You may find yourself in a relationship where either you or your partner are depressed. But, What is depression? And What can you do about it?
Depression in a relationship can come develop as a result of personal issues or can be caused by the relationship itself. While you can help your partner deal with depression to an extend. They need to take responsibility for their well-being and if needed get professional help. Depression can have many causes and can manifest in different ways. Before looking for ways to deal with it, it helps to understand what type of depression you or your partner are experiencing and what is behind it.
In this article, We’ll try to understand what is depression, potential causes and some ways you can deal with depression in a relationship.
Here, we’ll talk about depression as a feeling of persistent sadness, loneliness, and emptiness. As well as a lack of energy and excitement that manifests in unwillingness to do things.
Clinical depression and depression as a disorder are outside of the scope of this article. If you are unsure about either of these, check in with your doctor.
What is Depression?
Before we start talking about depression in a relationship. Let’s understand to what we are referring as depression.
According to the Merriam-webster dictionary depression means:
1: a state of feeling sad: low spirits : MELANCHOLY
- specifically : a mood disorder that is marked by varying degrees of sadness, despair, and loneliness and that is typically accompanied by inactivity, guilt, loss of concentration, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, and sometimes suicidal tendencies
2: a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way
Depression in a relationship is a feeling of sadness and emptiness. This feeling can take over your life and ruin your relationship. While depression may feel overwhelming and at times debilitating. There are healthy ways you can deal with it or help your partner to manage theirs.
What Causes Depression in a Relationship?
Two general causes of depression in a relationship:
- Depression caused by personal issues
- Depression from the relationship itself
Depression caused by personal issues
- Childhood and upbringing
- Previous relationships
- Destructive thought patterns
- Damaging beliefs
- Personal circumstances related to various aspects of one’s lives (social, financial, etc)
- Being unclear one’s life’s purpose
Depression from the relationship itself
- Not having emotional connection with your partner
- Lacking physical intimacy
- Boring relationship
- Not having common interests
- Having different relationship goals
- Not trusting your partner
- Not spending enough time together
- Not having enough personal space
- Not having a clear plan and a timeline to where your relationship is going
- Feeling stuck in a relationship that is going nowhere
Can Relationship Issues Cause Depression?
In a romantic relationship you need physical and emotional intimacy. When you are not having either of them in your relationship, you may start to feel neglected. Is you are missing physical intimacy for a prolonged time, it can create sexual frustration and put a strain on your relationship.
When you are feeling frustrated, it also impacts other aspects of your life and your well-being in general.
To manage your relationship, you must have effective communication, openness and understanding. Without the above, you may find yourself stuck in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere, and that doesn’t make you happy.
This continuous feeling of loneliness and the belief that there is nothing you can do about it may lead to you feeling depressed.
How Depression Affects Your Relationship
When someone experiences depression or goes through a period of depression. That person has a certain degree of hopelessness. When you feel hopeless goal setting and planning isn’t in one of the things to do.
In fact, doing anything seems pointless as there’s no excitement about that activity or the results it can bring into one’s life.
You end up in a relationship where you are not only unenthusiastic and lacking excitement. But, you also don’t have any plans for the future of your relationship. If you are depressed, this can leave your partner in a difficult situation. In one hand, they want to be with you and want to help you get through this.
On the other hand, they have to share their time and space with someone who has no interest in doing things. And who does not contributes to your relationship in any exciting or meaningful way.
Can Depression Ruin a Relationship?
When a person who is depressed feels powerless, they may not even to attempt contemplate the idea of getting better.
If this is the case, it will put the relationship to a stand still. Where the other partner will feel stuck with someone who is depressed while recognising that there’s nothing they can do about it.
While, romantic feelings, attachments and the desire to help may keep this going, unless there’s a change, this relationship isn’t good for anyone in the long-term.
Sometimes when a person is feeling depressed, they need a significant change of circumstances to snap out of it.
Signs of Depression in a Relationship
- Lack of interest
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Lack of excitement
- Lack of willingness to do things
- Deep sadness that persists for long periods at a time
- Feeling alone
- Avoiding socialising
- Closing up emotionally
- Not caring about your appearance
- Lack of pride
How to Deal with Depression in a Relationship
You can deal with depression in your relationship by working out the things that make you feel depressed.
For some people, depression comes as a result of past experiences and deep negative beliefs about their own low self-value or the inability to change things. For others, is the current feelings and circumstances that cause depression.
So, the first thing to do is to figure out what exactly is this source of your depression.
Once you know what you are depressed about, you can make a plan to sort it out. It may take some time, but with the right help, there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to find a way to enjoy life and make the most of what you have.
The best way to maintain your relationship and to stay emotionally connected is by working on your communication.
How To Support Someone with Depression In a Relationship
When you are in a relationship with someone who is depressed most of the time, you should know how to manage your relationship with that person.
More often than not, when you are in a relationship, you have a certain level of trust, openness, and understanding. If you are to make your relationship work with someone who has depression, these things become even more critical.
If your partner is depressed, try to talk to them and find out what is behind the depression. More often than not, your partner is going to have personal issues from past experiences that are making them feel depressed.
Fundamentally, they are the only person who needs to sort out their more profound issues. Sometimes it is enough for a depressed person to talk to someone whom they trust. Other times talking to a professional can be more helpful.
Ending a Relationship Because of Depression
Depression can put a strain in your relationship in a number of ways. For the one who is depressed, staying in the same situation reinforces different aspects of life, which in this case are associated with the feeling of depression. So, the longer such relationship continues, the stronger it will reinforce the believe that this is how it’s going to be ‘forever’.
When a person feel hopeless and powerless, they may find it very difficult to create a change. So, where does the change come from?
Someone who is depressed can also create the change, regardless of how difficult it is. To do that, they need to find their inner drive and have the will power. The change can also come from a partner of a person who is depressed who would find the way to break the routine, change the circumstances (social, financial, location, etc).
Sometimes, the partner of a person who is depressed can help them rediscovered their inner strength and find the direction in life. Other times, it’s not possible for that to happen. In which case, ending a relationship could be the change needed to help a person who is depressed and also allow their partner to move on.
Depression After Ending a Relationship
After being in a relationship for some time, you may realise that it’s no longer working for you. While it’s perfectly acceptable to end your relationship, you should do it the right way.
The right way to end your relationship is by talking about your feelings, doubts and concerns with your partner. Most people decide that they no longer want to be in a relationship, and then find a way to inform their partner about their decision. I’m afraid that’s not right, and it’s also disrespectful towards your partner, and towards yourself.
As long as you’re in a relationship, both you and your partner are responsible for every decision you make. And the outcome of these decisions. You started a relationship with mutual consent. So, it only makes sense if this is how you end your relationship as well.
In any case, even if it feels like the right thing to do, you may still feel depressed after ending your relationship. Whatever your relationship was like, you shared some experiences with another person. You shared your time and space, having conversations and doing different activities.
When you end your relationship, it all goes away. All the good and bad come together and leave together.
Depression in a relationship isn’t fun. Depression is a state of being where you feel lost, sad, alone, and confused. You rarely feel excited and only occasionally feel hopeful.
You might be feeling depressed because of past experiences or due to your current feelings and circumstances. To deal with depression, try to figure out what is causing it. When you know the reason for you feeling depressed, you can find a way to get out of that hopeless darkness.
In a relationship, depression can come from personal issues or from the relationship itself. Either way, you need to deal with depression by addressing its cause.
In a relationship, every partner brings their energy and their way of looking at the world. If one partner is depressed, it affects the whole relationship. So if you are in a relationship and you are the one who is depressed, it comes down to the both of you to figure out how to make it work. If you don’t know where to start, you may need some professional help.
Whatever the reasons for the depression in a relationship, the way to deal with it is to create a change. For some couples, it could mean creating the change together, while for others it would mean ending their relationship.
Help and Support with Depression in Your Relationship
If you’re struggling with depression in your relationship, here are a few tips for you:
- Recognise what is behind your depression.
- If you’re depressed because of your relationship, maybe it’s not for you.
If you find yourself depressed, while in a relationship, there are several ways you can get help. Your first port of call is yourself. You can do a little research about depression and find a few books that can open your mind up to new possibilities and different ways of looking at things.
If you need someone to talk to express your feelings out, you shouldn’t need to look further than your romantic partner. Remember, in a relationship you are in it together, and you can help each other out.
Sometimes getting professional help can go along way to guide you out of your depression and help you build a more positive life and a more fulfilling relationship with yourself and the world around you.
If you don’t know how to deal with depression in your relationship and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can being in a relationship help depression?
When you are with the right person, your relationship can be interesting, fun and exciting. While this can help the depression, it can also mask the deeper sadness with more superficial excitement.
When you face some problems or your relationship ends it can give room to depression. You can use the opportunity of being in a happy relationship as a chance to sort out the things that cause you depression.
What can depression do to a relationship?
Depression can strain a relationship and make it harder to keep your relationship healthy. You can try to help them in any way you can. If it works, great! But, if it doesn’t, it may be better to end your relationship.
Can depression cause problems in a relationship?
Depression can leave you close off from having a deep emotional connection. When you don’t have such connection, a healthy relationship is next to impossible.
What to say to a partner with depression?
It’s not so much about the conversations, but rather the connection you have and the dynamic in your relationship.
Why do I feel depressed in a new relationship?
It could be because of your personal issues triggering the depression or maybe this relationship isn’t good for you.
Is depression a red flag in a relationship?
It can be a red flag if the depression has been caused because of the relationship.