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I have been in a relationship with a very intelligent, kind and sensitive man for three years. He suffers from low self esteem, chronic pain and severe depression. He mentioned he had a pain issue when we met– which he believes is due to a surgery years prior. While the surgery was successful, he opted for an invasive procedure, and is convinced this is the cause of the pain. He first saw a doctor who diagnosed him with a type of “mind-body syndrome”. As his symptoms worsened, I suggested that he see another physician. We met with numerous doctors at major hospitals. Test after test came back negative. Although one doctors indicated there was a slight chance of “over active” nerves causing pain, still nothing they can do. He sees a psychiatrist 2 x per week and is taking anti-depressants & pain meds; some control the pain for a short time, but his depression continues. Contributing to his depression are his family’s problems, which he is sucked into and while he admits this is a contributing factor, he says that even if that situation came to a conclusion, his other issues would not be resolved. He blames himself for choosing the invasive and cannot forgive himself. I know he is in physical pain, although I just don’t know if it is from the surgery, part of his severe depression (which he admits in had to some extent prior to the surgery) or a combination of both. He sent me an email which in part said - he feels he needs to be alone to deal with his issues. He feels guilty that in his mind he cannot contribute to our relationship, and the negative impact it has on me is unfair and his guilt is eating away at him. His friends are very accomplished, and while he has amassed financial wealth – he feels he never achieved Expert success as joining his family business was an easy way out. He had dinner with two old friends, which I thought would be good for him, yet he returned more depressed. Although not jealous, he feels they achieved success in their professions while he did not. He is retired, so no daily interaction with the outside excpet his psychiatrist and a few phone calls. He sees no one on a regular basis except me, and now wants to be alone. I want nothing more than for him to be healthy and happy, and to respect his desire to be alone. But I am saddened that he wants to push me away, and also scared that he will spend his time reading or watching TV all day, and just becoming more depressed, sinking further into a black hole.