Ask A Guy: How To Talk To Your Boyfriend About Depression

Hey Joel,

So I just started dating this guy. It’s long distance, but I’m going up to see him soon and I was wondering if I should tell him I was depressed and used to cut. I’m totally fine now but it’s the kind of big news that I feel is important to know about someone before you start being serious with them. Is it? Should I tell him?


Know that even the most perfect of people has some dark points in their past that they’d just as soon forget. None of us are spotless or without trauma, and it’s all about how you manage your past and balance it with your present.

While our pasts certainly have a bearing on who we are now, they do not define us perfectly. That is to say, we all have skeletons in our closets, but you don’t need to parade them out at the beginning of a relationship. If it’s the right match, things like this will come up naturally, and if you force the issue, chances are he’ll run.

Think about it: if you’re just hanging out, casually chatting, and out of nowhere you just say, “So, I used to cut myself…,” it’s sort of a random, totally awkward statement. Also, there’s really no right way for him to respond. I completely understand that you don’t want to have any secrets and want him to know who you really are–but that’s the catch here: cutting is who you WERE, not who you ARE.

We cannot forget or ignore that our pasts exist, but at the same time, there comes a point where we have to put some of the skeletons back in the closet, only taking them out when we feel safe with a particular person. Whether it’s depression, eating disorders, family loss, or even that time your pants fell down in front of your math class, elements from our past don’t need to be spilled out at the start.

The reality is, if the relationship continues and builds, the dark moments from your pasts will come out naturally in conversation, and they will be less shocking as you’ll both know each other better. Don’t be ashamed of what happened in your past, but know that there is no expectation that early on in a relationship, you need to dish out every bad or strange thing that happened. Be confidant in who you are now, and there will never be an issue with the stumbles you had along the way.

Best wishes,


Joel Freimark has done a lot in life and seen even more. From last minute international travel to bizarre places to writing award winning books, he’s here to bring his wisdom to all your problems. He hosts a weekly advice series on Youtube and a music series also on YouTube. No question is too outrageous or personal, so go ahead and fire away! Follow him on Twitter.

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