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Partner with depression (ruining perfect relationship)

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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

I am so sorry it is such a terrible situation for both of us to be in. It truly is the worst in the world maybe even more so for the supportive partner because we don't actually have any issues to fix or that we can fix. I obviously still think about it everyday, we have decided for now to have a clean break and not to talk, I know he would never see anyone else or be in that headspace at all, that is not even what the break is about we haven't said how long it is either, i guess it will just be for me until i feel better to either slowly build upon the relationship and let it work until he feels like he has some form of action in place and then again I could get a slap in the face and he decide he says he wants to be alone. The worst thing is... I know deep down and he has admitted it, he really doesn't want to lose me he would be shattered it all stems now from the guilt of making me wait which is pushing me away and the subconscious pressure of me still technically being there in some entity that makes him feel potentially like he has to do something fast. His past relationships werent negative they just werent for him, it was family hurt and divorce that he had to pick up the pieces and deal with and i think it absolutely terrifies him that he would have to face something like that again. He has no one here where he lives in terms of family and not much support, I can see he is taking small steps. He did say he wants to be happy and he wants to be positive and he truly hopes it all works out.. so that is what I hold on for now..

Hi Speakforchange,

I’m so sorry to hear what you’re doing through. It is similar to my relationship with my ex-boyfriend. We split up just over 2 weeks ago so I’m feeling pretty sad still and basically just riding the rollercoaster of emotions. I was blindsided by my boyfriend who announced one afternoon that his mental health was going down hill. I had no idea how bad his mental health had gotten in the past. He only brought it up a few weeks before we broke up because he was getting extremely stressed about uni. I tried supporting him as much as I could but in the end it wasn’t enough. We had been together for just under a year and we’re planning on moving in together soon. He has asked me to not contact him and has convinced himself he needs to be alone to get through this. It’s incredibly tough because I loved him so much but I have acknowledged I need to take care of myself too.

i think the best thing you can do is also take care of yourself. Surround yourself with your close friends and don’t forget your self-worth. You deserve someone who will treat you the way you also treat them. I hope you’re going ok.

Community Member

It’s amazing how similar our stories are. It’s also a comfort as well. I feel discarded as I always believed that, when in a relationship, you lean on each other for support and for good and hard times. I told this to my ex-boyfriend and he said that he knew that but he just felt like he needed space.

i have my next psych appointment in 1.5 weeks. I really need it. I am confused again.

Community Member

Similar to SpeakforChange I thought my relationship was perfect. But I have realised that it was ‘too perfect’ now. For the year we were together we didn’t have one fight, we travelled overseas together and our parents had become friends. I did start to feel something was ‘off’ though in the last 2 weeks of the relationship because my partner became more quiet and said it was just exam stress. I tried so badly to get him to open up to me. The weekend before we broke up he told me I was his soul mate. Then he said like a ‘switch’ he realised his mental health was bad and needed to be alone to work on it. I am still heart broken but the best advice I’ve received is that partners are meant to build each other up. When we are at our lowest we’re meant to turn to each other, not decide to be alone. I completely understand metal health changes peoples thoughts but my breakup was done in such a horrible way that I have to look after myself for the time being. This is much easier said than done though. We have spoken a few times since the breakup and every time my heart re-breaks over the withdrawn and cold person he has become. I’m hoping that time will eventually start to make this better and the amount of emotions I go through everyday will start to get less.

I hope you’re taking care of yourself too. Anyone have any suggestions to try and get over the confusion of these breakups? I’ve read a lot of stuff about relationships and communication which is helping a bit

Community Member

Yes! Mine seemed perfect too. No fights, was easy, carefree. I met some of his extended family 3 days before he spiralled. We were just about to move in with each other, which is what he blamed it on. Even my psych said that he can still be in a relationship when depressed and get support. The first thing my psych asked me when I told him was “why do you still want to be with him?” My response “I can’t let go.” That’s what it is like when they tell you they are breaking up with you because of a mental illness. There’s always a little bit of hope that they’ll get better and you’ll be together again. The thing is, someone might not come out of depression the same person they were before depression.

the thing is, there is no communication when this happens. I tried to get him to see reason for a couple of weeks. He always justified it. I always felt like I had to protect him because “he is going through depression at the moment.” That didn’t turn out well for my mental health either. Even our friends are confused. He led me on for a month afterwards as well. At the moment, I don’t trust anything he says or does. He seems erratic. I will post what I wrote on my post about something that happened.

Community Member

The following is a huge reason why I am confused. I haven’t told him the whole story of what I know. I don’t know if I should now.

After a turbulent 2 months of hot and cold behaviour, yesterday was the final straw for me. His erratic behaviour is just confusing and I can’t trust him anymore.
on the day that we broke up, we went out for lunch. When we were driving, he sent a message to someone with a kiss and love heart. He saw that I saw and he said that it was to *male friends name* and they had been joking around the previous night telling each other that they loved each other. His brother noticed him smiling and asked who he was texting. I thought it was a bit odd why he would do this with another male friend and just figured that each friendship is different.
We got home and we were sitting on the couch. He broke up with me. I was sitting next to him when he leaned forward and opened his phone up. On it were 2 pics at the bottom of the screen with “his initials ❤️ Someone else’s initials” and “I love you”. These were created in a drawing app. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t for 2 months. Didn’t say a word to anybody. It ate me up. I noticed 3 days later that they were added to social media. So I figured out who the initials were for. I didn’t see much activity between them on social media though. Just 1 like and 1 tag in a meme.
fast forward and I finally asked him about what I saw in the car. He told me that it was nothing, honestly. Just his godfathers daughter going through a tough time.
Yep, so his story the first time didn’t match up to his story yesterday. I actually believe the story yesterday. Only the second bit. Whether it was nothing, I am not sure. I didn’t tell him what else I saw. I spoke to a couple of friends who said that I should. I keep protecting him and not wanting to upset him, for some reason. So I decided to write it all in a letter.
What annoys me is that he was a mess himself and jumped on her emotional rollercoaster to apparently help her. It was a time when he should have been communicating and leaning on me. A time that was crucial in our relationship to work out things but instead he pushed me away and ran. Now I think I know why.
so that’s me done.

Hi Lost6,

I am sorry it is truly heart breaking isn't it.

I just am getting by day to day at the moment, but do not have a lot of friends around at the moment as they are all overseas or have recently moved interstate. I am sorry your break up was horrible... and done in a not so nice or civil way. The thing is between me and my boyfriend we are still very much kind and considerate to each other and being quite logical about it all, well I am and hes also very conscious of what it is doing to me... the hardest part is at the end of the day if he does not want to let me be there in some capacity I will have to break up with him... as I am getting to the point where I am going to need human love and affection I have needs too and I cannot keep doing this to myself, being on a clean break hoping in the next few weeks he gets some clarity to allow us to move forward, it could really go either way at the moment. I know he truly loves me and wants to make it work but these demons that he cannot face and be subject to the vulnerability may be bigger than us and at the end of the day it may not allow us to make it through.

As far as things you can do, I think you said it yourself take time to do things you enjoy, see friends, eat well, exercise, write down things ( I know that helps me a lot ) and just take it day by day... the only thing that heals is time and as long as you putting the right things in place to get there you will be ok eventually, unfortunately we as human can't just shut off the emotions and automatically feel better.

Wishing you a nice weekend 🙂

Hi speakforchange

I decided to leave the city and spend the weekend at the beach. They say that the ocean and sun is good for the soul right?

I think that you and your partner are being very mature about this situation which is one silver lining. That fact you can both see the rational side of the situation, no matter how upsetting it is, will hopefully mean that you can make a joint decision about the relationship. I can imagine it is still incredibly heart breaking and I’m so sorry you’re going through this. But you’re right about yourself having needs that also need to be looked after. Make sure you don’t burn yourself out either.

Unfortunately like my relationship I think the complex mental health and emotional problems were too big for my love and support to really help him. I miss him an incredible amount and I just wish he had given me the opportunity for a discussion. I feel like there’s a battle in my head recently between the rational side that can see this relationship was never going to last the distance if only one person was opening up but the rest of me mourns for the amazing memories we had and the person I thought I was dating. Is that what you’re feeling too?

I hope your Monday is going ok!

Community Member


Your last paragraph is so true. It’s hard because your brain and heart fight each other. You can question yourself and him. It can literally drive you crazy.

Hi Lost6,

I ended it over the weekend it was horrible, what break up ends with a hug and a kiss. I collected all my furniture yesterday and he would have got home to a pretty bare apartment (but he said he wanted to do it alone) so there he is finally alone. I left the key on the counter.

In a way it was a tough love decision as I am hoping it will spur him along to get help if he really wants us to be together, me being there was comforting for him because even though I was not there he knew I was there in the background so he had that comfort as he knew he had not lost me. It was extremely difficult to end it.... It was something I didn't think I would have done already even though I kind of had a timeline in my head. I am off on a trip for a week with work to do some charity work internationally so it will be nice to give back and put my life into perspective a little and just disconnect.

I still love him.... I still haven't digested what I did.... I still hope he will come back to me and realise he has messed up.... we still love each other.... but he needs to deal with the underlying issues that has not allowed him to move into that next phase of his life... whichever way it goes.... I will either be free and heal sooner and find the person that deserves my love or he will come back and fight for us and we will be stronger but for now I cannot think of that just taking it all day by day.

I agree with what you said in your last paragraph, his mental health issues did become bigger than us and I could not compete with that and I said that to him... I said I love you.. but I also love me... and I cannot keep living like this... he was pretty shattered... but he does need this time to truly be alone... I have done everything that I can possibly do for him and he knows if he ever really does want to reach out to me in particular I would be there for him... I am completely heartbroken and saddened by this all but I am not sure, well I know there is nothing more I could do or have done in this situation I exhausted all avenues as well as myself and now I just need to be kind to me and put me first for a while!

I am glad you took some time to go away and do something for you xx