My girlfriend is depressed and doesn’t want to date anymore

I dated a girl for 3 years, and except for the first 6 months, the relationship seemed to keep drifting farther and farther apart yet we stayed together. In March of 1997 I proposed and she accepted, then basically told me it was over in September because she said she was dealing with personal issues. (She suffers from depression) She said she still wanted to be friends and that she did not want a relationship with anyone until she “healed herself” well, I tried the friendship thing for a while and I lasted about 2 weeks…then we had no contact for about 3 months…and again I tried this time for about 1 week. It was just too hard to be casual friends with my feelings having stayed the same so…again we did not speak for 6 months. Now I’m trying the friendship thing again and holding my own but it is agony looking for little hints that she may want to start again (She has said she feels much better now and has the depression under control) However
she still maintains that she wants a relationship with NO ONE at this time, and would get annoyed if I brought the subject up again.

My question is…she has decided not to see anyone including me but this friends thing is torture and seems to make things tense between us even though I’m not talking about it.   I thought about just forgetting the whole thing but would that show her I don’t think she’s worth waiting a bit for? I feel like maybe she wants to see if I can be her friend and wait for more later, and that she would say “Aha, just as I thought” he wants an instant girlfriend and is not willing to wait. I ask her if when she does decide to date again would it be with me? and she replies “I don’t know, and your pressuring me again” but she never comes out and says NO! It’s very frustrating to spend time with her and read negative thoughts into ever time she sits too far away or doesn’t ask me in when I drop her off from an outing, etc. I probably know the thing to do is move on but I wonder sometimes if I’m just being too impatient. What do you think?   Signed, Frank age 34

Dear Frank: Thank you for your email.  It is really hard being involved with someone who  experiences depression.  Depression can cause some strange behaviors including that of withdrawal.  Your girlfriend still seem depressed from what you have shared with me.  There are a few things I would like for you to consider.

1.  Depressed or not I do feel your girlfriend owes you a response on whether she would be interested in dating again in the near future.  I think you should ask her directly and if she doesn’t have a direct answer then you should move on.

2.  You are not being too impatient.  In fact you might be showing too much patience.  It is best to be direct.  Express your feelings and needs and give her a chance to respond.  You shouldn’t be left hanging like this.  Understand life is too short to keep waiting around for someone to be in the
right mood for you to date.

3.  Be honest and open with your feelings.  Read the article on our web site titled Expressing and Owning Your Feelings .  I think this will help you approach your girlfriend without putting her on the defensive.

Frank, if you don’t get a positive response from her, let her go.  Move on and mourn your loss.  If you get permanently involved with a person who experiences severe depression, you will find yourself hurting allot and feeling very out of control.  The depressed person is responsible for themselves.  They must make the decision to seek help if necessary.  You cannot fix or  change them.  They must do the work themselves. Ask her to get some professional help and tell her you wish her the very best.


Please understand you have free will.  This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling.  We wish you well.

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