Jul 052008

Your partner’s depression may involve emotional distance, lack of interest in love and intimacy, and exhaustion. These tips for dealing with a partner who is depressed may ease the strain your marriage or relationship, and even strengthen your connection.

These tips for coping with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or marriage partner’s depression are from Dr Melvyn Lurie, author of Depression: Your Questions Answered.

Before his tips, a quip:

“In these 20 years of work among the people [in Calcutta], I have come to more and more realize it is being unwanted that is the worst disease any human being can ever experience.” – Mother Teresa.

Feeling unwanted and isolated is a huge factor in depression — and so are feelings of loneliness and fatigue. One of the best books on overcoming depression is The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness.

The more you know and understand about depression, the better you can see what to do and how to help a depressed partner.

And here’s what Dr Lurie says about coping with your spouse’s depression…

Dealing With Depression in a Love Relationship

Expect him or her to lose interest in physical intimacy

Losing interest in your love life is common in people with depression. “Whether from the inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia), inability to feel love, social withdrawal, or something more direct, interest in intimacy is frequently diminished in depression,” writes Dr Lurie. Further, losing interest in your love life can trigger other communication problems in relationships.

Has your partner lost interest in love or intimacy? Find other ways to express your physical intimacy, such as a massage or bubble baths together. And, remember that communication and intimacy problems can be triggered by depression.

If you’re wondering if your relationship is in trouble, you might find 10 Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship helpful.

Don’t be surprised if your depressed partner tries to make you feel bad

This happens more often than you’d think! When someone feels incompetent, worthless, and unenergetic – which people with depression often do – they may project their feelings onto their partners. That is, a depressed partner may consider his or her partner as incompetent, worthless, or unenergetic.

“This kind of defense doesn’t work very well because it drives people away,” says Dr Lurie.

To cope with your partner’s depression, be aware of how negative feelings are projected. It can help simply to know why people dealing with depression make others feel bad, and learn to shrug off those behaviors. Learning how to cope with your partner’s depression in a relation can involve developing a thicker skin.

If you’re confused about your relationship, read Is Your Marriage Good or Bad? 3 Myths About Being Married.

Be aware of how depression can lead to relationship breakups

People dealing with depression may feel isolated, misunderstood, attacked, and unloved. They may withdraw socially, want to be alone most of the time, and lose touch with the ability to feel love. This causes communication problems in relationships. Plus, people with depression may become critical and argumentative. These factors make it difficult for a relationship to survive.

And, knowing how depression and relationships can co-exist can help smooth things over. Deciding in advance how to handle the negative parts of the relationship will prepare you for most anything. Also, contacting a Distress Line, depression support group, or counselor is a great idea, especially if you feel like you’re not dealing with depression and your love relationship very well.

And, knowing how to overcome depression can help you understand your depressed partner, which can help you cope.

For Single People Dealing With Depression

Learn how depression affects your dating life

“Low self-esteem from depression can stop you from pursuing, let alone achieving, your goal of curing your loneliness,” writes in Dr Melvyn Lurie in Depression: Your Questions Answered. “This is a vicious cycle – your low self-esteem prevents you from curing your loneliness, and your loneliness worsens your depression and further erodes your self-esteem.”

Do things that increase your self-esteem, such as taking small risks and crossing things off your to-do list. If you’re dealing with depression, do little things every day to help you feel better about yourself.

Are you dealing with depression in a relationship? Sometimes it helps to write about your experience and feelings. I welcome your thoughts below — and I encourage you to consider calling a depression help line if you need support.

How to Get Your Ex Back

Stop the Divorce and Save Your Marriage

How to Captivate a Man and Make Him Fall in Love With You

  156 Responses to “How to Deal With Depression in a Love Relationship”

  1. Hi Laurie & everyone else! I haven’t been on site in quite a while & haven’t read comments. Too much going on so can only focus on my life. I just wanted to let you know that my husband’s symptoms changed as soon as he got off Buproprion SR (twice a day formulation of generic Wellbutrin). He had previously been on Buproprion XL but had been off of it since April. He was put back on Buproprion on June 30 (after going off Prosac for 4 days on his own and not adding anything other than alcohol). 2 weeks later when symptoms hadn’t improved (there were a lot of factors), he was put on Buprooprion SR with hope that it would make things better but the change in formulation it appears per pharmacists made things worse. It can in some people. Some are better with once a day and some with twice. His depression got much worse, he experienced some panic attacks and episodes of confusion. It was hard to figure out bec he has diabetes and works in a hot environment so the thought was that episdoes of confusion had to do with drop in blood sugar, heat exhaustion or dehydration but it was the med. Cognitive issues are being explored but we know they are not knew. This all required being on medical leave 3 1/2 weeks because employer was unable to depend on him with episodes surfacing out of the blue. I hope this makes a bit of sense. In real rush but Laurie I happened to see your e-address in my address book next to another Laurie and thought I should let you and others know that sometimes a chance in FORMULATION (once a day to twice or vice versa), change in manufacturer of generic drug or just being off the med and going back on months later could do it. Thanks for all your support in past. Individual counseling is really making a difference! Lots of emotional work needed to help me deal with my husbands PTSD. Warmest wishes, thoughts & prayers, Michelle

  2. Avril,

    Thanks for being so honest — it’s very good that you can be real about how you feel, no matter how it sounds!

    I suggest you start focusing on how to build a healthy, happy life for you and your child. Start doing things that make you feel refreshed, alive, and rejuvenated. Stop focusing on your partner’s depression, and start focusing on living your own fulfilled life.

    Not only will this make you feel better, it’ll bring a sense of joy and vitality to your home — and to your child.

    Stop waiting in limbo, and start living! Go to music or yoga classes with your kid (in Canada, we have Mommy and Me Yoga and Kindermusic). Spend the whole afternoon with your friends and their kids. Take a road trip for the day — I don’t know what you and your child love to do, but I suggest you be deliberate about making time for yourself and a happy life.

    I hope your partner gets over his depression soon. In the meantime, take care of yourself!

    Best wishes,

  3. I feel the same way Libby does. I’m so confused. I’m angry! My partner and I have been together for 2 years. Everythng was going well until a couple of weeks ago. We have a child together. I am mentally “tired.” Everything I am reading is towards helping him heal. What about me??!! Our child??!! I don’t know what to say to him anymore. I am so tired of just being out there in “limbo!” I know this sounds badd but its how I feel.

  4. Giving individual or even couples counseling a try when one partner has depression is a noble, hopeful, loving, and faithful thing to do! John, I’m glad you’re willing to wait to see a counselor, and I really hope it helps.

    Libby, I encourage you to find a support group or friends who understand — one of the best ways to deal with anything in marriage, relationships, or life in general is to connect with people. I know it’s commonsense — but it’s commonsense because it’s TRUE, and it works! Feeling alone makes it harder to cope with a partner who is depressed….and repressed anger can turn into depression itself.

    Also, taking control and empowering yourself is a great way to deal with bad situations in life. Figuring out ways to take your power back can be helpful — and that includes setting up your life the way you want it, depressed partner or not.

    I’m sorry there aren’t any easy answers!

    Best wishes,

  5. hi libby, don`t know if you have read my posts or not, my wife has had depression for 14 years, and know what your saying is TRUE, I share the same feelings of anger etc, we are not alone tho, but yes sometimes peoples help and advice does`nt help, but at least their trying to show we are not alone, im currently waiting to see a councellor, this may or may not help???but im going to give them the chance.my wife seems at the moment to be shutting me out of her life? when im trying to help. best wishes. john


  7. Hi Vicki and Laurie,

    Thank you so much for responding! This site really has helped me to regain my strength and sense of self. I was beating myself up wondering what I had done wrong and how a happy/healthy/loving 4 year relationship slipped away in the matter of days. Thank you so much for explaining to me that I MUST not take anything he says personally. Not to mention, he is up, he is down, he is all over the map…. nothing seems to make any sense! My fiance has NEVER EVER spoken to me the way he has in the past couple of weeks, it’s been so hard not to internalize what he has said and done. Again, thank you for responding…..It really helps to know that someone else understands what an awful situation this really is. Vicki, I’m so glad things are turning around for you and your boyfriend, it gives me hope! Keep me posted :)

    My fiance called me this morning and was feeling awful, he told me that he would hate for me to “wait” for him because he knows that he is never going to get through this. He told me that he was going to stop going to therapy and taking his meds because neither of them are helping. He also told me AGAIN that just being in a relationship makes him feel guilty and that he hates what he is doing to me, it makes him feel horrible for dragging me through the mud, therefore, we should break up (He doesn’t argue when I say no, he just accepts it and moves on!) I continuously tell him that I am not going anywhere, I refuse to give up on him even if it means that I must sit and wait until he is ready. I tell him not to worry about me and that I will be here for him when he needs me but I am still giving him all the space he needs, I told him to call when he feels as though he is ready to chat, vent, laugh, whatever he needs. Yet, he still calls me almost everyday for no apparent reason! He still maintains that seeing me and even calling me is just too hard for him because he knows that he is unable to give me what I deserve… does this sound like an excuse to anyone or is this characteristic of a depressed individual? This is the second time he has called and confessed all of this to me. Both times he has called it seems as though he was in a full blown panic attack about something going on at the moment or about to happen (today he was panicking about the thought of getting on an airplane this weekend). I sometimes struggle with the idea that maybe he really doesn’t want to be with me. He tells me that he still loves me and that he wants to be with me but it’s pointless because he’s sick and not getting better. I just can’t imagine that from one week to the next were planning our wedding and then he’s trying to break up with me. it just doesn’t make sense? Am I oblivious to whats happening? or do you think that this could be him looking for some sort of re-assurance from me? Please help!

    In the meantime I am trying to maintain positive by looking taking this time to find the person I used to be before this all happened, I am partaking dance classes and have even booked a trip with my girl friends. I am taking this opportunity to strengthen myself, with all of this going on I realized that throughout this relationship I may have become too emotionally dependent on my fiance. I see this is as a second chance to regain my independence and work toward a strong everlasting relationship.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what else I should be doing at this point?

    Thank you again SOOOO MUCH!

  8. Hi guys

    Thought I’d update you on what’s going on with my partner and me…
    Well, I lived at the flat for 3 weeks while he stayed at his parents house. We kept in contact by texting (as sometimes it’s easier to think of an answer over time rather than having to come up with an answer quickly on the phone) and we did talk every few days. I let him text me first, as I didn’t want to appear as being pushy. Not going into detail with what happened, just general conversation. I stayed at my parents a few times during these weeks so that he could stay at the flat around his things, and it meant I had company as well (which is always a good thing). Then we went out on a ‘date’ and had a bit of a chat – again, I didn’t push him to talk about everything as I feel it’s still too soon. Anyway, I met up with my partner at a mutual friends house, and he admitted he missed me terribly and wanted to come back home. It’s been a week now, and things seem to be returning back to normal, although I am taking this a day at a time, and because it’s still quite fresh, my partner doesn’t seem to want to talk about what he’s going through. He is going to councilling once a week and has also started a meditation type class. It’s been tough, and I can still see it being tough as I try to get back to normal myself. I have advised my partner that if he needs space, all he needs to do is ask and I’ll go to stay at my parents or round friends houses for a few days to give him that space.

    To Julie – your going through exactly the same as me (don’t know if you read any of my earlier posts). I think the best thing you can do for your boyfriend at this stage is give him the space he needs, and tell him that you are there for him, no matter what. As with my boyfriend, he took a good few weeks to come round from his breakdown. He still won’t open up to me about it, but we are back to talking and being a couple again. I can only hope for you that your boyfriend realises how much he misses you and see’s sense in at least that part of his issues. It’s going to be a long road in terms of him understanding his own issues and trying to overcome them, but remember not to put yourself down and make sure you keep yourself busy if you’re currently not living together. Maybe spending time apart will make your partner understand how much he does miss you. Take it a day at a time at the moment. I was thinking over and over if there was anything I could have done to prevent my boyfriend having his breakdown, but there is nothing I could have even prepared for in this situation. The problems are his, unfortunatly at this point in time nothing you say will solve them. Don’t blame yourself for this – there is no right or wrong way to act to cope with what you’re going through as well. When my partner had his breakdown I was signed off work for a week to try to understand and cope with what had happened. I spent half the week crying. However, family and also friends helped me through the worst, and my dad advised me to make sure I was ok, as when something like this happens people do tend to forget about you when it’s your partner who has had the actual breakdown. Even though you feel like s**t, just make sure you take time out for yourself and take it steady.
    Hope this helps, take care
    Vix x

  9. Hi Julie,

    I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s depression and how it’s affecting your relationship. That’s such a difficult place to be, so painful for you both.

    I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, but I do wonder if you should let him go. Not permanently — just to give him enough headspace and heart space to figure out the best way to handle his depression. Sometimes depression is so overwhelming, people just can’t cope with other aspects of life…especially the thought of something as big as a wedding.

    It’s great that you’re giving him space, and that he can call when he’s ready. It’s also great that you’re trying not to take this personally — because his depression and how he’s trying to cope with it isn’t about you. He’s doing the best he can to make his life manageable, or even just liveable.

    I hope you can forgive yourself for whatever you feel guilty for. You were reacting in the best way you knew how! You didn’t know what was going on, and you were trying to connect with him.

    Is he getting help for his depression? Also, you might consider talking to a counselor, and getting professional advice on how to manage your own feelings of guilt and pain.

    I wish I had a magic solution for you, but I don’t! But I do think you should stay hopeful for the future. Once he works through his depression and gets the best treatment, he might be back to his old self and ready to move forward with you. This may just be a bad blip in your relationship — and all relationships have them!

    Best of luck, and do come back anytime.


  10. Hello,I don’t know where to start. My fiance has had an incredibly hard year. His brother suddenly passed away a year ago, his father drinks heavily, he has also undergone surgery (which has kept him from being physically active all summer long), he can’t sleept at night, and he has nothing to do but think all day long. To make matters worse he bottles everything up. Needless to say, he has finally broken down. He has been taking medication for over a month and is now seeing a therapist regularly.
    I was living with him up until last week, his depression was really starting to put a strain on our relationship. I decided that it would be best in the best interest of our relationship and my fiance if I moved back home. Living together at this point was poision for our relationship. He agreed. He appologized profusely for making me upset and hurting me, he told me how guilty he felt for putting me through this. As I was moving my things out, he explained that he loved me very much and that this was not a break up.
    Everything changed within in three days, he wants to call off our wedding and even worse break up because he says he will never ever get better and that nothing hurts him more than knowing what he is doing to me. He says he he wants to be with me but doesn’t want to ruin my life by dragging me through the mud. I told him that I had no problem holding off on the wedding but I refused to let him break up with me, I accepted this proposal for a reason. I will not give up on him that easily, I told him that I would give him all the space he needed and to call me when he was ready, and he agreed.
    I cannot understand what has happened. We have not had ANY problems in our relationship. I am beginning to feel incredibily guilty. In the early stages of depression, I had no idea what was happening I couldn’t figure out why he was so distant. I would cry all of the time and ask him “what is wrong?” over and over again. Maybe I made things worse? Maybe I pushed him away. At this point, he says he is not ready to see me because of the guilt he is feeling. Even talking to me at this point is difficult for him. I am trying so hard not to take any of this personally but it feels as though he is punishing me for the way he is feeling. This has been the most difficult situation I have ever been in. I can’t stop crying! What am I doing wrong? How can I ensure that I am taking the proper steps in order to restore the relationship we once had.

  11. kimberleys comments really hit the spot, it is easy to resent the person not the illness, this makes me qustion my love sometimes, ie i ask myself “if i really loved my wife” i would be more compassionate all the time, but its hard sometimes, we rowed sat night.what makes me angry is unlike kimberleys husband my wife doesnt seem to help herself, shes been told exersize will help, but doesnt do any,the other night was nice weather so i suggested going for a walk with HER dog, but she chose to spend the evening watching the tv,i went for a 2 hour walk ALONE [with the dog].tv seems her only interest!. she got new medication which at 1st seemed to be helping but she is now not taking them as prescribed shes not giving them chance to work, after 14 years its really wearing me down, and think the kids are getting fed up with mum being how she is, and grumpy dad!. sorry if i sound selfish but ive had a crappy and stressful time at work this week, but nobody is asking how i am or how my day went, i know that sounds like self pity and i dont want to be, because she is the one ill not me, but grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. thanx if youve read my moan.best wishes.john

  12. Kimberley, thank you for your insights and story! I’m amazed at how objectively you see both yourself and your husband — and I don’t see this as a rant at all.

    It’s good to hear that couples can live through depression together, even with little kids (a baby peanut, to boot). I love that you’re making the deliberate choice to love and accept your husband as he is…and yet you’re fair and honest with your own feelings.

    Again, thanks for stopping in — I know you’ve helped people learn to cope with their partners’ depression…you’ve certainly helped me better understand how depression affect couples.

    Take care,

  13. Hi there, My husband lives with depression (we’ve been together nearly 10 years and now have 2yo and 12wk old girls).
    We have been very lucky, my husband has not had a major episode for several years however he has lows from time to time and these vary in their severity. It certainly does take a toll on the partner, especially once you add kids to the mix. i find myself worrying constantly that the stress of family life and work responsibilities are going to ‘make him sick’. I also have periods where i really resent the depression and have to try really hard to remind myself it is the illness and not the person. Obviously, this makes me feel guilty, like a b*tch etc. My husband does actually work really hard to try to manage his depression and anxiety, he really does everything he can to lead a healthy lifestyle, pursues his cognitive therapy etc. Unfortunately it just doesn’t always add up particularly during life-changing events- eg,birth of second child equals joy AND stress. When he comes home from work in the evening our little girl is so excited to see him and sometimes I find myself wishing he’d make more of an effort to “perk-up” etc.

    I find that reminding myself of a few important points does help.

    * The depression is not the person (sounds cliched but amazing how you can forget).
    * I chose to marry and have children with someone who has depression. I even knew he had depression before dating him but I just didn’t understand the implications. But to be fair on myself, I fell in love with him very quickly and therefore there was no choice for me. It is still OK to acknowledge and accept your resentments.
    *Providing company, even if it is just a presence in the house is better than leaving them alone (I believe, no matter how severe their case). This forces them to participate in everyday life, even the arguments! You just have to limit your expectations. Yes, you can resent this.
    *i’m not perfect and sometimes i can be a real b*tch. This doesn’t help him. But I’m human.
    *try to keep busy so you don’t have too much time to resent things. Delight in the moments when he’s fully ‘there’.

    Obviously my rant is geared more towards those living with people who are currently ‘managing’ their depression. To be honest, if my husband had a major episode now that we have 2 kids I’m not at all sure how I’d cope. It is a daily fear. Will keep an eye on this site. x

  14. laurie, i know what your saying is true, im not suggesting my wife is depressed by choice, ive talked to gps about the causes of depression, chemical inbalences etc,ive also said things like “get over it” or suggested ” having a beer or two” to feel better [doesnt work]my wifes change of medication is showing positive signs, so fingers crossed. but the down side side is that it seems to be leaving her with no energy,always going to bed,i feel like a single parent sometimes.

  15. Medication for depression — no matter what type of antidepressants they are — definitely changes the person’s behavior. And the longer people take meds, the more and long-lasting the changes are. But, those changes are often preferable than living with the symptoms of depression!

    It’s important to remember that depression is often caused by brain chemicals and hormones that are beyond the person’s control. No matter how good a person’s life is, some feelings and behaviors aren’t something that is chosen.

    I’ll never forget talking to a woman who was dealing with major depression. This was 20 years ago. I made the mistake of saying something like, “Just get over it — think about happy things! Be positive, and you’ll feel better.” That did NOT go over well, and I’ve since then learned that people with depression can’t control how they feel.

    Depression is so hard on everyone….but, if you can find the right antidepressants (and the right dosages, which can take time) and if you can make good lifestyle choices, you can certainly overcome it!

  16. i know what you mean, my wifes depression is screwing her up, but the medication [in my view] is also screwing her up, but im not the one with depression [yet] so dont really understand, im trying to. my sister as just beaten cancer for the 4th time,she should be the one depressed,my wife has a good life in comparison so sometimes this makes me angry and sometimes say things that perhaps dont help,im only human.your both still young so COMMITMENT is scary,you still have time on your side, at least your not old and passed it like some of us.ha ha

  17. Thank you for your support John, I think its the not knowing which is the hardest, and I believe in time (whether this be weeks or months) that I will get a final answer, deep down I am hoping that it is the medication screwing him up. I will keep updating on whats going on, this forum is a great way of getting everything out of me that i cannot physically say in words.
    V x

  18. hi vicki, sorry to read your situation, you will make your decision how you feel about it, if i can offer a male point of view on it, what i would do is give it time to see where it goes, its moving to fast,slow down, he says hes sorry and does not want to loose you,this may be true{ hope it is}sometimes you dont know what you have until you loose it, but it could also be born out of guilt, this is why i say give it time. his breakdown will mean hes not thinking straight,you both need space and time. best wishes. john

  19. He has since text me to say that he is very sorry, that he does love me and he does not want to lose me, that he needs to sort himself out and that he feels the medication is having an adverse effect on him.
    I take it this is normal? I understand it will be a complete Jeykll and Hyde situation at the moment in regards to his thoughts and feelings.
    Cheers, V x

  20. Thank you for your kind words Laurie, im going through all kinds of feelings at the moment, I understand that he needs space but its so hard to suddenly have all this crashing down on me, i’ve been hurt before but not like this…
    I know things will improve with time, and deep down I am trying to do whats best for him as well, as he needs to think all this through and admitted down to his medication giving him no feelings at all apart from anger that he’s making me feel this way, at the moment I can only hope that time is what it takes to sort everything out, and that in time we can start to see each other again, but its also a complete head-f**k to me.
    I will keep writing on here as getting it all out for the world to see I feel does help in its own way.
    Vix x

  21. Aww, I’m so sorry Vicki.

    I just wrote to Sean (and you gave him some great advice! he’s the one whose friendship might be ending) — and it fits with what you’re going through:

    One of the saddest, hardest parts of life is realizing how little control we sometimes have over what happens to us. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all about empowering people to achieve their goals — but sometimes we just have to let people and things go. We just have to accept that whatever happens, happens…and all we can do is try to bounce back and not let it wreck our lives or make us bitter.

    And, remember that relationships go through all sorts of stages. Sometimes they die, but other times they just need breathing space. Your partner isn’t thinking very clearly right now — so maybe he will come back to you. If not, then he’s not the right man for you. And, it’s better to break up than spend time with someone who isn’t right for you.

    My heart breaks for you,


  22. He’s come to the decision to end our relationship. He is moving back to his parents, which will mean that I will have to also move back home with my parents. This is not what I want but now there is no choice. :'(

  23. My partner came in this morning and has said he thinks we should split up for good (or at least for the time being) – he even said that he hopes I can be happy in the end, but that he cannot see us spending the rest of our lives together (even though 2 years ago he proposed to me and I said yes). This has been the most upsetting thing of all, as I dont know if it’s him talking or again whether it’s the depression making him feel differently. I dont know whether to let go for good or whether to try and hold on to him. I dont want to let him go, and whether this is being selfish I dont know. We share most friends, and I get on really well with his family, and I dont want to hold him back if he really does feel that way, but I’m scared. Im scared of being alone, scared that if this is it then whether I could handle seeing him with someone else in the future. He is my first real love, and I really do love him so much.

    He has also said something in him cannot be that diminished in feelings as seeing me so upset is effecting him badly – he does not want to see me so upset knowing that he has caused this. I dont want any false hope though – he has said he may spend tonight back with me at our flat to see how it goes, but I dont know whether he is doing this to try and prevent me from being so upset, but again I dont want false hope.

    Writing this is helping me a lot, and I am grateful to all you guys for having this forum. I have discussed all this with my friends, however I feel getting your advice or thoughts is a fantastic thing, as you do not judge.

    I will continue to write on here as you guys are helping me, even if you are a few thousand miles away!

    Thank You


  24. hi laurie, wow thanx for your reply,really thoughtful. ye i do fill my life with activeties, i regulally go out with my eldest son and a couple of freinds mountain biking,tho they are not palls who i can really share my problems with,ive tried to encourage my wife to join us or tojust go out together but without success.her doctor suggested exercise to incourage happy feelings but it is hard to “get her going”, it is putting a strain on our marrage, and i feel she is missing out on so much of life with our two sons and me. again thank you for taking the time to comment, looking back at your other comments to other people you seem a very nice and helpful person, but don’t forget about yourself sometimes,take care. john

  25. Vix — hang in there, and keep us posted!

    I know exactly how you feel about living alone after being used to living with someone. My husband goes away regularly for work (he’s a geologist who has to travel to remote exploration camps)….and it’s a very difficult adjustment when he leaves. And when he comes home, it’s a whole new adjustment. (maybe I should write an article about that….)

    It’s probably good that he’s with his parents for now. It’ll give him time and space to miss you, and let his physical body settle a little. Let him come home when he’s ready…you’re a wonderful girlfriend — like John said!


  26. Hi John,

    Fourteen years is such a long time to be coping with your wife’s depression! I’m sorry about that, that’s so hard on a marriage. I remember working with a man whose wife struggle with multiple personality disorder, and it just torn him apart. He stayed with her, but boy was it rough.

    Have you heard of Alanon? It’s a huge, helpful organization for people whose loved ones are alcoholic. I don’t know if there’s a similar organization in the UK for people coping with their loved ones’ depression, but Vicki is right that your doctor might be able to tell you about local groups.

    I also recommend building your own interesting, fulfilling life when you’re coping with a stressful home life – or a partner’s depression. What do you love to do? Find buddies, meet with them weekly or bi-monthly, and pursue your favorite hobbies. Focus on healthy hobbies, like sports or book clubs or men’s breakfast meetings. I volunteer at our local library every Saturday afternoon; I love it because it combines my love of books and reading with getting out of the house and interacting with people. Plus, I’m helping a local nonprofit organization!

    I hope this helps a little — and I want you to know you’re not alone. So many people are struggling with similar problems in their marriage, and only a small percentage actually share their stories and ask for help. I’m glad you gathered your courage and shared a bit of your life.

    Take care, and come back anytime. Feel free to share what does and doesn’t help you — others might benefit from hearing that!


  27. hi, thanx vicki. hope your situation resolves itself and you both become a happy couple again, i admire your love and loyalty towards your partner. john

  28. Hi John
    Your doctor should be able to recommend a local councillor or therapy group, make sure they dont just fob you off with websites to visit or anything like that. My doctor didnt really give me any advice, just signed me off work for a week so I could get my head around what’s happened, so make sure you tell your doctor you need their help and dont take no for an answer.

    Laurie, thank you again for your advice. My partner is staying with his parents for the foreseeable future to try and come to terms with himself, so I am now living on my own for a bit. It’s lonely more than anything, especially at night. I will be taking things a day at a time – we spoke today and he said he needs me more as a friend right now as opposed to me as his girlfriend. This is hurting me in a way, but I understand that in front of him I cannot feel sorry for myself, and am grateful that we can talk normally. I do hope he can come to terms with everything, and that we will become a couple again, but I know at the moment that there is nothing I can do except be there for him.

  29. Hi,my first time on, so nervous, my wife has suffered from depression for 14+years now, we the partners are often fogotten because we are not the ones ill, out of desperation i found this site, and found comments really useful[ thanx everyone ]My wife is currently on a “downer” and as talked of suiside,the comments made that doctors to easily priscribe more drugs is spot on, this happened at the docs yesturdy, im not saying they dont work, the pills she was on did work tho with side effects, for 14yrs, but have now stopped working, hence the change.But what happens when these stop working?.My health is suffering now and feel helpless, and fogotten, we are also in need of help, im going to talk to gp to see if there is any help avaiable, does anyone know of any here in the uk?. im not really a person who easily goes to the docs, but feeling quite desperate. john

  30. I’m sorry about your partner’s nervous breakdown, Vicki — and I’m so glad you confided in your parents! It’s great that they’re so supportive; you’re a lucky woman.

    What a drag about the wrong medication….yikes. That’s terrible. But, at least he’s off the wrong meds; the right ones will kick in soon.

    Maybe it would be wise to think about living apart from your boyfriend for awhile. If you do talk to a counselor, that’s definitely one of the first things to discuss. Maybe he needs space and time to cope with his depression and pull his life back together. Sometimes it’s healthiest to do this alone; other times, it’s healthiest to stay with your partner. I don’t know which is best in your case…but I encourage you not to fight it if he does want space.

    It’ll be rough for the next little while, I suspect…but it WILL get easier! Once he starts thinking clearly again, you two will be able to communicate better and more honestly (like you said, the medication may have muddled his thinking).

    And, it’s totally normal to feel sorry for yourself. You’ve lost something significant: your relationship the way it was! That’s sad, and it’s okay to feel bad about it. Your life is totally in flux, and that’s a hard way to live.

    I wish you all the best, and invite you to come back whenever you need to.


 Leave a Reply