Depression is a natural enemy of close relationships, and restoring them is a major goal of recovery. It’s never easy. A depressed partner may suddenly withdraw into emotional isolation or perhaps turn angry and blaming. Trying to save the relationship may seem impossible in the midst of hurt and anger.
Here is a set of posts and resources to help you deal with this destructive influence, whether the depression is yours or your partner’s. The material captures the experiences of dozens of people who have written in to share their stories and seek advice.
Does the Partner or Depression Cause the Breakup?
I’ve often described the way depression can break up close relationships, but does the illness explain everything? How responsible are depressed partners for the human cost that others pay because of what they do when they’re ill? One reader told me I’d confused her about this. First, I talked about depression taking over someone, as […]
11 Relationship Traps of Depression
Depression sets relationship traps for both partners. Everything can change quickly between two people, and it’s crucial to be able to spot these changes as soon as possible. Here are 11 signs of the illness that seem perfectly designed to undo the bonds of closeness. Humor, talking and doing things together, sharing special moments – […]
How to Work Together to Save Your Relationship from Depression
Relationships can break down quickly under the impact of depression. While many depressed partners decide to leave for good, I think it’s more common for two people to stay together and try to tough it out. If that’s the situation you’re in, you need more than hope to make a go of it and eventually […]
10 Ways to Help Yourself When Your Partner Is Depressed
When depression takes over your partner, you’re likely to go through an emotional waterboarding, a torture you have to escape. You may feel overwhelmed, confused, helpless to do anything. You take the brunt of the punishing anger or indifference that is all your partner can give you. The relationship that means the most to you […]
Trying to Heal after the Final Break with Your Depressed Partner
Depressed partners walk out and leave behind a lot of emotional wreckage. Whether the ending is explosive, grieving or compassionate, its impact is life-changing. As the abandoned partner, you have to put your life back together, and it can take years to do it. There are a lot of obstacles to get around, however, before […]
How Can You Communicate After Your Depressed Partner Leaves?
It’s the worst scenario of life with depressed partners. They leave, shutting out a lot of love and support because of the illness. If you’ve been abandoned in this way, the first thing you’re likely to try is to get in touch. You need to say you still care and want to help in any […]
Is Your Partner’s Depression Changing You?
Over and over, I find stories online about the transformation of a loving partner, most often a man, into a depressed stranger. I know what that’s about because I have been that stranger. I went through a period of withdrawing emotionally from my wife and blaming her and just about everything else for my problems. […]
My boyfriend and I just broke up because of his depression. His mom recently got diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the summer, then in august she ran away. She faked her death by abandoning her car in the middle of no where and leaving us to think the worst. Police found her alive and was testing us to see if we still cared. She wrote facebooks post listing out family members out individually slandering their name for things they’ve never done. My boyfriend is a momma’s boy and has hope for her. He went to see her after she returned with hopes of reconciling their relationship. I 100% support him and his mom’s relationship broken or not. I understand the course of disease and her irrationalization because I am a nurse. But since then he hasn’t been the same (since thxgiving) and has gone into a downward spiral into a deep depression. He told me that he loves me beyond words but he doesn’t deserve me, wants to be alone, and let me go.I love and miss him so much. I am planning on giving him some time, then contacting him in the future. He is my best friend, my person. I just don’t know if I should or if there is anything that can help him. I love him and miss his loving, goofy self. Just don’t know if we could ever be the same. I am hoping for the best.
You are so sweet
But he is not your person he is the manhole in the street you have to walk around . Don’t feel guilty for loving damaged people … but do what you can to bring yourself back up to ok .
I just stumbled across your website and I couldn’t be more thankful. I am for the first time going through a very tough relationship with someone who is depressed. We have been together for two years and only now do his behaviours all make sense. He has finally accepted that he is depressed and unfortunately as such, we have broken up a few times over the past months. First, he broke up with me pushing me completely out of his life (ignoring texts, not coming home – we live together, being quite rude and dismissive) and then the second time, I broke up with him because I have been so incredibly hurt and mentally exhausted by everything going on. We both still love each other very much and I want to help him, but I’m not sure I can or know how to. I also fear that I’m going to lose myself during this entire process. He’s begged me to stay and has told me he needs me to help him through, so here I am, trying to take each day one step at a time. He has told me he wants to overcome this and will also seek professional help. I feel very lost and sad most days and because we work opposite schedules, also feel quite distant. The only time my feelings are at ease are at night, when we crawl into bed next to one another, or have a moment to chat either by text or phone. I love this man deeply and I know he loves me, too, but I fear it could just be out of comfort (for us both) and I worry we will never have a love like we once used to. I’ve never written in a forum and I’m not even sure what I’m hoping to gain from it, but it does feel good just to get it out. Above all, I just wanted to say thank you again for putting your experiences out there for people to read and feel like they’re not alone.
The articles and comments on this blog are a fantastic resource and I thoroughly recommend reading as much as you can here. It really helps.
FOR a more active forum specifically aimed at the partners of people going through depression and other mental illnesses then ‘depression fallout’ is again thoroughly recommended. As you say seeing that you aren’t alone in dealing with this, as well.as sharing experiences and advice, is invaluable.
What happened? This mirrors my story. He said the same promises to me. But he breaks them often for years. Now I’m bitter.
Did he get help?
I wish this section addressed more than “partner” relationships. I don’t have a partner, and the fear that I will never find one, and so never have the steady companionship I long for — just a few transient friendly acquaintances who come and go, disappear from my life weeks or months on end, because they’re making their everyday and long-term decisions around themselves and their partner — is one of the most reliable triggers of my life-is-unbearable-I-am-such-a-failure recording that plays in an endless loop some days. Anyway, enough of that sob story, point is, there’s plenty to deal with in other relationships too — friends, friendly aquaintances, family members — that can be really difficult and complicated by depression. I’d be curious to see posts or comments on that topic.
I agree with you Lori, other relationships in one’s life aside from partner relationships are so important. Although i am in a long term relationship, i still struggle with maintaining and making friendships of my own outside of that. I have two older siblings to whom i feel less close as I’ve get older, sadly. I dont have a friends “network” either that is deemed to be so important. I’m OK with groups of people but much prefer one-to-one relationships, hence the lack of the so-called “network”. I am a friendly person, but am very protective of my own privacy, bit of a contradiction but that’s why it’s not easy. I struggle with places and feeling connected too. Which doesn’t help. I am an animal lover and would like a dog but feel that would tie me down. It all feels so complicated…
My partner and I have been together for 3 years. She has always had self esteem issues and I am gathering now, possibly some depression. She says things to me like, “I can’t love you the way you love me, it’s not fair to you” even after I tell her she makes me happy and she is enough for me. Also, “I feel like I am just going through the motions and saying what I should say and do but it doesn’t mean anything” “IfI ever can feel anything you’d be the first person I’d call bc you are a great partner” She thinks I am th only one who has ever believed in her and yet, she is constantly trying to push me away or break up with me. She says she loves me but we should just be friends. that she cannot deal with anyone else and I “smother” her by putting her on a pedestal and wanting to spend my time with her. She is resistant to counseling but has finally agreed, at my begging, to go to couple therapy. Do you thinkthis is depression? Should I have hope? We ahve a home, 2 dogs and a car toegher…I really don’t care about that I honestly love this woman and don’t see myself with anyone else. She has so much to offer but lacks the confidence in knowing it. HElp
Sherri, I have had similar problems with my partner of 6 years. She is very insecure and we have had an amazing relationship up until 8 months ago. She stopped taking her medication and turned 40 so she is now dealing with getting older on top of her depression. The past couple months she has said things to me like “You deserve better” “I am a monster and you shouldn’t have to deal with that”. I know that she loves me but she has these issues with how she thinks she is not worthy of being loved. As I type we have been separated for a month and we still communicate however I think that it is important that she takes this time to work on herself. She does love you and you just have to keep telling her how much you care. She eventually work out her issues on her own.