Depression Does Not Have to Destroy Your Relationship

Couple sitting together in grass

Depression can be life threatening. People who have depression and never get help for it may find themselves contemplating suicide or numbing with drugs or alcohol. All of these activities are dangerous and can ultimately lead to death. Depression can be fatal for individuals, but also for couples and families. Spouses of depressed people may not even realize their loved one is depressed. But learning the signs and what to do about them could save not only the relationship, but the life of your partner. In a recent article, Mary Jo Rapini, a licensed psychotherapist and author, explains what to look for and how to address the issue of depression in a marriage.

The most obvious way to determine if your partner is depressed is to ask. However, many times, depressed individuals don’t even know they are clinically depressed. Rapini suggests looking for changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Also, if your partner begins to isolate from others and loses interest in things that used to bring that person joy, he or she may be depressed. Changes in behavior, such as irritability or confusion, can also indicate depression. Another sign is lack of intimacy. When people become depressed, they have little interest in anything pleasurable, including sex.

If you believe your partner has depression, Rapini suggests looking into some treatment options. The two most common forms of treatment are therapy and medication. Even though therapy is usually something a depressed person will attend alone, couples therapy can be especially helpful if the depression has begun to affect the relationship. Rapini adds, “Couples who work as a team and seek treatment for depression as a team are much more successful with managing their loved one’s depression.” Even though it is important to address the issues that affect the sexual, intimate, and emotional levels of the marriage, the primary focus should be addressing the depression and the affect it is having on the individual. Rapini emphasizes the importance of dealing with depression sooner rather than later. Once it becomes manageable, then address the family and relationship issues.

Rapini, M. J. Depression kills people and marriage. (Sept. 4, 2012). Houston Chronicle. Web. Retrieved Sept. 6, 2012, from

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • kelly

    September 12th, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    my husband seems to be depressed but that doesnt last for too long at a stretch.its like it happens often but with breaks..I don’t know how to explain this.

    he is alright a few weeks and then suddenly things start to deteriorate,he loses interest in things and eats less and wants to spend more alone time than usual.this happens for maybe 2-3 weeks and he slowly returns to normalcy.for the first few times I thought it was work pressure or something but now that such episodes have occurred like 6-7 times,I do not know how to deal with this.

    when I ask him what’s wrong he says nothing and I do not want to stress on and question him like that.but this kind of behavior of his is really bothering me.what do I do?

  • patricia

    January 4th, 2017 at 7:02 AM

    i know what he`s going thru i suffer from depression and sometimes i get frustrated because i do not know what going on with my body,my bf just lets me deal with on my own but stands by me. the only thing i can suggest to you is just stand by him no mather what ,he`s needs to know that you are there for him,he needs that even if he doesnt show it,it`s hard i know but there is always hope ,i know.gotta be strong and hang in there.

  • Morgana

    September 12th, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    It was hard for me to deal with when my husband became depressed because he had always been my rock. Then the roles changed and I feel like I failed him. He says that he is not disappointed with me but I just have this feeling that I could have done more for him.

    He had lost his job and we were having a hard time keeping our heads above water. It would have been at this time that normally I would have leaned on him but this time he needed me. I thought about bailing, I just couldn’t handle it. But I stayed and we have made it through. I just sometimes wonder if he will not eventually have this against me and I will be punished later on.

  • SARA

    September 13th, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    Morgana- I can identify a little with what you went through but from the other point of view. About six months after I got married I went through a pretty severe depressive episode and I know that my new husband thought that it was all because the wedding caused so much stress and that maybe I wasn’t happy being married. I tried to explain that he did not understand that that had nothing to do with it at all. But he couldn’t stand that thought so he just kind of shut down on me. I have to say that that was pretty disappointing to know that maybe he didn’t really mean those vows when we promised to love and provide in sickness and in health. We have worked through it but I have to admit that I always have these little nagging thoughts now about what would he have done if this became a constant theme in my life and I never fully shook it off. I hope I don’t have to find out, but that’s scary to me.

  • Cedric

    October 4th, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    Thanks for providing this useful information to us.

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