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Dealing with Depressed and Apathetic Boyfriend

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I'm 19 years old and have been with my boyfriend for nearly three years. When I met him at school he was teased about having no feelings as he never really responded to anything, regardless or whether it was happy, sad, angry, etc. Anyways, we became close friends and ended up getting together. A few months after this he revealed that he had been depressed, except instead of feeling characteristic sadness, he simply didn't feel anything. He reassured me that our relationship had fixed it and that "I made him feel happy when he thought he never would be again." Our relationship was pure bliss for about the next year and a half, maybe a bit longer. Following this, I felt something change in him, like something was off although his behaviour didn't seem drastically different. Just little things like not wanting to see me as much. He also dropped out of university which I found odd but not extremely so because he had never been the most enthusiastic student. However, several months later I found out that he'd been lying to me about many things, even things that were insignificant. He also began stealing money from his job and hanging around questionable new people. Upon finding all this out, his family and I were obviously extremely upset but he seemed not to have any empathy whatsoever. I continued to try to make the relationship work but several months later he broke up with me saying that he didn't love me anymore and that he saw no future between us. During the breakup he treated me very poorly, namely by stringing me along. At the same time, he made more strange friends and began to use drugs recreationally. He ended up being thrown out of home and 2 days later turned up on my doorstep begging for forgiveness and help for mental health issues. I took him back, as did his family, but he then refused to get help. We let it go because for the next month and a half he went back to normal, treating everyone with love and respect. However, one night he revealed to me that he had been depressed (no emotions) again for the last year which is when his odd behaviour began. He has since been to a GP/psychologist but tells me that it probably won't help us and that he can't give me his 100% and that I deserve better. I am very confused because I don't know how much of what he is saying/doing is his illness and how much is him. I love him very much and don't want to lose him. I am currently giving him space to think about our relationship. Help?

25 Replies 25

Hello SH, I am so sorry that I have lost track of your post. Please forgive me.

I am sad to read about your partner. I know its days later and I do hope you get this post. No one is ever a cause for another person's illness.

If you are up to it, please let us know how you are going

Really sorry SH, Paulx

Hi SH,

I've also just seen your post. Sorry that you are in this situation now.

Having also been though depression and medication and the battles, it's a difficult journey, however with a lot of time and effort I have been off medication and no depression symptoms, so the black dog can go away, but only time will tell if it's gone for good. So it's unknown how your partner will go.

There is often a second battle fought by the partner, (you) and it's just as hard.

As Paul says, read the info on this site, it's very helpful. But there is no quick fix. It's about being supportive but also looking after yourself. As it can be quite draining having someone close with depression.

Getting professional help is really important, and unfortunately some professionals are not as good as others, so someone needs to check that he has the right person helping him. Bases on your early comments about his initial traits I got the impressions that he may have some issues from his childhood haunting him, so that could be underlying his condition. But that's what a professional should be looking for.

His recent negative behaviour change, sounded to me like drugs may have been involved, stealing, etc. was the the cause or the outcome is unknown. Him hurting you may also have been a sign that he cared, and thought pushing you away would be best for you. Sometimes the more painful way it's done could be to stop you coming back to him, and therefore protecting you.

Sounds like there is a lot more to his story than you may be aware of, and he may not be able to share it with you. I would think that he is not out of your life and that he will return again. As others mentioned, it can be quite painful so you need to decide where you want to be. And I would suggest that you take the controlling role, you decide on what terms the relationship continues and what he must do.

But please do it with love, he probably needs a supportive and firm guide, not a slave driver.

Paul, please don't be sorry, it's absolutely fine. I am doing okay, much better than I thought I would. I don't know exactly how my (ex)-partner is doing as we haven't really spoken but judging by his Facebook profile, he has returned to his "friends", drugs, partying etc. and an educated guess would tell me that he is no longer seeing his psychologist. I wish there was more I could do to help him but I feel like I have already done and suffered enough for him. It's in his hands now - I suppose it always was.

Coolguy, thank you also for your response. You're right in that he does have a lot of childhood trauma. He always felt that it had not affected him but this is obviously untrue. I'm not sure about your comment that he pushed me away for my own good. Perhaps this is true because he did say, "I think I'm just going to keep hurting you," but I took this as more of an unwillingness to compromise the way one should in a relationship. There probably is a lot more to all this than I am aware of but at this point I have to look after myself and go with the assumption that he will not return so that I am able to move forward with my own life.

Thanks SH

I Love your attitude. Sometimes there is only so much we can do unfortunately. My daughter is 23 and has post natal depression and is gone all emo and dark & weird. I cant help her. She refuses to even listen to me. I have to let her find her own way. I hear you loud and clear.


I'm very sorry to hear that, Paul. I hope things improve for her and you.

I reached out to my ex-partner yesterday after I encountered him on drugs again the other night and he told me he isn't seeing his psychologist anymore because he "didn't like it." I tried one last time to tell him that he needs help but he just rolled his eyes and told me that he feels nothing for me and that I need to leave.

It was very hard to hear those words come out of the mouth of someone I shared my life with for 3 years and I am very scared for where his life is headed. I really hope he wakes up one day.

Hey SH, thankyou for your thoughts about my daughter, they are much appreciated:-)

You really are a wonderful person to be trying so hard for your ex. When he said 'I didnt like it' is a classic sign of a person that is out of his comfort zone as you know.The first few visits with a therapist are unpleasant because they are trying to uncover any past issues which I remember made me cry my eyes out. The best decision I have ever made was seeing that doc.

Your ex just doesnt get it. Sometimes we have to feel worse before we can heal and recover.

It is very sad that he is taking the easy way out which unfortunately is self destructive and provides only short term 'fixes'. He cant even see a beautiful caring person like yourself trying to help him.

Kind wishes for you SH


You're welcome, Paul 🙂 My thoughts are most sincere. I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to help your own child. 😞

And yes, what you are saying makes a lot of sense. I have been to a therapist myself a couple of times and it is always very hard to open up but it is always worth it in the end. I am struggling with a little bit of depression myself at the moment because I did sincerely love him and his loss and rejection is weighing very heavily on me to the point where I am just sleeping a lot and very down/irritable when I am awake. I have been trying to keep myself busy by doing things that I enjoy and I am taking a short trip to Melbourne in a week and a half also. I really hope this will help me through. Do you, perhaps, have any other tips for handling these feelings?


You have the tip mentioning 'gentle distraction' by finding things you enjoy doing. You would be in a dark place now SH, it can be soul destroying. Having a short trip/break is always a cool idea too.

If you do find yourself having some feelings of depression, acknoweldge them as only feelings and 'float' with them...or gently accept that these feelings...even dreadful....are harmless and temporary.

Getting a quality sleep is always a bonus too 🙂 A great boost for mental health...

Great to see you posting back SH......are you having any anxiety at all?

Kind wishes for you


Hello Paul,

Thanks for the insight about just 'floating' with the feelings. I think it is easy to get caught up in them to the point where they are all you pay attention to.

I am sleeping well but far too much - 12 hours a day, sometimes more. 😕

And I think I have a few symptoms of anxiety - racing heart, sick feeling in the stomach, obsessive thinking... not too sure what to do about them though.

Thank you for your kind replies xx

Hey SH,

Ta for the reply, 12 hours a night? Oh I wish. If I may ask you, are you working? A racing heart can be just really basic stress....but can also be the adrenaline pumping too hard. Nausea can be a dreadful feeling. obsessive thinking is also common which I used to do....or as I called it...'overthinking'

Overthinking is usually a result of a 'tired' mind. When we are mentally fatigued our mind can overthink which can be exhausting.

I know you are doing it hard right now SH..