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What I Want You to Know About Breaking Up With Someone Who Has Depression

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Severe depression is the worst third wheel in relationships. It never leaves you alone, even when you know you should be overjoyed to be out with the one you love. You’re numb; nothing feels real or right. It is easy to see every flaw in your significant other with a magnifying glass, blowing it out of proportion until you question why you are even with them. It’s hard to be fun on dates. It’s hard to be loving and feel like you mean it. It’s hard to enjoy your favorite foods with them because the milkshake you were dying to share with them suddenly tastes like nothing but the choked back sobs in your throat with a hint of sugar.

But perhaps the worst part is that you fear they wouldn’t tell you if they weren’t happy with you anymore. They might be too afraid to stand up for themselves and admit that your illness was emotionally draining.

It is terrifying to think someone may only be staying with you out of pity or because they fear what might become of you if they leave you while you are at your most vulnerable. It makes you feel unintentionally manipulative — if you are open about your depression, what caring, doting lover wouldn’t feel guilty for leaving?

That’s why I am so thankful my significant other did not postpone our break up until a time when I seemed to be feeling “brighter.”

I know he cares about me above all else. It’s actually why we broke up. (Long story.)

He is the type of guy who would drop everything to help someone else and he was always doing everything for me. He even felt my happiness was his personal responsibility, even though we both logically knew that was not true. He was just the kind of person who would go to the ends of the earth to make my life better.

That is why I was terrified he would never speak up and never leave if he wanted to. Although my depression was not the cause of our split, I never wanted it to be the glue that held us together.

If you are dating someone with depression, have the courage to stand up for yourself. As hard as it may be to accept, know you cannot cure them with your love. You are not a therapist. If you have been wanting to end the relationship, do not let them guilt you into staying. You are not an evil, heartless person for leaving. You are just a human who is brave enough to acknowledge you are not responsible for anyone else’s mental health and to stand up for your own needs.

Photo by Cynthia Magana on Unsplash

Originally published: January 8, 2019
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