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Don't want to give up on my depressed ex

Community Member

I have been in a very happy relationship with this guy (he's 36, I'm 25). Both of us have suffered from depression in the past.

Recently his business has started to fail. He broke off our relationship saying that even though there was a lot of feeling involved still, he didn't want to put me through his ups and downs over the next few months. He emphasised that we should still stay in close contact, and that he really wanted to be friends still. We kept up messaging but he essentially withdrew completely from seeing everyone, including me.

A few months later I saw him again for the first (extended) period of time (he had kept putting it off,there was also a death in the family), and he became pretty emotional, saying that he felt very uncomfortable around his closest mates. He was pretty pessimistic about his situation. He said he still had very strong feelings for me, but that he couldn't see any possibility of a relationship, but again implored me to keep in contact with him, and said he couldn't bear it if I went out of his life.

Since then contact with him has been sporadic. I message him a few times a week, just wanting to provide a distraction for him. I believe he has Asperger's (undiagnosed) as well and do not know how to approach the topic with him, since I feel he has pushed me away a lot. In the month since I saw him in person (I went away for a while to give him space) he has become even more withdrawn and very manic, and despite our on-and-off again contact he still is keen to make time for me, though he does have days and weeks at a time where he can't bear to see anyone.

His work situation is dire, and I am worried about how distant and frenzied he has become to the point where he doesn't seem recognisable. I love this guy very deeply. Since we broke up things have become drastically worse with no sign of improvement, and I am at a loss now with what to do. I never want to give up on him, but lately it seems no-one can actually bring him back, and that he has no desire to seek help.

I want to talk to him but I am also fearful of pushing him further away. Not sure what to do 😞

3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello loz-grace,

It's so hard to provide support when someone doesn't want it. Even more so when they seem confused and we almost get into a push-pull situation. I can understand how helpless you may be feeling right now.

I think it is hard to say what would be best to do in this situation since people react quite differently. But perhaps instead we can focus on how you feel and what you would want to do, since these are the things that we can actually control?

Your ex has pushed you out of his life. Not entirely, but quite significantly. This must be really hard on you as well since you love him still. But the way things are right now, it seems fair to say that he isn't in a position to reciprocate, and that is why he felt he needed to push you away.

So in the meantime, I wonder if you have had time to deal with the loss of a relationship. Do you have any friends who you have spoken to about the loss?


Community Member

Thanks for your reply James 🙂

The people closest to me keep telling me not to give up and to maintain some form of contact with him. I have this instinct that keeps telling me to perservere as well, even though I know the relationship we once had is probably lost forever. I have put things in place to help me move on- going back to uni, travel etc.

I wish I had have done more earlier on, or been more assertive somehow. The fact that he says there are still feelings there prevents me from moving on.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey loz-grace,

It sounds like you've done some good mental work in trying to plan for a life without him. I think that is the best move as you do not know what will happen.

I hear you. We always seem to look back and have all these things we wish we'd done differently. It makes getting over a broken relationship so difficult, because a part of us also goes, and maybe if I do this, things will be better again. Of course, we never really know whether it would, but our emotional selves so desperately want to feel whole again so it's very natural to start having all these regrets.

But I am glad to hear you do have people you can talk to. I am currently talking to my sister about something completely different and she's also spoken to others about her own predicament as well. I think the most important thing for her, and I guess for you as well, is to remember that the most important opinion is your own. There probably isn't a wrong thing to do as long as you keep an open mind to all the possibilities, and reach out for support when you need it.

Perhaps some enforced time apart from both of you would be good to work out what you each want - not from each other, but from the rest of your life. After all, as you say, you have uni and travel that you want to do. My own perspective is that your relationship fits into your life alongside your other desires in a balance.

Anyway, I hope the weekend was alright for you! Sorry about not replying, I don't usually reply on weekends.