About two months ago I realized my husband has depression. At that same time, he said he wasn’t sure of his feelings for me. A week or so later he said he “liked me.” Then sometime later he said he “feels nothing for me.” A few days ago he said he “missed me” (I realized he missed physical contact and not me). Right now, he says “he feels nothing for me.” 

I’ve been married for 13 years and have three children. My plan is to hopefully be there for him until he finds the treatment best suited for him. Sometimes I want to give up because it is very hurtful to be with a man who doesn’t love you, who feels nothing for you. Words that haunt me. I don’t know if I can bear it and I know finding a treatment can take a while. 

He is currently seeing a coach once a week. He needs family support right now. I’ll plan to support him as much as he’ll let me because he’s my husband and I love him. This situation has made me very emotional, and it is difficult not to cry every day. I think I might be mourning the life of my marriage.  


Your situation is undeniably challenging and emotionally complex. Facing a spouse’s depression alongside their fluctuating feelings toward you would test the resilience of any marriage. Your dedication to supporting your husband through his struggle with depression is commendable, yet it’s equally important to address the toll this situation is taking on your emotional well-being.

It’s crucial to recognize that depression can significantly distort a person’s feelings and perceptions. Your husband’s inconsistent expressions of his feelings for you might be more reflective of his mental health state than his true feelings. Depression often creates a fog that obscures one’s ability to connect with others, even those closest to them.

Your response to this situation – feeling hurt, confused and mourning the life of your marriage – is entirely natural. It’s a form of grieving, mourning the loss of the relationship as you knew it. Allowing yourself to feel and express these emotions is a vital part of your own healing process. It’s OK to cry, to feel lost and to question what the future holds. 

While you are focused on supporting your husband, it’s critical to seek support for yourself as well. This could be in the form of therapy, support groups, or confiding in trusted friends or family. Your emotional health is just as important as your husband’s and neglecting it will only make navigating this journey more challenging.

Open communication with your husband about how his condition and words affect you is important. It’s not about blaming him for his illness, but about expressing your feelings and working together to find a way forward. This might involve setting boundaries or finding ways to connect that acknowledge the current limitations imposed by his depression.

You mentioned that your husband is seeing a coach once a week. While coaching can be beneficial, it’s important to ensure that he is also receiving appropriate medical or therapeutic intervention for his depression, which might include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Encouraging him to seek a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed mental health professional could be a critical step.

The key is to not give up seeking help. Depression can be disabling, so he will likely need your help and support finding treatments and providers. Depression can be life-threatening, so it’s critical to continue seeking help and support. Finding the right treatment for depression can indeed be a lengthy process. The process is often full of trial and error, and it requires patience and resilience. 

I also recommend you read the helpful chapter on supporting someone with depression in David Brooks’ new book, “How to Know a Person.” He shares lessons he learned supporting a dear friend of his who experienced debilitating depression. Much of what he shares is counterintuitive for us, especially as we witness someone we love deeply struggle in unexplainable ways. I found his insights touching, realistic and actionable. 

While supporting your husband, please don’t lose sight of your own identity and needs. Engage in activities that bring you joy and peace. This could be hobbies, time with friends, or simply moments of solitude. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish – it’s necessary.

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