Depressed partners walk out and leave behind a lot of emotional wreckage. Whether the ending is explosive, grieving or compassionate, its impact is life-changing.
As the abandoned partner, you have to put your life back together, and it can take years to do it. There are a lot of obstacles to get around, however, before you can start. One of the worst can happen if your partner makes you responsible for the decision to separate.
Intentionally or not, they can waffle along, flipping back and forth from a fierce resolve to get away from you to tender remorse at the very thought of going. Or they might blame everything on you, claiming they’re the victims, and you’re the one who’s driving them away.
Whether passive or aggressive, they avoid making the big decisions on their own. Eventually, they wear you down until you’re forced to consider ending the relationship in order to save yourself. Having to take the step you’ve never wanted only adds to the anguish – and possibly depression – you’re already living with.
From what I’ve been through and and have found in hundreds of online postings, the intense feelings of abandonment don’t hold still. They rocket all over – confusion, hurt, anger, resignation, depression. That inner storming makes it all the harder to know what to do. Most of the time, the first impulse is to undo what’s happening by trying something – anything – to bring your partner back.
When you realize that it’s not going to happen no matter what you try, it’s time to work on your own recovery. You’ve lost a lot.
By leaving, your partner has not only knocked out a big part of your life but also taken away the sense of predictability you used to have. Adding to the hurt, likely mixed with a lot of anger, is the fact that they are still with you.
They may be physically gone, but they’re everywhere in vivid memories. Some of those bring back the worst times, some the best – the ones you long to have back.
All the memories keep the relationship alive and make it harder to think clearly about who you are, what you can do to heal and how you can put your life back together. As I found out, that can take years.
Long before I married, I had an intense relationship that ended when my partner left to live with another man. I couldn’t handle the loss at all. She was not depressed or angry but compassionate and concerned, knowing full well, however, that getting myself back on track was up to me alone.
For years, I could not let go the intensity of the feeling I knew we had shared. I held onto one groundless hope after another. It was terrible, but falling apart forced me into treatment. Then I finally recognized that I had been deeply depressed for much of my life and that my behavior had contributed to the break-up. That was the way I began to heal. Treatment was the turning point, but the rest – I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
What can you do to begin to heal? It’s never easy, and there’s no straight path to get there. But there are a lot of helpful examples of how individuals have managed to get started. Many tell a similar story about finally shifting their attention away from what’s happening to their ex to what they need for themselves.
Here are a few of the ways people have handled the loss, and how they changed their attitudes about themselves. I’m adapting words from comments posted on Storied Mind and the Depression Fallout Forum. The Forum is an important resource that’s been on line for more than ten years.
Anne Sheffield started it and later wrote a a book of the same name to summarize what she and the forum members had learned through this virtual support group. The book is a good starting point for exploring this resource. It has a vast archive on every aspect of life with a depressed partner.
I’ve changed my attitude about finalizing divorce. I stopped thinking of it as such a sad day where I was ending a beautiful, loving past. I thought about it as a beginning of an exciting future. I feel now that the best thing for me is to get this toxic person out of my life forever. This is all I can do for myself. Life is too painful otherwise.
I love the person he was but the person who abused me for years did so much damage that it has changed my view of him forever. The divorce process is very painful, but the pain ends – life with a depressive who won’t seek help is a life sentence of pain and hurt. I decided not to let divorce make me feel like a victim.
I’ve slowly come to realize that I can’t change her. After all this pain, I need to get away just as much as she does! It’s not easy, but does seem to be getting easier each day. Perhaps divorce will bring some closure.
So, I’m in the final stages of divorce. Somehow, he believes that I deserve this. He said it’s my fault he left and I should have recognized his unhappiness from signs he gave me. I’ve accepted that he’ll never see anything from my perspective. So I’ve become business-like to handle the logistics of divorce. I understand that my marriage is over and can no longer find the person I married. To honor the love we did have, I want to show compassion, but I’ve given up hoping that anything I do can change what he’s become.
I’ve gotten help from a professional. It wasn’t childhood problems. It was the shock of divorce I had to work through with the help of a therapist. This work has helped but I’ve had to find my own strategies for coping. I try to live with those strategies every day of ruminating about what I’ve lost. It’s not easy because I have my own depression to deal with, but it’s worth it.
I’m trying as best I can to get on with my own life and do things for me. while still giving him his space, staying in light casual contact, and making sure he knows I’m there if he needs to talk. I hope this is the right thing to do. I just feel so bad for never noticing, until now, what a bad state he was in mentally.
I’ve been helped so much by others who know what this is like. I still can’t bear to think that this relationship is over, but I’ve realized that I cannot help him if he does not want to help himself. As long as he fantasizes about his new life, he won’t do anything about his depression.
I hope that once the divorce is final I’ll be able to heal and move on. I feel like it’s one big tragic mistake. All that love has been torn up and thrown away. But it’s not my choice and I can not change someone who doesn’t admit to depression or want to change.
The biggest change is within, when attitudes about their ex-partners and about themselves started to change. Sometimes the change happens entirely through an inner struggle. Sometimes it’s helped or triggered by taking an action of some kind, whether divorce, getting treatment, completing a ritual of mourning and letting go, or opening up to others who are going through the same thing.
If you’ve gone through a break-up, what helped you start to heal? Or are you in the midst of it now and not sure what to do? I hope it helps to hear what others have been through.
Image by Katie Tegtmeyer at Flickr
He left almost two months ago. I see him because we have a child together and he comes over three times a week. He’s been depressed for a long time but I never noticed how bad it was since he’s always been a little
Depressed. I tried helping him, I insisted he see a therapist who recommended he see a psychiatrist because she thought he needed medicine. Last I asked him, which was about a month ago, he told me he was taking his medicine. But he quit the therapy after only two sessions. I even bought him a book. The last straw for me was when he told me he had kept seeing this woman at work. I knew about her and he supposedly ended everything. When I confronted him and he admitted it I just couldn’t take it anymore. He had to leave. If there’s no respect there’s no love, if there’s no love how can there be a relationship? Now he told me that he left because he’s trying to better himself etc. Not sure how much of it it’s true or what’s going to happen. I quit bringing anything up a while ago and we only talk about our son. I know he’s depressed and has self esteem issues but that doesn’t mean he has to betray me or I have to stand for it. I’m working on myself. My therapist said pour all that love you were giving him on yourself. And I’m practicing self love and loving it. I’m not going to lie, I still love him and there’s a part of me that wishes he would completely turn around and come back but there’s so many changes that would have to take place. Not sure if I’m being too naive. I always did everything for him and now he’s finally on his own. If not being with his family doesn’t change him into a better man, then what will? I fear nothing. I found this website by accident and I really like the content. Especially the part about depressed men leaving since I feel like that has something to do with this situation.
*Can skip here if not interested in the background*
My situation is similar with most people here. Except we are young. I am 22 and he is 26. I didn’t know his depression before we started dating, I had to find it out myself. He was my first and the relationship was short. 3 months with 1 of those months we didn’t see each other because of the beginning of his depression. He has severe depression and was hospitalized last year summer. And most importantly, he took and turned all the blame , guilt, hopelessness to himself. There was never a second he exert any anger to me, which was also painful to watch…
It was last week Wednesday when I got the message of our break up (20th March). He told me, he loves me, but he cannot be there for anyone right now. He realized that it hurts me, which hurts him back even more. He hates it, but now it doesn’t matter. He said that he gave into a lot of thoughts. He wants to not and cannot have a relationship at this moment. He will just focus on his studies. Lastly, he thanked me for the great time and hopes that everything goes well for me.
*End of background story*
I was in my office, eating my lunch when I received the breakup message. The external side of me was somehow semi-calm and numb(?) and my colleagues were also in the office so I had to put on a smile. However, internally I was having a huge bursts of sadness and hurt that I somehow wasn’t even able to release even if I wanted to. My external and internal emotions clashed in the most horrible way. That was the most indescribable and terrible feeling for one to have. Honestly, in the past month and a week I haven’t been able to sleep well like before. Everyday I woke up earlier than I supposed to, and note, I supposed to wake up usually around 5 or 6am. Every morning I wake up with a swap of sad feeling and I just can’t seem to let him go. Everyday, it doesn’t matter where I am, what I do, I just think about him, along with the sad painful feeling in my heart. Day after day. I am not sure what is going on. All I know is: I do not know what I should do(anything other than self-heal because at this moment, I just can’t), I feel very lost, I can’t let go, I can’t function, my face is stuck on being numb and sad, I feel the sad pain in my heart day after day, I want to hold on to hope to be happy but I fear for the worst, I think he loves me but not capable to, I think after the depressive episode he will or might think everything will not be the same and go into another chapter of his fantasy with another person, I know either way it is the best for us to be apart for this moment, and I miss him way too much. I am just a wreck. And I hope for guidance here…
I had made appointment with counselor and plan to see a GP soon. My counselor is a psychologist and she told me I should calm my inner child. But honestly after following her instruction for 3 weeks, I realized the instruction just made me function as a person, the inner pain is still there, loud and clear. Then this week I spiral back to the numb, sleep throughout the day stage like the beginning. I think I might be mentally destroyed, and I fear for this. Can someone analyze my thoughts and behavior? I cannot get a grip on this. I do want to heal. But through this? How? Many people say time will heal. I think for me I will need a year to heal and the meanwhile I will feel pain. Not really sure why this is happening to me. It was around a month ago, we were the sweetest couple and holding on to each other with no worries.
I am the writer and I am writing an update after 3 years.
Seeing this post that I wrote from 3 years ago, it reminds me of the pain that I went through… Now, I am engaged with another person and living happily and in a healthy mental state.
After the post, I continued to self heal. I was at a low bottom for awhile, my friends were telling me how unwell I was doing. I did not care at that time, nor understood the severity of it. Eventually, I hit rock bottom and realized I shouldn’t allow myself to be very lost due to a heartbreak. I chose to heal, properly. It wasn’t easy…
As far as my ex goes, we had few contacts here and there after the breakup and the contact dragged for 2 years. His mental illness comes and goes. One thing that I noticed is that he was very open to me about his mental illness/situation afterwards. He tried to hide it when we were in a relationship. I can feel the love between us is still there, either from his side to me or my side to my perception of him. Whatever the kind of love that is.
I am not sure how he is doing now, eventually we paused all contact.
All I am saying it, time heals absolutely. We will heal when we are at the bottom. We do need help from friends and family. Don’t lose ourself.
This blog, although dormant, is such a great collection of pieces and is so useful.
In November my short relationship ended when my depressed girlfriend told me she cpuldnt carry on with the relationship as she couldnt be the girlfriend she wanted to be whilst dealing with whatever knew she would be facing, she assured me her feelings hadn’t changed and asked me not to ignore her. After a month of sporadic contact she in effect cut me from her life (although as we work together two days a week I saw her from afar now and again) now 3 and a bit months later it seems she is in a new relationship.
Although the relationship was short lived (a little over three months) we had known each other for a long time prior to this, and she had told me she had feelings for me for a long while before we got together. The relationship was intense and very loving.
I am now facing up to the fact it’s over. She has told me she has no feelings for me anymore and unfriended me from Facebook etc. I’m moving forward with my life and I know that ultimately I will be ok. But I am still reeling from how things could change so quickly. How do those feelings just disappear and how can you transfer them to someone else so soon? My heart goes out to anyone dealing with this at the moment. Stay strong and look after your well being.
After a couple of weeks of soul searching im slowly getting to a place where I’m reaching conclusions that are helping me move on.
Firstly I need to stop just blaming the depression and listen to what she is saying/doing. She has told me variously that she couldn’t deal with the relationship, couldnt be the girlfriend she wanted to be. Also that her feelings have now changed. And now she is seeing someone else (I think! She hasn’t told me and it’s hard to tell) that should be enough to make me move on. Her relationship is, as far as I can tell, very different to ours. I wonder if he has had his own mental health issues and possibly she feels he can relate better to what shes been dealing with. They seem to spend time together drinking in local pubs (I do worry about the self medication and whether she is still going to the gym as much as she was a month ago) but moving past my own feelings about how good we would be for each other…maybe she’s just happier in this type of relationship right now? Less stress. Less anxiety. Maybe she just really likes him?
I think part of the problem is that I cannot know how she feels about me. You try and second guess but it’s pretty much impossible. She could just not like me. She could just not be able to deal with a ‘serious’relationship with what else she’s going through. She could just be too full of guilt and low self esteem to be with me. So I’m left with the knowns. That she doesn’t want to be with me. And that she’s happy spending time with someone else (whatever their relationship status may be) its just a huge shame that something with so much promise was cut so short. Despite the brevity of our relationship she’ll always be special to me. For right now I just hope she’s ok and finds some happiness, it just hurts that’s unlikely to be with me!
Hey James, so sorry for what you are going through. I’ve been dealing with this for over 2 1/2 years with my girlfriend who is diagnosed bipolar. I’ve barely seen her this year because she said she just wanted to be alone. I sent her flowers a week later reminding her I’m here for her and if she needed anything to please ask. Well she responded with I want you to remember we are just friends. WTF??? We were just a couple again over the holidays. I would hear from her once a week or so and she texted me thank you for being a part of my life and supporting me through my insanity with hearts all around it. Then 2 weeks later she just blows up on me via text blaming me for all sorts of short comings. I wish I knew why she (they) push us away. When she blew up on me I didn’t respond then a week later she sent me an obscure text that I did respond to. Then 2 weeks she texted me “come out and get these parts”. I ignored it because I didn’t know what she was talking about. Then I went outside and there were the parts she talked about on my front porch. I don’t know if she is trying to start a fight with me for whatever reason but it definitely hurts. I’ve done nothing to hurt her. I’ve always been there for her and supported her no matter what. I know I’m not perfect but obviously neither is she. I have suggested couples therapy to work through things and she won’t have anything to do with it saying they will say she is the one that needs the therapy, not me. I’m sure I’ll hear from her again, just don’t know when. I love her with my whole heart and she knows it. I just wish there was something I could do to help her get better. Hang in there. I know it’s hard.
Hi Adam, I know how you feel – the best thing to do is to read as much into bipolar and / or BPD as you can, fill up your knowledge gap and when you feel you have it down pat, read it all again. The best and only thing you can control in a situation like this is yourself, I’ve learned this the hard way. I know that as men, we feel the urgency and illusion of action to try and fix things and help her get better, it’s been drummed into us by the media since we were kids, but that works only in an ideal world and this world is far from ideal (or else it’d be boring :p). Unfortunately she needs to do her bit, go for therapy, take the prescribed meds and work on improving herself – you need to focus on yourself and be the best version you can be, there is no use being the mountain when you are forever chipping away at yourself whenever the wind blows the wrong direction – stand tall, strong and immovable. The truth is, her emotions are up and down and in the moment, the one moment she loves and needs you, the next she couldn’t blink twice at you or your struggles, don’t let it phase you, or at least let her think it doesn’t phase you – desire is born from anxiety, if she doesn’t know where she stands with you, it’ll get her mind wondering. At first she’ll be angry and intense and probably say she hates you but hate isn’t the opposite of love, indifference is. Don’t make yourself too available, but don’t be rude about it, respond in your own time. put you first. Set boundaries of how you want to be treated. If she reaches out and is rude, don’t engage, tell her to get back to you when she wants to talk and can do so without belittling or disrespecting you and then hang up. We only get in life what we negotiate and allow others to get away with.
For me, this may feel hypocritical to say because like you, I feel and do the same things – it is only in reflecting on your situation that I have realized what should be done, and typing this has kind of empowered me.
I am going to take my own advice because I was here looking for answers and I just realized, I’ve known them all along from what I’ve read and learned – good luck Adam! Keep me posted!
Thanks Gareth. Actually a couple weeks ago in my always searching for answers trying to find answers to this disease I stumbled across Narc ism. Unfortunately it fit her to a T. I keep hoping I’m wrong about that but it is hard to ignore. Right now has been the longest it’s ever been that I haven’t seen her or talked to her. Yes I heard from her a month ago when she texted me “Come out and get these parts” I had no idea what she was talking about so I didn’t reply. Then 30 minutes later I went outside and there were these window vents I gave her for Christmas for her new car that she wanted and some headlights I had gotten her for her old car. Kind of funny that she didn’t put the new Coach purse I gave her Christmas there too since she said it was too small LOL. Only think I can think of is those things were probably in her parents garage and she pissed them off and they told her to get her stuff out of their garage so it ended up at my house. Additionally I’m pretty sure she is seeing someone new now. This new guy I think she is seeing, they just became friends on FaceBook and then that is when she sent that scathing text to me telling me how I didn’t do all these things. Classic push away. Thanks for your insight and response. Good Louck to you too and I hope for you to keep me posted also.
Just an update. She texted me yesterday. 5 weeks 4 days since last time I heard from her. Right on schedule, not hearing from her for 5-6 weeks then all of a sudden I’ll get a text from her. Wonder what the ploy is this time.
Thanks Gareth, well things have been going really well the last couple months with her and then all of the sudden July 5th she just started ghosting me again with absolutely no explanation. I’m still just working on my self. I wish I knew how I can always be there for her no matter what, just for her to out of the blue disappear with no explanation.
Hi James, There are loads of resources online to help with this kind of thing – sounds to me like she has an anxious attachment style and ultimately her words “couldn’t deal with the relationship” doesn’t mean “a relationship,” it’s a nice way of saying a relationship with you. I know it hurts, I’ve just gone through the same thing with my ex fiance – together 5 years and her depression made her bow out and start seeing other guys. We recently started rekindling only for her to withdraw and decide to leave the country with her family and she says she wants to go alone, although the plan was to go together for as long as I can remember. It’s taken me a long time to reach the point of acceptance and decide to move forward, even if I don’t know how to do that ye
Hi Adam, you’ve entered her thoughts – don’t look at what she says, it’s her actions that speak volumes. She’s reaching out with seemingly silly reasons to get in touch. Depending on what YOU want, either play it cool and confident and don’t bring up her depression – chat only about fun things (keep it light and fun). If you’re ready to move on, be polite and state your intentions and purposefully move forward. I gather that being on this thread (you and I) both want amicable resolutions with the ones we love.
Women will never come out and say “I miss you” right off the bat for fear of rejection, they will make excuses for getting in touch as a way of feeling you out. If she feels you’re a little interested and have more value, she’ll chase. As I said, keep all interactions lighthearted and fun, arrange a meet-up and continue being confident, charming and funny. Stay away from serious topics, leave the relationship topic up to her to bring up and let her bring up her struggles – she misses you and you bring some form of support. Caution: Don’t invest too much at this stage, she needs to earn you back and you can use this as a way of feeling her out. Good luck man, keep me posted!
Thanks Garreth, yeah I think the same as you are stating. Last night I got a text from her (after I was asleep) her asking “are you still doing Uber” then immediately after that text she sent another “oops s**t you are sleeping”. I didn’t reply till this morning. I don’t know what I want honestly. I know I love her but this is the same thing that happens every time. She disappears for 5-6 weeks then in that time frame she starts contacting again. I don’t know if this is her bipolar illness or if it truly is her being a Narcissist. I personally don’t want to believe that she is but it did come up in my search for answers. Take care Garreth. I’ll keep you posted.
Just rereading your post and I agree. It seems that something about our relationship was an issue. Her initial relationship didn’t last long, it seemed that as soon as she started to emerge from her depression whatever it was ended. She then reached out to me and we’ve rekindled our friendship to some degree. Nothing romantic although there were subtle signs that some feelings were there. Well now she’s embarking on another new relationship. It seems like now she’s coming out of the MDE she’s moving forward and I am a casualty of the reset.
One thing I’ve noticed is that these relationships are different to ours. I’ve got a child and she’s got kids so we spent a lot of time with our children, family, and althpugh we often went out we wpuld have nights in etc. Now her relationships seem to revolve around going to the pub whenever she doesn’t have her kids. Certainly her last one did. Time will tell if this new one is very different. I think it just seems that she’s in a different place now and I don’t fit. It’s sad but I’m coming to terms with it. Feels like the illness robbed us of something with huge potential though.
Hi James, Thanks so much for your update. How are you keeping? As bystanders and people who truly care, we are often the casualties of the reset – I think it’s almost like ending the chapter of a book and trying to reach the end without looking back. The thing is, as humans we hold onto fond memories.
There’s a concept in psychology referred to as “the Fading effect bias” and basically surmises that as time passes, a person’s memories of the good times stick true and the negative ones are forgotten about. This may be a phase, we won’t know – only time will tell. The main thing now is to focus on yourself, be present with your feelings on the matter and how you feel about the way things have turned out.
There’s a fork in the road now, two ways for you to go. Take a coin and attach a path to either side, flip the coin and the side you secretly wish the coin to land on would be the path you’d want to take (although with care). To me it definitely sounds like she’s trying to reinvent herself, or do what the new guy finds interesting – we both know that pubs are about as interesting as daytime television, this won’t last long.
My ex Fiance is in a major DE at the moment. She’s actually displaying more symptoms of Bipolar personality disorder than anything else actually. She’s fine and wanting to build a life one minute, next minute she’s behaving like an absolute a****le, threatening suicide or running away only to never return – it’s almost like an evil test to see how much I care (that’s how it initially felt), I tried to look at this objectively. She never ended up going to Czech with her family, she was left behind. She’s feeling abandoned, worthless, alone. Obviously, I’ve not forced my way into her life, but have taken calls and answered texts when she’s reached out – only to be met with sarcasm, anger and gaslighting (confusing). Behind anger is fear, and there’s a lot that she’s fearful about. We’ll see what happens, but she’s refusing to seek help and seems to get a weird kick out of her current behavior (excessive drinking and other self-harming behavior).
I have, however, decided to start putting myself first, standing up to her when her behavior is out of line and detrimental to my psychological, emotional and cognitive well-being. I simply tell her that she needs to speak to me with respect or hang up and call when she feels she can do so – as loving bystanders, we often put our well-being on the back seat. Don’t do it anymore.
James, it seems she’s decided to pursue something new – give yourself a chance to pursue the same thing. Don’t wait around as a plan B, you’ve done your bit and the ball is in her court now. If she reaches out and you’re still single and still want something romantic with her, then by all means bud – go for it. Take this time now to focus on you, she’s out of her DE and doing things while you watch on the side. It may not be what you want to hear, but since you’re posting here, your well-being is important to this community.
Stay strong and keep us updated bud.
Hi Adam, I’ve just responded to James as well. No need to rush things. Take your time. If you still don’t know what you want, that’s fine – you’re actually now starting to feel the effects that these disorders have on the loved ones of the sufferers. Not wanting her back won’t make you a bad person, but a logical one, opting for self-preservation and the opportunity to find something greater.
I hope you are keeping well Adam. Chat soon!
Thanks for your reply Garreth. Spot on as usual. I agree with your way forward. I need to put this all behind me and look after myself. What may happen in the future is an unknown but I can’t keep hanging on to something that isn’t there. Thank you again.
Hey, James. It’s terrible that you had to go through something like that. I’m having a hard time dealing with something similar. I’ve been in a relationship for close to two years. About three weeks ago, he texted me saying that he needed a break to sort himself out, and that he couldn’t feel anything anymore. It was so sudden, I didn’t know how to react. I was devastated. We just saw each other a few days prior and everything seemed great. I can’t help but feel like this is something we can get through together if he would let me, but he keeps pushing me away saying that this is something he needs to do on his own. I honestly don’t see how that’s possible. Everyone needs support and I want to be that support for him, but he won’t even pick up my calls or want to see me. Every time I bring it up, he says that he knows if he see’s me, he would want to get back together with me, which I don’t understand why that has to be a bad thing. It hurts, and it continues to hurt.
I know what he’s dealing with is some form of depression, it popped up here and there through out our relationship, but it never got this bad. I want him to seek help, but he says that he doesn’t need/want any help and that I can’t help him. I really care for him and I’m so scared of never having him in my life again. I’m trying to give him the space he wants, but I find it so hard to pull myself away from messaging him. I’m sure everyone would tell me that it’s best to move on, but I want to have hope that he’ll come back to me. It’s hard facing the facts that it’s completely over and that you’re not wanted anymore. That’s the part where I just can’t get passed. I’m just kind of spiraling from my emotions and not sure what to do.
I recently went through a similar situation. The realtionship was short (almost three months) but was very intense both in its beginning and in its end. I was left heartbroken, and still am.
I’ll tell you all what my friends have been telling me in these past few weeks of grieving. Most of your posts are about the other person and not about YOUR feelings and YOUR happiness. I can’t tell you whether your partner will come back to you, or whether you should stay in their life or leave, but I can tell you that when my partner decided to push me out the door it was time to use all the caretaking I had done for him and turn the energy on myself. This is a time for all of you to focus inward.
See a mental health professional. Surround yourselves with supporting, loving people. Watch your favorite movies. Cry. Eat good food. Eat bad food. Go to the gym. Sit on the couch. Journal. Spend some time processing the heaviness of your situation and what you can handle going forward.
It’s not easy trying to do that and it’s not easy trying to move on, as I’m doing. For me, I’ve accepted the fact that his depression was the reason why we got together and the reason why we were torn apart.
I love him and I’m still not ok with the fact that he is so sick. And that he pushed me out of his life. I have to be done to protect myself but I know he’s still hurting so badly. Every day I resist the urge to reach out and my worst fear is that I’ll read about him on the news.
But you can’t love someone who won’t let you. You can’t save someone who won’t save themselves. And, most importantly, you can’t say I love you without the I. Focus on the I, for now, and things will get easier. You are not alone.
I just read your post here and your advice is so amazing – so wise and thoughtful, thank you! I can relate to you with regards to the urges and the fears of hearing about him on the news.
I hope you are well and living a much better life now that you’ve focused on yourself.
Wao, I hear you. I’m hurting too. I was with my boyfriend for 4 months but we spent every day together, it even felt like we were living together, I knew he suffered depression, anxiety and bipolar but I had not taken the time to do research, I broke up with him because I started to see him pull away and I blocked him so he would not try to contact me but reached out to one of my friends and somehow called from a private number, he said he loved me and why was I doing this, I went to talk to him and I told him that I lived him but I did not like feeling neglected and that when he said he was going through one of his stages and to give him time, but again I did not know how to handle it so I said all the wrong things (deal with it, snap out of it) then he told me that he couldn’t do it anymore to let’s just be friends. The next day he called and said I can’t do it I just don’t feel the same I still love you but I don’t see a future, I explained to him that I was sorry I said all the wrong thing and to please let me be there for him but now he won’t answer my texts. It hurts so much because I want him to reach out but from all I read I have a feeling he won’t, also he doesn’t want to talk to me but he is going out with his friends so that is even more co confusing.
I was woefully unprepared for my X’s depression. I had no experience with it at all and was seemingly dropped into a master’s level class. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently, but we still probably wouldn’t be together.
Depression is ugly, but don’t beat yourself up. It’s an illness your partner has to address and only you know if you can wait around for him to get better. Most will say give him space and move on with your life. It will be hard. He may try to get back into your life; he may not.
Hi Lisa, God himself could give you advice and you’d still feel your emotions and convictions about this situation and that is ok. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, write them down, dwell on them to gain some perspective. Were there signs that things were heading down hill before he broke up with you? Can you identify any signs?
Be strong and put some time aside for yourself and when you feel the pain, embrace it, cry if you have to, talk to loved ones too – seek therapy, it helps (it pains me that there is such a stigma attached to therapy, we are all human and we don’t have all the perspectives all the time, guidance is not a bad thing).
Don’t reach out to him, he asked for space respect his request, he will reach out when he is ready – the strongest message you can send is silence, he will start to feel the need for your support and reach out. When he does reach out, respond in a light and fun manner and don’t enquire on his mood, feelings or well-being, wait for him to bring that up. At this point in time he just wants to feel your presence and that may be enough support he requires at that point in time.
Do not sacrifice your happiness and well-being, as much as you love and care for him, look after yourself and work on improving yourself. Also, don’t be a punching bag, if he wants to vent, let him do so, but if he gets rude and or ugly, communicate to him in a loving way that you don’t deserve or appreciate his behaviour and treatment of you and that you love him and want to be there for him and he is welcome to contact you, but only if he can communicate in a way that does not harm you. Stand up for yourself, otherwise he’ll think it’s ok to treat you that way!
Best of luck, please keep me posted on any developments.
How are you getting on now?
I’ve been busy carrying on with my life, spending time with my daughter and with friends. I’m ok now Really, I get sad now and again, I still miss her but I’ve come to terms with what has happened.
She’s slowly on the road to recovery, which is nice to see, her healthy self is starting to be more visible. We are starting to interact more, not about us but about ‘safe’ topics. That’s lovely as I have missed my friend as much as my partner. I have no idea what, if anything, will.happen between us in the future, but I think im at a place where if there is no Us I can accept that and move on. I still love her though and being honest with myself the door will always be open to her.
I’ve learnt that the most important thing is as everyone says- look after yourself. After that its just time and patience. And an acceptance that at the end of it there may not be anything left. But the sufferers are ill, the most important thing is their recovery.
The blame is so hard to deal with, and it makes you constantly second-guess yourself and what it is you need to do – especially because you are likely to feel that you want to tough-it-out and support someone who is sick. And it’s hard to deliberately put an end to your own desperate ‘hope’.
But the simple fact is – if they are not getting better, then they are not getting better. And if there is nothing in it for you the way it is, no companionship, no intimacy, no care, no support; then you’ve got nothing to lose (and probably a lot to gain) by coming to terms with the fact that you tried as hard as you could, but now it’s time to build your own life without a place for them in it.
I’m trying to remind myself every day, that he left me a year and a half ago to live separately, and I’ve actually been alone since then – despite his ongoing (and damaging) presence in my life. So by ending contact, at the bare minimum I have ended the torture, and lost nothing more than I already did 18 months ago.
Easy to write, not so easy to be at peace with, as I’m sure everybody reading this page is well aware of – I’m not sure that I will ever stop mourning the loss of the husband and father he used to be, and looking at my children’s split family life, means that I may never be able to let the guilt go.
Good luck to all!
Hi Elle, may I ask how you are doing now ?
Just going through this with my ex partner now. Reading everyone’s comments has hit home a little and opened my eyes to understanding this horrible illness x
So glad I came across this site all of this reminds me of my situation I recently got of a 3 year relationship last month the 13th will make it a month since we’ve ended things. I had to make the horrible decision of ending things and the funny thing is I believe that the breakup had a greater affect on me than it did them which only made the emotional abuse that had been inflicted upon me triggered it was mostly about them not me or my feelings they didn’t seem to care at all how they affect me and honestly no matter how convincing she tries to sound I still don’t believe that she cares unless the situation is about her if it’s not then she’s completely apathetic towards me anyway and I’ve done nothing but be a good boyfriend to her. I will admit I have my flaws we all do but when you are constantly having to defend yourself to her loved ones and she does nothing to defend you well that’s enough to shatter anyone’s confidence or self-worth. Having to constantly prove yourself to someone who is supposed to love and accept all of you is just earth crashing. I couldn’t do it any more I wasn’t sure what I was to her any more but I felt like an option as if I was always competing with her friends, as if had to always show her or them that I was worthy of her love it was driving me mental and making me depressed my confidence has always been rocky but the confidence I had gotten back after leaving an abusive partner in 2014 was disappearing slowly because of this person. I care about her and I’m aware that she’s dealt with depression in the past but I can’t help but feel that she enjoys seeing others unhappy because she isn’t happy so the happiness they have found she makes sure to snatch it away from them little by little. I can’t help her any more I have tried but it’s evident she doesn’t want it with the excuses she makes, I know she is not perfect so I choose to not make her feel crappy like she made me feel. I have to work on myself, getting myself out of this relationship was for the best now I can move on and spend some time getting to know who I am as a person.
I’m so glad I found this site. It explains a lot of what I’ve been going through and makes me feel less alone. It was only a 4 month relationship that was going so well. I’ve never met anyone else in my life that I got along with and I felt such a strong connection to. I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. And he was feeling the same way. He said he would move to a different city with me if I had to and would be so heartbroken if we broke up because of the age difference. He’s 9 years younger. He told me in the beginning he had depression but I didn’t know how serious it. Then he were walking down the street one day and he said he started feeling anxious and just went home. He started ignoring my calls, texts and eventually cancelled our NYE plan. I felt hurt and expressed that to him a couple of times. He told me he was feeling depressed and anxious and started seeing a therapist. A few weeks later, I get a text that his therapist suggested that he end this relationship. He said that he’s not in a headspace to be a good partner and it cannot be doing any good for us as a couple. Knowing that he’s huring me is adding to his anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. He said he needed time to get better and see how things feel when he’s feeling better. I was sad but still had hope we would be back together.
He went out of town to visit family for 6 weeks. When he came back we were still in contact and spent time together as friends. He started to looking for a different therapist that could prescribe him medication. I expressed how I wanted to get back together but he said he was still not well and that I shoulnd’t pressure him. That was 3 months ago.
8 days ago, I sent him a text that I missed him and wish things were like before. He responds that they won’t be because we don’t work well together. This is the first time that I hear this. He also said that my intensity made his anxiety worse. And also how obsessive i was about his ex’s. I spent 5 minutes one day looking at pictures of his ex girlfriend online. Only out of curiosity. I was also posessive and didn’t give him any space. All of this contributed to his anxiety and made it worse. This is the first time I’m hearing all of this and was very hurt. He said it won’t work out with us because he’s not in a good headspace where we can date again. I told him that he should contact me when he’s in a better headspace. I was very hurt and heartbroken and told him that. He said he’s sad too and wishes that he wasn’t hurting me. I told him that I was too hurt to be hanging out with him anymore. He said he was sad but understands. I removed him from social media and I haven’t contacted him since.
He’s like a different person and even though I’m hurt by his comments, I’m still hoping he’ll return to the old person that I knew. I keep wondering if this is now his real self or if the old one was fake? Will it ever be like it was before? I’m definitely not contacting him right now because it’s too painful for me. I feel like if he’s ready to contact me, he will. I’m already moving on but it’s hard.
Depression is hard I wake up everyday knowing I failed my wife I’m happy I don’t think of ending my sorrows but I know I have to get help when your wife says she doesn’t feel bad for cheating on you it rips your heart out one day I hope to ask forgiveness because I know we had so much good times when your sick you don’t realize the things you do and no it isn’t a choice it’s a sickness I love her still and always will I hope she finds the love we had and one day if not maybe we’ll talk
Hi I’m currently struggling in a similar situation to many above and could do with some advice.
I’ve been with my girlfriend since September 2016, we’ve known each other a long time before then. We get on so well, just was so right and happy. We talked, I got on great with her kids and the kids dad. She asked me to start staying over regularly every other weekend which I did, had a great Christmas and New Year. The relationship is long distance as I live 200 miles away – both of us were fine with this. She asked me to move a lot of my things to hers, applied for jobs for me down there, everything. What I knew from the start is that she’d had PND after the children and had struggled on and off with depression for years. I knew that and we both accepted I’d support her through anything that might happen.
She messaged me daily when I wasn’t there, saying she missed me and loved me and couldn’t wait to see me. The kids dad worked abroad and came back on 14 April, and while on leave from work abroad stays at hers in the spare room which I haven’t got a problem with (he walked out on her and the kids a month after youngest was born). I stayed over 24-28 February and we all got on great, no problems, did things together and with the kids, then I took her away for a night as we’d agreed and she said had been a lovely time. The kids dad even asked me to come away to his family’s place overseas with my girlfriend and the kids at Easter so everyone would be there.
Then things changed just like that. She seemed distant the next few days and said she was processing things. Then she said she needed space, needed to go on higher depression medication, and that she had no energy time or stability to be in a relationship or in love. She then said she loves me to bits that I’m fab, understanding and so supportive. She wanted to stay friends only and not speak or see each other just message at a distance.
All her family and friends have said how good we are and look like we’ve been together for years.
I don’t know what to do. I’m literally heartbroken over this, I love her so much and if there ever was a soulmate for me its her and she said same about me. I’ve said I’ll give her time and space, wait and take things slow with time, and that I’m there for her and support her through it.
Its been weeks now, the odd message every few days, I try to keep it light and not about us but its like I’m talking to a different person and no emotions from her. Its hurting me so much. I’ve been to Dr myself and they think I have depression now too.
Is there anything I can do to reach out to her or help? The kids dad is there until mid May and this seems to happen each time he’s back from leave which I had no problem with him staying as right for the kids but I suddenly feel like a pariah.
I want to reach out to her but she won’t let me close. I can’t visit or call her, feels like she pushes me away all the time.
Please if anyone can offer advice I’d appreciate it. I’m struggling to stay positive at all, not sleeping well and it just hurts so much as we both love each other yet nothing it seems I can do.
Im sorry, i have the same situation right now. Idk what to do. My husband just moved out. He said he need to be alone. It really hurts cause i love him with all my heart. We were happy and so inlove beforw until this happened. Im also hoping somebody will post some advice how we can deal with this situation
My wife just left as well.
I lost her 5 years ago when she had a bad bad episode of depression after she had our daughter. She had one longer affair that I know about. I reconciled with a great deal of time and effort. She went on antidepressants and things seemed better but we couldn’t get things back to how they were. She has no sex drive, passion, desire or hardly gives affection. Any little bump or hiccup we have is a complete meltdown with anger and defensiveness from her and we never could seem to find a happy medium or cruise control in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong I’ve made mistakes as well, said stupid things to her parents and set boundaries because of the affair, bring it up at times to make a point and question her about certain things if I feel a red flag has popped up. However, I always have supported her, loved her and tried to be her best friend and lover throughout. She has said three times in the last two weeks that she is done and now left today.
Before leaving I booked her an appointment at her doctors where they now upt the dosage and are sending her for thyroid gland tests to see if there is an issue with that causing her anxiety and depression. However she has said she just needs space, will be happier without me and wants to refind herself without me. All the while she has brought up every little issue we ever had and thrown everything back in my face like we had never discussed them before and dealt with them.
There is no reasoning with her, I say I’ll change or try anything and she won’t have any of it. No no no
She’s done and that’s it. Well, I can’t force her ? If she doesn’t want me or are lil family anymore or see the positives and value, what can I do but walk away, give her space and get on with my life…
It breaks what tiny heart I have left after all the trying I’ve done. It’s a kick in the face, like she hadn’t done anything but lay low, not open up and talk to me or work on things the last 5 years. Just wants to give up.
My heart is broken.
Hi guys. I feel your pain, & would like to offer some words of wisdom which may or may not help.
When I met my husband 12 years ago, I knew that he was not the easiest person in the world. I am very much a half glass full, kind of girl, whereas he wouldn’t even have a glass to put anything in! However, I fell in love, unconditionally, & always accepted him. The year we got married, one of his friends took their own life, & that was the beginning of the end. 3 years ago, we split up. I admitted that I never really understood his depression, & so set out to try (closing the stable door after the horse has bolted!), but I needed to know more. & I did start to understand. We did divorce. & have spent 3 years on & off. Everytime, he ends it. Then every time he has contacted me & come back. & every time I accept him again. That’s the unconditional love bit. But, every time it happens, I become a bit stronger. Fall apart less, & this last time, I have decided that I have more respect for myself. I have given my all. He has drained me to the point that I didn’t recognise myself. Every time he ends it, he goes off with someone else – an old school friend, someone he met online, someone he met on holiday (while he was with me!) etc etc…..& every time his relationships fall apart. I believe this is simply because they are a distraction – he can hide the real him only for so long – he knows what to say & how to behave to get what he wants.
I used to spend hours trawling the internet, looking for stories of hope – & weirdly, the reason I have found your posts today is because I have found out that after seeing his latest ‘distraction’ for 3 months, they are engaged! & 6 months ago, this would have crippled me – but today, I just laughed!! Because, sadly, he hasn’t learnt from any of his mistakes. They will be repeated. It’s the sad pattern of his life.
My advice to you is, if you really, truly want your partner back, then leave them to it. Give them
Space – which is really hard – try & be happy in front of them (there is nothing more attractive than someone who seems to be having fun!) & don’t blame yourself. Depression is the most selfish illness I have come across – & the person who is suffering actually has a wealth of support if they need it, but the person trying to be there for the person suffering, there is very little.
You will find that your partner will either open up to you & return, or you will become stronger & realise that you can’t change them or how they feel, and it isn’t your fault!
Good luck x
Hi Lizi, your advice rings very true to me.
My ex just found someone new weeks after telling me he still loved me and wanted to earn me back. He even introduced her to his family within two weeks when it took me two years (we were long-distance). He broke up with me to deal with his depression. You can imagine my dismay when I discovered this was how he “deals” with it. However, I’m past the initial hurt and learned to not take it personally anymore. I spent 2.5 years with this man and gave him love, but the longer I loved, the more he pulled away. I still love him, but I won’t stand to be neglected again. I’ve been strict NC since I found out about the new woman. He can do his thing while I’m going to work on myself. I’m not going to run from the pain like he did. I’ll accept and grow from it. If he reaches out to me, I’ll look at it with benign indifference and skepticism. We deserve happiness too.
Thank You, while it does hurt…your words have help me for today and to remember it’s a sickness
Thank you for this.
Thank you for sharing this, Lizi. My husband has had bouts of depression since his teens, though only a few bad ones during our 17 years of marriage. Fortunately for us medication has stabilized him in the past and he has come off the meds and been ok for years, so at first I didn’t recognize that the depression was back. But he has decided to leave me, can only find happiness with someone else, etc. etc. – basically the same story I’ve been reading again and again on these posts. I am devastated, but finding hope for my future in posts from partners who have lived through this. You’re right that depressed men can function on certain levels to get what they want so their appearances are deceiving but their behaviour is so destructive, repetitive and draining that a rejected partner must start to understand that it isn’t her fault and move on. I have been a devoted wife who has loved unconditionally – I deserve better than this. Focusing on healing and moving forward.
I am going through a very rough time. My partner of 15 years has been without a job for almost a year. He feels worthless and calls himself a loser. I keep telling him he is not. We started a little business up this year and like most small businesses it’s taking time to get going. He gives up right away and says it will never make money. On Friday we packed up all his clothes and moved out. Told me he didnt love anyone or anything and that he was in a really dark place and needed to be alone. The next day he said he was coming back to talk. When he started talking I was blown away. He said he has fallen out of love with me and isn’t physically attracted to me anymore. He said he though he had found someone else but she didn’t love him and he was heart broken. I was stunned. I has been reaching out to friends to get in touch with him because I thought he was sucidial. He admitted he’s broken inside and will go with me one time to see a counsellor. We talked honestly how the relationship had broken down and how we took each other for granted. I see I could have done more but thought he was happy. I feel so sad. St times I want to die and then I go online and read other stories such as mine and know I’m not alone. I too have suffered from depression for many years so not only is this devastating I am going through all the feelings of abandonment I have struggled with for years. I was there for him through thick and thi and now he seems the relationship should end because he’s no physically attracted to me. It’s almost like I don’t know who he is anymore. I feel so betrayed