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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / being there for someone who pushes you away

Topic: being there for someone who pushes you away

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Lorianne64
    Lorianne64 avatar
    2 posts
    17 April 2015
    I have been in a relationship with a guy on and off for the past 7 months. He has anxiety, depression and agoraphobia.  When hes not stressing he's the sweetest,most caring guy in the world. We are very compatible.  However, once he starts getting anxious he totally changes and tries to push me away. I want to be there for him but he constantly rejects me. we've gone through this cycle twice in the past 7 months. Right now I haven't seen him in a month and a half because he just sits at home.  I don't want to give up on him but he tells me that he cant be a boyfriend when he's like this. What do I do?
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Zeal
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Zeal avatar
    1737 posts
    19 April 2015 in reply to Lorianne64

    Hi Lorianne,

    This is a tough situation. It’s great that your boyfriend is sweet and caring, except when he goes through the cycle of depression, with the anxiety and agoraphobia worsening his state. Has he sought help in the past for any of his mental health conditions? Suggesting treatment to someone can be tricky- some people become defensive, or avoidant, or even furious. Pick a time that’s appropriate for your boyfriend to talk about ways for him to get help.

    Going to a GP is a great start. If he explains his mental health history and current symptoms, the doctor will be able to make plans for his treatment. He will probably be referred to a psychologist or other specialist. Getting a referral through a GP is often the easiest and most effective option. Your boyfriend cares about you and so doesn’t want to be in a negative state around you. This is why he says he can’t be a boyfriend when he is in this state. Pushing you away is probably his way of “protecting” you, and also a reflection of his depression and agoraphobia.

    If your boyfriend’s mental health situation is causing you great unhappiness and hugely affecting your life and wellbeing, either now, or after a few months of sticking by him, it is okay for you to end the relationship. It’s important for you to look after your own wellbeing too. However, if you are able to and want to, sticking by your boyfriend through his treatment is admirable.

    When he does make a partial or full recovery, he will really appreciate that you persevered with the relationship and with him. It’s up to you what you do. Encourage him to see his doctor. If he is willing to seek help, then this is a great sign both for his ability to recover, and maybe even for your relationship in the future.

    Take care,


    4 people found this helpful
  3. Lorianne64
    Lorianne64 avatar
    2 posts
    19 April 2015 in reply to Zeal
    Thanks SM for your reply. I will find a good time to bring up the things that you suggested.  
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email:
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to Lorianne64

    Hi Lorianne,

    You might also want to have a look through some of the threads below - pushing a loved one away when depressed is a very common experience. You might find some more tips in these threads and perhaps find others going through similar experiences that you can talk to:

    My partner is pushing me away

    How should I respond to being pushed away by someone with depression?

    Pushing me out, I'm helpless

    He pushes us away - how do I help?

    Pushing friends and loved ones away

    I have pushed my husband away

    Husband depressed says he wants to leave advice please!

    Loving someone with depression when you're not sure they love you

    I pushed my husband away

    If you love someone with depression, you need to watch this

    2 people found this helpful
  5. RickyAus
    RickyAus avatar
    3 posts
    4 April 2017
    I have been this boyfriend. I suffer from servere depression and social anxiety I have been on anti depressants before but they were not effective I think they made things worse. At the time I was with my girlfriend who I loved very much. When I was in a good headspace I think I was an amazing partner for here but when the depression hit I would push her away or break up with her even though in my heart of hearts I didn't want to. One time it was just too much for her and I never heard from her again. To this day my mental health isn't great but I have made a lot of positive changes to my personal life at least but she is long gone. It would of meant the world to me if she hung around but I understand as well she couldn't be my crutch. Depresssion blows :(
    4 people found this helpful
  6. Annie_Basil
    Annie_Basil avatar
    5 posts
    6 April 2018 in reply to RickyAus

    Hi, I know this might be a little late but I couldn't help but relate so much to this post. I recently started seeing someone last year, we chatted online for about a week before we met, we hit it off and once we met I knew he was someone special and vice versa, after that first date though it went down hill, he owns a restaurant and he just didn't have time for me but kept me in touch msging me everyday etc. I reluctantly stuck by him and questioned us not meeting up was him not being interested. I am a pretty reasonable person and can take a hint. But he insisted he was interested just alot of stuff happened in his life that is going south, I was there for him but 3 months and still no dates. I decided to move on in myself and he opened up to me about having anxiety and he has been on medication since he was a child and how he wasn’t his best self to start anything new. I was supportive and he asked me out again and to give him a second chance. It was a bad time for me as I was seeing someone new so I said “now's not the right time” I ended it with the other guy and we reconnected again on such a deep level, we mentioned how we cannot stop thinking about each other etc. It just feels right with him. We had been on 3 dates and it's amazing but on the last date his was anxious about money and the restaurant. I started to take his distant as personal and worried we would go down the same road as last year. It's been 6 weeks since the date and he has plummeted into a really bad state. He has been in touch but it has not been good, he has said things like “This isnt fair on you, I am sorry I’m in such a bad place again, I don’t even want to be around myself” I know he has family support but I was so worried about him I reassured him that it’s okay and I am not going anywhere but recently it started to really effect my mental health. I started to take it all personally and get severe anxiety, which is rare for me. I wrote him a nice text saying I am trying to be there for him but respecting that he needs space, and asked him if he wanted to put the dating part on hold for a bit, He didn't reply for a week (which hurt) and said "he doesn’t know what to say, nothing he has done is fair, he said he hates himself for it". I care about him so much but my friends/family are saying walk away. My heart says stick by him, but I also don’t want to feel like I have been taken for a ride. I don't push, am super patient but also want to be happy. Any advice would be great.

  7. eljaycee
    eljaycee avatar
    21 posts
    17 April 2018 in reply to Annie_Basil

    Hi Annie,

    I've been in a relationship for over 5 years now. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster.

    I don't know how much help I will be for you, other than I know exactly how you feel. When I first met my boyfriend we clicked immediately but a month later he withdrew and said I'd be better off without him and that he was toxic. I met someone else in that time. A few weeks later, he came back and the feelings were as strong as ever, so I went back to him. I knew he had very complex issues including PTSD, and over the years there have been various times when he'd shutdown and isolate himself from me and everything. Like you, I took it personally, every time. I would be beside myself with worry and get so upset. He would often take a couple of weeks to go into treatment in a mental health facility and then he'd be back in contact. But this year has been awful. We haven't spent time together properly since the beginning of January. He just went completely silent other than a few words here and there every couple of weeks or so, mainly saying that he'd gone back into treatment, but he felt awful and stopped caring about anything. One of the messages left me thinking that he'd decided to break up, so I spent a while trying to move on but completely wrecked with grief. I didn't hear from him for ages, then he messaged again. He's still not great but he sounds a bit more like himself although he has no idea how much longer it will take to feel close to normal.

    I am at the stage now that I am trying to not think about him too much, which is hard, but the best for my mental health. I don't want anyone else, and I'm not actively looking, but I also have the dilemma that it's not fair to just live in limbo hoping for him to change.

    It is incredibly hard to fall in love with someone with these kind of issues. Some people have said to me that he has inflicted a form of emotional abuse on me - that silent treatments are terribly damaging. But I don't see it like that because from what he says, he has no choice about how he feels. The good times are amazing and he knows me like no one else ever has, but the bad times, well they suck big time.

    I hope that it helps a bit to know you're not the only one...

  8. Jadams57
    Jadams57 avatar
    8 posts
    18 April 2018 in reply to RickyAus

    Hi RickyAus,

    I honestly thought you were my ex-boyfriend posting until I noticed the dates did not line up. Do you have any advice for someone on the other side? I'm considering getting back together with my ex-boyfriend but I'm really just so scared that he is going to hurt me again.

  9. Annie_Basil
    Annie_Basil avatar
    5 posts
    22 May 2018 in reply to Jadams57

    Hi eljaycee

    Thanks so much for you words and I guess nice to hear in a weird way that I am not alone.
    I think the hardest part is letting go because it's out of your control, my guy texted me a couple of weeks ago and apologised for treating me badly and said he needs to work on himself before he lets anyone else. I took it personally at first going through my head that I wasn't good enough and he is seeing other people, but I had to take a step back and go "stop thinking this way", mental health is an uncontrollable thing, I know his anxiety is preventing him from stepping forward in many things in his life. It's okay to not wanting to go along with it, your own health comes first and I think its hard being an open door for him to come in and out as he pleases.

    You deserve alot better than the way he is treating you, but it's hard because I know it's out of your control but you should not feel guilty and selfish for putting yourself first.

    Im still recovering from the backlash of it all as it has taken alot of me. I think about him daily and I need to let go. I also feel like I tried many many times to make him feel better and 'fix' the anxiety, I guess I feel like I failed. But I know that is an unrealistic thought.

  10. Annie_Basil
    Annie_Basil avatar
    5 posts
    22 May 2018 in reply to Jadams57

    Hi Jadams57
    I am sorry you are going through this, it’s extremely hard. I guess you have to see why you ended it in the first place, if it was too much for you (which is absolutely okay) if you were indeed hurt when you were caring and trying to be there I hate to say it may not change much and you just have to look inside and see if that is what you are willing to put up with again. I mean this with the upmost respect to your ex, battling a mental illness is not a fun place to be. But also your mental health has to be considered as well.

    My advice is to write a list of things that made you happy in the relationship and things that didn’t. Then I would see if after that you still want to give it another go maybe that is something you can speak to your ex about but please be careful of your feelings it’s very easy to think about all the good times after a breakup. Hope this helps, you are awesome.

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