This guy I started dating is the best person I've ever met. He made me so happy, which is rare for me because I have a history of depression and suicidal thoughts. I dealt with my problems before we dated, but I only was “fine.”
With him I genuinely felt happy. We were friends for a few months, talked for a month, then dated for just over two weeks.
He’s in a really bad place mentally so I said we should pause us while he works on him, though I just want to be with him.
But he needs to work on himself first before we can be together. I feel selfish if he's prioritizing me when he should be prioritizing himself now.
We still text every day and FaceTime. He said that he doesn't think our having sweet moments and being physical could hurt him. He still wants to have our makeup Valentine's Day because ours was really short. (He wanted to take me somewhere but had no car).
I said No to having sweet moments and being physical after the makeup Valentine's Day because if we still act like we did when we were dating, what's the point...?
I have to say no to being with him when that's all I want. I feel it’s my fault because, when we were just talking, I was a little pushy and said he should ask me out.
I’m okay waiting for him, if I get to be with him eventually, but what if he doesn't return to me?
I told him this and he said he’s terrified of making false promises, because he’s made them in the past and that’s been a struggle for him. But right now, he fully intends to return to me, and his heart is mine.
How should I help him? Is it better if we aren't friends at all? Or should I just pull back more and text him less?
I don't know how to give him the time he needs without leaving him and I can't do that.
He said he's afraid to lose me and I told him he wouldn't so I’m trying to do what's best for him.
You’ve used your own experience with depression to give great support to this troubled guy you care about. He’s grateful, wants the sweet moments and physical connection (sex) to continue, but is nevertheless in a “really bad place mentally.” You don’t want to lose him; he says you won’t.
Your instincts are good. But, when you suffered depression and suicidal thoughts, you likely had professional guidance. That’s what he could benefit from now.
I can only respond to what you’ve written. I don’t get to learn how his previous “false promises” caused a struggle for him... i.e., who he’s possibly hurt before and why.
Give him space/time to figure things out for himself or through talking to a therapist (can be done online).
You need to know if he’s serious about finding a way out of his gloomy state, or fears making a commitment when he’s moving away soon.
Protect your own well-being by staying with your decision to not return to the dating mode which revealed his own problems.
He says he intends to “return” to you which means he does need time to work on himself. But agreeing now to a pretend Valentine’s Day might put you back into physical contact but not the relationship of mind and heart that you want.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose mother isolated her from her family (February 19):
“My mom’s a narcissist so my siblings and I learned coping mechanisms and support each other as things happen. But this story’s worse.
“I'm wondering if she needs a mentor. This doesn't replace what she’s lost, just meeting for coffee and having a person to listen. There are others in my circle who also trained in “wrap around” situations and work for organizations who could support her as well.
“When you have a severely unhealthy and abusive family, you feel very alone.
“If possible, pass along my information. If we’re not a good fit, there’d be no need to continue.”
Ellie - A generous heartfelt offer. I don’t cross anonymity lines and give out personal contacts. But I’d happily publish public information you send about how to contact trained people and organizations that offer “wrap-around” connections.
Tip of the day:
Don’t rush someone with an already troubled mind about commitment, into a promised relationship.