In this article, we will discuss some of the ways depression can affect your love life and make you feel like you don’t love someone.
We will also take a look at the impact depression has on relationships and what you can do if you feel like you do not feel love for someone you once cared about.
Can depression make you feel like you don’t love someone?
Yes. Depression can make you feel like you don’t love someone because of the inability to feel interest and pleasure in anything or anyone you once cherished.
One of the criterias of diagnosing a person with depression involves dysfunction in their social relationships. They might become distant, withdrawn, and may even struggle with the inability to feel pleasure or interest in anything- anhedonia.
If you are struggling with depression, you might feel like you no longer care for or love the people closest to you. Your desire to spend time with them decreases along with your ability to care for them.
Impact of depression on relationships
Depression is a serious mental health issue that causes disability in the lives of millions- it is also one of the leading causes of problems in a person’s relationships.
The impact depression has on a person is debilitating. Some of the common issues that people with depression face in relationships are:
No energy to engage with others
Depression causes a person to become lethargic, fatigued, and also reduces the ability to concentrate and focus on daily tasks- even simple conversations.
This reduction in energy- both mental and physical- can often cause a person to retreat and isolate, sleep more, and become less active over all which can impact a person’s ability to meet the demands of their daily life- including the demands of their relationships.
You might be struggling with the inability to meet your partner’s needs or be more irritable because you are more tired all the time which leads to fights.
Often, if you partner or you are unaware of what is happening to you, the tension that arises due to your inability to engage with your partner can cause fights and stress.
Stress in relationships often causes us to think negatively of the relationship and even our partners and ourselves.
Fear that you are unworthy of love
People with depression also struggle with feelings of worthlessness- that they are unworthy of being loved and may also contemplate suicide due to their lack of hope.
You might begin to withdraw from your partner for fear that you are not worthy of being loved. This fear is an irrational belief that you may have internalized over time and through life experiences.
These beliefs can impact your emotions, thoughts, and behavior as a result of which you might choose to retreat from your partner and cut off people from your life as a bid to protect yourself from the hurt of disappointing others or rejection.
Basically you reject the notion of love, or even convince yourself that you do not love your partner. You may even fear being abandoned as a result of which you might try to leave your partner before they leave you.
Another symptom of depression is the inability to feel pleasure or find joy from activities they previously loved or engaged in.
This can include your job, your hobbies, connecting with people you love- including sex. You might experience a decrease in libido and the desire to be intimate with your partner which can drive a wedge in the relationship.
Anhedonia can also bring about apathy- where you feel indifferent towards various aspects of your life- your health, your career progress, and your social relationships. You might feel indifferent towards your partner’s needs which could cause distress in the relationship.
This sense of apathy and anhedonia can make you feel like your present relationship does not bring you joy or does it give you the same sense of comfort it once did. This symptom can be mistaken for falling out of love or even convincing you that your partner is not right for you.
Inability to love wholly
Your depression makes it difficult to care for yourself let alone someone else- you become unable to attend to the needs of your partners which can cause problems in the relationship.
Depression can also make it difficult to engage in life- going out for dates, having a little fun, trying out new things- all of these things seem impossible especially on days when you are unable to get out of bed.
There will be moments when you know you love your partner but the things that are normally not stressful can cause a lot of stress when you are mentally and emotionally distressed- this can make it extremely hard to cope with, you might even resent them or feel nothing at all.
What to do when your depression makes you feel like you don’t love your partner?
If you have started coming to terms with the possible causes of why you are feeling apathetic towards your partner, here are some action steps you can take to get clarity about your relationship. With clarity you can either choose to work on the relationship with your partner or move on.
Step 1: Tell them how you feel
An open and honest conversation is what is needed to begin seeking clarity. Sit your partner down and tell them exactly what you are struggling with. Be honest about your doubts and your fears.
When you are being open, seek to be assertive and take responsibility over your feelings, do not blame or criticize them nor yourself.
Here is a guide to help you learn to communicate assertively.
Step 2: Acknowledge their feelings and yours
Your partner may react with shock, anger even. Or they may also express their own fears and sadness. Acknowledge the way they feel because it is difficult to hear someone you love tell you that they might not love you anymore.
While you are taking their feelings and their own honest thoughts seriously, be mindful as to not blame yourself. You might have not been able to put effort into the relationship, but as we have discussed depression can be dilibelating.
If they have expressed hurt, you can apologize for your behaviour while also asserting that your mental health have taken a toll on you to a great extent,
Step 3: Figure out what both of you need
If you think that you would like to work on the relationship but giving yourself and your partner a second chance, it is time to assess the relationship itself.
If not, Skip to Step 5.
Assessing and evaluating the relationship means taking stock of a few things
- What has worked in the relationship
- What has not worked out
- Both your emotional and physical needs
- What can be done differently
Working around these issues can be overwhelming, it will require patience and kindness from the both of you to discuss them objectively and in a realistic way.
Taking the time to make note of the things that worked in the relationship and doing more of them can be a step in the right direction.
While being mindful of the things that hurt either of you and leave you dissatisfied in the relationship can help you change the way either of you are present in the relationship.
It is also crucial that both of you are mindful of each other’s needs and limitations- especially the effects of depression that hold you back- setting realistic ways and goals to meet each other’s needs can be helpful to help each other feel loved and supported in the relationship.
Step 4: Revisit the issue
It is important to remember that successful relationships require a lot of hard work, it involves being in touch with ourselves and each other.
Take time to revisit the status of your relationship as often as possible by asking each other about what could be done better.
It takes time to adapt to changes in the relationship even though they are done with positive intent, so be mindful of what is challenging for either of you by revisiting the plans both of you have set.
Revisiting the issue can also give you clarity on whether you would like to continue working on the relationship or move forward.
Step 5: Make plans to move forward
Deciding to move on from the relationship does not have to make you feel guilty or selfish. There are times in life that are faced with the decision to put ourselves first which might hurt others.
If you, after communicating with your partner and having taken time to try again, find yourself unable to keep up with the relationship and believe that being alone as your recover is what you need then go for it.
Yes, it might hurt your partner but having an honest conversation about your depression and your limitations can give them the closure they need to heal- closure even for you to move forward.
As you both sit down for this conversation, it is important to be mindful of what you are saying while acknowledging their feelings of hurt, anger, or sadness.
It is all the more important for you to remember that this is a choice you are making to focus on yourself and your healing, so seeking out support- professional or not (family, friends, support groups) can help you transition to being alone while also coping with depression.
In this guide we have explored why your depression might be making you feel like you do not love your partner anymore. We also discussed curtain steps you can take to make the relationship work or move forward from the relationship if that is what you need.
Frequently asked questions related to “can depression make you feel like you don’t love someone?”
Can anxiety make you feel like you don’t love someone?
A person who has anxiety often struggle with irrational thoughts and beliefs, these can impact the way they behave and feel.
Anxious people often find it difficult to trust themselves and others which might cause tension and dissatisfaction in the relationship- even leading them to feel nothing for their partner in an effort to protect themselves
Can depression make you hate your partner?
Depression or anxiety can reduce your ability to tolerate frustrations. Minor slights from your partner can cause intense reactions without even meaning to. Irritation can quickly turn into anger and frustration.
Long terms relationships that have a partner who is depressed can struggle with misunderstanding and tension. Without management of these issues, anger can turn into resentment and hatred.
Can depression prevent you from falling in love?
People with depression often struggle with the symptom of apathy and disinterest. They struggle with what is called anhedonia where they feel no pleasure or no positive emotions- which makes it incredibly difficult for them to acknowledge feelings of love from others or themselves.
This makes it hard for them to love or care for another person during their depressive episode.
Does depression affect your ability to love?
The symptoms of depression such as lethargy, apathy, inability to concentrate and engage in life, lowered libido, feelings of worthlessness can impair a person to the point where they are unable to function as well as they usually would.
This involves their ability to love and care for their family, partner, and friends. They are often unable to tolerate stress or meet their own needs let alone the needs of others.
Can stress make you fall out of love?
Stress depletes a relationship of necessary components such as attentiveness, being present, caring for others needs. Stressed-out people cannot maintain these expectations and often feel pressured which can lead to arguments and even more stress.
So in a bid to protect themselves, they might choose to become distant from the relationship itself as it could be another stress inducing factor in their lives. Many people consider this falling out of love.