Is Your Relationship Making You Depressed? Here’s What You Can Do

Relationships can be wonderful, fulfilling and provide a sense of security and happiness. However, relationships can also be one of the biggest sources of stress and anxiety leading to depression. It is important to recognize the signs and take action when a relationship is taking a toll on your mental health. Here are key factors contributing to relationship-related depression and practical strategies to help you cope and improve your emotional wellbeing.

Signs of Relationship-Related Depression

There are different levels of relationship-related depression, and the symptoms and severity can vary from one individual to another. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty when thinking about your relationship
  • Lack of motivation or energy to engage in activities you used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns, either sleeping too much or too little, or losing or gaining weight
  • Feeling tense or irritable around your partner or avoiding communication altogether
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feeling forgetful or confused
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or backaches, with no medical explanation

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to take them seriously and seek professional help. A mental health professional can evaluate your condition and provide individualized treatment options such as therapy or medication if necessary.

Factors Contributing to Relationship-Related Depression

There are several factors that can contribute to depression in a relationship:

Unhealthy Communication Patterns

Communication is essential in any relationship, but unhealthy patterns can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Negative communication can involve criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. These communication patterns can lead to a buildup of resentment and emotional distance, which can damage mental health over time.

Unresolved Conflicts

Conflicts are normal in any relationship, but it’s how they are resolved that matters. If conflicts are left unaddressed, they can escalate over time and make one or both partners feel unhappy, unloved, and undervalued. Unresolved conflicts can also lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness, which can negatively impact mental health.

Partner’s Unsupportive Attitude

It is important to realize that relationships are a two-way street. When one partner continuously dismisses or belittles the other, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt can arise, leading to depression. Relationships need support, encouragement, and understanding, and if your partner is unwilling or incapable of providing these things, it can lead to negative feelings towards yourself and the relationship.

Strategies to Improve Mental Health in Your Relationship

If you are experiencing relationship-related depression, there are strategies you can implement to help you take control of your mental health and improve your relationship.

Communicate Honestly and Respectfully

To create a healthy relationship, you must communicate honestly and respectfully. This means avoiding negative communication patterns such as criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling, and instead using ‘I’ statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, instead of saying ‘You never listen to me,’ you could say ‘I feel unheard when I try to talk to you.’ When you communicate honestly and respectfully, you are building a foundation of trust and understanding that can help reduce feelings of stress and depression.

Resolve Conflicts Through Compromise and Negotiation

Conflicts are inevitable, but it’s how you resolve them that matters. If you’re having a disagreement, try to listen to your partner’s perspective and understand where they’re coming from. Practice empathy and find common ground to come to an agreement through negotiation or compromise. This way, both partners feel heard and valued, and the issue is resolved in a mutually supportive way.

Focus on Self-Care and Mental Health

Your mental health is essential, and it is important to focus on yourself as well as your relationship. Practice self-care by engaging in activities you enjoy, eating well, getting enough sleep, and incorporating mindfulness techniques such as meditation or yoga into your routine. Prioritizing your mental health can help you cope with the challenges that come with relationship-related depression.

Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling with depression related to your relationship, seeking professional help is important. A therapist or counselor can provide a safe space to explore your emotions and provide guidance on how to cope with the challenges in your relationship. They can also help develop strategies to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and cope with relationship-related stressors.

Conclusion

Relationships can have a significant impact on mental health, and it is important to recognize the signs and take action when depression strikes. By practicing healthy communication, resolving conflicts through compromise and negotiation, focusing on self-care and mental health, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can cope with the challenges of relationship-related depression and build a stronger, healthier relationship.

FAQs

What are the signs that my relationship is making me depressed?

Some signs that your relationship may be negatively impacting your mental health include feeling anxious or sad around your partner, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite. It’s important to recognize these signs early and seek help if needed.

What steps can I take to address the issue?

One of the first steps is to communicate openly with your partner about how you’re feeling. Seeking therapy, either individually or as a couple, can also be helpful in addressing ongoing issues. Additionally, practicing self-care activities such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with friends and family can improve your overall mental wellbeing.

When should I consider ending the relationship?

Ending a relationship should always be a last resort, but there are times when it may be necessary for your own mental health and wellbeing. If you’ve tried addressing issues in the relationship and sought help but still feel unhappy and depressed, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship and consider ending it. It’s important to always prioritize your own mental health and happiness.


References

1. Park, H., & Lee, E. (2019). The Relationship between Relationship Quality and Depressive Symptoms: Mediating Effects of Learned Helplessness and Hopelessness. Korean Journal of Family Counseling, 27(2), 33-50. Retrieved from https://www.dbpia.co.kr/pdf/pdfView.do?nodeId=NODE08599918&mark=0&useDate=&bookmarkCnt=6&ipRange=N&accessgl=Y&language=ko_KR.

2. Holt-Lunstad, J., & Smith, T. B. (2016). Social relationships and depression: Ten-year follow-up from a nationally representative study. PloS one, 11(8), e0150033. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150033

3. Hall, J. A., & Zhao, J. (2015). The functional and psychological outcomes of depression and social anxiety for romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 34(5), 391-407. doi: https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2015.34.5.391