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What would you say?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm not very good at making friends but I have one really good friend I've known for years (actually, he used to be my boyfriend... long story there). But I don't know what to do about him anymore...

He lives about 7 hours away from me so we mostly communicate by email now. We email back and forth practically every day (sometimes more than once a day).
My life has been going much better than before, but I do get the occasional down time where I get depressed by being so lonely. It hadn't happened in months but then it happened again this weekend.
Well, I've noticed a pattern... whenever I email that friend to tell him I am depressed (usually from being so lonely), he ignores me. If I email him about other things at the same time, he will respond to the other part of the email, but never says anything about me not feeling well.
Problem is, I don't have many close friends aside from him, and I am not close to my family. So he's usually the only person I tell when I'm feeling low. And since it's usually loneliness that makes me feel low, a little support would make a big difference. I really don't understand why my friend thinks ignoring me is a good idea. I'm not asking for him to solve my problems, but just a little "sorry you're feeling down" or "hope you feel better soon" would help. But instead, I feel like I'm talking to a wall.

The guy is really smart about a lot of thing but he can be hopelessly dumb when it comes to dealing with people. He probably thinks there's a logic behind the way he's acting.
But I still can't help but wonder how much he really cares about me.

I know I should say something. But I really don't want to start a fight right now (plus I know he's going through though times himself). Also, I don't want him to start being nice because I told him to.
And just cutting him off from my life isn't realistic. Mostly because I don't have any other close friends.
post #2 of 15
Perhaps he just inst sure what to say. Guys dont react to depression the same way we do. maybe talk to him and tell him that it would make you feel better when you were down if he would say i hope you feel better or something cheery. guys also dont take hints well either(no offense fellas but that is my experience) so you have to be blunt with them!
post #3 of 15
He might not know what to say. If he's not as much of a people person as you indicate, he might feel insecure about how to respond to your situation. I've dated many guys that broke up with me the first time I cried in the relationship (didn't know how to respond).
Plus if you think he's going through something too, why don't you two plan to meet half way and go out and do something...cheer both of you up. You can't change his ignoring you when you're down...instead look at him as someone fun and say "I feel down, but I'll see if Jack (whatever his name), wants to get together for lunch this weekend."

If this doesn't work, well, you might just want to line a therapist up. I admit I had to do that as all of my friends moved from Michigan because (its lack) of the economy. So I lined up a therapist that I call incase I need a human being to talk to right then and there!!!
post #4 of 15
Before I even read that he was going through things himself thats what I was thinking. I know what if I have things on my mind or I'm down I don't want to talk about problems, with other people because it will bring me down.
Also because he is a guy he probably just has no clue what to say. Some guys are pretty good at 'being there' though so it might not be that. I don't think for one minute he's not bothered or doesn't care he probably just thinks talking about depression etc will make him think about his own problems.
I hope the 2 of you sort it and can remain friends. Have you asked him how he is? Does he talk about it?
post #5 of 15
i myself am a very shy person,
i have trouble cheering up my bestfriend!
dont take it personal he probably is not good at cheering people up afraid he'l say something wrong or make it worse.
post #6 of 15
He doesn't know what to say. I'm a guy and I don't know what to say. I can't say about young men today but guys my age (Over 50) are kind of brought up not to show or deal with emotion. So we are awkward in these situations.

You said you use to date him? It could be he still feels something for you and doesn't want to deal with you on an emotional level. Guys can have female friends but not usually with someone we've had a relationship with. There's always something linguring in the back of the brain.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hookbill
You said you use to date him? It could be he still feels something for you and doesn't want to deal with you on an emotional level. Guys can have female friends but not usually with someone we've had a relationship with. There's always something linguring in the back of the brain.
No, believe me, that's not the problem in this case.

But it probably is the case that he doesn't know what to say... I think the fact that we used to date might make it more difficult for him. I'll try to explain it all to him and hopefully he'll understand how I feel.
post #8 of 15
silly boy!

Atleast youve got us on tcs! (but i know its not really the same)

I know how it is, i barely get to talk to my best friend anymore but she lives 24 hours away by plane.
post #9 of 15
I'd have to agree with the assessment that he doesn't know what to say. And rather than put his foot in his mouth, he just doesn't go there.

If he ignored your whole message when you tell him you're depressed or lonely, I'd be more worried about it -- THAT would tell me he didn't care. When he responds normally to everything BUT one item (that happens to be that you are lonely) that says to me that he feels just as always about you and the relationship you now have, but doesn't know how to deal with the one item.

I don't think I'd take any initiative to say anything about it, actually -- that might put him on the spot and make him even more uncomfortable. But if an opportunity were to present itself, where you could slip a gentle comment into the conversation without having to make it an issue in itself, he might get the idea. Yes, often with guys you have to be very direct, but there are also times when a well placed remark will let him come to the conclusion you are hoping for "on his own" -- and that will stick.

Good luck. It's an awkward position you are in.
post #10 of 15
I think he does care about you based on the amount of times you email each other. He might be saying to himself, aw, I feel bad that she feels bad, and like most others have said - he doesn't know what to say. Maybe you should put your feelings in question form, like "any ideas how to get out of this depression? I feel sooo down."

I don't think you should take it so personally. He has been there for you on everything else.

Was he like this when you were dating?
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

He was actually a lot more supportive when we were dating... probably because we were actually living together so he would really see that I was depressed and could comfort me more easily.
Also, even if we remained friends, the breakup did make things a little more akward at times. Sometimes I get the impression that he doesn't know how to act around me.

I decided to wait to talk to him. Given his last email, I realise that his problems are really bringing him down so I don't want to add to that.

Still, I realize now that I'm not someone who can deal with loneliness very well. I have been living by myself for over a year and a half now, and barely been making any friends... and it's really getting to me.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p
Thanks.

He was actually a lot more supportive when we were dating... probably because we were actually living together so he would really see that I was depressed and could comfort me more easily.
Also, even if we remained friends, the breakup did make things a little more akward at times. Sometimes I get the impression that he doesn't know how to act around me.

I decided to wait to talk to him. Given his last email, I realise that his problems are really bringing him down so I don't want to add to that.

Still, I realize now that I'm not someone who can deal with loneliness very well. I have been living by myself for over a year and a half now, and barely been making any friends... and it's really getting to me.
Sorry your'e having such a hard time. I know we're in cyberspace, but we're your friends, aren't we?
post #13 of 15
I have a similar situation -- my best friend in the world is also my former significant-other. It's been 16 years since we ended the romance, and we can talk about anything, anytime, anywhere. It's a fantastic friendship.

But early on, it wasn't quite that simple. Very intense emotions were difficult for us to discuss for the first couple of years, and I know the reason (on my own part) was that I was afraid of either reawakening the old romantic feelings we'd had, OR making him THINK that I WANTED to reawaken those feelings. So I shied away from personal feelings, and so did he... probably for the same reasons.

Once we had both moved on with our lives, the invisible line we were trying not to cross just naturally disappeared, and now we have a very deep, heartfelt, no-holds-barred friendship. When I'm a little old lady rocking on the porch of the nursing home, I hope he's in the next chair. :-)

So my point is: don't be hurt or offended by his reluctance to discuss deep emotions. Men usually don't handle those well to begin with, and the complicating factor of being your ex is probably exacerbating that problem. Just let things evolve naturally...
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

Things are actually better now. He actually said to me that I should go out and volunteer... to which I replied complaining about him giving me some perfectly good advice instead of the pity I was asking for.

So in a strange way, I think the message went accross and we both got a well-needed laugh out of it.
post #15 of 15
Excellent. That sounds like a great piece of subtle but effective communication.
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