Receive LOVE in your mailbox

Try our weekly newsletter with amazing tips to bring and retain love in your life

Beating The Blues: Dos And Don’ts Of Dealing With A Depressed Partner

“Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” – David D. Burns

Relationships are a lot of work when both halves of a couple are mentally and emotionally healthy. But it becomes tricky when one of them is depressed. The depression is like a bloodsucker which leeches all the love, fun, and hope from the relationship. It’s a vortex of hopelessness, helplessness, incompetency, low self-esteem, worthlessness, frustration, sadness, irritability, and anger that’s perfectly capable of pulling in the non-depressed partner along for the ride.

Suggested read: 10 types of toxic relationships you MUST avoid

Changes in behavior

man depressed

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

The first and obvious symptom of depression is a visible change in behavior. If your partner is not acting as they usually and normally do, then it may be an indication that they may be depressed. The more common behavioral changes include:

  • Experiencing restlessness or lethargy along with irritability
  • Sleeping too much or not at all
  • Loss of appetite with weight loss or gorging on food with weight gain
  • Feeling dejected
  • Feeling fatigued and jaded
  • Difficulty in concentrating on one task
  • Crying with little or no provocation
  • Marked withdrawal from intimacy – physical and/or emotional
  • Abusing alcohol and/or recreational drugs
  • Marked social withdrawal
  • Struggling with morbid and/or suicidal thoughts

A depressed person may experience some/all of these symptoms. Each person is unique and is depressed for various reasons. The point is, there’s a noticeable change in your partner’s behavior from what is considered “normal” for them.

No accusations, please

woman sad

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

If you suspect that your partner might be depressed, then you have to be very careful while bringing it up with them. They may or may not be aware that something is seriously wrong with their health. It’ll help a great deal if you’re not confrontational about it; but go about it by being forthright and letting them know that you’re concerned for their well-being – both physical and mental.

If you start flinging accusations left and right about how they “need help” or “you’re not the only one with problems in life,” they may fall deeper into depression because there’s no one who understands them. Maintaining a calm and truthful demeanor helps in discussing your partner’s slide into depression.

Suggested read: Here’s how to make time to nurture and sustain your relationship

Try to distance yourself emotionally

When you’re dealing with a depressed person, they’re obviously wrestling with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, incompetency, and frustration. They try to make you feel the same by hurling abuses your way or make you feel small. It’s hard not to be affected in such situations. But you have to understand that this isn’t them talking; but the depression making them speak such horrible things.

sad couple

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

If you at least try not to be affected by such verbal abuse and distance yourself from the situation emotionally, you get to keep your sanity while they’re warring with depression. After all, it’s now your turn to play caretaker for your partner and also the household.

Avoid arguments

When your depressed partner tries to drag you into an argument over a trivial or a not-so trivial issue, you have to keep in mind that they’re not at their optimal selves, and that they’re not rational. It will neither benefit you nor your depressed partner to argue at this particular time and neither will the argument solve the crisis that has risen. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to excuse yourself as gracefully as possible, without agitating your partner anymore.

You’re allowed to be selfish


Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Dealing with a depressed partner day in and day out puts you at risk of sliding into depression yourself. To avoid this, be a little selfish and pursue anything that makes you happy – without interference from your partner. Join a course, or take up a hobby that interests you, or go out with your friends. The goal is to maintain at least a semblance of normalcy.

Seeking professional help

Most people think that depression is just a passing “phase.” And that the depressed person just has to “snap out of it” or “move on.” But if there are underlying issues contributing to the depression, then seeking professional help is the best course of action. There is no shame in accepting the fact that you need help. Or asking for help, for that matter.

The non-depressed partner has to understand that their love, patience, and support cannot magically cure a clinically depressed person. Sure, these things are necessary while dealing with a depressed partner; I’m not denying them. But, you wouldn’t treat a cardiac arrest with love or diabetes with patience or high blood pressure with support, now, would you?

couple talking to a therapist

Image source: Shutterstock

Seeking timely professional help can go a long way in alleviating depression, along with prescribed antidepressants. It may take time for the depressed person to crawl out of their shell, but eventually they do – most times. It’s also good for the non-depressed partner to seek help – at least temporarily – to deal with their own frustrations and anger and helplessness and guilt.

There is a lot of stigma attached to seeking professional help for depression or other mental disorders. Every person who seeks professional help is branded “a mental case,” “a nut case,” or even harshly labeled “crazy.” The important thing for all of us to do is to get it into our thick, prejudiced skulls that depression and other mental disorders are just as common as diabetes or high blood pressure. And that they’re as treatable as any of these diseases or deficiencies.

Suggested read: How to deal with an angry partner


  • A lot of love, patience, time, and understanding are required while dealing with a depressed partner
  • Avoid arguments with your depressed partner because they’re hardly rational
  • Pursue something that makes you happy and gives you a chance to escape your depressed partner’s pessimism and irritability
  • There is no harm or shame in seeking professional help.

Disclaimer: These are just some pointers on dealing with a depressed partner. Seek a psychiatrist’s help in getting diagnosed first. The writer is not a qualified psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Article Name
The Dos And Don'ts Of Dealing With A Depressed Partner
Depression is no joke, and dealing with a depressed partner isn't either. Here are all the dos and don'ts of living day in and day out with such a partner.
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg