Boyfriend Always Threatens Suicide

Published: August 01, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,

So my current boyfriend and I have been on and off for three years. All these three years he has had depression. He often says that I am his only reason for being alive, which is flattering, but also puts on a lot of pressure to ALWAYS be the reason. But sometimes I'm not a good enough reason.. and he says he wants to kill himself. Every time I am usually able to talk him out of it and cheer him up a bit, but knowing these thoughts are going to through his head always leaves me with an uneasy feeling. Here's a scenario. A while back he said he was going to kill himself. He quit texting me back and turned off his phone which he never does.. So I got freaked out. His friend showed me his dad's facebook so I messaged his dad, who called his mom and to keep it short, he was ok. That's usually not how it goes, but he'll say the words and I'll spend the rest of the night talking him out of it. This usually happens once every two weeks... for the last three years it seems... His home life is alright, he's not abused or mistreated, but his mom and step dad expect a lot of him but the don't show any support. (i.e. they expect straight A's but aren't involved in his school life, therefore he has to go to summer school because he's not motivated throughout the year) I try to be the best girlfriend/ friend I can be to him, but sometimes I'm afraid it's not enough. He knows I'm always here and always willing to talk, I go pick him up from his house when ever he needs to get away, I'm with him a ton and try to keep him focused on positive things. But I'm really scared that someday I or the things I do wont be enough. Now for the question I've been thinking about all day... He has been really down again lately and is barely talking to me. When he does it is a short conversation and he doesn't want to tell me anything if I ask what's wrong. I have been feeling like I should contact his dad again and just tell him what I am noticing.. But at the same time I feel like if my boyfriend got word of that he would flip out and stop telling me things all together. I don't know what to do. I'm tired of feeling responsible but honestly after all of this I can't just walk away. Should I tell someone? His mom and I are somewhat close so I could tell her, it's just a matter of talking to her when he's not there. I need to do something, that is obvious, but I don't know what. Help....

Dear Boyfriend Always Threatens Suicide,

This is an extremely unhealthy relationship for the both you and has all the earmarks of what is frequently referred to as a co-dependent relationship. Codependency describes a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition. It can occur in any type of relationship, including family, friendship, and romantic. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. The relationships are one-sided and are emotionally destructive and/can be verbally or physically abusive.

There is nothing “flattering” about what your boyfriend is doing to you. As you acknowledged it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you which leaves you preoccupied about his state of mind and what he may do to himself. You are taking way too much responsibility for your boyfriend’s well being.  Consider the statement you made, “I try to be the best girlfriend/ friend I can be to him, but sometimes I'm afraid it's not enough.” You do not have control over your boyfriend’s actions and he needs learn some coping skills and come to terms with his fear of abandonment. TeenHealthFX realizes that this has probably been a very difficult situation for you and that you probably feel trapped. Most likely when you have tried to pull away in the past he ups the ante so you feel guilty and stay.

It is going to be hard for you to break this cycle and TeenHealthFX strongly believes that you should not try and do it alone. It would be extremely beneficial for you to seek out therapy and work with a mental health professional to help you break the cycle. Not only would the therapist aid you but could  also help you shift the responsibility you have been feeling to your boyfriend’s parents who in turn could need to get him the proper help that he needs. It will be difficult at first but the more distance you are able to get from the relationship the more you will be able to see the impact it has had on you as well as gain an understanding as to the role that you played. It would also be very important that you make your parents or someone that you are close with aware of what has been happening in your relationship. It is too much for you to cope with having your boyfriend constant threaten suicide and keeping this information to yourself. TeenHealthFX does not want to sound cold and we are sure that your boyfriend has some great qualities but he needs more help then you can give him. Being a good partner means being supportive not being solely responsible that he doesn’t harm himself. It is not fair to you. 

There are three things for you to remember:

  • You did not Cause the other person's problem.
  • You can't Control the other person.
  • You can't Cure the problem.

To look for mental health services in your state log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and scroll over “Location” in the upper right hand corner and a drop down menu with resources for each state will appear.




Signed: TeenHealthFX