I’m so relieved there are resources like this for people like us. I am really struggling at the moment with my (ex?) boyfriend, who suffers from severe depression.
As a bit of context, we are both in our late 30s and I’m retraining as a therapist myself so I do have some insight into his condition and I’ve experienced unipolar depression before, though I am now medicated and have support. My boyfriend is undiagnosed and very, very resistant to both therapy and medication. He dismisses both outright and despite my best efforts I have to accept that is a dead end.
Over the course of our 14-month relationship I’ve suggested he might be bipolar, which he acknowledges could be the case as he can swing from massive highs to deep, deep lows. I also suspect he is experiencing anhedonia.
He has major commitment issues, splitting up with me for three months during an earlier bout of depression. After recovering from that and reconciling with me, he was regretful and very apologetic about how much he had hurt me, promising never to do it again.
Previously, he has never had a relationship longer than a year. His relationship with me has by far been the most serious one he’s ever had. He has introduced me to his daughter (the result of a brief, three-month fling in his 20s), who is by far his most precious and valued person. I know that was a very big step for us and I was very moved.
He professed love, telling me he thought he had been in love before but that he now realised nothing came close to what we had. We planned to move in together later this year – a huge step for him which he admitted he was anxious about - and had started looking at holidays for the summer. In January a much-loved family member of mine took his own life and he came with me to the funeral and supported me through what has been one of the most devastating times.
About six weeks ago I began noticing he was sliding into a low. He could see it too and we tried giving each other space, spending quiet nights in, basically anything we could to try and stop the inevitable decline. Nonetheless, he continued to withdraw, our sex life dwindled to a halt and he would often cancel seeing me altogether. He withdrew from his friends and slept for hours on his days off.
This weekend he broke down and said he is not happy in the relationship and though he loves me, he no longer has ‘those feelings’ for me. He says he is still attracted to me, but does not feel like he did previously. We both cried and when I asked if that meant we were not to see each other again, he was adamant that was the last thing he wanted.
We have come to an uneasy truce whereby we plan to continue seeing each other as ‘friends’, meeting frequently and spending time together much as we have been, but without the intimacies we shared. He doesn’t want to see or sleep with other people because ‘that’s not what this is about, I can’t be with anyone, not just you.’
I’ve asked if he thinks his feelings for me will return and while he acknowledges that they might, at the moment he doesn’t think that they will. I’m stumped as to how somebody could fall out of love so abruptly and wonder if cold feet about moving in and his general commitment phobia are what are driving this.
My friends and mother are furious and think I should cut contact and move on, but I’m not ready to and if there is a chance he’ll come back, it’s one I want to take. After all, he’s returned to me out of a bleak depression before.
I am in a lot of emotional pain and I would love to hear some success stories from people who have been through similar situations and where perseverance and patience has paid off.