How to Support a Loved One Through Depression

Wendy Newman
3 min readNov 24, 2020

2020 has sent many of us into a tailspin–and we’re still responsible for our actions.

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Hey Wendy,

My partner has had a rough year. He admits he’s depressed but won’t get help.

I’m trying to be understanding and supportive, but I feel that I’m at my limit. He has a go at me over minor things, is constantly pissed off, and complains about everything. I do all the cooking and cleaning.

I’ve bitten my tongue so many times but I’m starting to feel frustrated and resentful. I need help. I feel at breaking point as I’m so miserable.

Caroline A.


Hey Caroline,

I’ve got some good news and bad news for you.

The good news is this too shall pass. The one constant in life is that things change.

The bad news? You’re going to have to step in and deal with how he’s treating you.

Terrible things happen to good people.

Good people don’t get to take their frustrations/anxieties/depression out on others.

Regardless of his circumstances, his feelings are his, and he’s responsible for wrangling them. So, this kinda gets you off the hook when it comes to taking measures to restore him to “I’m good.” You can’t fix him.

He doesn’t want to go to therapy, you say. Cool, he doesn’t have to go. He’s the boss of his own well-being. While you can offer up new ideas, you can’t make him, fix him, or carry the pain for him — it’s his and his alone.

And… in managing his feelings, he has to work out not being a jackass to you. You aren’t the sponge who absorbs all his negative mess while he works it out. So, kindly but firmly lay down the law. Try some version of, “I know you are dealing with a lot right now. I’m here with you. Here’s the thing: If you want me to stay by your side, you need to knock it off with the jabs, meanness, and making me your punching bag. I’m not going to put up with it. If you can’t figure out where the negativity is going to go, revisit the idea of therapy, but you aren’t going to process your anger and grief

Wendy Newman

Dating, Sex & Relationship Expert and Author of 121 First Dates (Simon & Schuster). Over 80,000 women trust Wendy’s advice, tools, & experience.