What's The Connection Between Male Depression & Emotional Affairs?

Kristin Hall, FNP

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Updated 12/25/2022

Depression is nothing to joke around about — it’s a condition that can seriously impact all areas of your life. And, unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, about 10 percent of American adults will deal with a depressive illness at some point in their lives.

Those who suffer from depression can attest to the fact that this mental illness can impact their inner feelings, their work and even their relationships. There may even be a connection between male depression and emotional affairs. 

To learn more about this connection, keep reading. 

Understanding Male Depression & Emotional Affairs

Before diving into potential links between male depression and emotional affairs, it’s important to understand what each of these things are on their own. 

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that may poorly impact the way you feel and act. A diagnosis of depression comes if you’ve been experiencing depression symptoms for at least two weeks.

There are different types of depression, but often, when people are talking about it, they’re referring to major depressive disorder, which is also called major depression. 

Depressive symptoms include:

  • Sadness

  • Negative emotions like hopelessness and/or worthlessness

  • Pessimism

  • Irritability or feelings of anger

  • Decreased energy

  • Restlessness

  • No longer enjoying social activities you once liked

  • Appetite or weight changes

  • A change in sex drive

  • Difficulty sleeping 

If you experience symptoms of depression, it’s important to seek out help from a mental health professional. Untreated depression symptoms can wreak havoc on your emotional health and greatly impact your quality of life.

online counseling

the best way to try counseling

Defining Emotional Affairs

When most people think of cheating, they think of a physical affair. This is when someone has sex with another person outside of their primary relationship. This type of sexual infidelity can be extremely damaging to a relationship. 

But there’s another type of affair, too. Emotional infidelity is when you’re in a committed relationship but form an intimate emotional bond with someone else. 

While this type of affair isn’t talked about as much, it can be just as difficult to navigate in a relationship. 

When someone has an emotional affair it means they’re having intimate conversations and acting with inappropriate familiarity with someone who is not their spouse or partner. 

Often, there is sexual tension, too — even if it’s not physically acted on.

Having an emotional affair can leave the partner who was cheated on feeling just as betrayed and upset as someone who finds out their partner was physically intimate with another person. 

What Is The Connection Between Cheating and Depression?

Now that you understand both male depression and emotional affairs, you may be wondering if the two are linked in any way. The truth is, these two things could be connected just like male depression and marriage. If a person finds out they’ve been cheated on, it could lead to depression. 

A small study involving eight women and five men looked at what happened when people found out their partner had had an affair. 

The study found that women were far more affected than men, but that both genders experienced some depression. 

Aside from its small size, the study also didn’t designate emotional or physical affairs. Nevertheless, the results are in line with what you’d probably expect.

A larger study of 232 people who had been cheated on in the last three months had similar findings. The researchers observed that many of the participants suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of being cheated on. 

But what about the person who is emotionally cheating — can their depression play a role? 

Can Depression Cause Infidelity?

To start, it’s important to say that just because a man is depressed does not mean he will cheat. But it’s also fair to say that male depression and affairs can be linked. 

Depression can make people feel like they want out of the life they have or make them do things they wouldn’t normally do. It’s not unusual for men with depression to act out. This could mean drinking more, doing risky things or even having affairs. 

Some say that having an emotional affair shows that a person has a lack of confidence or self-esteem. And as mentioned above, people with depression may feel worthless. 

So, it is entirely possible that these feelings of worthlessness may inspire someone to seek out comfort and get emotionally intimate with someone who is not their committed partner. 

Again, just because a man is depressed doesn’t mean he will have an emotional affair — but it is possible. 

What to Do If You’ve Had an Emotional Affair 

While male depression and emotional affairs aren’t always linked, one can influence the other.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, the best thing you can do is seek treatment for it — even if you haven’t cheated on or been cheated on by your partner.

Depression treatment comes in many forms, which are usually used individually or combined based on the advice and guidance from a mental health professional.


Are you depressed? Research has found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a helpful tool in the treatment of this mental illness. 

With CBT, you work with a mental healthcare provider to look at patterns and behaviors that factor into your depression. From there, in therapy, you come up with ways to adjust these behaviors so that you feel better. 

Additionally, if any kind of infidelity has factored into your relationship, you may want to consider couples therapy. This type of therapy can help address individual psychological issues that may affect your relationships. 

Medication for Depression

Prescription antidepressants are another way to treat depression

While depression has a wide array of possible causes on the biological, psychological and social spectrums of human behavior that are extremely complex and usually interconnected, antidepressants can help treat many depression symptoms by helping regulate the levels of some of the neurotransmitters in your brain — namely, serotonin and dopamine.

There are a few different types of antidepressants. They include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, like citalopram), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs, like venlafaxine), tricyclic antidepressants(TACs) and more.

Antidepressants take about four to eight weeks to work — though you may notice some symptoms subside before then.

online psychiatrist prescriptions

talk to a psychiatry provider. it’s never been easier

The Bottom Line on Male Depression & Emotional Affairs

Have you ever asked yourself, “Can depression cause infidelity?” Hopefully, now you know that it doesn’t always happy, but it is possible that cheating and depression are linked. 

Whether someone had an emotional affair on you and it’s caused some depression or you are depressed and had an emotional affair, it’s important to seek help. 

Hims offers online consultations with healthcare providers that make it accessible to get mental health help quickly. 

12 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Mental Health Disorder Statistics. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from
  2. What is Depression? American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from
  3. Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  4. What Every Couple Should Understand About Emotional Infidelity. Psychology Today. Retrieved from
  5. Whisman, M., (2016). Discovery of a Partner Affair and Major Depressive Episode In a Probability Sample of Married or Cohabiting Adults. Fam Process. Retrieved from
  6. Shrout, M., Weigel, D. Coping with infidelity: The moderating role of self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences. Retrieved from
  7. Symptoms of Depression in Men. Winchester Hospital. Retrieved from
  8. What Every Couple Should Understand About Emotional Infidelity. Psychology Today. Retrieved from
  9. Gautam, M., Tripathi, A., Deshmukh, D., Gaur, M., (2020). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from
  10. About Marriage and Family Therapists. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Retrieved from
  11. Hyman, S.E. (2005, March 8). Neurotransmitters. Current Biology. 15 (5), PR154-R158. Retrieved from
  12. What Meds Treat Depression? Mental Health America. Retrieved from

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.