fb-pixel Skip to main content

Is my boyfriend my caregiver? Or am I his?

‘What I want is to have a healthy relationship.’

Love Letters

We’re looking for letters! Send your relationship question to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form.

Q. I’m a college student here in Boston. I’ve been in a relationship with a loving boyfriend. Everything went well at the start, but then there were problems. I have been diagnosed with major depression disorder and am on medication, which is hard on him.

Do you think my boyfriend is obligated to be my caregiver? If he isn’t, should I leave him?

We have technically broken up (for the moment). I kicked him out of my place because he’d been staying there for two consecutive months and I really need my personal space. More importantly, I don’t want to be the center of his world. I want him to spend time with his family and others.


Since then, we’ve not talked, and when I reached out he said I treated him like horribly. But shouldn’t the fact that I drive him to and from work be something he’s grateful for? We’ve been squeezed into my tiny room on a twin memory foam topper. He doesn’t help with any house chores and really makes my place like his own. His things are occupying a lot of space, which bothers me as I’m a very neat and tidy person.

He said that I’m a terrible person, which is the first time I’ve heard that from anyone. I don’t know why, but the whole thing is my fault, according to him. What I want is to have a healthy relationship where both of us could have our own personal space and not be together 24-7. I feel like my personal space is invaded and it is very bad for my mental health, as socializing drains me and I need more time to recharge.

Am I being unreasonable for kicking him out of my house after two months of him staying at my place?


— Personal Space

A. You’re worried your boyfriend might be your caregiver, but it’s clear you’ve been turned into his.

I’m sure he’s been supportive at times. But ... he’s draining you. Let him go — for both of you. You have boundaries that, when respected, give you space to figure out how to care for yourself. He doesn’t acknowledge what you need. Instead, he leaves stuff around your place and refuses to listen.

You’re not a terrible person for wanting him gone. It doesn’t sound like he’s willing to meet you in the middle and have the kind of relationship where there’s real balance.

It might be difficult to treat this like a real breakup, but please do. Also, don’t confuse breakup grief with anything bigger. It’s sad to let go of someone when there were good moments too. If you’re feeling miserable to lose him, it doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong decision. Your gut is telling you exactly what you need to be comfortable.

You’ve already done the kicking out. Now you can tell him what you need for your health — which is to do it on your own. Tell him he should do that too. If he really thinks you’re a bad person, he shouldn’t be with you anyway.

— Meredith


No college age person should be anyone’s caregiver, other than close family of course. Neither of you sound ready for a relationship. Stay away from each other and focus on your mental health. ZEPTEMBER-


You are not a horrible person. You’re just not compatible. SEENITTOO

This was a rollercoaster. You have no obligations to each other and that doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship for either of you. YOURNOSYNEIGHBOR

Kicking him out was the right thing to do. You have your mental health challenges, and from your letter it doesn’t sound like he is making them any better. Get through college, get your mental health in a stable position, and then think about boyfriends. You have all the time in the world. HARRISBSTONE

Agree with the first paragraph, disagree with the second. Depression is a chronic thing; you can’t put your life on hold for it, you have to learn to live with it. STRIPEYCAT

Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

Open the tab and fill out the form and hit submit. That's it! Keep a look out for your question in the next Love Letters.