Depression, other forms of mental illness, and physical illnesses can all pose serious challenges to even the healthiest of couples. It can be very difficult—though not impossible—to overcome the damage they can cause to your relationship.
If both partners are willing, these issues can be overcome to save the relationship. The trick is caring for you, your partner, and your relationship as almost separate entities.
To help yourself when your partner is suffering from depression or another serious illness, remember that you are also an individual with your own needs. Studies have shown that people with partners who are depressed or physically ill can often mimic the symptoms. This is not healthy for you, your partner, or your relationship.
While it is perfectly acceptable to empathize with your partner, it’s important to focus on your own health. Maintain your own identity during an illness by keeping a positive outlook and doing things to boost your mood.
To help your partner, encourage medical intervention (if necessary), maintain an upbeat attitude, and rely heavily on the secret of understanding. Your partner is going through a very difficult time and can benefit from your love and compassion. Don’t enable, however—encourage your partner to get on a healthier path.
It is possible to get through a serious illness and come out stronger as a couple. Make sure medical treatment is provided and that the healthy partner stays strong and positive.
Taking care of yourself during an illness is not selfish. If you and your partner both have faith in your abilities to weather the storm, your relationship could grow even stronger in the process.