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Both partners depressed in a relationship

Community Member

Hi, I hope I can get some good advice on this.

My ex and I had a wonderful relationship and were very happy together. However I went through several traumatic experiences - losing a family member, damaging my back & struggling to walk, moving away from where I love, struggling with long distance. Somewhere in the midst my depression returned and it hit me like a truck in December. At this point my partner was happy with me and actually told people I was 'the one'.

I had noticed that he had also been progressively seeming less like his cheerful self and sensed his depression was creeping back in. I reached out to him numerous ways but was always told he was fine.

 Anyway in January I was an absolute mess with my depression - very labile, emotional outbursts. The works. I hated being around myself & struggled to be around him as a result.

And then he broke up with me. Said I brought him down and he couldn't take my moods or arguments.

It came out then that he felt bad in himself and he said he wanted time to get better to heal himself. He said if we continued he would lose me forever and didnt want that.

So we had a couple of months apart. He saw a psychologist a few times which I think helped.

I started on antidepressants and started seeing a psychologist regularly. 

Then he came back to me and told me he wanted me back. He still seemed labile and distant.

We did get back together & I did my best to love him & support him & make him happy. We had one or two arguments. He seemed very depressed to me. Broken in fact. I asked him to get help as he had severe anxiety and seemed very depressed. He told me any problem he had we should be able to solve. He refused to go to a doctor and said he had no time or money to talk to a psychologist. I tried to support him but because I was still coming out of my depression and had ill health it was to much. Then a few days later he finished it. Again saying I brought him down. He told me two days later that he doesn't know who he is anymore. He hates his life. Every aspect of his life is miserable. It just screams depression again to me.

He said he feels too bad to share himself with anyone and cant be around me because he feels too guilty.

I told him if he needs me I'm here but i've heard nothing from him for weeks.

Do I just leave him alone & hope he gets better? Were we just never meant to be?

I miss him terribly and feel awful about how my depression affected him.

Is there anything I can do?

6 Replies 6

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi wander-lust,

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. I am sorry to hear how tough this has all been, I hope you will get some support and ideas here.

It screams depression to me too. And I imagine it will take him some work to find some peace and happiness which is something you cannot force upon him. I don't think we can tell if it was not meant to be, obviously your relationship has been highly challenging due to your conditions and really no one is to blame. I don't think he can solve his own problems by himself, depression and anxiety for me were impossible to overcome without professional help, and if he is unwilling to seek help I have to ask why. 

I guess if you want to keep trying you could stay in contact, keep telling him that you might both be able to fix this with some help, you are prepared to put in the effort and be compassionate to his condition. I don't think you intentionally suffered from depression, you didn't become depressed to affect him, he was affected by your illness not by you.

Could you tell/text him the BB phone service number, it's free, 24/7 and there are professionals there to help. I hope you can stay focused on what you need to do to feel better your self. Love to you, talk any time.


Hi Jack,

Thank you so much for your response. I truly appreciate it.

i certainly think he is severely depressed. When I discussed options with him he refused to go to the GP as it didn't help previously. And he doesn't believe in psychologists. He questioned why I kept seeing one to help me manage things.

that made it so difficult to help him.

However about two weeks after our breakup he messaged me to say he was sorry about not being honest about his feelings, not being able to manage his mental health and not being able to support me. It was the first time he really admitted it was an issue. I don't know if he has sought help. I truly hope so.

 my concern is he has no support. He doesn't tell his family or anyone else about feeling down. I was the only person he talked to.

Another issue was he blamed himself and our relationship for my depression. Whereas my whole life turned upside down - health, career everything.

He is the most darling, wonderful man.

i wish I could help him.

but as I said he hasn't contacted me in almost 2 months. I'm torn between staying away coz if he wanted contact he knows where I am.

I really struggle with the fact we had something great but the depression tore us apart.

can 2 depressed people have a functional relationship?

Hi wander-lust, thanks for your reply.

I suppose two people with depression can have a relationship, I guess it depends on each person, their expectations and the interaction of their conditions. I can see it would be very frustrating if one partner refused treatment, I think there has to be some commitment to improve things. I'm not sure how functional it can be but hey, I don't reckon there is such a thing as a perfect relationship.

It does sound like maybe your ex did get some help, to come out and talk about his ability to manage his mental health like that. It does make me sad that a lot of us blokes won't seek help when it is clearly required, I bucked against it for a long time and had the same attitude that we should be able to fix it ourselves but of course that is not clear thinking, I had no idea how my mind was (not) working. I don't think there is anything wrong with texting him, 'still here if you need to chat', of course you may need to be prepared for his reply.

I am happy to chat about your ex any time, but I will add, your relationship with your ex is one part of you, there are many other parts to you and I hope you spend some time focusing on the positive parts of your life, start building new pathways that lead to peace and happiness, find the things that you love and focus your attention there, this will help you and your ex if he gets in contact with you. You can still give thought to your situation with your ex when you choose the moment but you could practice focusing on other good stuff for the rest of the day. What do you think?


dear Wander_lust, hi and thanks for posting your comment, which I must say is so sad that when two people love each other, but the relationship can't exist because one of you becomes depressed, but is somewhat in denial.

I say somewhat in denial, but he realises that he is struggling, but refuses to get any help, so this is a real problem.

You ask whether 2 people suffering from depression can have a functional relationship, well there are many pro's and con's, and yes you can have a relationship but certainly not a functional one, it just won't survive.

First of all I suggest that you seek treatment yourself, because no matter how much you love him you won't be able to fully help him, you haven't got the strength to do this.

Love can't fix depression, although it may help to cure it, but he believes that he's not good for your own health, but when you are treated you can then tell him that you are fully capable of living with him without any repercussions.

The amount of time you haven't heard from him is a concern for you, but for someone in depression this amount of time means nothing.

I hope that you can get back to us. L Geoff. x

Hi Geoff & Jack,

Thank you so much for your posts. Greatly appreciated.

You have good points in that he needed to make the effort to help himself & seek help otherwise it was never really going to work.

I still haven't heard anything from him.

I've spent my time focusing on me and developing my own happiness. That's my primary focus - to rebuild my life & create the life I want. And to be happy. I've been stuck in a very negative cycle over the last 12 months.

I think that impacted on him as well and the whole thing spiraled out of control.

We were due to go back to the UK & Ireland - hes from the UK & im from Ireland. Our flights were booked together for July 11th.

I was thinking of messaging him just a couple of days out to see if he was still travelling then. What do you think?

Or should I just leave him be and if he ever wants to come back to me he knows where I am?

I hate that depression & negativity tore the most wonderful relationship i had with the most darling man apart. Ive vowed to myself to never let my negativity destroy my relationship again. I've been practicing mindfullness and positive thinking and it's making a massive difference. I truly hope i never have this again. 

Hi wander_lust, nice to hear from you.

I am so glad that you have found some things that are making a difference for you, keep it up, you will create the life you want. 

I am not sure I can answer your questions, I think only you can know your expectations and how much you value this relationship. I don't think you should be left waiting to hear from him, I think you have the strength to expect more from him if you desire. Personally, if it was me I would want to know about the travel plans ASAP. I think it has been months since you have heard from him, I don't really think that is fair on you and I don't think you should be left waiting there 'if he ever wants to come back.' I think you deserve better than that. 

But, that is my opinion, only you can weigh up all the factors to make decisions that are best for you, so you can take actions that reflect what you expect of your true self. (I will support you whatever you decide) I am glad you have vowed to stamp out negativity, this can only make you happier.

I know it is very sad if this is the end of your relationship, the silver lining in the cloud is how much you have grown from this experience, you are learning a lot about your self and that will result in much more happiness and better relationships in the future. Love to you mate, talk any time.