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A Q&A with Terry Real

If this sounds familiar, start by communicating your feelings. While a sexless marriage can certainly survive, it's important that you're on the same page. Sure, every relationship has its downsides. Of course that would make anyone feel unhappy. Treating your partner as inferior is a recipe for discontentment. Stonewalling is when one person shuts down, ignores, or otherwise stops responding to their partner.

But it typically occurs when an individual is physiologically distressed and inadvertently trying to shut down overwhelming emotions.

As a couple, your lives should be interwoven—at least, in certain ways. Staying stuck in the past because your partner did something to hurt you and you will not forgive them continuously sabotages you in the now," she says. Blame is a type of defensiveness that prevents someone from being able to listen or change.

What to do if a spouse is depressed

Picking fights is a way to create space and avoid interactions, says psychotherapist Joanne Ketch. The change in attitude could be due to a bad day at work, but that can't always be the excuse. And that means respect in all aspects. Similarly, if the couple shares a car, one of them will need to purchase a second car.

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In many cases, the family home will be sold and the couple with split the proceeds. In terms of legal fees, these can be extremely high, depending on the amount of work and time spent on the case by the solicitor. Ann finds this frightfully unfair, saying there should be tax relief for people going through this ordeal. But not in private cases.

Given the stress involved in divorce proceedings, Ann says she has some excellent counsellors on her speed dial that she recommends to clients. For counselling or family support and advice, visit tusla. The image newsletter Receive the latest fashion news, beauty inspiration, shopping ideas and more straight to your inbox every day. Sign up. One moment please Life Starting over: How to put your life back together after divorce.

Letting a depressed person sink low before offering help is an old-school approach borrowed from the early days of alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

Dos And Dont's Of Marital Separation

But the reasoning behind it is flawed and dangerous. Long-term depression is harder on your marriage, tougher to treat, and more likely to recur—plus, it leaves its victim in despair, Walfish says. The most chilling risk: It leaves open the very real possibility of suicide. About 60 percent of people who attempt suicide have major or minor depression or another mood disorder—and depressed men are four times more likely than depressed women to take their own lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.

You deserve to feel better. Next week, I can go on Wednesday or Friday. Dozens of health conditions—including heart disease, diabetes, lupus, viral infections, and chronic pain —can trigger the same symptoms as depression, Walfish notes. So can scores of prescription medications, including some birth-control pills and drugs that treat acne, herpes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer.

‘It really sucks at times’: the loneliness of the long-distance marriage

You need an ally in the room. Up to 80 percent of people report seeing an improvement within four to six weeks of starting treatment, according to statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Usually, the road back is relatively simple: antidepressants, counseling, or a combination of the two, they report. That said, recovery may take time and patience, Walfish says. There may be an initial trial-and-error period while you try various antidepressants or see whether various therapy techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal counseling, are helpful.

Thinking about starting therapy? The results are worth it. Depression affects both of you—and your whole family. The Lowes suggest finding a therapist or counselor who has worked with depression in couples.

Read books, check out websites, ask your doctor about advances in treatment and understanding of this illness. The more you know, the better you can cope and fight. Both spouses should also stay alert for signs that the illness is returning, Walfish adds.


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Caring for a depressed spouse can be lonely, overwhelming, and emotionally draining, she says. You may blame yourself, feel helpless, grow pessimistic, lose your sense of humor, and even consider leaving.


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