring each morning and I am almost waking up with dread.
    I love him and want to help him but this is killing me. I cry all the time because my heart is breaking from this. He can go all day without speaking to me, an I really feel quite alone. I have no idea what will happen to us. How long can I do this for? What I wouldnt do for some sign of emotion from him or even a hug.
    Right now I am doing what he says he wants and giving him space and leaving him alone.
    I never actually knew that it was possible to feel so alone.

    • Jennifer says:

      You are not alone. I guess I am not either. I in a similar situation except I am long distance. I never thought I could love or hurt this badly. You want to be there for them, but it’s basically impossible. They shut you out completely. It’s like you are fighting for them but each day you feel so detached. It’s consuming. You don’t want to give up, but the days pass and nothing changes. It’s hard if you need to talk! I’m here.

    • I says:


      I feel the same. My husband of over 8 years has shut me out completely. He has left our family home and I am destroyed. He keeps telling me to ‘get on with my life’ and ‘be strong’ but I am finding it near impossible. I struggle to cope at work, I cry all the time, I have considered suicide, I don’t know how much longer I can cope with this. My heart is shattered. I love him so so much but he has shut me out and has gone to live with family who have never shown him as much love as I have. I just wish he would let me support him through this. He is having the fantasies of escaping our life and that makes me feel so angry and bitter. I understand that it is the depression and not him but I am so scared that being hurt this much will effect us forever. I want the chance to be there for him and help him through this. He will not consider couple counselling or anything like that.

    • Bluebird says:

      I am going through a crisis as well. We were only together 5 months but I have never connected or cared about someone so much. He is an amazing attentive, smart, creative and supportive man. He has been apositive motivation force in my life and really pulled me out of my own anxious and sad state when I met him. He is such a great person putting others first and never wants anything in return. I knew and coul see that he had a dark passenger but I never pry and never asked anything of him. things moved really fast. we were so happy. he surprised with a vacation this past fall and on the trip, he changed – it was in a matter of hours his behavior completly changed, his voice changed, his facial features became very tight and angry. I saw him shutting down. he comepletely stopped talking on this trip but continued to take very good care of me – again focusing on my needs all the time. I just feel like when he did this he was overextending himself and this takes so much energy from them. I never expect this treatment (although it is amazing to feel like a princess) from anyone.
      He went into silence – no sex, no talking just enouht to communicate what we were doing for the day but it was so terrible to be away on an a trip and not enjoying it. I figured its best to shut up and see what happens. when we got back home, he asked to be alone and then two days later broke up with me via text message! He wont talk to me. he said that it was not me and it was him and he is a loner and never travels with anyone – and he just wants to be alone. He does not want a relationship. he only asked me out becuase he was lonely then, and now he does not feel anything. He does not feel like I do ( i held out telling him i love him until he broke up with me) Anyway, he said he feels bad that he hurt me because he knows I care about him. I am devestated. My heart is shattered. I cant stop thinking about all the good times. sometimes my own anxiety and PTSD issues resurface and I start thinking “does he do this with others – is he really a predator/”then i think that it is just the depression and when he changes moods the real guy in there will come out and we can pick up where we left off. I cant cope. Ive canceled plans because i woul rather go to thegym for 3 hours and run and work out hard just so I can control myself and not cry. I get angry, hurt, happy and sad in huge waves. Im suffering.

      Can somenoe tell me why he held onto my suitcase after the trip until I asked fo it back?? I went to get it once and how owuld not give it back. Kept saying he will bring it to me….its almost like he knew he was withdrawing into himself and wantedto hold onto to something for when he comes out of it he coul still have contact. pehaps I am playing into my own wants….

      The other thing he did was pick a fight over something that is not even happening. I called him because texts can be misinterpreted. He kept saying how I am now bothering him with texts and he doesnt want to be my friend and i have imperfections and he doesnt like me anymore —this was all some random stuff he made up to justify breaking it off swift and cold. like ripping off a bandaid.

      I just cant take it. it has been 2 months since i was dumped. I just cant stop dreaming about him. My dreams ar every vivid. I cant get him out of my head. I cant listen to music that we listened to…and I work out so hard and getting in great shape physically but I am am a disaster inside and my heart and sould is completely wrecked. He wont meet up or talk to me but he does still respond occaisionally to a text here and there – just to say no to any of my requests to see him help or talk to him. he always texts that he will not be able to meet up. end of story. Thank you so much for reading….and I hope that we can all be support for each other – reading your stories are finally convincing me that I did not do anything and I am not a big reject that neede dto abandoned because i am a terrible girlfriend.

      • sugarplum says:

        bluebird- I am in such a similar situation after only 3 months of dating. He constantly kept asking me out again and again from day one…planned and paid for everything and was very caring and sweet. The trust and level of comfort I felt with him so early on wasn’t like anyone I had ever dated. He seemed like the real deal and the type of guy my mom would have liked to see me with. Towards the last few weeks of dating we seemed very close and heading towards something more serious than just exclusive dating.
        I got chills reading your story. Almost like it could be the same person. Where do you live? what city? He and I started dating 2nd week of October or so.
        Best of luck to you….I am currently heartbroken and have NO closure seeing as all he could tell me was that he needs “time”…none of it really having to do with me. so confused.

  36. Carly says:

    This entire story hit home with me… This is my story.

    My significant other and I have been in a relationship for nine years. Even from the beginning, he was a heavy drinker, he had issues of self worth, he was always angry with someone/something. He continuously has distanced himself from me, only to bounce back for a little while to try and be emotionally “there”.

    Recently, we went on a trip to AZ to visit family he had not seen since before we started dating. After that, everything changed. It’s like he realized now that he has an “out”. All of a sudden, I have been keeping him trapped, he has lost a piece of himself, he has been miserable the entire time we have been together. He is leaving, and moving to AZ, to get away and get some “space”. He thinks there he will no longer be miserable.

    The thing is, is I know where things went wrong in our relationship. But, any time I tried to tell him how I felt, or when I was angry or upset, I was criticizing him. I was telling him he was essentially a POS. We have two kids, and while things have not always been easy, when he was fully sober, everything was great. He was easy to anger, emotionally distant, and would lash out at me for no reason. I started to get angry, and lay out a list of all the things I have done for him, and it just made him feel like shit.

    I’m so angry. I was there when he was down and out, I helped pick him up. I put my needs on hold so he could be emotionally distant. I told him he was depressed (he has been on medication before, it helped, until it needed to be adjusted) and that he would still be depressed wherever he goes. Now, he “loves me”, but doesnt love me, and wants to be away from me so he can be alone.

    I dont know what to do anymore. A part of me hopes that with space, he will realize that some of these issues are internal,and have little to do with me. But, right now, he blames me for everything. For taking a part of him away, keeping him in cage, and generally not “allowing” him to be who he wanted to be or giving him what he wants.

    My mother was also a verbally abusive, depressed alcoholic… I guess history repeats itself, eh?

  37. Emma says:

    My husband and I moved out to NZ from the UK back last January 2013. Everything seemed to be good and we would both have described our relationship as 9 out of 10. He has always been very sensitive, in tune with his emotions, kind, thoughtful, considerate and a real rock. We have always valued truth, honesty, transparency and listening to each other, he has also always needed certainty in his life. We have been together for 14 years, married for almost 6 years and never really argued.
    We went back to the UK last September for a visit and the trip ended up being quite a stressful experience. We had 2 weddings, visiting lots of family, my dad took over our agenda quite a lot which was frustrating and his brother (who he has always been very close to) told him that he had been suffering from severe depression to the point where he had been suicidal.
    When we returned to NZ, I first started to notice some very subtle changes, for example he started to say that he didn’t feel he could tap into his emotions and when people asked what he missed from the UK he said nothing and nobody, which we both thought was odd (although he has later admitted to feeling a little homesick). We have never properly talked about his brother’s depression and when I ever raised it, he said he couldn’t talk about it.
    On top of this work started to get increasingly more difficult for both of us, and he mentioned several times that we weren’t seeing each other enough and not having as much fun as usual, so I tried to re-focus on work-life-balance, this was around end of November, early December.
    It was around this time that I started to notice more significant personality changes, increased irritability, didn’t seem to be relaxed, quick to anger, lack of emotion (other than anger), blowing things up, frustrations, feeling undervalued, micromanaged by his boss, not trusted to get his job done, and he was very critical of me, not sleeping properly, losing weight. All of this was very out of character.
    At the same time, his 2 good friends who he talked to mostly about his work issues were away (one was on holiday and the other’s partner was having a baby) so they weren’t available to support during his frustrations and when they came back they were finding him really negative (he’s always been an optimist previously). He also felt that I wasn’t there for him at this time, so he started speaking to another woman at work.
    I started to feel threatened by this new relationship as it felt like he was investing quite a lot of time in the friendship and I felt like we were disconnecting somehow. I raised my concerns and my husband seemed shocked that although he hadn’t seen it as anything more than a friendship, he couldn’t believe he had allowed it to progress to a point where I felt uncomfortable.
    In January, I was still unhappy that he was in contact with this person and I tried to contact them as I was worried about him, he saw this as a huge breach of trust and led him to leave the house very angrily, we ended up spending most of January apart.
    he then started questioning our entire relationship, whether he actually loves me or not, pulling apart our entire relationship and questioning whether he’s happy, he’s kept saying that he doesn’t feel connected to me anymore and that he doesn’t have feeling for anyone. He also told me that he blamed me for the trip back to the UK being taken over by my dad, and that I wasn’t there for me when he needed me.
    We managed to get back into the same house and even back into our bedroom, but he became more depressed, finding no pleasure in the things that he used to enjoy (except excessive shopping), withdrawing from his family, as they used to speak regularly, really bad memory (he has admitted to being depressed and feeling burnt out), work was getting worse as well, he has and still speaks with such anger about his boss (wishing that he were dead).
    He also carried on his friendship which made me feel rejected and for the first time start to question his loyalty and my trust in him. Sometimes he seemed to pull me towards him and other days push me away. He says that he uses the friendship as rest bite as she doesn’t know anything about the depression but the more uncomfortable I have been with the friendship the more he has taken to hiding it and lying about seeing her, which has made me watch him and tighten my grip which has in turn pushed him away. I don’t recognise the man that he has become, who would lie to me and have such little regard to my feeling, and this has led to my trust in him being affected. I’ve even noticed him lie about other things (he went to Wellington for the weekend and didn’t mention it). He had since told me that he has told his friend her that he can’t see her anymore and that, he said to me that as he is starting to feel better that he doesn’t need the friendship anymore, but I have felt so hurt I am struggling to believe that.
    The current situation is that, he has resigned from his job and is currently working his notice (he does have another one to go to, but will have a month off), but in the weeks since he resigned I thought his workload and stress would decrease but it has actually gotten worse. Although he says that he can manage it because there is an end in sight.
    He said that the one thing that hasn’t improved is our relationship and he still doesn’t feel anything and that he needs to feel something and wants our relationship to get back to how it was before, when he used to be so excited about spending the weekend together and going out for drinks on a Friday night. He says that he still loves me, but he needs to miss me and actually feel something. He says that he is making him feel worse and too guilty staying in the house as he can’t believe what he is doing to me and is not sure that he can forgive himself. He said that he doesn’t know who this person is and he doesn’t like himself right now, he wants to be the person he was before but doesn’t know how to get there or if that person even exists. He has said that although I have helped him 80%, I need to let him figure out the last 20% on his own, which might include him seeking professional help (which he has been extremely reluctant to do up until this point). So he decided to leave the house, he has said for about a month or so, although he has been coming back for the odd night.
    I feel so broken and totally alone, especially being so far away from friends and family. He has at last agreed to see a Psychologist and we have had 3 sessions so far, so hopefully that will help but I am starting to lose hope.

    • b says:

      I’m curious to know how things are going. My husband has complained about his job and boss, blaming that as the sourse of his problems. He now has a new job lined up for the summer but I think it’ll only get him to the “recovery” stage, not actually mend things. I can relate to a lot of your story and I’m not sure how this whole commenting/reply thing goes but it would be great to hear from you

  38. Rachael says:

    I just found this site. Much of it sounds like my husband. Verbally abusive and neglectful at times. He also had an affair about 3 years ago and he would break it off then I would discover he was talking to her again. He says he is depressed and he goes through bouts of anxiety. I believe he is depressed and he has taken to drinking more and going to the bar to hang out with his buddies. This seemed to be triggered by his dads death. His dad had Parkinson’s and went through terrible deterioration before dying. My mom also suffered from a terrible illness at the same time and I cared for her til her death. My husband is very afraid he will get sick like that and I believe he suffers guilt because his mom,sister and brother took care of his dad. He visited and helped some but they did most of the care. He started hanging around the other woman around the time his dad died.

    We have separated for a couple months in the past year then he asked to come back but I think it was too soon. I also filed for divorce prior to that and he begged me to give him another chance only to find later that he betrayed me again . Then he filed for divorce and changed his mind 2 months ago so we dropped it.

    Now he is distant again and I strongly suspect he is seeing the other woman. He will not get help from any one. He is rude and mean at times. He had been worried about getting laid off but he did not , however he is depressed about the coworkers who were. The other woman got laid off too. He says there are rumors of more layoffs in the future.

    I work part time and we are in our upper 50s. He makes a very good wage but is bugging me about working full time. I think it’s because he may want to refile for divorce.

    As of now I am tired of what this has done to me and my children. I told him I want him to move out because I can’t help him and I’m dragged down. Told him I need a husband, not a room mate. Tried to be loving but I am not respected. I think his problem is also spiritual. God has helped me with him but I feel he has to be away from me because I’m taken for granted and treated very poorly emotionally. Our marriage always had issues with him not being around or involved enough but these last few years have been worse than ever. Still love him but I need him away from me right now .

  39. Liz75 says:

    I had been with my husband for 10 years, when a month ago, he called time on us. He was diagnosed with depression 2 years ago, but looking back, I believe he has suffered for most of his life. He doesn’t cope with stress well, which is unfortunate as he runs his own business & stress is part of running your own business. We have always had a close, loving relationship & I thought of him as “the one” – as soppy as that may sound. His behaviour has got steadily worse since Christmas, although we enjoyed a lovely weekend away in February, & I guess, in a way, I buried my head in the sand, as we have always survived anything that life has thrown at us, & come out the other end stronger. He had been picking fights over the smallest, mundane thing. We don’t have any children together, but we both have them from previous marriages. My daughter, who is 17, & the eldest of the 4, & the only girl, has bore the brunt of his “bullying” for several years – she just ignores his behaviour & luckily it hasn’t had any impact on her as a young adult (or so it seems). So, a month ago, after a particularly heavy bout of picking at things, he decided that he is better off doing things on his own. Concentrating on him. He said he still loves me, which is why he is doing it. I do have to add that he didn’t tell me this to my face, but very much like a teenager, he dumped me by text! After 10 years!
    I have tried everything to get him to see that I love him with all of me, & I have also explained, on several occasions over the years, that I as I do not suffer from depression, I am unable to understand it as he does.
    We were renting a property, & I had to hand notice in on it as neither of us could have afforded to stay there on our own, & I did hurry this process along, rightly or wrongly, as I want him to get to a place where he can start working on him. Everything I have done over the past month has been for him. None of this is my choice – it is not what I wanted.
    He has contacted me only by email, & they are cold & heartless. He said all of my emails to him are dictating & full of hate – they aren’t. They are me telling him I love him & trying to suggest ways we could maybe work on things. I have given up now.
    I have looked at several websites similar to this, & every story is like reading my own. In some, the situation has one on for years, & as much as I love my husband, I know I can not live a life waiting for him to tell me he is better. I don’t think I’ll ever trust another relationship & can’t see myself with anyone else, but it is early days.
    I have made the decision to leave him be – he is moving in to a new house next week – or so I’ve been told. I am staying with my parents, with my children, & I have the most fantastic support.
    He, sadly, has cut off most of his friends over the years, & is convinced he is on his own in all this – no matter how much I’ve told him he isn’t. I haven’t seen him since it all happened, & I would just find it far too painful to have contact with him – when a choice is made that isn’t yours, it is much more difficult to accept. & I do have the feeling I won’t be hearing from him again.
    The main feeling I had was an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt that I appeared to have walked away from him when he is at his worst – guilt that I should have done more – guilt that I could have done more – the list is endless.
    But, and it’s a huge but, this was his decision – not mine.
    I can not change his behaviour. I can not change him. I can not live a life walking on eggshells, as much as I love him.
    Depression is the most destructive of illnesses, not only for the sufferer, but for the people around them.

    • Katie says:

      Hi I would like to say, hang in there you never know. My husband of 17 years left 4 months ago, went to work and never came home sent me a text to say its over. I knew he hadn’t been happy and over worked and the more unhappy he was the more he worked. He told me he he hadn’t loved me for a year and been trying to leave. The pain and bewilderment of not knowing who this person is. I had never met this person before he was mean, and said ugly things and so selfish. I could not understand this disease or how a really good husband prior to all this just walks out the door on his wife and kids. But I now see how he got here, i tried and tried to help and I think I was making it worse, by leaving him alone and letting him know I still care and love him and me starting to move on, he has seeked help and started medication. And we can now have conversations where he listens and can see his perception of things was maybe not right. There were so many things I didn’t realise were bothering him regarding his work and who he is as a man and where he is in life. The last 4 months have been gut wrenching hard as I hate feeling not in control, but my husband has said thats how he has felt for the last year and it has been really hard listening to him and how he thinks of himself . It has been horrible there ‘s no words to discribe the lows, especially when you never see it coming but the last 2 weeks I am starting to see glimpses of the man I married we are still apart he has moved 2 hours away but we are starting at the beginning and dating again. The man I knew is in there but the depression has changed him. I need to be sure for me and our kids as I can’t let it get this bad again. This was his third bout of depression but this time he hid it really well and then snapped. I doubted myself and needed reassurance from friends about some of the stuff he said, but I now know why he is so vulnerable (his words) I need to remember everything said, emotions and feelings can be taken 2 ways and at the moment he see’s everything as criticism. He says he loves me and thanks me for hanging in there the last 4 months but we have a way to go yet, but tiny steps before the black moods of depression he was a good man, husband, father he just needs to remember this, and I think he is. But you need to take care of yourself for your children especially your daughter, a councillor told me if your daughter was going through what you are, what would you say to her about the way she is being treated and how she needs to look after herself, this was my turning point as I have a 12 year old daughter. I did not want me daughter to think it was ok to be treated the way I was, I also told me husband my decisions he could not understand them but spoke to his councillor, which was a tiny step forward. I hope with time your husband seeks help and relises what he gave up.

  40. LRN says:

    I’m still skimming the responses to see if anyone answered your question: has it been at all possible to come back from the emotional impact and regain the love and closeness you once knew? I’ve read many other posts of yours and am gaining incredible insight into my husband’s depression and my 4+ years long experience of bewilderment and believing I was to blame. He’s still unwilling to get any help, and I’m not allowed into his experience of depression, though it’s obviously pervaded every aspect of our life together. I’m at the stage of finally “getting” this, which only means realizing the immensity of this and seeing the “why” to all the crap that’s gone on for several years. That means that I’m also at the stage where I’m crying, “This is not what I wanted. I don’t know if I want this for the rest of my life. What if he never decides to address his depression? How much will this destroy our children? What crisis will it take to convince him to address his depression? Will I be strong enough to withstand that crisis? I don’t even know if I’m strong enough to withstand what we have right now.” We have an excellent therapist that he trusts, but for some reason, we never really talk about the depression all together. I’ve wondered if it’s a method of hers or…? Yeah, we have a very very long way to go, and just getting to this point (took over a year) was so painful and often feels so insufficient. We’re committed to never getting divorced…but I just don’t know how to live with this for the rest of our lives. I really don’t believe we’ll ever recover love and closeness. I’m just hoping for minimal damage, really. But it breaks my heart to think of what this will do to our kids.

    • hope27 says:

      Yes I think it is possible to come back. I think both parties have to want it. Both parties have to face the dragon full on. There can be no minimizing. Tell family and friends together what ha happened. See a therapist together. Work on the solution together. Most of all both parties have to forgive. Forgive the hurt, the triggers, the fights. Draw a line under it and move on. And then yes, I think it is possible to come back.

    • Carly says:

      That is the hardest part of my partner leaving… What if he never realizes that he’s depressed? What if I give up in the meantime?

      I don’t want to destroy my family, I don’t want him to leave… But, the situation has gotten so unhealthy. How do you keep your sense of self when you’re being told everything is your fault?

      He says now he does not love me anymore… He also says he believes that in six months he will come back and know he made a massive mistake…But yet, he wont believe me when I say he is depressed, when a doctor says he is depressed.

  41. divya dhawan says:

    Hyi ..
    My bf is dealing with depression and he went in it because of d girl he loved the most in his life is no more. He was going to marry her and i didn’t know this. No idea what was i doing in his life.
    He blames me for everything. I have no idea how to handle in a day we talk for 1 min now and it’s less than 60 sec and i want to make him smile but i don’t know he is now only thinking about that girl not me .. i’m kinda dead too. indeed i just cut my hand it isn’t paining to me at all. i’m now not able to understand what to do ..

  42. Hopeful wife says:

    Hi, my husband is depressed because his business venture didn’t work out and ended up in a lot of debts. He has been distant and recently he started telling me he wants to be alone and feels that he is happier alone.

    He also has been suggesting for us to go our separate ways and also said hurtful things like he married me out of obligation and feels happier alone. He has gone away and didn’t say when he will be back.

    I have a two year old and it hurts to hear my husband so broken and depressed. How else can I help him? I have been texting him once in a while to check in on him and I am afraid the longer he stays away, he won’t want to come back anymore. Everytime I ask him how are you he tells me he is happier alone.

  43. Jeanna says:

    I just dont know what to do. My boyfriend of 5 years is dealing with depression. He knows he is depressed and has a doctor appointment coming up this friday. I hope he goes anyway. We have been dealing with his depression since June of this summer. We went through a rough phase that lasted about a month and a half. He said he didnt want to be with me, so I was going to move out. I stayed with my dad for about a week and then he decided he wanted me to come back. He was gonna go to the doctor but just never got a chance to go because of his work. We were doing so good for two months. We were getting along so well and talking about our future together and planning on having our 2nd kid together soon. Well we got into an argument about a month ago and since then he keeps going back and forth about wanting to be with me or not. He told me he wanted me to leave so I did. Then we talked and he told me how much he loved me and wanted me to be there for him. I have had to help him several times out of the shower and bath because he was crying so hard and so upset he just couldnt get out by hisself. He also has been drinking way to much and he told me its because it makes his problems go away for the moment and helps him sleep.He says he is tired of hurting and doesnt want to be this way. I know that he loves me but he told me the other night that he has hated me for a long time and i was the one that has made him so unhappy. I know that is a Lie.He said that there has to be someone out there that can make him happy, and that scares me because I want to be with him because I know the man that I fell in love with is still there somewhere and I dont want him to move on. I got my own apartment two days ago, but I just dont know if I should continue to have hope that he will realize that he does love me and wants to be with me. I seen everything in my future with him. Im so lost right now.

    • Sarah says:

      I dont mean to sound bleak but you wont get answers until he gets better. I would be there for him as he lets you. A text every few days. Or one thing I did was give him a box full of slips of paper reminding him of the good man he was–You are the man who reads the Bible every night, You are the man who puts notes in your daughter’s lunch box, etc. This made him cry. I told him to read the slips when he needed a reminder of who he really was–remind him that he is not the depression. It’s a disease and one he can overcome with time, medication, therapy, etc.

      I encourage you to focus on yourself. It’s hard to do but if you don’t, you will get depressed too. Move out. Let him have his space. Let him know you are there if he needs you and take care of you!

  44. marie says:

    hi, i just had a question. my ex openly told me he suffered from depression, but when we were together and he started having a depressive episode he only withdrew from me. i have heard its usually friends and family as well. is this typical? or was it simply me?

    • Donna-1 says:

      Marie, your ex was probably looking for a place to stash the blame for his depression, and you were the closest container. Even though he doubtless had depression before he ever met you. He may have mistakenly seen other people as the key to his recovery instead of seeing himself as the key, instead of starting recovery internally. Many times, the person who is depressed puts on a “happy face” or at least a different face around others. But the strain of maintaining this facade is too great, so he didn’t have the resources to do it around you, too. He may have seen home as his outlet for expressing discontent, a place where he didn’t have to pretend he was feeling okay, a place to hide…even hide from you.

  45. karen says:

    John, what I would like to know is if/when they stop taking the meds will they be who they used to be? Even when my partner was in the midst of his depression(before he took any meds)he would come out of it and be the same old loving man…however, it was only whe he had been on the meds for a month taht he became really cold and ended up leaving.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, karen –

      I think the key thing is the severity of the depression. It’s true that antidepressants affect a lot of people by deadening their feelings rather than helping them to feel really well. And when you feel detached emotionally, it’s easy to break close relationships and go off looking for more “excitement.” If he were to go off meds, though, that wouldn’t necessarily mean you would get the man you used to know back. Depression, for most people, takes treatment of many kinds to deal with its different symptoms. Medications may or may not help, but it’s the underlying condition of depression that changes your life more drastically than anything else.


  46. Anonymous says:

    ive had a relationship with a man for 3 years. he had a car accident,and now has ptsd. he verbally end emotionally abuses me, but i have always supported him. now, he has totally finished with me, but i said i would wait for him. its lonely, sad, depressing and isolating. i must be a weirdo to stay around, hoping he will be the kind, loving man he was. i must get on, and not waste my 2nd part of my life. he has just thrown me out of his home after me travelling to see him. i worry so.. denise

    • john says:

      Hi, Denise –

      I’m sorry all this has happened. I’ve done a few more recent posts on PTSD, partly here, but also at Health Central. The recent ones on emotional abuse might also be helpful. You’re not a weirdo for holding on, but the idea that there is a better person behind the terrible behavior is usually just not so. It’s true you need to get on, but it takes a lot of support to do that. Some form of counseling could be important for helping you regain your balance and get over the psychological confusion and self-doubt that an emotionally abusive relationship can create. Maybe this post would be helpful.

      My best to you for your own recovery –


  47. Rhia says:

    Thanks so much John!! Your words are so true – that I have to realise my own limits. I personally feel I am strong enough to be by his side – but if he doesn’t want that then I cannot do much. He has replied to my email and surprisingly told me that he agrees with me that he has depression. He said he had been wondering for a while and that’s why didn’t want to burden anyone. He thanked me for my ‘insight’. Don’t know what that means. I have told him that he’s not a burden and that he if he needs me I will be there. I told him I know he is strong enough to make the right decision and take care of himself. I know he won’t react to any form of pushing so I am leaving it to him. And he knows I am here.

    I love him so much that I will help him through this if he wants me to. If he wants me to move on….sigh…I will leave him alone but I will always miss him 🙁

  48. Rhia says:

    Thanks so much Liz! My ex has already made me feel the abandonment. I am not angry at him since I understand the pain he’s going through. My dad’s bipolar and I have seen my mother’s struggle. My ex knows of this and still called me a ‘psychopath’ during our breakup argument when all I was doing was to pacify him. He is terribly angry at me and is trying to make an enemy of me. I refuse to allow him to do that. I keep being nice while he rants and raves. We are in two different cities and that makes it tough for me to help in at all. I was supposed to move back to his town which is my hometown too but I have canned the plans. It is a small place and I cannot afford to bump into him since we hang out at the same places and have too many mutual friends. The only time I emailed him was to tell him of his bills and to ask for my money. Both times he was cordial. I told him in one of the emails that I still cared for him and would be open to talking. But he ignored that. Then I emailed him and apologised for having spoken to his dad – although I shouldn’t have to justify something I did out of my concern for him.He flew into a rage and verbally abused me but I kept calm since I knew where he’s coming from. My meditation teacher tells me that he doesn’t love himself so he cannot give me any love. All I was hoping to find out from others on this forum is whether there’s any chance that when the fog clears he might come back to me? I know I can be strong and stand by him but I need to know whether there’s any use waiting.

    I sent him an email y’day telling him I was concerned he had depression and gave him website URLs telling him to decide for himself. I gave him the URL of this blog as well. I told him I am not pushing him but want him to assess his situation himself. I hope this helps him.

    I cannot deny the connection between us and he lit up my life the one and a half years we were together…wish his job loss hadn’t happened and we weren’t doing this to our precious relationship 🙁

    • john says:

      Hi, Rhia –

      As Liz says, you will find something like your story told so many times on forums and blogs, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of what you’re going through. The circumstances in each are all different, of course. It sounds to me that this man has a number of things going on in addition to depression. The PTSD associated with the abuse he experienced as a child is the sort that has ruined the lives of thousands of men and women. His self-esteem could have been shattered at that point, if not earlier through family life. The job loss could be just a trigger rather than a cause. He seems to have an alcohol addiction problem, and the sort of recurrent depression he has with swings of mood could just as easily be bipolar depression. Many believe there is only an artificial distinction between those two. I’m speculating here, of course, and may be way off base. But whatever is going on is complicated, and all this reinforces what your meditation teacher says – you can’t do anything for him. He has to stop blaming everyone else for his problems and make his own decision to get treatment and commit to the hard work of change. I know there is a great urge to take care of someone you love, but this is not like nursing someone back to health from an accident or physical disease. Pacifying, doing things for him, being more thoughtful about his needs than he is – all that won’t change his basic problems. Do men in that state ever come back? There’s no fixed answer to that. It could take years of work with many relapses along the way. I wrote in one post about my mistaking a temporary upswing in mood as recovery – but it was just part of the cycle of ups and downs. So I would do a lot to restore the relationship with my wife but then pull away again into another depression. The damage to the relationship and loss of trust may be too much, no matter what indications of wanting to come back your lover may send out or how sincere he really is just then. It’s not his decision alone to come back – it’s yours too. And taking care of yourself means being very honest with yourself – and quite explicit with him – about what you can take and what your limits are. It’s often the case that the wellbeing and health of the partner being mistreated in this way is also damaged.

      I hope you can find a way through this that is best for you.


  49. liz says:

    To Rhia: Good question and one that I ask myself every single day. I too am the ex-partner of a man that suffers from depression and has bi-polar tendencies. I can tell you that what your boyfriend has is an illness/a disease that unfortunately, rips a relationship in half. It’s not your fault and while you can make him aware, you can’t fix it. Trust me…I have tried over and over again. After awhile resentment can build up in you and your partner. I thought I was the only one until I found this website, Storied Mind, and read John’s incredibly insightful, genius blogs. Additionally, if you google this topic you will come across numerous forums where you will be reading your story over and over again. It provides a strange comfort knowing you aren’t the only one but it doesn’t make your heartbreak and despair any less severe. John gave me the best advice awhile ago and I will pass it along to you…take care of yourself first. Your boyfriend is the only one that can help himself. You can try to be a loving support system but be prepared for the emotional abandonment and anger that you will definitely experience with him. As for me, my on again/off again partner and I are a moment to moment relationship. I can’t really count on it but I love him and am willing to be there for him. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

    • john says:

      Hi, Liz –

      Thanks for contributing your experience – and for your kind words about this blog. It means a lot to know that some of this writing can be helpful to others as well as to me. I’m glad to hear that you’ve reached an understanding and sense of balance about what you’ve been going through. I so hope this works out well for you as well as your ex-partner. Perhaps he’ll wake up to realize the preciousness of a strong love.

      All my best –


  50. Rhia says:

    Dear John,

    My ex broke up with me a bit over a month back. He was a very simple & nice guy. He chased me, professed his love for me and even moved cities to build a life with me. We were together for a year and a half and living together for 6/7 months.

    We had a lot in common and we had a wonderful time. Yes we had fights but nothing too dramatic. He was always the pacifier. He has a binge drinking problem but that didn’t make him depressed. He got fired in November 2009. I went overseas shortly afterwards and then he decided to move back to his city. We were communicating and he finally decided to stay on there. Not an issue since it’s my hometown and I was planning on moving back for a while. Then he told me early January that he didn’t miss me anymore and cared for me as a friend. Came as a shock to me.

    I returned from overseas and we tried to talk things out. But he went on like a broken record. He refused couples therapy but was very interested to hear what my counsellor would tell me about us. He had told me he was having trouble sleeping but had cut down on alcohol. I never snapped at him – was very nice to him. I reminded him of the good times and he kept saying he didn’t want to hurt me – even cried. He told me he was going to get into university and couldn’t take the pressures of a relationship.

    I went to his city since he wasn’t being able to make up his mind without seeing me. I gave him a list of his good features and he liked that. This was meant to lift his self esteem. We were very happy when we met but then he got cold and he got savagely angry. He verbally abused me (he was drunk) and blamed my culture for being self-centred and said I had too few friends. He tried to push me out of the house at 4 in the morning. I had never seen him this angry. He called me a psychopath when I was trying to pacify him.

    Prior to this his mother had told me he required psychological help. He doesn’t like her much so he won’t listen to her. I had spoken to his dad and urged him to intervene but he doesn’t like confrontation and won’t bother.

    We broke up and I haven’t contacted him since. I have emailed him about his mail, money that he owed me and about all his things still at my place. He was cordial. I had learnt in the meantime that he was snapping at people and was still drinking a lot.

    Since I wanted to get this off my chest I emailed him to let him know that I didn’t betray him by speaking to his dad but because I was concerned. He got very angry. He doesn’t want me to have any mutual friends with him and thinks I will throw his things away so he won’t pay me my money.

    He has blamed me for his financial woes and his career situation. He has been putting up morbid song lyrics on his facebook, abusing people who comment and even writing misogynistic comments. I know his self-esteem suffered due to his job loss and I have always feared he will spiral into depression but this anger is ridiculous since he knows I have cooked, cleaned, ironed his shirts, done his laundry and even done his job applications for him. I mothered him and now he tells me that I remind him too much of his mother and that’s not good.

    What should I do? I know he needs to stop denying and help himself – he needs therapy and meds and till that happens he won’t come back to me or see things differently. As much as he protests and says he doesn’t love me anymore I know he does. He has pushed me away really hard but I have still been very nice to him and even told him I still care.

    I dearly love him and am wondering whether you can answer this question – do men ever return to the woman they love after the depression lifts?

    Thanks in advance!

  51. heart broken says:

    Thank you for this insightful blog. It has given me some peace by gaining knowledge about how a depressed individual thinks. My finace (ex) a very happy go lucky, positive man had surgery 5 months ago. He was on pain medication for three months (2 months before one month after)and actually went through withdraw symptoms upon coming off the drug (Oxycodone).
    He became very withdrawn, negative, unable to sleep, felt tired all the time, had little apetite, wanted to be home all the time and had no sex drive. When I would ask about what was happening he would get very upset and say he needed to take baby steps. I encouraged him to talk to his doctors but he didn’t. I continued to try to talk about the issues and he withdrew further. He appears very confused and can’t make decisions, he vacilates back and forth sometimes over the course of one conversation. He now blames me for the fact that he is not back to himself because of all the stress I put on him. All I did was try to help but he actually looks at me differently and accuses me of manipulating him etc. things he knows I’m not capapble of. I’ve watched the man I love disappear before my eyes. He told me last week that he needs to be alone, so I’m no longer in contact with him. I’ve still got the ring and I’m wondering what to do next, just give up on him or wait it out and hope he snaps out of it.

    • john says:

      What a rending time this must be for you! I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure this, but it’s possible his condition may not be permanent. When a severe depression like this follows from a specific drug experience, it could be part of the withdrawal process. I’m no authority on this, of course, and it would certainly be better if he would agree to see his doctors – or another professional. Unfortunately, his state of mind is so isolating that this could well be something he’ll refuse to do. Perhaps by being apart from you he’ll have a chance to realize that you’re not the cause. It’s hard to say, but, especially if this is his first experience of such severity, he may come out of it on his own. Let’s hope so.


  52. a very, very good article. having had a number of depressed men in my life, it resonates with me a lot.

    for some reason i had never realized you had a whole category on men and depression. are you familiar with william harryman’s site? i think you have a lot in common. http://masculineheart.blogspot.com/search/label/depression

    • john says:

      Thanks, isabella –

      Sorry about the depressed men in your life – we can be such complete jerks about relationships! 🙁

      I’ve run into Harryman on Twitter and FriendFeed but haven’t explored his site. Thanks for the tip.


  53. christine says:

    My husband was just told he has depression by his doctor, and is on meds, but he doesn’t believe he is depressed. He is withdrawn, he says he wants to be alone and wants to leave. He blames me and doesn’t want to talk about it. this man is a wonderful husband and father but i can’t seem to help him and he refuses to believe that the depression is causing so much anger. I am trying support him but it get hard when he doesn’t want help. pls help

    • john says:

      Hello, Christine –

      I’m really sorry you have to go through this. It’s an unhappy fact, but I could find so many comments here and elsewhere on line that tell exactly the same story. There are just no easy answers. Meds don’t work alone – they need to be used in combination with therapy of some kind. If you could find – and manage the cost – a therapist who works with couples, that might be a help in getting your husband to look into what’s really going on. Anger – as well as fear – can definitely be a big part of depression, though not on the usual brief symptoms list. I didn’t make that connection for a long time, and that kept me from understanding the full scope of what I had to deal with. Change has to begin with that recognition on the part of the depressed person. It’s not up to you – although the natural hope is that something you do can help – it just doesn’t work that way. Help and support from outside the marriage can make a huge difference to you both.

      My very best to you — John

  54. caroline says:

    I’ve recently gone through something like this and have been suffering a lot trying to find a place of recovery for myself. I was not married to this man, but deeply in love with him–in love for the first time in my life really. At one point, he did truly feel the same, only because of his depression, he really did end throwing a lot of things out. I tried to leave a couple of times because he could never really commit though his actions always led me to believe he wanted to, or would if he could have broken through the depression, finally managing to make myself do it after a year. After two months where we went back and forth a lot–he wanted me in his life, I wanted an actual relationship–I laid my foot down about the depression. Shortly after that, he started a 23 year old (he’s 35, I’m 30). As one of his friends put it to me, he loves everything about me but is scared of commitmenting and dealing with his emotions. So he goes and finds someone who is a lot like me but unlikely to want a commitment.

    And stuck dealing with the fallout as he goes on pretending that life is normal and refusing to admit to anyone (except my sister oddly) that any of his behavior was confusing or led me to believe something that he now completely denies.

    Becasue of mental health issues with my parents, I let myself get way too involved in his issues. I made myself sick over him, trying to help him because he always did just enough to convince me he would follow through.

    We were not married nor had made any commitment to that extent. I don’t know that there could ever be any way that I could forgive him–for what he cost me, making me question something that I was once counted as special and amazing in my life.

    • john says:

      Caroline – I’m so sorry to hear that you had to go through all that. My wife always tried to help but realized after a long time that she couldn’t change or fix what was happening to me. And I could always meet any attempt to talk things through with anger and denial. It sounds like that’s what you’re seeing, and that’s good because, above all, you need to take care of you. I think the idea of forgiveness is much more about you than him. The way I think of it – and it’s the hardest thing to do – forgiveness is about getting back in touch with the warmth and spirit and love that’s at the core of who you are. It means not getting torn apart by the turmoil in someone else or causing yourself more suffering. You’ve had way too much already. People talk about letting go, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s about embracing and healing yourself.

      Thank you for being so open – I really know how hard that can be.

      Hey – all my best to you –


  55. Whinybitch says:

    Why I will never, ever get married or have kids.

    • john says:

      Whinybitch –

      Well, the experience doesn’t have to be that bad, you know. You just have to avoid the men who are depressed and/or alcoholic and/or self-obsessed and/or manipulative and/or controlling and/or physically or emotionally abusive and/or workaholics and/or compulsively romantic and/or mother-obsessed, and you’ll be fine.

      Good luck and keep an open mind and heart.

      Thanks for dropping by. — John

  56. Lynn says:

    Your four phases are exactly what I see my bipolar husband go through year after year. They are extremely variable in length, but “normal” sometimes lasts for many months. The anger phase is the most destructive to our marriage and the hardest for me to recover from. I have an excellent therapist who helps me to see that his anger is part of his illness, but being the object of constant blame for his unhappiness is overwhelming me. We’ve been married over 10 years, and the last angry phase has lasted over 3 months now. He locks himself in the basement of our home so that I can’t speak with him. Despite medications, good psychiatrists and psychologists, he does not seem to be able to gain insight into the devastating effect of his behavior on me. How did you gain that insight?

    • john says:

      Lynn – I’m sorry to hear that you have to live under these conditions, especially with your husband’s access to excellent professional help. It’s one of the worst experiences I can imagine, and you ask a very powerful question that does go to the heart of it – and I mean the heart. The fact is I don’t really know the answer – or I have only a number of hints about it. Trying to relive what I went through to gain that insight – and I like the word insight since it suggests so many layers of perception, not just the cognitive – touches my deepest feelings. I can see I’ll be writing a post to sort through what comes up- I often make these discoveries by writing about them. I had many partial glimpses of what was going on over a long period. Even though each seemed like a great breakthrough, they were not enough to change my behavior. Just saying that much, though, helps me see that I was starting with the assumption that what I was doing was horrible – I felt completely out of control, and I didn’t want to live that way or hurt my family. Maybe that’s the first thing that occurred to me: this is no way to live. Perhaps the second was understanding that fear underlay much of the rage. As I say, I need to write more to sort this out. Watch for a new post! Sorry I can’t be more helpful just now.

      All my best to you — John

  57. Virginia says:

    Hi John, So nice of you to visit my site some days ago. And I so appreciate your writing this series. My Ex is a highly functional depressive (and narssisist) and a past master of externalizing his depression–picking on my and our daughter, unpredictable explosiveness, blaming everybody, being socially charming and privately abusive…Having been delivered from this corrosive atmosphere for close to 6 years now, I am so thankful everyday that he did leave. My cheif desire is to help our daughter understand that this behavior is NOT love, so that she does not repeat our terrible pattern. When the EX broke up with his GF, he went on antidepressants and was for the first time in the more than 30 years I have known him a nice guy. It is a pity that he stopped.

    Come back and visit Vaboomer often.

    • john says:

      Hello, Virginia – I’m glad you’ve been free of that “fallout” – there’s a book called Depression Fallout about the impact on spouses. It summarizes hundreds of comments from a web forum on this subject – if you’re interested. It might be helpful for your daughter to see how widespread a problem this is. It sounds like you’re doing a great job with her and with yourself. I’ll definitely be back to your blog.

      Thanks so much for stopping here — John

  58. Carrie Anne says:

    I have recently suffered from a very rare and extremely life threatening condition. I lost our second child whom I was pregnant with at the time. Last year my husband was diagnosed with suffering from depression and anxiety but was not given any medication and he seemed to improve. He was great through my illness until I came home. His moods became erratic and he couldn’t sleep. He wanted me to promise never to leave him but when i couldn’t do this he withdrew from me. His father became very ill due to depression and anxiety at this time and we were left to deal with this as well as my recovery. My husbands behaviour became very erratic and he became aggressive and destructive to our relationship. He left a month ago and is unable to give a reason as to why but wanted initially to break all contact with me and our daughter. He refuses to seek help and opted out of counselling offered. He walked out of his job but refuses to accept any responsibility for his actions. He switches between anger and “normal” frequently. What can i do to get through to him before our relationship is completely destroyed?

    • john says:

      Carrie Anne – I’m so sorry that you have to live through this – it’s such a nightmare. I can only offer a couple of thoughts. One is that you have to realize you can’t help him get better. He has to see what’s going on himself and be motivated to find help. You can be supportive, but you also, and primarily, need to take care of yourself and your daughter. If I were in your position, I would get all the support I could from my family and friends – and also get counseling to get an objective view of your own state. It’s so easy to take on responsibility for correcting something that is not your fault – that’s always my first impulse – how can I fix this? I never can – and I hope you can reach out for support.

      My best to you – and my prayers — John

  59. herrad says:


    I come and read your posts often and just thought I want to leave a comment to thank you for sharing so much.
    Take care.

  60. Hi John,

    Thank you for this series – your perspective, as a man, father, family member etc. is both surprising and healing. It helps, the hearing it once removed.

    I never lost the love for my Father, through even the worst times. But as for restoring the trust. Well, that probably wouldn’t even be a good plan now.

    Not that I don’t believe folks change. I know they do but not everybody wants the same things. Each to his own path and story ‘eh?

    I think, perhaps, to get the closeness back you don’t just have to want it, you all have to need it. The trouble is that after a point with families/relationships that have been through these experiences the need part gets lost. Submerged because you know you can realistically expect more disappointment/pain, and little else.

    While I think you can walk that back, it’s a job which requires the type of cohesiveness and communication that can take an awfully long time to learn.

    On a more hopeful note, I’ve found it is a little easier to learn other ways to be close. Maybe they’re not the ‘norm’ but I don’t know that matters so much.

    • john says:

      Hi, CK –

      I’m glad the series has been helpful. I haven’t been thinking about restoring trust with a parent so much as with my partner (hmm, those words have almost the same letters). I found it so hard to go back and restore anything with my mother (until the last year of her life when all the barriers dropped away) or my dad (though he and I had no big tension between us). The trap I fell into had less to do with trust (my mother didn’t trust me or anyone for that matter) than in trying to be the good son in order to win her love. Impossible to go back and get things right! I just had to accept the facts of the relationship and move on.

      That’s a great observation about having to need it to rebuild. My parents never felt that need – but my wife and I sure did with each other. And I’ve had very loving relationships with my sons, after the teenage issues were done. Of course, I dwell on the rotten things I did (what else would a depressed mind do?), but they have not.

      Thanks for the comment. Your thoughts are always so original and acute – it’s great to hear from you.

      My very best to you — John

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