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My Boyfriend Is Depressed

by Karina
(New Jersey)

Hello, I have a boyfriend which I love and care for very much. We've been together for quite a while and from the looks of how things are going, I think it's going to last.

Everything is swell, we love each other and understand each other. His behavior lately has not been so well. He has less patience and gets into arguments with his mother and sometimes with me. After the argument he apologizes and feels bad for it.

I can tell he's stressed out and has so much anger built up inside, and it all relates to his older brother passing away exactly 4 months ago. He didn't take it well, but he didn't do anything irrational. I still feel that he has a lot of pain inside.

He was going to school for physical therapy but he took a break for the semester, and tends to drink alcohol a lot more, and sleeps all day to avoid dealing with his family.

I'm scared because he has mentioned he's depressed and how he wishes sometimes that he wasn't around. Many people can appreciate what he really does in their life. I wish I can help but I'm scared of saying the wrong thing and he'll get mad at me.

He's a great guy, and a one-of-a-kind boyfriend. I just hate seeing him like this.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Karina, and thanks for telling your story here. It is great that you care so much about your boyfriend. He needs to care that much about himself. He is in the early stages of grieving over the loss of his brother, and he needs to take responsibility for his grieving process--rather than allowing it to feed into the anger and alcohol abuse.

If he doesn't help himself, there is not much you can do--except take very good care of yourself, and love him. You may have to "find the distance from which you can love him" if he goes too far downhill. Don't go down with him. That's not love, that's codependency.

You need to focus on yourself and your own well being. These quotes on relationships might be helpful to you in making that shift.

Trust your boyfriend to do what is right for him, believe in him, and let him go. Love is letting go. Learn more about letting go here.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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