Expert Speak

5 ways depression affects and destroys relationships

When a partner is suffering from depression, it can affect the relationship. These are some of the ways in which relationships can be affected
Sad woman in black

The widespread awareness about the ‘invisible’ illnesses, that is psychological illnesses, has brought depression and its effects on life to centre stage recently. However, even though now people understand that depression can be debilitating, many still don’t grasp the full significance of how it affects their personal relationships.

This is how it can affect your relationship if you or your partner are depressed.

1. Sex is the first to go

If an individual is struggling with depression, their libido takes a serious hit, be it the man or woman. This can be a very difficult situation for a couple, where the non-depressed partner is supportive and loving, and still being rejected when it comes to making love. For a non-depressed person, this rejection might be hard to accept or even understand, and might be mistaken for a personal insult. If your partner has showed little or no interest in sex lately, you might want to look into the possibility of masked depression.

On the flip side, if your partner suddenly turns flirtatious or promiscuous (and they weren’t like that before), this too could be a sign of hidden depression. They might be using the promiscuity as a way to boost their self-esteem and feel good.

Related reading: Depression taught me a lot about love

2. Fights on the rise

A person suffering from depression feels low all the time, and doesn’t get enough sleep. This translates to increased irritability and they react over the smallest things, leading to frequent arguments and fights.

3. That doomed feeling

Hopelessness is one of most prominent part of the cognitive error triad of depression – hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness. So while a non-depressed couple might bounce back from arguments, a couple where one partner is depressed will probably get worse, because the depressed partner will immediately believe that the relationship is dead.

4. Loss of attraction

People suffering from depression are prone to changes in appetite; so they either binge eat or lose all interest in food. This leads to changes in physical appearance that makes them sadder, and might even diminish the attraction between them and their partner.

Related reading: How mental illness can affect your sexual life

5. Drowning in drink

Alcohol consumption is another side effect of depression. People usually turn to alcohol or other kinds of addiction as a crutch to fight their feelings or to numb the emotional pain. Needless to say, a drunk partner can quickly worsen a relationship.

It’s not easy to be a partner to someone who is fighting depression, but if you just keep your focus on the love you shared and remember that they too hate feeling this way as much as you do, with the right medication and consistent, supportive efforts, you can bring your partner back to you, and then they’ll love you more than ever!

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