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I'm struggling, and my boyfriend/fiance is riding away...

by Kathleen
(Lisle, IL)

The Question

I have been dating Bob or 7 years. He has lived with me and my two kids for 4 years of those 7 years.

Last Christmas was a disaster. My mom was hospitalized with a broken femur, my dad needed someone to watch him as he has Alzheimers. On top of this, I was working full time and took a part time Christmas job (bad idea as I got very stressed out).
Bob also presented me with an engagement ring for Christmas. No proposal, just a ring.

In March, my best friend was diagnosed w/stage three oral cancer which has had a profound impact on my life. I spent my spring break taking care of her as 1/2 her tongue was removed and the cancer spread to the lymph nodes. She has completed chemo & rad treatment. I pray it doesn't return.

In July, a new director started at work and the person terrifies me. She is very aggressive and territorial. I started looking for a new job (more stress as the job market is very compeitive). I slipped into a depression from July thru September and I was not fun to be around. I was angry, guilty for being a unpleasent to be around and felt my life was out of control.

During this self loathing time, I must have not attended to Bob's needs as he has left us. Bob spent the last couple months "running away" on his Harley (he is a long time rider) taking trips to get away.

What can I do to reach out to him? He says he loves me and the kids, but he doesn't see a future together. I don't understand how it took seven years for him to figure this out. I hardly recognize him anymore as his personality has change and he has incredible moods swing. He seems depressed. Lost.

Being a man that has gone thru this stage of life, what do you recommend for us? Do you see him coming back if I remain patient? This entre year has been surreal. Any help would be a lifesaver.

Thank you,

Noel's response

Sounds like a tough situation. My guess, from your description of Bob's behaviour, is that he is depressed. If you can get him to look at my Depression page, he might recognize his symptoms there, and be willing to see his doctor for some treatment (a thorough medical, plus perhaps some medication and/or cognitive therapy).

If he is in a midlife transition, this too shall pass, but there is no way to know how long it will take.

On the other hand, you have had a very tough year, and if Bob can't understand that, and support you through it, maybe he is not the best choice for you. When other tough times come throughout your life (they do in everyone's life), he may 'ride off into the sunset' again.

Comments for I'm struggling, and my boyfriend/fiance is riding away...

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Dec 31, 2010
my boyfriend is giving me an altimatum...
by: Tinkerbell

Hi. I have been with my boyfriend for just over a yr now. I have 2 small children of my own that just lost their dad due to cancer almost 2 years ago.

We have uprooted our whole life for this man and even moved to a different province to be closer to his kids who are older than my kids. So I'm now in a place which is "his territory" and I have no family here but his.

The problem I'm having is that my 2 kids are 11 and 6 and they fight with each other on a daily basis, and they leave messes and have a hard time listening to either one of us.

To me they are kids, and kids go through stages and mine have been through a lot already by losing their father. But they are even worse now.

My boyfriend has no patience and has now basically told me to either get my kids to stop fighting or our relationship is over. I think he's depressed and I don't know what to do. Any advice?

Noel's response

I think family therapy would be very helpful. Your kids have had a tremendous loss in having their father die, and you getting into a new relationship at the same time must be causing them tremendous internal conflict. As they are young, they do not have the ability to cope with this emotional turmoil, or express what is really going on with them, so it shows up as fighting, messiness, etc.

Dec 10, 2009
Thank you
by: Kathleen

You have stated exactly what I was thinking. He is in a depression and refuses to get help. I even linked him to you "depression" page. I doubt if he read it as he has stated he "can't relate to people that are depressed".

I totally agree with your comments about the tough times. If he's only in it for the good times, he isn't the man for me as that is just not realistic. We are all human and have ups and downs. Trying to be the perfect "Stepford" wife trying to keep him happy was just exhausting.

After he left, I had some anxiety issues for a couple of weeks, but now I am happier than I have been in years. My kids and I are closer than ever as we have had to help each other work thru this transition. It's great not to have someone judging me and the kids constantly. Incidentally, I have even met a really great, sensitive guy who I can talk to openly to about fun stuff as well matters of the heart. I would never had met him if I was still with Bob. Funny how things work out!

Thank you very much for your time and input. You have been a great help :-)

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