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psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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Hello- I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year and

Resolved Question:


I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year and have been in a long-distance relationship for about 5 months. Currently, he is finishing up his doctorate degree and I am in my final internship year of graduate school.

Since he moved to finish his Ph.D he has been miserable. However, lately he has sounded more sad then usual. I had no concerns about our relationship until I could see that something has been bothering him lately. I asked him about it and he mentioned several life concerns. He said that he hates where he is, where he is living, he is tired of school, and regrets where he is in his life. He then mentioned that he is questioning our relationship and our future. He said that mainly he is questioning us because our priorities are different. He said that I make him my priority and he is having difficulty with making me his because of school. He then said that he feels that he is not capable of loving someone has much as I am able to love, and he doesn't find that fair. He then mentioned things of our future about how I am planning on moving out to him after this year and he feels that he won't be able to be as attentive as he wants to. He then began to bring up our past fights and mentioned how he never gets upset at me, but it seems I am always the one who gets upset about something he does.

Overall, he feels that he does not want to break up because it would be "irrational". He still loves me and says there is no reason to. He said that he loves me and his feelings are unchanged but basically he is afraid about hurting me. He says he does not want to do this to us or put us through this but this is how he has been feeling.

Personally, I think he sounds depressed and is questioning his life; however, he won't go to get help. I feel helpless, confused, and upset. I told him that I would be there for him as he goes through this and he can talk to me whenever. He still calls often and tells me he loves me. However, I can't help to wonder if this is over, or is he going through a difficult time that we will be able to get through.

I am not sure what to do or think!

Thank you.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.
I agree it sounds like he is definitely going through either depression or situations leading to depression. He has many stressors that could explain this. School is very stressful and so are long distance relationships. It is best no to make such huge decisions in this state of mind. The solutions usually aren't rational. You can't make him get help but you should try as hard as you can to encourage this. If you are together please try to find even a nonthreatening (pastor etc) way for him to get help. I would call him or contact him until he told me otherwise. Don't leave him to struggle alone. Encourage friend or other support to do this as well
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your quick response. I have another question. His birthday is XXXXX coming week and next week I had scheduled a surprise visit. Would this be a bad time to visit him unexpectedly? Should I not even considering going? Or should I ask him what he thinks?

Also, Do you think I should be worried about our situation?
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.

I would because birthdays can be very depressing. It may not go well but it may just be what he needs. You can ask him what he thinks but this may be another chance for him to draw into himself or to isolate.


I think you should be worried to a point. He is under a lot of pressure but he also the kind of person that is getting a PHD (highly functional) so support him in any way possible. Sometimes people are too proud to ask for help

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
For his birthday I am going to a surprise birthday being thrown by a girl in his cohort. Do you think he may think that I am being intrusive? Given the state that he is in.
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.

I think your heart is in the right place. I am just concerned that it may not be good timing. On the other hand, it may be just what he needs. Try fo find out from close to him that knows his educational load right now and see if he can use the pick me up

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