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 feels like it’s breaking fast. What can you do to keep yourself together?

There are thousands of men and women who have lived through this struggle or are in the midst of it right now. They have a lot of insight and share their painful stories in face-to-face support groups as well as online communities.

The members of one of the oldest of the online forums, Depression Fallout, report over and over again that the support of such groups has been a mainstay for dealing with their depressed partners. Communities like these might be a good starting point for you as well.

Here are 10 ideas drawn from the experience of people who have had to live with depressed partners.

  1. Take care of yourself as well as you can. When depression strikes and you find yourself living with a distant stranger, it’s only natural to focus first on your partner. You’re likely shocked and confused and want to bring back the familiar loving person you know. But it’s easy to lose sight of your own needs and gradually undermine the health and inner balance you need to get through the crisis. The obstacles are huge since your partner is right there and depression is now part of your life. It’s important to keep your own life going, get out of the hothouse as often as you can and spend time on the things that most help you relax.

  2. Get help. There’s so much stress in living with depression that you should reach out for support. Perhaps you have caring friends you trust enough to confide in, or can find a support group, online communities, perhaps individual counseling, . That’s the critical first step. And keep on getting their help. You need regular support because the injury doesn’t stop until depression does.

  3. It’s not your fault. Depression is the cause of the problem, not you. Nothing you’ve done could have brought on the ugly transformation of your partner – whatever accusations they might throw at you. Nor is it possible for you to fix the illness. Depression is complicated, not fully understood, and has multiple causes. No one really knows how to cure it. You may be able to help your partner get the right kind of help, but they need to commit to the work of recovery and stay with it.

  4. Learn about depression and how pervasive an impact it can have. That will prepare you to recognize the many ways it can distort your partner’s behavior. You should realize, though, that what you’re learning is just a small part of an evolving field of research. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about exactly what’s wrong and what can be done about it. Consulting a mental health professional is a good way to get further insight into your partner’s illness.

  5. Offer love and support without trying to be directive. Suggest it might be helpful – but pushing it, demanding that he get help in certain ways or learn what you’ve been learning won’t work. Tell him you’re trying to figure out what all the changes in the relationship have been about – and will be there to help as much as you can.

  6. Depression can control you both. Be aware of the danger that you can easily be drawn into the same vortex that’s spinning your partner around. Anne Sheffield describes it as Depression Fallout. Michael Yapko writes that Depression Is Contagious. It’s common to develop your own illness as a result of living with a depressed person. That’s why it’s so important to get all the help you can and to watch your emotional and physical state.

  7. Break the Cycle. One way to keep from being dependent on your partner’s moods is to look closely at your reactions to each of them. What are the worst, most painful moments for you – the ones that trigger your most intense feelings? What does your partner do to set you off? What is the feeling that wells up in you – anger, fear, hopelessness? And what do you do in response – meet attack for attack, hold your feelings in, leave? How do you feel about your own reactions afterward? It can help to track these reactions on paper at first to help you recognize the triggering events. That tactic could make it easier to interrupt your usual reaction, restore a sense of emotional independence and break the cycle that’s hurting you in so many ways.

  8. Be tolerant of yourself. You probably can’t stop the emotional rollercoaster all at once or persuade your partner to get help or take perfect care of yourself. Expecting too much too soon can only lead to more frustration and reduced self-esteem. You already have enough of those to deal with.

  9. You Can’t Go Back. Try to remember that the relationship you used to know may not return. It’s likely to be changed as a result of living with depression, especially if it recurs of if a single episode continues for several months, perhaps even years. It’s only natural to long for the return of the loving partner you used to know – your partner wants the same thing – but be prepared that it may not be so simple as that. You and your partner are more likely to face a gradual process of redefining how to live together.

  10. They’re responsible. Depression may be the underlying problem, but that fact doesn’t take away responsibility for destructive behavior. When feeling better they may tell you it’s depression driving them to act so hurtfully. The familiar refrain is: Don’t take it personally. But of course it’s personal. They’re constantly hitting you where it hurts. The anger, attacks, threats to leave and withdrawal are as personal as it gets in a relationship. It’s especially important, then to set boundaries. Depressed partners have know when you can’t take anymore, or they cross a line that can’t be crossed. Remind them about what’s at stake. If they go too far, they’ll lose everything.

37 Responses to “10 Ways to Help Yourself When Your Partner Is Depressed”

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  1. Struggling says:

    I’m a 20-year-old woman with a 25-year-old partner. He suffers from depression and is seeking help from his doctor. We’re intending to live together over the summer while I’m home from University, but his depression is making it very, very tough for me. He came home from an event on Monday, and when I went to visit him, he told me that had it not been for a close group of friends there with him, he would have committed suicide. Obviously, while I knew he was on anti-depressants and was taking sleeping tables occasionally, it came as a bit of a bolt from the blue that he believed everything had become so bad in his life that he felt a need to end it. Because it was so unexpected, and I love him dearly, I ended up going into meltdown to some extent, in tears and trying to hold myself together while talking to him about why he felt that way and what had gone on.
    What concerned me was the coldness in his voice when he spoke. There was no emotion, no upset, or concern, or anything…just a chill. He was coldly logical, and it upset me that he could be that unfeeling about taking his own life. Over the past few days I have tried to be available as often as possible (while still finishing coursework and essays) and to try and be as gentle with him as I can.
    I’m struggling, though. I am unable to be there every hour of every day, and I am currently splitting my time between my familial home and his home, across the city. I have asked him to make sure he buys food and cooks for himself, rather than relying on takeaways, as he always ends up with no money – despite being in a fairly well-paying job, and I had to pay for food for him out of my rather meagre funds last month – I am currently looking for part-time work, and yet I know he hasn’t done so so far this month and I worry on his budgeting this month too. I don’t have the money available to bail him out again. He has had 2 months on sick leave from work and is contemplating taking more time off, which he has said would leave him almost certainly jobless. This would mean he would have no money to pay rent or bills, and his sick record would make it very difficult for him to find work elsewhere. I have told him I’ll support him with whatever he decides, but we both know the risks/probabilities. I am certain this is not helping his depression.
    I try to offer him thing to do or chances to meet, and he always seems keen, but ten minutes later will change his mind, and then maybe again, and again. I don’t want to yell or shout but I can’t change my plans as quickly and I don’t want to make decisions for him as we are both strong-willed and I don’t want him to think I’m ignoring his opinion or views.
    He buries anything that worries him away, which doesn’t necessarily make the worry lesser or the issues smaller – it just pushes them away for a few more days (and they sometimes come back bigger.) I have no control over his finances, I have no contact with his doctor, I know he’s seen a counsellor but I think their sessions ended a month or so ago. I can’t physically take some of this strain off him, and nor do I think I could mentally manage it. I’m just about holding myself together, having been signed off from University three months ago due to stress, and while I want to support and I am trying to support him as much as I can…I am really, truly struggling.
    I love my partner to pieces, but recently the emotional strain has begun to become too much. I need advice, and I need it fast. Please help?

    • nora says:

      does your partner have any family or friends that perhaps you are able to contact? What about your family? Have you told them about the situation?

      I am worried about your well – being. It sounds as though you are in a tough situation. Do you know what triggered his depression?

      Your partner obviously needs further help, but you cannot do it all. Is there any way you can spread the load of responsibility for him. Have you spoken to your advisor of studies or the Samaritans? Whatever happens you must take time to look after yourself. As you pointed out you cannot be there every minute of the day anyway and also you cannot be held responsible for your partners actions, you can only provide him with support. If you do not look after yourself you will be unable to support him.

      Speak to as many people as possible. Helplines, study advisers, friends, family. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

      I also have a partner with depression. It is extremely difficult and draining to deal with him and I also know how easy it is to turn into yourself so please do not do this.

      Take care friend.

  2. Anie says:


    I’m not sure what to say, my fiancé and I have been together for 7 years and are due to be married in less then 3 months now.

    Out of the blue he started to act really strange then had a co fess ion if guilt about way hong porn which I really didn’t care about it was the fact he kept it from me.

    The confession turnt to self loathing of not being the person he wanted thought he should be. He has guilt about all the things he should have been doing, wedding stuff, looking for a more for filling job, actually talking to me. He started having panic and anxiety attacks as well as compleat lay irrational thoughts and fears which were beginning to scare me a bit so he kind of stopped telling me but now just seems deeply depressed!

    The weird Thing about all thus is our relationship seems to be the best it’s ever been when he’s thinking straight, the depth of love has intensified somehow which only make the crushing lows even lower!

    He promises me he had no idea where all this has come from and he wants nothing more then to marry me in 10 weeks but he is so down I’m terrified he’s going to pull the plug on the wedding!

    I don’t know what to do?! We have 2 small children and he really is an amazing dad and an amazing man I love him so much but I feel so angry that I’m struggling to be the person I need to be in this situation!

    I’m so tired! I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t think I just feel consumed by him and how he’s feeling! So I switch off and focus on me and the kids and its great then I get the guilt all over again!

    I just feel so lost and scared, it’s all only happened over the last 3 weeks I’m usually such a strong person but I can see myself falling apart especially when I’m close to him!

    He has agreed to seek council g which he started last week and is getting back into exercise and seeing his friends, which is what he is doing now. Ordinarily I would never worry but now I haven’t heard from him and I’m going out of my mind!

    I know it’s only been 3 weeks and I’m being so impatient but I just want my life back or to know what to do at least?!

    • Lili says:

      Hi Anie,

      When you say you haven’t heard from him is it because you two do not live together? Im sorry Anie but it sounds like your fiance probably carried depression for awhile and finally broke down during the confession. It’s just the mentioning of the use of pornography also, alot of depressed men use porn as a way to distract themselves from reality. I know that my partner did, and when i confronted him, he broke down and cried, apologized and begged for forgiveness. Telling me that he’s not himself and would never do this to hurt me again. Everything just flooded out, sobbed in my arms like a child.
      Unfortunately for me, my partner is still deep in depression, and till now, he have yet to have professional medical help of any sort. It got to a point where last week and this week, he was talking of the pressure he’s feeling from our relationship, and the fact im doing so much for him with him unable to return that love back give him so much anxiety, pressure and sadness. After a week of begging, i was able to have him hang on to the relationship, and he finally told me he’s going to seek help from a doctor first. So for me, our fight, have just started.

      I do recommend you talk to your fiance again, just to follow up on his progress. It also sound like to me he’s quite sensitive and talking seem to put him on the edge, so maybe also engage in his activities like taking walks together and going for a jog together even. That way you can observe how he’s coping and watch how he respond to you being around him, without him feeling pushed or questioned. Keep in touch dear, you are not alone in this fight and i wish you two all the best!.

  3. jack says:

    one can defeat depression by controlling how we think…

  4. Briana says:

    Hello, i’m 19 and my boyfriend is 22..and it is quiet hard to deal with his depression. This just occurred 2 Weeks ago and he actually admitted that he was depressed 2 days ago. I am at a loss right now. I feel, hurt, and a little depressed myself. I’m trying my best to cheer him up but nothing seems to work!! I just wish things were back to the way they were when he was happy. Somebody HELP!! I feel like i’m going crazy . PS: this is a long distance relationship

  5. rubyredshoes says:

    I’m so glad I have stumbled across thus blog , whilst looking for answers & techniques for dealing with & perfecting myself from my boyfriends depression. I won’t go into details suffice to say its got pretty bad. he’s given up work , he barely goes out , sometimes doesn’t sat for days . We live in different cities & I work full time & have children from a previous relationship, so it’s hard to be with him as much as I’d like, he cannot really stay with me because he finds engaging with my kids a strain right now & because to be honest his behaviour & manner is constantly fluctuating between being withdrawn & bleak & angry / self destructive , he talks of being in constant pain & ending it . he has cuts and red marks in his hands & arms & I suspect self abuse , but the one time I tentatively broached it he became very defensive & enraged.. I am walking in eggshells. he scares me at times.. he’s never hurt me physically , but he looks so dead behind the eyes & can be so verbally unkind that I worry sometimes that he might . it is escalating . he admits he is unwell , but refuses to get help . he had a bad experience with a ‘ counsellor’ previously and was on anti depressants once that made him feel numb & totally spaced, as well as queasy all the time. I managed to persuade him to ring up a therapy centre & was so proud that he did , but they weren’t great on the phone & made him feel stupid & now he’s awaiting an assessment, but is rapidly back pedalling . it’s git TK the point now that he’s claiming its all me , all in my head . I’m trying to control & emasculate him …. he really needs help , he says he’s in constant physical & emotional pain ( he gets lumps in his sdms and kegs, crippling stabbing headaches, panic attacks, but he’s deep , deep in denial…. what can I do ?

  6. Jane says:

    Hi everyone.

    I’ve been with my partner for two years.., we have all the qualities between each other that people would dream of… Our relationship works well, however there is a massive mountain we just can’t climb….,

    My partner has depression. He will occasionally lock himself away in his house for a few day or a week and totally cut off the world…. He won’t answer the door, phone or respond to anything or anyone… It’s so alarming and it hurts so bad to see someone you love hurt themselves. When he goes missing like this I become a mess… I cry and then I feel low!! I don’t want him to hurt himself! I love him! But no matter what I do it’s not enough to heal him….
    He disappears at crucial times or times when I’m on need and it makes me squirm with fret and fear… I lost my grandma and days later he disappeared… We booked a vacation and he went missing for a week, then turned up 48 hours before the flight, we was due to move in together and I had a job near his town… He went missing and I lost the job as I had nowhere to stay as he wouldn’t come round to let me in.. I had to return to my home town 200 miles away…. There is so many more occasions that have been ruined weddings, trips, you name it….

    He is a beautiful striking man and has lovely qualities…. But what he does taunts me.. Sometime when I forgive him I find it hard to forget what he does and I throw it in his face… I’m insecure, down and I don’t feel wanted by him when he does this. How can he want me if he leaves me so often? Or he won’t stop the hurt. I feel like I’m the one with the problem but I know I’m not…. In two years he has left me 14 times. The first thing you think is- this guys cheating… But he is a physical mess? Unshaven and not groomed after these episodes and then all of a sudden he bounces back to normality….

    I love him dearly and I want him to get well but I just don’t know how to help him or help myself….. He is my world and I will do anything to make him happy and well!!

    I’m terrified I’m going to find him dead!! I’m 26… He is 20 years older…. He has kids who are grown ups now and he cuts them out occasionally but not like me….

    We could be so happy and so perfect only for this depression barrier.

    How can I save my relationship and save him.

    Admire you all on here!!!
    Love and thoughts to you all!!

  7. Stephanie young says:

    I need help please I don’t know what to do my husband has been realy depressed for a very long time it got so bad that he had a affair with another woman he is so mean to me.. Before we got together he lost 3 of his children and he is always upset about it . We have 4 children together and he treats them bad to.. I realy don’t know wht to do anymore I am starting to feel depressed from all this please help me

    • anon says:

      Maybe I am naive, and I do not fully understand the situation. At first read, this sounds alarming, and I am sorry for your situation. It sounds more like emotional abuse than it is depression affecting a family. The poor treatment and infidelity should be not be results/excuse from depression.

  8. Darrius Woods says:

    I’m glad I found this website, so now I can release my frustration. My wife and I have been marries for almost 2 tears now, and I love her dearly. Recently my wife have had symptoms of depression and its effecting our family. Its unhealthy for me and our kids, it has been taking its toll on me. I’m thankful
    For this blog some great information

  9. NerdyBoyfriend says:


    At the moment I am in a living-together situation where my girl (possibly future-wife) is in a constant and periodic fallout mode where she practically loses all hint of trust , self-esteem , and well-being altogether.

    We recently lived through what both of us would describe as a “dream vacation” spending a lot of time together seeing our favorite bands live and just livin’ it up.

    As someone that submerged himself into depression and self-doubt during his teen years and got back on his feet in his adulthood by basically “feeling like a kid, but with the knowledge of an adult”, I can identify myself with those feelings of insecurity , self-doubt and low self esteem. Man, I even decide to laugh in the face of rampant jealousy because I know that in the years I’ve spent with this girl, I’ve never … EVER … done anything wrong, besides, it’s the depression talking when that happens.

    What I don’t know, (and what I’ve come here to ask) is, How can I make her want to help herself? How can I motivate someone that basically does not seem to have it in her to take care of her well-being ?

    Is she a lost cause? Should I just move on with life?

    Oh, and does marihuana consumption affect at all? Because she seems to be really into it. I have nothing against it, but I just wonder if it does more harm than good.

    Thanks in advance.

  10. Sally says:

    Hi, Thanku for this article it is one of many I an finding useful atm. I kno my partner is suffering depression he was diagnosed after I left him. I left with my five children and fleed to a woman’s refuge three and a half months ago, our only child together was four months old. Within the last month we Hav bin trying to sort things out, because I felt bad because of the depression and decided to giv it another go after educating myself. It has been sooo draining and scary, I feel I’m abandoning him when he needs us desperately now, he threatened suicide about two weeks ago, he constantly accuses me of cheating, he just finds something to b negative and terribly emotionally abusive at me, even when I’m attending church with my five children he accuses me of being with someone and the people who my children and I travel to church with. He calls me every name under the sun, threatens to run his car thru the refuge where we are staying. I am scared and can’t take anymore, I try to talk positive to him but he talks n yells worse at me. I fleed because the last straw for me was after a verbal argument between he n i, he pulled three of my children out of bed at 11pm at night and locked them out on the verandah, they begged and cried to go back in and he swore at them and told them not to ask again. After three mths I thort things would change, but his still set that I am a s$&@. I feel I need to continue to protect my children and let him sort himself out, I feel like I’m gona lose it if I continue in this cycle. Please giv me helpful advice !!!!!

  11. ivyj says:

    My husband is diagnosed with OCD and depression and currently seeing therapist. I think I have tried my best to support him while he is fighting against the nasty conditions. However, his mood swings start to affect me, my way of looking at people, society and world as a whole, getting more and more negative. And I start avoiding people as well, feeling low all the time and cry for no reason when I’m all by myself…He has started drinking liquor too, but I’m not sure if it is to the point of abusing alcohol. My concern is the family history, his uncle is an alcoholic… I also found out that he has been cutting his arms…That hurts me so much. He is a phd student and is at the final stage of writing his dissertation. I think that’s the primary souce for his stress. He doesn’t have a hard schedule, so if he doesn’t go to library he is home alone…and I worry that he would hurt himself seriously one day…I work full time so I cannot watch him all the time…I don’t know who to talk to. I cannot talk to his parents because I don’t think it will help other than making them worry. I feel so tired physically and emotionally…I want this to be over…

  12. Gaia says:

    Good thoughts for us all. I have been dealing with a depressed spouse for two plus years. There was a divorce, so there was already tenderness where children and their issues were concerned, which is normal, I know. Then, the financial troubles hit, coupled by career changes. Then the death of a sibling with which the relationship was complicated.

    The sad thing is my spouse has lost the ability to see all that is good. Life has become a constant fixation on what could go wrong. We are not careless with our finances or reckless in our behaviors, so if anything does go wrong it will not be because we were courting disaster. Every action or decision that is made is scrutinized endlessly.

    Then there is the guilt that is massive. THe thinking which at times is emotional and childish. The other day, there was a massive bout of guilt and berating for not being able to physically attend a meeting for a prospective school for his child. The plan was to conference as the meeting was 12 hours away, and occurring mid work week at a critical point in a business transaction. The school called and said that they could not conference the call for some reason. So, I said, well make your own appointment to go and visit with your child when work quiets a bit, or use your child’s phone to conference. All this was met with was, but I’m a terrible parent. I am a negligent parent. No basis in reality, but that’s what something like this does to my spouse’s head.

    Sex life has been gutted. Although, I am told once a week is better than most. I feel guilty for desiring more, but I do.

    I try to remain patient, talk it out, support, but it does not get better. Then after you’ve spent all this time putting someone else back together, there’s no one to take care of you. I feel mentally and physically exhausted. I so want to help, but I am running out of energy.

    • Mum2Matahari says:

      I feel your pain, frustration and exhaustion.

      I don’t have solutions for you because i too feel EXACTLY the same as you and have no idea where to seek help.

      I live in a country where I can’t seem to find a support group dedicated to spouses with depresion.

      I feel that I am walking on an egg shell – cold home.

      We have a kid who is 4 years old and i really hope that he will not witness this and affect him in the future – just the same way it has happend to my husband and his parents.

      I realise that my husband must have got depression for a long time but has managed to control things when ‘things are good ‘ but often they are ‘half empty cups’ events rather than ‘half full’.

      Any reason for celebration is doomed – doesn’t see that life in itself is worth celebrating – nothing major but a ‘thank full’ celebration would be enough for me.

      I wish to have some kind of connection with someone outthere who can help me with gaining my energy for the sake of my family and my own emotional well being….

  13. tom says:

    Everyone, I am praying for all of us. Finally my got my wife to go to a therapist, and just after our first meeting, it’s seemed to help. Some weight has been off my chest. I’ve been fighting this dark entity called depression within my wife for the past year. It’s that whom I am dealing with, not her. It saddens me because she doesn’t realize how bad it hurts.

    Stay strong!

    • Tom two says:

      Trying to get my wonderful wife and mother of my two boys to get help but how do you tell them they are destroying everything when they can’t see it themselves

  14. Bonnie says:

    Dear all

    If u have or are suffering from a partner with depression I would like to hear from you. For the past two years I have been married to a man with a lot of problems. We have been married and together for 19 years and have two children. His behaviour has crushed me and he swings from total devotion to extreme indifference and cruelty. I am looking for a group to gain support that hopefully I am not the only one caring for man that gives me nothing in return.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    • K says:

      Hi Bonnie, I’m sorry to hear your story. I would advise you to post on the General Discussion forum on the Depression Fallout site. There are so many people on there going through the same thing (unfortunately) who will be able to give a lot of support.

      Best wishes,

    • Gaia says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      I am sorry for your struggles. I know your pain. You get these brief bursts where there is some joy and happiness only to have then vanish suddenly. I keep waiting for someone to come and say “this is too much for her (me) she needs a rest.” I am just so desperate to take my eyes off of the road for a moment. The constant watching and worrying. It feels almost the way an abused spouse feels… Never knowing what will come through the door, how quickly you need to shoo the kids away… Love is not easy! Fingers crossed for us all!

  15. Debs says:

    My husband has been getting steadily worse with depression over the last few years but even now he is having trouble accepting it. I was in the early stage if pregnancy last year when he started an affair. I suspected something was going in and got really stressed. My blood pressure was high for the first time and I found out at 16 weeks 4 days that I had had a missed miscarriage. When my husband came to the hospital, he sat as far away from me as possible. When I went in the next day, he strode ahead of me leaving me to carry my bag. His whole attitude was cold. At the time I needed him most, he wasn’t there for me and I ended up grieving for my child and my husband. 5 months later I finally found the proof that he’d been seeing someone else and confronted him. I told him I didn’t want to live in a loveless marriage but twice he came back saying he wanted to try to get back on track. Yesterday we went for marriage guidance counselling. Almost the entire session was taken up by the counsellor telling him how hard it was for him cos he felt he had the entire financial burden and had to work 60 hours a week. He didn’t have to. It was his choice and nothing I said made any difference. He had just escalated things out of all proportion. She said he was showing signs of depression and suggested he speak to his GP about anti depressants. He then had a major rant and cried saying he felt no-one gave a stuff about him. How he wanted us to sell everything and live in a caravan. How he was earning good money but couldn’t buy what he wanted. Every time I tried to comment he shut me down. All the time the counsellor was sympathising. I wanted to shout at him that EVERYTHING was about him! I’d been walking on egg shells for years. Nothing was ever good enough for him. I had always tried to bring extra money in with work but had to juggle it with childcare. I didn’t want to live in the caravan because I knew he wouldn’t be able to control his rages when the kids were noisy. I am working part time now and we do have money left over but he keeps spending it on unnecessary things that he justifies by saying he needs something for himself cos he never gets anything. I never get anything. He resents any money that I spend on the kids and fritters away money on things we don’t need. We came out of there and he starts acting as if nothing happened. I just felt furious. It’s almost like he now thinks he was justified in treating me so badly. Where on earth do I go from here?

    • Mimi says:

      Leave him. He’s destroying your life. Depression is not an excuse for how he is treating you. If you are afraid of his “rages” that’s a relationship you need to get out of. You should never be with a partner you’re afraid of. That’s a terrible way to live.

      • Debs says:

        I’m not worried for myself. He’s never physically hurt me. I just don’t want him shouting at the kids. I feel like I need to give him opportunity to sort himself out before I close the door for good. So difficult though when he says he wants to try to get back to how we once were and then he says he feels nothing for me. Just don’t know what to believe any more. Family life has been much better recently but I can’t stay in a loveless marriage.

    • robin says:

      If i was in your shoes….. i would sit back n take a good look at ur whole relatioship n write down the good points n than bad ones…i would than see the reality of my marriages future…i would also try n focus on my children n how i want them to learn how a relationship works….if they r seeing u two always fighting if they know ur always hurting than what example are u truley setting…. i also feel u should never allow someone to belittle you n make u feel all their wrongful actions were because of u ….. ur husband cheated he cheated on u when u were carring his child i say go back to the therapist n take a stand n let him have it tell him how u truley feel n dont give him a moment to interrupt u n when ur done walk out with ur head held high n a new life which u n ur children deserve god bless u n sorry for ur loss

  16. Carolyn says:

    This article makes it sound like the depressed person a virus. It consoles the partner but paints the “depressed person” as poorly behaved child that should have no cause for complaint with the perfect partner. Throwing labels around so lightly only gives people reasons to blame their partner and not take any responsibility themselves. When you are labeled the “depressed partner” you now become the scapegoat for any legitimate issues in the relationship. Why don’t we just get rid of these stupid, useless, offensive labels and look at the person as a whole and not “diseased”

  17. Thousands of men and women who have lived through this struggle or are in the midst of it right now. They have a lot of insight and share their painful stories in face-to-face support groups as well as online communities.This is a good reminder to me that others don’t make me depressed.

  18. Eva says:

    I’ve been with my husband 4,5 years married 1,5 years . He started becoming distant from me when I had my son lady year before that we had few episodes of fighting but always made up and it was fine. Now I’m sure he is depressed it’s all money and stress at work which I understand and tried to support him but he’s not taking it any more . He blames me for everything doesn’t sleep well started avoiding work , doesn’t spend time with his son . He has 3 kids from previous relationship much older two of them are over 18 one under 18. They were slaways demanding a lot of money which was sort of bareable at the beginning but now got us into serious trouble. He finally said something and stopped paying main tench for the oldest one which he should have stopped year ago. But it’s too late in terms of debt that we have now. We could start slowly changing things to be back on track but wherever I try to save he spends a lot on drinking beacause he doesn’t want to wait few years until I will be ae to go back to work I’m much younger and doing my degree to have a decent job and if I would start working now I would not be able to pay the nursery bills even so I’m stuck at home taking all this abuse now. And starting feeli g depressed myself . I try to be positive not blame him or talk back when he does . But it’s very hard. I’ m afraid he may do so etching stupid and I want to take my son and go either to my mum or mother -in-law because I don’t want him witness what’s going on in our house. I don’t know what to do anymore . I feel guilty now that I wanted to have family when he wasn’t sure cause he had kids already now I’m paying for this really bad … I love him so much we were so happy why won’t he talk to me and try to sort things out? He promised few times that he would change but its all the same every month around pay day … The lack of money and his other kids blaming him for not seeing them often and not sending enough money when they should work already .. Please someone give me some advice I can’t take it anymore … He doesn’t want any help or talk to anyone says he doesn’t have friends and the kids are bothering him and I said we are here for him and he ignores that … It’s a vicious circle… Help

  19. T says:

    This is a great article, I have been married for four years and am dealing with a nightmare….my wife, was the sweetest and most patient person you could ever know. No it’s the opposite. I just feel like she hates me for who I am and what I do. Fortunately I’ve dealt with my own depression in the past so it’s not a total mess. Reading this article has made me realize I need to protect myself. I care and love her so much, and it’s like a knife stabbing my heart when I get the ‘cold’ shoulder/vibes. She won’t even let me hug her. Asking how her day was is as if I insulted her. She cancelled therapy, no I asked for her to seek anti-depressants from her primary doctor, at the last resort. Divorce has crossed my mind….this has been going on for the past 8-10 months or so.


  20. Lou says:

    Thank you for this, just when I needed it.

    I fell in love with a really lovely warm, funny, affectionate loving man, and gave up my life as I knew it to be with him.

    I came with baggage which I had to deal with, but forgot that he was having to deal with me dealing with it. He already had a lot going on in his life with a difficult former partner a headstrong 11 year-old daughter, & a busy stressful job (we work for the same organisation).

    Last Christmas he thought I was finishing with him after all I’d put him through, but it was a huge miscommunication, and that’s where it started.

    We sorted things out, but I never truely got him back because from January this year onward I began to lose him to depression.

    I didn’t know that’s what it was at first, neither did he. He became distant, closed and cold – the total opposite of the lovely man I met. I dealt with it wrongly because I had no idea it was depression, so I shouted and blamed and took it all very personally. Couldn’t believe he was treating me like this after we’d been through so much to be together!

    So the roller-coaster began…..in April he moved 40 miles away to be nearer daughter so we hardly saw each other (I still don’t know where he lives), and we split up several times, he became quite cruel, cold & unemotional. Unrecognisable.

    Then he went to doctor’s & was told he had depression. But, refused tablets ans the doc didn’t offer counselling, and he’s never been back. Stalemate.

    In June we tried again deciding to start again from the beginning. All was going ok – not amazing, but we were starting to build up the closeness & friendship again very slowly.

    Then 3 days ago, it went wrong again. I mentioned I was hurt by something he said, and I’ve been ignored ever since. He won’t talk to me, he won’t reply to any messages, he blanks me at work.

    I know it’s not him, I know it’s the depression, and I’m 100% that I’m sticking with him – but how on earth do I do it??

  21. Tamara says:

    Thank you. Your list of 10 things couldn’t have come at a better time. Tonight while chatting to my very much loved partner, I idly began picking up all his newspapers and magazines from the coffee table to store on the shelf beneath, to clean up. His response to me cleaning up was jawdropping, and we’ve been together for 4 years! I was accused of nagging, called names, he roared derogatory comments about me, he slammed a beer down on the counter so hard it sprayed right around the kitchen, (without breaking the glass), he picked the whole coffee table up and slammed it on the floor, he kept saying ‘see what you made me do!’ This was the only thing I raised my voice to, telling him firmly not to blame me for his actions and lack of control. I refuse to let him blame me for his destructive actions. He gathered up a pillow, blanket and change of clothes and drove off. I’ve scrubbed the beer smell out of my kitchen, cleaned up the splintered wood and papers, tinkered on the computer and found this site. And finally dissolved into tears when I read point 10. What you have written sounds like you were in the room tonight. I hope I can put your resources to good use now – if he comes home.

  22. John Folk-Williams says:

    Hi -

    I’m often confused by what counselors say – especially to advise someone to separate without any effort to talk to both partners. It’s important to remember that you are hearing about the counselor’s opinion indirectly (I presume) from your husband, so he may unintentionally be attaching the meaning he wants to hear to the counselor’s words. I obviously don’t know, but I would focus on your husband and ask him to be as clear as he can be with you about his feelings (and he may not be able to be very clear or consistent). The medication would take more than a week to have much impact – and he does sound as lost in depression as I was at one time. He’s ill and confused and what he says and does won’t make much sense. He probably can’t feel much of anything but could read that as a lack of intensity in the relationship – that’s an easier explanation than trying to deal with your own depression. Whatever is happening with him, I think it’s important for you to let him know your support and compassion for him but also the devastating impact his behavior is having on you. Since the depression has been going on for over a year, he (and you) probably won’t find any quick relief from it. Unfortunately, you can’t do the work of recovery for him, and I hope you’ll get all the support you need to get through this difficult time. It would be good if you and he could see a marital counselor together, hopefully someone who has dealt specifically with the effect of depression on relationships.


    • Rose says:

      Hi Wife of depressed husband and John,

      I can understand what you are going through. My husband lost his job and his father past away within a month of each other. His personallity changed. He was angry, upset and irrational. I had no idea of what was happening. I convienced him to go to a therapist. He got a name of someone through our insurance company. After he started seeing the therapist it got worse. He came home of therapy and started blaming me for his depression and said that he didn’t really want to buy the house that we lived in, he didn’t want the kids go to the private school that they went to and he didn’t want my father living with us. He said that his depression and anger was my fault. We had discussed in dept these issues years before and I couldn’t understand why he was bringing them up now. He eventually invited me into his therapy sesssion and the therapist spoke for my husband and told me that he wanted more of my attention and that my father was taking too much attention from him. He stopped seeing this therapist soon after I sat in on the session. When he started to come out of his depression I asked him why he had said such things and he couldn’t explain because he didn’t know why but said that he left therapy each time thinking that the reason he was depressed was because I had too much control. It’s very frustrating when a therapist is not probably trained and the spouse is on the other end dealing with the outcome of her bad advise. A depressed person has a distored view of reality and if a profession is telling him something then it is assumed that this profession is correct. See a new therapist if possible. Unfortunately, my husband’s therapist not only damaged my marriage but my husband refuses to ever see a professional again. His way of dealing with the depression is to try not to rage. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m usually on the receiving end of his rage.

      John – it would be nice to hear from your wife and how she delt with her feeling toward you during and after an episode. I find it extrememly difficult to forgive and forget.

  23. Krystie says:

    I have been Living with My Husband for 4 years he has Depression. Somethings happened to him in his past that caused him to break. He is a Wonderful man. I love him very much and try my best to help him because I know what happen was not his Fault. He is a Amazing man that I would do anything for but sometimes he gets to where he thinks he don’t need his Meds. please help me to find away to reassure him that he has to have his Meds before he can live a normal life. I love him with all my heart and soul and when he don’t take his meds he ends up getting sick and has to leave me to go and get help. It kills me that he has this Illness and I don’t know how to help him…… :(

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Krystie -

      It’s always hard to see your partner get careless about treatment and not be able to do much about it. I think the main thing is to keep offering support and love as you’re doing and let him know you’re there to help him in any way he thinks you can. Of course, you can’t make him stay in treatment if he won’t do it. Treatment, though, includes a lot more possibilities than medication. In fact, people often get better with a combination of meds and one of the many forms of psychotherapy. Some types of therapy focus entirely on ending immediate symptoms without going into past history at all. Other types do just the opposite and probe terrible events of the past that may have contributed to the present problems. If he feels that meds aren’t the answer, then you might help him get information about other possibilities.

      I wish you both the best — John

  24. Donna-1 says:

    This is a good reminder to me that others don’t make me depressed; I tend to do things and react in ways that make and keep me depressed. Also is a good reminder that our depression DOES affect others, whether or not they choose to show it or talk about it. I tend to withdraw — that is my first response to depression. How difficult it can be to reach out instead, to make that effort to restore relationships once they are damaged.


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