How disability depression affects relationships

woman facing backward

Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. For those who have dealt with one all their lives as well as individuals who develop a disability naturally or as the result of an accident, depression always lurks just around the corner. 

Any relationship is affected by depression, especially with couples. However, not everyone is equipped to handle disability depression. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can learn how to be there for your partner. Here’s how this condition impacts a relationship and what you can do to help. 

Needs and Limitations

Both mental and physical disabilities come with varying limitations and needs. People are often afraid to communicate these to their partners, however, feeling as if they’re a burden or being a “downer.” Whether you’re navigating the ups and downs of a mental condition or the limitations of a physical disability, communication is the only solution. 

Partners need to understand the needs of the disabled party and respect them. At the same time, the disabled party must be open about their depression for their partner to understand. Some people need space, while others need a hug or for someone to listen. Whatever the case, communicating those needs is vital to a healthy relationship. 

Respecting Self-Care

Depression maintenance involves self-care, which can come in a wide variety of forms. A common self-care routine is to find alone time, dealing with thoughts and emotions in comfort and privacy. This can, unfortunately, come across as cold or unloving to partners who do not understand disability depression. 

Once again, communication of this need is vital to the success of the relationship. When the need is communicated, partners shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about their self-care routines. If you’ve tried to relay this to your partner and they continue to criticize or disrespect you, then hire an attorney who can help in the divorce process and find someone who will respect your need for self-care. 


Nearly everyone, disability depression or not, needs reassurance in a relationship. For those with disability depression, feeling worthless or unlovable is often an issue. Partners need to reassure the depressed party that there’s nothing wrong with them, that they are loved, and that these sentiments are real. 

Outside Help

Partners cannot be there for another 24/7 and there are issues they simply won’t be able to help with. Discrimination and physical as well as emotional challenges can take place far outside the relationship, adding to already existing depression and further impacting the relationship. When this happens, partners need to encourage the disabled party to seek outside help. 

Speaking with a therapist is ideal, allowing those suffering with disability depression to work through their condition. Couple’s therapy is also highly advised, helping to keep lovers close and learn how to properly be there for one another. 

At the same time, some issues require getting to the root of the problem. If an employer is mistreating someone with depression, for example, then you would need an expert to help secure reasonable accommodations for mental disabilities. Whatever the situation my be, seek help before this scenario impacts an otherwise great relationship.