Couple sitting together holding hands

Take an honest and open approach.

Without the right approach, depression can take a toll on intimate relationships, making both partners feel disconnected. Don’t let depression rob you of one of the most important things that can help fight depression – the support of a partner.

Here are some tips that can help bring you closer:

Be open about your thoughts and feelings

  • If you’re feeling low or distant and don’t communicate how you’re feeling, your partner won’t understand what you’re going through.
  • Muster the strength to sit down with your partner and have a serious talk about how you’re feeling. It can be tough, but that open dialogue about depression is essential for your relationship and will actually help bring you closer together.

Let your partner know if you are having difficulties with sex

  • Depression can be accompanied by different sex-related issues (loss of sexual desire, loss of ability to achieve an erection or an orgasm).[1] It’s important to keep your partner tuned into things. Otherwise, you risk having your partner feel that you’ve lost interest in them.
  • Look at the big picture and remember that sex is much more than intercourse. Kisses, hugs, and intimate talk are all part of good sex.

Keep up with physical activity

  • One of the many known benefits of exercise is increased sex drive.[2] Exercise can help you feel healthier, more confident, and able to perform better.
  • Going for walks together is an easy way to get active, get some sunlight, and spend time with each other.

Be appreciative

  • When depressed, it’s common to retreat inward. This can leave your partner feeling left out and ignored. Even if you don’t feel like talking much, offering the occasional compliment to your partner doesn’t take much effort and can go a long way to letting them know that they still matter.
  • If you are having trouble with your concentration and putting words together to express your love, use actions to show your affection. Simple things like holding hands, hugging, or a gentle caress on the back are helpful ways to let your partner know that you care for them. Not only do these actions improve the bond with your partner, they also release brain chemicals that can help improve your mood.

Pitch in when you can

  • It may seem mundane, but helping out around the house can be a useful way to show your partner that you’re there for them. Doing your part to help with the dishes, laundry, or preparing a meal cuts down time for chores and gives more time for the two of you to do things together.

Keep up with interests

  • Spontaneity can keep a relationship fresh, but when you’re depressed, being spontaneous can be a challenge. In this case, plan for fun (like going out for dinner or a movie) rather than waiting around for it to just happen. This way, you have something to look forward to – enjoying quality time with your partner.

Check in with your partner

  • Sometimes depression can make things seem worse than they actually are. If you feel like something isn’t quite right in your relationship, check in with your partner to see how things are going from their perspective.
  • When depressed, your interpretation of things tends to be harsher than reality.

Be available

  • Make yourself available to conversation, even if it’s about mundane day-to-day things. We all appreciate a good listener, so even if you don’t want to talk as much, be attentive to what your partner is saying.


  1. Schweitzer, I., Maguire, K., & Ng, C. (2009). Sexual side-effects of contemporary antidepressants: Review. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(9), 795-808.
  2. Hoffman, B., Babyak, M., Sherwood, A., Hill, E., Patidar, S., Doraiswamy, M., & Blumental, J. (2009). Effects of aerobic exercise on sexual functioning in depressed adults. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2(1), 23-28.


Men's Health Week takes place annually in mid-June, during the week preceding Father’s Day. The week is not just a campaign, but a call to action for men to take better care of their health and for communities to support men in this endeavour.

Men's Health Week 2024