Most of us want to be in a relationship. For women in particular, the quality of their relationships is closely related to their emotional well-being. Having a close relationship with your partner can help you feel confident, inspired, and energized enough to reach your goals. A strong relationship can also help you face life’s biggest challenges and regain emotional balance.
Research even shows that a loving relationship can help provide a sense of well-being during physical distress and pain.
While a supportive relationship can protect you from becoming depressed when you are faced with stress, the opposite can also be true. A relationship that does not meet your needs and is laden with conflict and turmoil can increase stress and wreak havoc in your life.
Relationship Signs That Could Lead to Depression:
1. Is your partner also your friend?
The basis for a good relationship is companionship and close alliance between partners. Friendship, emotional intimacy, shared interests, and the ability to have fun together makes both partners feel happy and connected to each other. If you are not able to talk, laugh, and spend time with your partner because of long working hours or different interests, the loss of friendship can lead to isolation and eventually depression.
2. Can you turn to your partner when in need?
When you are distressed, is your partner the first one you turn to? If you are able to depend on your partner, when you are vulnerable and weak you will feel more secure and be able to regain your strength faster. If your partner lacks empathy, caring, and compassion, you may feel you do not have the support you need. Feeling alone with your difficult emotions may cause sadness and depression.
3. Does your partner do his share at home?
A partner that thinks of you and your well-being will help with childcare, house work, and/or allow you to take some time for yourself. If you are stuck juggling your profession, childcare, and household chores without help, you will eventually feel depleted, angry and alone in the relationship. Being overburdened and neglected can make you depressed.
4. Are you able fully open up and be yourself in the relationship?
In a healthy, loving relationship you should feel accepted and free to be yourself, with all your strengths and weaknesses. If you feel pressured to lose weight, look younger, or be someone you are not in order to be accepted, you may be in a relationship that is not meeting your needs. This could eventually lead to resentment and depression.
5. Do you feel good about yourself in the relationship?
In an intimate relationship, you should feel safe, appreciated, and loved. If you feel inadequate, sad, unworthy, or fearful, there may be a problem. This may happen if your partner feels superior and puts you down, insults you, or treats you with contempt. Also, being criticized or ridiculed will make you doubt yourself and, eventually, cause you to sink into despair. This type of humiliation and contempt is a form of emotional abuse.
6. Do you have equal power?
If you feel powerless in a relationship, chances are high you will end up unhappy. If your partner holds all the power and dominates decisions about finances, friendships, and activities, you may feel isolated and helpless. Bossy and controlling partners will also make you feel irritated, angry, and, eventually, depressed.
7. Are you able to acknowledge and resolve conflict?
Couples that recognize their disagreements and pay attention to one another’s feelings resolve their conflicts faster. The ability to validate and support each other’s feelings, even when you disagree, leads to quicker emotional recovery if feelings get hurt. On the contrary, avoidance of conflict can lead to a very unhappy relationship, and possibly to a break-up or divorce. Thinking that your partner ignores you and avoids talking to you when you are upset could leave you feeling dismissed and powerless.
8. Are you abused in the relationship?
There are numerous different types of mistreatment, including emotional abuse, a critical and controlling attitude, name calling, and physical violence. These things are never part of a loving and respectful relationship. A hurtful, degrading attitude will make anyone feel unsafe and depressed.
The first step in resolving an unhealthy relationship is to recognize and acknowledge that it is not meeting your needs and that you deserve to be treated with respect and love. If you are in a relationship that does not feel right, you may need a therapist to help you find a way to get what you need, or, potentially, to leave your partner if the situation cannot be improved.
If you are having trouble with your relationship and think you may be depressed, you may benefit from seeing a therapist.
Call (281)267-1742 for a FREE 10-minute consultation.
Dr. Irena Milentijevic is a licensed psychologist who specializes in helping mothers and those hoping to be mothers overcome stress, loss, and depression. Her offices are located in Houston and the Woodlands, Texas. Visit her website: www.DrIrena.com to get her free report, “Moms and Mom Wannabes: 10 Ways to Overcome Depression and Reclaim Your Sanity”.