Boyfriend with depression, long distance, difficult situation
So my problem is that I am currently here in Australia, while my boyfriend is at home in Germany. He‘s always shown depressive tendencies (constantly tired, lacking in drive/motivation), but I never took it too seriously, because he also suffers from ADD.
We used to have a really loving, close relationship, even after I started my time abroad. However, the past two months his behaviour changed and we seemed to fight about the same topic over and over: He had stopped putting in the effort he used to put in, I constantly had to fight for affection of any kind, I felt like he had lost interest in what I told him and me in general.
After he came back from an exchange a few weeks ago we were about to fight about this again, because he was really distant. He didn‘t want to talk on the phone. He read my messages, but took several hours to reply (extremely short and unaffectionate). He didn‘t say "I love you“ back when I said it.
After a few days I was really angry and hurt and asked him if he was aware that he was treating me really badly. It was only then that he finally told me what was going on: he seemed to have a depressive episode (he‘s not diagnosed that‘s why I‘m not saying he‘s actually suffering from depression). He said that he hates his life, all he can feel is pain, hate, sadness and anger. When I asked him if anyone knows about it he said no and that nobody could understand him anyway. That all of this would never end anyway. He even said that he is questioning his faith (we‘re both christian) which he has never said before. I asked him how he wants me to behave towards him and he said that he needs time to himself now to figure everything out, because he doesn‘t know what to do anymore. I told him that I am always there for him if he wants to talk, but that I’ll give him space. We‘ve hardly been in contact since.
I‘m so worried about him, I want to be there for him, but he pushes me away. He needs help, but he doesn‘t want any. I‘m so far away from him and can‘t really do anything. I don’t know what our relationship is now. I respect that he needs time, but I‘m really hurt. I have my own mental health issues (more or less recovered ed) that have become worse again.
I‘ll be home in four weeks, but I‘m afraid that that‘s too long. I‘m not sure if I should tell his mother or our youth pastor, because if he finds out I told them he will be angry at me I think (understandable in a way).
Sorry, I know this is really confusing
I'm really sorry to hear what both you and your partner are currently going through. It's not easy, especially as I can appreciate the distance being a challenge. I'm not surprised no one knew that he had depression. I had major depression for over 14 years and no one knew. It's always the people you least expect.
You've done to be persistent and get him to a point whereby he has actually told you what the issue is. That's very hard to do. I've been there and when you are in the hating life stage, hate, sadness and anger, it's a lot easier to think 'no one understands' as it's also a defense mechanism and way of protecting ourselves from ourselves. Think about this. When people who know you and you care for let you down it hurts right? If you feel people don't know you (or what's really going on inside your head) it's a lot easier to not feel disappointed.
I know this might sound really, really hard but honestly I would respect the space he has asked for as I've been exactly where he is and in that mind set and self time is believe it or not powerful. Although your intentions are to be there for him, his mood swings will lash out at you. Which explains the fighting part over and over again. You havn't done anything wrong so don't beat yourself up. Depression is very powerful. He really needs time to clear his head, and perhaps miss the thought of you both again. I understand you want to be there, so the occassional message once a week to perhaps say how your week has been and that at the end of the message you tell him you miss him and that you there for him if he needs to talk might go down well. That way you're not smothering him and respecting the space he is asking for. It also reminds him that he is not alone 🙂 I'm sorry to hear that you are hurting too and have your own issues. I get a sense of a feeling that you, at this point in time, are doing better and stronger than he is based on what I read and sense. I'm glad we can at least be of support to you 🙂 Hopefully!
If I was you, I wouldn't tell anyone about his situation. He might see that as betrayal (which I know it's not) and could make an already troubled mind even more troubling and force hi to push you further away. Sometimes absence clears the mind. If he really cares, which I think he does, he will come back to you when he is ready.
I hope that has helped and wish you good luck (for you both).
Happy to talk more with you.
thank you so so much for your reply! It really made me feel better and more hopeful.
The way you explain his situation helps me understand what‘s going on in his head more, which was really important for me. I will definitely give him the space he asked for, for him, but also to protect myself, because when I reached out to him a few days ago he didn‘t reply and that hurts even more.
However, I‘m happy you said that I could text him like once a week. It‘s so hard for me to stay away and I also don‘t want him to think I don‘t care about him anymore. Of course I wish I could do more for him, but if giving him the chance to figure himself out is the best, then I‘m happy to do just that.
And yes, I‘m doing better. I have been struggling with an eating disorder for the past two years and I‘m coping pretty well by now, but going through what feels like a breakup to me does make it a challenge not to let it get to that part of me (but that‘s really not my biggest issue with this situation and this whole thing is not about me anyway). It‘s really weird to look at this from the other perspective now though (being the one who worries instead of the one who suffers).
My biggest fear is that he tries to kill himself...it‘s hard to even type it, but it’s true. I even dreamed about him announcing his death on social media last night.
And I won‘t tell anyone about this. I know I would ruin everything by doing that. He will tell someone when he is ready and I‘ll be home in four weeks anyway (luckily).
I don‘t know, this is all just really messed up and difficult, but I‘m glad you explained so much to me, it was such a big help!! I will definitely get back to you, if I have any more questions or updates. And if you have the time to tell me more about your story, I‘d be really interested to hear that!
I'm glad to hear that you felt my post helped you 🙂 Truly.
The hurt part comes from caring. Love hurts as the age old saying goes.
I'm glad to hear that you, yourself, are doing better and understand how this might give you the impression of a 'break-up'. Just remember and remind yourself, it's not. If that was the case I'm sure he would of put you out of misery and told you that he isn't wanting to continue a relationship. People going through depression as I did, have a habit of beating ourselves up.
The biggest fear part is fair enough. When I hit a certain tipping point some years ago, I wrote a post on facebook that implied just that. But in reality it wasn't. It was rather a lash out at certain people who made me feel very small and insignificant. In the end the thought of life and living outweighed the alternative. I'm sure he won't take it that far.
I'd be surprised if you didn't find the situation 'difficult'. You are, after all, only human 🙂
Great to know that he has someone like you that cares 🙂
Hope you're doing okay and here for you if need.