I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year, and the past few months he’s been acting distant and stressed. He admitted he was depressed when I asked. He says he loves me, but that he doesn’t know why he’s unhappy and he doesn’t know what he wants. I want him to be happy, and if that means breaking up with me that’s fine, but I don’t think that breaking up will make him any happier, because he cries at the thought of it and hasn’t made any motion to dump me yet..
I would think that he’s unhappy because of the commitment of being in a relationship so young, but he said he didn’t feel this way (trapped, stressed, unhappy) when he asked me to move in with him six months ago, it was just a recent development. Of course, it could be that he thought he was ready for something he really wasn’t and is regretting moving in together, but he says he enjoys living with me and that he’s not sure why he’s unhappy. I try to talk to him about it, but all he says is that he doesn’t know what he wants or why he feels that way.
I really want him to talk to someone, and I’ve asked him to see a doctor, but he says he doesn’t want to, cries, and clams up. For the first eight months of our relationship it was perfect, we were open with each other and really felt like a team. He confided in me, I in him, we were there for each other, we’re incredibly compatible, which is one of the few reasons that I didn’t break up with him when I found out a couple days ago that he cheated on me.
I think it was really bad impulse control. Our relationship is open, my one rule is no co-workers, and he hooked up a few times with a co-worker of his. It’s not the sex bc he could have anyone else, and it’s not the feelings bc he ended it himself. I think he just needed some way to feel alive, and he’s apologized for hurting me. I think that he might be grasping for straws for ways to feel better, and I think that all of this could get better. How can I help him get help?
Nowhere in your description do I read your concern for your own well-being. Everything is about what you can do to make him feel better. This isn’t healthy for you and — as you are learning — this desire isn’t working. It may be causing you more pain. Making excuses for what he is doing that hurts you doesn’t help either of you.
The way he is acting out his pain would suggest he’ll keep doing so until you give up and break it off with him. I could certainly be wrong about this, but in any case there isn’t enough here to recommend you continue in the relationship. Focusing on what will make him feel better and minimizing the pain you are experiencing is a recipe for more pain for both of you.
Wishing you patience and peace,