When you live with depression, it’s difficult to see beyond your own mood. You may not realize, until it’s too late, that your mood is damaging your relationship with your spouse. These people have been through that experience and can highlight the warning signs:
“I Didn’t Know I Was Depressed.” Sarah K.
It’s impossible to not let depression wreck your marriage if you don’t even know you’re depressed. That’s what happened to me. I had started to feel like my life was not my own, that my husband had made all the decisions and I was stuck with it. I got angry. I picked fights with him. I cried myself to sleep and then refused to get out of bed in the morning.
When he suggested we go to marriage counseling, I agreed but got a big surprise: All my anger, said the therapist, was really depression. The diagnosis was a shock, but getting treatment was the best choice. I worked on myself, and then we worked on our marriage together.
“I Lost Interest in My Marriage.” Melissa P.
My depressive episodes have always left me feeling unengaged and uninterested. I stop enjoying running, a passion of mine. I didn’t want to hang out with my friends or play with my kids. What I failed to recognize until it was too late was that this apathy was killing my husband.
I lost total interest in our relationship every time I went through a depression. I didn’t want to spend time with him, have sex, or even have a conversation. I became completely wrapped up in myself. What I eventually learned in a relationship session during my treatment was that I needed to help my husband understand that it wasn’t personal. I felt disengaged from everything and everyone.
“I Had an Affair to Try to Feel Something.” Justin M.
I nearly ruined my marriage because of an affair I had about five years in. I had been taking an antidepressant that didn’t really help. It left me completely emotionless. A woman at work who had been flirty with me for years finally suggested we meet up one night after work. I did it, and then I had an affair that lasted months.
It was a terrible thing to do, and I nearly lost my marriage, but the affair finally jolted me out of my apathy. I felt awful about what I was doing. I saw my doctor and she suggested trying a treatment facility and a new medication. It saved our marriage.
These personal stories highlight what depression can do to a marriage. Loss of interest, destructive behaviors, and anger and resentment can all be signs that depression is having an effect. Other signs include loss of interest in intimacy, anger and acting out, anxiety, and hopelessness about the state of your relationship. These are important signs, but what can you do about them?