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If He Recovers from Depression, Will We?

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From the U.S.: A little over a month ago, my boyfriend decided he was no longer happy with me and broke off our four year relationship. He thought I didn’t trust him. He thought I wanted to keep him isolated.

Lately, he parties more, eats less, doesn’t want to be around his friends or his family, has difficulty sleeping, and seems generally sad and/or angry.

In the last week, I’ve tried letting him know that I will always be there for him. I wrote him a note that let him know how much he meant to me, and how I am happier having him in my life.

He keeps saying he doesn’t to hurt me. He keeps apologizing for letting me down and hurting me, no matter how often I let him know that he isn’t doing anything wrong. I try to bring him out with me and invite him to spend time with our mutual friends. He tells me he would rather stay in, but then it seems he does not come home. I eventually moved out of the house we rented together. I’ve suggested having him see a therapist about possible depression, but he is adamant that this is not an issue for him.

I don’t know if the breakup was caused by depression (he lost a family member back in September and has been undergoing a lot of stress since then). And I wanted to know if it’s possible that the breakup was caused by that depression. Do people who end their relationships because of depression end up back with their spouses? How do I help him recover from the depression if he does not believe he’s dealing with it?

If He Recovers from Depression, Will We?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sorry this is so difficult for you. It was wise of you to leave the house. Sharing space while the two of you sort this out would be painful.

I’m not convinced from what you wrote that your boyfriend is depressed. It’s possible, of course. But it’s also possible that he is trying out what it means to be on his own and is partying with the idea that he is reclaiming being single. He may be trying to meet new people rather than hang out with people who know you both and who have opinions about who he is and what he should do.

If he is depressed, there is nothing you can do to encourage him to get help that you haven’t already done. But if he is truly wanting to take a break from the relationship, the best thing you can do is take some distance for yourself.

What you didn’t mention in your letter is how you are doing. I imagine that the possibility of really losing him after 4 years is very difficult. I hope you are taking care of yourself and thinking about how to move forward if he decides it is truly over between you. Do reach out to friends and do whatever you need to do to grieve, to learn from the experience and to heal.

I wish you well
Dr. Marie

If He Recovers from Depression, Will We?

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). If He Recovers from Depression, Will We?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/04/26/if-he-recovers-from-depression-will-we/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.