THE WARNING SIGNS THAT DEPRESSION IS AFFECTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
When a spouse acts withdrawn and unaffectionate, a couple’s sex life and level of intimacy will suffer. There is also a sense of shame attached to having a mental health disorder, which can prevent a depressed spouse from seeking help for a treatable illness.
If your relationship is struggling, depression may be the culprit. Depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality of your relationships, and the features of your relationship can affect your level of depression.
In other words, being depressed can cause you to pay less attention to your partner, be less involved, be more irritable or have trouble enjoying time together–all of which can cause your relationship to falter.
On the other hand, relationship problems such as high conflict, lack of communication, withdrawal, and difficulty in resolving issues, can all lead to depression.
Below are some warning signs you should watch out for:
– Your sex life has diminished or is non-existent.
While it’s normal to have an ebb and flow of sexual desire within a relationship and within an individual, a long-term lack of sexual connection in your relationship may signal that depression is present. Lack of sex drive can manifest from a variety of causes related to depression: hidden resentment, shame about sex, poor body image, feeling exhausted, taking medications, performance anxiety, and so on.
– You feel hopeless about your relationship.
A sense of hopelessness is one of the central predictors of depression. Feeling hopeless about your future together doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed. Instead, a cognitive distortion that so often comes with depression may be manipulating your thoughts into believing the future looks hopeless and that things will never get better.
– You’re tempted to act out.
Men, in particular, who are depressed, are more likely to express their depression outwardly. If you’re a depressed man, you’re more likely to act out your depression through drinking alcohol, becoming aggressive, having affairs, or shutting out your loved ones and withdrawing. Men also have a more difficult time identifying their depression and are less likely to get help for it because they may not even recognize their behaviours indicate an underlying depression.
– Anxiety is affecting you.
Anxiety and depression are often seen together. The problems that come with mixed anxiety and depression include; sleep trouble, concentration difficulties, low energy, high irritability, and worry, expecting the worst, and being always on guard, can also present a challenge to your relationship. When you encounter the everyday relationship problems that arise, you often perceive that there’s a grave threat to your relationship. It feels like the relationship is doomed to failure. This perceived threat can trigger heightened anxiety and excessive reassurance seeking–which can place your relationship under even more stress.
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