My Boyfriend Is Stressed and Depressed

advice: relationship john gray

Stress and depression can affect a man’s ability to be in a loving and healthy relationship.

There are times when he is just too stressed out to give himself wholly to anyone and he pulls away. Completely.

Although it can be painful, it’s important for a woman to understand this and not take this “rejection” personally.

Whether the relationship can eventually start up again depends on how each partner deals with the situation.

In the post below, I explain the best thing a woman can do in order to keep the possibility of having a relationship with her man alive and well.

I’ve got a great question here from Michelle but it’s a big one, so let’s take it in chunks:


My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. We've had our fair share of ups and downs, but through it all, our relationship has gotten stronger.

Good. That's the ideal relationship. We have challenges, but we come together. That's how we bond and grow together in love.


A few months into our relationship, my boyfriend stated that he needed a break. After not speaking for a couple of weeks, he called me and we talked and our relationship has been going strong ever since.

Well, that must be reassuring.


The past few months, my boyfriend's been under a tremendous amount of stress. His dog died, he lost his job, found a new one that he doesn't like, and he's losing his home.

Okay. Those are major, major stressors. Let's see what it’s done to your relationship.


He doesn't talk about his issues and tends to internalize things.

A little clue here. Most men are this way and that's actually — for most men — the best way to deal with it. He needs to figure out the solutions. He doesn't need to talk much about it at all. This is the difference between men and women. Women under stress need to express what they're feeling and feel heard when that occurs. Then what happens is that she's able to adjust her expectations to how she should look at life.

For men, the way you adjust your expectations is by pushing your feelings away temporarily, analyze the situation, look at what can I do about this?

As you get a plan of action, then look at your feelings and share them with somebody but more from the point of view of how am I going to solve this problem?

And he shouldn't be doing it with you, otherwise, you'll start giving him advice. You'll be worrying about him. You'll go into this mother mode, which kills sexuality. Meaning if you feel like you're his mother, he feels like you're now giving him too much advice and directing him. He'll lose his attraction for you. You don't want that to happen. He could go to a woman therapist. He could go to a male therapist. He could talk to his friends about it, which might be helpful, but that's not your responsibility. And there's nothing you can do about it, except give him lots of space and appreciate him as an equal — not as a child who needs your help or as a counseling client.


Lately, he's grown very distant. He's only reached out to me once in the last month when he sent me a text and said he was sorry for being so distant. But outside of that, I have not heard from him at all. I even wrote him a letter and got no response or reaction to it.

Let me say to you that if a man doesn't feel good about himself, he cannot have a successful relationship with a partner. And that's really what he's experiencing. He doesn't have a job to go to where people are recognizing and appreciating what he's doing to build up his self-esteem so he even feels worthy of your love.

I promise you, the reason he's not contacting is that he feels like you could do better with somebody else. As probably all your friends are telling you, you just have to be patient until the right time comes along, he gets his life together, and he becomes ready to have a relationship. He's not ready right now. He's not capable when he's going through all these stresses.

I do know that his sister suffers from some depression and I feel that he may too.

Okay. It does run in families. And what I recommend with depression, it’s very hard to have a relationship work when you're depressed. All the stress that he's under, even if he didn't have a family of depressed people, if you're going through a huge amount of stress, it depletes the brain of the nutrients, the minerals that actually make dopamine and serotonin. High-stress levels, which are associated with depression and losing your job and losing your house and your dog dying, these are all emotionally intense experiences. They raise your cortisol level, the stress hormone. When your cortisol levels rise, your digestion doesn't actually extract the necessary proteins out of your food to make brain chemicals to make you feel good. So you need to supplement with easy-to-digest proteins.

And the minerals are necessary to activate those proteins to make dopamine and serotonin. Now I really, I have a great life, but I have lots of stress. And I cope with that stress effortlessly because every day I take a Super Foods Shake of easy-to-digest proteins, omega-3 fats, B vitamins, and super minerals. And the MarsVenus Super Minerals have a particular set of minerals that are bonded to Oratic acid that will deliver it across the brain-blood barrier. And so it brings the minerals into the brain. If you just take mineral supplements, the minerals don't go into your brain and you don't get all those great benefits. One of the things you can do for yourself — because this must be hard for you— you might try adding these supplements. For him, with all these things happening, you could send him a little care package and say you heard me talk about this and thought with all the stress he's going through, he might enjoy these products. They're quite delicious

And I have people who were depressed go, "Wow!" Within two or three days, they experience a huge uplift where their brain starts functioning better. The sad thing about antidepressants is that once you start taking an antidepressant, you're not addressing the cause of the problem, and the problem just gets worse and worse. The problem is a deficiency of minerals and inability to digest proteins and none of omega-3s in the diet. If you handle all those things, then people can cope with stress better and move through it. Not saying that we'll never have depression — depression should be very temporary — but for most people, it lasts a long time because they don't address the cause of it on a nutritional level. They address the cause of it: you're out of work, you get a job. But, gee, you don't like your job because you’re depressed because you never replenished the minerals. So this could be a nice thing to get for him as a gift.

Don’t say, "Hey, you're depressed. You need this. Or Hey, you've hurt me. Maybe this will help you."

The best thing to say is, "Hey, I know you're under a lot of stress, so I thought you might enjoy this. I've tried this, and I like it. I thought you might like it too." And that's like making a little lunch because it is food. These are the minerals and easy-to-digest raw proteins and fats.

Let's see...


And he's told me numerous times that I'm the best part of his world and that even though everything else is falling apart in his life, he's happy to have me beside him. Now here I am, alone and confused wondering what, if anything, I've done to have him shut me out of his life like I was never part of it — like I never existed.

I promise you, you're imagining those feelings in him. He doesn't feel like you never existed or that you've never been a part of his life.

He feels unworthy to be in your life right now because he has nothing to offer. He's not capable of being in a relationship and it's not about you.

You've got to realize that and don't reinvent your past as if you never existed. You've been the best thing in his life.


All of my friends have said to forget about him, move on, let him be alone.

Well to a certain extent, they're right.

You’ve got to forget about spending a lot of time with him right now because he can't be there. You should move on in terms of finding fulfillment in your life and not say I can't be fulfilled because I'm not with him. It's an adjustment. It's an adjustment of your expectations. You expected that this was going to get closer and closer. There's an upset. You've got to readjust your expectations.

So really, you're the one who needs to deal with your feelings right now. You're saying he internalizes them. You need to make sure you're taking time to write out your feelings and realize most of them are irrational and that you could let go of the fear that he doesn't love you, the fear that you've never been a part of his life — like you've never existed. You have existed in his life, but you could be afraid of those things. Being aware of your fear helps release these limited beliefs, which are associated with your fears.


Most of them, my friends, believe he's cheating or being a coward. Ignoring me and hope that I take the hint and break it off since he's too much of a coward to do it himself.

You should be moving on regardless of whether that's true or not, but I don't think that's true at all. That's just them not understanding why you're with him in the first place. You know that to be true, you're with him because you have a lovely relationship with him. And he's just not feeling worthy to commit to you at this point. He's got to get his life together. He knows that. And that's a good thing about him.


I don't want to believe them.

Don't believe them. And keep believing that once he's through this tough time, he'll come back.


Am I stupid to believe that he'll ever come back?

He probably will. There's no reason not to believe that.

He's going through a period of: I need to get my act together before I can focus on a relationship. I feel like sh*t. I don't want to be with anybody.

He needs to be alone for a while. He needs to get his life together. It's called bottoming out. We all do it sometimes as men. We get our act together, we feel good about ourselves, and then we're ready to have a relationship again.


Am I a fool to believe that I ever meant anything at all?

Now let's convert that into feelings. You're afraid. See? Just own it and this is how you would say it. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that I'm a fool to believe that I ever meant anything at all. You don't need to be afraid. I understand your fear. And the truth is you meant a huge amount to him, and to start doubting yourself and rewriting history is a huge mistake. But at the same time, you have to look at reality now: He's not capable of being with you.


I guess I need some advice as to my next step.

So clearly your next step is to process your grief during this time — just like he needs to be doing. You need to deal with your stresses, your insecurities, and fill yourself up with lots of love from friends and work.

You will find that you will bring him back to you because he will feel he hasn't hurt you and that you're strong and you're still loving him. It'll be a great gift to him and to yourself as well.

You deserve a lasting, loving relationship.

And this one is still a possibility...

If he can get it together.


Grow in love,


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