When you have depression, you may be compelled to behave in ways others do not fully grasp. You may want to spend days in bed most of the time and then suddenly have the urge to go partying. Sometimes, depression can even cause self-destructive behaviors, including substance and alcohol abuse or cheating on your significant other. Is there a link between depression and infidelity? And if so, how solid is that link?
If you suffer from depression, knowing the answers to those questions can help you understand how depression may not only affect you but those around you, too.
The Link Between Depression And Infidelity
In order to know whether there is a link between depression and cheating on loved ones, you must first understand depression. Also known as major depressive disorder, depression is a medical illness that negatively influences how you feel, think, and acts, to the point where you become so sad and lost that even the things you enjoyed most lose their meaning. Depression can lead to many other physical and emotional illnesses, including diminishing your ability to function at home or in public.
Symptoms can be mild or severe and include:
- Feelings of extreme sadness and emptiness
- Weight loss or gain attributed to changes in appetite
- Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
- Increased fatigue
- Sleeping too much or too little (insomnia)
- Fidgeting or slowed speech and movements
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
- Self-destructive or impulsive behaviors
- Brain fog and difficulty making decisions
Now, there is no hard evidence that depression and infidelity go hand-in-hand. Someone with depression may never feel the need to cheat on their loved one, while another person may do just that. It depends largely on the person, as well as the type of symptoms or depression they have been diagnosed with. For example, someone with manic depression may have the impulse to cheat on you with someone they meet at a bar during a manic episode.
4 Reasons Why People With Depression Cheat
Although it is difficult to say if depression plays a key role in infidelity or not, there are some reasons why those suffering from mental illness find themselves having an affair.
Those reasons include:
Feelings Of Hopelessness
Untreated depression is brutal. Those struggling with this mental illness often feel like their depression is never going to abate, that their future is already ruined, and that they will never find someone to make them happier. Depression tells you that your relationships are always going to fall through, and so you begin to think, “Why shouldn’t I cheat on my spouse? Life already sucks, and this might make me momentarily happy.”
Depression often leads to dismal thoughts on your self-worth. During depressive episodes, you may feel extremely down about your situation or the life you are living. Even if things are good, depression can make everything seem infinitely worse. Because of that, you may think that you have nothing to lose, or that doing something awful will prove just how horrible you are.
Yes, it has been proven that those who live with depression are often driven to make themselves feel even worse. So if you are feeling worthless and unlovable, you may decide to make that true by being unfaithful to your spouse.
Lack Of Self-Control
Some individuals with depression may experience highs and lows in their self-control. Boundaries that are maintained when the symptoms are not present are suddenly non-existent during a depressive episode. You may notice that people who are depressed tend to drink more alcohol, sleep for longer (or not at all), and eat as much unhealthy food as they can—all for a chance to chase away the depression.
This means that, if you are depressed and presented with an opportunity to sleep with someone who isn’t your partner, you might just take the bait.
Feelings of Emotional Disconnect Between Partners
One of the worst symptoms of depression is persistent emptiness. Low levels of dopamine in the brain will make living feel dull as if the world is painted in gray. This is one of the reasons why people with depression isolate themselves—because nothing feels good. However, this often leads to them rejecting their family and friends. Compound this isolation with a need to self-medicate, a lack of self-control, and hopelessness, and you have someone who is feeling worthless and in dire need of human closeness, despite pushing those they know away.
Desperation sets in, and suddenly, you find yourself sleeping with a stranger to feel even a shred of the warmth and love you did with your partner.
Recovering From Infidelity Together
Is there a link between depression and infidelity? Yes and no. Depression can influence someone’s behavior so greatly that they are compelled to act out of character and cheat on a loved one. However, this is not always the case. Depression, fortunately, can be treated, and so if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it is best to find professional help immediately.
Once you have done that, it may be time to focus on rebuilding the connection between you and your partner. Marriage counseling and therapy from Couples Academy can help you heal from infidelity and other marital problems together. Whatever struggles you have faced, you can heal and move forward together, stronger than before.