Depressed Boyfriend Ignoring Me For Weeks

Postby hjohnson » Mon May 20, 2019 5:24 pm

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 9 months now. I know that is not a very long time, but I really like him and see a future with him. He's five years older than me (30 vs 25), very career oriented, into his hobbies, and has expressed that he is not completely happy with where he's at in life (not married yet with no kids was never his ideal plan.). I never wanted to push back on those topics in fear of sounding like the crazy girlfriend that is already considering marriage and kids.

He was a complete gentleman from the very beginning and our relationship was fun, comfortable, and stable until about 2-3 months ago. He started becoming more distant, not texting or calling me every day like we used to. I know every day is a lot and he works a very demanding job with long hours and can understand not talking every day. But then days turned into 5 - 10 days without talking to me and only responding when I reach out first, making me feel like I was begging for attention.

Our most recent duration of not talking was about 2 weeks. I finally called because I didn't understand what was going on, spending some nights crying or upset wondering what I did or if he had moved onto someone else. I needed answers. He finally answered and we talked for an hour. He finally revealed to me that he's depressed, on medicine for it, and is having a midlife crisis trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. In retrospect, I feel terrible knowing he is in such a dark place and wish I expressed that at the time. But instead, I kept asking if he thought about how I've been feeling because of this cold-shoulder treatment. Long story short - it was a long talk, each of us expressing how shitty we felt and how this affected us, but not really listening to the other person. We agreed to try to reconnect to follow up with this conversation in person to discuss it. But after exchanging a few texts and him saying he'd let me know when we could hang, I haven't heard anything. In these few texts he made it clear that this lack of communication was not because of anything I did, but him simply trying to figure out how he feels about himself and his future career wise and personally.I followed up a few days later with a long text expressing how I am here for him during this tough time, how much I care about him and hope I can help. Still no response.

Of course I have family and friends saying to move on and that I don't deserve this treatment. Only one of my friends, who is in a committed relationship with someone who has depression has told me to be patient and wait this out. To focus on me right now, but don't assume it's over and give him space.

I don't want to this be over, but I don't know what to do at this point. Will he ever reach out when this episode is over?Is this normal for a depressed boyfriend to not talk to his girlfriend for weeks? It has been almost a week now since I sent the follow up message expressing my support. Should I consider this done and move on? I've never been with someone with diagnosed depression. I'm not claiming to be a perfect girlfriend and know I should make a better effort at communicating what I want/need/feel, but unsure how to deal with someone in this situation. I don't want to overstep boundaries but don't want this to end because I decided to stop reaching out as well.
Any advice would be great.
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon May 20, 2019 7:17 pm

hjohnson wrote:
I don't want to this be over, but I don't know what to do at this point.


-1- There are people that use the term depression, intentionally or not, as a softer or less difficult way of being able to reject someone.

-2- You are part of what he is avoiding, hiding, or running from in life, regardless of how much he denies this observation. It isn’t the case that he is trying to escape life’s problems, and you are not part of that calculation. I’m not saying a major part, but a part.

-3- This is how he handles problems in life. This is what he will teach your children. This is what you, your family, and everyone will need to deal with repeatedly, for decades, anytime he feels life isn’t going as smoothly as he wishes.

-4- What does keeping this condition hidden say about the ethics or character of this person? What other conditions are people ever allowed to hide from others without consequence while they get emotionally involved? “Surprise, thanks for committing to me, but now let me inform you of who you really are dating.”

He lied to you going into the relationship, he got you to become emotionally attached based in part around this lie or facade of a person he isn’t. Now when things are tough he only then reveals the issue when it serves his purpose, and he is still being less than an entirely honest with you as you wait for him.

I understand waiting until the 3rd date to tell someone about X or Y or Z baggage or issue. I understand you don’t share private things, you don’t offer up the baggage you carry until you get to know someone and are thinking to take the relationship further, but he hid for many months until it served his purpose.

I understand why you don’t want it to be over, because you only remember dating an ethical, great guy that told you all the right things. How were you to know he was being dishonest the entire time and that when things got real he would act this way? There was no way for you to know. He hooked you emotionally based on a false him. That is difficult to confront. I feel for you.

I know what I would do. I would have empathy for this person. It will be a tough life for him as he continues to lie and be less than ethical. This will never change. It will be a tough life as he struggles to deal with life’s issues via avoidance. I would be willing to be friends and stay in touch, but nothing more. I would wish him the best in life, but he would not be a part of my or my family’s future.
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Postby hjohnson » Mon May 20, 2019 7:29 pm

Richard - Thank you for your genuine and in-depth response. This has given me more to think about than the standard "you don't deserve to be treated this way" that I have heard from friends and peers. The truth hurts but it is something I need to come to terms with. I am now only worried about how I will react IF he ever reaches out in the future. I fear that I will not be able to stand my ground or I fall right back into hearing him out and giving this another chance. Again, that is only IF he reaches out. I could possibly never hear from him ever again.
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Postby Candid » Tue May 21, 2019 3:57 pm

hjohnson wrote:I am now only worried about how I will react IF he ever reaches out in the future. I fear that I will not be able to stand my ground or I fall right back into hearing him out and giving this another chance.

Best preventive for this, and for the possibility/likelihood that he doesn't get back to you, is to get back in the dating game. You can, if you want to, make the decision right now that he's out of your life and you can do better, because you surely can. That's the power position -- take charge and don't give him the choice!
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Postby Olga275 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:49 am

Have u ever noticed anything strange about him? Like habit change? Depression can be a symptom of another mental illness. My bf dumped me because of his depression and anxiety, but I started to observe and analyze his weird behavior, now I understand he has much more serious issues than just depression....
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Postby Prycejosh1987 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:33 pm

Support him and stay in communication with him. You are well he is not, you have to be his rock in terms of support. You do not have to call it quits.
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