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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  PHD LPC
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Just last weekend my boyfriend of almost 2 1/2 years broke

Customer Question

Just last weekend my boyfriend of almost 2 1/2 years broke up with me. We had been having a lack of intimacy for a few months, and I was starting to take it personally, but when I talked to him about it, he just kept telling me that he was just so stressed out from work that he had no energy for anything else. He had an emotional breakdown a few weeks back and told me that he can't handle the stress anymore, but that he is tired of being sick all the time, crabby and not happy with anything anymore except me, and that he doesn't think things will get better any time soon. He told me I am too good for him. We moved to a new place in October which I was hoping would be a new start for us, and things have changed since then. I know he is stressed from his job and other issues, and I have some emotional issues as well that had been causing him extra stress at home, but we have always managed to weather the storm and get through the hard times.

Last Sunday evening, he came home from a weekend trip to see his parents/grandmother and he said that he "just couldn't do the relationship anymore." When I asked "why?" all he could say is, "I just can't do it." No other explanation. I asked what I did wrong and he just said that I did nothing wrong. He said I have been perfect, always there for him and always made him happy. That it is all him and nothing to do with me. He told me that he had plenty of time to figure things out while he was gone and he just couldn't do it anymore. Last Christmas he gave me a promise ring and said we'd be married within a year to two years. I don't believe that he really wants it to be over permanently, but I am afraid if I stick with him and try to still be here are a friend, I will end up getting my heart broken again.

He told me that he still wants to be friends...then he says that maybe someday we might get back together, but he doesn't see it right now. He also said that the relationship was good and healthy and nothing like the bad ones he had previously. All our friends are shocked, and his brother seems to be as well, because he even knew how happy we were. I guess I would just like to know if it's just the depression and stress talking, or if he doesn't love me anymore. Everyone is convinced that he will realize what he threw away and want to reconcile, but are the chances of that good? If so, is the best course of action to act like I'm not pining away and missing him, or should I go away and let him reach out to me?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi. It sounds to as though your boyfriend is depressed and feeling pretty hopeless. Normal relationships can weather the storm as you say yours had been able to do in the past. He can't give you any reason for the way he feels except that he just can't do it anymore so that is a indication that he is totally overwhelmed and is giving up on the one thing that is stable - you. If there is anyway you can persuade him to see a psychologist to work on the depression that would be beneficial, or get his brother to talk to him about it. You are right about waiting and possibly getting hurt again. But if what he says about you is true, you are always there, perfect etc. then it is probably the depression that is getting the best of him. I would step back and let his family take over. Tell him you love him but right now he needs to get some help, depression will not go away on it's own when it's overwhelming as his sounds. This isn't something that happened overnight as you know from the lack of intimacy for months. By pushing you away (and that is what has been slowly happening) and finally breaking up with you it gives him one less thing to deal with. I cannot say what the chances are that you will reconcile but I will say that you have a better chance of it happening if he gets the help he needs. I know it's hard to understand why he would break up with you when you are his support but let him find his way and let him come back to you. I always tell my patients that trying to be friends after a break up is not a reality unless the break up was a mutual, we are not in love anymore event. For most others it will never work and is best laid to rest.
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Edited by Dr. Keane on 2/7/2010 at 10:26 AM EST
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