How Depression Affects Your Relationships

Depression is a challenging condition  that affects millions of people worldwide. For many women, depression can have a significant impact on their relationships with their loved ones. Depression can make it difficult to connect with family and friends, and it can also have a negative impact on intimate relationships. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways that depression can affect your relationships and provide advice on how to manage the condition.


Isolating is a symptom of depression.  It can be quite insidious, as many women don’t realize they are doing it.  It is also complicated by the fact that we often encourage down or alone time.  This is different from isolating.  Women who are experiencing depression may find themselves withdrawing from the activities they once enjoyed, including socializing with friends and family. Sometimes, it makes it hard for them to uphold commitments. 

They may also feel hesitant to reach out for help. This isolation can often exacerbate their depression and result in damaging their relationships. Talking to loved ones or seeking therapy can help maintain relationships. Sometimes, just being honest and letting friends and family know you are not avoiding them because of anything they did.  

Negative Thoughts and Negative Processing

Depression can also cause negative thinking, which can ultimately lead to damaging relationships. If you feel inadequate or unworthy, it can impact how you interact with and treat others. Oftentimes, people who are depressed will only focus on all that is wrong in their world.  

Practicing  self-reflection and mindfulness to counteract negative thought patterns can be very helpful. Overthinking leads to rumination, the habit of repeating negative thoughts, and can cause emotional rigidity. Mindfulness helps us notice when we are ruminating so we can redirect our minds. 

depressed young woman cover wing ears with hands sitting on chair
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Sexual Issues

Depression can also have a significant impact on sexual relations with partners. Women experiencing depression may feel less interested in sex, leading to a decrease in intimacy and closeness. Communication is important when it comes to sexual relationships. Couples should talk openly and honestly about how their depression is affecting their sex life, and what things they could do to improve their sexual intimacy.

Some antidepressants can cause changes in libido or sexual response.  It is important to talk with your psychiatric nurse practitioner or other provider if you’re having these side effects.  Not all medication causes them in all people.  Furthermore, we can often treat the side effects. 

Communication Breakdown

Communication and depression can go hand-in-hand. Depression can cause people to become defensive or hostile towards others, making conversations challenging. It can also make communication difficult as some individuals may struggle with expressing their emotions. To handle this communication breakdown, it is vital to pay close attention to the language choices and to speak openly and non-judgmentally to each other. It’s crucial to seek therapy for depression, helping develop emotional tools to counteract communication problems. Sometimes, a few sessions with a couple’s therapist can help a lot. 

Lack of energy

Depression triggers exhaustion and significantly affects an individual’s energy levels. Physical symptoms such as poor sleep, low or no appetite, and poor motivation to carry out daily activities also contribute to the same problem. A lack of energy can take a toll on relationships as the individual may appear disengaged or uninterested in activities they once enjoyed. Communication is priceless in dealing with this issue, and seeking therapy to manage low energy levels is crucial.

How to Treat Depression

Seek Therapy

Therapy is one of the most effective ways to manage depression and improve communication in your relationship. A trained therapist can help you identify patterns in your life and relationships that are unhealthy. They will also provide coping strategies, and help you develop a plan for tackling the challenges that arise in your relationship. You and your partner may benefit from seeing a therapist together, too.

Don’t Blame Your Partner 

When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to blame your partner for things in the relationship that aren’t going well. However, it’s essential to remember that depression is a medical condition that you’re struggling with, and not your partner’s fault. Try to avoid taking out your frustrations on your partner and instead focus on finding solutions to the issues in your relationship together.

Practice self-care

 Self-care is an essential part of managing depression. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally will help you feel better, which can positively impact your relationship. Some helpful self-care practices include exercise, eating healthy foods, practicing mindfulness, and getting enough rest.

Be Patient

Overcoming depression is a process, and it takes time, so be patient with yourself and your partner. It’s okay to take things slowly and make small improvements along the way. Don’t expect to fix everything overnight, and remember that it’s a journey you’re both on together.

Depression can significantly impact your relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s essential to seek help if you’re experiencing depression – the sooner you start treatment, the better. Therapy is an excellent way to learn how to cope with depression and to manage its effects on your relationships. Learning how to communicate with your loved ones about your depression is crucial to rebuilding relationships and preventing misunderstandings. Additionally, practicing mindfulness, seeking support from your loved ones, practicing self-care, and consulting professionals  can all contribute positively to managing depression and maintaining healthy relationships in the long term.

women wearing white tops and denim pants
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

About the author: Sharon P. Fisher, MS, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and founder of Nurtured Well, LLC., a boutique mental health practice for women in Towson, MD.

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