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Girlfriend or carer?

Community Member
I am in a relationship with a partner who has depression. It has been two years since we got together. He is a naturally introverted guy and ever since we met it has always been me leading us to do things, it was even me who got us together. But the past year and a half has been bad as he has been going down hill. I feel like his mother nagging him to take his medication (he is only back on meds as I suggested he needed support from them), to book an appointment with the psychologist. Whenever I try to talk to him about it and how I feel not supported he puts a wall up and shuts down. It feels like I am living with a zombie and I am no longer attracted to him. I am in the middle now between being his girlfriend or his carer. He doesn't have any friends anymore and no support from his family. I dont know what to do. I have spoken to a counsellor and she says I need to decide if I continue in the relationship and be his carer or his girlfriend or end the relationship - but I always put others first and I am so afraid of ending it for some reason. I dont want him to have no one. Helllpppp.
5 Replies 5

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello kswirle, taking the depression out of it just for a moment, you say you have been together for two years and things have been going downhill for the last year and a half. So basically, things have been going downhill for the vast majority of the time you have been together. Does this sound like a relationship that is working?

Your boyfriend had depression before you got together, and he will have it after you leave. In fact, leaving might even be the catalyst to get him to take some responsibility for the state of his life and reconnect with others. It sounds like you have been calling the shots for the last two years, which would be reinforcing his learned helplessness.

There is a difference between "always putting others first" and thinking that you can fix other people.

Community Member

Hey KSwirle,

Heed the advice of your counselor well.

You care for him, thats undeniable, but you know what?...

...sometimes we have to love someone from a distance, so that they have all the time and space that they need to heal and get better.

Your partner IS unwell.

You both have to come to terms with that.


You are of no use to him, if all your emotional reserves are drained.

And thats whats happening.

Your 'life force', your energy is being used all up.

Lead the way and show him that love must also be for oneself as well, for it to be complete.

Use this time to get you as happy and as healthy as you can.

I'm probably old enough to be your dad, but it is true what they say...

...if its really meant to be, itll have a funny way of happening.

But, if not...

...You still deserve to be happy, no matter what.

We cant save everyone, not even our partners or people that we love dearly.

Healthy boundaries are often mentioned in many threads on BB, so look into how you can assert healthy boundaries without causing too much pain or hurt for either of you.

Just remember that his healing, or at least, him getting back on track... can not be rushed.

He will still have you BUT you must love him from a distance now, so that you can take good care of you.

Its worth it.

Stay in touch.

Make yourself at home, and take a look around...




Very good replies above.

If you want you can ask him to read this thread

Google: topic: who cares for the carer?- beyondblue

Tony WK

Thank you all. We have made the split and will be going our separate ways once the lease for the house is sorted out. We both spoke and agree we have drifted apart and we want different things out of life so putting the depression aside, the break up was going to happen once we finished uni anyway. I just feel so broken inside because I love him and I want this relationship to work, but I know what life will be like if we stay together - not much laughter, not much going out and trying new things. And I have changed significantly since being in this relationship. But after 2 years of being with someone, and similar to marriage, isn't it normal that relationships aren't exciting and as passionate anymore? What if Im throwing away this relationship because I was to travel and be social and laugh everyday and try new things with life constantly, but in reality that isn't how relationships go? Or is it if you find someone who shares the same wants and dreams as you?

On a positive note I contacted his brother and him and his partner are helping him out now and his brother even told him that he loves him, so this is strengthening their relationship which is very much needed. Maybe if I had of gone to his brother earlier this could have all been avoided? Why didn't I do that?

Im so confused now!

Hi again

Firstlt well done in terms if action one way or the other.

As for your confusion its likely best to stay friends...see what transcribes over time. Both of you might change further.

Sometimes we think we are grieving for a lost relationship when we are also afraid of the future alone and other fears. Its a fine line all these worries.

I think you lack positivity. You remind me of myself when younger...anxious, sad, worried etc.

Fortunately for me I attended a motivation lecture in 1982. It changed my life forever. Yes I fall into a hole regularly due to my illness but I rebound once my head is straight again.

Google: Topic: 30 minutes can change your life- beyondblue

Topic: motivation search and rescue it- beyondblue

Topic: feeding your brain- beyondblue

Topic: the best praise you'll ever get- beyondblue

Good luck. Take care

Tony WK