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Partner with depression (ruining perfect relationship)

Community Member

I have been with my partner for a year, and although all relationships have their ups and downs I can honestly say we have had the greatest year, with love, laughter, great holidays, understanding and support and open communication about everything.

I knew my partner used to speak to someone a few years ago but that is all I knew, I also have gotten professional help once for some life direction at a time where I was a little lost but I was never clinically depressed or anxious. I assumed he meant the same thing. I found out that he was on medication and only came off it 1.5 years ago and was diagnosed mild to moderate depression/anxiety. I was surprised that he had not told me this sooner, the reason I found out was because I had moved into his place and we decided to live together as we basically were already, the only thing that changed was me paying rent and the title of me 'living' there.

One night he would not have sex with me, came home and had taken some drugs which he never does, maybe one since I have known him, plus some other strange behaviours that week.This was upsetting for me, he said something had changed and he felt like the dynamic had changed and he didn't know why or what and of course it upset me, i had not changed, nothing had changed. I initially thought it was me and he just didn't love me anymore but after speaking to friends and putting the pieces together I realised it was his mental health that was struggling which was the reason for his low libido and disconnection. I moved out for a week, gave him space, looked after him, offered him support in anyway he wanted it. I literally have done and read absolutely everything I am even going to a psychologist for myself to talk it out and get supportive coping strategies, but I know at the end of the day if he does not want to get help than I cannot do anything, I ended up moving out which shocked him and killed me.... he has started making slow steps, he has a lot of past hurt that he has never fully dealt with from family issues to never having anyone to support him... the fact we have discussed a future I think that scares him because he thinks it will all go wrong and that he will have to face more family break up and pick up the pieces.. He's struggling to let go and move forward, he says he doesnt want to lose me. I am not sure what else to do??? Not sure how long I can hold on.

89 Replies 89

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Speakforchange,

Mental health issues are very confusing for the person who is inflicted and for the people who are around them. It is wonderful you have been looking into depression, how to help yourself and your boyfriend.

One issue with depression, is that it can manifest itself differently in everyone. The material you are reading is helpful. Have you read information on how to assist a person experiencing depression>

The Beyondblue website has some information regarding this. If you have not already read about how to help others, it may be helpful.

As a person who has been experienced depression for a long time, I would jut like to point out there are different ways to assist people. A depressed person does not want to feel the way they do! We all wish we could flick a switch and be rid of the illness.

Hopefully with support and help, your boyfriend will be able to move on, and the two of you can form a lasting relationship.

Cheers to you both, from Dools

Community Member

Hey SpeakofChange,

Gosh you've had a pretty rotten time of it lately!
Firstly I'd probably suggest having a look in the "Relationship and family issues" section of these forums. There are lots of posts in there from people facing difficulties slightly similar to yours and you might find the advice thats been offered to them useful for you.

I know you didn't come on the forums looking for praise, but I just wanted to say I think you are doing an amazing job trying to cope with everything that has been going on in a really mature sensible way. Going to see a professional yourself shows really great insight into the things you can control, and is such a proactive step. Well done, you should be a little bit proud of yourself and how you're trying to manage a difficult situation.

A frustrating thing about life and relationships is that we can never control the other person or make them want to do something if they don't want to do it. If your partner doesn't want to address his mental health difficulties the only thing you can really do is be there for him and make sure you are looking after your own mental health (which it sounds like you are).

Perhaps you could talk to your psychologist about couples therapy options? It might be a conflict of interest for your psychologist to start couples therapy with you both, but they might be able to recommend somewhere for you guys to go? Couples therapy can be really helpful in providing a safe place for you to both express your concerns with each other, and have a independent third party there to help moderate the conversation and keep it productive. They might also be able to offer you guys some strategies to help with your partners anxiety/depression or help encourage your partner to seek further personal assistance for whats going on for him.
If he doesn't want to return to taking the medications thats ok, there are lots of other things he can do for his mental health that might mean you guys can continue your relationship in a health way.

I'm glad you feel like he has started taking slow steps. Maybe accessing professional help is the next step you can encourage him to take?

You sound like a really devoted partner SpeakofChange and like you're doing the best you can right now. Try to remember that's all you can do, and that your mental health and happiness is important too!


Hi Ell,

Thank you for your reply... I am doing the best I can and I am well informed thank you for acknowledging that.

He doesn't want to get help with me and I have offered that there for him individually or together for whenever he is ready. I know that he really wants to do this on his own though. He has now spoken to friends about it which is good and also has looked at going to a mental wellness retreat. We have decided to go on a break with no communication for a little while, but he knows I am there if he needs me. We both really want it to work out, but the scary thing is that he cannot promise me anything and feels bad letting me hang on...

I feel like eventually he has to meet me half way in some way or it is not going to work.. I do have to be patient and give it more time but it is hard to have no partner and be in limbo for an unidentified amount of time. I have good and bad days as anyone would but feel very sad about all of it because our relationship was before this seemingly perfect. I know I just have to be patient, because I am not ready to break up with him just yet. He said if he comes back to us being together he needs to have a firm plan and action so that it does not happen again. Which is a good thing from him to say. He also said he needs to be 100% between the ears before he can give 100% to me. I hope there is a break through sometime soon. I miss my partner so much and love him more than anything.

This is truly such a horrible illness.

Thank you for your support

Hi Ell

it is hard. Trust me. I ended up in a bad place because I was putting his needs and wants before my own. Take the time to find out who you are, what you want in a relationship and if this is what you want. Breaking up is hard to do but life can’t be put on hold either.

I loved my boyfriend, still do. But I recently got really hurt by him. Not saying this will happen to you but you should prepare yourself that he might not feel like he can be in a relationship for a while.

My sister told me that she thought my ex-boyfriend was doing the right thing. At first I didn’t think so but as time went on, I think she was right. A lot of time they don’t know how to be in a relationship during and simply can’t meet your needs and feel guilty for that.

Hi LeeA18's,

I agree with what you are saying and I am so sorry to hear your relationship ended but yes maybe it will be for the best. We are currently on a break, he does feel guilty for what he is doing to me, as he does not want be to be unhappy or just holding on, he feels like that is unfair because it has only been a month but he has acknowledged that he is unsure yet if he will have to do this himself or alone (not in a relationship) to be honest it has resurfaced due to the fact that hurt from past relationships not his own but family members that he has had to pick up the pieces from a divorce of his parents and still feel the ramifications of that he has a lot of past trauma that he hasnt faced and has gotten used to doing all things for himself, he says he doesnt want to lose me but yes i agree I cannot put my life on hold for too long, I have definitely been thinking about what it is that I want for myself and to be honest i was completely blind sided by all this because our actual relationship is so perfect, so at this point in time I am looking after myself to keep my head above water, exercising, eating healthy, socialising, speaking out and seeing a psychologist. I also at this point cannot break up with him for the pure reason of his past issues so for now i will give it some time, but i know eventually there has to be some shift.. and i do know there is a possibly it might not work out... it scares me and i also know i might have to eventually break up with him if this goes on for too long. Thank you for all your thoughts 🙂

I could have written what you wrote. My story is quite identical. I think you are doing all the right things. Keep us updated.

Hi LeeA18,
I hope you are okay post break up...
It is nice to talk to someone who can relate? Just a question how old are you? How old is your partner? I know age isn't really a big deal but just curious. I am 27 and my partner is about to turn 31. I am definitely doing absolutely everything I can, exhausting every allocation. I will let you know how this all develops. How long were you and your ex going out for and how long did you wait or did he wait to end things from when you found out what was going on?

Hi LeeA18,

I hope you are okay post break up...
It is nice to talk to someone who can relate? Just a question how old are you? How old is your partner? I know age isn't really a big deal but just curious. I am 27 and my partner is about to turn 31. I am definitely doing absolutely everything I can, exhausting every allocation. I will let you know how this all develops. How long were you and your ex going out for and how long did you wait or did he wait to end things from when you found out what was going on?

It’s hard. I find writing it all out helps me. It’s all I think about really.

I am 36, he was 32. Despite the age, he had more experience in relationships but were all bad. One in particular, which was dreadful when I heard it. Not surprised he is still dealing with anxiety/commitment issues from it.

we were together for a year. Were good friends for 6 months prior. Felt like we had been together for a lot longer. I Knew about his mental health prior to getting in a relationship with him but didn’t realise how deep it ran. It’s easier to be a friend, you can go home and live your life. When you are a partner, you feel responsible and try and help more.

he was quite open from when the anxiety/depression started again (well, when he told me. Not sure if he hid it for a little bit). He communicated well at first. A week later it was a different story. I could barely get a sentence out from him and all he could do was apologise for not being able to say anything and being quiet. So from start to finish was 3 weeks. We still spoke after that for about a month. There was a big improvement from the time it started to the last time I saw him. I haven’t heard much from him over the last month. Just random texts mainly. Stuff that he needs to let go. I don’t know where his headspace is right now. Being away from him has been good for me though as it just hurts.