I often hear from wives who feel very strongly that their husband’s depression is the reason for at least some of the serious problems in their marriage. Often, these wives tell me that their husbands have projected their depression onto the marriage and have told or hinted to the wives that they don’t love them anymore and are considering a break, separation, or divorce. This is extremely frustrating to the wives who find it very obvious that his depression is clouding many of the perceptions that he has about all areas of his life – including their marriage and the way that he feels about them.
Unfortunately, often when the wives attempt to approach their husbands about this, the husband is not at all receptive to what she has to say. They often respond with things like “it’s you and the marriage that make me depressed. My mental state is not the reason our marriage is in trouble, but the state of our marriage most certainly makes me more depressed.”
This can be a very unfortunately situation. The wives often know that they are right about this, but the more they push it, the more the husband withdraws and pulls away. Unfortunately, being right doesn’t amount to much if he’s not going to come to see things your way. And, pushing your own perceptions onto him when he doesn’t agree is likely only going to make the situation worse. He may eventually come to see you as something very undesirable that he wants to escape as a matter of self preservation. So, in the following article, I will discuss what I’ve seen to be the most effective way to deal with a depressed husband whose mental status is contributing to him telling you that he doesn’t love you anymore.
Depressed People Can Think That They Don’t Love Anything Or Anyone (And This Includes Themselves:) Many wives intuitively know this, but I feel the need to mention it because validation can be a very reassuring thing. Depression can very much cloud your entire world view and can contribute to your seeing reality in a very warped and one sided way.
Everything looks bleak. Every one appears to be detrimental to your being alone with your misery. And, there are times when you don’t feel anything – much less love. These things don’t mean that your husband no longer loves you. It just means that his depression keeps him from feeling much of anything and this clouds his world view and perceptions.
Depressed People Can Be Resistant To Seeing Reality If It Makes Them Change Too Abruptly. Always Respond With This In Mind: You and I both know that your husband’s mental state could very well be clouding his judgments and perceptions. And, it’s so tempting to repeatedly remind him of this. What you have to understand though is that it’s unlikely that he’s going to agree with what you saying. People who are depressed build walls around themselves that can be hard to break through, especially if you’re asking him to abandon or to deeply examine his believes.
It can be more effective to just proceed along as though his beliefs are his reality. This can be frustrating, but it keeps you from wasting time and from pushing him further away by arguing with him even when he isn’t going to change his mind. As difficult as it may be, it’s usually more effective to accept that this what he believes right now and to go from there.
Approaching His Mental State From A Place Of Love Rather Than Judgment: People who suffer from depression can be very defensive. There’s a sense of shame about this, so you will usually have better results if you approach him as someone who hurts because he’s hurting (rather than as someone who hurts because he doesn’t love you.) Tell him that it’s obvious that he’s struggling and that you want to be his safe place to fall rather than someone who is making things worse.
Don’t dwell on his assertions that he doesn’t love you. This may well change as his mental state improves. Instead, focus on trying to help him get to a better place. Sometimes, this may mean professional help. Other times, time, support, and loving patience can bring about some improvements. Often, when you husband sees that you’re not going to debate with him but instead want to help him, the atmosphere around this issue will begin to shift and will allow you to begin to gain some ground.
Deciding When To Broach The Martial Issues When You Know That The Depression Is The Prevalent Issue: People often ask me if they should address the marital and affection issues at the same time that they are addressing the depression. This really depends upon how dire both situations are and a counselor is much better equipped to answer this than I am. But, I can tell you that often one thing will often affect the other. Often, if you can improve one of these issues, the other will fall into place much easier. But you shouldn’t allude that one thing depends on the other. Always try to approach this from a place of love and support.
Unfortunately, you can’t force your husband to seek or receive help. But, you can control yourself and your own actions. You can make it clear to your husband that your will support him and be his safe place to fall throughout this process. And you can obtain what you need to help and support yourself. If he resists counseling, nothing says that you can’t go alone or also educate yourself.
Often, if you can make some small changes and show him that you’re making an effort, he might begin to come around and be a bit more receptive, especially when he sees that you’re not making him make any painful changes or concessions by himself.
Having a depressed husband who claims he doesn’t love you can be devastating. But, you have to realize that what you’re hearing is often his mental status talking rather than his true feelings. If you can approach him from a loving place and gently get some assistance that will help both of you, then you can often see some improvement in both the depression and in the way that he claims he feels about you.