Citalopram (SSRIs) causing relationships to break up through new lack of emotion - advice please!

Hi my boyfriend (who lives 3.5 hrs away from me, he comes to visit me quite often) suffers from personality disorder and so around Feb of this year he asked to go on Citalopram (he’s been on it before, years ago and hated it so god knows why he wanted to try it again). Anyway it was because his anger was coming out since seeing me and he hated that and he was getting violent thoughts etc etc (never violent, just in his head). His love for me has always been apparent and he is a very caring person too. Sooo, since he’s been taking it, he’s become calmer, sleeps more, but bit more distant but loving when he’s with me as always. Last time we were together three weeks ago, it was lovely as usual and loving and we spoke in more depth about marriage as we both want that. He then goes home (hates it living where he does, hates the house, hates looking after his stepfather with Parkinsons though only has to cook and pick up his medication, he doesn’t sign on (no motivation) and exists in his room. Anyway, this time, when he gets back we chat a couple of times then out the blue (completely!!) he mails me saying he has no feelings for me any more and doesn’t want to see me. OK personality disorder can make him rash but not having feelings for me - no way! I’ve researched SSRIs/Celexa/Citalopram since then and have found no end of evidence about it affecting emotion. I sent him the info last week, but he said to his sister about it that he felt if his love was that strong it’d have coped with him being on the medication. Is there any hope for us? I’ve spoken to his surgery and intend to again but it’s just devastated me, and he’s not himself now, ok calmer and not angry but having no emotion - not like him he adored me! We were talking of marriage! What can I do?! I can’t give up on the man sorry but he’s worth more than that.

Sorry meant heading to read lack of EMOTION sorry!

I have a personality disorder. I’m on Paxil and Remeron for it.

The drugs won’t make him love you or not-love you. It’s more likely that now that he’s calmer and more rested, he’s found the strength to do something which has been on his mind for a while. Maybe that’s why he went back on the drugs, hoping it would help him face the facts.

I’m not sure what you mean by “spoken to his surgery” - if that’s his work place, you need to stop calling him there. If it’s his doctor, they have no business discussing his case with you.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but the truth is there really isn’t anything you can do if he wants to leave. Maybe it would help make things clearer if you spoke to a professional yourself, to talk about anti-depression drugs and what personality disorders involve.

I’m sorry I don’t have better news. All I can say is, you will get through this, with time.

Thank you for your reply.

Whilst I have spoken to his surgery it has only been to helpfully (and they welcomed it) give them information which may help them treat him with his anger/anxiety etc etc. They have at no time divulged any information on him nor did I ask for anything about him from them.

I have done extensive research on personality disorder so much that my boyfriend was touched that I had taken more effort to look into it than even any of his close family members eg his sister and father. I understand a lot more about his disorder now and am more able to understand what he goes through.

He went back on Citalopram this time (after having been on them years ago way before he knew me and apparently hated being on it then), because he was suffering from uncontrollable anger at times etc. He hates being on it this time but seems to think it’s the only way to help him stay calm. I don’t believe that is the only answer for him. And I do not believe that his thoughts and feelings both verbally and how he physically behaved towards me (very loving) could be fake or not real. He has said he would never find anyone who loves him like I do (possibly, without hating to sound big headed as I hate that, that may be true) and that he loves the way I love him totally, forgiving him for anything he did wrong, just totally loving him.

I can’t give up on the man, he has his problems but well, only time will tell what will happen next.

I don’t think we have anywhere near enough information for this, sorry. The actual personality disorder matters a lot. For example, if it’s borderline personality disorder, then this is very, very typical, even without medication.

I don’t know of a hospital that would give you patient information unless you were specifically on the waiver, and, if you are, then you do have a right to the information as long as permission isn’t revoked.

While citalopram usually doesn’t do anything like you described, it is being used for an off-label reason, and it is being used on someone who will react differently than the usual person. Citalopram does have an emotional blunting effect on some people, just like and SSRI, and definitely has sexual side effects. Those two things could conceivably cause a problem, but, again it’s rare.

I don’t know what else to tell you. This is really beyond anything we can discuss. We aren’t psychologists or psychiatrists, and, even if we were, we’d need a lot more information. Plus, even if this is caused by the medication, doctors are unlikely to stop treatment. It’s better to have a mentally healthy guy without anger problems but without a girlfriend than having a violent man with a girlfriend. No one is going to invalidate his decision.

There’s nothing wrong with waiting a little while to make sure it isn’t a phase, but realize that even drug addled him has the final say.

Well having done a lot of research into how he behaves, I worked him out to quite typical of someone with borderline personality disorder with a bit of paranoia personality disorder though my ex feels he has severe personality disorder though from how he behaves I would tend to disagree.

Oh no I do not choose to have any info given to me by his doctor’s surgery, just to show them I am concerned about how he is and his home situation and how it is (and his sister would agree) really not doing him any good too.

I’m glad you say what you say about it being prescribed for an off label reason. His surgery I would not have thought would know much about personality disorders but then again he asked for the drug!

Oh I agree his surgery would rather have him calm without a girlfriend than risk him having anger problems with me.

Yes I will wait. Due to his BPD traits he has broken up “all of a sudden” 2 or 3 times before and then eventually contacted me longest being the first time - 6 weeks. The things that worries me this time, same MO, ie quick one liner e-mail saying it’s over as before, but this time he’s calmer ie on medication so could it be final. I’m not asking for an answer on that, just mulling things over myself! Thanks for your input.,#

Keep in mind that medications don’t fix the underlying personality disorder, they only (sometimes) modify the symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is far more likely to be effective in making for real, lasting change. Medications may help a person engage more fully in CBT, but they are no substitute for it.

I have requested at his doctor’s surgery that they try cognitive behavrioural therapy with my ex but I wouldn’t have thought they would specialise in such specific therapy but I can but try! I too don’t think medication is the answer. the surgery have requested that I attend with him but I can’t see that happening!

I think dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is preferred for BPD.

You don’t want to hear this, and you probably won’t listen, but at least you can nobody tried to warn you. “I won’t give up on this man” are sadly quite literally famous last words. The kind of love you talk about is a lie made up by rich guys in the media who want us to forgive them when they cheat on us. The reward for endless sacrifice is to be sacrificed. You have a right to something better.

It’s time to get out of this. Marriageable men do not treat you poorly- ever. They never say hurtful things. They trip over their own feet trying not to hurt you. They never ever even consider threatening to leave, because it would kill them to give up the wonderful thing they have found.

This man is not going to marry you. He does not want to marry you. He wants to have sex with you. He wants to call you when he has a bad day, and shit on you when he is feeling mean, and enjoy how you run back to him no matter what he does. He may even enjoy weaving castle-in-the-sky-fantasies with you. But you are not going to get married. This happy life you have planned is not going to happen. You can only, at this point, delay your chances of finding that life with someone suitable. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

Even if he does work things through, it will be years…years…before he give you anything that you need. He has demonstrated clearly that he has a long long ways to go. Judge people by their actions- medication, illness or not, that is still who is is, and still what he does. And it’s not something you need to suffer through. Go find your happiness, and if he is ever ready to share that, he will find you.

Look. Look in cold, honest light how he treats his family. That shows you all you need to know.

There are a million books on co-dependence out there. I suggest you read through a few of them. BPD is about not knowing what you want. He’s not going to suddenly decide that it is you, but he’ll string you along as back up for as long as you are willing.

If your boyfriend has BPD, count this break-up a blessing, and run as fast as you can. There are other guys out there.

It sounds as if, right now, your sweetie is choosing to live life in a mental state that is healthier for him, over a life with you that is not as healthy FOR HIM. You already know he’s got different needs, and one of those needs is for him to be selfish and take care of himself first.
Sounds like right now he’s doing that, and you would be doing him the most good by just letting him know that you’re there if he wants you <not NEEDS you; WANTS…big difference> and take care of YOUR self by going on with life as normally as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to go start dating, but you need to focus on yourself for a while, too. You simply cannot ‘take care of’ someone else if you yourself don’t have both your feet on the ground.

Good luck, and I mean that in the best possible way. At the least, you’ll know he’s in a better mental place, even if it’s without you; at worst, it will hurt like any other breakup, and, like any other breakup, you will live and learn and carry on.

And if he clears his mind a little <this may take years, so don’t neglect yourself if do wait for him, or there won’t be anything left for him to come back to; even if there is, if he changes, he probably/possibly won’t want/need the same things he got from you before> …if he wants to try again, well…you’ll both be different people. Hopefully happier, more confident people with more to give each other.

To the last two posts - thank you for your honesty. Well I went to my GP yesterday he prescribed me Fluoxetine (Prozac) ironic isn’t it that I’m now on a similar medication to my (ex) partner all due to his behaviour affecting me yet him being on his medication has changed his behaviour to such an extent he is getting on with his life now without me. Oh well!

And yes maybe someone into marriage would not behave like him but he has personality disorder so he does not behave “normally” anyway. He used to care for me so much only thing that has changed is him being on the Citalopram. Having spoken to his sister again yesterday I gather he’s more active now, mowing the lawn (unheard of before!) and talking to his stepfather (he normally exists in his room) etc. So the drug is helping him but not us. He has received birthday presents lately from me (had to send them as they were personal to him so no use to me) and he said to his sis he had got them even joked about them (they were silly presents) but not once has he sent me a thank you message, she thinks he never will. :confused:

But, oh I don’t know. How can I switch off from a man who only weeks ago loved me so much. Knowing that the medication has changed him to this? Functioning better but to the detriment of us. Oh and no I don’t want to run away from this like someone said above, I know he has problems but why should that make me run from him?

I will always be here for him, whatever, but it breaks my heart all of this it really does.

It is a possibility the dosage is too high? SSRI’s can cause a blunting of emotions if the therapeutic dose is exceeded. Not all SSRI’s are created equal. Will he consider Prozac or Zoloft?

I also agree with Qadgop the Mercotan, medication without cogitive therapy is like trying swimming upriver.

I encourage you to please have a moment with yourself and think about what your ideal romantic life would be- not with this guy, but just in the realm of the ideal. Would you have kids? Would you spend your weekends playing board games, or going on bike rides, or watching movies? Would he be affectionate? Would you buy a house? Let your imagination carry you away. Then write what you aspects about your specific relationship that you don’t enjoy- surely you do not like his violent streak, for example.Send these lists out to yourself, along with a link to this thread, six months out and a year out. When you get them, please take an honest look at where you are, if any progress has actually been made towards the idea, and what the future is realistically looking like. And set a point- some point in the future, where you’d be willing to say enough is enough. Send an email to yourself at that point to remind you. Please, strongly consider heeding this advice.

Because I promise you, he does not feel the same things about you that you feel abut him. That’s just how it is. He does not feel this.

Now and then he may get caught up in the moment, but in the light of day, he doesn’t think you are worth it. If he thought you were worth it, he’d be there (note that this doesn’t mean you are worthless, just that you are not what he is looking for.) The strength of your feelings does not reflect the strength of his. I’m almost sure your love is unfortunately unrequited, even if he knows the words to say at the right time to keep you hanging around hoping.

“Caring for you,” does not mean anything without the actions behind it- men do not think in words. They think in actions, so you only need to look at their actions. Why would you promise not to “give up” on him if he is perfectly willing to “give up” on you? Why would you “be there” for him if he will not “be there” for you? Why are you the only one who has to give?

What you are doing is training him to treat you poorly and eventually leave you. You are rewarding him, by teaching him that when he pushes you down, you’ll always come right back wagging your tail, eager for more. You are showing him that you have so little self-worth that you will put up with anything, smile about it, and ask for more. Why would a man respect that? Why would he fight for that, or value it, when you act like you do not value yourself? All you can do with a girl like that is get what get what you can out of her while it’s convenient, and discard her when you are done- after all, if you do she’ll still be there begging you to take her back. A good woman, and the kind of woman a man will be serious about, is one who inspires him to be at his best. You can’t do that acting like this- he doesn’t have to display quality behavior to earn your esteem.

And eventually, he’ll get bored and move on to find a woman who challenges him and makes her value and worth known to him.

You cannot save him. You cannot even help him. In fact, you are almost certainly making it easier for him to fail to get better. He’s got a sister. Let her save him. Let someone else be responsible. Because it’s nor your job. You only have one life to live.

Finally, please, do not ever consider having children with him unless you get multiple therapist, over the course of years, advising that it’s a good idea. There are quite a few threads on her about the children of people with BPD, and the trauma that the emotional manipulativeness, life instability, and ultimately unpredictable parental love and care does to make childhood hell in ways that can easily ruin your life. Go to the memoir section of the bookstore- half of the “my hellish family” memoirs are by people with parents like your boyfriend. I’ve dated people in similar situations who will probably never, ever, be able to have trust or love in their lives because of their parent’s illness robbed them of love in childhood. Don’t do that to someone.

Firstly may I say I am overwhelmed by all your support thank you so much.:slight_smile:
I have often thought of what would be my ideal man but well he doesn’t really exist! I’ve compromised over the years but not yet found my lifetime partner and at 49 I really wonder if I ever will (and as you can see I’m too old for children and don’t have any nor do I want any nor does he)
It’s awful how much he was in love with me to how he is now since taking the medication, it makes me feel dreadful I just miss the man he was with me really really into me like no other man ever was. I don’t miss just being loved I really miss him by the way!
His sister although she chats to me quite happily she doesn’t get involved, she’ll speak to him on the phone but wouldn’t try and help sort this out. And as long as he’s existing she’s fine or even if he isn’t she lives miles away so isn’t there for him. His stepfather is on another planet (sorry no offence meant) having parkinsons so he isn’t there for him either. His surgery just dishes out the meds, they’ve offered counselling but so far he’s not taken it.
Yes he is treating me badly by not even thanking me for his birthday presents (sent him a couple more this week, they’re of no use to me) but he tells his sis about them, laughs in joy about them but that’s it. End of. Yes perhaps I am a mug!
I’ve decided on a plan, I’m going up to where he lives this weekend (it’s all booked so not cancelling it now), want to speak to him face to face, to ask him a few questions, get some answers. I’m dropping a note through his door asking him to meet me at a favourite spot of ours, he may or may not turn up! Then maybe I can move on. Not to another man but with my life. Oh and perhaps my meds will help me too.
My friends say I’m mad and I’ve a lovely girl with a lot to give someone oh well, maybe I have and maybe I’m just some stupid girl but I’m stupid and still love him. The lovely man that he is (or can be).

I’m not surprised you felt utterly loved at times. People with BPD tend towards the extreme in emotions - you’re their soulmate or the most horrible person ever, and the reasons why you might be one or the other can change for no apparent reason. Perhaps a flattened emotional state actually is improvement for him.

I’m very sorry. You can’t make anyone love you, no matter how much you might want, so it sounds like you’ll need to get on with things. It will hurt, but you’ll survive. You deserve someone more stable in your life.

Respect him enough to respect his choices.

With all due respect he’s not shown me any respect lately, dropping me like a brick (and yes I’ve done a lot of research re BPD and it is what they do but it doesn’t make it any easier for someone in a relationship with BPDs. I miss him like hell and am prepared or would have been prepared to support him through all his troubles and yes respect his choices etc etc but to be dropped with no reason, overnight is very upsetting.

Based on it being BPD and for an anger disorder, emotional blunting is probably one of the intended effects.

And, I’m sorry, LilyC, but the way he’s treating you is 100% typical of the disorder. Even if he does respond the way you want him to, that just means he’s still sick, and will do this again to you later, if not something worse. You don’t sound like you’ve experienced the severe anger yet. Believe me, you don’t want to.

I know you feel you need closure, and that’s normal. But please, no matter what he says, don’t go back to this relationship… It is affecting your mental health, and it may eventually affect your physical health. You need to work on yourself right now. If he truly loves you, you can be apart for a while. And, if he doesn’t, you can still be apart for the while.

You need time for you. Please take it.