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Boyfriend struggling with depression broke up with me
Hi, I’ve never posted on here but my boyfriend of 1.5 years recently broke up with me due to his struggle with depression. As far as I’m aware it was a very happy, loving, caring and genuine relationship from both sides and this seems very out of the blue. He told me he was struggling in mid December and suggested a break, which lasted for a week where we didn’t see each other but still kept in contact and he assured me that he didn’t want to break up and he still loved me he just needed some time and space. I struggled to understand how he was feeling and why he was shutting me out so suddenly and struggled with the fact that I couldn’t help and felt as though our relationship had become a chore for him, so after a week he suggested we break up but with the idea that we would get back together when he was in the right headspace. For a week after this I still contacted him every second day or so just to see how he was doing and to wish him a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and he responded to every message. After 2 weeks of this he sends me a text saying that I kept pushing him when he just wanted some space and he has a bunch of things to work through and doesn’t see us getting back together in the future. This was a week and a half ago now and there’s been no further contact since. He told me a couple of weeks ago that he’s getting psychological help but I’m just worried about him and feel so sad and confused that a relationship that was so loving and positive has changed so fast and has ended so abruptly. I know that he has suffered from a very bad depressive episode in the past and none of his friends reached out to him so a part of me wants to reach out and let him know I still care and am always there for him but he has explicitly asked for space and has not contacted me so I don’t want to make things worse. I just don’t know what to do and I just feel sad and alone and I miss him so much. I guess I just wanted to see if anyone was facing anything similar and wanted to talk about it.
I can relate so well to much of what you've described above about how you are struggling to understand how someone who loved can just cut you out of their life so easily and quickly. My partner did it to me 5 weeks ago. Out of the blue, unexpectedly. We also had many plans for the future. It hurts a lot and I think even more so when there is no apparent reason. Have you thought about getting some help? Today I had my first appointment with a psychologist. It's not going to bring him back but I've realised that I need help to get through it or else I just won't be able to progress with my life.
Dear AnnabelleN with a wave to Jhc
Hello and welcome to the forum. I can imagine the pain and disappointment both of you have experienced with your BF decision to part. It seems more than a little unfair as he has made the decision without any reference to you. Whether or not you have depression or any other MH issue it is hard to feel pushed out of the way to allow someone to get well alone.
Of course there are several assumptions about getting well. Without wanting to be sexist in any way I have observed that it is always the men who think this is the best way to cope. Or to put it this way, I have not come across women who decide the road to a cure is best taken alone. Of course this raises all sorts of gender differences and I wonder how this impacts on decisions to go it alone.
I believe quite firmly that boys learn it is their job to provide for their family. It's probably not as strong an issue as earlier but there is still that underlying feeling that men look after the family. That being the case how can they allow their partners to look after them. There are all sorts of jokes about men being ill with 'man flu' or refusing to admit they are unwell until they collapse. There is an instinctive understanding of these jokes which shows how much we subscribe to this idea.
OK back to the subject. It seems when a man becomes depressed (read any other mental health issues) he should not not burden his family with it. Ladies, I am certain you are reading this and saying, "What a load of rubbish. He should let us help him and care for him". And I agree. The man in question would return more quickly to better mental health with the love and support of his partner. Is this male pride?
My intention with this reply is not to start a gender war but to tell you my observations. Quite a few threads on this on beyondblue. Of course this does not apply to all men I hasten to say. You know your partners best so will be better able to decide if this applies to them.
I haven't said much about coping because I feel this is such a common event and that getting it settled in your own minds, whatever you decide, is a good first step. It's not about not loving you and in fact probably means he does love you very much but does not want to burden you. So what do you think? I would love to hear from you again and see what you think about my comments. We can have a chat then about coping.