Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Desperately need advice - depressed boyfriend(101 Posts)
This is going to be a long one so I apologise in advance.
I don't know if I'm in the right place for this, I have been with my boyfriend for just over a year. When we met, he was attentive, caring, affectionate both physically and emotionally. He left me in no doubt that he wanted to be with me, when I spoke he listened, when I didn't he'd ask me questions to learn more about me. This continued for about 6 months, we had such a good honeymoon period, then, he began to change.
It went from him texting or calling me (evenly balanced) to me always texting or calling, often he won't reply or answer the phone. I'm always the one arranging things and mostly we just stay in, he doesn't want to go out, a few months ago he told me he's sinking back into a depressive state (he's been depressed twice previously) I asked him what I could do and he told me nothing, he asked me not to try and help him or it could cause problems.
I'm sure it's his depression that's changed him, he hardly speaks to me anymore, when I do speak I'm told what I'm saying isn't interesting, his favourite question is "is what you're about to say going to interest me" and then I'll be told a more interesting story from his life. If I try to start a conversation I'm told he doesn't want deep conversations, I've seen him texting another woman we both know, she keeps asking how he is etc but he keeps saying she's asking him for favours. He says this a lot, and I know he's lying to me, he says there's another girl who texts him bothering him but, again I know it's a lie (when he's been drinking he's honest and tells me the truth) We aren't having sex anymore, which I understand is a side effect of depression, he's not on any medication, nor is he seeing a counsellor or equivalent. He's told me he's busy most days this week so I've had to leave relatively early each morning, yesterday I left then about an hour later had to drive past his house (it's on a main road) and his car was still outside, he told me he was leaving straight after me.
I love this man, and I know he loves me. He will do anything for anyone usually. I know this is the depression but I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. I feel like a burden in his life and by wanting to see him I'm adding to the pressures in his life. He keeps telling me I seem to have a lot of drama in my life recently (I don't) and that he used to like I had no drama, I talk to him about a situation that upsets me and I'm told I'm making him feel pretty shit.
Can anyone offer any advice how to support him and give him his space without losing him? He's begun to make me feel so crap when I'm with him and I don't want this to cause a rift between us. The fact he has depression doesn't scare me off, they fact he's building this wall and blocking me out but not others makes me think we could be close to the end.
I've tried not texting or calling, he then doesn't text or call, I've tried calling him out on it and I got told his life was shit and that I shouldn't give him an ultimatum.
This is overflowing into my other relationships in life, I'm constantly thinking of him wondering how to make this better and what form of him I'll be seeing later that evening.
I don't know how to fix this, I know I can't fix him and depression takes time, but how do I make sure our relationship becomes stronger for this?
It sounds like he's using the depression as an excuse.
He's not interested in what you have to say, no sex, talking to other women.
What do you love about him?
How does he show you that he loves you?
What are you getting from the relationship?
I love who he is. I love that he is funny, caring and gives to others so willingly. I love that he doesnt take life too seriously and when I'm working myself up about something that happened in the past he will calmly remind me it's done and that its ok to rant, but it's done. That's who he was before the depression.
I don't mind him texting other women, not for a second, I'm not jealous and I have close male friends who I would never do anything with. I trust him, I just feel alone.
At the moment he doesn't show me he loves me, that's true, he will cuddle with me before sleep, but that's it. There's no other physical contact. I'm not getting anything, but I don't want to expect anything from it while he's struggling with this awful illness.
There are moments, like last night he looked at me after a simple comment and there was a shine in his eyes that I haven't seen for months. Those moments remind me who he really is.
The problem here is not depression. If you are depressed the last thing you think is that your life is full of interesting stories. He is just a rude bastard. Sorry.
What are your financial and practical arrangements? (eg whose house is it, does he work and contribute his full share to bills etc etc?)
We don't live together as of yet, we were discussing it and still do sometimes, it would be me moving into his home. I rent and so makes more sense, but I'm saving up for a house deposit so we've also talked about buying a house together. He does work. Financially at the moment I do pay for all dates and food etc, it's not that much of a problem not really related to this but that's how it stands.
So he's not interested in you, doesn't want sex and you pay for food and dates.
Open your eyes woman! Sorry to be harsh but if your friend told you this what would you be thinking?
My instinct is that he's using you and training you but I'm trying to fight that as he just may have serious clinical issues - in the absence of a diagnosis from an outside party, it's difficult to tell.
I think it's critical, though, that he agrees to get himself some assistance. (You said that he's not doing anything about it.) If he refuses for some reason, I would get yourself out of there quickly because you're doing neither of you any good worrying about dealing with this all on your own.
Cozie I am worried that he could be potentially an abuser, is that what you mean by training? But based on who he used to be I just can't believe it, I do genuinely believe this is down to the depression, I've seen his good days and he's back to the man I first fell in love with.
Vixx - yes if this was my friend I'd be telling them to run for the hills, but there's depression at play here and I know that can completely change someone, I don't want to give up on him because of that,
It's just such a confusing time
I would not waste any time on someone who does not seek help when they are ill. I know it is difficult when it involves mh, and if you are on the cusp, where you could go either way. But as a pp said being depressed is not an excuse for being rude and dismissing issues important to you. You will drive yourself nuts thinking is this him or the depression? It will make you doubt yourself until suddenly your normal is far from it, and is actually unhealthy.
You sound nice. You deserve someone who is just as nice, not just for the first 6 months, but always.
OP I am sorry, you sound like a wonderful caring person and he is treating you appallingly. I am very sympathetic to people suffering with depression. I have it, and it's shit, and obviously it takes it's toll in diifernt ways. But recognising the signs and not seeking any help for your self is so unhelpful. I'm sure I'mnnegative and probably snappy when I'm having an episode of depression. BUT starting a sentence with "is what you're going to say going to interest me"!!! That is just bloody rude, and nasty.
It's true none of us can 100% control our feelings, but we can control our actions. He needs to see a doctor. Depression is an illness and can be treated. Maybe he can't see/feel thattthere's a way forward for him, but he needs to try.
I am concerned that will level of stress you will become worn down and may even become depressed too.
Does he have any family who could intervene and encourage him to seek help?
Please don't think I'm not sympathetic to depression, I know what it's like to feel isolated and even suicidal, but I feel worried for you op. Please don't invest any cash in any property with him/give any cash.
I have only a little experience in assisting with people who have clinical depression and a poster who sees this thread may well have more and be able to contribute more effectively. I would still ask, however, whether in just making allowances for someone's moods when you know nothing about his diagnosis or treatment program could actually be doing him more harm than good?
I'd leave directly and until such time as he gets back to you with an evidenced diagnosis and treatment program where you can seek formal advice on how to participate. You're going to end up a complete mess otherwise.
"We aren't having sex anymore, which I understand is a side effect of depression, he's not on any medication, nor is he seeing a counsellor or equivalent."
I have depression. It doesn't generally turn me into a selfish arse. I think sometimes it's difficult to watch what I'm going through, but I try quite hard not to take it out on other people. Of course, depression manifests differently in different people but I still wouldn't let him use it as an excuse to be a wanker.
He needs to see his GP and then get a prescription for anti-ds and/ or a referral for some kind of therapy. You are his girlfriend, not his therapist, it isn't your job to fix him and if you keep trying, you'll break yourself. If he won't get help then frankly I'd get out. (Well actually I think he's an arse and you should just get out, but on the off chance he's ill rather than just a bastard, ask him to get help).
There's an expression on here which is that depression doesn't make you a twat.
There is so much wrong with this guy that I am amazed you are still trying to defend him.
It went from him texting or calling me (evenly balanced) to me always texting or calling, often he won't reply or answer the phone. (this is just bad manners and a sign he’s not interested in you)
I'm always the one arranging things and mostly we just stay in, he doesn't want to go out (this sounds very unfair and boring)
he hardly speaks to me anymore (that must make you feel depressed and lonely)
when I do speak I'm told what I'm saying isn't interesting (don’t you find that very hurtful?)
his favourite question is "is what you're about to say going to interest me" and then I'll be told a more interesting story from his life (this is NOT the sign of a depressed man)
I've seen him texting another woman we both know, she keeps asking how he is etc but he keeps saying she's asking him for favours. He says this a lot, and I know he's lying to me (lying is a massive red flag – what does he have to lie about? You’re not stopping him having friends)
We aren't having sex anymore, which I understand is a side effect of depression (it’s also a sign of lack of interest or a lower sex drive or any number of things)
he's not on any medication, nor is he seeing a counsellor or equivalent (so he’s not actually diagnosed as depressed? He’s also not willing to help himself)
He's told me he's busy most days this week so I've had to leave relatively early each morning (inconvenient for you, then)
yesterday I left then about an hour later had to drive past his house (it's on a main road) and his car was still outside, he told me he was leaving straight after me (so he lied to you and made you get up earlier than you needed?)
I love this man (I don’t know why you would, based on all this)
I know he loves me (I’m not sure how you come to this conclusion)
I feel like a burden in his life and by wanting to see him I'm adding to the pressures in his life. (I would hate to feel this but would be tempted to leave him to let him recover)
I talk to him about a situation that upsets me and I'm told I'm making him feel pretty shit (absolute and utter selfishness)
He's begun to make me feel so crap when I'm with him (read this again and again)
I'm so unhappy and confused right now, I can't believe that he would treat me this way I want it to be the depression. I'm grateful for all of your thoughts, mainly because they aren't biased.
I don't know how I've got myself to this point, I don't think I can walk away, he'll tell me it's the depression and I'll believe him (I still think it is that) I will take the advice not to invest in any property with him right now though, I do need to have some sort of sensibility in this.
..I've tried not texting or calling, he then doesn't text or call...
And how long did you do that for?
I'd actually just leave and tell him that you won't return until he goes in for diagnosis and treatment. I wouldn't tell him 'I'll leave unless.......' because he won't (why should he - you won't follow through on that.)
By the way - are you sure he works? I find it difficult to imagine how he holds down a job consistently with all of those problems.
Abusers usually start out as nice guys on the surface. That's how they reel you in. Then when you're hooked, they start to show their true colours.
"I can't believe that he would treat me this way I want it to be the depression"
Well let's say it is the depression. Depression is treatable. For me, this meant quite intensive therapy and a huge amount of effort on my part, at the point I least felt like making an effort. It was painful, and very hard work but very much worth it. It's ongoing and a process of me becoming aware so that I can detect the early signs of an episode and take action. If I had a partner, I would warn him of the early signs. I'd make sure I was with someone I trust enough and tell him to prod me in the direction of my GP if he was concerned. I wouldn't expect a partner to fix me. I appreciate sympathy and I appreciate them taking the illness seriously - but you do this.
However, he isn't getting treatment. If he won't do this, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of him randomly turning on you and then saying "oh it's my illness". This isn't good enough. I'm not unsympathetic to his illness but I'm afraid that after being in a relationship with someone who was ill and who refused to get help with it, then blamed me for it I am rather unsympathetic towards him.
Cozie - I've varied the time scales, sometimes a couple of days, sometimes a day, once it was two weeks (but that was when he needed time because he said he didn't want to drag me down with him when all this was beginning) he contacted me after the two weeks, if I do leave I'll need to talk to him first, I would just end up beating myself up and would return to him easily because I would feel in the wrong. He definitely works, I've met his work colleagues and have dropped him off to work when his car is having work done etc.
Talking - it does sound familiar, but it doesn't sound like him either.
I can't figure out how I've got myself into this and whether he really is being an arse or depressed.
Gabilan - that's what I thought he had done when he first told me, I brought up antidepressants once and will never be able to do that again. He's been on them before and hated the way they made him feel.
I am worried if we get through this, what would happen the next time? Would he push me away? Would we be stronger having been through this once or will I even still be in his life if this happens again?
Uh Huh. What do his friends and family say about him/your relationship?
(You've been together for a year now so I would assume you've met both fairly extensively?)
And how does he react to your friends and family?
His parents like me, he tells me how they think I'm good for him. We socialise with his sister, she's so lovely and I get on with her and her girlfriend very well. He doesn't talk to his other sister, so, I've only met her once at a family gathering and it was just awkward.
His friends are nice, I've not met them often because they're all (himself included) wrapped up in their own lives and don't tend to socialise much together.
I'm very close with my family, so I tend to see them whenever he's working late or is busy himself, he rarely comes to family events, but there have always been very good reasons for it (I won't be with a guy who makes excuses for not seeing my family, they're too important to me) although recently there are times when he wont come to my families events and I've made it clear I'm not pleased with his reasons. Normally he'll say he's feeling exhausted and just needs some alone time, he is lovely to my family when he sees them, he gets on great with my father and my mother, and although it was a bit awkward between him and my brother at first (my brother tried to act alpha male when they first met) they do get on now.
Trouble is OP, if you take depression out of your account, it does sound as if this relationship has the potential to be abusive. He's nice for 6 months, hooks you in, then starts to be inconsiderate, rude and withdrawn. And you're trying to work out what you can do to change so that he goes back to being nice.
As someone who has depression, I actually find the idea that his behaviour is caused by depression quite insulting (that's aimed at him, not you). Being ill is not carte blanche to be abusive, as horrible as the illness is.
I appreciate that ADs may have made him feel awful but there are many different drugs he could try. Depending on what's causing the depression and what he's like, he may find therapy better - the HCPs I spoke to all said they felt ADs wouldn't suit me and I was better off with therapy.
If this behaviour is caused by depression he needs to find a way to change it and you need to realise it is him, not you. One of the problems with depression is working out what is illness, and what is you as a person. Depression doesn't choose its victims. Some people with depression are lovely. Some are just wankers. I think you're probably dating the latter. Sorry.
Everything that has been said here does make a lot of sense, I can't get my head around the thought that he could have just become such a dick in this way, I guess it's easier to accept his explanation that it is the depression. I was hoping there was a way I could support him, I have spoken to him previously about the way he's been and he was quick to blame it on the depression. Now, I don't know. He's cancelled our plans tonight again and I'm beginning to realise, he's dangerously close to the edge. I don't deserve this, and then I remember the good times.
My knowledge of depression is very slim, I assumed it did change people in this manner, I realise now I'm wrong and he may have been this way all along, the depression is just a useful excuse because I won't stand for mistreatment. The main problem here is I tend to follow my heart not my head, so while I'm saying all this, I'd still drop everything and run to him if he asked. I have none of that strength other women seem to have when men change in this way.
Join the discussion
Please login first.