This is my first tim on the site and I just wanted to say thank you to Nina for sharing this - and to everyone who has chimed in with support. Reading your posts, Nina, I am struck but how simliar our situations are. I"ve been with my boyfriend for a year and a half, and we were so happy and in love, and we communicated well and had plans, etc. And meanwhile I thought our relationship was helping him cope with all of the bad stuff he's dealt with this year - a friend's suicide, deaths in the family, his mom being diagnosed with breast cancer (though they caught it early and she should be OK). He reacted to all of this like everything was fine, and barely talked about it - in retrospect I think he was in denial and also afraid to show me how bad he was feeling. And then one day out of the blue he broke up with me. Just talking to him, he seemed like a different person. His thinking was so negative - like he would look at a 50% full glass and not just say it was half empty, but that it was all empty. He told me he thought he couldn't make me happy, which wasn't rational, because he does make me happy. But he also said while he felt so much loyalty to me and that he loved me very much and thinks of me as his best friend, he needed to "go through this alone" and felt he had to isolate himself. He ended the romantic relationship, then got back together we me a week later, and then broke up with me again. I was devastated. It's all been really hard, and it's especially hard not to blame myself and/or take his behavior personally. It's hard to know how much of him is actually him and how much of it is his depression. He is getting treatment, thankfully, and his doctor has confirmed it's depression.
For me, I've been faced with the same dilemma of what role I shoud play in all this. He told me he wants me in my life and that he loves me. For a while I tried to talk him out of leaving and point out the realities that our relationship is healthy, that he makes me happy, and that I want to be there. But there was no convincing him, and so I've accepted the end of our romantic relationship (at least as we've known it up until now). At first I felt I needed to be apart from him to move on and cope, but I know isolation isn't good for him and deep down I really think (and hope) it's temporary and just his illness and that as he recovers he'll be able to become my boyfriend again. So I've decided like you to be patient, tough it out, and be there for him, without pressuring him. It made him really happy when I told him that. I think he needed to not feel so guilty about doing what he needs to do for himself. So, I'm letting him take the lead. But it gives me so much hope to hear that you and your boyfriend have been able to just enjoy each other and be there for each other even without the romantic relationship. From all you've written, I think you're doing the right thing, and that it will work out OK for you. And it helps me feel like I'm not alone and also doing the right thing.
So, thank you! And thanks to you all! Hang in there, and know you aren't alone!
Yea, sounds much like we are in the same "boat" right now. Ironically...he's where you are...Chicago. Anyway, I'll be totally honest, we have had a really good week, but its not at all where we were...and at this point, I am not sure if we will ever return to that...although, I am trying really hard to be hopeful and positive that we will. I do know that he loves me...but it is tough to be patient and of course, that makes it hard not to want to ask him or tell him exactly how I feel, which seems to just put pressure on him.
It was as I have said, totally bizarre and very much like someone just flipped a switch and this whole different person emerged. He too was very positive and stong in mind and will...knew exactly what he wanted and was not afraid to go after it. But for whatever reason, now he's less confident and actually seems to be unsure of everything...except for one thing that we both "fight" against, politically.
My heart aches for you...because I know how I have been feeling and imagine you feel much the same, but maybe if we "hang in there" together we will be okay. This site and those who post here have really helped me in learning to cope, although, I still struggle...yesterday was a stressful work day for me, so I was really "missing" him as my comforter and supporter...we did talk and we had a good conversation, but I think I may have made him a little nervous by some of things I said...its really hard not to want to dream of a future again with him. =(
In any case...I am saying constant prayers and I do know that, whether he recognizes it or not, he does indeed love me...and I am sure your boyfriend does too...otherwise there is just no way they would look to talk to us and share things with us as they do. I do think a lot of backing away comes from guilt...if your boyfriend is anything like mine, the last thing he would ever want is to be "burden" on anyone...he's very self-reliant and almost views dependence on another as a weakness. Its not of course and we are made to need others....Lord knows I sure "need" him...he gives me the courage and inspiration I need to get through so many things in life...something I didn't realize I was missing until I met him!
I'll keep you in my prayers as well...let's both "hang tough" and do our best to be patient...I am going to be certain that things will work out for both of us!