Be a Better Partner When You’re Depressed
Dealing with depression is difficult, and it can put a strain on relationships. When you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, it can be challenging to fully show up as a supportive, loving partner.
However, there are things you can do to be a better partner even when depressed. Making your relationship a priority and communicating openly is key.
In this blog article, we will be sharing tips and strategies that will help you to be a better husband when you are depressed and stressed.
15 Tips for Supporting Your Relationship Even Depressed
1. Understand Your Partner May Feel Rejected or Hurt
When you’re depressed, you may withdraw from your partner or seem disinterested in maintaining intimacy. You might cancel plans last minute or seem emotionally unavailable. As a result, your partner may feel rejected, unattractive, or unimportant.
Remember that your lack of engagement likely has nothing to do with them. Depression dulls excitement about things you would normally enjoy, including time with your loved one. Make sure your partner knows your distance isn’t about them – it’s the depression making it hard to connect.
2. Communicate Openly About What You’re Experiencing
Speaking openly about your depression with your partner can help them better understand what you’re going through. Explain how depression affects your mood, energy levels, and daily functioning.
For example, say, “I want to apologize for being irritable and distant lately. I’m struggling with depression, and it’s making me feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
I don’t have the energy right now to be fully present, but I want you to know my mood has nothing to do with you or our relationship.”
3. Let Them Know You Appreciate Their Support
Tell your partner you appreciate them sticking by your side during this difficult time, even when you struggle to show affection or be an engaged, enthusiastic partner. Knowing you value them can help mitigate hurt feelings.
Consider saying, “I’m lucky to have you in my life. I want you to know I’m grateful for your patience and understanding while I work through this depression.” Reassure them it’s temporary, and you’ll feel better able to reciprocate support down the road.
4. Prioritize Couples Time When Possible
When you’re depressed, it’s tempting to isolate yourself, but spending one-on-one time together should remain a priority whenever possible. Do a quiet activity you both enjoy, like cooking a simple meal, going on a short hike, or watching a movie.
Focus conversations on uplifting topics instead of dwelling on depressive thoughts. Finding small ways to reconnect can make you both feel closer.
5. Seek Professional Help
Untreated depression can devastate relationships. Make your partnership a priority by getting professional support. Medication and therapy can help manage symptoms like low mood, exhaustion, low libido, and irritability—ultimately helping you become a more engaged, affectionate partner.
Let your partner know you’re committed to treatment for both your individual well-being and the health of your relationship long-term.
6. Practice Self-Care Basics
When you’re depressed, it’s hard to find motivation, but doing basic self-care can help lessen symptoms. Get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, avoid alcohol, exercise when possible, and spend time outdoors. Taking care of your physical and mental health should be a priority.
7. Enlist Your Partner’s Support
Don’t try to tackle everything alone. Allow your partner to take some things off your plate when possible. Let them help with tasks like making decisions, planning date nights, or household chores. Being vulnerable and accepting assistance can take pressure off you while also making your partner feel needed.
8. Stay Hopeful
When depression persists, it’s easy to lose optimism, but try to focus on positive progress, however small. Celebrate treatment milestones, occasions when you practiced self-care, or moments of closeness in your relationship. Hold onto hope that you can and will feel better, even during the difficult journey.
9. Set Boundaries When Needed
When you’re struggling with depression, having some boundaries in place can take pressure off you while also preventing your partner from feeling responsible for your mood.
Be upfront about what you can handle and what’s off-limits on bad mental health days. For example, explain if there are certain conversations or activities that feel too emotionally draining right now.
You might say, “I want to be fully present for important relationship talks, but right now that feels impossible without breaking down. Could we take a break from heavy conversations until I’m feeling a bit stronger?”
Or, “I don’t have the bandwidth for social plans or family events at the moment. I need to stay in and recharge. Can you handle RSVPing no for us?”
Setting some boundaries allows you to protect your mental health, while also being transparent so your partner understands it’s not about them. Stick to your limits gently but firmly.
10. Don’t Neglect Physical Intimacy
Depression often severely decreases sex drive and physical affection. While it’s understandable you likely don’t feel like being intimate when struggling with low mood and energy, it’s important not to completely neglect physical intimacy for long stretches.
Schedule a couple times even when you may not feel like it in the moment. The oxytocin released from physical closeness can actually improve mood while also keeping your bond strong.
Start slowly with simple gestures like holding hands, kissing, or cuddling. Don’t worry about expectations for sex. Simply reestablishing physical connection can be hugely beneficial.
11. Plan Low-Key Dates
The thought of keeping up with regular date nights might feel exhausting when depressed. Big crowds or high stimulation could even exacerbate symptoms. However, continuing to spend intentional one-on-one time together should remain a priority.
Plan dates tailored to your energy levels. For example, have breakfast in bed, get takeout from your favorite restaurant for a picnic in the living room, or take a short stroll around your neighborhood holding hands.
Focus dates inward rather than big public outings. Low-key activities require less mental effort but still nourish intimacy.
12. Practice Gratitude
When you’re early in a depressive episode, feeling grateful probably seems impossible. However, making an effort to actively acknowledge and appreciate your partner’s support can do wonders for strengthening your bond even in the midst of turmoil.
Express regular gratitude to remind you both what’s still good despite feeling low. Send a simple thank you text, leave an affectionate note about how a specific gesture of support meant a lot, or treat them to their favorite takeout meal. Practicing gratitude keeps you anchored in what’s working.
13. Stay Patient with Yourself and Each Other
Depression understandably puts significant strain on couples. You likely won’t always respond graciously or meet your partner’s needs during mood crashes. Similarly, they may grow frustrated or feel at a loss for how to help at times.
Practice radical patience and forgiveness—both for yourself and your partner—when conflict arises. Remind each other frequently that you’re on the same team battling a common enemy—depression. With compassion and teamwork, you’ll navigate the rough patches.
Dealing with depression while maintaining a healthy relationship presents challenges but clear communication, professional treatment, and self-care can help you be the best possible partner, even during the darkest times.
Prioritize caring for your mental health—you deserve to feel better, and your relationship deserves your healthiest self.