How SAD can lead to divorce

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, you may find yourself feeling a little out of sorts. Maybe you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you feel exhausted no matter how much sleep you have, and you don’t enjoy the things you used to love. 

We all have bad days. But when these feelings continue for an extended period of time, it means something’s wrong. If you’ve been feeling lethargic, unmotivated, and down following a season change, you could be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

Symptoms of SAD are difficult enough to manage on your own. But they can be even more troublesome when you’re in a relationship. SAD impacts your everyday life, including energy levels, mood, sleeping habits and sex drive. Any of these symptoms can easily cause conflict between you and your partner. There are a number of exercises people can do at home to try and save their relationship. 

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How SAD can harm your relationship

Seasonal affective disorder can have such a major impact that your partner may feel as though you are a different person at times.  When you’re experiencing seasonal depression, your symptoms can have a negative influence on your communication skills and the physical bond you have with your partner. It can also affect the daily habits you’ve formed with them which can be particularly jarring if you live together.


Communication, one of the keys to a healthy relationship, is often affected negatively by SAD because people shut down and isolate. Brittney Cobb, licensed therapist and clinical social worker, explains: “Communication may dwindle or become turbulent, as some people may want to isolate themselves, are preoccupied with negative thought patterns, or become easily irritated.”

SAD can also affect your ability to concentrate and focus, giving the impression that you’re not paying attention to your partner when you really are trying. It can also make it difficult to properly express your feelings, leading to frustration between you both.

Physical side

The physical side of your relationship can also be negatively impacted by SAD. If you’re no longer enjoying the hobbies and activities you once did, you may not be interested in spending time or being intimate with your partner.

Jordan Madison, licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, explains: “If you’re experiencing loss of pleasure or loss of interest in activities, that can make date nights or the sexual side of the relationship difficult to keep up as well.”

Your partner

When you’re struggling with SAD, it’s common to isolate yourself and forget about those around you. Life can feel burdensome and worrying about “bringing your partner down” can feel even more burdensome. During these times, it’s important to remember you’re not the only one in your relationship. There’s a good chance your partner is struggling with feelings of loneliness, disconnect and hopelessness, too.

It can be difficult for your partner to see you fighting your symptoms, especially if they can’t do anything to help. They may be constantly trying to cheer you up without any success. Over time, your partner may start to feel discouraged and fed up. Eventually, your partner may even start to become distant from you in an effort to avoid being enveloped by negativity. 

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Lack of communication and physical intimacy in a relationship can lead to arguments and sometimes even a breakup or divorce. When you’re not feeling like yourself, it can be difficult to see things as they truly are and you might think that separating is for the best.

You can’t suddenly fix your seasonal affective disorder overnight yourself and continue with your once-happy relationship. You need outside help from an unbiased third party who can encourage you to see things from each other’s point of view and help you get the tools you need to feel better.  When a licensed professional helps you understand what’s going on, you can both work together to improve your symptoms and get back to the relationship you spent so long growing and nurturing.

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Don’t ignore it

To maintain a healthy bond, you need to get help for any symptoms you’re struggling with that may negatively affect your relationship. Things rarely get better on their own — this is particularly true when it comes to seasonal affective disorder.

If you’re prone to mood swings and feeling exhausted when Fall transitions into Winter, you need to understand your symptoms and acknowledge when they appear. By noticing when you and your relationship are being affected by SAD, you can take action to avoid damaging the connection between you and your partner.

SAD is a lot more common than you may think. Almost 13 million adults across the US experience seasonal affective disorder and it usually lasts for around 40% of the year. It’s important you know that you’re not alone and there are many other people out there that feel the same way. There are also many therapists with the right experience and qualifications who can help you.

It’s never too late

If you’re concerned your SAD symptoms may be hurting your relationship, get in touch with us today. No matter how beyond repair you may think your connection with your partner is, it’s never too late to fix a relationship if you truly want to. Make sure to fix your relationship before you need to try to get your ex back.

Schedule your first session with one of our therapists and we’ll help you get back on track. If you think your SAD symptoms are something you need to deal with on your own first, that’s fine. Arrange an appointment for an individual therapy session. If you think you’d be better off attending therapy sessions with your partner, sign up for couples therapy instead. But don’t neglect the severity of your symptoms or the detrimental affects they can have on your relationship.   You deserve better…you both do! 

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741