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Is My Girlfriend, Boyfriend or Partner Depressed? Here’s How to Tell

Is your girlfriend depressed? Are you worried about a boyfriend or partner? Although the symptoms of depression can be severe, many people get good at hiding them. Shame, stigma and not wanting to burden others can all contribute to someone covering up their feelings, especially in a new relationship. If you want to support your partner, you need to know the signs of depression and how to differentiate it from normal sadness. With this in mind, here’s how to tell if your boyfriend or girlfriend is depressed.

Is My Girlfriend, Boyfriend Depressed or Unhappy?

Wondering if your girlfriend or boyfriend is depressed or just unhappy can cause a lot of anxiety in a relationship. You may wonder if her low moods have a clinical explanation, or if she is just not happy being your partner. There are vital differences between sadness and depression that are important for everyone to understand.

“People who have never dealt with depression think it's just being sad or being in a bad mood. That's not what depression is for me; it's falling into a state of grayness and numbness.” – Dan Reynolds

Sadness is a human emotion that all of us feel at some time in our lives. Stress at work, low self-esteem and relationship challenges can all lead to us feeling like we want to hide away. If your partner appears sad and withdrawn, this may be a sign of depression. However, it could also indicate problems in your relationship.

Does either of you feel insecure, for example? Do you trust one another, or are you both easily jealous? Perhaps there is a lot of conflict in your relationship or you put each other down when arguments arise. Whatever the reason, if you think your girlfriend is depressed because of your relationship, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.

Signs Your Partner Is Depressed

Feeling a bit low is normal every once in a while, and there doesn’t always have to be a reason. Depression, on the other hand, is a long-term mental illness that impacts your ability to function and stops you from enjoying things you used to like doing.

According to the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 criteria), which is used by mental health professionals, there are nine determining factors when separating sadness from depression. The severity of each symptom is also considered as part of the diagnostic process.

Here are the signs your partner is depressed:

  • Feeling depressed nearly every day
  • Experiencing a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite coupled with weight gain or weight loss Irritability, restlessness or agitation
  • Extreme fatigue/tiredness
  • Exaggerated feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • An inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions, or talking a lot about death

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is depressed, you can call the NAMI helpline at (800)-950-6264 for advice and support. If you believe your partner is acutely suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or your local emergency services without delay.

Is Our Relationship Making My Girlfriend, Boyfriend Depressed?

It’s important to realize that depression is a mental illness, not an emotion. While an unhappy or unsupportive relationship can contribute to depression (and some studies have shown that it can be a risk factor), a relationship is unlikely to cause depression on its own.

Other risk factors for depression include:

  • Childhood trauma or difficulty coping with a devastating life event
  • A family history of depression or bipolar disorder, as well as prior mental health disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, PTSD or an anxiety disorder.
  • History of substance abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of acceptance from family or community for identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Trouble adjusting to body changes from injury, such as paralysis or loss of limbs
  • A chronic illness or medical condition
  • Lack of support system for any of the above

As you can see, depression is a complex illness that can occur for a multitude of reasons. It’s rare that depression is caused by a relationship alone, so if your girlfriend, boyfriend or partner is depressed, there may be other factors at play.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2022, January 12). Is My Girlfriend, Boyfriend or Partner Depressed? Here’s How to Tell, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, January 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/is-my-girlfriend-boyfriend-or-partner-depressed-heres-how-to-tell

Last Updated: January 12, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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