Depression in relationships can lead to resentment and distance. But there is hope. Learn how depression affects relationships and what you can do about it.
Depression in relationships can lead to resentment and distance. But there is hope. Learn how depression affects relationships and what you can do about it.

Depression is disruptive. When you struggle with this unfortunately common mental health concern, your productivity, social life, physical health, and motivation are all negatively impacted. But what about how depression affects romantic relationships? As you can imagine, if you or your partner struggles with depression, it’s definitely going to weasel its way into your relationship in not-so-enjoyable ways. 

Even the strongest of romantic relationships can be tainted by depression. But that doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. There are plenty of things you can do to support your partner to help them through their mental health challenges and ensure your relationship stays intact. 

First off, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms of depression in your partner. Secondly, it’s essential to understand the adverse effects depression in relationships can cause. With patience, nonjudgment, and compassion, you can effectively recognize how depression affects your relationship and take steps to support your partner and work through the challenges together. 

Depression Treatment in San Diego

Understanding How Depression Affects Relationships

Understanding How Depression Affects Relationships

Depression is a complex mental health condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and a lack of motivation can severely affect even the healthiest of relationships. 

Depression in relationships with significant others affects both partners in various ways. For the individual dealing with depression, they may struggle with feelings of guilt or shame for not being able to contribute fully to the relationship. Many times, they emotionally withdraw from their partner, making it difficult for their partner to understand and connect with them. 

For the one without depression, they may feel confused, frustrated, hurt, or perhaps even resentful due to their partner’s emotional challenges. 

In other words, neither individual benefits from depression in relationships. That’s why it’s vital to be able to recognize signs of depression in your partner and understand what you can do to help them and your relationship.

Recognizing Depression In Your Partner

Depression can be sneaky, especially if your partner is good at masking their symptoms. It’s crucial to recognize the common signs of depression. But it’s also important to pay attention to changes in your relationship. It’s easy to automatically blame your partner if things start changing for the worse. But those changes could be due to their struggle with depression.

The most common symptoms of depression include:

  • persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • changes in eating habits leading to weight loss or gain
  • sleep habit changes
  • chronic fatigue
  • loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • thoughts of suicide
  • irrational feelings of guilt or shame

How Depression Could Be Affecting Your Relationship

Before we get into that, it’s crucial to understand that depression is not your partner’s choice. They aren’t choosing to have a mental health disorder. Depression is a diagnosable illness requiring professional help. The good news is that depression is 100% treatable! 

Another essential thing to remember is that you must show up for them with compassion, understanding, and nonjudgment as their partner. This advice is vital if you truly want to help them.

There are five common ways depression in relationships wreaks havoc on your connection.

Your relationship is experiencing more frequent conflicts.

Every romantic relationship experiences conflict. But when it comes to depression in relationships, conflict tends to make a more frequent appearance. If your partner struggles with depression, they are likely to be more irritable and sensitive. That means that even the slightest joke without ill intent behind it could be misconstrued and taken seriously, causing conflict. 

Your relationship is experiencing more frequent conflicts.

Depression could also lead to your partner feeling unsupported and unloved because you don’t check in on them as much as they need. You could be trying your best, but your partner doesn’t see it that way or rejects your attempts. 

It really is a slippery slope. That’s why it’s essential to educate yourself on depression and how it may be affecting your partner and your relationship. (If you’re reading this, you’re doing just that!)

Your partner isolates themselves from you.

Many individuals with depression tend to isolate themselves from others, even their families and partners. That means your partner could be declining date nights or social activities involving you and others just to spend time alone. This can understandably feel hurtful like your partner doesn’t want to spend time with you. In reality, it could be a symptom of depression.

You and your partner don’t do things you used to enjoy doing together.

One of the most common symptoms of depression is the loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. If your partner struggles with depression, there’s a good chance they’ll decline any suggestions you offer about fun stuff to do. 

Obviously, this can become a source of stress and contention in the relationship as you’ll likely feel rejected, not to mention unloved. Remember, it’s not you. It’s a symptom of depression, and it’s a great idea to seek professional help!

Your partner’s self-esteem is in the dumps. 

Your partner’s self-esteem is in the dumps. 

Other symptoms of depression are low self-esteem and self-criticism. So, if your partner struggles with depression, they’re probably being hard on themselves. They likely feel like there’s something wrong with them, that they aren’t “good enough,” and may even believe you don’t even want to be with them anymore. 

They may feel undesirable, leading to increased isolation, as discussed above. It’s crucial to remember that if your partner has depression, they may be more down than you’re used to, but that it’s not something you should judge them on. Instead, support them as best you can. (We’ll get to that next!)

You’re less intimate with your partner. 

According to a 2022 study, 83% of women and 63% of men with depression also deal with sexual dysfunction. This not only refers to physical issues like erectile dysfunction or inability to orgasm. It also refers to the general lack of desire to be intimate. Many with depression feel exhausted, lack motivation, and may struggle with poor self-esteem. These can all negatively impact your sex life with your partner. 

So What Can You Do About Depression in Relationships?

Supporting your partner and ensuring your relationship doesn’t end due to depression doesn’t mean simply accepting your partner’s symptoms and living with them. Depression is treatable. So, getting treatment is the best possible thing you can do!

Here are a few tips to lessen the impact of how depression affects your relationship:

  • Take care of yourself.

It may seem counterintuitive that caring for yourself can help you care for your partner. But it’s absolutely true. You’ve likely heard the much-overused phrase, ” You can’t pour from an empty cup.” That means you have to take care of yourself and prioritize self-care so you aren’t burnt out when your partner feels low and in need of support.

  • Practice healthy communication.

Communication is one of the biggest culprits of conflict in relationships. So learning how to communicate effectively and in healthy ways can not only help if your partner has depression but at any time, in any relationship! Learn how to actively listen, validate one another’s feelings, and collaborate to find a compromise. 

These aren’t easy tasks and can be challenging to accomplish on your own. A therapist can definitely help you!

Educate yourself.
  • Educate yourself.

As mentioned earlier, one of the best things you can do to support your partner with depression is to educate yourself on what they’re going through. You can ask them what they’re feeling and what they need from you to support them. And in this day and age, there’s no excuse for not being able to educate yourself. The internet is overflowing with valuable information.

  • Get help from a reputable mental health provider.

Again, depression is treatable, and therapists are trained to treat depression. So why not reach out for depression therapy in San Diego at BOLD Health? Not only can our clinicians treat your partner’s depression symptoms, but they can also help you and your partner calm the tumultuous waters of depression and its impact on your relationship.

BOLD Health: High-Quality Depression Treatment in San Diego

Depression doesn’t have to drive an irreparable wedge between you and your partner. Our physician-led team of clinicians at BOLD Health is fully equipped and ready to help your partner overcome their depression challenges. 

BOLD Health

We’ll not only treat the symptoms of depression, but we’ll get to the bottom of why they’re there in the first place so your partner can effectively face any challenges that may come their way in the future. 

Our options for depression therapy in San Diego include:

  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • family therapy
  • medication management
  • ketamine treatment

Your partner’s depression treatment plan will be customized to meet their needs so you can be sure they’re getting the best care around. Contact us to learn more about our depression therapy in San Diego and get your relationship back on track!

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