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How Anxiety and Depression May Affect Your Relationships

Anyone can be affected by depression and anxiety – even children. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million people in the United States, with the number being much higher across the world.

It is difficult to live with depression. The symptoms can affect your mental health, generate sadness and suicidal thoughts, and can even have a physical impact on your life. Depression and anxiety raise stress, decrease energy, cause weight to fluctuate, contribute to insomnia and the list goes on.

Living this way is hard enough on your own, but depression and anxiety can also have a negative impact on your marriage.

Here are 6 ways your mental health can affect your romantic relationships and how marriage therapy can help.

  1. General Unhappiness

Living with depression is a trying experience. 

It can impact nearly every aspect of your life and may even make you feel like you don’t know who you are.

Feeling sad, uninspired, or lonely every day is challenging for both you and your partner. It is challenging to live each day feeling unhappy just as it is challenging to be in love with someone who is consistently unhappy.

Life is a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs – but a great life should be filled with more ups than downs. By seeking marriage therapy for depression, as well as consulting your doctor, you can take hold of your anxiety and regain control of your life.

  1. Your Sex Life Suffers

Your intimate connection with your spouse is very important to the success of your marriage. 

Being intimate is what connects you, body, mind, and soul. Studies show that couples who have an active, healthy sex life release oxytocin in their bodies. This magical hormone is responsible for bonding, boosting trust, and reducing stress. Oxytocin also contributes to emotional intimacy between partners.

Unfortunately, research shows that depression (or taking antidepressants) can have a significant impact on a person’s relationships, quality of life, and mental health. It can also impact one’s sex life.

Depression has been proven to lower libido, decrease sexual excitement, delay or diminish the ability to orgasm, and create problems with erections.

When your sex life suffers, so does the rest of your relationship. 

Couples may not be as close, loving, or trusting of one another. It may also leave one partner feeling unimportant and may tempt a person to stray from the marriage.

  1. Uninspired in Life

When you are depressed, you may feel largely uninspired and unmotivated to do pretty much anything. This feeling of listlessness can make it difficult to socialize, keep a job, or find any joy in hobbies you used to love.

Of course, these things will impact your social life and even your shared finances as a couple.

If you live with anxiety or depression, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning and brushing your teeth can feel like an accomplishment. It’s important to celebrate the small steps you take when you are living with depression or anxiety.

It isn’t as easy for you to do the things that other people can.

At the same time, it’s equally as important to take proactive steps to improve your mental health.

Going to marriage therapy with your spouse (or taking an online marriage class) can help you deepen your understanding of your illness. It can also help your partner learn how to behave around you, avoid triggers, and develop empathy for the way you feel.

  1. Spouse Feels Helpless

Your spouse loves and care for you. He or she wants the best for you in every way. When you are feeling anxious or depressed, your partner will do anything to try and make you feel better.

However, depression is not like a common cold. Your spouse cannot make you chicken soup and bank on your cold going away in a couple of days. Improving or maintaining your mental health is a lifelong journey. It needs constant attention.

Your mental health is your private journey. Sometimes, no matter what you do, your partner will not be able to cheer you up. This fact can make your partner feel frustrated, helpless, and upset throughout your relationship.

  1. Temptations to Act Out

Depression affects people in different ways. 

Women are more likely to experience severe feelings of guilt, sadness, or worthlessness. The National Institute of Mental Health reveals that men are more likely to act out as a symptom of depression, often overdrinking, turning to drugs, becoming abusive, irritable, or behaving recklessly.

Temptations to act out can ruin your relationship. 

Acting out may involve drug use, gambling, or stepping outside of your relationship for sexual intimacy. Cheating on a partner, regardless of your mental state, causes distrust, lowers self-esteem, and creates feelings of resentment.

Seeking marriage therapy can help you understand what you are feeling and undo the urge to act out recklessly in your relationship.

  1. Unable to Communicate

Those living with depression or anxiety often experience feelings of loneliness, even when they have a supporting and loving spouse. Some might feel that their partner does not understand the magnitude of what they are going through and are unable to communicate about their mental health.

Communication is the backbone of a strong marriage. 

Couples must be able to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and opinions in order to grow.

Through marriage therapy, you and your partner deepen your understanding of one another. You will learn different communication techniques and find one that works best for your circumstances.

It is hard to live with depression. It is emotionally and physically taxing and can leave you feeling helpless and sad. It is especially hard to live with anxiety if you are in a relationship. Your mental health affects more than only yourself when you are married or otherwise in a committed relationship. 

Make your mental health a priority by seeking marriage or couple’s therapy.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

Contact a Resource Specialist

Guest Author - Rachel PaceAuthor Bio: Rachael Pace is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everybody should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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5 thoughts on “How Anxiety and Depression May Affect Your Relationships

  1. Katie says:

    Yes, I totally agree to every point you have mentioned. After marriage the couple lose interest in each other. Not in every case, but it affects the mental health, physical health and generate sadness between them. Which can be a big problem.

  2. Rach says:

    I agree with everything you have shared in this post in writing. I believe depression changes us from the core and turns us into something we do not ourselves understands. After losing my boyfriend I learned that depression can eat us alive even when you do not want be consumed. Sometimes I feel this world we are living in is more like a hell because we do not have any control on our lives, we cannot stop from loved ones from leaving this world. Happiness is state of mind but it is difficult to feel joy when you feel dead and drowned inside.

  3. lamar says:

    i have tried for five years to help her in every way possible to help her rise from this. you can lead the horse to water, but until they decide, you are a useless helper. i feel as though i became an enabler. she has pushed me away four times in four years saying she loves me, but not in love with me, but telling me five times a day she loves me. roller coaster is not the word. this last time was new years eve. have not heard from her since. the love of my life for the past thirteen years. we are both in our 60’s.

  4. Crowns says:

    I’m fully agreed with this point that “spouse loves and cares for you. He or she wants the best for you in every way. When you are feeling anxious or depressed, your partner will do anything to try and make you feel better.”

  5. Becca says:

    This pandemic has been hard for everyone. I am feeling particularly vulnerable and don’t know where to turn. I have said at least 100 times since being vaccinated that we should plan a vacation. NOTHING HAPPENS. He is just a cork on a pond following the travels when a rock has been thrown. Big rock thrown tonight!

    Help help help please

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