I had to break up with my boyfriend due to his depression. I feel so guilty

posted 1 year ago in Emotional
Post # 2
1096 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Don’t feel guilty. You guys have not been together long and the whole point of new relationships is to see if they are someone you could be with for the future. It’s not like you guys had years of solid relationship before this happened to keep you two connected. He sounds like he would benefit from focusing on himself right now anyway so at least he was honest about how he was feeling so no need to feel bad. 

Post # 3
322 posts
Helper bee

Hi Bee,

I’m so sorry that you have been going through this and I completely understand why you made the decision to leave. I’ve been in a relationship with someone who suffered from depression and it was one of the most difficult times of my life. Anticipating their moods/needs is a hard job and sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t but either way it affects your life a lot. Your main priority should be you, your mental health and your happiness. He said he couldn’t be in a typical relationship which I can imagine seems quite daunting for him at the moment if he is feeling low and not capable of doing much. I’m glad he told you and that you made the choice to move on. I hope that he is getting help for his depression. Focus on yourself now and how you can heal from this. Don’t feel guilty, he is an adult and he needs to make the choice to seek help (if he hasn’t already). It is not your responsibility to make him feel better and you do not owe him anything. Things will be ok Bee x

Post # 4
341 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
heyho123 :  You don’t have to stay in a relationship with anyone who does not have the capacity to care about you or provide some kind of relationship in return. It doesn’t matter what their mental health situation is. I had something similar happen with me and a sibling. I suppose the difference here was that when I walked away I was being verbally abused and accused of conspiring against them with other family members. There is a fine line between being there for someone and enabling them when it comes to mental health. He now knows that he needs to get healthy to be in a relationship. You did the right thing by not enabling him.

When someone else’s mental health problems start to impact your own mental health it’s time to step back. You need to look out for you.

Post # 5
4890 posts
Honey bee

He basically told you to leave. 

In fact, I’m not even sure you were the one who actually did the breaking up – you were the one who initiated the conversation that eventually led to being broken up, but it honestly sounds like it was him that broke up with you or at best just a mutual decision.

He literally said he didn’t want to be in a relationship.  He then threw you a bone and offered to be in a pseudo-relationship for your sake should you be so desperate to need to be in a relationship without any care for the quality of that relationship.  So if you stayed, it would have been for your own benefit, not his, because he was pretty clear he wanted to be done. 

And honestly that is probably the smartest thing for him right now – it sounds like he needs focus on his mental health and the additional responsibility of tending a fairly new relationship would be a burden to him.  Other than the fact that he was just coasting and being a shitty boyfriend waiting for you to initiate the conversation, it sounds like everyone involved made pretty mature decisions about what they need for their own well being.

Post # 6
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

I have to agree with annabananabee, you didn’t break up with him, he broke up with you. So no reason to feel guilty. Be glad he did it now before you two got even more serious. He did the right thing. 

Post # 7
10997 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
heyho123 :  

Bee, is he in treatment for the depression?  

In any case, after just six months in, you’re priority is taking care of yourself.  This guy told you clearly that he doesn’t want a relationship.  Fair enough.  That’s settled. What is the source of *your* guilt?

If he were a boyfriend with five years of good time credits under his belt who fell into a deep depression, it would be a different scenario.  But, he’s not.

Your guilt is what’s concerning here.  What is it you feel guilty about?  Do you think you can fix him somehow?  You can’t.  The kind of depression with which this guy is struggling requires expert intervention and the right meds.

We women watch way too many stupid Stand by Your Man movies.  And too much All He Needs is the Love of a Good Woman  trash.

You do not have the power to fix people.

Your guilt is a choice.  That’s really the issue that requires exploration. 

Post # 8
2066 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Just because he is depressed doesn’t mean you have to be in a “no strings attached” relationship meant only for his physical gratification. That’s basically what he’s telling you: “I can’t and don’t care about you, but I’ll continue to have sex with you exclusively since I still want sex.” Not accepting that offer makes you feel guilty? Please know you made the right decision not to be an object for your boyfriend. 

Post # 9
1039 posts
Bumble bee

Everyone has baggage. Your job as a single person dating around is to figure out who has baggage you want to help carry.  You decided this is not the relationship for you. That’s ok. And not anything to feel guilty about. 


And I agree with other bees, he dumped you. If you had agreed to be his exclusive sex buddy because that’s all he can offer you, you would have been stooping to the lowest graps of desparation and clingyness.

Post # 10
1015 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I broke up with my best friend, I was Maid/Matron of Honor for her wedding 6 months prior, because she attempted suicide again.  I know this sounds horrible.  This was her second time since I met her and both times she inferred one of the reasons she had attempted was because I wasn’t being a good enough friend.  

The trauma I went through the first time was so bad that I nicely told her I couldn’t do it anymore if she attempted again.  I stepped up my friend game, which was exhausting but I did it.  I was literally texting with her while she was sitting in a running car with an exhaust air tube and she said nothing about it during the texting.

It took me a year to forgive myself after I stopped speaking with her.  I couldn’t sleep for months. The guilt was awful, but I have my own issues and my own children who loved her.  I just couldn’t do it.  Your ex can’t either, is incapable right now, you are not in the wrong. 

Post # 11
2989 posts
Sugar bee

I’m so sorry Bee. 

There’s a stigma about women that we should stay with unavailable men and try to fix/cure them. It’s totally unrealistic and unhealthy for the woman involved! There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, especially if you’ve been together such a short amount of time. 

Post # 13
97 posts
Worker bee

Your cue to not feel guilty about it was when he told you he couldn’t feel anything for anyone and didn’t want a relationship. It sounds like he said you could remain exclusive for your sake and it’s probably because he felt guilty as well. You two care for each other, that doesn’t mean you have to stay in the relationship. Be glad it was a clean breakup. It could’ve gone the other way where he would’ve asked you to stay and you would’ve felt like you couldn’t say no.

I dated a guy for about 4-5 months. Things seemed to be moving pretty fast. I noticed he was falling for me faster than I was for him. He was very caring and wanted to be a part of my world. As for his person, very chill, no signs of issues, independent and living a healthy lifestyle. His world consisted of work and gym. He dated a girl (not sure for how long) and got pretty attached to her kid so it was a tough breakup but it seemed that dust had settled by the time we began to date. I met his family over Thanksgiving. They all seemed pretty great, a small, normal family. About a month in he said he wanted to confess something and how it would affect us – he hit his exgirlfriend and tried to choke her when she admitted to cheating and was in the process of leaving him for the other guy. Cops were called, he was arrested, eventually went to court where they decided he was going to have to serve time which I think it was five/six months.

Apparently when we started to date he was in the process of informing his employer, selling and putting stuff into storage as well as ending his lease. He would have to turn himself in after New Years. I couldn’t believe he decided to start dating while all of this was going on. I was so torn, on the one hand I thought I don’t want to go in knowing he’s been abusive (even if just once) because if he did that to me I would’ve beat myself up for it (no pun intended). On the other hand I felt I was punishing him for being honest. Of course he would’ve had to tell me anyway since he would’ve had to disappear while in jail but I also met his family and they were all good people. His mother and I talked about it. She didn’t make any excuses for him and she said while she never liked that girl and saw it wasn’t heading in a good direction, that he was a grown man and needed to own up to what he did and serve his time but she wanted me to also know that this was out of character for him.

While trying to decide what to do about us I visited him a few times in county jail. The times I walked in there I thought “what the hell am I doing?” Things in my life were pretty great and I felt I was somehow having to carry someone elses burden. I liked him a lot at this point but I could sense he was going 100 mph even from the start and after all this happened I just wanted to slow things down. He was in a rush to get married and have kids and while I wanted that too it didn’t seem we were on the same timeline and I think that’s what helped me make a decision. I also wondered if he was in the right state of mind. Could he be a guy that gets attached easily just to anyone. There was no way to know, that time frame wasn’t long enough to really get to know the real him. I prayed about it and for him and ended things. I felt awful doing it while he was still in there but it was either that or wait until he was released which was still months. It was also very difficult explaining to my family why he wouldn’t be around anymore. A lot of them met him because my grandmother passed away and he attended the funeral. I still think about him. I just wish him well. 

Post # 14
3102 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

View original reply
heyho123 :  agree with the others. You have nothing to feel guilty about.  He told you he was not willing/able to be in a relationship with you. You may have physically walked away at th time but  he had already told you that he was only interested in the exclusivity of being a benefits buddy…. 

Post # 15
1163 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
heyho123 :  

Unfortunately, I have been involved with a few men with mental health issues in my time, and what I can tell you is that you cannot fix or even help them; they have to want this for themselves.

And I agree with 

View original reply
sassy411 : , he needs to be under the care of a professional, which is what he will do if he is smart. 

You have a right to end the relationship if you feel that it is something which will be a drain on you, will make you unhappy, or really for any reason. You have that right.

Why do you feel guilty? Did you handle the break up unkindly? Are you worried that he may hurt himself and your conscience is bothering you? If you are worried he may be a danger to himself, you can let his family know that you are worried and suggest that someone might want to check up on him. But leave it at that afterwards; don’t get drawn in.

Some PPs on this thread have said some pretty unkind things, like how he must only want to use you for sex; all I can say is that these people have a limited understanding of the effect of mental health issues on a person and I hope they never personally experience these.

You can walk away from this relationship and still have compassion for him; it doesn’t make you a bad person. He, possibly with the help of his family, needs to sort this out himself.

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