He is distant just when things became more serious – anything I can do?

posted 2 months ago in Relationships
Post # 136
Member
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I want to preface this by saying I understand the importance of and sensitivity around the mental health piece.  My fiance and I both struggle with anxiety and depression.  I’ve been at a point where I was seriously considering taking a leave from my job for mental health reasons.  My fiance also sadly had a friend check himself into the hospital last week for severe paranoia.  I say this so you know that I am never flip about mental health needs.

That said, if what he’s really dealing with are mental health issues to the degree that you think they are responsible for his behavior what he needs is not your friendship IMO but more professional mental health support. I know in today’s society we’re hyper aware of mental illness and people want to do what they can to help those around them, but it seems like what he’s asking of you is not only not fair of you but also not what is actually going to make him better.  That’s not to say that if people have a friend who needs support they shouldn’t give it, but based on everything that’s written it just doesn’t seem appropriate for either of you in this case.

When you describe these interactions they sound like they come more from a place of wanting your companionship without any obligations rather than really needing mental health support.  Which isn’t fair to you and really isn’t helping him at the end of the day.

Post # 137
Member
76 posts
Worker bee

Not trying to be mean here but just because you identify that you went through something similar to what you think he’s going through does not make you an expert on what he needs. You’re NOT his therapist and you’re not qualified to speculate on what support you think is necessary for him. You are coddling him and making excuses for his shitty treatment of you. Aren’t you irritated with his dicking you around at this point? He knows you’re into him, you jump when he says to, you’re hanging on his every word. Why??? Because you’ve “been through it before?” 

I’m not minimizing what he has gone through but even if you had gone through the exact same trauma he had, you still wouldn’t be qualified to know what is best for him. Everyone handles traumatizing situations differently. Just because you felt that having lots of friends around was helpful for your unique situation doesn’t mean he wants that.

And besides, if you were in that negative headspace again, would you take advantage of a recent courtship with a new guy and string him along for your own selfish emotional needs and then dispose of him and just use him occasionally when you need an ego boost? I’d hope not. Because that would be crappy. And that’s what he’s doing to you. Please see it for what is is. And leave the rest to the professionals. He’s a grown ass man- he can and will figure it out. 

Post # 138
Member
9532 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

rachel351 :  

Staaaaaapppp!

For the love of gawd, just stop.

Bee, he is not your “friend”.  He is your reclamation project. Has it occurred to you that he may not even be telling you the truth about his history? It happens. You would not be able to tell. Of course, we must assume he is being as truthful unless and until proven otherwise. But, you really do not have a history of any depth. His sharing some of his emotional pain with you so so early created a false sense of intimacy.

We can’t call this a “relationship”, because it isn’t. You have a very lopsided acquaintance with an emotionally unstable guy. This is not a long term friend with whom you have a history of love and mutuality. This is some guy you kind of know, who tosses you an occasional breadcrumb. You grant him pardon after pardon because of his “problems”. There are people in far worse straits who manage to show some consideration for others.

The guy is not even the issue here, Bee. What’s important is what drives you to hurl yourself into such a situation? One in which you’re pretty much assured of not getting your needs met. A pairing that would leave him in the one down position as you try to rehabilitate him. People who try to rescue and repair others get to wield power. Or, try to.

Maybe the wiser course would be to start looking at what draws you to a guy who is so unavailable to you emotionally. Could you be grappling with your own fears of intimacy? Commitment?

Post # 139
Member
1864 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

 

 So my real question is: do I keep reaching out to my friend who is depressed or let it go? So far the consensus seems to be ‘no’.

 

Even assuming he is indeed depressed, and even assuming you truly only want to be his friend (which I kind of doubt)- OP, at the risk of sounding super, super blunt (and I honestly don’t want to hurt your feelings, you seem lovely)- don’t you think it’s kind of overestimating your own importance that you, this girl he dated for two months and hasn’t spoken to with any regularity the last few weeks, are going to swoop in and save him from himself? I mean, really, what can you do for him? You are someone who doesn’t know him that well, who isn’t trained in mental health counseling- how can you really help? And that brings me to the next point, even if talking to him does somehow alleviate his depression- is that really fair to you? It comes at a great emotional cost to you and obviously causes you a lot of anxiety.

Post # 140
Member
1142 posts
Bumble bee

Bee, you’re trying to hang onto the romantic relationship by calling it a friendship, but make no mistake you still have feelings. I think everyone here has been through this before so WE can all see it, but it’ll become clear to you when you actually stop having feelings for him. 

No, don’t reach out. You really do need to stop having any kind of contact with him. 

Post # 141
Member
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

neverbeenstungbee : And besides, if you were in that negative headspace again, would you take advantage of a recent courtship with a new guy and string him along for your own selfish emotional needs and then dispose of him and just use him occasionally when you need an ego boost? I’d hope not. Because that would be crappy. And that’s what he’s doing to you. Please see it for what is is. And leave the rest to the professionals. He’s a grown ass man- he can and will figure it out. 

You articulated what I was trying to say and couldn’t

Post # 143
Member
8454 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

rachel351 : 

  • So my real question is: do I keep reaching out to my friend who is depressed — No.
  • or let it go? — Yes, this!
  • So far the consensus seems to be ‘no’.” — Correct. We are now on page 10 of everyone telling you no. At what page are you going to accept that this is the right answer?
Post # 144
Member
10840 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

No, no, no. You are too obsessed with this guy and I think you are fooling yourself to believe you are the right one to deal with his many, many issues, as a “ friend” or anything else. And he’s clearly no good for you. 

Also, I think the therapist that told you to meet with him yet again was absolutely wrong to the point that I would seriously consider looking for someone else. 

Post # 145
Member
218 posts
Helper bee

Hi rachel351 :  

My advice is to Take Space. I know that you did over the Christmas holidays and that he contacted you and you started up communication again, which is fine, but I would not start doing more than is called for or going above and beyond for this guy.

The fact that this guy cancelled on you a few hours before your coffee meetup simply confirms my initial suspicion that he has commitment issues. Commitment phobes are notorious for cancelling plans or not making plans at all. They find it difficult to commit to anything, and anything which makes them feel locked in or tied down makes them feel claustrophobic and they want to head for the hills. This is just my guess, but I am guessing he could feel the concern and emotional investment from you and this made him want to back off. Commitment phobia can arise for a number of reasons, but these are not for you to figure out.

I think many of the posters on here are being unnecessarily patronising and harsh – it’s understandable because it’s frustrating to see someone making what you perceive to be the same mistakes over and over again. But it’s actually more subtle and complex than that. Many of the posters are implying that you have an agenda, as if the only reason you could want to show compassion and be his friend is because you hope to reconcile, but this is not necessarily the case. It is clear, to me anyway, that you like and care for him as a person, on top of whatever happened between you. It is very natural and understandable that you would want to be there for him. You seem like an empathetic person as well, and it is clear to me that you want to help.

Unfortunately, you cannot help. You can offer your friendship and support, but that is it. And if you are determined to have him as a friend, you need to take care to treat him the same way as any other friend, having proper boundaries in place, proper rules of consideration, and not having any undue expectations. I strongly recommend that you take a step back and determine what your own motives are and whether you are truly ok with just a friendship. You need to be honest with yourself. Seeing him as just a friend will protect you from getting overly invested. If you have hopes that things will rekindle between you, you need to be aware that whatever issues he has will not resolve overnight, and that it will probably be years before that is a possibility, if it happens at all.

So my advice – no, do not reschedule your coffee date of your own initiative. You should not have to work so hard to spend time with someone, depression or no. Let him reach out to you. And if he does (when he does) conduct this friendship on your own terms. Don’t get overly invested. Protect yourself. Listen to him, but don’t be his therapist or his mom. He’s a grown man and he needs space. And I would figure out, from your point of view, what you hope to gain from this friendship. If you just want the pleasure of his company from time to time, then great. But just make sure that you are not overly investing emotionally or trying to rescue him. And bear in mind that, if you choose to be friends with him, this is who he is. Someone who is prone to depression and anxiety and pulling away for periods of time. You can’t blame him for being this way – he has show you with ample evidence. Just make sure that you are ok with it.

Post # 146
Member
9532 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

weddingmaven :  

Also, I think the therapist that told you to meet with him yet again was absolutely wrong to the point that I would seriously consider looking for someone else. 

This could be a good idea.  If, indeed, the therapist really said that.

Some people hear only what they want to hear. When denial is doing its job, things are easily garbled and misinterpreted.

I’ve learned not to take “Therapist said!” as compelling evidence of anything.

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Post # 147
Member
822 posts
Busy bee

You have a month-long thread of reasons why this guy is mentally unwell, lacks any real friendship toward you, and at best is a situation where he is conveniently hanging on to someone he knows cares for him for pep talks and connection when he feels down (you are his salve), and you are clinging to any reasons possible why he is “right now not ready for a relationship because he is broken in way x, y, or z” but “will be in the future if I just stay his friend and wait this out in a loving fashion.”

At this point, you are being your own worst enemy in the worst way.

He’s spoken to you about his therapist. And since you say you will still sometimes see him through mutual friends, you know that he has friends.

Friends + therapist = support system.

There is absolutely no reason for you to continue to engage in any way with him except for an unwillingness to  let go of something that is unhealthy for you.

Post # 149
Member
1877 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

Bee, not trying to be mean here but this is honestly sad. You barely know this guy, you’ve “known” him for a few months, he disclosed some sad and personal information to you but that does not mean that you know him or that he’s your friend.

You sound completely obsessed with him, stop pretending like you just want to help a “friend” through their depression. You have made so many posts about him, you clearly have feelings for him. You need to move on, he’s not your friend, cut contact with him and move on with your life.

Post # 150
Member
9532 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

futuremrs2020 :  

100%, Bee.

It will always circle back to the one issue that OP seems to be resisting—what drives her to be so irresistibly drawn to a virtual stranger who has so many serious struggles going on? 

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