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New Relationship or Back Together


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My first boyfriend (I'm gay) and I are both about 20 year old college students. He broke up with me about a month and a half ago primarily because I have depression and would sometimes have suicidal bouts, while at the same time he didn't know how to and didn't have the emotional strength to handle my situation. One time I was suicidal and told him I was going to kill myself over the phone, and then I hung up on him. I'm pretty sure that experience scarred him emotionally a bit. While I was in a mental hospital recovering, when I called him he had said he had been in bed all day worrying about me. I'm pretty sure that this wasn't a rare occurrence. So, I know that my depression brought a lot of emotional distress to him because he cared so much for me. This clearly wasn't healthy for him and he realized this, and so he broke up with me to take a step back from the pressure. I asked him if we could still be friends and he said that was okay with him. I fully respect this decision because I don't want to cause him grief and because I care about his personal health.


Besides this issue outside of both of our control, we really had a great relationship. We did everything normal couples did. We complemented each other well in trying to push each other to our goals. We both really cared for each other deeply. We really loved each other.


A couple of weeks after he broke up with me I saw him again for the first time. We ended up having sex as kind of a friends with benefits thing and it got emotional. He said he missed me a lot sometimes, I told him I still cared about him, I told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me. After we had sex, I asked him if he would be willing to give me another chance when my depression got better, and he told me that he would be willing to. However, he also made it clear that he wanted me to move on from him and to see other people, and that if he started dating other people that I shouldn't care. I agreed with him, but really did want to end up getting back together with him.


Over about the past month I've been seeing a new psychiatrist to treat my depression and am on medication that I feel has been really helping me, like I've very rarely been sad or have had suicidal thoughts at all. I will also be starting counseling soon. It seems like this could really be a long-term solution to my depression. At the same time, I've been dating around on my own volition (not just because my ex wanted me to) and have yet to find somebody that I share natural chemistry with like my ex. I've met a lot of really nice guys, and maybe as I get to know a few of them more I'll develop some chemistry with one of them. But I still really miss my ex and would love it if we could get back together.


At this point I would ask whether I should keep dating around as my ex and I discussed or if I should try to get back together with him, maybe not immediately but maybe in like a month from now. But the situation is a little more complicated, I suppose.


During our relationship, I had asked my boyfriend if he thought I was clingy, and he said I was a bit. However, after we broke up, I realized that I was clingy because my depression made it so that I didn't enjoy much of anything, yet I did enjoy being around him, so he became pretty much my sole source of happiness. Whenever I wasn't around him I would get extremely bored and depressed as a default, but this was likely just due to my depression. I realize that it is unhealthy for any person to be someone's only source of happiness. Now that he broke up with me, I have been forced to try to find something to make me happy besides him. And thankfully due to my antidepressant I was able to find some things. But I'm a little scared that the things that I found I might cast aside if we get back together and so he might become the sole source of my happiness again. At the same time, I think I might be worrying too much about this, as my antidepressant has made it easier for me to enjoy different things and so I would still be able to find ways to keep myself happy even when I'm not around him. Moreover, I think I might be able to keep a little more distance from him if we do get back together so that I'm able to focus more on myself and my interests so that that won't become a problem.


To complicate things a little, my ex and I have agreed to be friends with benefits once this coming semester starts, until one of us gets a new boyfriend. Now that I think about it more, this concerns me about if it hurts my chances in trying to get back together with him.


So, to summarize: My ex boyfriend broke up with me because he couldn't handle my depression. He still had feelings for me when I last saw him, where he told me that he would be willing to get back together with me if I got better, yet that I should get over him. I'm now much better (though there is a little work still, as there likely always will be). There's concern about if I'm going to make him my only source of happiness if I get back together with him, but I might just be worrying too much. And we agreed to be friends with benefits.


I was wondering if it would be best to date around as my ex and I discussed, to wait to try to get back together with him eventually, or maybe even if I should hold off on dating entirely for a while until I get even more better with my depression. If I should date around, should I just completely try to move on from my ex? If I should try to get back together with my ex, how long should I wait to do so? And should I try cutting off this friends with benefits thing entirely then? If I should wait to date, how long should I have felt better and how much better should I feel before I do start to date? Would it be okay to get back with my ex then?

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I don't think your questions can be answered with specific numbers, like "wait 16 days to ask if he wants to start dating again." A lot of it is going to depend on his reactions to your actions. You obviously love him and want to be with him, so why date other guys until you know for sure a relationship isn't going to work out with him? I think he's going to need proof (more than just your word) that your recovery is real, that you're committed to progressing and that the medication is working. This next semester is the perfect opportunity to show him, not just tell him, that you are different. When the time is right (you'll know it by a feeling, not a date on the calendar), let him know you'd like to be more than friends with benefits. If he sees at that point that your depression is no longer controlling you, perhaps he will be open to the idea.

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