Most relationships go through highs and some lows over time. When you’re experiencing the highs, everything can seem picture perfect, and you can’t imagine your life without your loved one. However, when you’re going through the lows, it can leave you questioning whether the relationship is right for you and whether the person you are with is the reason you are feeling so low. I know, I’ve been there. Where you know that you’re not enjoying life fully, perhaps you feel held back, bored, lonely or unloved and you wonder would I be happier out of this relationship. These low moments for the majority of people are usually fleeting moments that pass by with the right actions, love and support, however there are situations where these emotions can snowball into relationship depression. Daily blues.
If you have been feeling unloved, not valued, disrespected, or have been cheated on or betrayed, you may experience anger, sadness, hurt, regret, numbness, low self-esteem, or disappointment. When you don’t get to address these emotions or your relationship doesn’t change for the better, you can start to feel like you are developing relationship blues.
People who turn to me for guidance when they are experiencing these symptoms often do so because of something that has happened in their relationship, that has not been addressed and so they are left with a whole range of emotions that they are unsure of how to work through.
Relationship blues is such a common thing to go through. According to Medical News Today, a study carried out in 2020 found that women who had gone through some form of abuse in their relationship had a high risk of depression. Male victims of abuse were more at risk of developing anxiety. As well as abuse, other situations that are out of a person’s control and can contribute to relationship blues include long distance relationships, being cheated on or loss, losing a job, business loss or losing a loved one.
I want to point out here that feeling sad or frustrated from time to time is very normal. Many people that do my 3 day intensive breakthrough program with me come because they are unhappy, feel stressed and just can’t see much good about them. Often they aren’t sure if it’s them or their relationship and partner bringing them down.
Here are some key signs you might have relationship blues (depression)
If you –
- Feel not good enough or sad when with your partner or at home
- Have a lot of anger or rage towards your partner
- Get irritated easily by things your partner does
- Struggle to sleep or are sleeping to avoid life
- Have low self-esteem or lack self-confidence in your looks and personality
- No longer have the energy for activities you once used to love – they no longer make you happy
- Have low sex drive or loss of libido
- Changes in your appetite or eating habits
- Falling into addictive patterns
Of course, the low self-esteem, sleeping and bad habits may not be because your relationship is not going well, it may be instead that you are not valuing yourself and are stuck in seeing what’s wrong rather than what’s right in your life.
X 3 the way you think and the questions you ask yourself can make it so much worse can make it so much worse This happened to me and e. For example; I’d sit there thinking there was something wrong with me for using food or alcohol as a comfort, I’d think I’m a mess. Or I’d feel guilty for being so miserable when I had nothing really to complain about, you know… your healthy, you have a job and a few people that care about you, if you made the effort. Asking yourself “what is wrong with me.” Will only make you feel worse, you need to be loving to yourself and focus on actions, solutions and steps. Same with the relationship blues, if you focus on blaming, resentment, thinking and expecting the worse of your partner you will feel terrible.
I will share some tips on handling relationship blues in a moment before that let’s look at what the main differences are between loneliness and depression. As they are two different things where the symptoms can overlap and can leave you feeling confused on whether you are feeling lonely or depressed.
When you are experiencing loneliness in relationships, you are more likely to feel a sense of heaviness because there are things that you are lacking, like intimacy, connection, respect etc and when those needs are met you will notice a change in how you are feeling – the heaviness will lift, and you will feel happier or more content in your relationship. When feeling lonely, you can be content in other aspects of life, for example, enjoying work, having fun with your kids etc – it can simply be things in your relationship that bring you down.
Depression requires a different approach. Outside love and kindness don’t eliminate the feelings of depression. Often, I see the biggest shifts is when people begin to really work on clearing the negative image they have of themselves. It’s so important to get the right support and if you take medication make sure it is working for you. Getting the right support means you can start to implement the right lifestyle changes to ease your mind and reduce the symptoms of depression. People who experience symptoms of depression will struggle to see the good in all or most aspects of their lives, which can mean more effort and actions need to be taken to make a person feel better, clearing all unhelpful thoughts about how a person see’s their life, themselves and their future.
Although loneliness and depression are different, it is not unheard of for loneliness to play a role in a person developing depression. It is so important to remember that not everyone who spends time alone is lonely and it is not unusual for a person to be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. It is when these feelings of loneliness or being socially isolated are not addressed, then they can develop into depression. Dr Gabor Mate has many youtube videos and great books that share that loneliness and isolation are behind why so many people today feel lost and look to fill the void of close in person relationships with addictive substances. This then causes the person to retreat into their addictive habits further keeping them even more isolated.
Victoria booked an intensive breakthrough package with me because she wanted help in breaking the cycle of jealous and insecure thoughts. She was ruining her relationship by being needy and controlling. Victoria had been with Joshua for 7 years and married for 3 years. Things were good until Joshua’s work got very demanding and he would feel too tired for sex. And on the weekend he would be too drunk for sex as he let go of all the stress through alcohol. Victoria felt unloved, unattractive, she wondered if she was sexual enough and if he was cheating. She couldn’t shake off the thoughts. She started to overthink everything and then started to hate herself. She was thinking “I look old, fat and my skin is horrible, it’s no wonder Joshua has lost interest in me” These negative thoughts just spiraled out of control and she felt unhappy most of the time.
It changed the way she behaved which in turn reinforced the thoughts that she wasn’t good enough. This affected her self-confidence and pushed her further away from her husband and from doing fun things outside of her relationship. The longer she stayed in this cycle the more she fell into relationship blues and depression.
When someone experiences relationship blues or depression it will directly impact their partner, their relationship and everyone in the family home too. They may stop looking after themselves, lack energy for any activities with their partner and the family or get irritated easily, this can make their partner feel unwanted, shut out, unloved and can also affect the children. They won’t understand why mummy or daddy have no energy to take them to the park or watch movies with them etc or why they are shouted so much. It can really influence the balance in the home between happiness and sadness. One person not feeling like themselves can throw off all members of the family and can also make others feel responsible for the person’s feelings.
Often people who experience relationship blues are so lost in their own thoughts that they rarely have the mental capacity to think about how their actions are affecting others – especially if they are unhappy in their relationship and don’t know how to change it to make themselves feel better.
To change Victoria’s and Joshua’s situation we decided rather than a couples program, it would be good for Victoria to help her feel better in herself. I helped her to break free from the cycle of negative thoughts making their unhappy and cold towards him.
Victoria cleared the jealous and insecure thoughts, she learnt to love herself and see that she did have a good loving husband and home after all. I recently connected with Victoria as she is keen to do the Holistic Life Therapy Mentiorship Program t’s been over 2 years and we recently connected and she said I can honestly say I haven’t thought about him cheating once. She changed her thoughts about herself and how she saw him. Seeing such positive changes in Victoria in just one week and feeling now appreciated and respected in the relationship, Joshua said he would do the breakthrough process too. Even though he didn’t believe he needed any help, he was curious and wanted to give it ago. In the process Joshua changed his relationship with alcohol, cleared his anxiety over his job and failing, made more time for himself in the week exercising and they both took it in turns to arrange family outings on the weekend. Having the two breakthrough programs helped them fix their relationship.
Not everyone has the resources and time to do a breakthrough program with me, so if this all sounds familiar to you and you aren’t sure what you can do, here are some tips that maybe worth trying…
- Reframe the situation so you can change your thoughts and see things differently – Instead of turning every situation into a negative about you, reframe it. For example, in Victoria’s case her husband’s lack of sexual desire made her lack confidence in herself and her appearance. After we cleared her self-depreciation patterns and I asked her what else could changes in his sex drive mean, she came up with a whole list. Stress, financial pressure, tiredness, hormonal shift, losing his father 6 months back, changes at work, the way she was treating him etc Then I asked her how would she react differently if those were the reads and she said she’d be more loving and understanding. She would wait to have dinner with him, kiss him when he left, greet him when he returned, put a note in his lunchbox, offer to give him a massage etc. She also did things for herself, went shopping got some new underwear and makeup, started exercising and making an effort to out with a friend once a week, as well as make new friends. When she did this, things made a huge U turn, he felt loved and appreciated, he felt she was happier and the home had a positive vibe. So he wanted to be the best version of himself for her and even though he hated the thought of coaching and therapy, he too then booked a breakthrough session.
So here are some questions to help you reframe the situation.
What else could their behaviour mean?
What would the most loving version of me think or react?
Will this even matter a month or 6 months from now?
Is it worth stressing over and causing myself pain?
Can I control this?
What actions can I do to influence the situation in a positive way?
Am I making this all about me when it’s not?
What can I do to love myself and feel good about myself?
It takes a bit of practice but the more you do it, the better you feel and the less consumed you become with negative thoughts. You break the cycle of negativity right before it spirals out of control.
- Look at what excites you – Sometimes you can get stuck in a cycle of work, home, chores, responsibilities, that you start to lose the individual you are. You forget what excites you and what you love to do. Or try new things. See what is out there that you have never tried, that makes you feel alive again. Hobbies can also help to ease the loneliness as you’re connecting with like-minded people.
Often we can end up relying heavily on our romantic partner to make us happy, and when they aren’t able to meet our needs it can build resentment – however, if you are able to find activities that make you happy it releases the pressure off the relationship and expands your support network.
For partners out there who are in a relationship with someone who is experiencing relationship blues, please do not underestimate the power of your love and support on your loved one’s wellbeing. According to Developmental Psychology, studies indicate that a partner who is supportive can help boost their partner’s self-esteem, confidence and improve mental wellbeing.
So, if you notice your partner is experiencing relationship blues, here are a few tips that will help you be there in the best way possible –
- Help in subtle ways – When a person is already overthinking everything and feeling low about not being able to get things done, it is best to help them in subtle ways that minimize them feeling bad. For example, instead of asking them what they want you todo, which could frustrate them further, take over. Have a look at what needs to be done like household chores, cleaning, cooking, sorting the children out without highlighting what you have done to your partner. Actions for many people speak louder than words, and some people get exhausted having to think and share what needs doing.
- Show them love and reassure them, even when they are snappy or negative – It is easy to switch off when we find ourselves around a negative person or when we are busy in our work and home lives, however, making a conscious effort to show your partner that you love them can really go a long way. The closer you are, the more success you will have in influencing their behavior.
Hugs are known to increase the hormone oxytocin, which is associated with happiness and contentment, in fact, a study that researched the links between oxytocin and relationships found that women who had frequent hugs with their partner had higher levels of oxytocin than those who didn’t hug frequently.
- Organise nature walks and outings – There are multiple benefits to walking in nature (that some call grounding and earthing). Whether it’s looking at the sea, walking near trees and woodland, or simply a park it can be beneficial. According to scientists, having direct exposure to nature like the beach, grass, the sea etc can leave you feeling recharged and reduce the severity of low moods. You can start off small if your partner struggles to leave the house, like going in the garden or local place.
- Walking or any exercise you can do together is also great for lifting moods and reconnecting when you are both outside the home and feeling good.
Lastly don’t let their mood ruin your mood. With the right love and support, and the desire to make long lasting changes, couples can get through anything and I hope what I have shared today will help you to understand more about relationship blues and what to do if you or your partner are feeling low.
As always I am only a message away if you need one to one support!