Is It Ok To Break Up With Someone Struggling With Mental Health
A few years ago, my boyfriend broke up with me because of my mental illness. To be more specific, I was dumped because of the behavior my mental illness was causing, and the strain it took on our relationship. It was one of my biggest fears come true, to be too much to handle in a relationship.Id been struggling with depression for years prior to the relationship, but while we were together, I was going through one of my darkest and lowest points ever having mood swings and sobbing at the snap of a finger. He had to deal with my crying spells, refusal to go out and socialize with his friends, and my late night anxiety attacks. I had zero control over my emotions.So, my boyfriend sat me down and told me that my depression was bringing him down, and he couldnt handle it anymore. He had depression, too, and my behavior was taking a toll on his own mental health. It was devastating, but I understood why he did it. Its hard to take care of a depressed person when youre depressed yourself.I often ask myself if I would do the same thing if I were in his shoes. Honestly, I probably would.
Stick With Your Decision
When you break up with someone, it is important to think through your decision before you have that conversation. Once you initiate the break-up, it is important that you stick with your decision. Going back on the decision will lead to a great deal of confusion. The only thing worse than a break-up is a cycle of breaking up and making up.
During the process of breaking up, also be careful not to send mixed signals to the other person. It can be helpful to plan out whether and when you will communicate again. Then, follow the plan that the two of you set up. Otherwise, if you just continue to contact them too much, they may start to think that you want to get back together.
Dont Make Any Hasty Decisions
Ultimately, you may find that you simply cannot continue living/dealing with a depressed person. If you feel theyre dragging you down too, it may be time to consider distancing yourself. This may mean anything from taking a brief respite, to a permanent parting of ways.
In any event, take time to weigh your options carefully before making any decisions that you will have to live with permanently. While the decision to leave or not will undoubtedly be emotional, keep in mind that decisions made in anger are rarely wise ones.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Stay Committed To The Real Reasons The Relationship Ended
Every time your former boyfriend or girlfriend pops back into your head, you have an opportunity to control the mental conversation that comes next.
Instead of taking your thoughts of longing or missing them as a sign that the breakup wasn’t the right decision, trust that it’s totally normal and okay to still have feelings for someone who isn’t the right person for you. Focus on that latter bit as much as possiblethat they’re still not the right person for you.
Even former smokers miss having a cigarette every once in a while, but it doesnt mean they should start back up again, Dr. Chloe notes.
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Acknowledge That You Wont Be Able To Control Their Reaction
No matter what you say and how empathetically you say it, you can’t control how the other person will react. There is no guarantee that the conversation will be effective, because one can only control the message sent, not how its received, says Porter.
That said, there are many factors that can influence how well the message is received, he adds, which is exactly the point of thinking ahead about how you want to have the conversation. For example, if you’re so caught up in ending it that you forget today is their birthday, they’re probably going to be extra pissed.
Pick An Appropriate Setting
Theres no one rightlocation for this type of conversation, but Hendrix suggests putting yourself in your partner’s shoes to determine where they might prefer to hear the news. Just keep in mind that settings rife with distractionslike a restaurant with loud music, for instanceprobably arent wise choices. You want to be able to be present and listen and ask questions and hear what they’re saying, she says.
Porter suggests avoiding public places altogether. Its not fair to the one on the receiving end to have to try to temper a potential emotional outpouring, he explains. Its an intimate conversation that calls for an intimate setting, ideally at the partners place, giving them the prerogative to show you the door at any time.
Again, this only applies if you feel safe. If you feel at all worried about what your partner might do, prioritize your own safety and meet in a public place like a busy park where a friend can wait nearby or end the relationship over the phone.
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I Dont Want To Break Up With My Depressed Ex
I know it can seem confusing when youre in a relationship with a depressed boyfriend and he suddenly doesnt appreciate your assistance anymore. Moreover, he doesnt only want to cut down your relationship hours, but completely discontinue your services.
Unfortunately, both depression and breakups dont happen over night. If your boyfriend broke up with you because hes depressed or unhappy, you can be certain it wasnt a quick decision. His unhappiness has been creeping into his subconscious mind for days, weeks or even longer.
At some point, he started thinking If I break up with my girlfriend, I can finally start focusing fully on myself instead of having to worry about her problems.
It doesnt sound pleasant to hear such words when youve loved a person for a long time. Depression stems from a selfish and weak place. All your ex-boyfriend wants is to feel better and be his regular self again. He honestly believes he cant achieve good results as long as you are in his life.
Remember: Everything Is Temporary Including Emotions
Emotions are an important part of what is to be human they help shape our interior lives. They are also temporary! Feelings of rejection are no exception. So remember that given enough time, even feelings of rejection will pass. Change is inevitable.
Mindfulness practice is the best way I know to get better at not getting sucked into emotions like despair, anger, or sadness that sometimes come up around the end of a romantic relationship. Mindfulness practice, done properly, is no small undertaking. It requires real commitment to working with your mind in a certain way, on a daily basis. However, if youre up for the challenge, mindfulness practice can change your life.
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What Is Samhsas National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locators.
You Will Move On Eventually
Even with all the tips, tricks, and Ben & Jerrys in the world, breakups can be agonizing. But there are a couple of reasons to be optimistic.
First, the distress will usually fade long before you expect. Paul Eastwick, a former graduate student at Northwestern University and now an associate professor of psychology at UC Davis, and Eli Finkel, a professor of psychology and management at Northwestern, found that when they asked people to estimate how upset they would be if they split up with their partner, those asked predicted a level of devastation far beyond what actually occurred when they did later break up. In fact, the pain that people actually felt immediately after the break was equivalent to the pain they predicted they would feel an entire two and a half months after the split.
And breakups can be an opportunity for growth as well as a source of suffering. In reflecting on a breakup, we often begin to recognize how we can improve as people and as partners. We may fumble our way back to parts of our identity that had been neglected and set aside because they didnt neatly mesh with our partners personality. We can even find that its suddenly easier to achieve our goals: If a partner used to be particularly unhelpful in facilitating your success, your progress may actually accelerate following a split.
Grace Larson is a PhD student at Northwestern University studying close relationships. You can find out more about her research here.
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How Do I Break Up With Someone Who Is Depressedseptember 11 : 00 Pm Subscribe
wierdo8:19 PMI’m worried that if I do break up with them, that they will hurt themself, or do something rash.simulacra8:20 PMorange swan8:23 PMNeonBlueDecember8:38 PMHow can I do this and ensure that they have the support that they need to get through this? ensureJohn Cohen8:39 PMjasper4118:48 PMI will be taking away a major source of their support to get through this change.rokusan8:56 PMEtrigan9:31 PMneworder79:33 PMGilbert10:00 PMfoxy11:56 PMMrsHarper1:00 AMkidelo5:27 AMI can’t imagine that anyone wants to be with someone who doesn’t truly want to be with them. It hurts to know that someone is staying with you just because they feel sorry for you, everyone wants to be wanted!RRgal7:11 AMmippy1:45 PMwildcrdj4:17 PMstormpooper9:12 AM« OlderNewer »
I Broke Up With My Boyfriend When He Had Depression
‘I began to feel like I was staying with someone who no longer had anything to offer me’
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’re looking at people’s experiences of mental health issues – their own and those of their loved ones. Here, our writer describes her boyfriend’s struggle with depression – and the toll it took on her.
I met Liam the way many modern romances start. We were friends of friends who started chatting online. He offered to help me with my art magazine and it went from there.
We started dating and a month later he asked me to be his girlfriend. It was easy, carefree and very fun. He quickly became my best friend and for the first time, aged 22, I felt I had a partner not just a boyfriend.
We were building our careers – mine in art, his in music – and we were doing it together, making our big decisions as a team and celebrating successes with wine at night.
Two years into our relationship, when he was 26, Liams career took off. He started touring abroad for months at a time. It was hard adjusting to the long-distance stints – sharing our lives via late-night and early-morning WhatsApp calls – but we managed.
Until things changed. Liam started constantly second-guessing himself and his confidence started to dip. He stopped making plans to see friends, and gave up on all attempts to look after himself – body or mind.
Illustration: Sneha Shanker
Illustration: Sneha Shanker
Eventually, I decided to do what was right for me.
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Dont Leave Things Open
In the moment, you may feel tempted to lessen the blow of a breakup by hinting at the chance of future reconciliation, but dont say that if its not a possibility otherwise, youre giving your partner false hope. If you say Maybe after I take the bar exam, then they’re going to be waiting for their phone to ring after you take the bar exam, says Hendrix. If you know that this person is not a good life partner for you and there’s a 99% chance that you’re never going to rekindle anything, then you just want to tell the truth.
How To Break Up With Someone In The Kindest Possible Way
Getting dumped is never fun, but people often tend to forget that initiating the breakup can also be pretty awful yes, youre in control, but that doesnt leave you immune to guilt, angst, grief, or some deeply unpleasant combo of all the above. After all, you truly cared about this person at one point. Maybe you even loved them. Maybe you still do. And even worse than seeing someone important to you get hurt is actuallybeingthe one to cause that hurt. To help you through it, the Cut asked therapist Samantha Burns, a licensed mental-health counselor, relationship coach, and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, how to break up with someone as smoothly as possible during every stage, from the moment you decide to end things to the mourning phase that follows the split.
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Only Start Dating Again When Youre Legitimately Excited To See New People
A lot of people break up and enter a rebound period. Theyre immediately back on the market and throwing themselves at the first thing that comes by. The problem is this is more of a coping mechanism than genuine enthusiasm for the new people ones meeting. You can tell because the new connections you make feel complicated and lacking. Anxiety and desperation come back with a vengeance, and overall the process of meeting someone new is far less enjoyable.
After you break contact and invest in yourself, dont pressure yourself to meet someone new until youre legitimately excited to do it. Theres a difference between excitement and desperation. Desperation is feeling alone and incomplete without dating someone like you need to be with someone to be happy. Excitement is being genuinely excited to discover whats out there and feeling fine regardless of what happens.
Besides, when youre excited to meet new people and are in a good place emotionally, you are far more attractive anyway. Its worth it.
Why Are Breakups So Painful
They change the way we see ourselves
One of the most blissful parts of falling in love is getting so close to someone that you feel as though you are almost merging. And research confirms that as a relationship grows, the psychological boundaries between the two members of a couple blur in several different ways.
Every late night pouring ones heart out and every adventure exploring new parts of town is an opportunity for partners to share and swap their traits, skills, and perspectives like two chromosomes during meiosis. Perhaps she grows to share his love for the quiet Ohio town where he grew up perhaps he can now tell the difference between a malbec and a zinfandel after the countless bottles shes brought home. And the more committed couples become, the more they do tend to think in terms of we whats best for us, what do we want, what does our future hold.
This process is thrilling and rewarding. Experiencing it in reverse, however, is disorienting and distressing. The end of a relationship calls into question many of our beliefs about our selves.
They alter our biological rhythms
Consequently, a breakup throws both partners out of whack, like a caffeine addict suddenly deprived of her morning red-eye. Sbarra and Hazan note that adults going through a breakup show many of the same signs of physical dysregulation that infants do if separated from a caregiver: physical agitation, disrupted sleep, irregular appetite, and so on.
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How To Break Up With Someone With A Mental Illness
Breaking up never feels good. Its a dramatic change in life that sometimes needs to happen.
Maybe youve fallen out of love with the other person. It could be that youve realized that you just want different things out of life. Or maybe youve finally realized that youre not in the right place to be in a healthy relationship.
As bad as breakups can be, breaking up with a person with mental health issues or mental illness adds an additional layer of complexity.
But, at its core, the principle is pretty much the same. Youre ending a relationship for whatever reason. And while one would hope that the other party would be able to take a breakup in stride, grieve the loss of the relationship, and move on, well, life doesnt always work that way.
People can be unpredictable, mental health issues or not. Sometimes, the most put-together people appear that way because they take extra care to ensure thats how other people perceive them. An emotional imbalance or the potential for an impulsive response may not be readily apparent.
And that is why it is so strange to see so much advice about breaking up come without important caveats. That is, if you feel unsafe or that the other person might not be safe, it is best to seek out the assistance of a therapist to navigate the situation and develop a safety plan before taking any action.
So, how can you maximize the safety of everyone involved when you want to break up with your partner?