Could My Boyfriend Have Depression?

Question

Asked by confused86

Could My Boyfriend Have Depression?

I think my boyfriend may have depression and I don't know what to do. We are both 27 and live together, we've been together for ten years. It started on Monday when I got a promotion at work - I came home full of excitement to celebrate with him and he was lay on the couch watching TV and didn't congratulate or, or show any happiness or excitement at all. We had an argument then as I was very upset with him about this, and he admitted I had a "right to be upset" but said I was just upset because he hadn't bought me anything or made a fuss. I never asked him to buy me a thing and this comment came out of no where. He was very cold and distant all night and not himself at all. The next day when I got home from work he had already gone out with his friends and didn't come home until 4.30 in the morning very drunk. He ignored me texting him asking where he was which is not like him at all. We talked about it the next day and he admitted he had been acting badly towards me but that he felt like we had "grown apart" and although I was his best friends we were not acting like a couple and there was no passion. I agreed that we had had less time for each other than usual lately, but I think this is mostly because we have recently got a puppy and he has taken up a lot of our time and energy as he was sick for 2 months when we got him. We agreed that we would try harder to make time for each other and do things together. But things have not improved at all - he doesn't answer my calls or texts at all unless he has to. When he does it is one word repsonses. He barely speaks to me when we are together and it seems like every conversation is a struggle. He usually goes the gym everyday and he hasn't been going at all - he has just been sitting in the house in his pyjamas watching TV all day and not helping around the house at all apart from sometimes walking the dog. This is not his usual behaviour at all and more often that not he does most of the housework and is full of life and happiness. He sits watching the TV all day blankly and talking to him is like talking to a brick wall. We have been making plans the last few weeks about what we would do when I got my promotion at work - buying a new car, looking at new bigger homes and booking a holiday (which we haven't taken in 5 years). Now he won't talk about future plans at all - even to the extent of not committign to going to my sister's halloween party in a couple of weeks. I feel like he has depression but is blaming all these feelings he has on our relationship rather than admit he has a problem. His mother suffers with quite severe depression and has to take medication for it. I think he is like her as when she is depressed, she can barely hold a conversation either. I don't think he will accept that he has depression or get help and will just throw our relationship away instead. I don't know what to do, or how I can help him. Or even if I am CAN help him. Has anyone else been through this got advice for me?

Answer

Hi,

I think you're experiencing a very common set of upsetting emotions that commonly occur around male depression. There are some posts on this site about male depression that may help:

Could you spot depression in a man?

Why depressed men won't ask for help.

Why depressed men don't talk.

and others. The difficulty for a partner, even assuming this is depression, is they often look for a fix in their own behavior, or some problem they can solve, in order for things to get better. It doesn't really work like this.

I can't recall from your question whether he is employed? Laying around watching TV would suggest he is either taking time sick or he has no job. Depression affects all aspects of life from personal relationships, friendships and work. Lack of work or meaningful activity can itself lead to moodiness, sulking, or even depression. You appear to be very successful at work - might this be seen as contrasting with his situation?

I see Judy has offered a useful response. My own feeling is that you can only really explain how his behavior is making you feel. If you pathologize (i.e. I think you've got depression) it could make him even more stubborn. Depressive states can pass by themselves in a few weeks and I'm not sure the ultimatum approach is good (either you ----- or I'll -----).

I think all you can do is make him aware you are ready to listen and ready to talk. You and he are quite capable of deciding how the situation is affecting you individually and who knows where this might lead to a short, medium or longer term outcome. You must look after yourself in all this and not let the negativity pull you down.

Jerry

Answered by Jerry Kennard