What to do in a situation where you are dating a "cutter"

I got into a relationship with a girl a few months ago. The more we got to know each other , the darker her “been feeling stressed out lately” attitude has been revealed. She is suffering from depression, refuses to get therapy, and has attempted suicide multiple times in her life. She has cut herself while we were dating behind my back when she said she was stressed about her bills, work, and past trauma.

She literally told me “I’m going to add you to the list of people that I will stay alive for and not kill myself”

Due to some disagreements on religious and moral issues, I’m feeling the need to break up with her because I don’t think it will work out. But at the same time her happiness is so dependent on me, that I believe if I break up with her, she might kill herself.

I’m not sure what to do. I tried the whole “You’ll find true happiness with Jesus” thing but she just kind of snarks at that. So I feel a conflict in between staying in a dysfunctional relationship…and moving on but putting someone else’s life and sanity at risk.

Any suggestions?

Give her the book- “Depression Fallout”. Be prepared to say goodbye. She needs therapy, she may need medication. In any event, she needs far more than what you can provide and in all honesty she shouldn’t be in a relationship until she figures herself out.

Seriously-- do you picture her as your future wife and mother of your children? If not then you should stop dating her. You can certainly dial it back down to being her friend with no romantic interest. Being absolutely clear and setting the appropriate boundaries. And as a friend urging her to get the treatment she needs.

Her happiness is not dependent on you, it is dependent on her finding happiness in her life and in some ways choosing to be happy with what she has. You can not save people from themselves.

It is very easy in these situations to get sucked into their ‘vortex of despair’ and have it color your attitude towards life.


You’re going to have to be very careful and cautious, OP. Keep encouraging her to get help, but don’t let her manipulate you. By saying you’re one of the people to stay alive for, she is manipulating you into feeling obligated to stay with her. If you break up with her and she threatens suicide, call for an ambulance and the police immediately. You can’t be responsible for her happiness or for keeping her alive. She has to do that herself, but you know that already.

I’m sorry OP. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you, but you’re doing everything you can. You can’t get her to stop, only she can do that.



I think it is a good thing you posted. I am not a doctor, but I think it is pretty self evident that someone who is depressed and suffering to the point where they are cutting themselves, should be focusing exclusively on getting better. They are very sick and cannot afford to divide their attention.

I apologize for the abruptness, but space and time does not permit a slow gentle response to this. If you are attracted to people who are in emotional distress, like I used to be, you should take some time and examine your own feelings and find out what you are looking for from these people. Wanting to help and befriend people with such difficulties is a wonderful and kind way to help your fellow human. Dating them is unhealthy for both parties involved. I know, I did it when I was young.

She may very well use her sickness to manipulate you. You have to think of your own mental health in a situation like this. All though she may say otherwise, you do not have the power to make her kill herself, or NOT kill herself. Really important to keep that in mind. This is a very sick woman, who needs professional help, not boyfriend help. You did not cause this, you cannot cure this, you cannot control this.

You probably do not want to hear this but you should not have gotten romantically involved with this person in the first place. The purpose of dating is the discernment of marriage.

I would talk to a mental health professional for advice about how to extricate yourself safely.

I don’t think he figured that out until after she exhibited signs of self mutilation.

As someone with mental issues herself you are certainly not obliged to continue this relationship, but the Christian thing to do is to try to get her to the people who can help her. If she won’t go or stops going it is ultimately her responsibility. In addition to getting her to emergency medical assistance, If you know her family you probably should let them in on this too. It’s not a violation of confidence if she’s at risk of hurting herself or others, which she obviously is.

She needs to get help as you know, and I agree with the other posters that until she does, you really can’t be in a relationship with her.

Guilt is not a good reason to stay in a relationship.

At some point, you can refer her to this site or number, suicidepreventionlifeline.org/#

Even if you broke up and she later were to commit suicide, it wouldn’t be your fault. She needs to make an appt. with a psychologist for diagnosis to find out what’s going on. The psychologist can then tell what direction to go in. Her health insurance might cover this visit, but if she’s unwilling to go, there’s nothing else you can do.

All of the above. Get her help. NOW.

There is a possibility she has what is called Borderline Personality Disorder. The multiple suicide attempts, the self injury, the manipulations, the talk of her dark stress points to it.

Huge Disclaimer here…I am not a doctor or psychologist. I worked in the mental health field for a number of years and have seen this type of personality disorder. While depression is certainly a part of BPD, it is a symptom, not the problem.

If she is BPD the only thing you can do is get out of the situation. You can’t fix her or help her get help. This disorder is very difficult to treat and often not successful although it certainly improved with a better understanding of the disorder.

As far as her suicide threat, if she has tried multiple times in the past unsuccessfully indicates these attempts are cries for attention rather her wanting to be dead. It is quite easy to kill yourself if your real desire is for death.

I dated a man like this, off & on, for five years. Stressed, self injuring, depressed, seeker of all attention on him, pathological liar, difficulty taking any responsibility for anything, placing blame on others for his unhappiness, overly sexual, promiscuous, but yet charming, personable, could be kind (but I realized later this was only when he could get something out of it). He had been admitted to a mental hospital and a substance abuse treatment center but refused follow up therapy. Ironically this is the man who lead me the Catholic Church. Even though it’s been years since I’ve had any contact with this man, the experience has left me very distrustful of men. I look for these same things in the men I meet to the point I’m at the point of committing to be single for the rest of my life.

If any of this sounds like your girlfriend I can tell you it will never get better. Yes she needs help but not the kind of help you can provide. Do not let this happen to you.

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