My boyfriend of 8 years has not worked since April 2000 due to a depression. He now tells me that he is not sure if he wants to continue this relationship or not. He asked me to give him some time to find himself and give me an answer. It has already been 4 weeks and I am having a terrible time try to cope with this. I am now taking anxiety pills and seeing a psychologist to help me through this. He says he has no feeling for anyone or anything – is he stringing me a line?
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Depressions can be devastating and can certainly cause the sort of withdrawal-from-intimacy that your boyfriend is describing. I doubt that he is merely “stringing you a line”. This doesn’t mean however that you should allow yourself to be held hostage by his depression. You are in the painful but necessary position of needing to sort out just how much more of this you will take before you need to leave him to preserve your own well-being. Make a list of the things you need from him that he can legitimately provide you with. One of these things he can do is to get into aggressive treatment for depression (which might include medication, weekly therapy, support groups and physical exercise). With today’s reasonably effective treatments there is a good chance that his depression can be turned around in a matter of months. If he is unwilling to comply with treatments, or if there are drugs or alcohol involved, this depression could go on for a long time. Work with your psychologist to set limits on what is healthy for you and then stick to those limits to the best of your ability. You were a good and legitimate person before you met this man, and you’ll be just as good and legitimate if you need to separate from him in order to have a life worth living. Good luck.