The real question to ask if your partner is depressed is: How does it not affect you? Because there are so many ways you’re impacted. Your partner’s depression takes its toll on your emotions, your sexual intimacy, your ability to communicate, to name just a few. When your partner exhibits the symptoms of depression—low-energy, fatigue, lack of interest in life in general—then he is more difficult for you to be around. He may lose interest in doing things with you. And you may be just as happy to avoid him and his irritability. You signed up for a relationship, but you ended up on your own.
Can you get your relationship back?
Your partner’s depression may rob you of your relationship. When it does, it’s to your benefit to help your partner get back to normal. Help him explore ways to identify what’s wrong and understand his depression. A number of things may be affected—sleep habits, eating habits, stress levels, exercise—any or all of these may be out of balance. Encourage your partner to talk to you and explain his feelings.
What does your partner need?
Your partner can’t get well until he faces his situation with objectivity. Assure him that you love him and will be there for him. If he is reluctant to open up to you, explain that it would give you joy to be of help to him. Let him know that a frank and honest discussion might bring about the intimacy you hope for in their relationship. And don’t be stingy in sharing your feelings as well, as long as you do it in a supportive, caring way.
Should you plan for together times?
If your partner is agreeable, plan times to be together and share in activities you both love, even if it’s just a walk in nature. Prioritize activities that would bring you closer and help you connect. Plan to do them at times when your partner is at his best. If he’s typically a night owl, for example, maybe a sunset viewing would be a good, shared experience.
Be understanding enough to let him say “no.”
People who are depressed sometimes feel like withdrawing from social activities, and he may wish to pass up invitations for a while. Interest may have waned, energy may be depleted, and he may need some rest. Let him know it’s okay to say no, even if he feels obligated. His own self-care is what’s important at the moment, and your support will be welcome. He’s got a good excuse—he’s not feeling well, and that’s the truth.
Help him find a qualified therapist.
You want your partner to live a better life and as a result, you will, too. Help him search and find a qualified therapist who can help guide him on the road to health and well-being.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact