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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
Help with depressed boyfriend
Aqua14 posted:
Hi all,

I haven't posted here before, but I'm hoping that I'll get some suggestions or perhaps support for what's going on. I'm confused and feel that I'm in an ambiguous situation right now.

Last September I began dating a wonderful guy who seems to be just right for me, and who thinks I'm just right for him. The problem is that he has gradually developed quite severe depression and anxiety, probably mostly due to his divorce in November 2009. He is being treated with medication and counseling, which he sought out himself late last fall.

Gradually I noticed that he is not really able to be in a relationship right now, but I kept trying to pick up the slack by planning more dates and helping him as best I could.

However, a few weeks ago he broke up with me at the request of his psychiatrist and urging of his parents; he left me a message on my home answering machine. (!) Then an hour later he called me back to say that he didn't mean it, that he'd made a mistake.

I thought about the situation over that weekend and then realized he was right, he wasn't in a good place to have a relationship and that it wasn't fair to either of us -- so I told him that we should break it off but that we could still be friends, since there wouldn't be as much work or obligation in a friendship.

Since then he has wanted to get back together, and we've had dinner a couple of times and talked about things. He is making a big effort to try and get well quickly, he says, so we can pick up the relationship where we left off. I don't think that his recovery from his mental illnesses will be quick at all, but I told him I appreciated his working at it.

My head says that I've made the right decision to back off to just being friends, while my heart wishes things were different.

I'd appreciate any insights that anyone can offer. Thanks. Judy
cjh1203 responded:
It's only been a few weeks since you broke up, and it does sound like the best thing for now.

If you can both be patient while he works on getting better, maybe you can resume your relationship at some point -- maybe even a few weeks or months, depending on how much progress you see.

If it's painful for you to try to maintain a strictly friendly relationship, though, you might want to pull back for a while.

I think you can let him know that you still care for him but, for both your sakes, you need to be sure that he's in the right frame of mind to get back into a relationship.

He doesn't need to be completely recovered before you consider getting back together, but he should show enough improvement that you're confident in his ability to commit to a relationship with you.
Aqua14 replied to cjh1203's response:
Thanks; that helps. I especially appreciate your last point -- I was thinking more black-and-white, either he's well or he isn't. Trying again when he's better (but not completely recovered) hadn't occurred to me, but I can see how that might work.

Thanks again for your thoughts. Judy
gd9900 responded:
Kudos to you...your decision is mature, understanding, and compassionate.

This is your journey - I do not have any insights to offer. However I will say this; Now is the time to sort out and work through this issue. I wish you both all the best.
Aqua14 replied to gd9900's response:
Thank you; your kudos helps a lot. I have been going back and forth with myself as to whether this was the right course of action, so it's good to see that others agree that it is. Judy

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