Driving to despair, formerly signified reducing a person to the last extremity, sending him to hang or drown himself. It has now no such terrible signification.
You drive me to despair, in the mouth of a lover, signifies simply, “things do not go on so smooth as I could wish; since I must despair of obtaining any thing to day, I must adjourn my operations to a better season; and, in the mean time, go and amuse my time elsewhere as agreeably as I may.”
“…and amuse my time elsewhere as agreeably as I can”
A Dictionary of Love (1787)