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Tuesday, March 16, 2010 Amy, Community Member, asks

Q: Should I stay or leave my depressive husband?

My husband has had depression for the duration of our relationship and I can honestly say that he has made huge efforts to cope with it and live life the best he can.  The problem is that when he is depressed, he is more angry and unreasonable and even manipulative than anything else.  I have learned to try to read him and give him space when he needs it among other things, but I am often caught in the crossfire.  I truly hate living with what feels like two different people.  My husband is amazing and makes me feel so special but the intruder (his depressed side) is nasty and really doesn't care about me at all, in fact to him everything is my fault.  It doesn't help that I have a self esteem issue myself and tend to adopt the blame for everything, but I have honestly lost any sense of whether I am right or wrong - if that matters.  We are in the middle of a bad couple of months and I'm not sure how much of this I can take.  When is it right to feel that you should move on and accept that you will never be happy with a depressed partner?  I love him to absolute bits, really I do and it would shatter me to leave.  He was very very close to leaving me torwards the end of last year because he was just so depressed - similarly to a suicidal person, he felt he would be doing me a favour.  What can I do?  Could I be holding him back or preventing him from feeling happy as he sometimes tells me?  I would really appreciate any help.

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Answers (5)
Merely Me, Health Guide
3/16/10 4:25pm

Hi Amy


This is one of the most difficult questions we get here on My Depression Connection.  And I am afraid that there is no one right answer.  It really is something only you can decide and I realize that this is a monumental decision. 


Here are some questions which might help you in the process:


How long have you been married?  How long has he been depressed?  Are there children involved?  What steps have been taken on his part to deal with his depression?  Do you love him?  Does he love you?  Are there problems in the relationship which contribute to his depression?  Would a separation help to know how you both feel?


Read this question and close your eyes.  Imagine five years from now, ten years, or even twenty...can you see yourself with this person?  What is the first answer that comes to mind without analyzing?


I just wrote a post about this very topic you may wish to read called, "Is your Partner Depressed or Just not that into You. "  I am going to be writing more on this topic in the weeks to come because many of our members write in with similar questions.


Let us know more about your situation and I am sure our members can give you their opinion.  But please know that this is a life changing decision and one that only you can make.


Good luck and let us know how things go.



Judy, Community Member
3/17/10 3:52pm

Hi, Amy.  One thing I would strongly suggest - because it has worked for me - is couples therapy.  I don't think I'd be married today if we hadn't done it.  Perhaps you could bring it up when he's having a good day.  Is he on medication and is he taking it every day?  He needs to know how much he's hurting you and it's best done with professional help because the therapist will help with all the emotions that surface.  Don't blame yourself - my father has acted like that all his life, only he's never tried to get to the bottom of it or acts like he has any idea that his rages and insults destroy people.  My mother has put up with this forever, but she could have done something, too, and never did.  You could see a therapist yourself for some help in sorting this out.  I wish you all the best and hope you can find some resolution. 

tia, Community Member
4/24/10 10:21pm


i am curious how things are going.  what you have chosen to do.

i have been in a committed relationship for 8 years.  4+ of which I have been expressing in a variety of ways the need to address the things that my partner chose to "let slip away"  a couple years ago, I suggested depression & he basically told me to leave.  then, said he would "try harder"  well..i have spent countless $$ on books & such trying to be a better partner & given opportunoty for him to "try harder"  this weekend I said I was moving out & NOW he is acknowledging that he has depression & is committed to getting it adressed.  I don't know if I am supposed to stay or go. 

As I said, i am curious how you are doing with things in your relationship..

Monica, Community Member
4/24/10 10:55pm

Today I am lost. My husband was recently diagnosed with major depression and I suspect he has had off and on most of his life. We separated recently due to our marriage issues that we could not address nor resolve like adults. Looking back, the depression played a major part in our unhappy marriage. I asked for a separation as I felt I had other option, basically doing what was right for us both at the time. I knew the cycle would continue for us if drastic action wasn't taken. 


We immediately started marriage counselling where the diagnosis was made after a few joint sessions.


My husband has retreated, living with family and is working but it barely pays the bills. I appear to have taken a few steps back and now playing the friend part. He seems to be of the mindset that we will reconcile. I just dont know anymore. The longer the separation the more distance there is between us AND it appears Im doing more to help him recover than he is. 


When I try and speak to my husband about anything marriage/ real life related he takes it the wrong way and or doesn't know how to respond. The "garbage truck" is there all the time.  I think he may think Ill be here waiting forever???? Is that what Im meant to do as his wife?


Im doing everything I can to support him and also take care of myself but its just so hard. Today he tells me he didn't make it to counselling this week because of a car issue. Right...  We have counselling booked for another two months, can I expect to see progress then?


Im not attending the next couple of sessions with our counsellor as I need a mental health break and my husband desperately needs the 1:1 time.


Does anyone have any success stories or tips for my coping? If I keep going Ill need therapy myself! Have found a support group that meets once a month.

Dat, Community Member
3/ 8/14 12:02pm

Was he sorry for what he had done to make you sad or angry? If yes, forgive him and stay with him because that's what I learned from Jesus Christ's teaching. Forgive and forget if someone beg and ask for forgiveness. But if you told him that you was angry at him for some reason and he won't admit his mistakes or sins, then staying with him would make it worse and worser; therefore leave him, but let him know what he had done before leaving him, okay?

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By Amy, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/22/14, First Published: 03/16/10