My Depressed Boyfriend Is Pushing Me Away
If your current partner is dealing with depression and is pushing you away, there are a few things you can do to help yourself, your partner, and the relationship. Some of these things include:
- Educating yourself
- Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings
- Respecting boundaries
- Talking to someone about it
It can be frustrating and confusing when we find our partners pushing us away. This response can be hurtful and you might not be able to understand why- even when they make the effort to explain it to us.
We have to remember that everyone, including yourself, experiences trying times. During those moments in our lives, we might seek support from the ones closest to us. However, people with depression often choose the opposite reaction.
They may have various reasons as to why they choose to shut us out when they are having an especially trying day or an depressive episode. You have to understand that this is a defense mechanism to protect themselves
Let us take a deeper look as to why people with depression withdraw from others and what we as their partner can do about it to help yourself, them, and the relationship.
What Is Male Depression
As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity.
Depression impacts millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about themspouses, partners, friends, and family. Of course, its normal for anyone to feel down from time to time. Dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.
Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences.
Keep It In Perspective
Loving someone with depression may feel challenging at times. It may be important to remember that this is more than just the blues. Depression is not a personal choice its a medical condition.
Depression is not about not making an effort to feel better. Your partner cannot snap out of it or get over it with enough willpower. This is just like someone with a broken arm cant mend it back together at will. If they could, they would have probably done so already.
If your partner is having a hard time keeping up with chores, for example, they arent being lazy or trying to get away with doing less around the home. Depression can make even the simplest tasks feel exhausting, which means your partner may need to be more selective about what they take on.
It may be helpful to liken depression to working with a bucket. Right now, your partner is carrying a smaller bucket than the one they typically use. Its not a bad bucket for holding less water its just whats available right now. It may work better on smaller jobs, and it needs to be refilled more often.
As you might have guessed, the bucket represents emotional capacity. A similar analogy is the Spoon Theory, popularized by Christine Miserandino. If youve ever heard someone with depression say, I dont have the spoons, this is where that comes from.
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Reasons Why They Push You Away
Some of the reasons why your boyfriend may be pushing you away are related to the symptoms of his depression.
Reasons could include:
- Lack of energy:
He may have no physical or mental energy to keep up with your conversations or your needs.
When he is struggling physically, he could choose to recover his energy by resting or being alone- this often happens without explanation which might make you feel left out
- Loss of concentration:
He may not be able to keep up with your conversations because of his inability to concentrate which might often lead to misunderstanding and fights.
- Feeling like a burden:
Because of his low-self esteem, he might feel like a disappointment which can cause him to be embarrassed about his struggles. He may also push you away because he is afraid of being a burden.
- Scared of hurting someone or being hurt:
Your boyfriend may be in a very vulnerable point in his life. This vulnerability may cause him to retreat and protect himself from the world because he is afraid of being hurt.
He may also be afraid of hurting you because of his mood swings since most depressed individuals find it especially difficult to be mindful of their behaviour when they are having a hard time.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Caring Texts To Make Them Smile
Hooker, E. D., Campos, B., & Pressman, S. D. . It just takes a text: Partner text messages can reduce cardiovascular responses to stress in females. Computers in Human Behavior, 84, 485â492. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.02.033
This article was originally published on 11.12.19
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Allow Yourself To Grieve
Depression steals your boyfriend. If the depression has been there for long enough, you might feel a sense of grief. If you need to get mad, sad, or fall back some days, that is okay.
You are fighting a battle, too, a battle of your own. It is okay to back off to recharge now and then. Always be kind to yourself and do something that reloads you. You may also want to reach out to someone, but do not lean on your boyfriend. He already sees himself as a nuisance and anything that stirs it might cause him to withdraw even more.
What To Do When Your Boyfriend Is Depressed
What should you do when your boyfriend is depressed? Dating someone with depression can be challenging, and studies show that men find it more difficult to come out about their mental health issues than women. Although maintaining a relationship when your boyfriend has depression is not that different to dating someone without a mental illness, at times, protecting your own mental health can seem like a struggle. By understanding the common issues depression throws up and knowing how to respond, you can support the man you love without threatening your mental wellbeing. Here’s what to do if your boyfriend is depressed.
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Encourage Him To Go Outside
Help Dealing With Your Boyfriends Depression
Dont struggle through this alone find out if there are any depression support groups or counselors who specialize in depression in your community. Try to get in-person help for dealing with your boyfriends depression. Searching the internet and learning about signs of depression in men is good, but its important to get real life support.
In When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How to Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When Youre Depressed, Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD explores depression from the perspective of those who are in relationships with people who are dealing with depression spouses, parents, children, and lovers. She shares successful coping strategies of people who live with a clinical depressive or manic-depressive and often suffer in silence.
If your boyfriend is dealing with depression, he may worry hes not good enough for you. He may be irritable and try to push you away if he feels like his emotions are out of his control. His sense of intimacy may diminish, and his interest may fizzle as a result of fatigue, medications and feeling disconnected you as his partner.
The hard truth is that feelings of isolation, worthlessness, and tiredness can all take a hefty toll on your love life. But you dont have to let depression be the demise of your relationship.
If your boyfriend seems more irritable and cranky than depressed, read How to Cope With a Moody Boyfriend.
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Support Them During Treatment
If your partner decides to go with some type of therapy, support group, or treatment plan, its a good idea to celebrate it. You may tell them how brave you think they are, for example. Say something like, Im so proud of you for prioritizing your mental health. Its a really big deal.
To help them in the process, you might want to offer practical help. For example, offer to drive them to therapy, wait in the waiting room while they attend a session, or plan a debrief afterward so they can tell you how it went if that is something theyre OK with.
If theres medication involved, you may want to learn more about dosage, times, and side effects. You could also encourage them to work with a therapist, explaining the importance of getting medical advice, before they make any changes to their medication on their own.
Sleeping Most Of The Time
If you see your boyfriend sleeping most of the time, this is a sign to watch out for. Unlike anxiety, where you feel everything all at once, depression makes you feel empty and void of emotions.
So if your boyfriend is depressed, he will try to escape this empty black hole of a feeling by sleeping constantly. After all, sleep is a pretty great escape from your feelings, even for mental conditions like depression.
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Dear Therapist: My Boyfriends Depression Is Making Me Question Our Future Together
I want to be there for him, but his depressive episodes are difficult for me to handle.
My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s, and we recently moved in together after being in a long-distance relationship for four years. I’ve always known that he battles depression and has mild Aspergers. Recently, his depression has gotten much worse, and because this is the first time he has gotten very depressed since weve been physically together, I have no idea what Im doing. It is like Im walking on eggshells every time we speak, and if I say the wrong thing, he just shuts down. I cant push him for information or try to get him to help me with something around the house. I can barely get a normal conversation. I feel so alone.
I love him very much, and I plan to spend the rest of my life with him, but I dont know how to live feeling like the floor could come out from under me at any time. He is trying to get help, but he refuses to go on any medications or stick with a plan to get better for very long. I am so scared that this is going to always be his lifea constant roller-coaster ride controlled by depression. I want so much more for him, and for us.
I understand that theres nothing I can do to fix his depression. I just want to be there for him, but I cant sacrifice myself to his depression either. I need my boyfriend back. Help me, please.
Offer To Help With Tasks
If you live together, sit down as a couple and figure out how you can work together to get both of your needs met. If something they usually take care of feels like too much right now, you may want to ask them what would feel more intuitive at this time.
For example, maybe they can swap out laundry for paying bills online for the month. Or, instead of doing the dishes, they can water the plants. If you are up for it, you may even offer to take on a little more than usual for a few days.
If its accessible for you as a couple, you could find out what things you can automate. For example, grocery delivery services may waive a delivery fee if you place an order large enough for a weeks worth of food. Going to the grocery store will be one less thing for both of you to do.
If you dont live together, you may also find a way to help your partner with their chores. You could also come up with ways to check on them while taking care of specific tasks.
For example, you may explore the possibility of cooking a few dishes for them so they have some lunches ready for the week.
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What You Can Do
Its common to want to feel like you should never leave them alone because of their current state and condition. You might want to smother them and try to make them feel as loved as possible.
These strong reactions can result in a worse situation because of the cycle that can occur above, about not being authentic, that results in forcing yourself to act happy and later feeling like a burden. The result becomes they push people away.
Below is a table that can help guide you to better responses.
Its tough to be a partner and not to try and fix things. But sometimes, the more we try to fix a situation, the worse we can make it. Its almost better to ride the storm if possible. But having said that, there is one more thing to consider, and thats yourself.
Let Him Understand His Worth
Depression could also happen by the rejection feeling of reality he is in. No matter what going on and how hard his life is, you have to reassure him that his life is more worth it than this. Youll feel that he isnt listening or it wont build a distinction, however, it extremely may be a glimmer of sunshine in whats a really dark place for him.
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How To Capture His Heart And Make Him Fall For You
Heres what weve realized after so many years of experience as dating coaches:
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Once you learn the truth about how the male mind works, you can make any man fall in love with you.
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There are special tricks you can use to target the emotional triggers inside his mind.
If you use them the right way, he will start to feel a deep desire for you, and forget about any other woman in his life
The best part? These techniques are based on psychology, so they work on any man, no matter how old you are or what you look like.
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How To Strengthen Your Relationship
To make your relationship the best it can be, Dr. Borland recommends attending couples counseling and doing small activities together regularly, whether thats cooking a meal, seeing a movie or tackling a neglected DIY project
Depression is like a leaky basement. So work on repairingthe cracks and other damage to your foundation to prevent irreparable harm. Youcan strengthen and protect yourrelationship even in the face of depression.
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When To Seek Professional Help
In some cases, symptoms of depression may become more severe or intense. It may be a good idea to seek the help of a healthcare professional in these instances.
Only a mental healthcare professional may be able to determine the severity of a symptom and the necessary intervention.
Some of the signs you may be able to recognize include:
- rapid changes in mood
- increased or unusual alcohol or drug use
- internet searches on self-harm or suicide
- talking about thoughts or plans for suicide
- interactions feeling final