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Dear Wendy

My depressive anxious ex boyfriend

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by avatar Essie 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #723013 Reply

    Hello Wendy,
    He’s 27 year old and I am 22.
    We were pretty serious… we talked about marriage, kids… I met his family and he met mine …
    However he had a pretty rough past and he isn’t at peace with it… He even tried to commit suicide because of it (before we met). So because of that he has a lot of problem showing affection and communicating …
    Whenever he had a problem he would go into his bubble and not talk to me about it. Even if he was mad at me …
    Last month I thought he was being distant so when I talked to him about it, he told me that I needed to understand that he feels like he doesn’t deserve me and that no one ever loved him like I do… He doesn’t feel like he is worthy of love… and whoever showed him love, left him at the end … and so he developed a way to protect himself by pushing people away and that was what’s happening between us. He knows that he loves me and wants to spend his life with me but he doesn’t know how to continue in the relationship and that he needs time.
    We met a week after in order to talk about it. And he told me that it would be really selfish of him to ask for a break but that he isn’t in a good place right now. He even sent his letter of resignation from work. He told me that if we continue into this relationship he won’t be able to give me what I want and deserve and that he will drag me down with him. He told me that he knew that he loved me but the past week he discovered how much he loved me and that’s killing him because he knows that he is breaking up with his soulmate. He even said that I was his motivation for work because he was going to work in order to build us a future. He told me that he had planned all our life together …
    So I asked him what was going on ? And he responded by saying that he goes to sleep with the hope of not waking up. And when he wakes up he feels terribly sad.
    So I asked him to go and make a therapy. His response was: “If I go into therapy and feel better would you take me back ?” I told him that I didn’t know… he kept on saying stuff like:
    – If we ever get back together it would be really difficult for me to see your family again because I would feel ashamed.
    – I’m not going to tell you the surprise that I had planned for you because I plan on doing it again someday.
    – What’s keeping me going is knowing that we may get back together one day.
    …. etc.

    He asked if I could bebthe first to wish him happy birthday and if I could give him a hug before leaving. When I hugged him we both cried saying that we love each other.
    He even asked me to send him the number of a good therapist.

    I wished him happy birthday and sent him the number of the therapist … he barely responded to the messages.
    It’s been a week and we haven’t even talked to each other.

    I don’t know what to do … I’m worried about him … I feel helpless.
    And I can’t keep but wondering if he lied to me ? I can’t understand why he would leave me if he really does love me ? If he did love me that much wouldn’t he at least talk to me ? I know I shouldn’t wait around and I won’t do it… but do you think there’s a chance for him to come back ?

    #723015 Reply
    Leslie Joan

    I hope he gets the psychiatric help he needs. He sounds seriously, deeply depressed. And the resignation from work is deeply disturbing.

    Anyhow, people who are severely depressed can be very skilled at self sabotage: they can drive intimate partners away because they are so afraid of intimacy, and cave up instead of communicating when they are troubled. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. It means that he is totally miserable and doesn’t want to drag you down.

    You are probably wise not to promise to wait for him, as that promise would be so open ended it’d be nearly impossible to keep. However, it might be helpful to him if you could reach out to him, even if he doesn’t respond. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re bound to him forever, but to have a caring human being reaching out could be a life saver, to let him know you’re thinking of him.

    #723018 Reply

    I think LeslieJoan’s advice offers a good balance of caring for yourself while still offering a modest amount of support to someone you care about and appears to be in crisis. If you have his family or a close friend’s contact information you might also consider reaching out to them and letting them know that you’re concerned. Don’t go the codependent route and try to save him (trust me, you can’t and you will damage yourself by trying) but do touch base at whatever interval allows you to show you care while maintaining distance.

    #723019 Reply

    You need to forget him and move on. He’s right, he can’t handle a relationship. He can’t really handle himself. Yes he needs treatment, but whether he’ll seek it is another question. I’m guessing he didn’t respond to you because he’s decided not to do therapy and didn’t want a discussion about it. You can’t fix him. He needs to want to fix himself. Open-ended waiting would be a stupendously bad idea. Get on with your life. Find someone who has his shit together.

    #723027 Reply
    Leslie Joan

    Thanks to Juliecatherine for making a good point: you definitely aren’t responsible for him and his well-being, and you definitely don’t want to go the codependent route. A good rule to remember is that you should never stay in the position of caring more about a person than they care about themselves, and of putting in more work and effort to care for another person’s goals and well-being than they do themselves. Otherwise it’s a codependent trap. Yeah, we may all need a little help from time to time – it’s what friends are for. But you never want another person to become your “project” or your full time occupation. It’s good that he broke up with you because he’s not able able to handle a relationship. He needs to be the one to put in the work on himself, for himself and not for you.

    #723038 Reply

    Thank you people for your advices.
    I know he isn’t in a good place for a relationship right now… I understand it and respect it. He asked for a time apart and thats what he is going to get. I’m giving him the space and time he needs. I will take advantage of that time in order to rebuild myself because I feel empty and broken. And I won’t go into the codependency thing.
    However, I love him. Moving on is so difficult… we didn’t fight, we didn’t stop loving each other, we didn’t lie to each other, we didn’t cheat …. nothing. I can’t even be mad at him for breaking up.
    I want him to get better for himself. I want him to go and see a therapist for him to feel better. I want him to be happy again. I want him to discover how much he deserves happiness and love. And egoistical I want him to come back.
    I feel bad for wanting him to come back because I know he should be a priority right now. But I’m sad because I want him to be a part of my life.

    #723041 Reply

    Of course you’re sad! You’re losing your relationship and the hopes you had for its future. Those are not small things to grieve especially with the complicating factor of your ex’s mental illness. Be kind to yourself, try to do healthy things like sleep well and exercise while you move through this. If you find yourself stuck consider seeing a therapist for some outside support. It is very hard moving on from someone who’s not able to offer you what you need because they can’t even meet their own needs. It’s nobody’s fault, it just is. I’m sorry, I do know how hard it is.

    #723048 Reply

    @Lila, I’m sorry that you are going through this and I’m sorry that your ex is having difficulties. However, he needs to deal with them. I know people who have married folks like your ex. One in particular married a man who had a difficult childhood, does a lot of withdrawing and a lot of “you’ll leave me like everyone else”, etc. She’s lucky in that his self-sabotage does not involve drugs or other women. It is simply total and complete emotional withdrawal from her. No one else, just her.

    They’ve been married for almost 10 years I think. They’ve gone through so many push away/wait patiently cycles it’s ridiculous. Two years ago, he just stopped talking to her. No discussion. No nothing. No fight. He just got mad and then went into full scale complete and total withdrawal for OVER A FUCKING YEAR. And she had to deal with it. They functioned like roommates. She nearly had a nervous breakdown. Eventually they figured out how to communicate again.

    Take care of yourself first. Know that even if he gets help, this is his comfort behavior. In times of stress it is highly likely he will return to this behavior. The only way you could make it work is if he gets his shit together first with a good therapist and possibly medication and then the two of you have a separate couples therapist where you can address issues. But it’s HARD. Really hard.

    #723049 Reply
    Leslie Joan

    I second what the other Leslie wrote. It may help you a lot to get therapy for yourself. It really takes out of a person to be involved in a relationship with someone who is depressed and witholding – it can wipe you out. It’s a huge plus that you aren’t stuck in codependency. It’s SO easy to go from, “I love him and believe in him and want to be helpful” to doing, well, basically everything, and feeling like you’re dragging the weight of another person on your shoulders while waiting for the next disaster to unfold any second. Wise woman. It can be hard to let go, but it’s essential.

    #723099 Reply

    Thanks again for your support …
    I started seeing a therapist 6 months ago when I learned about his suicide. After telling me that part of his story he caved up. He was extremely distant. Since I have abandonment issues and a little bit of anxiety I started over analyzing the whole situation thinking that he wanted to leave. So I decided to work on my issues for me first and for the relationship to work also.
    But I lost him anyway…
    I’m still going to therapy and I’m going to start some dance classes, adopt a dog … do something in order to keep my mind busy …
    I hope all this pain disappear soon.
    Thank you again.

    #723103 Reply
    Leslie Joan

    You did all the right things, and you are still doing all the right things. All you can do is address your own actions; the actions of anyone else is out of your control, as is the outcome. Hugs and strength to you; you are making huge steps.

    #723108 Reply

    Lila, don’t look at this as “you lost him,” as if you’d still be with him if you’d done something differently, or loved him more, or worked on your issues more.

    He’s too sick to be in a relationship. And that’s not anything that’s in your control. No matter what you do, or how hard you work at therapy, or what you say to him, or how much time you spend analyzing everything he’s said, you can’t change the basic fact that he has an illness.

    I’ve been where you are, and it’s hard as hell. But it’s not your fault, and it’s not in your power to fix him, or save him. All you can do here is get dragged down with him, and you shouldn’t do that.

    There’s help for him, if he chooses to get it. But HE must choose that for himself. Not for you, and not because of you.

    Encourage him to get help, and then give him space and move on.

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