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Relationship with someone with severe depression

A couple of months ago I met a really nice woman and we went on a couple of dates that went very well. Out of no where she tells me that she just can't get into a relationship and that was that. Some time later she calls me and we start talking again. I find out that she was in the hospital being treated for severe depression just before we starting talking again. We started to hang out and get close (more than just friends). She was told by her therapist that she should not be dating/get into a relationship with anyone for a year. We really like each other and she's always in a better mood when I'm around. However, I respect the program she's in even though a year seems to be harsh. I told her that she needs to follow the therapist's advice and do what she needs to in order to get better. In the mean-time we can just stay friends and build our friendship/relationship that way. What we talked about tonight is that we are both worried that she will be directed to completely cut ties with me - even as friends. She talked to one of her friends who's some kind of therapist and her advice was that she couldn't just be friends with me and would have to cut all ties. The girl I'm seeing is going to defer to her own therapists and see. We are ok being just friends if that will help her focus/get better but I can't believe that a therapist would direct to completely cut all ties to me even as friends - doesn't make sense - remove those around her that makes her happy? What do you think?
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replied May 4th, 2011
I don't consider myself an expert but in my experience (having struggled with depression at several points of my life) the advice to not start a relationship is sensible. I was dating someone when I was at my lowest and he became more of a carer to me than a partner. The relationship was extremely lopsided, with him putting far more into it than he got out of it. She would probably be better off being single. I can't really comment about the time line - it might be excessive or it might not be long enough. After I split from my ex, I was deliberately single for 2 years and 9 months before I decided I was stable enough to date again.

Having said that, I would disagree with the advice to cut all ties. She needs friends around her. I tend to completely isolate myself when depressed which causes my mood to drop more. It makes it far harder to put strategies in place to help when you are alone. You help lift her mood - continue to be there for her. Just a word of caution: don't be the only person she turns to. Be one of a network of friends.
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replied May 4th, 2011
Hi Puretorture - you put it into perfect words and I agree with everything your saying. I support staying friends but I think cutting all ties is extreme. She has a network of friends now and I just have to make sure it says that way going foward and not become the sole link. thank you.
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replied May 4th, 2011
That's great and I hope she gets better quickly. If her therapist continues to advise that you cut contact with each other try to find out why - there may be some good logic behind the advice but also remember that the most important thing is your friends recovery, not keeping other people happy. I wish both of you the best of luck.
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