Living with a Partner with Depression: How To Make It Easier

Simply complicated—that’s what depression is.

Depression isn’t like a friendly dog that sticks to your side, no matter what. Neither is it a fragment of one’s imagination.

It’s a complex shadow that looms over a person’s head one day, and completely takes over their mind and body the next.

Even if the person is at their happiest, depression makes them feel sad, confused, frustrated, lonely and incredibly tough to handle. But more than anything, depression isn’t something that just affects them.

It affects all those around the person who love and cherish them, and feel helpless because they’re not able to help.

Loving a Partner or Spouse Dealing With Depression

As that partner who wants to do all they can for their loved one, you might be searching for some answers or even some wishful fixes to help you manage your spouse’s mood.

While there are medications that sway the effects of depression, they’re not able to resolve them. There are days; those days when you see your loved one without their usual ease or smile on their face. They seem fine on the outside, but you know the turmoil they’re going through inside. And every inch of your body yearns to reach out to them. Solve their problems and make them feel safe. But you’re not able to connect.

You don’t know which action of yours might trigger them.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that you can do.

What Can You Do for Your Partner?


Every person is different. While you might want to talk to people when you’re feeling depressed, your partner may not want to share their feelings with anyone. And this isn’t because they don’t want a solution. It’s just their personality.

However, there are some methods through which you can support them:

– Show Them Your Unconditional Love

It can’t be denied that love is still powerful. And when a person is depressed, they need that power to support them and guide them through. There’s no need to smother them or hover over them. Show them your appreciation for their existence. There doesn’t need to be a physical touch. Use words.

– Support them at their Worst

Depression has the ability to make the person feel ugly on the inside. That can make them feel like they don’t deserve any love or appreciation. Even if your partner pushes you away, do not let that discourage you. It’s easy for your partner to forget that they have loved ones around them. Remind them that that thinking isn’t true.

– Give them Space when Needed

As a partner, it’s your duty to learn when they need your connection, physically and emotionally. Don’t distance yourself because they say they want space. If they say so, look them in the eye, connect with them physically (hold hands or put a hand on their knee), and ask them if that is truly what they want.

Consider an Action Plan

As a family and couples’ therapist with two decades of experience, I’ve seen what it’s like to support a depressed partner. And I can tell you, it’s no easy.

But it’s also not impossible.

Always offer your support, and be strong for them. Don’t let them hide their true feelings. Be their anchor. They will come out of this stronger and braver, thanks to your love and guidance.

Couples in Conflict – Why Your Communication Skills May Be a Problem

As naturally unrestrained creatures, we humans need efficient communication like a plant needs water.

When we’re unable to break that barrier, we become frustrated, depressed and angry.

What should be done to solve this issue?

Confronting the Cause of Poor Communication

According to a survey, poor communication is the number one reason why most couples split up. But it should be noted that in these cases, poor communication isn’t just about stonewalling the other person.

Poor communication can mean showing defensiveness in normal conversations, showing contempt, ignoring your partner, not paying attention during times of distress, criticizing them, etc.

By not exercising conversation, couples not only make things worse for themselves, they make their partners feel like their efforts and love is not worth it. That can have an adverse impact in the long run for both parties.

The Language of Communication

Effective interpersonal communication depends on various factors.

For example, saying words and directives like you should, you must, you need etc. makes a direct statement that often passes as judgment on the other person.

In truth, if your partner needed or wanted to do something, they would have. While you mean well, they won’t take it as a well-meant comment. They’d consider it as judgment for their lack of action, and that makes them defensive. Using the word you specially brings up resentment.

There are always more effective ways to give an opinion without being too direct with your statement.

Negative Effects of Miscommunication

Making a universal statement that generalizes your partner’s behavior or personality makes them feel that perhaps, they’re not as unique (or special to you) as they should’ve been. And when paired with a directive, this makes your statement all the more judgmental.

Make generalized statements like:

You always do this…

You never do anything I tell you to…

You’re such a slob…

You’re so lazy!

You’re messing everything again

Consider the opposite scenario. As an adult, if someone were to say these statements to you, it would make you feel belittled. In addition, if you pair each of these statements with the direct insult, this makes the other person feel as though all their hard work is ineffective.

Learn to separate the situation from the person you’re addressing. Sure, they may have committed a fault. Don’t let that one fault diminish all their past days. Separate the issue and focus on that, rather than the person themselves.

An ineffective sentence would be: You’re so messy, you never clean anything up!

An effective sentence would be: I noticed that you didn’t do the laundry this week.”

What’s the Solution?

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I’ve worked with many couples dealing with relationship issues, only because one or both are unable to communicate effectively and openly.

We must understand that even if your relationship is suffering, it doesn’t have to. You still have the chance to improve through proper communication.


Consult with a reliable relationship counselor, be willing to work for the person you love and try your best to improve your connection.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.”

Shannon L. Adler