Is he depressed or are we over?

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I've been dating my current boyfriend on and off for a year now and it's become apparent that when he has too much time to just think and obssess by himself at work, he comes to the conclusion that we should break up. Like at his last job, he had a tedious and repetitive labour position that demanded he repeat the same task on tiny metal pieces for 8 hours straight--anyone's mind would wonder off and over-analyse their life. He broke up with me in November and then reappeared at my door two weeks later, again.

It's August now, we've been doing well ever since (December)--there was a bit of a spat in early May, but it barely lasted 12 hours. The latest episode has been creeping up for the last month or so. I've always felt like I'm 4 chapters ahead of him, which I really don't mind, I kind of like that I am so attuned to him and ow he works/thinks, except in times when I can see things going south for him and I feel helpless because I can't do anything because I know that everyone runs at their own pace and trying to rush them to get somewhere before they are ready can only cause more problems. So I let him come to things in his own time.

He recently got a new job (around June) at a small mechanical engineering workshop which he loved. He use to be so excited when he would tell me about the projects he'd worked on, he was stressed but in a motivated way, and he was very happy that he was going to be able to lower his student debts with all the overtime he was doing. Unfortunately, in July, his boss left for a two month vacation and left my boyfriend more or less in charge of everything. He does have a supervisor but from what I understand, my boyfriend has been gaining more and more and more responsiblity the more he impressed the manager and boss with his abilities and work tactics.

Since the boss left, he has been working longer days, and now weekends also. I noted that his mood changed alot after just two/three weeks of this. He expressed that he was more stressed because his boss keeps accepting more ad more projects that exceed the amount of work hours, so my boyfriend is drained all the time, he doesnt have time to do other activities he enjoys (he is a very active person and highly values physical activity and challenging himself, so this is a major factor in my opinion), when he's with me his mind is still at work. In all honesty, he is a ghost lately; he's been distant, lacking interest in my doings, never contacting me, only responding quick and short replies when I reach out to him.

In the spirit of not rushing him but also not wanting to just sit by and watch him deteriorate right in front of me, I have brought it up (hopefully) subtly that he seems over worked and that his deminor has changed since his boss left. I didn't want to add to his stress by making him feel guilty that he had very little time for me, so I told him that I missed when he was excited and boasting about his new job--as opposed to scolleding him for not making time for me--and that I understood that this was something he had to do for now and that I support him 100%.

As mentioned, I've tried to talk about it, I've tried giving him space, I've tried suggesting activities like biking and renting kayaks, camping, etc, but they always get pushed back because he has to go to work on weekends. He is a real hands on man, so I tried to give us a project to do together hoping it would be a great bonding oppurtunity. We went to a thrift shop and I found a really cool patio bench that would fit perfectly in the small deck behind his apparment made of two chairs attached together by a table in the center. We discussed whether or not to repaint it, we recently purchased fabric so that I can custom make cushions for the chairs, and I found a really cool cast iron bottle opener to screw into the front. He seemed very interested in refurbishing it together at the time of purchase, but that faded rather quickly.

So, the reason that I am posting on this forum is because he recently expressed that he wanted to break up. I know that guys generally mean what they say, but I'm trying to figure out if it's his depression talking or if we really are over. I have been living with depression myself for about five years now, have learnt how it effects me and how to cope with it when it happens, so I understand how hard it is to deal with even if he is unaware that that's what he has. I just can't bring myself to break up due to his depression because I would never want mine to be the reason someone let me got (unless it was detremental to their well being of course). I look at hard times as stepping stones to strengthening our relationship (again, as long as it's not detrimental to either's well being).

His reasons to break up come down to:

- We never do anything/watch tv all the time (he's working all the time... and when I suggest activities he says he is too tired and wants to relax watching netflix, or when we are doing something--restaurant, walking, thrift store shoping, etc, his mind is elsewhere so I explore my own mind also, as an introvert, I really don't mind this happening from time to time. But now he is using it against me/us.)

- When we are together, we have what he calls "minor chit chat" (asking about his day, how he is coping at work, what his roommates are up to, and whatever else comes up--i.e. normal conversation...? As opposed to discussing what would happen if you could hear from your feet and taste from your fingers like he does with his friends.)

- We have different interests ( but who doesnt...? I have expressed interest in participating his activites but he is convinced that I'm bored.. I really don't know why, I actually realy enjoy it--I discovered that I find biking highly stress relieving, I learned how to throw a frisbee--still need some practice but the potential is there...I think.)

- He is uncomfortable when we spend an extended period of time at my place. (I understand why this is a problem, it effects me as well but I don't currently have the means to move out. I still live with my parents and the dynamic with my family is very tense and the energy in it self is draining, but I have a dog so I am responsible for his well being and have to take care of him. He is large so I can't just bring him to my bf's place whenever I please. I am working on saving enough to move out, but unlike him who has 2 roommates so his rent is like 200$, I dont have any friends who are looking to move out, plus I need to support not only me but all of my dog's expenses which adds 200$ a month to an already 1000$ a month cost of living on my own.)

- My qualities as a caring girlfriend, my unconditional love and support, and the level of how understanding I have been this past month has only made him feel bad that he can't reciprocate and be the kind boyfriend that I deserve. (I understand his point, but at the same time what a person "deserves" doesn't always corrolate with what they "want". And I want him, faults, flaws, and all. This also feeds into my suspicions that he is depressed because it seems that he's wearing blue colored glasses that takes everything that should be nice and good and turns them into reasons to feel guilty about us.)

There are more minor reasons, but I digress. I would like to know if you (third party persons) think that he is in fact depressed and I should continue to give him space and support until his boss comes back in September and see if things readjust once things go back to normal (although he will also be going back to college for his fourth semester and continue to work part time) OR is he sincerely just not interested in having a relationship with me and I should I just let him go?

I really appreciate any helpful advice or thoughts on my predicament.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    I would say let him go as he stressed or not depressed or not he wants out. I have depression but a wonderfull partner and we support things through. I accept that I perhaps always had depression and resisted till late in life not to make commitments or ties but though I am fortunate in no immediate money worries and have choice as to how and where and what I spend my time on (as partner still works) I am still depressed about other areas in my life that the only person who can change is Me. So what I am saying is though you yourself has experienced depression and feel its his over burdening job and having no time that gets him low. I think its a bigger picture than that as it seems his outgrown you and perhaps its time to just let him go  
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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to read my very long explination David84938.

      If you don't mind, could you clear two points for me please?

      1) you say i should let him go because he may be stressed or depressed. But how come it wasn't the right thing for your partner to let you go for that very reason? I don't quite understand why we can't "support things through" too?

      2) what do you mean by outgrown? I'm not quite sure how that would be possible given he works all the time...

      Thank you again for your time and perspective.

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  • Posted

    I state this because I felt my partner should not be affected by my depressive state which was never exasperated by work, money or blue periods that even i do not have the answer for . My issue is with self worth lack of self esteem which i have always given him chance to walk away .Now my issue was that i did not like my job in social work as i felt un appreciated by managers and indeed by my clients as upshot came down to finances and life style choices so I am in turmoil as to a/ weather i should seek alternative employment or B/ find other interests that I aenjoy and that I know my partner would be ok with. My reasoning to you is that you have supported your BF through reasons that he gave for type of work he did through to positive outcome albeit too much work that he likes. Yes by all means wait until his boss returns so that HE can perhaps raise his concerns and see how the land lies and how your BF feels? But the big difference between you and I is that (apart from age no doubt) you are not able to accept his decision and more to the point you are not that clear from him as to why these issues affect your relationship? Truth is every one gets stressed and works beyound the call of duty but it does not stop us appreciating the ones that care for us most and it sounds like he is not happy if not indeed with himself with your current relationship as his reasoning does not add up? I would let him have tme to find himself and let go until that time. If he truely wants you in his life he will make contact but really it sounds like you have invested alot of time and thought into his needs/wants but little into your own.  
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    • Posted

      thanks again david89438.

      I agree with most of what you said. Yes, most jobs are stressful and ask a lot of attention, sometimes more than it should but does not affect how you feel about your loved ones. However, I know first hand that depressions 100% can. When I use to have really bad dips of depression I would stay in bed for days. Curtains closed to block the sun, wouldnt be hungry, didnt want to talk to ANYONE, not my boyfriend at the time, not my friends. The only reason I would get up at all would be to feed my dog and let him out to pee. I also know that when my current boyfriend is depressed, his instinct is to push everyone away.

      I am not trying to find an excuse to stay with him, although I would like to, I just needed help deciding whether it was just a rough patch or the end.

      I will be waiting to see if things improve when his boss returns and his work load lessens. I will also continue to give him space as you said also, above.

      Thank you so much again. I really appreciate your input.

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  • Posted


    I have stumbled across your story; having just had my partner of 2 years break up with me for a second time. I have always suspected that he has depression after a relationship break down before he met me. (She cheated and they were engaged) he is a handsome, charming, intelligent man who I genuinely believe loves and cares for me. We met abroad but have just moved back to the UK. Both have new jobs, now live together and got a puppy - lots of changes have happened and I noticed a huge change in his behaviour. Either because he lost respect for me or because he is depressed. He turned around 6 weeks ago and once again said 'he couldn't see it working anymore' the last 6 months have been tough. We stopped having fun and he was always tired and drinking more and stopped being the guy I loved. The first time he did this 8 months in, he came back after 2 weeks.

    He has completely cut me out now even though we have a home together and I live in his hometown. What has happened since your post?

    I only ask.because I am struggling not to want to reach out and help him but he genuinely believes it's the relationship that is making him feel this way and me. But during good times we are the most loved up couple soon as we hit a rough patch (and every couple does) he refuses to talk and says 'it'll just get better on it's own' or withdraws and runs. It breaks my heart because we both deserve such a loving relationship. His final words were 'How can I be happy in a relationship if I'm not happy myself?' And since then he has told friend he misses me.and wants to see me but thinks it's unhealthy. 😔

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