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My partner has just broken up with me out of nowhere. I think he is suffering from depression but he doesn't agree

Community Member

Just over a week ago my partner of almost 13 years came home late after a night out and the next morning broke up with me. I was completely shocked. I knew that there was something not quite right between us lately - I had noticed that he was distancing himself from me over the past few months and choosing to spend more and more time away with friends that we don't share. He has also recently become obsessed with losing weight.

He said that he's been feeling numb for the past few months and the spark has faded. Apparently he needs some time on his own to work out what he wants. He also said that he's not attracted to me anymore and feels that I am not trying to keep my weight under control (which is untrue - I go to the gym regularly and have been making progress on my fitness/ trimness since recovering from injury). He said that lots of things have been irritating him lately. He said that he doesn't want to keep screwing me around by staying with me and thinks I should find another partner to have kids with. We had planned to start trying to have a baby in a few months' time. On further discussions he said that he thinks I don't like him anymore and that I am not attracted to him anymore. I explained that my behaviour over the past few months has been as a result of how rejected I have been feeling because of him appearing to not want to spend time with me anymore. I used to be his favourite person to spend time with, and now I feel like I coming home to me is a chore to him.

He insists that he hasn't met anyone else and in fact has never met anyone else in the 13 years we have been together that he could see himself in a relationship with if we weren't together. I tried to convince him that we can work through these issues now that we're talking about them openly, but he'd already made up his mind that were are going to break up.

I have given him a week on his own and asked that he seeks councelling as I think that the problem is wider than just him and I. He doesn't seem happy in general and has a history of suffering from depression. Nothing seems to make him happy lately and he is getting drunk really often and not taking care of his health. He is convinced that this isn't depression because it doesn't feel the same as the other times he has had bouts of depression.

I don't know what to do. I just want to be with him and truly believe the spark can be reignited now that we are being open and talking about the elephant in the room

14 Replies 14

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi missken, welcome

The hard news for you us, that when he mentions his reasons for splitting up like no spark, not attracted to you anymore and do on, these are not the words if a depressed person that doesn't know what he wants. IMO

Split ups are harsh. You have to reset your life, sort out assets and if you want family you have to date again at an older age than before. Emotionally it can take it's toll.

My suggestion us to leave him alone. As hard as it will be not to contact him. He wants space, its his right, allow him such space.

If he is going to miss you hell return once he realises his decision was I'll thought out.

You want a man that want you, not wants you because you have convinced him he needs you. There is a big difference.

Don't shut yourself away. Get out with friends and have some fun

Tony WK

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Missken,

Sorry to read you find yourself in this situation. It must be quite a shock for you to hear this news.

Unfortunately if a person decides they need to leave a relationship, then staying may certainly not be an option for them. Staying may actually make the situation worse.

I suggest you call Relationships Australia and chat with someone there. Phone the Beyond Blue help line on 1300 22 4636 if you feel like you need to talk to someone. If you become really depressed and unhappy you can phone Life Line as well.

Maybe he is very depressed and confused, maybe he has just had enough. Either way it is tough on you as you still love the guy.

Like Tony mentioned, break ups are not easy. Reach out to family and friends for support and help.

Make a list of things you would like to do in the future, things you enjoy doing.

Look after yourself. Continue at the gym. Catch up with other people.

Don't blame yourself or him for what has happened. Blame causes bitterness, regrets, sadness, depression, anger and so much more. You will feel these things, but hopefully not for ever.

Seek all the help and assistance you need to get through this.

If he does come back to you are you prepared to put up with him no matter what?

Relationships can be very tough.

Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
dear Missken, as Tony and Mrs. Dools have said breakups are always terrible for either people or just one of you, because there are so many unanswered questions, queries and doubts that can't be answered, so that's why it does make it so much harder, because if we knew then that would make it much easier to accept why the person wants to.
I wonder whether there are any problems at his work, or fear of being retrenched or possibily has been retrenched but hasn't told you, however these are only queries which may only complicate this issue.
The main problem is that he is getting drunk and staying out with his mates, so there is something that he is worried about but he has said that 'lots of things have been irritating him' and by saying that just opens the door to many problems, none which you really know about.
Give him the time that he feels he needs, because it will give you time to adjust, and I know that it's going to be difficult for you, but he won't be able to answer your questions if he still doesn't know the full extent of why he feels this way. Geoff. x

Community Member

Thank you white knight, Doolhof and geoff for your words of support.

I saw him last night and he is in a really bad place. He seems even skinnier than before (his backbone and ribs are quite exposed) and appears to both physically, mentally and emotionally just a shell of the person he once was.

We made plans to see each other and I arrived wearing a new sexy outfit. I don't know if it was a good idea, but I felt that I needed to test if he could be attracted to me still. It absolutely worked, he was really turned on and mentioned many times how good I looked, but said that he doesn't want to touch me because it would feel like he is using me and it might give me hope for a reconciliation that may not eventuate.

He reiterated that he needs time alone still and needs to keep contact with me to a minimum while he works out what he wants. This time around he told me that he doesn't love me anymore, which I don't believe. I think he does love me, but that love has matured into more of a companionship love over the years and he craves to feel intense love, like what happens with a new partner.

My aim of seducing him worked in the end once I convinced him that I want it regardless of what happens with our relationship going forward.

The good news is that he has started writing down his thoughts and fears and is seeing a doctor today to work on a mental health plan & get a referral for a psychologist. He is steadfast in his position of not going through depression currently, but has accepted that seeing a psychologist is needed to help work through the relationship issues and hopefully get some clarity on what he wants.

I can't shake the notion that we are meant to be together - it feels like there is a pit in my stomach every time I think about him, which is almost all the time. I'm barely eating, partly due to grief, but partly because I want to lose weight quickly in the hope that it helps to reignite the spark.

Hi Missken

I'm really sorry to hear of your situation. May I ask how old you both are? Can you also say how is your partner obsessed with losing weight? Was he overweight to begin with? Is he dieting intentionally? Is he doing heaps of exercise? Seems weird that he would consciously lose weight but at the same time abuse his body with alcohol. Something doesn't add up.

I'll be brutally honest and say that I'd be highly suspicious of him seeing another person. I know you don't want to hear this but it's a possibility even though he's denying it. But I'd certainly be concerned about the weight loss if indeed he seems terribly underweight - at least his GP can check him out and do a thorough medical.

As hard as it sounds you need to concentrate on your own mental and physical welfare. Even though you want to lose weight - don't starve yourself. You need to eat balanced meals otherwise you'll get sick and feel even worse. Have you got trusted friends you can confide in? I agree with what others have said and it doesn't sound like depression is the main driver here. I'd be doing a total 180 - do things for you, maintain your gym (it will only help you more), eat well (reduce carbs if anything, particularly refined sugars), try and get rest if you can, catch up with friends, maybe talk to a counsellor, try not to chase your partner, go about your business like he doesn't exist and see how he likes that. All easier said than done I know - just look after yourself as number 1 priority. he comes bottom right now.

Hi Apollo Black,

I am 34 and he is 33. He started running in the evenings recently saying that the reason was to be fit for footy season and also to feel something (I.e. endorphins). He was not overweight to begin with. Then it became more and more an obsession for him. He still eats junk food a few times a week esp. on weekends, but was criticizing the choices I was making for food that I bought/ prepared for us - saying it's not healthy enough, too large portions.

I believe that he is not seeing another person after the conversations we have had, although I did suspect this before the break up. It's possible that he was losing weight to seek attention from others, or to prepare himself for being single. He has said that in part it was to try to get me to instigate sex more often by hopefully being more attractive to him.

It seems pretty common that someone would consciously lose weight/ exercise a lot and also abuse their body with alcohol. He appears to be chasing 'feeling good' in any way, shape or form. Being drunk feels good, being skinny/ attractive feels good, endorphins from running feels good, eating junk food feels good - even if some of these things contradict each other.

You're right, I need to keep my distance and concentrate on myself. It's difficult as we share an apartment and a dog together. At the moment he is staying in our apartment (which we own) with the dog, and I am staying at my sisters' place. I feel like I shouldn't be the one to be living life as a nomad, but he doesn't reach out to people as readily as I do or have as many options for places to stay as I do. I also prefer him to be in our apartment than staying with footy mates that don't care about him and would support a self destructive lifestyle.

Last night he told me that he's been looking at share houses to move into which troubles me because of the sense of permanency it indicates, but also because he's in a really bad place at the moment and I think he needs people around that will keep an eye out for his well being.

I am seeing a councellor through my company's EAP. Only one session so far which was basically me telling the background story of our relationship and have the next session booked for Saturday.

I have also been talking to friends and my sister about it all - which he's annoyed about as he doesn't want our mutual friends knowing about the things that he has said to me.

It doesn't seem to make sense that he's trying to improve himself to make himself more attractive to you, in order to get more sex - yet abuse alcohol and eat crap AND distance himself from you, which has exactly the opposite effect. If he's reading advice on creating attraction then he's doing it wrong. Which makes me think he's doing it for another reason, either another woman, he is using drugs, or he's having a pseudo mid-life crisis and just wants to experience lost youth or something. Whatever angle - he needs to man up and give you a decent explanation.

Good work for seeing the EAP. Hopefully they're not useless weirdo's like mine are. I'm not very happy that you're the one having to uproot your life to give him space. Somehow you're going to have to get used to the 180 tactic and not give a flying banana about him. Also - too bad if you talk to your friends/sister about it. He dropped the bombshell, so damned right you're going to look after your own needs and the get support you need. He can be as annoyed as he wants to be.

Ultimately he needs to stop sending you mixed messages - ie: "I don' think you're attracted to me anymore" vs "I don't want to screw you around anymore by staying with you". Very confusing. I would be denying any intimacy/contact until he's clear on what his goals are. Obviously easy for me to say. I'm just a guy - but I also know how they work

I think you've hit the nail on the head there - I've always been worried that his peter pan syndrome would kick in and send him packing once things started to get really serious - i.e. the kids thing being on the horizon. It's like he's not happy with growing up and wants to live his life constantly as a 20 year old, which funnily enough, was the age he was when we first got together. He's said that he is scared that if we have kids, he might not like it, might not fall in love with the kids, might hate life as a parent and want to leave then, which he believes would be worse than leaving now.

This isn't the first quarter/third/mid life crisis he has had. About 6 years into our year relationship, so 6 years ago (maybe this kicks in for him every 6 years?), he was feeling really depressed - this time he acknowledged it. He couldn't feel anything, was unhappy at work, going to uni in the evenings and getting burnt out. I was worried about him and tried to talk to him about it but he put a brick wall up. Then he took a day off work to get sh*t faced drunk at a colleagues house. Turns out this colleague was female, and after getting drunk together they had sex. He came home that night looking like he'd seen a ghost. He told me about it and said that as soon as he slept with her, he woke up out of his depression spell and had clarity about what he wanted - that he wanted to be with me.

He acknowledged that he may have ruined things between us and I might not want to stay with him, but was insistent that now he knows he wants to be with me forever. Apparently he had been questioning this prior to the colleague sex, and said that he was concerned that he'd started to be attracted to other girls - something he said had not happened previously in the 6 years we had been together and he thought it was a sign that he needed to try being single.

Another issue is that he's never been single. He hooked up with his first girlfriend in high school, then after breaking up with her got together we me 2 weeks later. Seems that he felt the need to try casual sex to see if it was for him, or if he preferred it to being monogamous with me. 6 years later and this curiosity about the single life/ other women seems to have kicked in again.

It's great to hear your opinion on things as a guy - so far I have only spoken with women and it's not the same perspective.

The problem with some guys (in my opinion only of course) is that they want the easy way out when it comes to unhappiness in relationships. The least fuss possible, least hurt, just easy without the fallout. I'm not saying this is the case with your man, but it has taken me A VERY LONG TIME to get over that way of counterproductive thinking.

Certainly if he's on that angle - the "I'm not sure what I've been missing thing", then he needs to own that and be upfront and honest with you. Perhaps if he understands that he won't be torched to a cinder by your firey wrath if he owns up with whatever the truth may be - then perhaps he'll come around to giving you a straight answer and you can move on. If he's being a complete a-hat then he might be stringing you along to have his cake and eat it too. I really hope he's not wanting to do that.

I'm really sorry Missken - I think the only thing you can control at the moment is your actions, and for now in the height of your turmoil that's trying your best to look after yourself. I wouldn't give him too much thinking time. You deserve every right to knowing what's going on so you're not suddenly turning 40 and he's suddenly not wanting kids and wanting out again.

I'd still be suspicious of him either seeing someone or actively looking. Whether or not you investigate further is up to you of course.