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My Boyfriend of 5 Years Is Chronically Suicidal

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From Switzerland: I don’t know if there even is an answer to my situation but I guess asking can’t hurt. And at other places people just kept telling me to ask a professional so here I am. (Since I can’t in real life for multiple reasons one ironically being that I am a medical student…)

This is about my boyfriend of almost 5 years. He has been suicidal since before we met, was diagnosed with BDP (borderline type) in the meantime. He has had inpatient and outpatient therapy and tried a lot of different meds. There are 2 things he says he needs to see a reason to live on:

1. Sex
2. More time with me

I already give him all the time I have besides med school and my performance is suffering… and I am too because I can never relax…
Sex. I am asexual, had no idea before we met and found out after 2 years of feeling broken. I try to give him the disgusting things he wants… But it is not enough, he wants me to have ideas, enjoy it.

For the past 7 or 8 years he wanted to die and for 5 of those I kept him alive… and I am starting to believe him when he says that it is unethical to keep him alive.

I am scared that I will say yes the next time he asks if he is allowed to die. I have no doubt he would do it and succeed. He researched a great deal of methods and is very thorough in everything he does. And I’ve seen the brute force with which he harms himself. I’ve seen him cutting and beating himself… and strangling, which might be the scariest because he compresses both carotic arteries when doing that.

I tried to get him a new girlfriend who likes sex… but he says he would rather kill himself. It is what he really wants and frankly what I learned in school… we should respect patients wishes…

But I can’t wrap my head around him being dead.. and also not around having to continue to live like this. Without weekends, enough time to study and constantly feeling guilty for my (non)sexuality.

Maybe some data if it is relevant: He is 22, I am 20. He is a psych major (ironically).

Thank you for reading.

My Boyfriend of 5 Years Is Chronically Suicidal

Answered by on -


Whatever is going on between the two of you, it isn’t love. He is holding you hostage by his threat of self-harm. You are scared to leave him. Threats and fears are not the basis for a healthy relationship. Although it has gone on for 5 years, you have not freely chosen to be with him.

I don’t know if you have really “kept him alive” or if he is in the grip of a mental illness or if he perversely likes the game. I do know this: He is not your patient. He is your boyfriend. The terms are different. You are not ethically bound to treat him. The boy you chose when you were only 15 has become a man who is bullying you into staying, even at the price of your schooling and your own mental health. You need to extricate yourself enough so you can think straight.

I suggest that you insist that the two of you see a couples counselor to try to break the cycle of threat, fear, saving, and staying that has been repeating itself for years. If he does have borderline personality disorder, your boyfriend needs to be committed to consistent treatment before he will be ready to be with anyone. You need to take a step away, both for your own health and to stop your part in the cycle. If he won’t honestly engage in treatment, your therapist will be able to help you separate in a way that is healthy for both of you.

As an aside: I don’t know if you are really asexual. You’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship from a very young age. It could be that your body is telling you this guy isn’t for you by shutting down sexual feelings. You may find that you respond differently to a man who loves and cherishes you fully and without any of this drama.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Boyfriend of 5 Years Is Chronically Suicidal

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Boyfriend of 5 Years Is Chronically Suicidal. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Jun 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.