Breaking up with someone is always painful, especially when your partner is dealing with depression. Leaving the person when they are at their darkest and lowest point fills you with immense guilt but that doesn’t mean you have to keep at stake your mental peace too. Why it’s necessary for you to respect your self-worth and remove yourself from the relationship which is starting to head toward becoming toxic.
I know it’s hard to believe that it’s OK to break up with someone who is depressed but it is. It truly is.
I know that you care for them deeply and you don’t want to see them hurting but that doesn’t mean that staying with them is the best thing for them, or for you, especially if they aren’t doing the work that they need to do to get better.
I know. I had been depressed in my marriage and I know now that staying together because I was struggling, but not getting help, was the worst choice that we could have made.
Let me tell you why it’s okay to break up with someone who is depressed. Perhaps understanding will help you make a decision around your next steps.
1. They are not your responsibility.
I know that you love your person and that you want to take care of them. And I know that you would do anything that you could do to make them feel better. But what I also know is that it’s not your responsibility to do so.
If someone is struggling with depression, it is their responsibility to take care of themselves. It is their responsibility to notice how they are feeling, to take steps to deal with their depression, and to do what they need to do to learn how to live with it.
I know you want to help. And that is admirable, but it’s important that you understand that the person you love who is dealing with depression needs to take care of themselves. You can’t do the work for them, no matter how much you want to and how much you try.
If you are in a relationship with someone who is depressed, and you are doing everything in your power to make them feel better on a daily basis, and they are letting you, you guys are in a codependent relationship.
Much like enabling an alcoholic, you doing all the work to take care of your person during their depressive periods isn’t helping anybody.
You are probably finding yourself increasingly frustrated that your efforts aren’t making a difference and your person is probably becoming increasingly reliant on you to make them feel better in the moment. This is co-dependency.
I know that when I was married and I was very depressed, my relationship with my husband was in rough shape.
Whenever he came home from work and he saw I was depressed, he would go out of his way to be careful. He would go out of his way to be helpful. He would go out of his way to be complementary. While it worked for me at the moment, it didn’t help me in the long term. As a result, he became increasingly frustrated and I became increasingly reliant on him and that wasn’t helpful for either one of us.
Eventually, our marriage ended.
So, if you find that you are constantly trying to take care of your person, to help them not be so depressed, and they are letting you, your relationship is becoming increasingly co-dependent and a co-dependent relationship is not a healthy one.