Relationships and depression can be linked. Sometimes, the relationship itself triggers someone’s depression. However, people can also experience depression even if their relationship is a happy one.

People may use the term “relationship depression” to describe depression that develops due to relationship difficulties. However, this is not a distinct medical condition.

This article will explore in more detail at the relationship depression. It will explore how relationships can affect depression and vice versa.

Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a type of mood disorder. Although some people use the word “depression” informally to describe feeling sad, depression as a medical condition is different.

People with depression can experience a number of persistent mental and physical symptoms, including:

Feeling sad, worthless, or guilty
Feeling irritable or angry
Low self-esteem
Tiredness and fatigue
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Eating more or less than usual
Sleeping more or less than usual
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities, such as hobbies or socializing
Loss of libido, or sex drive
Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must occur most of the day or all day, nearly every day, for a consistent period of time.

There are several types of depression. Some are related to physical health conditions, such as endocrine disorders or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is related to the menstrual cycle. However, other types can be caused or exacerbated by events happening in a person’s current life or events that affected them in the past. Sometimes, relationships can be a trigger.

How can relationships affect depression?

Although relationships can be a source of contentment, they can also be a source of dissatisfaction or conflict. This can have an impact on people’s mental health.

Some examples of situations that may contribute to relationship depression include:


Infidelity is one potential cause of relationship-related distress. People who are in exclusive relationships can feel humiliated and betrayed if their partner is unfaithful to them. This can be emotionally traumatic.

Infidelity can also raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and symptoms that resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is seen that learning of a partner’s infidelity increases the likelihood of a depressive episode in people who were at higher risk of the condition.


All forms of intimate partner abuse are positively correlated with new cases of depression in females. Males who experienced abuse were more likely to develop new cases of anxiety.

Although abuse can seem rare or extreme, it is actually very common. This is especially true of emotional abuse, which can include:

Controlling, possessive, or manipulative behaviour
Behaviour designed to subdue, punish, or break someone down
Isolating someone from their friends and family
Long distance relationships

Although many long-distance relationships are fulfilling, they can also be challenging. People can miss their partner during long periods apart, or they may experience anxiety about the relationship and its future.

Relationship breakdown

The breakdown of a significant relationship can cause major upheaval in a person’s life as well as difficult emotions, such as anger, loneliness, or grief. It can also mean that a person has to move out of their home, which, in some cases, means living separately from their children or pets.

About the writer: Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, "It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday." Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India.