Partner and I got together at 16, had a baby at 17 and have lived together from the beginning. My partner suffers from depression and at the beginning of the year spent two weeks in a psychiatric hospital. Since returning she has been happier and improving her life. But bit by bit our relationship has been drifting off. She has become so unreasonable and says she feels like she is falling out of love for me. She is never to blame for anything that happens and I just feel so unwanted by her now. What I want to know is how can i tell if her feelings are genuine and she is losing her love for me or if what she is going through is her depression. She explains to me at times she hates me passionately but then loves me when the thought of me leaving comes into it. I feel completely used after all the hard work and verbal abuse I’ve been through to finally get her happy with herself to then be thrown to the side when I do nothing wrong. She says if I have an issue to speak up about it, but whenever I do, her reaction is so unreasonable and over the top, it just doesn’t feel worth it. My other question is, if it is the depression and not how she actually feels, how am I supposed to help the situation if I am the cause of the problem, yet all other parts of her life appear to be fine?
A: Thanks for writing in. From what I can gather, you and your partner have been together for about four years and have a child together, yet her depression has strained the relationship. Without meeting with her personally I can’t tell you whether or not she is really falling out of love with you or if her depression is the real problem. It could be possible that her depression has masked her true feelings at times, but when push comes to shove, she should be able to tell you if she still loves you and wants to work through this.
My suggestion is that you seek out a couple’s therapist and work through this with the help of a professional. Assuming she is in therapy already, you might gain some insight into her condition by attending a few sessions with her — if she is willing. But given the situation you are describing, I feel that seeing a new unbiased therapist together would be best. If you feel you are getting nowhere on your own, save your tough questions for the therapy office.
In the meantime, start a list of questions you have, as well as a list of how you feel about the relationship and the reasons you want to make it work. You might also get some relationship books or attend a support group for those who love someone with a mental health issue. Hope things work out for you both.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jun 2014
Counts, H. (2014). Depressed Partner Falling Out of Love. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/28/depressed-partner-falling-out-of-love/