When You or Your Partner Has Depression

Posted Oct 14, 2021

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When someone has clinical depression, that person’s spouse or partner is affected as well. Depression can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life: work, sleeping and eating habits, and relationships.

If you or your partner is depressed, you may have noticed the following strains on your relationship.

The partner with depression may:

  • Become distant, irritable, angry or sad
  • Contribute less to the relationship and running of the household
  • Lose interest in sex
  • No longer enjoy going out as a couple or doing activities you used to do together

The partner who does not have depression may:

  • Start to feel the other’s sadness, despair and hopelessness
  • Become resentful and exhausted from taking on more of the parenting, chores and financial responsibilities
  • Mourn the change in activities and social outings

It takes more work to keep your relationship strong when one of you has depression. Fortunately, depression is usually temporary when it’s treated. Both you and your partner have a role to play in treating the depression and helping one another through this difficult period.

If you have depression

Depression is treatable. You may feel like you will never be happy again, but by taking action, you should see your symptoms improve.

  • Seek professional help. Your health care provider can help you find the right treatment for your depression, such as therapy, medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Talk with your partner about what it is like to have depression. Your partner may believe they caused your unhappiness. Reassure them that’s not the case.
  • Tell your partner how they can support you. Try to be specific about what you want and need. Your partner won’t know unless you tell them. 
  • Focus on what you love about your partner rather than what annoys you. Depression can keep you from noticing the positive things in life. You may have to remind yourself to look for qualities you admire in your mate.
  • Do something fun or physically active with your partner every day. Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, it gets you both outside for fresh air and allows you to reconnect.

If your partner is depressed

It’s natural to feel confused and upset when the person you love becomes depressed. You may wonder if you caused it. At times, you may blame your partner for theri behavior. Depression is a complex condition with many causes—it’s not either person’s fault. 

  • Learn everything you can about the disease. Depression can take different forms, so ask your partner to describe how it affects them. This will help you understand what they are going through. It will also reassure both of you that no one is to blame for it.  
  • Try to be patient with your partner. Depression is an illness. It’s unrealistic to expect your partner to “just cheer up.”  
  • Find ways to keep your spirits up. Living with a person with major depression can sap your energy and bring your mood down. Do things you find uplifting; spend time with people whose company you enjoy.
  • Try not to take things too personally. Depression may cause your loved one to be negative and critical. They may find fault with you or with something you did. Look for ways to get past the criticism so you don’t end up arguing.
  • Understand that you can’t “fix” your partner’s depression. However, you can support their efforts to help themself.

When you’re in an intimate relationship, you share your life—good and bad—with someone else. As you find ways to stay close and support one another through periods of depression, your bond will become stronger and your relationship will be able to withstand difficult times. 

By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

When someone has clinical depression, that person’s spouse or partner is affected as well. Depression can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life: work, sleeping and eating habits, and relationships.

If you or your partner is depressed, you may have noticed the following strains on your relationship.

The partner with depression may:

  • Become distant, irritable, angry or sad
  • Contribute less to the relationship and running of the household
  • Lose interest in sex
  • No longer enjoy going out as a couple or doing activities you used to do together

The partner who does not have depression may:

  • Start to feel the other’s sadness, despair and hopelessness
  • Become resentful and exhausted from taking on more of the parenting, chores and financial responsibilities
  • Mourn the change in activities and social outings

It takes more work to keep your relationship strong when one of you has depression. Fortunately, depression is usually temporary when it’s treated. Both you and your partner have a role to play in treating the depression and helping one another through this difficult period.

If you have depression

Depression is treatable. You may feel like you will never be happy again, but by taking action, you should see your symptoms improve.

  • Seek professional help. Your health care provider can help you find the right treatment for your depression, such as therapy, medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Talk with your partner about what it is like to have depression. Your partner may believe they caused your unhappiness. Reassure them that’s not the case.
  • Tell your partner how they can support you. Try to be specific about what you want and need. Your partner won’t know unless you tell them. 
  • Focus on what you love about your partner rather than what annoys you. Depression can keep you from noticing the positive things in life. You may have to remind yourself to look for qualities you admire in your mate.
  • Do something fun or physically active with your partner every day. Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, it gets you both outside for fresh air and allows you to reconnect.

If your partner is depressed

It’s natural to feel confused and upset when the person you love becomes depressed. You may wonder if you caused it. At times, you may blame your partner for theri behavior. Depression is a complex condition with many causes—it’s not either person’s fault. 

  • Learn everything you can about the disease. Depression can take different forms, so ask your partner to describe how it affects them. This will help you understand what they are going through. It will also reassure both of you that no one is to blame for it.  
  • Try to be patient with your partner. Depression is an illness. It’s unrealistic to expect your partner to “just cheer up.”  
  • Find ways to keep your spirits up. Living with a person with major depression can sap your energy and bring your mood down. Do things you find uplifting; spend time with people whose company you enjoy.
  • Try not to take things too personally. Depression may cause your loved one to be negative and critical. They may find fault with you or with something you did. Look for ways to get past the criticism so you don’t end up arguing.
  • Understand that you can’t “fix” your partner’s depression. However, you can support their efforts to help themself.

When you’re in an intimate relationship, you share your life—good and bad—with someone else. As you find ways to stay close and support one another through periods of depression, your bond will become stronger and your relationship will be able to withstand difficult times. 

By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

When someone has clinical depression, that person’s spouse or partner is affected as well. Depression can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life: work, sleeping and eating habits, and relationships.

If you or your partner is depressed, you may have noticed the following strains on your relationship.

The partner with depression may:

  • Become distant, irritable, angry or sad
  • Contribute less to the relationship and running of the household
  • Lose interest in sex
  • No longer enjoy going out as a couple or doing activities you used to do together

The partner who does not have depression may:

  • Start to feel the other’s sadness, despair and hopelessness
  • Become resentful and exhausted from taking on more of the parenting, chores and financial responsibilities
  • Mourn the change in activities and social outings

It takes more work to keep your relationship strong when one of you has depression. Fortunately, depression is usually temporary when it’s treated. Both you and your partner have a role to play in treating the depression and helping one another through this difficult period.

If you have depression

Depression is treatable. You may feel like you will never be happy again, but by taking action, you should see your symptoms improve.

  • Seek professional help. Your health care provider can help you find the right treatment for your depression, such as therapy, medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Talk with your partner about what it is like to have depression. Your partner may believe they caused your unhappiness. Reassure them that’s not the case.
  • Tell your partner how they can support you. Try to be specific about what you want and need. Your partner won’t know unless you tell them. 
  • Focus on what you love about your partner rather than what annoys you. Depression can keep you from noticing the positive things in life. You may have to remind yourself to look for qualities you admire in your mate.
  • Do something fun or physically active with your partner every day. Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, it gets you both outside for fresh air and allows you to reconnect.

If your partner is depressed

It’s natural to feel confused and upset when the person you love becomes depressed. You may wonder if you caused it. At times, you may blame your partner for theri behavior. Depression is a complex condition with many causes—it’s not either person’s fault. 

  • Learn everything you can about the disease. Depression can take different forms, so ask your partner to describe how it affects them. This will help you understand what they are going through. It will also reassure both of you that no one is to blame for it.  
  • Try to be patient with your partner. Depression is an illness. It’s unrealistic to expect your partner to “just cheer up.”  
  • Find ways to keep your spirits up. Living with a person with major depression can sap your energy and bring your mood down. Do things you find uplifting; spend time with people whose company you enjoy.
  • Try not to take things too personally. Depression may cause your loved one to be negative and critical. They may find fault with you or with something you did. Look for ways to get past the criticism so you don’t end up arguing.
  • Understand that you can’t “fix” your partner’s depression. However, you can support their efforts to help themself.

When you’re in an intimate relationship, you share your life—good and bad—with someone else. As you find ways to stay close and support one another through periods of depression, your bond will become stronger and your relationship will be able to withstand difficult times. 

By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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