Home › Forums › Dating and Sex Advice › Boyfriend left me due to his mental health issues
This topic contains 7 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Rowen 8 months, 1 week ago.
Hi all. I’m suffering a bit right now since my bf broke up with me last week.
I (28F) met A (30M) on a dating app almost a year ago. The beginning was very “Love is Blind” – we spoke on the phone everyday for the first five weeks before meeting due to me temporarily being in a different city. When we finally met, it was like fireworks and sparks and every cliche you could think of.
About a month in of dating exclusively, he shared that he was going through some personal issues and wasn’t ready to enter into a relationship. I learn that he is very hard on himself, doesn’t love himself, and is unhappy with many aspects of his life – mainly his career. Every day he wakes up with major anxiety that he has to improve and this plagues him but he compartmentalizes it. He has one main business that he’s had for eight years (that he hates), a contract job, and a new start-up on the side. He owns a rental home, makes decent money (90k), but feels it isn’t good enough, that he’s failing.
I realize now that he was giving me an out then, but I said we should just take things slow and see where they go. I felt that if I was a supportive and loving person in his life, then that would create a healthy environment where he can heal. Over the coming months our relationship blossomed and our connection grew stronger. We just have so much fun together. He is so generous with me and always treats me to nice dinners, drinks, and tickets to things. I officially become his girlfriend six months in and we finally have sex for the first time. I feel so thankful I didn’t abandon ship.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2022. I begin noticing he’s acting different, antsy. He stops spending the night when he comes over, his mental health takes a nosedive, and everything in his life seems so overwhelming. I learn he’s no longer in therapy. He begins having panic attacks for the first time, and after his second one last week, he calls me all hazy and confused and breaks up with me.
He says he realizes he’s not getting better, and that he has to focus solely on himself right now and no one else before it’s too late to make a change. I beg him to reconsider, that I am willing to support him no matter what, but he says our relationship will suffer if we stay together, no matter how much he wants to be with me. He says he won’t have the time or energy for this to be a relationship functioning at 100%. He says I deserve better than what he has to give me right now, and that he needs to be whole first before he can fully be devoted to another person. He tells me not to wait for him.
I’m shattered. We are so connected, so compatible, and this reason for it ending is hard to stomach. It feels unacceptable because the love and feelings are still there. He comes over the next day and we both cry and hold each other in bed. The day after I receive two dozen red roses from him and a note that says “Thank you for supporting me and loving me unconditionally.”
We don’t speak again for a few days and I get the impression he somewhat regrets his hasty decision but not enough to reverse it. We meet and he says being friends might be a good transitional step for us. I told him that he should be the one to reach out first.
A few days pass of no contact, and then he calls me. It feels so good to hear his voice. I grew so attached to speaking to him every day for ten months. We speak for about 45 minutes, and he says he thinks about me all day. I could tell he misses me. I was such a stabilizing and constant presence in his life and he doesn’t have many people he can talk to.
The next day, we spontaneously meet for a coffee. We have another heavy talk about the ending of our relationship. On multiple occasions he reaches out and hugs me. I feel him inhaling so deeply when his face is near my neck and hair, like he was being comforted by the scent of me.
I leave the conversation honestly even more confused. He said that while we were together, he saw me as someone who he could build a life with, have children with, but he doesn’t know now what our future entails—whether that’s friendship or getting back together.
On my drive home I realized how f*cked up this “friends” situation really is. I want to be there for him because I’m genuinely concerned about his well-being, but he threw away the right to be in my life when he ended things with me. He hasn’t had to really deal with the consequences of his actions — me being out of his life — because we’ve still been in contact.
All I want right now is for him to come back to me when he’s in a better place. I know this is an unhealthy thought and that I should move on, but I feel so strongly that we should be in each other lives.
It’s been two days since we met up and neither of us have reached out. All I know is that he went to therapy yesterday.
So… what would you do in my situation?
Attempt to move on but wait for him?
Go no contact?
Does going no contact ever work I’m getting your ex back in this situation? I feel so pathetic even typing that sentence.
TLDR: ex recently broke up with me to focus on himself, mainly on his mental health and career. We decide to be friends but I still love him. WTF do I do?
You can’t be ‘friends’ with someone you have feelings for.
Honestly, he has a LOT of work to do.
Take time for You for no other reason, you need to process & think about this = This will be your entire life. He’s up, he’s down. He’s in therapy, he’s out of therapy. He’s not taking care of Himself.
Right now, I’m sure you say you’re in & can live with it… Think about 20 years of this…
Oh sweetie. This was painful to read. I’m sorry you’re hurting.
Two things… first, it’s time to go completely no contact. But not to get him back. To get yourself out of this situation entirely. You’ve lost yourself in taking care of his needs. You’ve gotten co-dependent. You’ve become a rescuer.
Second, strongly suggest getting into therapy to understand why you got involved in this impossible situation in the first place. You got hot and heavy way too fast and at a month he told you he wasn’t in a place for a relationship but you kept it going. Everything about this man screams unavailable and difficult, yet you’re hanging on.
It’s going to take a lot of work on his part to get healthy enough for a sustainable relationship. He’s probably years away from that. And you won’t like hearing this, but when he gets healthy he will not likely choose you. You will be a reminder of the hard times he won’t want to have around. Men almost always dump a woman who stuck through him through the crap. We think we’re being loving and loyal and it’s going to be appreciated and rewarded. NOPE. Not usually how it works.
So work with what you can control – yourself. For some reason you’re unavailable or you feel the need to fix a man. That’s for you to address. I promise that if you look at that honestly, this man won’t even be attractive to you anymore.
This is easy for me to say and hard for you to do, but you will keep wasting your time and getting hurt if you stay in this. I realize you love him, or you think you do. Love is not enough to make a healthy relationship. I’ve walked away from men I deeply loved but realized it wasn’t a healthy relationship and was never going to be.
Good luck. This is going to be tough. Again, find a counselor to see IRL to support you. Hugs.
Go no contact. Not for him to come back, but for you to move forward.
Unfortunately, being a stabilizing and safe support network for someone with mental health issues 100% does not work if the person is not interested in changing / healing / managing their condition solely for themselves. Trying to do it for someone else doesn’t work, and letting someone else do all the work for you under the guise of being supportive doesn’t work. The simplest way to understand this is, you didn’t cause his issues and you can’t fix them. He needs to do it himself, and he’s correctly recognized he’s not doing it while in the relationship and can never fully show up for you in the way you deserve. Him breaking up with you was fair, but him kicking off the relationship knowing he wasn’t ready for one in the first place wasn’t fair (he wasn’t giving you an out, he was trying to set your expectations low but hoping you’d stick around anyway) and him now having terrible boundaries by trying to be insta-friends to hold on to all your support is also not fair. These are bad decisions that don’t put you first, even though they are understandable because he cares about you and enjoys your companionship so much. But feelings alone don’t make a relationship work! Actions, healthy boundaries, consistency, stability, vulnerability, trust, good communication and mutual conflict resolution skills, etc. etc. are all just as important.
The big giant waving red flag here was he stopped going to therapy. He got complacent, perhaps because he thought having you around to take on the support role for him was good enough, I don’t know. You honestly have no way of knowing if he’s going to deal with his issues and neither does he, which is why he told you not to wait. It also implies he’s not actually determined enough yet to do the work to change, which means it’ll be a long while until he’s in any shape to be a great partner, IF he gets there at all.
Since he can’t make the best decisions for you because he’s emotionally unstable himself, you need to look out for yourself. It hurts, the feelings are real, but treat this as a real breakup and work on moving on like you would after any other one. Tell him not to contact you unless he resumes therapy and gets to a better place where he’s ready for a full commitment. And you’ll see where you are at then, but don’t wait because for any real, lasting change to be real, this is a minimum of several months if not longer.
Hang in there. It’s so difficult right now, but with some space and additional perspective, it will eventually start to feel better.
good advice by above posters. and its also gud that your beginning to see that things need to change. pls walk away and deal with the breakup.
He did very well. He needs therapy. Not a relationship.
T from NY
I know it may not seem like it now, and I absolutely know you are hurting, but he did you a favor. He KNOWS he is not the man you deserve right now. He KNOWS you being a caretaker for him is not the foundation a romantic relationship should be built on. Of course he loves you, and misses you, and your presence, and he was “inhaling” you in – I’m sure your presence is a deep calm to him. He most likely sees all your incredible qualities. But believe it or not, men don’t want a woman as their caretaker, rock, or stabilizing influence. Not even mentally unhealthy men! And especially not men who want true partners.
Agree with all of the above about seeking out your own therapy (I certainly adore my therapist) and will mention a mantra I live by – When a man stops concentrating on me, and our relationship, I START concentrating ONLY on me. You also have a lot of work to do. We all do. But I’m hoping in the future, when a man tells you he isn’t ready for a relationship, and when you begin to realize they rely too heavily on YOU to regulate their mood, or you feel a constant need to regulate their emotions, it means it has stopped being a partnership and become a caretaker situation.
Detach from him. Feel the loss. (And it will feel acute because it is all tied up in what you THINK you’re supposed to be doing in a relationship, most likely learned from your childhood.) Tend to you. Explore what got you here. Have eventual peace and a better understanding of what you deserve.
I know this is late, but there is one thing you need to know- this has NOTHING to do with you. he has given you a break and an opportunity to move on because he might not feel worth of your love or feel he can treat you how he wants to treat you at that time. He is actually looking at this as a way to look after and respect you. It will feel hard and be hard, but I read that you are playing the victim, but he is trying he best not to make you the victim.
when struggling with mental health, one feels extremely non-worthy of love, respect or attention. This is ok and very hard for the loved ones to help support. Sometimes people need to go into dorsal freeze and isolate themselves. They need time to work through their own rubbish and come out the other side. It sounds like he cares deeply for you and really loves you. However, he is not in a place to treat you how he wants to and believe you deserve better.
OK, many people do not go back to the people that stayed by their side when they were struggling, but this can often be to do with conflict or people not respecting what is needed. This guy needs space and you being there trying to fix or support him might actually make him feel worse, like a burden or guilty because he does not currently feel he deserves you. I read this as a guy who truly loves you but is struggling with his wellbeing in a very challenging world and needs time to find his peace and what works for him. he might have rushed out of therapy too soon or opened a new box to explore. People who go through mental struggles can come out stronger, more understanding, more empathetic and more supportive. Give him his space he is asking for. It could save you both.
you might end up your own ways, or you might end up together. But it will be for the best and time will be the healer.
Just remember this is nothing to do with you and not about you. This is him struggling and asking for space because he is so overwhelmed.