Depression over Relationship

Updated on September 29, 2011
J.C. asks from Columbus, OH
19 answers

Ugh! I've started and stopped and started this post about ten times already. I can't put into words how confused I am and have been for the last two weeks or so. It has to do with feelings of my husband. He is a kind, patient, intelligent, very funny man. He is a marvelous father to our two children. He is currently having to work out of town from Mondays to Fridays, so that is putting some stress on our relationship.
My main problem is that It feels as if he's pulling away. Perhaps becoming too complacent. Treating me more as a roommate. And that doesn't help my self confidence any. Lately I have been feeling more saggy (physically and emotionally) More sad, more tired. Definitely older and not beautiful. I posted a few months ago about not getting any compliments from him and that hasn't changed. Even after I told him point blank that I need to hear them on occasion. He states that he doesn't know why he can't. I'm thinking in my head, "Because you find me repulsive?" or "Because you don't respect me?" Unfortunately, the more we discuss it, the more needy I feel, so I have been trying to just ignore these feelings.
I don't know what to do or who to turn to. I am so, so sad today. like I'm grasping at straws. Like I'm twisting in the wind. And to tell the truth, a little desperate.
Please tell me you have a great suggestion for me.

What can I do next?

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answers from Cleveland on

My husband works out of town as well. I have noticed over the years that he feels like we (the children and I) are "having fun" without him when he is gone. We all know that isn't true, but a person can't help the feelings.

I, personally feel abandoned when he is gone, even though I know he has to go out of town to work.

My advice is to try to reconnect when he is home, give him lots of positive strokes and try not to complain...this too shall pass.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dover on

Here's my suggestion: run, don't walk, to your nearest therapist.

The way you've quoted your own thoughts is verbatim the things my husband has said to me about how he feels. He's been diagnosed with clinical depression & really requires medication. If you read some of my previous posts you'll see some of the battles we've been through based mostly on this very monster.

Now, with that being said, I'm definitely NOT saying that you need to be medicated, so please, please, please don't be insulted!! I don't know you, or any of the other just regular "life issues" you may have (we've ALL got them!) and am not a therapist myself so am in no way able to diagnose anyone. I'm just letting you know, from my own personal experience, what it sounds like could be a possibility.

Also, keep in mind that if you do happen to be suffering from depression, that it will most definitely have it's own effects on your husband. All the more reason to find out for sure if that's the deal & if so, get it under control asap, right?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It sounds like you need some 'you' time. Do something (or some thingS) for YOU. It can be a cyclical part of long term relationships if you don't take steps to mitigate it. One of those steps is to not lose yourself. It is SO easy to get caught up in "mommyhood". Then YOU start to feel boring inside and that is reflected in how you are seen by others.
Go for a walk around the local track (push a stroller if you have to). Go find a new book that interests you. Pick up something outside your "normal" fare and give it a whirl--you'll have more interesting conversation to make. Think of something you've maybe wanted to check into or try and just haven't yet. Buy a couple of paintbrushes, a canvas or two and some paints. Then give it a shot. So what if it isn't a masterpiece (very few are! even the ones by "the masters", lol). YOU will be more interesting and it will show in the glow on your face and the way you carry yourself.
You can't get your self-esteem from your hubby, no matter how many compliments he pays you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

You need to feel good about yourself by doing things that make you feel good about yourself, not by hearing from your husband. In the end, we are responsible for our own happiness. By saying that, I am not trying to make you feel like somehow to blame, but rather to take ownership of your feelings and your self-esteem instead of constantly looking for validation from your husband. You sounds depressed and almost seem to be imagining what your husband is thinking and making more out of it than there really is. That is way more of a hole than you can expect him to fill. If I happen to be in a good mood, it rubs off on my husband and we are more likely to joke with each other, laugh together, and enjoy each other's company. If I am crabby or irritated about something, I might end up taking it out on him, then he is snapping back at me, and then the bickering starts. I am responsible for my own feelings and the way I respond to my environment.

Get outside more. Get some fresh air and exercise. You MAY need to consider talking with a therapist and you MAY benefit from being on an antidepressent if you discuss it with your doctor, but first you should probably just focus more on you and what makes you happy, instead of fishing for compliments. I can't remember the last time my husband actually paid me a compliment, which might sound really sad, but he shows his love for me in so many other ways that I don't need the compliments. My self-esteem and self-worth are not wrapped up in him telling me whatever. I love myself first and know there is so much more to who I am than what he might notice and decide to comment on. He's just a typical guy in lots of ways - men are pretty simple creatures, and they are not always very verbal or detail-orientated. So do something for yourself that puts you first and realize that you deserve it. Make yourself wear something nicer than yoga pants and a oversized sweatshirt (not saying you are but making the effort to be a bit more put together can make a big difference in our self-image too). Find something that defines you as a person beyond "wife" and "mother" and other relationships to other people. And definitely get outside for a walk and get some sun and fresh air every day. Sounds simple, but just starting there can be huge.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I checked out yor profile too and I agree YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.
I can actually see you doing print modeling, smiling at us from the ads in our favorite magazines.
A couple of ideas:
1) exercise--the best thing for the down in the dumps feeling and to improve the saggy baggys from just having a child
2) get out more -- spend time with friends or find a part time job
3) find someone to stay with the kids from Sunday night - Wendesday night and go with your hubby even if that means taking the bus back home.

It might also help to read the 5 Love Languages it helps to decipher each persons way to show love to his/her partner.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

You need to re-invent yourself a bit. Things have gotten boring and predictable. Do something out of the ordinary. Men are very visual and very responsive to touch.
You sound like you have a lot of self doubt, that is not an attractive or sexy quality. No one likes to listen to a downer. You know him well enough to know what he likes, right? Be that person to him. It's amazing how much our spouse will change for the better when we make our own changes first.
Make some slow and gradual changes about how you react to him, how you dress around him, what you cook for dinner. Be mysterious. Try to recapture him like you did in the beginning. Think before you speak. What men find interesting conversation is very different from what we think interesting conversation is.
It's really easy to let the marriage go into a rut, but you can pull out without him even knowing what happened.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Hey J. C.,

I feel ya, J.. It's hard when you are separated and when you fall into roles and just seem to stay there. It's comfortable at first and then it's just disappointing. It's too comfortable and people forget about us and, more importantly, we forget about ourselves.

So, you have to start doing things for you. I don't mean that in the trite sense. I mean that in the sense of what could you do that would excite you about yourself?! Switch things up J. C.! Take a moment to find out who you are when you strip away the kids, the man, the house, the chores of freaking life. What would THAT GIRL like to do? How would she like to look? What would make her feel excited to greet the day? Then start doing those things. Don't wait for permission or approval. Don't dilly-dally waiting for him to notice, as he is a man and therefore not very likely to.

Just start building up the kind of woman that knows she is beautiful, fun, interesting, multi-faceted and quite the catch! Even if you change nothing and still get to that point then it's all to the good, but doing new things and changing things up makes it fun! The point is, it doesn't really matter if HE sees it as long as YOU see it! That's the woman thats going to walk up to your husband and say, "Listen, dude! I have cleaned your house, mothered your children, stood by your side and been the woman that's helped make the man you are today. You really can't do any better that what you see before you. If you aren't careful, and if you don't wake up and see what's in front of you and what you stand to lose, you could find the next few years of your life very lonely. Whether I am here or I am not, you still end up alone if you turn away someone who loves you as much as I do."

The key isn't to say it, it's to mean it. Find the things in you that you loved and fall in love with them all over again and insist that he do the same. If he doesn't do it, then let him suffer the consequences, but for heaven's sake don't wait around endlessly for him to get it. Live your life, and enjoy yourself and maybe he will come along just to see what all the excitement is about. If he doesn't, you will still be a vibrant woman who loves who she is and can love her life with or without him.

I think you rock, J. C.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

If you find yourself repulsive (projection you made on your husband) you need to reconnect with your femininity so definitely exercise and diet (and results) will help. Sign up and do it. Endorphines released through exercising will make you feel immediately better, so maybe instead of being a droopy face (for yourself and your hubby) you may break a laugh and lighten up a little, you never know. You need to be proactive and stop commiserating (old? not beautiful??), even if that means going to the doctor for an evaluation. Life is too short and you have a wonderful man by your side, such a waste your focus is elsewhere.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

This might not help --- but I clicked on your profile, and you're beautiful! Seriously!! What a great smile, and kind eyes... so, so pretty!

I think maybe some outside activities might help you? Get out and about?

I've been feeling pretty cruddy at times lately too, I went and got some new clothes. it had been WAY too long, and helped me a bit. I found that the clothes I was wearing was making me feel bad - so I got rid of them. If you're anything like me, you'll keep wearing them even if they make you feel bad. So, get rid of them! Anything negative, try and get rid of!

my husband doesn't compliment me often either, so I know where you're coming from. I still feel loved though, so I'm sorry you that this isn't how you feel too.

Know that you're pretty, and I bet, kind - and a good person.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

- Counseling
- Sunshine and fresh air
- Consider a part-time job if you can afford childcare. Seriously, getting out of the house and interacting with adults is great! Even if it's a financial "wash"... find something to do that is "yours" and helps you create an identity outside of your home.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I'm sorry to hear what you're going through. I'm sure you're going to get lots of "go to counseling" replies, so I won't repeat that..I have no magical cure, but a few suggestions. First of all, it sounds like you two need to spend time together alone, sans kids, housework, job, etc. Go away together for a weekend, in your own town or somewhere else, or have someone take the kids out. You HAVE to be able to reconnect when he comes home, or it will seem more like he's pulling away. Second, you sound like you're very down on yourself. I believe what you're saying as far as your husband not complimenting and supporting you, but how do YOU feel about YOU? Try to work on yourself if you're feeling bad about things. Take the kids to the park,, go for a walk, get a manicure/pedicure, buy a new outfit..something that raises your self-esteem. If you feel good and confident, your husband will see it too. Third, this may sound a little out there, but when I do good things for my husband to see him happy, it makes ME happy. I don't know you're history with your husband, but if I'm ever feeling distant from my husband, I cook him a nice dinner, pick up a bottle of wine, let him have some "man" time, or do something that I know would make HIM happy. I love seeing a smile on his face, and he knows that I can give it to him.

Just a few suggestions..hope it helped.

P.S.--your profile pic is beautiful!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hey, sweetie --
Hug to you. That's all -- just a hug.

BTW -- I second the therapy suggestion. It made SUCH a huge difference for my husband!!! And it has totally helped our marriage.

Big hug--

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My first thought on reading your post is your husband can't make you happy.
You need to make yourself happy.
Why are you feeling sloppy - not exercising enough? So do something - go on a walk everyday, join a boot camp or whatever fits into your schedule.

Work on your own self esteem and he'll notice and the best part is - your self esteem will be so high you won't need his approval. It will be nice to have but not something you can't live without.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

(I tend to be wired like men, too, Jo W. I don't know how I am able to turn that on and off.)

I would like to add that your husband sounds pretty self-sufficient. He knows that you guys are a team, and he doesn't need for it to be nurtured. Until something changes, it is what it is and isn't going anywhere. He doesn't think of your relationship as a living, breathing organism that needs water and food and shelter and space. You've declared your love for each other and your commitment to be together, and there it is. Period. It would even make sense to me that he is pulling away because he has subconsciously decided that it's easier to be away from you and not miss you too much if he kinda tunes you out. It's about survival.

When I need to know that I'm pretty, I get myself all dolled up and treat myself to a drink or meal and pick up all the compliments I can carry. (My husband will tell me, but he always thinks that I'm beautiful, so it's fun to flex that muscle once in a while.) If you try this, you might meet that need in a way that does not dishonor your marriage and then bring back to your marriage more confidence. When we're needy, we start a cycle that only we can break. The more we need, the more we pull, the more they push (or pull away), and the more we keep pulling. I know that this is hard to do because I sometimes fight it myself; you've got to get yourself some validation outside of your husband and outside of your house. And even outside of Mamasource.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree that you're depressed. Doing some of the things others have suggested could get you out of the doldrums. If not, I suggest that you talk with your doctor about taking an anti-depressant or getting some counseling.

Your husband cannot give you good self-esteem. It's true that compliments help but they're not a cure all. You have to feel good about yourself without relying on someone else to make you feel good.

I suggest that once you're more self-confident, energetic, feeling good about yourself your husband will relate differently with you. It's easy to feel down because the one we love is down. And he's gone all week, perhaps interacting with upbeat people so that coming home to a depressed wife is difficult.

I urge you to work on making yourself happy! Start with a new haircut, a new outfit, a trip to the library for an exciting book. And/or take a class in something in which you might be interested. Get out of the house. Explore new interests, spend time with friends. etc. Make yourself interesting so that the two of you have something to talk about. Perhaps plan a surprise date night during which you focus on having fun. If you don't have the energy to do that see your doctor about medication to help yo get started.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Ah J., I'm sorry you're feeling this way. But like other's have suggested, you need to get yourself happy about yourself, I'm pretty sure he'll notice.

Hope you can find something to put the spark back in YOU, I truly think this will help with the spark between you as well.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Hi J.,
First, I just want you to know you are not alone. Millions of women, including myself, have gone through times and toils such as yours. Some of us were not so lucky to have the wonderful husband as you do, minus the problem with giving compliments. Here are my recommendations, take them for what they are worth. 1. Talk to your physician about all of this. If it is a chemical imbalance in hormones, thyroid, hemoglobin, serotonin, etc. that can easily be adjusted. 2. Start reconnecting with yourself by taking time for yourself. In other words, do something you enjoy for a few minutes ever day, whether it's sitting in a hot tub, taking a long walk or talking on the phone with friends. 3. Reconnect spiritually. I have many friends who have everything in life, all the material things they could ever want, the perfect family and husband but they still feel a void or lonliness or sadness in the depths of their soul. I call this the God-shaped hole. Try and reconnect with God whether through a church, synagogue, reading the bible or other inspirational readings. You will be surprised how when you are in sync with the Creator how everything else in life seems to be more manageable. For me, I have learned the truth behind His promise that I can do all things with His help! 4. Exercise will help. 30-60 minutes a day of moderate exercise will increase your body's natural chemical levels, especially of the chemicals that make you feel good. Not to mention you will then have more energy and look and feel better over all!
Only one person can truly be responsible for how you feel about life and that is yourself. We can only change one person, too, and that is ourselves. If you're not happy, look inward first and ask yourself what can I do to make myself happy. Sometimes you just have to go through the motions until you actually start feeling or noticing the difference, taking the exercise for example. That takes doing over a period of several weeks before you really notice the difference. One motto in my life is, "Life is 10% what happens in it and 90% your attitude toward it!" ~Chuck Swindoll

5. Wake up everyday and consciously decide to make it a great day for yourself and your family!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Hi J.,

First, let me say that you have gotten a ton of good suggestions here. I completely understand where you are coming from because for the past 5 1/2 years I did the SAHM thing and felt depressed and miserable and felt like my hubby was drifting away from me at times partly due to the demands of his job in the Air Force. Now he's retired and I've gone back to work 3 months ago and we moved to another state for my job and he's at home now and it hasn't gotten any better. I talked to him about it again this week (after being really hurt by something he did) and one of the things I realized in my relationship is that I have been slacking off in my compliments of him, my playfulness with him, my flirtation with him, and so I have decided to step up my game a bit with my hubby and I have gotten great results! I'm not saying that will work for everyone, and I do think you are depressed (I know I was for the past few years at home), but I think in addition to all the wonderful suggestions telling you to work on you (which I think you should do and I'm working on doing for myself as well), how about trying to do more to make yourself feel good about your efforts toward your husband and see if it brings about any positive changes? If he feels more affection and attention from you, he might reciprocate. If not, you know you're dealing with a bigger problem.

I'm bad about doing what you're describing...automatically assuming that his lack of compliments means he doesn't find you attractive or respect you, when in fact it could have nothing to do with you. When I asked my hubby about this, he told me that simply wasn't true. I do hope you find some comfort and some peace, and if you ever need to talk more, feel free to send me a private message. Wishing you all the best. C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'm a huge dr L. fan. I would suggest proper care and feeding of husbands as a book to read. Why is he out of town all week. Is it becoming a regular thing? Maybe consider moving to where he doesn't have to be away. You can't be a great dad or husband only on weekends. And maybe you should seduce him, and try talking to him more that u understand his stresses and how he provides for the family, etc. Maybe also try going to a gym, they say exercise gives you endorphins. Just some suggestions. That's a tough situation.

1 mom found this helpful
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