A depressed boyfriend

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    Dear Anna,

    good to hear from you again!

    In addition, he feels unworthy of being loved, unworthy of my love because I am successful and he is being afraid that I would realize that he wasn’t “worth it”.

    Yes, this makes sense. He doesn’t feel worthy because of his mother who made him feel unworthy and not good enough. And now he started questioning his sexuality, probably also because his mother had been questioning it (For a very longtime his mother thought he was gay and trans because he had a lot of feminine habits). She was criticizing him for his feminine traits and his sensitivity, which was another layer of rejection and condemnation. As I said earlier, this could be why he developed depression, as a way to escape his mother’s treatment.

    I believe he’d need to work on his mother issues in therapy. Has he been doing that?

    Also, it is becoming very hard for me to see him being under anti-depressant for so long and not seeing that many results on a mid/longterm basis.. I mean, 7 months seems to be a pretty long period, isn’t he supposed to see clear results by now?

    You may need to accept that a lot of time may pass before (and if) he returns to his old self:

    But I also know how he is during his ups. He is amazing in so many ways, we have the same values, he is very kind and generous. Honestly, I couldn’t wish for a better partner when he is at his ups. The way I want to be loved and seen, he is like this.

    In fact, he was like that only during his good phases. But there were always bad phases, when he wanted to take a break from the relationship, even from the very beginning. It is you who have been pushing for the relationship to continue. And it’s because you “felt like a complete wreck” without him:

    We once decided to take a break around December and it lasted one month, I felt like a complete wreck. I can’t imagine my life without him.

    I believe you’d need to work on not feeling so bad about yourself without him. Right now, you are waiting for him to get better, and he isn’t, he is unfortunately getting further away from you, with this new issue of questioning his sexuality. You may need to let go of him, or at least see what letting go of him would mean to you.



    Dear Anna:

    You are welcome. You wrote in regard to him taking anti-depressants: “7 months seems to be a pretty long period, isn’t he supposed to see clear results by now?“- yes, there should have been clear results (him feeling noticeably better) in 4-6 weeks if he is taking anti-depressants of the popular SSRI group.

    Since April 2021, you shared that your relationship with him, a 23 year old student living with his parents and 2 younger siblings, started at about October 2020. There were ups and downs from the beginning of the relationship and a couple of months into the relationship, in Dec 2020, the two of you broke up for a month. He was significantly depressed since Nov or Dec 2020. A pattern of withdrawal was established where “he stops talking for days and sometimes for weeks without any reasons. He just comes back like if nothing happened.. One month he is feeling ok and two weeks later, he withdraws again.. withdraw when things start to get tough“.

    He “went to see many neuropsychiatrists” regarding his mental health and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in March 2021. He has attended months of therapy, and has been on anti-depressants since his diagnosis with no noticeable improvement.

    During one of his ups not long ago, the two of you were “extremely fine together, talking about moving in together“, but then you saw him “starting to feel down and getting in another depressive phase” during which he started to “literally overthink about his sexuality“. He has been expressive feminine habits and behaviors ever since you met him, liking feminine clothing and being extremely sensitive.

    At his “very traditional family” home, his mother is the dominant of the two  parents, strict and pushy, “pressuring him about school“, and communicating to him somehow that she thinks of him as gay or trans.

    You stated and asked: “because of his very traditional family, he kind of hid himself, feeling ashamed because he liked feminine clothing and because he was/is extremely sensitive. If his depression is hitting hard right now, I guess all of what I just stated is a pretty big trigger for him?“-

    – I am sure that his home is triggering him negatively on a regular basis. His mother is the masculine (dominant) of the two parents, and his father is the feminine (submissive) one of the two. Your boyfriend’s empathy is with his submissive father (“He has a good relation with his father, although it is not him who leads the family“), and, reads to me, he is angry at his mother for dominating his father and himself. Feeling ashamed of his feminine habits and behavior is fueled by his mother’s criticism and societal criticism, and his shame is part of what I referred to earlier as his emotional constipation (depression).

    You asked: “Is there a way for him to find himself except the use of anti-depressant or therapy? He is extremely down to earth..  very scientific“- he needs to live away from his parents’ home.. but seems like he doesn’t want to move in with you. Maybe he is motivated to stay home so to.. protect his submissive father or to keep his father company, so that he is not alone with the bossy, pushy, masculine woman who is.. somewhat terrorizing them both. Maybe.

    About yourself, you wrote: “I went through depressive phases which led me to go to hospital due to suicide attempts“, and that during the Dec 2020 break in the relationship, you felt this: “I felt like a complete wreck. I can’t imagine my life without him“-

    – we’ve been talking about him, but you are very much a part of.. your story. Your mental health matters, it needs to be attended to, and you need to make choices for the benefit of your own physical and mental health. Can it be that you prefer to focus on him, on his troubles, his life, his story..  because it is easier than focusing on yourself and on your own life circumstances?




    Dear Anna:

    I still want to hear.. or read your story, your story is important.. more than his story as far as what you have to say.



    Hi guys!

    So, lately we had a serious talk together and we had a lot to figure out. I decided it was time for us to take a break, which actually may lead to a real breakup. I simply cannot stand anymore the fact that in august he told me that he was deeply in love with me, that he wanted for us to live together and then, literally two weeks later he told me that he felt unsure about his sexuality which lead us to where we are today. I didn’t force him to anything towards me, I have always been clear and honest about how I felt and what I wanted, always told him that if he didn’t feel the same, he had to tell it so I would not have to agonize and waiting for him to make his moves. Yet, when we talked last week, he told me once again he was truly in love with me but that he still didn’t know what he was. I became extremely fed up and I told him that I wanted to take a break if not breaking up definitely.

    I still have feelings for him of course, but just like I told him, he needed to figure this kind of thing by himself. I didn’t want to be dragged into his mess anymore. It’s just unfair for me, what if we stay together and 1 or 10 years later he tells me that he’s actually gay but didn’t want to let me go back in the days because he was still confused and had internalized homophobia towards himself? Him being gay or bi or straight isn’t the issue here, obviously. Him not knowing what he wants, what he is, here is the problem. He knows that I’m bisexual, experienced etc. It’s not a taboo and I always told him that if he wanted to talk about that, then it wasn’t a problem for me at all since I knew how it felt to keep inside how we deeply feel.


    At some point I kinda feel he always “needs” a reason to feel unhappy in his life. Back a few years ago, it was about him thinking I didn’t love him back. Now that he knows I do love and accept him for what and who he is, it just looks like he is moving his unhappiness somewhere else by questioning his sexuality and gender. I mean, you say to the person you love how you feel and good new it’s completely reciprocate. Which kind of person would literally start to overthink about sexuality and gender one/two weeks after confessing? He was the one who told me all of that in first. Also last year, he got into one of the most prestigious engineering program in the most prestigious engineering school in our country, which was his dream for many years and yet he dropped out because he had a few bad grades which would have led him to kinda re-do half of his first year. But I mean, it’s something very common in his program because of the school and teachers standards.

    My point here is, when he sees that he can reach and get what he wants, he always finds himself questioning what he has and the slightest issues will make him run away. Hence why I am really questioning about him being able to be happy. He just makes me feel that he “””””enjoys””””” indulging himself into this kind of constant mess, that he simply refuses what he already has while having wanted those things for so long.


    I feel like I am judging him extremely harsh when I write this kind of things, but.. It is how he makes me feel now after two years. I kinda feel bad to think of him this way, I don’t know if it’s my bitterness which talks. Frankly, I think he does many things to fix himself. I am aware of his depression, the side-effects and such. I know most part of this kind of behavior is due to his mental illness. But, it simply doesn’t make things easier when I find myself taken in the middle of all of what I stated above..


    When it comes to me, I went to therapy for two years prior dating him. ADHD and gifted child talking here. To be exact, my therapy actually ended up a few months after we started dating. Frankly I am feeling extremely good in my life for the past two years. I study abroad something I really enjoy, valedictorian, next summer I will go to Oxford for a research internship program, I have amazing friends, I am one of the board member of the main association in my university,  I live in a big flat for very cheap near to the city-center, the weather is awesome, I am learning my 6th language, I will soon publish my first official scientific article while I am still a bachelor student, I often go out, my teachers are adorables and I also got recently one of the cutest recommandation letter for my master applications, let’s not forget that I totally enjoy myself physically and mentally. So honestly, I came from a long way, but lately everything has been great for me, except him. So no, I really don’t think I am focusing on him instead of me for the wrong reasons. I think I just need to understand everything which surrounds me, this how my brain kind of works, life and people are constant enigmas which I low-key enjoy trying to solve just for my own sake since I am constantly easily bored? I know it may sounds like a brag at some point, but really, this is how I kinda work, honestly this is not peaceful at all for those around me, it’s amazing at work since I want to become a researcher, but on a personal level, it get a bit more problematic. I am aware that I hyper-focused on him for a longtime, but it got better for 7/8 months now though. I know my feelings for him weren’t created because of that, it wasn’t an obsession.


    • This reply was modified 3 days, 13 hours ago by Anna.

    Dear Anna:

    Welcome back to your thread! You shared amazing things about your life: you a bachelor student studying abroad, being one of the board members of the main association in your university, soon to publish your first official scientific article, scheduled to go to Oxford for a research internship program next summer, working toward a Masters degree. You live in a big flat near the city-center, enjoying the weather, having amazing friends, and a very depressed, on-again-off-again boyfriend for the last two years, a relationship with “a lot of up and downs” (quote from April this year), from the start and all along the past two years.

    I am feeling extremely good in my life for the past two years… I totally enjoy myself physically and mentally.. lately everything has been great for me, except him… I think I just need to understand everything which surrounds me, this how my brain kind of works, life and people are constant enigmas.. I am aware that I hyper-focused on him for a longtime“-

    -For the last two years you’ve been “feeling extremely good” except that in April this year, you wrote: “We once decided to take a break around December and it lasted one month, I felt like a complete wreck. I can’t imagine my life without him.”-

    You felt like a complete wreck a year and 10 months ago, and you couldn’t imagine your life without this 23 or 24 year old young man 6 months ago. Six months ago, your amazing life was not good enough if he wasn’t in it.

    What I figure is happening is that you are drawn to him, to this “constant enigma” because someone in your early (and current) life has been an enigma to you: a parent, I am guessing. It is common to close our eyes to what is too difficult to see, and open our eyes and keep them focused on what is easier to see, or to think about. I am guessing that a major figure in your early life has been unreliable, an on-and-off person, and you failed to understand them and to make them reliable, so you are drawn to this young man in an effort to.. understand him and make him reliable. It is common to try and work out childhood issues, and current issues with parents- by proxy, through romantic relationships.

    I am really questioning about him being able to be happy. He just makes me feel that he “enjoys” indulging himself into this kind of constant mess, that he simply refuses what he already has while having wanted those things for so long“-

    – you wrote this about the guy. I wonder if it is true to any one of your parents.. It happens to be true to my mother (as well as to many mothers): she wasn’t happy, indulged herself in her “kind of constant mess“, felt unloved and unlovable. I tried my very best for many years to make her happy, to make her feel loved, but my love and best efforts were not enough. She remained as empty with me in her life as she was before I was in her life. I will edit your last sentence in the quote above to fit my mother: she simply refused what she already had- my great love for her- while having wanted love for so long.


    • This reply was modified 3 days, 8 hours ago by anita.

    Dear Anna,

    it’s good you decided to distance himself from him and take a break. And also, that you’ve realized he has a tendency to be unhappy, even though he would have all the reasons to be happy. But there is always something preventing him to be happy… and until he deals with his deeper issue(s), he won’t be capable of a healthy relationship.

    It’s great to read that apart from problems with him, you have a great life, great successes and a promising future. But like anita noticed, you still didn’t perceive it like that, but felt that without him, your life was a wreck. In spite of your personal successes and the fact that you “totally enjoy yourself physically and mentally”, you still couldn’t imagine your life without him.

    Like anita said, this could be related to your childhood and the inability to be truly happy if one of your parents isn’t happy. This same dynamic is now playing out not with your parent(s), but with your boyfriend. If you have a hard time letting him go, it could be a sign that there is a wound still active in you, where you seek love from an unavailable parent/partner. Does this seem plausible to you?




    Dear Anna,

    you said earlier about him:

    Honestly, I couldn’t wish for a better partner when he is at his ups. The way I want to be loved and seen, he is like this.

    It could be that your weren’t loved and seen by your parents, and he fulfilled that need?

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