Forum: Advice / Secrets PG-13

Feeling devastated after leaving depressed best friend
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 15, 2017 12:59 AM

I actually have a deadline in a week, but just can't focus. Yesterday I broke things off with my best friend. We were speaking to each other multiple times every day. It was a weird situation.

Last year I asked him out, and we would take long walks a few times a week. He would pay for me at restaurants, and a few months later we were going to movies, concerts and ballets. Once he even asked me to go on a work trip with him. Later I started hanging out with his friends, and on trips the two of us would sleep in the same bed. We got into the habit of daily good mornings and good nights, and sometimes we'd even wait for each other in order to go to bed at the same time. He asks me to make food for him sometimes. My friends started asking why we haven't kissed yet, and his friends wondered why I hadn't moved in.

Initially things were quite perfect, so I was sceptical and let him chase me a little. Then he admitted to struggling with depression, and over the months it kept getting worse. The weird thing is that last year he tried to get help, but quit therapy as soon as things got a little better (partly because of me, he says). Now he's showing many signs of depression in men, sometimes yelling and blaming me for his inability to focus. I've tried giving him space, but almost right after the argument he'd write to wish me a good day and to say that he misses me, as if nothing had happened.

Recently I had a personal setback, and not only did he step in to help me fix it, he even lost sleep thinking about me. Afterwards I decided to leave town for a week so that he would have some space to focus on himself. Before I left I gave him a lot of food and promised to say good morning and good night every day, but no more than that. He said he'd like the space, but then got upset that I wasn't writing much, so we ended up communicating anyway. I bought gifts for him, too. He used to be uncomfortable about gifts, but now even says he's curious about what I'll give him for his birthday.

I've asked him about relationships before, but he said he only wanted to be friends because he can't handle a relationship at the moment. So then I'd back off, but he'd start conversations again, ask to hang out, then start calling me dear, plan vacations (just us two) even years in the future, get slightly drunk and send songs that remind him of me, and once even (sober) said he wants to dream about me in a particular dress. We'd both talk about wanting to start a family in the future, where to live and how to be good parents. Usually I wait for him to show many of these signs before responding. I started making sexual comments, and he seemed pretty happy about it.

And to make things weirder, he's not seeing anyone else, not even casual flirting. He has said a few times that he might want to start a relationship with me later, and once told me he is afraid of missing out on something with me, but just can't handle a relationship at the time because he needs to handle his work and anxiety. I told him I'd wait, and we can learn to get along in the meantime, and he seemed happy with it.

But recently he is having even more problems with focus. Even last year he was able to meet deadlines, but now he has delayed a project for two months. He tells me that sometimes he is able to sleep only one hour a night. He gets irritated at his friends more often, and says that the anxiety makes him physically sick. Yet if I tell him to get help, he denies having any problems, saying that the only friend he has trouble with is me, that he's handling his stress very well, and that he's been like this for years already. Recently I've even stopped taking his yelling and blaming personally, and in the middle of the fight I'd ask if he's alright, tell him that I'm here for him and that he doesn't need to suffer this way, because he's brave enough to get help. But he'd feel insulted and insist that he's fine, that he doesn't need anyone's help because he is handling everything perfectly. He denies the problem every time I mention it directly, but confesses to all sorts of things otherwise. It's as if the weaker he is, the harder he has to convince himself that he's perfect.

Yesterday after another fight he said he can't stand to talk to me anymore, and less than twenty minutes later asked me to go on a walk with him, just to drop everything and act normal for awhile. For four hours we acted as if nothing had happened, but eventually he told me about his stress, and when I tried a different way to tell him to find help, he shut down again and said I'm causing his problems by making him worry about me, that caring for me is distracting him from focusing, which is why he can't sleep. He said that we are only casual friends, and that he never wanted any kind of closeness with me at all.

I told him that I love him, that I won't stand for being played, that he is being selfish, and that I am not the source of his problems. Then I left, and afterwards he wrote that he didn't want a relationship because he is afraid a possible breakup will hurt me, and that if he was selfish, it was only because he truly wanted my attention and company. And he has truly cared for me as well as he could, but he really needs to space to realise that I'm not the problem. Besides, I need time to handle my own problems, otherwise he will try to handle them for me and use me as an excuse to avoid himself.

And the thing is, I love him. And according to many of his actions, he seems to love me too. But I don't think he'll know if it I don't go away. I told him that I will read all his messages without responding, but a friend suggested keeping up the good morning and good night. I plan to focus on the next deadline and let things cool down a bit, then speak to a psychologist on what to do next. The psychologist knows his sister, who's been a practicing therapist herself.

I do feel selfish and want to stop all contact so that he'd miss me and want me back, but at the same time I want to know that I'm there for him, because he doesn't share emotional burdens with anybody. Maybe he'd get help then, if I'm not around. It seems that for him, our good times were escapes, and our bad times added stress; he would benefit to be away from both. In any case, I should move on and focus on work, but I'm not feeling alright at all. There is a deadline in a week, and I feel completely devastated and can't work, but just this morning he sent a message that he slept well but not enough, and a reminder for me to be strong and to focus hard.

I'm crying again.

2 Replies to Feeling devastated after leaving depressed best friend

re: Feeling devastated after leaving depressed best friend
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue May 16, 2017 09:53 AM
I need to respond because I went through something similar (but I'm too afraid to show my username here anymore).

You can't fix a broken man. If you want to see what distance will do for you two, don't send him any additional good morning/ goodnight texts. He likes the idea of having you around, but he doesn't like the idea of having a girlfriend. Depression and stress are hard to deal with, but if he's more afraid of a "possible break up" than just going for something that theoretically should make him happy, he's loving the single life with bonuses.

I'm not saying he's using you and I do believe he likes you, but if a man doesn't know what he wants when he has you right in front of him, there's really nothing you can do to make him want to come back or make him love you like you love him. It took my ex three years after an ugly break up to message me out of the blue telling me he missed me. Before that, we sat for months in some weird "are we together, are we not" dance with echoes of a lot of the things your man is saying to you.

He needs self-help that he needs to stick with before you two can have a chance together, but as long as you're around juuusssttt as much as he needs you to be, he won't progress out of your current situation. Relationships needs definitive answers, you can't go on texting good morning and good night every day in a just friends relationship where you clearly want more than what he does at this point.
re: Feeling devastated after leaving depressed best friend
By CinderEmma
On Tue May 16, 2017 09:54 AM
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 09:59:15 spelling and grammar
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 10:03:36 additonal info
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 10:04:17 To change a word.
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 10:16:04 additonal info
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 10:17:29 To change a word.
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-05-16 10:19:32 additonal info
Wow...I almost got a little choked up myself reading this. It sounds like you two really care about each other but just don't know the best way to go about it. I would definately continue to support him and be there for him when he needs you. But at the same time, do not smother him. Make sure to give him space and if it seems like he is getting scared of a possible relationship, kind of back off a little bit on the flirting. If you do decide to distance yourself from him and stop responding to make him notice you more, try to do it slowly--don't drop him "cold turkey". Maybe if he realizes that his depression is turning you away, he'll finally decide to get help. Just remember: if he cannot commit to himself, he surely won't be able to commit to you if the two of you were to ever have a fruitful romantic relationship.

First things first, he needs to get help with his depression. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen until he admits that he has a problem, and men can be most stubborn when it comes to admitting they have a problem. Until then, there probably isn't much you can really do to help with his depression, but I would definately support him as a friend, and just try not to get sucked into the depression yourself and make sure you are still able to continue on living your life.

As long as he doesn't get violent or emotionally/physically abusive, I would stay with him. Make sure you watch closely for possible signs of suicide. But overall, it sounds like he just needs you to BE THERE for be someone to just listen to him without necessarily trying to offer advice. That is what friendship is all about.


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