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Relationship Depression, Symptoms, Causes and What To Do

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Depression and relationships may be related. Sometimes a person’s depression is brought on by the relationship itself. Even though a person’s relationship is joyful, depression can still strike them. Keep reading to learn more about this condition.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 1, 2023

Relationship Depression: Depression And Relationships

How Depression Affects Relationships? Depression In Relationships

Depression and relationships may be related. Sometimes a person’s depression is brought on by the relationship itself. Even though a person’s relationship is joyful, depression can still strike them.

When depression arises as a result of relationship issues (Depression In A Relationship), it is sometimes referred to as “relationship depression.” This, however, is not a specific medical condition.

This article will examine relationship depression in greater detail. It will investigate the relationship between relationships and depression.

What Is Relationship Depression? Depressed In A Relationship

Depression Relationships: Even the most contented or stable of partnerships occasionally confront difficulties. Arguments or stress related to your partner or the relationship can fall under this category.

What transpires, though, when the relationship starts to set off a more serious condition, such as depression?

It’s frequently referred to as “relationship depression” when the relationship itself is contributing to depressive symptoms.

Although relationship depression is not a recognized mental health illness, it affects many couples on a regular basis. And a relationship can undoubtedly cause depression, particularly if a person has a predisposition to it.

What can you and your spouse do to combat depression? How exactly does a relationship affect the development of depressive symptoms?

How Does Depression Affect Relationships? Depression Relationship

How Can Depression Affect Relationships? You can attest to the numerous ways a depressive episode can impact your relationships if you’ve ever experienced one. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner. Here are a few effects of depression on relationships:

  • Unfavorable Attitude. When you’re depressed, you could view everything through a pessimistic lens. It could be challenging for you to appreciate the people in your life and to look for flaws where none exist. Or perhaps you feel undeserving of love because of your pessimistic attitude.
  • More sensitive. When you’re upset, you could have less tolerance for the other person’s perceived shortcomings. Things that previously didn’t bother you might now frustrate and upset you, making you two more likely to argue.
  • Reduced Energy. It can be challenging for a partner to comprehend why you don’t feel like going out or are interested in doing something you usually love. You simply feel more worn out when you’re depressed.
  • Not accessible emotionally. Relationships need work to be strong. Being present and emotionally invested with the other person falls under this category. You might not be willing to put the same amount of work into the relationship when you’re through a depressed episode.
  • Decreased libido. It’s challenging for the partner to comprehend when your sexual drive decreases due to depression. They can see your lack of libido as a personal rejection.
  • Increased use of drugs. Depression sufferers may occasionally use drugs or alcohol to dull the symptoms of their condition. The repercussions of substance abuse can ruin a relationship if it worsens. A comorbid drug use disorder, which can be destructive to relationships, increases the likelihood of developing when a substance is misused.

There is treatment available if you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of depression. To rule out a medical problem, start by visiting a doctor for a physical examination. If none are found, the doctor may suggest that you seek professional advice and help from a mental health specialist.

Depression and relationships may be related. Sometimes a person's depression is brought on by the relationship itself. Even though a person's relationship is joyful, depression can still strike them.
Depression and relationships may be related. Sometimes a person’s depression is brought on by the relationship itself. Even though a person’s relationship is joyful, depression can still strike them.

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Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder that are connected to mood elevation or depression

Types of Depression

Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.

Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Depression Statistics

One of the most prevalent mental diseases in the US is major depression. Some people who have serious depression may experience substantial impairments that impede or restrict their capacity to engage in important life activities.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) compared to males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

My Relationship Makes Me Depressed: Depressed In Relationship

There are a number of factors that can cause or exacerbate depression symptoms in a relationship.
There are a number of factors that can cause or exacerbate depression symptoms in a relationship.

The causes of Depression In Relationship: Depression Ruining Relationship

There are a number of factors that can cause or exacerbate depression symptoms in a relationship. These may consist of:

My Relationship Is Making Me Depressed: Infidelity

Cheating can undermine trust and lead to feelings of betrayal, embarrassment, and rage in you or your partner. It may also result in depressive symptoms.

Researchers looked at the impact of infidelity on married or cohabiting couples in a 2016 study. They discovered that individuals who were already predisposed to depression were more likely to experience a significant depressive episode after learning of a partner’s extramarital affair.

According to research from 2020, adultery can contribute to low self-esteem and confidence in addition to being associated with depressive and anxious symptomatology. This alone may have a detrimental impact on a person’s general mental health.

Anxiety And Depression In Relationships: Abuse

Abuse on all fronts—physical, sexual, and emotional—can fuel melancholy and other mood disorders.

A 2020 study looked at the abuse’s long-term emotional effects. In this study, nearly 1500 participants’ experiences with intimate partner violence (IPV) were evaluated at ages 21 and 30, respectively. The study discovered a connection between IPV at age 21 and depressive and anxious symptoms at age 30.

The study also discovered that while men were more prone to anxiety, women were more likely to experience despair as a result of abuse. The indications can be subtle (e.g., emotional abuse) or overt (domestic violence). But any kind of abuse is harmful.

Depression Ruined My Relationship: Past trauma

A person’s reaction to an extremely stressful condition, experience, or incident is typically used to characterize trauma. Trauma can have a long-lasting effect on you in addition to its immediate effects.

Traumatic events from the past could even be present in your current relationship. Perhaps you find it difficult to trust because of your prior experiences, and as a result, you alienate your partner or cause strife in your relationship.

Anxiety or despair can sometimes be a symptom of unresolved trauma. Feelings of humiliation, hopelessness or even the idea that you are undeserving of love may be the root of this.

Ultimately, you might be compromising your relationship and mental health in an effort to defend yourself or stop future suffering. To help you create better-coping mechanisms for your past trauma, it might be beneficial to consult with a mental health expert.

Depression Long Distance Relationship (Long Distance Relationship Depression)

My Long Distance Relationship Is Making Me Depressed: A relationship may encounter a variety of challenges, including physical distance. A couple’s ability to communicate, express emotion, and have intimate encounters can all be impacted by the additional hurdles that long-distance relationships frequently bring. This may have an impact on how either partner—or both—feels about the union.

Long Distance Relationship Partner Depressed: When you’re far off from your lover, it’s possible to feel depressed or anxious about your relationship. These emotions might be brought on by missing your partner or being concerned about their whereabouts or emotions when you’re not around.

Long Distance Relationship Depression After Visit

One of the most difficult aspects of being in a long-distance relationship is dealing with the emptiness that follows a fulfilling visit to your partner’s home or vice versa. You feel melancholy and do not want to get out of bed just thinking about not being able to contact them physically for a long time.

After visiting their long-distance lover, everyone handles their feelings in a different way. When attempting to acclimate back to being apart from their spouse after having just met them, however, there are a few strategies that many individuals find to be really useful.

Relationships And Depression: Conflicting goals

When partners disagree on their future, both as individuals and as a partnership, tension may develop.

Some couples struggle to connect their aims and goals, while many couples discover ways to make this happen. Conflicts between the personal plans of two persons can strain relationships. It might even put a stop to it.

Worry, despair, and depression can set in when you and your partner are struggling to see a shared future and chart a course forward.

Sexless Relationship Depression

Most couples don’t consciously choose to be sexless together. The excitement of the connection wears off as the novelty of it does, and so does the passion. You experience new relationship pressures, such as extended work hours, financial strain, or the birth of a child, and you never seem to get over them. Without any intimacy, weeks grow into months, and you eventually find yourself in a no-sex union.

Health problems, both emotional and physical, can also lead to a sexless marriage. Numerous drugs, stress or depression can all lower libido. Additionally, you might discover that your libido and mood are seldom “in the mood” at the same time. And if you’re continuously at odds, it’s possible that you don’t often feel in the mood.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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Signs Of Depression In A RelationshipDepression In A Relationship Symptoms

Being Depressed In A Relationship: You feel overpowered

When you feel weaker and less capable than the person you’re communicating with, depression may develop. However, not all power disparities result in depression. For instance, even though a parent holds the majority of the power in a positive parent-child connection, everything will work out as long as the parent uses that authority to nurture. In a similar vein, employers are more powerful than workers. However, shared power is healthy in adult love relationships.

Can Depression Ruin A Relationship? Depression Affecting Relationship: You experience judgment

A put-down is when someone says, “You shouldn’t have bought that new sweater.” Critique is an issue, not constructive criticism. Feedback usually begins with an “I” statement, such as “I felt uncomfortable when I saw your new sweater because I’m worried about whether we’re going to have enough money to handle our expenses this month.” Feedback lets you know in a polite way that something you have been doing is incorrect. Contrarily, criticism becomes troublesome when delivered in critical terms and with a critical tone of voice.

Depression Is Ruining My Relationship: Your partner directs your actions

Bossy behaviors are discouraging. Even a mild request, such as “Go grab the paper for me, honey,” is likely to make the recipient angry or depressed. Nobody enjoys being given instructions. Better is to inquire. Requests accept the responses yes or no.

Your partner tries to control you

Depression is likely to ensue if you make decisions about how to spend your time, money, friends, or family. Keep in mind that depression can cause a power disorder. Depression may soon follow when your partner takes away your ability to make independent decisions (or at least to participate in joint decisions).

Depression And Withdrawal From Relationships

My Depression Is Affecting My Relationship

The first step you should take if you believe that depression is destroying your relationship is to talk to your partner about how they are feeling. Unless you ask your partner for their opinion, you won’t know if depression is affecting your relationship. Your partner might be eager to discuss how your mental illness is hurting them, or your worries might be unjustified. In either case, it is preferable to support open conversation, regardless of the emotions and frustrations that surface.

However, communication isn’t always simple, particularly if one partner is despondent. Your partner might perceive that you have given up on life as a result of your withdrawal brought on by depression. Even though you can’t help feeling this way, your spouse might think you don’t care or that you have lost interest in them. Depressed people frequently lack the energy, self-esteem, or withdrawnness to clarify that this isn’t the reality. They frequently don’t know why they are depressed. It may be difficult to comprehend everything.

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Dealing With Depression In A Relationship: My Depression Is Ruining My Relationship

How To Be In A Relationship When You’re Depressed? How To Deal With Depression In A Relationship?

Someone suffering from depression can believe there is no hope. However, there are ways for people to start healing from depression, and it is very treatable.

Making an appointment with a doctor or mental health specialist is the first step. They can assist with the diagnosis of depression, do any necessary tests to rule out any underlying disorders, and go over available treatments. Avoid making a relationship depression test or one of those “is my relationship making me depressed quiz”, the best answer is always going to come from a professional.

Depending on what works for each individual, depression treatments can differ. Typically, it involves a mix of the following:

  • Talking therapy
  • Medication to reduce symptoms
  • Self-care strategies
Someone suffering from depression can believe there is no hope. However, there are ways for people to start healing from depression, and it is very treatable.
Relationship Making Me Depressed: Someone suffering from depression can believe there is no hope. However, there are ways for people to start healing from depression, and it is very treatable.

Being In A Relationship With Someone Who Has Depression – What Can You Do?

Being In A Relationship With Someone With Depression: Understanding the potential causes of the person’s depression through talking treatments is helpful. A therapist could, for instance, assist the patient in recognizing potentially harmful experiences or thought patterns.

The individual can then begin to resolve this and establish new thought processes or routines. They could also want to alter other aspects of their lives, such as their romantic relationship.

Other measures that could be beneficial include:

  • Learning more about depression
  • Keeping a journal where someone can express their feelings freely and start to identify their triggers
  • Setting small, achievable goals that benefit mental health, such as taking short walks, spending time in nature, or talking to a friend
  • Practicing mindfulness through breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga
  • Asking for help from a partner trusted friend or family member
  • Joining a support group, either in person or online

Remember that recovery is not a linear process. It’s common to experience both good and terrible days, even when receiving treatment. People who are depressed might keep up a relationship with their partner by:

  • Sharing how they feel with them if it is safe to do so
  • Explaining how depression affects them and what they need from their partner
  • Acknowledging that this is impacting their partner too, and encouraging them to share how they feel
  • Allowing time for both people to take care of themselves
  • Maintaining physical intimacy in ways that feel more comfortable, such as by holding hands or cuddling

Speaking with a couples counselor may be helpful if talking about depression feels challenging.

Being In A Relationship With A Depressed Person: Depression In Men And Relationships

It can be challenging to keep up a relationship with a depressed man while still looking out for your own mental well-being. Dating someone with a mental illness is not fundamentally different from dating someone without one, although difficulties are more likely to occur.

You may support your depressed partner without jeopardizing the relationship or your emotional health by being aware of these difficulties and knowing how to react.

Depressing Relationship Quotes

  • “Our greatest joy and our greatest pain come in our relationships with others.” – Stephen R. Covey
  • “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” – Unknown
  • “It is sad not to love, but it is much sadder not to be able to love.” – Miguel de Unamuno
  • “Some people are going to leave, but that’s not the end of your story. That’s the end of their part in your story.” – Faraaz Kazi
  • “It’s amazing how someone can break your heart and you can still love them with all the little pieces.” – Ella Harper
  • “There is one pain, I often feel, which you will never know. It’s caused by the absence of you.” – Ashleigh Brilliant

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The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

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Relationship Depression FAQs

  1. Should You Be In A Relationship If You’re Depressed?

    Being depressed shouldn’t prevent you from living your life, and that includes being in a relationship.

  2. What are Depression Self-Sabotaging Relationships?

    Relationship self-sabotage entails acting in ways that inevitably ruin relationships, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This can entail excluding the other person or coming up with excuses to end the relationship. Such actions frequently result from problems with trust, unpleasant prior events, and weak interpersonal abilities.

  3. Does Being In A Relationship Help Depression?

    A strong, loving relationship can be a huge help for persons receiving treatment for a mental illness as well as protective against bad mental health. Happiness is increased while tension, anxiety, and depressive symptoms are decreased by love and supportive social relationships.

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