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New boyfriend has depression - advice on how to support him?


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Hi there!


So, we were friends for a couple of years (not close friends, but good acquaintances!) and we have recently started dating. It is a long-distance relationship as he is at Uni, but we are very happy together. About a week after we started seeing other he opened up to me and told me he has depression. He is seeing a counsellor, but has only told a couple of people, not even his own Mum. He said he was telling me because he wanted to be honest with me and because I mean the world to him. I am so glad he felt he could tell me and am glad I know (and I told him that) but I am also very worried about how I can support him through this. He hates Uni and only seems to be really happy when he is out with the tight group of friends he has or talking to me - I don't like feeling as if his happiness is almost entirely down to me, it is a big responsibility!


I am worried if we ever have an argument it will send him two steps back and am worried he will change his mind about me quickly and end it.


I've read somewhere on here that I shouldn't give advice/judgement about his problems ('that isnt too bad,' 'why dont you just do this' etc)- I should just listen and ask how I can help. Also, someone wrote that it is important to separate the depression from the person? That all seems like valuable information and I want to know if there are any other things I should look out for or try to avoid or try to do to help?!


I am nervous because we have not been seeing each other very long (we haven't used the terms boyfriend and girlfriend yet!) but I don't want this to come between us - I like him so much and think we could have a very long future ahead of us, so what can I do to help him through this?


Any help or comments would be appreciated!

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depression is very hard to deal with, my bf is depressed at times.....so make sure it is a road you want to take, and if you do, just also always realize his depression si not about you, don't take it personal! i always try to listen, and be there for him, and if he needs space i give it to him, in the beginning i thought he didn't love me anymore or wouldn't be back, now i just know he needs this, it isn't about me or his feelings for me, they tend to push away the people closest to them at those times, and i know he always comes back and loves me very much and this has given me peace and the strength to handle it at those times......best of luck cause it is tough! but also to me, worth it!!! very much so!

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Having dated 2 people with depression, my advice would be to distance yourself and not consider a romantic relationship with him until he's ok. Relationships are difficult and take a lot of work even for a healthy person. I don't feel depressed people are capable of doing their part in a relationship and what results is just a wreck of a relationship where you're doing all the work.

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Can you give me some advice here please, I'm struggling today


My boyfriend of 2/3 years has completely shut down on me. This is the third summer this has happened accept this time it seems worse. The first year, 2010 we had only been together a few months and when June arrived he became depressed and withdrew. He explained to me by e mail how he gets like this and after a couple of months he was ok again. We starting seeing each other again in September and apart from the odd few days here and there, and Christmas where he shut himself away, we were ok. Then May 2011 he starting to withdraw again and I didn't see him for weeks and weeks. He still contacted me here and there by e mail but that was it. In the August we passed each other in our cars, he text me to say hello and that he had pulled the car over to talk but I had disappeared. We starting texting each other daily, he was his old self, we had lots of banter like we used to. So we agreed to meet up in October. He asked me to stay at his place for the weekend. We met up and it was wonderful. He told me how much he loved me and missed me and how he now realised just how much I meant to him. He mentioned that I was always there for him. In fact we talked for the first time in depth about his issues. He apologised and said that all that was behind him now and that he was going no where. So we have had a lovely year, lots of loving and caring. He tells me how much I mean to him and I believe him. He was working hard in his career to build a future for us. And it was us, not just him he said, for us. We planned holidays, where we might like to live, everything, we just wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Grow old together he said. We are no spring chickens; we are both in our early 50's.


So July came this year and I felt him becoming a bit odd again, going off for a couple of days here and there but when he did get in touch he apologised if it seemed like he was pushing me away, it was just his work. He was very aware of when he was leaving me out. He booked us a short holiday beginning of August with my 2 teenage kids. The week before we went I never heard from him at all and I thought, here we go, I'll be going alone. He rang me the day before we were due to go and he was ok. He told me that he had been depressed that week and that he had managed to snap himself out of it. Well the holiday was a disaster. From day one he kept losing his temper with my kids, not something he has ever done before. He kept threatening to go home. It’s like he was panicking to get away using any little thing as an excuse. I and he never argued once but he really had it in for my kids. Eventually he lost his temper with them and was really nasty to them, shouting and swearing over not very much at all. We decided to go home a day early. He couldn't get packed quick enough. Me and him were still fine, we didn't fall out once over it. The journey home was ok, we were fine together. When we arrived home, we unpacked the car and he just grabbed his bags, said he couldn't be in the same house with my kids a minute longer and went home. He said he would ring me the next day but he never. That was 8 weeks ago. I rang him, text him and went to his house but he never replied to anything. He wouldn't open the door. He shut out his best friend too but as he has to work with him sometimes, he had to contact him once or twice. I send him an e mail or FB message once every few days or so to tell him that I understand and that I love him and I'm here for him when he's ready. I lost my mum 2 weeks ago, he has always supported me through it but he only managed to send me a text to say he was sorry and that he wasn't in a good place right now. He left flowers and a card at the crematorium.


This time seems worse to me. He does usually make some contact but when he does, the problem never gets mentioned he will almost change the subject. I really don't know how to cope with this at the moment. I want to, I am a strong person and he knows that. But I get mixed feelings. Does he really love me; did he just think he did? Does he want me to be here for him or would he rather i just go because he believes he is no good for me. He has had a very troubled past involving being hurt by and ex who took his child away from him and has made the last 15 years impossible for him to have contact. This seems to be the root of the depression. He told me that he has been hurt 3 or 4 times in the past, most likely because the women couldn't take this behaviour. He is struggling with earning a living at the moment because of health issues but he really works hard to build his career. I want to be here for him. I love him very much and when things are ok its wonderful.


Do you think he believes I am going to stick by him? I will, for as long as it takes but how can I prove that to him if he won't talk to me or see me? Is he trying to forget me? He has not once said that he wants to end anything so I am trying to take that as a positive. It’s almost like he has just forgotten everything, we had so much fun together and I know he was really happy with me. Maybe he thought that being with me had put an end to his depression and when he realized it hadn’t he withdrew into it again?


It's like the last 3 years have been wiped out?


Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated.

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