“I feel so empty inside, and I know it’s killing you to see me like this. You deserve so much better than this, so much better than me. I love you, but this is goodbye for now”
When Brian came to work with me, he was struggling to understand how the love of his life could have broken up with him so suddenly. He knew his girlfriend of almost 3 years had been struggling with depression on and off for most of her adult life. What he didn’t understand was how deeply she was suffering.
Brian had suffered from a few episodes in the past where he struggled with what he thought was depression. He identified with where his girlfriend was at, and always tried to be incredibly supportive. He encouraged her. He was there for her to talk. He helped her take down her walls.
For a time, all was well, up until about a month before their breakup, when things began to spiral downward. Brian’s girlfriend started to withdraw and grew more distant, aloof, and avoidant. It got to the point where she shut him out for several days and refused to respond to his texts or his calls.
Worried, he drove over to her house to check on her, only to have her drop the bomb on him.
“I can’t keep hurting you like this. I don’t know what my future holds, but all I know is I need to take my mental health seriously and I can’t do it while I’m worried about hurting you. Outside of you, my life is miserable”.
Brian was shocked. When they were together, they were always laughing. She never failed to tell him how much fun she had with him. Their intimacy wasn’t suffering either. They still cuddled, kissed, and had sex like there wasn’t a problem in the world.
“None of it makes any sense,” Brian told me. “One moment everything was great, and now I’m supposed to accept that it’s over? Just like that? I don’t know how to handle any of this”
Depression 101: What She Might Be Going Through
If you find yourself in a similar situation to Brian, it’s helpful to understand what you are dealing with. Depression is no joke – and it affects more of us than you might imagine at a very critical juncture of our lives.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, 26% of Americans on any given year suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Women are especially affected, as they are nearly twice as likely to suffer from major depression as men. On average, major depression begins to develop in the mid-to-late 20s.
The American Psychiatric Association defines major depression as:
A common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.
If your ex-girlfriend was suffering from major depression, she was experiencing all kinds of fun symptoms, including:
The Many Faces Of Depression
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Poor physical health
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
To be clinically diagnosed as depressed, symptoms must last for at least two weeks and the depressed individual must show a decrease in normal function.
Major depression can be triggered by a sudden life event such as a death, a relapse of some kind, or a job loss. It can also be caused by a downward spiral over time due to many small stressors that add up.
You can sometimes see the downward spiral happening in real-time. Perhaps she’s less affectionate than usual, or more distracted. Small things could be setting her off. You can almost feel her pushing you away as conversations go nowhere, or go unreturned.
When you’re not depressed, it almost makes no sense. Maybe you feel like she’s throwing away your entire relationship over something “fixable”. Or maybe you think it’s not that serious, and she’ll get over it.
But if she is truly suffering from major depression, I promise you that she doesn’t feel the same way.
I’ve heard depression described as similar to drowning, except everyone around you is breathing. You feel alone, and everything around you is terrifying. You see people moving around you, and you want to move but feel utterly helpless to, with your senses dulled and your will to move gone. You are trapped, a prisoner to the many pincers of pain, pulling you deeper into the deep ocean of despair you find yourself in.
A Wicked, Winding Road To Hell
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, but when you experience major depression, your relationships suffer. Depression can make it difficult to connect with others. Many who suffer from depression often suffer from a diminished sense of worth, which also makes a functional relationship difficult.
Sometimes depressed people blame themselves for their pain, and sometimes they blame their partners.
While no two experiences of depression are alike, I’m willing to bet you experienced 1 of 2 scenarios when she dumped you.
Scenario 1: “It’s All Your Fault”
Did she ever make you feel like everything you did for her was never enough?
Did she constantly get angry at even small things and lash out, even when you thought it wasn’t that big of a deal?
Did you ever feel like you were walking on eggshells because it felt like saying or doing the wrong thing would set her off?
If so, you may have experienced the unfortunate effects of when depression is weaponized and directed outward. Your ex-girlfriend may have channeled the pain from her depression into blaming you for all the relationship’s problems. If you were in this situation, my heart goes out to you.
I’ve seen how incredibly painful it is to watch someone you love turn into a cold and calloused stranger right before your eyes. I know how deeply it cuts to be blamed for everything, even when you were trying your absolute hardest.
In this case, she may have blamed you for:
- Her mental health suffering
- Your relationship failing
- Her personal problems
She may have also:
- Refused to listen to you or see things from your perspective
- Refused to compromise
- Expected the world and back of you
If you aren’t aware of her depression, it can be easy to want to point the finger back at her and blame her for always being angry. You might feel tempted to take revenge on her. While it’s easy to turn to anger, anger is not the right response if you truly want to experience Long-Term, Masculine Happiness.
The one upside (if there’s any upside to knowing that someone you love is suffering) is that you will probably have fewer issues breaking your Ex-Girlfriend Addiction.
Scenario 2: “It’s All My Fault!”
Have you ever reached a point in your life where you were sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?
In this scenario, that is exactly what happened to your ex-girlfriend. For one reason or another, she made the decision that her mental health had to come first.
A while back, a close friend of mine explained what it felt like to be in this situation as a woman.
For a few months I pushed myself to be normal around him. I wanted him to have the partner he deserved, a healthy, happy, self-assured woman who could return his love. I loved him so much, but at the same time I constantly had to push myself. I had to be happy when I wasn’t. I had to act supportive when I couldn’t support myself. Putting on the smile every time I saw him was so damn hard, and it made me resent him a little. After he left one day, I knew I needed to focus on my own stability.
He deserved someone who loved him as much as he loved me. I loved him dearly, but I knew I couldn’t garuntee anything. I didn’t want to stall him from living the kind of life he deserved to live.
So I let him go.
Choosing to put your mental health before love is hard. No matter how you feel about her right now, understand that she didn’t make the decision to break up with you lightly.
She may have shown you this by telling you something like:
- “I want to be with you, but my mental health is keeping us apart”
- “I don’t want to risk hurting you more”
- “I still love you so much”
- “I miss you so much”
- “I need to fix my life right now”
- “I can’t help myself if you are my priority right now”
In this scenario, it can be tempting to think that after she treats her depression that you’ll be able to get back together with her. It’s possible she may have even suggested that, by saying something along the lines of “I hope we find each other down the road”.
As we will talk about in a minute, waiting for her to do the work is a mistake, but not for the reason you think.
You Must Fight The Temptation To Wait For Her
While it’s easier to let go of a woman who blamed you for everything, it’s a lot harder to move on from a sweet girl brought low by her mental health.
Especially if you are facing Scenario 2, I know how tempting it is to tell yourself that you’ll wait for her. Maybe she even suggested it and framed it like taking a break, not a break-up.
I understand that you may not be ready to say goodbye to your relationship yet, especially if you think the main reason that the breakup happened can be fixed. You’ll tell yourself it’s the right thing to do and it’s selfish to not stick around to help.
But I have some harsh news for you: if she broke up with you because of her mental health, waiting on her is the worst thing you can do for you and for her.
“Recovery” Has No Timeline
Everyone recovers from depression differently. For some, it takes a few weeks to a few months. Others may take years or even decades.
You have no idea how long you’ll be waiting for. Are you prepared to wait on her for 2 years? What about 5 years? Are you really prepared to let the world of opportunity pass you by for a chance?
Plus, how do you think she will feel if she knows you’re waiting on her? It’s enough pressure as it is to deal with depression on a day-to-day basis. Do you really think that you “waiting” on her is going to make it any easier?
At the end of the day man, if she asked you for space, you have to give it to her. Be a gentleman and have some self-respect. Walk away. It’s not your place to solve her problems, no matter how much you love her.
She’s Not Garunteed To Recover, Either
While depression is not entirely understood by science yet, several factors have been identified as contributors.
According to the American Psychiatric Association:
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Given that biochemistry, genetics, and personality are not easily altered, we are left with an uncomfortable conclusion: no matter the amount of treatment, not everyone will recover from depression.
There is research that suggests someone who has a depressive episode once has a 50% risk of another. With each additional episode, this risk rises, increasing to 70% after a second episode and 90% after the third.
The numbers vary depending on the source, but I’ve seen estimates that suggest anywhere from 25-60% of people never completely recover. Are you okay with waiting for nothing?
There’s Also No Garuntees She’ll Be The Same Person
If your ex-girlfriend was really depressed, she may be completely unaware of who she really is beneath her pain. Much of her identity may be tied to unhealthy behaviors and coping mechanisms fueled by depression. Changing these behaviors and coping mechanisms requires an intensely personal and extremely uncomfortable focus. I’ve heard it described as changing something that you personally consider unchangeable.
The woman that comes out of that process is not going to be the same woman you fell in love with. I know it’s tempting to believe she’ll be an even better fit for you – but it’s impossible to know for sure. Her wants in life could shift. Her priorities could as well.
More importantly – you will change. Seeing as though you’ve found my website, you’ve already taken the first step. If you stick around and learn a thing or two about how to build a life of long-term, masculine happiness from this breakup, you will definitely change.
So if you really love her – and more importantly, you really love yourself – you will have the grace to let her go.
Don’t Be Her Friend, Either
This should go without saying, but letting her go doesn’t mean being her friend. You’re not a bad person for refusing to be friends, even if that’s what she wants. You have to look out for yourself.
Don’t take the burden of her mental health on yourself. It’s not your job to try to be her therapist. You aren’t trained as a therapist either – so even if you mean well, you can do real damage to her. Let a professional handle that, while you focus on yourself.
By all means: practice compassion for her. If she blamed you for the breakup, forgive her. Pray for her to get better. Wish her the best.
But please, do so from a distance. For your sake, as well as hers.
Related: Why You Shouldn’t Be Friends If She Dumps You
To Be Happy Again, You Must Move On
To experience a life of long-term, masculine happiness you must be willing to move on from your ex-girlfriend, especially if she broke up with you because of her depression.
It goes without saying that you can’t fix her depression, and even if you try your best, you may make it worse. You have to focus on what you can control, and that is yourself. With that said, the first thing you must do in order to move on is to let go of your attachment to her.
As long as you remain anchored to her, you will continue to suffer. Your Ex-Girlfriend Addiction can get out of control and send your life spiraling out of control.
But I realize that moving on is easier said than done.
By far the question I’ve gotten asked the most over the last year is how do I move on with my life?
As some of you may know, I’ve been working on a book that will answer that very question, and it’s coming in less than a month. I won’t spoil the rest, but I encourage you to stay tuned because I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do in order to not only move on but to build a life and lifestyle that you truly love.
So for now, if you are struggling and you want to get my help, I encourage you to fill out the form below to get my 7-day course on how to take control of your life again. It’s just a taste of what’s to come – and even a taste will change your life for the better.
Talk soon my friend,
PS: Need help processing the breakup so you can get back to feeling like yourself again? Click here to learn how I can help you.