A lot of women report that getting the man in their life to open up and really share his thoughts and feelings is like squeezing water out of a rock. While we can not generalize entirely about men and women, it is safe to say that it may be a better idea to hang out with your sisters or girlfriends, if you want to do the “emotional stuff”.
When men get depressed, it goes far beyond what we experience as their normal tight lipped, non emotion sharing selves. It can actually be so severe that it has negative effects on your relationship’s health.
One of the most important things to do if your partner is experiencing depression is to expand his support group, especially by helping him gain more friends. But this is not easy to do, considering we can only try to influence the actions of others, not perform them ourselves in their place.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Julia Flood says, “We only have control over ourselves. But that’s actually good news. The real issue we’re having may be along the lines of: ‘I feel over-burdened by being the sole source of nurturing and/or entertainment for you, dear husband, and I need a break from the caregiver role I have been taking on for you. I am not getting my needs met, and I would like to spend more time with my friends, however I feel guilty about this, because the message I am receiving is that this is not okay with you.'”
When it comes to actually helping your partner’s depression, it can be extremely difficult to determine the best option. Start, instead, by asking what’s wrong and not simply making it about you. Says Flood, “As far as what actually would help people move through depression — rather than asking him to change, start by being fully present with him in his depression.”
Being supportive as a partner is extremely significant, but keep in mind that you may not be able to fix things. And while you may want him to seek professional help, he may just say no. That doesn’t, however, mean that you can’t find help to cope with your feelings on the subject and in your relationship.