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Long-distance relationship, girlfriend depressed



New member
Jul 7, 2009
Hi Everyone

I'm new here and came across the forum when searching for some help for my girlfriend. Firstly, some background information. I am 24 and live in Northumberland, my girlfriend is 25 and lives in Europe, she's not British (I'd rather not specify). We have been together for 5 years, and 85% of the time have been living a long-distance relationship. It's not easy, but I think the fact that we have been together for 5 years shows that we are pretty serious about each other. We see one another every 3 months or so, and talk on the phone most evenings. The relationship works, but after 5 years I'm getting tired of seeing one another so rarely so ideally I want us to live together. Obviously, ultimately that is the plan.

Anyway, the main point:

Over the last few months my girlfriend has been on a downer. I'm not 100% sure what her 'diagnosis' is as I'm not sure she knows herself. It's a mixture of depression, stress, extremely low self esteem, dissatisfaction with life, herself and her job. It goes in leaps and bounds, one day she is pretty cheerful, the next day she feels like giving up, although generally she is unhappy (I can't remember the last time I heard her laugh for example). Where it all began, I am not sure, but it's been going on for a long time now. She is seeing a psychotherapist 2-3 times a week which she says is helping, but I don't see any change.

I am very patient with her as I have had experience of depression myself, so I know it's not just a case of 'snapping out of it'. Everyday we talk on the phone and for the majority of the call she tells me her problems and everything that has gone wrong with her day. Usually all of these things are little things, like forgetting to photocopy something she should have done or sending an eMail to the wrong person - but she turns all of them into a disaster and beats herself up about it for days and days. She cries and sounds so unhappy, it's really difficult to listen to. She works as a translator and is put under a considerable amount of pressure, I think, but she insists that where she works is a great place to work although she is not happy with her specific job and she moans about it constantly. She regrets the career path she chose and refuses to accept that it isn't set in stone (she's only 25). It just seems as if every little thing gets on top of her and she can't cope, even arranging a delivery of plants to her office the other day caused her a great deal of stress.

The problem seems to be that she has lost all confidence in herself and she compares herself to other people all the time, continually pointing out other people's strengths to highlight her weaknesses. She holds a 1st class degree from her University and has a good job by all accounts, so there's quite a few positives in her life, but everything these days is turned into a negative and she sees no hope or point in life anymore.

The plan was that she was going to begin a Masters degree at a UK University this autumn, though I think with everything that is currently going on it will be way too much for her and that it won't go ahead. That's really sad for me, as it was finally a chance for us to live together, but her health comes first.

The greatest issue is that I just do not know what to do. She has her mother there with her now, who is looking after her, but unfortunately we have a language barrier and so I cannot communicate with her mother very well. I'm worried that she's not getting the help she needs, and that she is just sitting around in her flat and dwelling on things so much, but at the same time wishing that it would all go away. I really want to help her as much as I can, I am there for her, patient and always listen, but I still feel that I'm doing nothing. Ideally I'd go and be with her and help her, but I have a job and commitments here that I can't just leave. After every phone call I feel like I've been punched in the stomach, sometimes she's nasty and impatient but that's not her character, it's just the way she is at the moment. It's heartbreaking to hear her cry on the phone, telling me all of these problems and me being able to do nothing but offer a few sympathetic words - the usual stuff - which clearly aren't helping. I feel that I am suffering myself now, absorbing her mood and beginning to feel unhappy myself, that's not me being selfish, I think it's quite natural, but I daren't mention it to her as she has enough to worry about.

She always seems to be quite busy, which is good for taking her mind off things, but it doesn't work. She also gets exhausted very very easily.

It's all very painful and I just don't know what to do or who to turn to. I am at a complete loss. It is for this reason that I am writing in the hope that someone may have a suggestion as to what I can do to help her. It is beginning to put a strain on the relationship that we have fought so hard to maintain over the last 5 years. I love her very much and don't want to lose her, but I'm afraid of what's happening. I want us to live together very soon but I don't want the Masters thing to put her under unnecessary strain - it's important she lifts her mood, but I don't know what to suggest.

Thanks for reading.
I'd appreciate any help, advice or suggestions anyone might have.

Last edited:


Well-known member
Jul 16, 2009
hi adam

Sounds to me like she is frustrated and upset with the situation and distance is killing your relationship...maybe you could take time out from your job and spend a few months living with her to see if it would work or not.Living together every day can be a lot different and may not work.Five years is a long time and life is short ...


Well-known member
Jul 7, 2009
Hey there.

First off, welcome to the forum. I'm glad you found us and I hope you get the help and support you need here :)

I know how you feel about long distance relationships, and most of the time they're not easy because you're not getting to see your partner physically and spend time with them. But 5 years does show, as you're right, that it may be a pretty serious relationship. Is there no way that your girlfriend could move up to be with you where you are and start university or another job (whichever way she's wanting to go forward from now) there?

Has your girlfriend been to her GP or another mental health worker to get a diagnosis or another form of help? Her psychotherapist should be working with her to come up with some sort of diagnosis or some way of helping her, may that be medication, counselling etc.

It's good that you're patient with her, and having had experience yourself, this gives you the advantage of being more understanding. It's good that she feels she can tell you all her problems, even if they are little things. Some little things can seem big to some people, especially if they have low self-confidence and low self-esteem.

Maybe you could explain to her (which you may have already done) that she's not set in stone with her career, and the qualifications she already has might actually better her in the chance of a better job, as jobs as a translator etc, show very highly to prospective employees. Maybe you could encourage her, showing her which paths are available, university, other jobs etc.

Maybe you could try to pull her away from comparing herself to other people, and help her to highlight the advantages and good points in herself. Talk to her for a while, tell her what you see in her thats good and get her to find some points herself. Understand that this may be hard for her at the start, but once she starts to find some good points herself, that she's found and thought of herself, her self-esteem will start to rise.

Hopefully, with your encouragement, the support that she may be getting from her family and her psychotherapist, she may be able to start her masters degree in university this autumn. Hopefully you both can get a place together then, and she may be happier when she sees things are showing up for her.

It's difficult that you have a language barrier with her mum. Maybe you could talk to your girlfriend and encourage her to talk to her mum and ask her mum herself for some help and support? I can see that you care for her very much, it shows very much through this post. Please don't feel that you are doing nothing, you are doing so much by listening to her, being there for her and even by posting on here for more help and advice. Don't feel bad if you can't come up with a solution or a response to every problem she has, just listening and being there for her is a great help. Don't forget to look after yourself however, because if you're not in a good place, you won't be in a very good place to help your girlfriend.

You can always post on here with any questions you have, or to ask for any advice. We will always be here to offer any help and advice we can :) I'm sorry that it's putting a strain on the relationship, and I'm sorry that my advice isn't that helpful, but hopefully this can help in some way and maybe make the situation that little bit easier.



Well-known member
Founding Member
Apr 14, 2008
South West Scotland
i don't know about how these systems work in other countries but do you think she could get time off work with her condition if she went to a doctor, it would give her time to relax since it sounds like she has a stressful job which really won't help (when i had my last job it wasn't very stressful at all and i used to cry in the shower in the morning at the prospect of going in) and maybe if she does she could come over and stay with you for a longer period of time than usual and you could use it as a trial run of living together. Just suggestions, i don't know how practical or even possible they are but i hope things get better for your girlfriend and for you aswell as it must be hard on you both :hug:


Could one of you either get long leave or change your job and get together? As for Mother - have you thought of taking a language course in whichever language she is used to. At least you would have better family contact, and being a Mum myself would be anxious about this long distance relationship/friendship. Are you sure that your girl friend is clinically depressed, or just fed up with the distance between you? Are you both sure you are right for one another? Just some suggestions and I hope they help.
Take care and best wishes. Don't get too fed up about it yourself. Just do wht you can to sort things out. But think clearly and don't take any rash steps.
Best wishes. Hope you sort it out.

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