Untangling the Knots of Love and Depression

Depression is a mental health condition that can impact your entire life. When you leave depression untreated, relationships inevitably suffer especially romantic ones. However, your relationships can also play a role in your depression, and it can be difficult to disentangle the two. Let’s take a look at how they can impact each other.

9 Symptoms of Depression Affecting Your Relationships

Depressive episodes and symptoms vary from person to person. But here are nine common depression symptoms and how they can impact your relationships:

Feeling Sad, Irritable, or Angry

These feelings can make communication difficult. You can sometimes come across as impulsive, mercurial, or prickly, which can be challenging for loved ones. They can start to feel like they are walking on eggshells around you.

Struggling with Self-Worth

This can make starting and maintaining relationships challenging. If you don’t value yourself, it can be hard to imagine why someone else would want to spend time with you. Additionally, it can take an emotional toll on established relationships. With partners, it can dampen romance and intimacy.

Trouble Making Decisions and Concentrating

Your loved ones can feel unimportant when you struggle to remember important information or focus on conversations. Your indecision can turn little things like deciding where to meet or what to eat into big issues or put more pressure and strain on the other party.

Changing Appetite and Weight Fluctuation

Although it doesn’t impact your relationship directly, this can affect your self-confidence and overall feelings about yourself. Sudden weight changes can worry your loved ones as well.

Sleeping Problems

While this doesn’t affect friends, any partner can struggle when you’re having trouble sleeping. If you are dealing with insomnia, it can wake your partner and make them overtired. Your subsequent tiredness or frequent naps can impact your quality of time with loved ones.

Tiredness and Fogginess

A lack of energy will always impact relationships. Your relationships will suffer if you’ve checked out or are too tired to spend time with loved ones.

Withdrawing from Social Events and Loved Ones

This can directly impact the quality of your relationships. If you aren’t around anymore, your loved ones can feel unimportant, especially if they don’t understand why.

Low Sex Drive or Sexual Dysfunction

This specifically impacts romantic relationships, especially if there’s a sudden change in your libido. Your partner may struggle not to take it personally, feeling like you don’t want them anymore.

Thinking About Dying or Suicide

This is typically not visible to your loved ones, but your preoccupation can be concerning to your loved ones, whether they know the direction of your thoughts or not. Any self-harm acts hurt your loved ones even if you cannot see it now; they love you and want to see you healthy and safe.

You can reduce the consequences of these symptoms on your relationships if you are open and honest about what you are going through. Don’t be afraid to share details about your mental health with your partner and ask for what you need. If they are supportive and invested, they will want to help.

Relationships Can Affect Depression

It’s no mystery that relationships impact mental health. When things are good, you feel on top of the world. But when things aren’t so great, they can trigger negative habits or thinking. This can be hard to recognize even as you’re headed straight for a depression spiral. You should watch out for the following relationship struggles:

  • Distance relationships can elicit anxiety about time apart and future plans, bringing insecurities to the surface. For example, you may worry more about infidelity during your long stretches apart.
  • Unfaithfulness will always bring about relationship distress, but one study shows it can increase the likelihood of a depressive episode when you learn about your partner’s infidelity. It can even trigger symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder and increase suicidal thoughts.
  • Intimate partner violence can bring on anxiety and depression. While physical abuse may seem extreme, emotional abuse with controlling, punishing, isolating, or manipulative behaviors can lead to the same mental health issues.
  • Breakups or a breakdown of a close relationship, romantic or otherwise, can bring with them difficult emotions. This is especially true if the end of the relationship results in a significant upheaval, like moving or saying goodbye to a shared pet.

Treating your depression is one of the only ways to see if it’s the cause of rocky relationships or if those connections influence your mental health. It’s likely a bit of both. Treating your depression will only help. Depression treatments include talk therapy, medications, and other modalities like magnetic cranial stimulation. You can also explore couples therapy if you are in a romantic relationship. However, your relationships will flourish when you understand your depression symptoms and triggers and take control of your mental well-being. Focus on yourself, and the relationships will follow.


Depression is a complex mental health condition that can significantly impact various aspects of your life, particularly your relationships. However, it’s important to recognize that the relationship dynamics can also contribute to or exacerbate depression symptoms. Understanding how depression and relationships interact is crucial for managing these challenges effectively. Treating depression involves exploring therapeutic options such as talk therapy, medications, and innovative modalities like magnetic cranial stimulation. For those in romantic relationships, couples therapy may provide valuable support.

9 Depression and Relationship Management