My Ex’s Depression Is The Reason We Broke Up, And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It


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My first real love was incredible at first. I was young and passionate and the feelings came hard and fast; I’d never experienced anything like it. As amazing as the highs were, the lows were so tumultuous and damaging. Even though I knew his depression was the root cause of things and I felt so deeply for him, I couldn’t stay.


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He wore a mask in front of everyone but me. My ex was quite the charmer in the beginning. I felt like he was too good to be true. I’d soon find out that was exactly the case. He was so concerned with total strangers’ opinions of him that it verged on paranoia. He’d bend over backward for people that he’d likely never see again, but he rarely went out of his way to do anything for me.


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The highs never outweighed the lows. At first, the newness of our relationship was enough for him. Over time, though, his issues came to light and I saw a side of him that sincerely scared me. He’d call me in the middle of the night crying and speaking incoherently. I felt completely helpless in those moments. I desperately wanted to make him feel better, but he would never tell me what the actual problem was.

I didn’t know until the damage was done. My family has a history of depression, but they were never particularly open about it. I didn’t recognize the warning signs until it was too late. My ex had emotionally chipped away at me for too long. My sympathy for his situation didn’t outweigh the damage he did to our relationship and I had to move on.


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He refused to get help. There was one particularly rough night when my ex told me he wanted to end his life. I was away with my family and there was nothing I could do but reach out to his mom. He was furious, but I felt like I was doing the right thing. Despite the fact that his family was now involved, he still refused to see a doctor. The fact that he didn’t seem to want to get better was a constant topic in our arguments from that point forward.

His coping methods were destructive. Instead of seeking help or opening up to friends and family, he decided to “self-medicate.” He began experimenting with drugs, causing him to become more distant than ever. Any high point in our relationship I experienced after that, was totally artificial.

I could never be a priority. Any and all problems that I faced were placed on the back burner. At first, I didn’t mind. His issues were obviously much more serious than anything I was going through at the time. After a while, though, it became clear that he simply didn’t have the capacity to care.

I let him get away with everything. At the start of our relationship, he was the picture perfect boyfriend. He always texted me first thing in the morning, he went out of his way to do cute little things for me at school, and he made me feel so beautiful and special. After a while, all of these behaviors fizzled out. Things I used to expect or demand in my relationships were no longer a priority for him, but I let him get away with it because I just wanted him to be happy.

He guilted me into staying. I tried to walk away from our relationship so many times. I’d bring up my concerns about the way things were going and he would placate me for a few days by acting like his old self. This would never last long, though, and he’d go dark on me for days. He always claimed his depression was the reason for his ghosting-type behavior, and it made me feel so guilty for wanting to leave him.

I was too young to handle problems that serious. I was just a teenager when all of this went down, but since I was quickly approaching adulthood, I thought I could take on the challenge of taking care of my ex. The truth is, I was nowhere near emotionally mature enough to handle the stress of my own life and the reality of his depression at the same time. He and I were just kids, and we got in way too deep, too quickly.

I had to live my own life. Around the same time things in my relationship started to go downhill, I was applying for colleges and making sure I was keeping up with my grades. Taking care of him was starting to become a full-time job and I had to make a choice. Either I let my future of going to a good school slip, or I try to help a guy that won’t even try to help himself. I can’t say I walked away with a clear conscience, but looking back now, I can confidently say I did the right thing. He did seek out help later in life and even reached out to me not very long ago. It felt good to know that he understood why I had to walk away, and it was even better to know he finally mustered up the strength to set his life on a new course.

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