Dear Annie: In January, I finally married the woman of my dreams. “Julie” was sweet and kind, with lots of love to give. Things went well for a few weeks, but then everything changed. Julie has always had issues with depression. She’d be overwhelmed from time to time but always came to me for comfort. Suddenly, she didn’t want me near her when she was depressed. As hurt as I was, I gave her the space she wanted.
It’s been several months now, and it seems as if Julie no longer needs me for anything. All affection has ceased, and though I ask her to join me in every activity, she refuses. We don’t even watch TV together. She prefers to do that on her own with her headphones on.
After months of begging, she finally went for counseling. (I’ve been seeing a counselor myself.) It seemed to help her depression, but she still maintains a great deal of distance from me. Worse, we are beginning to get heavily in debt and are in danger of losing our house, but she refuses to get a job or even help out around the house. She spends her time talking to friends, sleeping and watching videos.
I am miserable. I love this woman, and I know these are all signs that she’s still fighting her depression, but how much is too much? She barely responds to me when I try to discuss it. I promised “in sickness and in health,” but I don’t know how much more I can handle. – Wishing for Better Times
Dear Wishing: If Julie handles her depression by spending money, you need to be supportive without being indulgent. This is an area that is difficult for her to control. Put her on a budget and limit her access to your joint account. Then contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632 for information. Julie must put some effort into this for the sake of your marriage.