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You Asked: My Boyfriend Is Depressed


Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend has been depressed for years. We've talked about the effects of his depression on our relationship: his lack of interest in sex, his need for a lot of space, and the fact that these things take a toll on me as well. I expressed that communication is really the only thing that will save our relationship at this point, but it has fallen on deaf ears. I've always believed that actions speak louder than words, and although he says he loves me, it just doesn't feel like enough for me. What can I do?

— Worried About Him Hannah

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Dear Worried About Him Hannah,

I hope that your boyfriend is getting professional help for his depression, which can be difficult to battle alone. If he's not, that would be a good first step. If he's already working through this in some form of therapy then I think you've done the most that you can do from your end, and that's to express your compassion and your own personal concerns.

You're absolutely correct in emphasizing the importance of communication when it comes to making your relationship work; however, your boyfriend has to return that same level of communication. I'm sure that he loves you, but if you feel unhappy then all the love in the world won't be enough to make everything okay.

I would suggest letting your boyfriend know that although you want to make it work, you can't do it alone, and it won't work if things stay how they are. Come up with specific things that he can do to make a change. If he still doesn't respond then I think his actions are telling you that he's not ready to be in a relationship right now. Being able to take care of our loved ones is a wonderful quality to possess, but it's also important to do what's right for you. I wish you the best of luck!

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