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Mental Health Issues are Ruining My Relationship


EmBo
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Hi everyone,

 

I've not posted here before, so I hope I do this right. I've got no idea where to turn to for advice - it feels guilty turning to friends and family - so I've turned to you guys. Sorry if this turns out long.

 

Me and my boyfriend both have issues. I have depression (which is currently severe) and anxiety. He has nothing diagnosed, but certainly has issues, and tends to worry a lot. He can also get sad out of the blue.

 

Our relationship has gone okay for the first year. We're good at communicating, we deal with problems. But this - this isn't the same. The more we've been together, the more attached he's grown, understandably. But to the point where his mood is dependent on mine. This wouldn't matter, except that I'm incredibly depressed, and so it makes him incredibly depressed. I force myself to be "okay", and he brightens up again. I've brought this up with him, and he agrees.

 

He doesn't have much in his life - he has a few friends, but they're distant as he put little effort into those friendships once we started going out. He's tried contacting a few to give himself something other than me in his life, but even when spending time with them, he's messaging me, asking if I'm okay, etc. He can't be away from me. I wouldn't mind, but it means when he is, he's sad, and his attachment to me means he's so sensitive to how I'm feeling, meaning his feelings, thoughts, needs are all focused on me. The relationship is incredibly unbalanced as it stands, as he focuses so much on me despite it making him sad, and I don't like it at all.

 

I suggested we needed a week to focus on ourselves and boost our mental health and see how we are, but even then he can't stop himself from messaging. It upsets me, not because he's clingy - I don't mind clingy at all - but because his life revolves around me. And at the current moment, I'm an unstable mess. Which makes him an unstable mess. Losing him would kill me - he is the kindest and most understanding person I know. But the only thing worse than losing him is making him depressed.

 

I've been advised that he's staying in this relationship - he's not left, and if it was too much for him, he would have. But I doubt he would have at all - he is the kind of person who would stay even if it killed him, and I think at this point he is staying despite the damage it's doing to his own mental health. He does not have enough self-worth to be able to step back and say "this is too much for me". Because all of the pain he experiences is for me, and so it makes it okay. But it doesn't in my eyes.

 

I'd appreciate any advice on the best way to move forward. If there's a way to fix these issues, I'd love to hear them - I don't want to lose him. But I worry it's too much for him.

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It sounds like he’s become too co dependent on you. Which in itself is very unhealthy. I was once told when I was younger two broken halves don’t make a whole, two wholes make a whole healthy relationship.

 

I would focus on you and as selfish as he would think that sounds he’s just going to have to get over it! He’s not helping you by mirroring your moods and he has to understand him hovering is not okay.

 

In fact it’s extremely selfish on his part to not listen to you!

 

I would tell him to give you space and to respect your boundaries. You won’t die or be lost without him, in fact you’ll see how unhealthy this all is if you two break up. If he refuses to give you space then he’s got bigger issues.

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It sounds like he’s become too co dependent on you. Which in itself is very unhealthy. I was once told when I was younger two broken halves don’t make a whole, two wholes make a whole healthy relationship.

 

I would focus on you and as selfish as he would think that sounds he’s just going to have to get over it! He’s not helping you by mirroring your moods and he has to understand him hovering is not okay.

 

In fact it’s extremely selfish on his part to not listen to you!

 

I would tell him to give you space and to respect your boundaries. You won’t die or be lost without him, in fact you’ll see how unhealthy this all is if you two break up. If he refuses to give you space then he’s got bigger issues.

 

I agree, he is too dependent on me. The only reason I mind is that it's so damaging for him. He's trying to separate, but failing. He's not refusing to give me space to be fair, and he is trying to do what he can, but I think it's too much for him. It's just not who he is - he only has me, and letting go of that after having no one is hard. It's not healthy, you're right, but understandable. I'm just unsure if he can change it.

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Sorry to hear that. How long have you been dating? Are you both working or going to school? Have you seen a doctor? Has he? Agree you both need a break.

 

We've been together for just over a year, we started dating at the start of May last year. We both study at university, and we've both agreed to start therapy. I've seen many, many doctors and the like over the years, but it's a first for him.

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You need to stop fostering this unhealthy symbiosis. You are too dependent on him for your ego. He can and will be fine if not better when you back off.

 

I think I'm better leaving him in general, on note of that. He's so positive, he has a spark, and I don't want to ruin it. You're right, thank you. He will be better, absolutely.

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He needs to see someone about what's going on with him. Even if he is in a healthy relationship, he will bring whatever issues he has to the healthy relationship also and revolve his life around someone else without being able to work on himself independently.

 

I think ending the relationship is a bit harsh. I don't know what else you're both dealing with but you're swinging to extremes - one moment you can't imagine a life without him (it kills you) and the next moment you're wanting to break up anyway.

 

Slow down and don't swing so far to extremes. Try and see a psychologist or therapist or someone for help (both of you). Maybe even one that is willing to eventually do couples therapy. I think you have separate issues and it's not as entwined as you may think. You both need to work together a bit better and slow down with the extremes.

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It's okay to have a problem with clingy behaviour, OP.

 

You say this concerns you because it's so damaging for him, which may be true, but I think it's pretty clear it's also a problem for you because you find him suffocating.

 

Is a week apart really going to make much difference? I can understand your need for space, but I don't see how 7 days is going to provide the boost in mental health that you suggested it might. It sounds to me like you have trouble being honest with him that you feel smothered, and this was merely an effort to get him to back off a bit. But with someone like him, whose happiness unfairly depends on you, taking space is going to badly trigger him and make him want to cling harder to you.

 

Reading between the lines, you want to end this but are worried he will fall apart. Is that somewhat accurate?

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While it sounds like your bf is hyper focused on you and your mental health, if you are "incredibly depressed" it would be incredibly hard to maintain a healthy and balanced relationship. We are social animals and it is hard not to be affected by the mood of someone you are so close to. Would a relationship work if you both can keep some distance and/or only share a positive facade, even if you are deeply unhappy inside? Perhaps, but I would address the mental health issues first, whether you stay with him or not.

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It's not on you to diagnose BF's hypothetical behavior or to speculate or guess anything. Your scope is limited to deciding whether this relationship works for YOU.

 

If yes, keep living it. If no, then all else is irrelevant.

 

That's your truth, and it's all that you're responsible for.

 

While it's true that others can sometimes manipulate us into assuming responsibility for their happiness and outcomes, the bottom line is that allowing that is just a distraction away from looking at our real responsibility--to be true to ourselves.

 

So operate accordingly, and credit the guy as an adult who is fully capable of getting any professional or personal help that he needs in dealing whatever the outcome YOU choose for yourself.

 

Head high, and recognize when you're making something more complicated than it needs to be.

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