Struggling with depressed ex boyfriend

Postby otherbug » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:41 am

Hello, I'm new to this forum. This will be long, I apologize, bear with me.

My now ex boyfriend and I had been dating for almost 2 years, we had a very loving relationship and were initially pretty good about communicating and talking any small problems out. When I met him he had a pretty big weed smoking problem, smoking once or twice a day, every day, feeling like he needed it to calm his nerves. Half a year into dating, he decided to quit and I helped him through it. It was difficult for him but he eventually stopped and felt/seemed a lot better in terms of his anxiety. Last September (2016), he started at a new school and became very busy with his work. We weren't able to see each other very often, we live 8 miles apart, and are both busy with other things. In the month or two before breaking up, I began getting bothered with him because even when we both had free time, he didn't make very much of an effort to spend time with me. Then one time, I offered to come to his place and spend the night, which we didn't get to do very often and he normally would have been ecstatic about, but he asked me if I would mind not because he was really tired and wanted to hangout by himself.
I boiled over and started an argument about how little we saw each other and how it was always him who was canceling or unable to make it. He said he didn't know what to do, that he was sorry and that he had been feeling really depressed lately. We both have serious histories with depression and anxiety, but having seen him so little, I hadn't noticed much of a change in his behavior other than his disconnection from me.
We decided to take a break and talk about it in a week. When the break was over, my ex said that he thought it was the best for both of us if we broke up. He said that in his ideal world, we'd always be together. He told me that he loved and cared about me, but that he was having serious depression and needed to deal with it on his own. He also said he had started smoking weed heavily again and was trying to get sober. He said he knew he was being selfish, but that he had to do it because our relationship wasn't what it should be.
Initially, even though I agreed that this decision was in both of our best interests, I freaked out periodically and tried frantically to contact him. This probably didn't help the situation; he didn't answer many of my texts and when he did, he just wanted the conversation to end. He just kept telling me that he needs time and that he couldn't deal with this right now.
Fortunately, I stopped a few weeks after the break up and didn't contact him for a month. That month was incredibly difficult, it felt like years, but I slowly adjusted to life without him in it. That's not to say I didn't still struggle, but I definitely calmed down and was able to process everything that had happened.
Anyway, after about a month or so, I still obviously cared about him as a person and wanted to see how he was. I felt pretty confident that I could send a non-threatening text just to ask how he was doing, without expecting even a response.
A bit to my surprise, he did respond and said that he was okay-ish and that he hoped I was doing well. I know he feels guilty about everything that happened so I told him that I wasn't mad at him and that I was here as a friend if/when he wanted. He said thank you and apologized again for what he did. I told him that I knew he was sorry and that I just hoped he was still trying to get better because that's the most important thing right now. I got no response after that and it's been a few days since. I feel okay, I'm still moving forward in my life and thinking about it less and less, but there's no doubt that I still care about him deeply and want him to get better, for his sake, not our relationship's sake (although that would be ideal, I'm not counting on it).
For as long as I've known him, he has had therapy appointments with his psychiatrist once a week or every two weeks. He's always taken medication for his anxiety although I'm not sure what it is. When school started for him this year, he told me he was too busy and was seeing his psychiatrist less frequently. I'm sure he's still seeing him, I think his family knows how important it is, but I'm not sure how frequently. Having been seriously depressed in the past myself, I feel deep empathy for what he's going through and understand his logic in making this decision. I am taking good care of myself and all that good stuff, so I don't really need that kind of insight.

I guess I'm just wondering if I did the right thing in contacting him? I know not to count on it but I'm also just wondering if there's any hope for our relationship? Does anyone have experience with depressed partners withdrawing from serious relationships?
Any insight or thoughts into my situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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#1

Postby Livetowin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:00 pm

There's a couple of life lessons going on here that I hope you can embrace and use as a kind of guide for yourself moving forward. The first one is you can only control yourself. There's allot behind that statement because it has as much to do with how you see yourself as you do others. You need to start having a very honest and frank dialogue with yourself. If you go back and read your post, your real intent is plastered all over it. " I hope we can get back. What are our chances?'" That is the crux of your dilemma. But the problem is you already have the answers. You're just not wanting to embrace them. Let's start with him...

First, depression is a relative term that denotes 'normal' for most of us. Every person on this planet experiences depression or spells where we feel we are in a funk and we need reflection upon ourselves to determine what is bothering us. Depression can be a valuable asset instead of being treated like a disease. It can also serve as a crutch to inspire and promote bad habits. Your ex has a nice addiction he masks as "depression" when he wants to fall off the wagon. Perhaps one was used to treat the other at one time, but once the two become inseparable then you know it's a crutch.

Here's the thing. Whatever his issues are, they are his own. Only HE can fix them. This is a classic situation I found myself in when I was a young person. Some like to call it the White Knight syndrome. You have great passion for a person and you use their afflictions as a kind of call to arms to "rescue" them when in truth you're really using those issues as an excuse to try and grow closer. No amount of problems in this world would garner your attention if it were not first governed by your affection. You need to realize this guy is comfortable in his self-induced coma with the weed and he's tried to push you aside as gently as possible. You need to quit using his issues as a kind of term of endearment to keep you around.

The next thing you need to learn about life and relationships is you can love someone and care deeply for them, but that doesn’t mean you can live with them. Who we are as people work on a more fundamental level than just what we look like, how we communicate, or what our favorite hobbies are. The nuances of what make us truly the people we are go far deeper than that. And it starts with how well we understand ourselves. If you keep taking a back seat to a guy who wasn’t willing to see you before the breakup, then you are letting other people set the table when it comes to your self-worth.

You need to get away from this person and start exploring who you are and find that voice inside yourself that you seek a perspective from first, not last. Plus we can never truly love others until we love ourselves. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. The wisdom behind that statement dictates that if we do not first value ourselves, then what we value in others will only service our insecurities and not the person we truly are. Translation: If you’re motivated by how a person makes you feel, the relationship is doomed because feelings are transient.

All people, no matter how special they start out, will eventually appear ordinary to us and all the bling that we put in front of them as human beings will wash away and we’ll be left the truth of our circumstances. Were we honest with ourselves or did we look the other way and kid ourselves when the truth was sitting right in front of us? That happens to people every day. Accept the circumstances of this person and understand he does not possess the strengths required to be what you seek in life. Move past this and focus on loving yourself more. Do things that make you happy. Set goals for yourself. As you accomplish them, you will build more confidence in yourself and understand what you want in life.
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#2

Postby otherbug » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:19 pm

Livetowin wrote:There's a couple of life lessons going on here...


Hi, thanks for the response, I truly appreciate it. I know what you're saying, I've talked a lot about it with my therapist. I understand that this time now is about me and my personal development. I know I need it, I know it's the best and only thing I can really do right now.
I guess what I mean is, even with absolutely no expectation or effort to try to even be friends with him, is it unlikely that we'll get in touch in the future? I'm not trying to get back together with him, I'm not even ready to be friends with him quite honestly, I've even been on a few casual dates since,.. I just can't shake the bond we had and that it is gone forever. I know that nobody can answer that with 100% certainty, but we're both very young and he has come a long way since I've known him. We were very compatible and healthy for almost two years before it got bad. I'm confident that he will overcome this and that I will gain my individuality and confidence back. I'm aware that this could take years and I will by no means wait around for it, but would it be wrong to try to rekindle a friendship down the line, if we are still in touch?
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#3

Postby otherbug » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:36 pm

Livetowin wrote:There's a couple of life lessons going on here...


Oh, also, I get that calling it depression sounds like a fake and cowardly excuse, especially to people that haven't experienced it to a very serious degree, but it is very real. He's hurt himself in the past and am sure is struggling not to now. I've spoken to several of his friends, all whom have said he is very secluded, several whom have said they don't even see or hear from him anymore. I understand fully what this sounds like; I'm desperately holding on to the idea that it is only this obstacle of depression that has caused our break up. Of course I hope that is true, because the relationship meant the world to both of us, but I am not so blinded by this hope that I can't see what the truth might be.
Of course there's a possibility that he's not that depressed and that it's just an excuse, but hell, there's also a possibility that he's gay, or cheated on me. But I'm not jumping to those conclusions. I trust that he really is going through a hard time. I know what that can do to a person.
At the worst of my depression, I treated everyone around me like total sh**. When I came out on the other side after extensive treatment, there were some people that had stuck around and forgave me, and there were some that I never heard from again. I am eternally grateful to the people that didn't give up on me, even when I put them through hell, because I know they really love and care about me. I want to be that person for the ones I care about too.
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#4

Postby Livetowin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:36 pm

otherbug wrote:
Livetowin wrote:There's a couple of life lessons going on here...


Hi, thanks for the response, I truly appreciate it. I know what you're saying, I've talked a lot about it with my therapist. I understand that this time now is about me and my personal development. I know I need it, I know it's the best and only thing I can really do right now.
I guess what I mean is, even with absolutely no expectation or effort to try to even be friends with him, is it unlikely that we'll get in touch in the future? I'm not trying to get back together with him, I'm not even ready to be friends with him quite honestly, I've even been on a few casual dates since,.. I just can't shake the bond we had and that it is gone forever. I know that nobody can answer that with 100% certainty, but we're both very young and he has come a long way since I've known him. We were very compatible and healthy for almost two years before it got bad. I'm confident that he will overcome this and that I will gain my individuality and confidence back. I'm aware that this could take years and I will by no means wait around for it, but would it be wrong to try to rekindle a friendship down the line, if we are still in touch?


The short answer is none of us know. He is an individual struggling with his issues and you have your own mountain to climb. When people have issues which are that debilitating you have to step back and be realistic about what you're asking of him or yourself. Relationships are transient because people change and grow. What looks like a perfect match today can be worlds apart tomorrow as you both move in different directions. So as much as I know you want to validate the future by measuring your past, it's never that easy (wish it were).

I think time away is your best indicator in terms of gaining perspective on this. I think the less you yearn for him the more objective you can be. And time away to find yourself is what will benefit you the most. If you continue to crave his affections or idealize your past to justify some future action, I think you're going in circles. Step away...completely. See what time and fate does for that. Trust me when I tell you, I have had equal fascinations with people when I was young that I thought would go forever. In retrospect so much of that was me selling it to myself.

Lasting friendships work themselves out. As long as this stays one-sided and you are the one doing the checking in and trying to gauge a perspective on his mindset, I don't see anything changing. If you respect yourself, you will move on and if he wants your friendship, he will seek you out later. At that point, maybe the two of you can talk and see where you stand. Understand too he might be doing the same thing, so you don't want to look like the same person years later if you bump into him again. Grow yourself and move forward. If fate determines the two of you should meet up again then it will happen.
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#5

Postby Livetowin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:04 pm

otherbug wrote:
Livetowin wrote:There's a couple of life lessons going on here...


Oh, also, I get that calling it depression sounds like a fake and cowardly excuse, especially to people that haven't experienced it to a very serious degree, but it is very real. He's hurt himself in the past and am sure is struggling not to now. I've spoken to several of his friends, all whom have said he is very secluded, several whom have said they don't even see or hear from him anymore. I understand fully what this sounds like; I'm desperately holding on to the idea that it is only this obstacle of depression that has caused our break up. Of course I hope that is true, because the relationship meant the world to both of us, but I am not so blinded by this hope that I can't see what the truth might be.
Of course there's a possibility that he's not that depressed and that it's just an excuse, but hell, there's also a possibility that he's gay, or cheated on me. But I'm not jumping to those conclusions. I trust that he really is going through a hard time. I know what that can do to a person.
At the worst of my depression, I treated everyone around me like total sh**. When I came out on the other side after extensive treatment, there were some people that had stuck around and forgave me, and there were some that I never heard from again. I am eternally grateful to the people that didn't give up on me, even when I put them through hell, because I know they really love and care about me. I want to be that person for the ones I care about too.


My apologies if I dismissed his depression. I just want you to realize that no matter what is on his plate, he has made the choice to move away from you and the past the two of you shared. You don't own that. Any of it. And I know it's easy to diagnose intent here (for him), but honestly you're just going off into the weeds when you do that. This is where I say you can only control yourself. Trying to anticipate, diagnose or otherwise speak for him on his issues will only set you up for disappointment because part of that is your heart talking. Sometimes you just have to leave things alone and move on. If something is meant to transpire down the road, it will. That's as much faith as I would give that. I wish all the best!
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