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dating someone struggling with depression?? help!

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Hi! This is my first post in here, a friend of mine recommended this site so I'm still figuring things out but okay here it goes:


TLDR = the guy I'm seeing is likely in a depressive spiral and pushing me away and I'm not sure what to do.


The read


I started dating this guy in late September who is amazing! Like a breath of fresh air. Conversations flow naturally, he's someone I always want to be around. I really like him and I think we have a great connection. He has said he really likes me, too. It could really go somewhere and for the first time in a long time, it's not something I want to give up on and I don't feel like he does either. We've had conversations about being on the same page, and we both felt good about things without the pressure of advancing our relationship at a pace we're not comfortable with (we're in that limbo of uncertainty on "relationship status" but he's had me meet some of his friends and he's met a few of mine).


We've also had conversations about our mental health and he struggles with depression.


About 2 weeks ago, I noticed a change in him. He became way less responsive in a matter of a day. I'm not one to really care about the timestamp on replying but it was out of character enough to be concerning so I tried to talk to him about it, he admitted not being in the best place. I told him I was here for him and he appreciated it but he's thrown himself into distractions and he is still not very responsive to me. He's mentioned he hasn't felt joy from usual things, but it feels like he is suddenly uninterested and pushing me away. I brought it up again and he has said he has felt weird about things but isn't sure why. I'm not afraid to be here for him and help in anyway I can. I want to make it work but I know I can't make him have feelings for me if they aren't there. We're going to talk in person because we both agreed our conversations are more productive when we're physically together. I'm aware I could also be totally wrong and he could have lost interest. I'm not sure how this conversation is going to go.


Anyway, if you've dated/are dating someone struggling with depression, does this sound like a spiral? if so, what are some helpful ways to communicate what to do when you feel pushed away?? I'm willing to put the effort into making this work, I want him to know that he's not his depression and that's an obstacle he doesn't have to face alone.


Or maybe just give it to me bluntly, does it sound like he's about to break things off instead?

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It takes two to tango. Regardless of the reason, he sounds emotionally unavailable and unwilling to try. Imo, it would be best to state your mind once about how youv feel about the whole situation and then step back and observe/ let him come to you when/ if he wishes. You are not his therapist nor is it healthy, imo, to try to "save" him. Trying to communicate with someone who doesn't feel like it, is likely to push him away. Giving him space and taking the time to reflect on why you seem to have picked an emotionally unavailable person might work better.

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Sorry to hear that. Keep in mind that you are still in the dating process and a few weeks in without having defined what you both want.


It seems you're 200% in and 200 mph with this so he's pumping the brakes.


It's extremely important not to project your mental health concerns onto anyone. Patronizing remarks such as "you're not your depression", may seem supportive to you, but they imply he's broken and you're there to fix him.


You need to step way back and concern yourself with your and only your mental health.


Is it possible there's someone else he's talking to such as an ex or on/off GF? You need to consider that there's many possibilities as to why he's stepping back from things.


It could be the novelty of the situation, the smothering, playing therapist, his own choices or simply that he's not feeling it any longer.

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He has said he struggles with depression and can have periods of time of feeling low. I should have clarified, but I’m not trying to be his therapist. He has a counselor and has expressed that he knows he should make an appointment to talk to them. I’m not trying to get him to pour his problems onto me because for me and my own mental health that is biting off more than I can chew. I am not trying to save him, that’s something he is in control of. I simply am trying to communicate that I am confused on what is going on and I want to figure it out together.

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From what he is implying, it seems exiting the relationship has been on his mind for a while. Your focus on his mental health is misguided.


No matter the status of someone's physical/mental health, you need to pay attention to the fact that he's unhappy and frequently talks about leaving.

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Honest my darling , it sounds like he is losing interest . I say that based on a couple of things .


Firstly it is one of those subjects that crops up on here so much and to me almost begins to feel like a cop out on their part or a reason to hang on in there on your part . It just confuses people ...are they backing off because they told me they get down and lose interest for a while , should I hang on in there and wait it out or is he/she backing off because it isn't working . It is easy to see why these thread appear a lot and I feel for you .


Secondly ..just based on myself ... My mental health issues have never actually stopped me falling for someone .Maybe needing space yes , but that's it .


I don't think you are trying to be his therapist , just trying to be a supportive girl friend and there is nothing wrong in that as long as you don't allow yourself to be his drop in centre .


At this stage all you can do is hear him out when you have this talk , and I of course hope it works out for you .

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So after only 8 weeks of dating, why would you be willing to be upset and put up with someone who is regressing rather than progressing in the relationship? No matter how cute he is, and that everything went well during the beginning weeks together, he's not putting in the needed effort AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHY. People who are depressed shouldn't get a free pass to ignore a relationship.


Obviously, he hasn't regularly being seeing a psychiatrist, because regular appointments would have normally been set up. Since you brought up his behavior, and he saw that he could lose you because of it, if he was really into you he would've said something like: Oh, I see the antidepressants I'm on aren't working well. Can you please be patient with me while I get things sorted out?


I was young and stupid when I married my first husband who suffered from depression, even though I saw red flags. I was not in a good place mentally, either, just as you state you aren't. I wish I could go back to my younger self with an adult brain to say: Run far. Run fast.


So obviously, my advice is to leave. Life is hellish to live with someone who isolates. He was often angry and defensive. The isolation came later in the marriage. We would sit there in silence at the dinner table, whereas I prefer discussions during a meal. Then there was a night where I went with him and his friend to a comedy club. I was so excited to have someone to have discussion with (basically the friend was mine as well) and was very bubbly, and then my husband pouted all evening, and later said how he was jealous how much I was enjoying his friend's company. He couldn't see that his ongoing behavior resulted in that situation. His depression, only treated for a few years until he got off the meds, was the main reason I decided to divorce him.


Get out now before you invest further. Don't let him make the decision, because he might be cowardly and let you continue driving the train. You keep adding the coal as he sticks his head out the window, looking at the scenery and thinking, "Whatever."

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I second Pippy! I have mental health issues and no matter how depressed I got I was still very into the person I was with. I think he’s using his depression as a crutch for lack of interest. I understand you want to be supportive which is great but only a couple weeks in and him pushing you away is telling right there. I wish you the best.

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So you've roughly dated all of 8 weeks and of those, 6 weeks were good and the last 2 are going downhill.


I think he is just not that into you.


If it was depression related, it sounds like he has enough experience to say, "hey I'm having some issues with my depression, please bear with me while I get a handle on this with my doctor." What he is telling you instead is that he just mysteriously doesn't know what's wrong or why, but he is feeling like "something" is off. That sounds like a soft let down, OP. It would be nice if he was just honest with you, but unfortunately, people rarely are. I just hope you don't get stuck making excuses and stringing yourself along just because you want those good 6 weeks back.


Anyway, if you really really want to give this a bit more time, then step back from him. When someone is pulling away, let them. It might be counter intuitive, but when a person wants some space, the worst thing you can do is chase and crowd them in. That will actually force them to send you packing for good. You have to step aside and let them sort themselves out and come back to you once they are ready. The question you do want to ask yourself is does this actually work for you? It doesn't sound like you like a hot/cold relationship and most people wouldn't either. It's not fun nor healthy. Don't focus on a few good weeks, but rather look at what is happening now.

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Are you two actually an official couple? It seems like, from what you wrote, he hasn't actually said you're his girlfriend.


If things are this difficult this early on, it doesn't bode well for a future with this man. He's pulling away already.


Finally, it takes both parties to "make it work". You can't "make it work" for the both of you if he's not on board, and it seems like he is not.


I would wish him well and then exit. If he contacts you in the future with a legitimate expressed desire for the two of you to be an official couple and says he is currently receiving treatment for his depression, it would be up to you if you want to try again.

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He is not interested in pursuing a relationship with you.

He has let you know that after about 40 days of meeting you.

He is trying to do a slow fade but you aren’t getting his hints.


Why aren’t you??


Sorry but this is not his depression talking , this is him with or without depression.


Early dating people say all sorts of lovely things. Everytime.

But once we start to actually know someone and realise that’s not the person for us we put on the brakes. Like he has.

He did enjoy sharing his depression thoughts with a perfect stranger but that doesn’t mean he is interested in you beyond that.


If someone with depression is genuinely interested in you , they will hide the fact that they have depression from you , not tell you about it.

He was interested in a temporary boost for which you served that purpose.



He is not ready to be in a relationship and nor does he want one with you.


Enough about him.


I’m more concerned about you? Why would you entertain discussing mental illness with someone you barely know?


Are you not on top of your own mental health ?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone, it's been a while but I wanted to update this topic with good news!

He wasn't uninterested, he was in a bad place. Which I'm sure we've all been in in some way, shape or form. We had multiple open and honest conversations and he appreciated me confronting him on how his mental health management was affecting me. We've been officially dating pretty much ever since and I am extremely happy! 

However, I'm kind of disappointed in how negative this forum is. I took a break from social media as a whole as I was figuring things out (and because, election...2020....so many reasons) but even peeping in on other topics recently, I'm noticing responses tend to be harsh and negative and "my way or the highway" vibes. I understand that putting it bluntly is what I asked for, but that's not the case for everyone. I'm glad I didn't give up on him like most of the responses in this thread were telling me to do. It was a tricky situation, everyone's situation is different. Maybe we all just need to stop projecting our own experiences and anxieties on other users and start actively listening. 

Anyway, thank you all for taking the time to share with me your thoughts. I really am thankful I had each of your perspectives as I went into my conversations with him, but I'm glad I listened to my gut on not moving on without some important conversations. I could've missed something really wonderful.



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