3172729 tn?1344190999

My 3 year long-distance relationship with a girl suffering clinical depression

Hi all,

This is a bit of a tale, but I'll try to start somewhere reasonable. Basically, I've been in a relationship with a girl from England for about 3 and a half years now. We both had a very romantic, very loving relationship for the first few years. However, the girl in question suffers from clinical depression since the very start of our relationship - throughout the years I've stood by her and done my best to make her feel better about herself - and have even saved her from committing suicide on multiple occasions.

In recent months, we had split up - but have since reconciled in an effort to make this work again. Her 21st birthday was June 30th which I was meant to head over to see her for, however in a biking accident, I tore a ligament in my leg, rendering me unable to move for weeks, nullifying my trip to see her. Ever since then, she has constantly claimed that I have let her down and that I have to make it up to her...which is true, granted - but it's not exactly her place to make me feel guilty for an accident that wasn't my fault.

She keeps saying that I have to prove my trust to her in order to make this relationship work - at the end of the month, I am planning to go on a holiday with her. But unfortunately, I am also about to enroll into college for the first time this year - in this country, there is no way for sure to know whether or not college days will interfere with me heading over - because I can't afford to miss college, as much as I'd love to see my girlfriend. Because of this, she is saying that if I don't make it over, I will have let her down hugely and she won't be sure of our relationship. I've tried helping her constantly through her upset and depression, but lately, I am constantly the one who seems like the bad guy, the one who has to earn her trust all because of an accident which rendered me immobile a few months ago - I couldn't help that at all.

I don't know what to do right now, I'm at breaking point. Throughout this relationship, I've done everything I can to support her and love her...but after more than 3 years, I just...don't know if I can handle this anymore. With college coming up and all, I have a lot on my mind...helping someone I love, but getting nowhere with it really isn't helping. I'm considering leaving her...part of me wants to move on so desperately, but part of me wants to keep fighting for this...what I fear the most is that if I leave her, she may resort to self-harming - which isn't exactly uncommon for her.

Any advice you can give would be greatly apprieciated.

Thank you,

3 Responses
480448 tn?1426948538
Hello and welcome!

Well, for starters, it sounds like you've been one heck of a boyfriend, and I commend you for that.

Let me be very clear here, your GF is using her depression to exert control over you.  She's basically bullying you and that's not acceptable in ANY relationship. Problem is, because of her more vulnerable state, you probably feel like you can't be honest with her, for fear of hurting her feelings, or worsening her depression.  I have a feeling she's probably even threatened suicide if you didn't do "this or that", am I right?  This kind of stuff definitely complicates a relationship.

My advice to you is be 100% honest with her.  Tell her, depression or not, you're not up for playing mind games.  Tell her you love her and wish to spend time with her, but as your upcoming college obligations are important, you just have to make that the priority should there be a conflict with the timing.  If there's no conflict, great...you'll be there to spend the holiday with her.  Also, you need to tell her flat out that you do NOT appreciate her making you feel guilty for not being able to come see her when you had a physical injury.  I mean really,..where was the support for YOU?  Depression or not, your GF sounds very selfish and insecure.  She needs to learn that she cannot use depression as an excuse to act poorly, which, in my opinion, is EXACTLY what she is doing.

You need to set limits with her, don't pull any punches and be honest with her.  If she throws a fit and starts threatening to hurt herself, you have to make it clear that YOU have nothing to do with her desire to do that...that it is not your FAULT, nor your responsibility.  You then tell her you will call whatever authority necessary to keep her safe.  That should take care of any "threats" used to put you on a guilt trip because you're not complying with her "orders".  And remember, her choice to self harm is NOT your fault, in any way shape or form.

You have some tough decisions to make.  You are young, and on the cusp of life.  You're going to need to put school first, and you sound like a young man who is going to give college your all, which is great.  I'm not saying to break up with your GF because she has depression....but I am saying to give it some thought.  I really do not like when people use their illnesses as an excuse to get their way, and hurt those around them.  Relationships are two-way streets, and you have to decide if you're getting what you're giving.  You can encourage her all you want to help herself....but the ultimate decision to start working on her problems lies with HER.  It sounds like she's a bit too dependent on you anyway, so maybe you need to open her eyes a bit...put a little space between you, and explain to her that you feel she needs to work on her issues a little more before your relationship would have a fighting chance.

This is going to be hard, no matter how you proceed, you're going to feel guilty if you DO stay, guilty if you don't.  Just remember that you have your whole life ahead of you...and you've done nothing but care for this girl.  She's taking advantage of your kindness.  Remember...no matter WHAT she decides to do...that's on HER.  We have to be okay with ourselves before we can be successful in a relationship.  She is far from being at that point.

I wish you the very best, please let us know how it's going.
Avatar universal
Hi! I am currently having a long distance relatioship for almost 8 years already... I have experienced depression, too, but had overcomed it due to the full support of my family and my bf. LDR is really difficult but constant communication is really the key to it. Hmmmm.. I think you do not need to end the relationship..if you believe that it would affect both of you... if only you could talk to her personally....you may consider having something like a "cool- off" sort of way just to make you both think or realize something about your relationship... not only about your relatioship but also about your own individual goals and priorities in life.. it might be days, a week or a month... you both set the duration ---- tell her the goal of your "cool-off" and why is it important. It could also make your relationship strong... actually. Be patient and remember...love conquers all....=) rocky roads for couples in ldr is normal...and it is always part of it.
480448 tn?1426948538
Oh if it were as easy as "love conquers all".  :0)

I think you gave the OP some great tips.  The thing that rubs me the wrong way is when a person uses a mental illness as an excuse to behave badly.  I also don't like when people use self harm as some kind of emotional  blackmail.  Nothing about those things is healthy.

I think his GF needs to do some serious work on herself before this relationship even has a chance!
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