Is Being There For My Partner Threatening My Mental Health?

Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
I’ve been exclusively dating this guy for almost two months now. From our very first date, things seemed to click. We would spend hours talking and have no idea how much time had passed. I’ve never felt this way about someone before, and I think I’m at the beginning of starting to fall in love.
But, (and, there’s always a “but”) he has really terrible anxiety that leads to depression. Like, sobbing-uncontrollably-for-hours anxiety and depression. When we first met and started dating, it seemed to be rather well-controlled with medication, but if he ever missed a dose, things went downhill very quickly. He recently moved to a new apartment, and the change has been enough to trigger what he says is some of his worst anxiety in years. For the past week or so, he’s been utterly depressed, and although I’m trying to be there for him, it’s extremely difficult.
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I struggle with depression too, but mine is extremely controlled right now. I’m having quite a bit of trouble because as much as I’d like to help him, I can’t have him leaning on me as much as he has been. We haven’t known each other long enough for me to be his entire support system (he doesn’t get along with his family, so I’ve quickly become his only support). I’m afraid that being there for him would be at the cost of my own mental health, which is something I can’t risk. When he’s normal, he’s absolutely amazing, and I could definitely see a future with him. I just don’t know what to do at this point. Thanks for reading.
It’s time for you to take a huge step back and get some fresh perspective on this slow motion train wreck of a relationship.
First, you need a quick reminder of what “almost two months” actually means. It’s under sixty days. If you’d bought your boyfriend at The Gap, you’d still be able to return him and get a full refund. Two months is nothing. It’s definitely not “sobbing uncontrollably for hours” territory.
Admit it, you’re still holding in your farts around this guy, and yet he’s relying on you to be his entire emotional support system. That’s ridiculous. Even if he didn’t have what certainly sounds like clinical depression on top of a pretty significant anxiety disorder, it would still be inappropriate for him to burden you with all of his bullshit this early in the relationship.
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It’s bad enough that he doesn’t get along with his family, but does he not have any other friends? Who else in his life knows that he’s on dose-dependent psych medication? Why is this all suddenly your problem, and honestly, how are you not seeing this procession of gigantic red flags?
Sure, I get that you’re falling for him, and of course that feels wonderful, but don’t let the temporary high of being love-stoned distract you from how much you’re being emotionally drained by this guy.
If you’re gonna stick this one out for a while (and, I’m not saying you should), then you’ve got to start setting some boundaries. You don’t have to be his entire support system, certainly not at the expense of your own mental health.
If you’re not in a place where you can be there for him, then simply remove yourself from the situation. If it ends up costing you the relationship, so be it.
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