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Readers Respond: Coping With a Depressed Spouse

Responses: 174


Updated September 30, 2011

I dunno

My girlfriend has told me she feels depressed, but I don't always know what to do. She cheated in me with her ex, and now it is worse than ever. I want her to know she can talk to me, and feel safe.
—Guest Rusty Shackleford

Doesn't anyone offer help?

Reading all these sad stories just makes things worse for me, and doesn't offer any hope or constructive thinking. My spouse is depressed, refuses to admit it, go to therapy, or take medication. I have serious cancer and that becomes part of his "reasons" for depression. Does no one offer any options, things they have done to help themselves, tips, hope?
—Guest spouse


It's really hard sometimes, I've been with my partner for almost a year now, and he's very depressed. He tried to overdose within a couple months of us getting together, and I stayed with him and supported him, took time off work to make sure he was ok. Eventually he gave up his job, quit college, which was where the financial support from his family ended. I've looked after him, let him move into my house, but sometimes I wonder if the whole thing is a mistake. He's great when he's happy, but it takes absolutely nothing at all to turn it to unhappiness, and hours, if not days or weeks, to calm him down again. I don't know if I can go on being shouted at because I rolled over in bed, or breathed at the wrong time, or didn't have an opinion on something when asked. It's really hard to cope sometimes, and if I talk to him about it he just gets more upset and decides he has to kill himself. It feels like a losing battle, sometimes it feels like his depression is taking me over too.
—Guest Shade

still learning how to bend.....

Thanks so much for this page, it has helped me so much. I am new to all of this, Just married 3 short months ago to the woman of my dreams, and she is depressed. The hardest part for me is learning how to give her space. My nature is when someone is feeling bad, I coddle them and try to fix it. Then it makes things worse and then I feel like it is my fault. My best advice, DONT STOP TRYING!! I understand now that we are BOTH battling this disease, and that she feels even worse for being mean or sad to me. I never understood that the sexual drive was from depression, so it hurt my ego. I now understand that I cannot take it personally. I am still learning how to cope with alot of this, but I will stay strong.
—Guest stilllearning

finally ... some mental relief.

Finding this site filled with other people's stories that are similar to mine has given me much-needed mental stress relief. My wife of 12 years has recently come to terms with her ongoing depression and is seeking medical help. We have both known she was under stress and strain, and she has a family history of mental illness. Meanwhile, I've never encountered it in my family and don't really know how to deal with it. Things have turned terrible in our bedroom, and she feels helpless with our children and neglected by me. It's like she's suddenly having this midlife crisis and is wanting to relive her youth -- without me. Our relationship has come to a major crossroads and while I have ponied and said I'd make whatever sacrifices are necessary, she is unsure whether the marriage can be saved or if it's worth trying. I am devastated and heartbroken, but realizing that it is the disease talking. She needs help and I have to be there for total support.
—Guest Chris

right there with you all

I have been married for 25 years. Everyday I ask myself what I could have possibly done to deserve this life. My husband has depression-anxiety and refuses to take medication. His mood swings are horrific. He complains constantly. I have aspiring dreams of become a writer...all he does is complain that I spend my free time doing it. I have 7 published books. He has never read a single one. Everything is everyone elses fault. He takes no responsibility for anything. I can always tell when an episode is about to come on because he gets really cross with me and says things to intentionally hurt me. There are times when I get in my car and never come back. I never dreamed my life would be like this when I fell in love with him. It has gotten progressively worse each year, but especially in the last ten. He will do nothing to help himself and I have cold and detached. I shield myself to keep from being hurt. I am no longer the person I used to care but cant anymore
—Guest alone

Depression Treatment Center

If you know somebody who is suffering from a mental disorder and would want to truly help them, do not be afraid to ruffle some of their feathers by taking them to a Depression Residential Treatment Center . In the long run; they will realize that this is the best thing you ever did for them. A Depression Residential Treatment Center truly tries to help their patients get over whatever it is that is causing them to suffer from the said disorder.
—Guest Tarry Battison

unhappy upset

No answers from me for anyone...just so glad to read that I am not alone in the depression battle. I've loved my husband for as long as I can remember but he has changed so much that I'm not sure who he is. We all tiptoe our way around the house and if we don't everything blows up. The stress is driving me insane. I've asked him to leave as recently as this morning to no avail. He has nowhere to go. I guess I'll keep looking for a way to return to normal.
—Guest GLHS


I am having problems with my boyfriend of a year and a half.. long story short, we moved to his home country together about 5 months ago, its was super hard to find work, place to live and running out of money, we argued a lot. So I left to see my family, now I am back in NY where we meet and trying to sort myself out again.. but missing him like crazy, problem, he's down on his life and can't cope with my stress as well.. so he argues with me and tells me I am just stressing him out on the phone, he says he loves and misses me, but is scarred that if I come back we will go back to the stress again.. I feel so sad though without him, I think he's depressed too.. but being a guy won't admit it very often... I can't take him taking it out on me, but I pine for him so much.. it takes all my strength to not call him and to just keep on going everyday.. I feel depressed as I honestly though he was the one.. he's 38, I'm 35.. what do I do? help!
—Guest J

my boyfriend..

my boyfriend i think has depression.. he used to go away when we fought for a few days but we worked really hard to stamp out that kind of stuff, if he needed time all he had to do was say so but he used to go MIA for days. we didn't have any fights like that for a year and now this year it's nothing but fights. he left for two weeks and it devastated me. he came home saying he loved me and wanted to be with me still. that was two months ago. since then i've noticed his lying and hiding things, not telling me what's going on or how he feels.. so i started snooping and found all these messages about suicide and i confronted him, i'm the bad guy here for doing what i did but not for him blocking me out and not respecting our relationship. i'm floundering. we had a fight but i can't even talk to my friends, they're spending tonight with him. i have no one and i feel like it's rubbing off onto me. i'm drowning now and i can't stop it. i wish he would respond or see he's hurting me.
—Guest sad

I told you so

I told my husband when we started dating that I suffered from depression and he should just forget about it...he did not listen...he told me his mother was a schizophrenic and he could handle it...funny how he has stuck with me for 20 years....being in a "stable relationship with children" made me more anxious and miserable...at least when I was single I could get in trouble and act out and go crazy....I don't know why he never left...he said divorce is too expensive and he loves the home (my family helped me get it) and doesn't want to give all this up. I think he must have blue balls.


Carol please don't marry this man.I know you love him but you are headed for a life of hell.I am married to a man that has been depressed for 7 years.it very worse as timegoes by he takes two meds for the depression & sees a therapest.he is still depressed.we have no life out side our home.he don't want to visit and want answer the door if any once comes to the door.want answer the phone sits around and watches tv everyday.we have our home payed for we both drive new cars and have a heafty bank account.I used to be so happy & fun to be around.now I lay in bed knowing today will be the same as yesterday he talks about his health problems everyday the same things he told made a hundred times.I get aggravated at him.I feel like he has held made back from going out and visit family or shopping.when we do go he sits in car and waits while I shop ect.I feel like he its my child that I have to take care of.I do all the cleaning be does cook our breakfast every day.I ld
—Guest cathy

my boyfriend hurts me when he is sad

i have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. he has continuously got so bad that he has been lying, gambling and taking drugs to make himself happy. i am continuouly in the firing line and he will be using my money for these guilty pleasures. my friends are angry with me cos i let him get away with it, but he has recently tried to commit suicide due to his depression. how can i leave him when he has done this?? he has lied to me and gambled my money away and i have just forgiven him everytime... am i weak and niave? i do love him a lot, but i am currently dealing with 2 breivements within the family, im still trying to grieve and also worry about my boyfriend. he is on med and will be having counsellin. it must be gd that he is searching for help but it still is affecting me as im left broke after payday due to his search for happiness through his addictions. gambling, alcohol and drugs. i havent got a clue wat to do, totally lost.
—Guest samjo


I just found out I am pregnant. My husband and I have been wanting this for a few months and it has happened. Except that it seems to have triggered a relapse in depression. Last night he threatened to "blow his head off". I am scared and knocked up!
—Guest unsure

me too

I have been married for more than six years, my husband has been in depression for many more than that. I am tired of the mood swings, the abnormal behavior, walking on egg shells, of having to explain to my children why daddy will not participate in our family. I have finally put my foot down, I can't live with a man who hates people. My kids and I are moving into our other house. We all need less stress in our daily lives, I love this man dearly but can't be his mother, maid or scape goat any longer. I signed on to be his wife but that changed somewhere along the line. I keep thinking if he interacts with us on his own terms maybe our family can have a bit of quality time here & there instead of living in the same house with a man who resents his wife & children's laughter, daily noise & chatter. His response to this arrangement has changed by the day but I believe he sees the wisdom in it. I pray this helps our family and doesn't create more alienation. Time will tell.
—Guest boo
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