When You Tried Everything, But Your Relationship Failed

Health issues or family problems can destroy your love, no matter how strong it is. If you tried everything to save your relationship but it failed anyway, you may find hope and encouragement here.

These tips are inspired by a reader’s question…“We’ve only been dating for six months, but I developed very strong feelings for her,” says D. on How to Cope With Depression in a Relationship. “She has made me feel something I’ve never felt before. The other day she told me she can no longer be my girlfriend. She just wants to be just friends because she has lost her emotions towards me. She says, ‘How can I love you when I don’t love myself?’ She was extremely upset when she broke up with me and I feel that it just was not her breaking up with me but the depression that has overtaken her. Can you give me some insight?”

I can try, but I’m not making any promises that I can see your relationship successfully. Relationships fail for different reasons. A mood disorder like depression can wreak havoc in someone’s life, and make her feel like she has no control, no power, and no energy to deal with everyday issues – much less be in a relationship. These tips aren’t just for relationships that failed because of depression. They apply to all relationships that faltered or have totally jumped the tracks.

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When You Tried Everything, But Your Relationship Failed…

Remember that you can’t make your partner happy. “I did everything I could – I tried so hard to make her happy,” says D. No matter what you do, you can’t make another person happy. She has to find happiness within herself – she has to be her own source of fulfillment, peace, security, and self-esteem. Actually, I don’t think we can be our own sources of all that. I believe we need God to fill us up emotionally and spiritually.

No matter how “good”, smart, attractive, sexy, or wealthy you are, you can’t make someone fall and stay in love with you. Sometimes our partners make decisions about love and life that baffle, hurt, and shock us – and it’s not because we failed to make them happy. Sometimes what’s going on in their minds, hearts, and souls is beyond our relationship, beyond our love for them. I think that’s what’s happening with D’s girlfriend: her life and emotions are beyond her control. He didn’t do anything wrong, and he couldn’t have done anything differently.

Try to separate the reason for the breakup from you. “I felt she was my soulmate and in the beginning she felt the same way,” says D. “Will she ever regain her feelings for me? I want her to get better and I care about her a lot. She cares about me a lot, too. But it just shatters my heart that she has lost feelings for me when I continued gaining feelings for her. What do I do?” She hasn’t lost feelings for him. One of the many problems with depression is that it suffocates all feelings – there’s just numbness, blackness, grayness, lack of feeling. Love could be there, but it’s tamped out by the depression.

She loves you, but she can’t find the emotional strength to be in a relationship right now. It’s not about you. Depression causes chemical changes in the brain that severely affect how people react to life, love, and everyday experiences. When you tried everything but your relationship failed anyway, you have to remember that there are things outside of your control – and even outside of your girlfriend’s control. This is one of those times that you have to just let go of someone you love.

Realize that there are few “clean” relationship breakups. “I haven’t texted her since the breakup, but she has texted me every day,” says D. “It kind if gives me mixed signals, you know? We are both in college and actually have a class together, so it’s not like we are never going to see each other. What can I do?” I think you should tell her the truth. Her texts are giving you mixed signals, they’re prolonging the pain, and they’re stopping you from healing and moving on.

Also, you need to decide if you want to be friends with her. It’s fair and reasonable to NOT want to remain friends with someone you love. In fact, most people can’t handle friendship after being romantic. If you want to remain friends, then you need to be prepared for her texts and emails. If you decide you’re better off with some distance for a few months, then you need to figure out how to tell her this.

relationship failure

“Let Go of Relationship Failure” image via Pixabay

When you’re wondering, “Will we get back together?” “When people overcome depression, do their feelings come back?” asks D. “That is, will my girlfriend feel what she used to feel for me? Will there be any hope for us in the future? I mean I love this girl and she is everything I could ever ask for. It just scares me to know she doesn’t feel emotions for me, and there might not be an ‘us’ in the future.”

Whether or not a relationship is truly over depends on so many things. Some people never overcome depression – they learn how to live with it and/or manage it with medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Other people go through sporadic bouts of depression, but it doesn’t affect their lives significantly. I don’t know if your girlfriend will feel the same way about you after she copes with the worst part of her depression. I don’t think anyone can predict that; I think it depends on the severity of her depression, how long it takes to stabilize her mood, and where you are when she’s ready.

For a few more tips on the end of relationships, read How to Get Over a Bad Breakup.

I think it’s important to learn as much as you can about depression. When your relationship fails because of health reasons (eg, illness, mood disorders, etc), it’s often helpful to learn the facts. You may find Can Your Love Relationship Survive a Serious Illness? Perhaps… helpful.

Did you try everything to save your relationship, but it failed anyway? I don’t have the answers, but it may help you to share your story below…

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7 thoughts on “When You Tried Everything, But Your Relationship Failed

  • Riri

    I am married for 3 years known my husband for almost 10 years. I have been with him through his cancer. In 2015 an 2016. I lost my job during that time to. Its been very tough. But I stood by his side. Sat up at night during his worst. He became better found a job and all become better. But a month ago we had a fight about a small issue. And he packed his bags and left to stay with his x in laws. After that I tried everything. We got back together but he didn’t move back. I tex him inspirational message. Going out of my way to see him. I do everything to win him. But to me it feels like i am the only one trying to work on our marriage. And now i am so tired off trying. I was there when he had nothing. And now I’m just not good enough.

  • gabrielle

    I had a very terribl marriage I had a husband who was very insecure with five kids treats my children bad an cheats and brags and laughs when I cry not loveing at all three children and he doggged me I was dum an blind

  • Seth

    I started dating someone recently and we hit off completely. We were falling completely head over heels in love when her mother was diagnosed with early dementia. I feel like she then dropped me like a dead weight. All of the reading I’m doing is that she is going through the most difficult time in her life with caring for her mom, not to mention she’s a single mother herself. My head completely understands what she’s going through, but I’m utterly heartbroken. I’ve tried to be supportive, understanding, and offer resources (without advice). It’s been a month and I haven’t even dared asked to see her. But she has pushed me away saying there is no time for a relationship in her life now. Sometimes she thanks me for my support, sometimes she’s mean to me. Sometimes I think she’s right. Sometimes not. I am hurt and confused, and don’t know if I should remain in the background giving her space and support, or move on. I want to be there for her in any appropriate way. But it hurts. Thanks for any wisdom.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Sarah,

    Thanks for commenting, and I’m so glad this article helped you. It sounds like your boyfriend has been through a lot, both health wise and in his relationships. And if someone you love is going through something, then so are you!

    It’s so sad when health problems (depression, chronic illness) or family problems make a relationship fail. Sometimes love really isn’t enough, and no matter what you do, you can’t make a relationship work.

    I wish you all the best in the future, whether it’s reconnecting with your ex boyfriend or moving on into a new chapter of your life.


  • Sarah

    Hi Laurie,

    I’ve just read this article and it’s been really helpful and comforting for me. My boyfriend broke up with me 5 months ago having gone through several months of depression. We were together for 18 months, both in our 30s, fell in love from our first date. He is a kind and good man, who I adore but depression sucked the life out of him. He asked me to move in with him at the end of last year I think this triggered the depression to come back (he had had depression previous to meeting me). I think it was the combination of a big life change plus he had been in an emotionally abusive 7 year relationship before me…during which time he had been depressed and he told me she would laugh at him when he was low and belittle him. He used to be a professional sports man and to most people seems confident and gregarious but during this abusive relationship he said he became someone he didn’t like i.e weak. In contrast our relationship was happy and healthy but when the depression hit he became low, tearful,withdrew from all his friends. He tried medication and counseling neither of which worked initially. He was then put on a second lot of anti-depressants and came back to life. This was short lived as he suddenly stopped taking the medication, had a huge crash in mood and broke up with me saying he loved me but why couldn’t spend every minute of every day with me and he loved me but why couldn’t he express his feelings…all horribly illogical and distorted. I then saw him 3 weeks later and he was like a different man, cold and almost hostile. He told me the pressure he had been feeling was trying to love me….I challenged him on it and asked if he could feel any emotion about anything, to which he replied ‘no’ but that he was totally rational. It was awful…when well he is kind and sensitive it was like something in him was disconnected.

    This was 5 months ago. I’ve sent him the odd text just really saying hello which he occasionally replies to. I suggested meeting up for a coffee just to say hi but he said he didn’t think it was a good idea… I heard from his sister-in-law she felt he was naturally coming out of the depression but that he was very confused and not exactly ‘skipping off the sunset’. I suspect his mood has lifted after so many months of deep depression but I don’t believe he is ‘well’. It’s been a very tough time and ultimately I still love this man very much. To watch someone suffer depression is terrible, not least to see their distorted thinking about themselves and about those closest to them. I now understand a lot intellectually about the illness but emotionally it’s very hard to bear. I do believe his loves me but as you explained so well in your article he simply can’t feel those emotions, it’s like the wires were literally pulled out over night. I don’t know what the future will hold and right now the focus is on me and ensuring that I am happy and healthy but I love this man deeply and hope that with time he won’t be scared of interaction with me and can let me back in and more importantly allow himself to connect with his emotions. It’s a tough road but I am grateful for your insightful article as it gave me a lot of validation in my feelings in my own situation.



  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author


    Thanks for taking the time to comment! Again, I am really sorry your relationship failed…but you can rest assured that you tried everything to save it.

    You did – and are doing – what you could.


  • Danny

    Oh my, thank you so much Laurie, this means a lot that you wrote this. its does help a lot in the mist of things and i’ll defiantly be reading this over when I’m feeling down. you have helped me see this from a different perspective, really thank you,