Boyfriend wants to take a break, severely depressed

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I met my boyfriend five months ago.  He’s a wonderful person.  He suffers from depression.  Early on in our relationship he was laid off from his job which caused him to “spin out”.  He told me he felt pressure from all angles of his life and felt we should slow down.  I continued to support him as someone in my family also suffers from depression and sever bipolar disorder.  I’ve been exposed to this my entire life.  He worked through it and our relationship flourished.  

Last Wednesday, he got news that his son had gotten into some legal trouble.  It had been about a year and a half since he heard from his ex-wife.  His son is in his late teens so he communicates with son directly however, he needed to communicate with her.  He was very open about their communication but he became extremely distant as the week went on.  By Friday he was barely speaking to me.  On Saturday he told me he was spinning out of control.  He said he felt when one thing went wrong he would just sink into a depression.  Fast forward to this week, on the 30th I finally asked him if everything was okay with us.  We are in daily contact and it didn’t feel right.  He’s extremely warm and affectionate but he has been cold and distant.  He told me that he felt pressured, depressed, spun out and that he needed space.  A break from our relationship.  Then he asked me if I would check in and I wanted to scream NO!!!! But I realize this isn’t someone who is doing this to be a jerk.  He has a serious issue.  He also has an eating disorder.  We are both middle aged. We have spent a great deal of time together and in the 5 months I have only gone one full day without talking to him.  Yesterday was the 2nd day.  Right now, I feel giving him the space to figure things out is the right thing to do but he said some disturbing things in his texts such as I don’t know if I want a serious relationship or if I’m ready for this.  He said these things the last time he wanted to push me away then apologized when he came out of his depression.  I witnessed this behavior as a child too with my parents.  The mentally ill parent would push the other away during an episode.  I truly think he’s a remarkable person.  I don’t want to lose him.  I realize it’s been a short period of time but I’m older and I’ve dated a lot of men, I can spot a good one.  Any advice? I have not contacted him since he asked for space. It’s been almost 48 hours with no contact. 

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  • Posted

    Hello Silence 80. I'm sorry that this relationship is in such turmoil. You mentioned that there was another time that he has done this. I'm just curious..did his ex wife contact him that time too? Just my opinion but being depressed or having depression is no excuse to push you away and say things that hurt you. I suffer from it also and have most of my life..however I hold myself accountable for my behavior. I can't use my illness as an excuse to be unkind to people that I say that I love. NO I cannot and he cannot either! Please don't allow that to continue. Have you had counseling to work through your childhood issues with your parents and how their depression manifested itself in their lives and yours? I think that would help you. It was a life saver for me. We on this site will be here to support you through all of this. Please keep us posted. Diane

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  • Posted

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you so much for your reply.  No, the last time this happened he had been laid off from his job and he was unsure about unemployment benefits, bills, child support and other things.  The behavior was almost identical.  He became cold and distant.  He started sleeping in the middle of the day then staying up all night.  He was spending money compulsively on things he didn’t need.  He was dwelling on things that wouldn’t matter to a lot of people.  He binge watches TV when he is awake.  During that depression he still contacted me everyday and things improved in about 2 weeks and we had a few wonderful months. 

    Fast forward to the incident I described in my initial post.  His behavior is back to binge watching TV, spending money, sleeping during the day, up all night and the cold and distant.  Except this time he abandoned me.  I believe the situation that kicked this off was more severe, his son was in serious trouble but it seems that the situation is resolved.  I believe the truth of the matter is that he misses being a full time father.  He blames his ex wife for everything that went wrong and for ruining their family.  I often wonder if he behaved like this?  I’ll admit when she first contacted him I felt a tinge if jealousy but I quickly realized she’s moved on with her life and a healthy amount of time has passed.  In his final texts to me, he began to describe the same things as he did the last time, the pressure, the overwhelmed feeling and life piling up on him.  I haven’t contacted him since Tuesday afternoon and now that it’s Friday afternoon, it’s getting easier but I feel a bit lost.  

    I should tell you I am bipolar.  I see a psychiatrist, I’m on medication which I take daily.  I have gone to therapy to address my family issues and I feel very stable.  I wasn’t going to mention my own battle because I don’t typically suffer from depression.  I’m manic when I have an episode.  It’s been many years since that’s happened.  Sorry for rambling. 

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    • Posted

      Hi I don't think it is a good sign that he blames his ex wife for everything that went wrong.  I wonder how long before he starts blaming you in your turn?  

      I would think very hard whether you want to be with someone who can treat you life this.  I am also wondering if he is getting any treatment such as counselling.  x

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying.  I was deeply disturbed when I saw how the bitterness and hatred he has towards his ex.  For one, it showed me that he hasn’t let go of her 100%.  Second, it showed me that he lacked the maturity to co-parent his child.  It has crossed my mind this week that perhaps this deep depression hit because he can’t have his ex wife.  But I could be way off.  I thought maybe I was being paranoid. 

      He isn’t getting any treatment.  I have never seen anyone turn from a loving person into what I saw today in those texts.  I went through my phone and deleted his voicemails from the past couple of weeks telling me he loved me.  I had a few where he was just laughing.  We have the same sense of humor so leave some silly messages for one another but I’ve deleted them.  I also deleted his photos.  Even my father was never that cold.   I feel so sad right now.  I actually feel worse than I’ve felt in years. 

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    • Posted

      Hi there. I think that it's appropriate that you feel sad right now. You may well be starting into the process of grieving which is understandable. But if you let this behavior go on I think that you will start feeling bad about yourself and remember you have an illness also and you must take care of yourself. I must tell you that for what it's worth that I think that you are one of the healthiest people that I have met in a long time. So nice to see you catch on and start taking care of yourself so fast. God bless. Keep writing us as long and as much as you need to and we will be here for you! Diane 

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    • Posted

      Hi Diane,

      Thank you so much for your kind words.  I’m catching on and I’m trying to do the right thing.  He quickly became my best friend and we were in constant communication.  I am typically more guarded but with so much in common I allowed him to become close to me.  I know I will miss him and I am going to allow myself to grieve for him.  I am not going to contact him again.  I don’t know if he will ever reach out to me again.  I am almost afraid to think about it.  I wish I knew the event that triggered this to happen.  I’m not taking it personally or I’m trying not to but I feel like he took it out on me.  We never even fought when we were together so how could I complicate his life?  I try and think about things logically, not emotionally but for the past few hours it’s been an emotional roller coaster.

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    • Posted

      It's very odd that he changed so quickly. But he did it twice. I know that for a while you will have a hard time but I hope that you go out with friends and enjoy life as much as you can in the process of grieving him. No on ever said we have to sit still and hurt. Huh? Diane 

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    • Posted

      Hi my thought was that he wasn't depressed coz he couldn't have his ex wife back but because he obviously can't deal with his emotions. I am not surprised in the slightest that he isn't having any treatment and I bet he either doesn't think anything is wrong or that he is weak for needing help.

      I am sure it hurts but I think you are doing the right thing letting him go.  I can see you in a whole world of pain if you don't.  x

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    • Posted

      He has described his feelings of pressure, feeling overwhelmed, depressed... He’s been spot on in describing his emotions but he isn’t seeking any kind of treatment.  When he send that he needed to simplify his life and basically cut me out of it, that spoke volumes to me.  I’ve never had someone make me feel so low.  

      He hasn’t contacted me at all this weekend.  With the exception of that one time I contacted him it’s been 5 days.  It’s so hard to believe he’s the same person.  I’m hurting badly right now.  I’ve never cared about someone so much.  I’m spending a lot of time talking with friends, writing in my journal and staying busy.  It’s been difficult to eat but I’m starting to sleep again.  I’m checking my phone less and less.  I’ve stopped expecting that text from him.  My mind has gone crazy a few times wondering...   With the exception of me, he really has at best only two other friends.  As I’ve reflected this weekend I’m realizing he’s extremely introverted.  I just never saw it before.  I miss him a great deal but I know not begging him and forcing myself to let go is best.  I just don’t understand how he could do this. 

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  • Posted

    Hi again. Thank you for giving me more information. About your issues you haved worked hard to get balanced and still are I would be concerned about continuing in a relationship with this man that long range could set off your own illness. I would never give anyone the previledge of taking my peace away from me. He just sounds immature and this obviously is his pattern and will continue to do this over and over to you as long as you allow him to. So I guess the question is how long will you allow him to abuse you emotionally? You really deserve an emotionally available man that will love and support you. What do you think? Diane
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  • Posted

    I think you are 100% correct.  I actually just texted him to check in with him.  He indicated to me during his meltdown that he wanted me to check in.  He answered me immediately.  During the end of the conversation I sent him a message that said:

    “I’ve been thinking about you.”

    He replied:

    “I’ve been thinking about you too.  But nothing has changed.  I don’t mean to sound like a ****, but I really do need a break.”

    I said:

    “I understand 100%”

    He wrote back:

     “Ok, Ttyl.  Bye, beautiful.”

    I don’t even know who this person is anymore but I can tell you that I am very close to blocking his number.  I keep remembering the good times which were so plentiful until one week ago which is what makes this so difficult.  I have held my composure every step of the way.  And now I feel I may need to hold it as I walk away.  

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  • Posted

    I am so glad that you are finding all this out about him this early in the relationship and you are paying attention. My take on him is that he seems some what cruel. Check in with me and then says the same thing "nothing has changed I still want a break"  that seems saddistic to me. Maybe it's just me but if you slap my face one time you better be a good runner because their will not be a second slap. I am so happy that you see who he is now rather than later. Diane 

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  • Posted

    Silence

    You will understand that many depressives feel the need for space and in this case the problems with His Son and the fact of talking to His ex wife could have distablized His mood. 

    Your problem is how much space does He need, Has the discussion with His past caused further doubts from past events. Give him a few more days to put His ducks in order. Then try and discuss your future together and your hopes of being with Him.

    You do not say if He is having treatment for His depression. In my case my wife attends some appointments with me so we can approach life problems together, yes I know I am married and my situation is different. That does not stop you attending if He feels talking could help you both.

    One real problem you may have is that if He becomes more insular with this illness and then walks, it may be that could happen. Be prepared

    BOB

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply.  He is not on medication.  I think this is 99% of the problem.  

      I think he is already out the door.  With his lack of respect today I am actually at a loss for words.   He was a different person today.  He didn’t have any feelings towards me.  He was so cold. 

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    • Posted

      Silence

      Sorry, you need to consider your own concerns and move on. Sometimes as you may know they can use their condition to control their Partner, they dwell on their fears and relationships take on a needful situation where Depressives use those around them, control is an ugly word.

      It may be that break up will sort him out, Ask yourself if your needs have been comprimised.

      BOB

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