Depressed Partner?

Hi all! I hoped to come here because I know people aren't judgmental.

Ive been with my guy for almost 5 years. We're in our early 20s. He's the sweetest and we rarely fight, we're very close to each other and are very understanding. I come from a very open family and he doesnt although his family is nice just not very close. He's introverted and not into parties which we have in common (although I am an extrovert). We're both achievers and he graduated top of his batch in University almost a year ago and is now working at a government agency. Im still in university at the moment. We've been through an LDR for a year (not seeing each other since we were countries apart) but are now together in the same area for the last two years. Needless to say weve had a pretty stable and strong relationship.

Lately however he's been so busy with work that he's always down and sad. We were disagreeing quite a bit and I went on about how I felt neglected (I know how dramatic ugh) and once he suddenly opened up his fears about me leaving again for another country and saying stuff like do I think we'll make it and all that. Things went down and up from here. This became better after a while after we talked and he said those were all hypothetical questions only. He was still the sweet guy who looked out for me and said Im the only girl in his life and how he only sees the future with me. Noticeably though in the past month he's been out of sorts and he said he felt empty and sad but that it has nothing to do with me, he still treats me like the love of his life but lately he cancels plans and prefers to stay at home in his room alone. He says he doesnt know what he's feeling just needs more me time to figure himself out. He still says sweet things but is obviously always pretty down and tired. He says he thinks a factor might be that Im leaving and that he is having a work rut and is unexcited about work and the heavy traffic (here in asia) everyday stresses the shit out of him. His comments of feeling empty and sad have concerned me to think he is somewhat depressed. I have been supportive and he appreciates it a lot and says he doesnt know what he would be without my support (I want to support him as I am an advocate of mental health and have had anxiety before). He isnt the upbeat guy although he still laughs and says he loves me misses me and enjoys being with me. He just doesnt go out as much or doesnt like people around as much.

I dont know why Im posting maybe I need support as a lover of a person who may be depressed. Of course because of the stigma on mental health here and the expensive healthcare here and his belief that he can solve it alone have made it hard for me to convince him to get help (plus he's a guy who believes in "dignity" and self preservation to avoid embarrassment which is common in our culture as southeast asians). I wonder what can I do ti help him in the meantime and is it possible that self help books can help him through this? I dont know if this is mild or moderate or severe depression or if it is depression at all or just a one time thing. I just need a bit of help in supporting him. I love this guy very much and will not leave him during this time.

10 Replies

  • Hi there all I can say is that it's not easy being in a relationship with

    Someone who is Depressed. Of course you can be supportive but really HE has to want to get help himself and you can't be babying him too much. That could be a total strain on your relationship, and I know if it were me, I would not be willing to sacrifice my health and happiness for someone IF they refused to get help. I would take this as a sign that they were not putting our relationship as a priority

    -A partner can help and be supportive, but there are limits to what you can do, you can't fix him, he should just man up and don't be ashamed and get help…You say it's hard for your culture to get help. But encourage him, that's all you can do. You will get ill yourself if your not careful.

    Other people may have different views but he needs to look for help, Good luck and take care of yourself, you want to be a partner not his Mother telling him what to do.


  • I know he needs to get help and that's what im trying to do. I am also not babying him just being supportive. I tell him he can do it rather than doing the stuff for him. I love this man and just like i wouldnt leave him if he had cancer I wouldnt leave him now because this disease is just as real. Thanks for your advice Photogeek. I go to counselling myself to keep me upbeat and live my life while helping him!

  • Hi there I did not mean to imply that you should leave him, and by what you are saying, then you seem to be doing all the correct things and there is nothing else to say except good luck and I hope things improve for you.and your partner.

    By the way did anything happen to trigger his Depression? As usually there is a cause, and if that can be addressed etc, then that will help.


  • Thank you so much Photogeek sorry too for being a bit defensive. He's still very loving and doesnt say hurtful things to me. I dont pressure him or get dramatic anymore since I realizdd it might be depression.

    A possible trigger could be that he now drives to and from work and here in the philippines if you left work it takes you 4 hours of heavy traffic. He also previously said that he feels he will get over this as soon as things clear up and he always pertained to work being stressful. But nothing too big like death or loss. Just maybe an unexciting and stressful job.

  • Ah yes a long commute would stress a lot of people. Especially if he doesn't exactly love his job. Now your both young and it's great that you have each other, but is there any chance your BF could change his job or retrain for another job. Just a thought as I don't know what his job is.

    I am glad your OK and please stay around here for support, this is a great site and there are a lot of lovely kind people here, and all the different replays always help.

    Ok take care and stay well both of you, could you encourage your BF to join here? Or would he not be keen on that. I know cultures vary but you have to rise above cultural norms sometimes in order to help things for yourselves.


  • If he has depression then you need to give him lots of reassurance as he might feel it incumbent on himself to leave you as he loves you enough not to wish the burden of his depression onto you. You need to talk to him seriously to discover if he feels he has depression and there are lots of websites that will probably allow him to diagnose himself ,perhaps as accurately as a doctor or Psychologist. I would recommend the site which fairly accurately defines several types of depression .

    If he has depression then there are several upsides to that and several downsides for you. He is likely to be very loyal, not overbearing, and provided he does n't have a form of depression that is obvious he may be a very good bread winner for a family. Depression can be as hard on the sufferer's family as on the sufferer in that as a partner you will have to be a big support during periods of depression. That can lead to a very strong marriage. I have bipolar 2 which gives hypomanic spells which are generally enjoyable and productive for the sufferer but can be quite exhausting for their partner. In fact my wife often said she preferred me depressed to hypomanic. At the time we'd never heard of hypomania and considered me as either normal i.e. undepressed or depressed whereas it appears in hindsight I had three moods depressed, normal and hypomanic. Your partner may well have another type of depression. There are probably an infinity of types but the medics do group them into 5 or 6 main types.

    As encouragement ,my wife and I never told anyone of my depression (not good for a career,even in present time) and we had a very long and happy marriage and family, and I had quite a successful career, although along the way there were worrying times.

    In many ways my attitudes were a bit "S.E. Asian" despite being British so it all may work out well for you. I certainly hope so.


  • Thank you so much. I agree with you. Yesterday when I very inconsiderately told him I was upset he canceled on lunch he said he was so sorry and guilty for hurting me all the time because of his state and that he says if I wanted to leave I should. I asked him if he really did want me to leave and he said no he didnt but he loves me too much to see me hurt and if it was too much I should go. I said Im happy loving and supporting him and I just didnt stay for the good times but the bad times as well. He said he was so thankful for that and invited me again to lunch. We went out and he was pretty down but told me he was thankful for me and hugged me a lot and told me he loved me and if I had chosen to leave it would have made him worse.

    Have you ever pushed your wife away? Im happy you guys are okay. It's so inspiring knowing there are stories like yours. All I can see online are negative and ends up with the non depressed partner giving up which I dont want to do.

  • No,I never pushed my wife away as we were happily married for about ten years and had children before we found out i suffered from depression.

    My wife and i do now live separately (not my idea ) but this was after 40 years of living together quite happily. I don't think that was due to my depression ,she just wanted her own space. That has worked out well for me,probably better than for my wife, and we remain good friends, and are still married.

    If your partner has you as a support when needed that will be a great help to him and if possible I would keep his depression to yourselves. This will put extra strain on him but as attitudes to depression are still not ideal there are a lot of advantages in this. The hardest thing for you will be accepting that it is almost impossible for even a loving partner to pull someone out of depression and you just have to wait until a particular spell of depression passes,which it always does. just being there for him will however be a big help to him.

    I hope you find much happiness together. Antidepressants would certainly help him with this condition and if he is very strong with your help he might manage without them but if it proves impossible then he ought to see a GP and get prescribed anti depressants. Read also JIM Phelps site PsychEducation .org which has a lot of information on coping with depression without drugs.


  • He didnt really push me away just asked for more time alone but always told me he loved me and that the problem was him and not our relationship. Yes we plan to keep it to our close circle as to not make it catastrophic.

    I agree he did say yesterday the he was generally happy but was just having bad days. He said all he knows is he's blessed to have me and that he misses me a lot when he's at work. Ive decided to always give him alone time to regroup and refuel himself (he's an introvert). He always seems to come out better after.

    Im happy to hear about your successful marriage. I'd like to be a supportive girlfriend the way your wife probably supported you. I do hope this is temporary as he just stepped into the working world and it probably stresses him out. Thank you so much Olderal and if you'd be so kind to offer other specific tips for supporting a stressed out possibly depressed male partner, I'd appreciate it!

  • I agree with the transition probably being hard for him. In college he was an achiever and graduated number 1 in his batch in a huge university here. I'd think once he worked he figured it wasnt as fulfilling. He was always excited about studying but not really working a civil service job that he has at the moment. He did say he was generally happy just sad some days. He also said he was blessed to have me supporting him today. And that he loves me. Ive decided to love him with respect for his alone time. He seems to come out of a sad spell after refueling alone by reading books and listening to music by himself.

    Also I go to counselling as Ive been through bad anxiety attacks and have an Anxiety Disorder, I once was suicidal as a teen for reasons I do not know. Barely slept or ate from daily life anxiety.

    Thank you so much for your response borderriever

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