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15 Things To Know If You’re Dating Someone With Depression

(Last Updated On: October 8, 2022)

Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Admin


There are far more people dating someone with depression than you might think. With this mental illness affecting approximately 3.8% of the entire population (that’s 280 million people), you’re likely to meet someone who suffers from depression when you’re dating.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as “a mood disorder that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working.”

If you’re unfamiliar with this illness, it’s normal to be apprehensive about knowing how to deal with it. What should you expect? How will it impact your relationship? Will you have the knowledge and tools to support your partner through their depression? When should you reach out for extra help?

In this article, we’ll briefly cover the symptoms of depression, what it’s like being in a relationship with someone who suffers from it, and a ton of tips for dating someone with depression.

Symptoms of depression

Depression affects everyone slightly differently and on different levels, meaning the symptoms will vary.

But here are some typical symptoms you can expect with depression:

  • Low energy
  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Loss of passion and interest that was once there
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overeating
  • Anger
  • Worthlessness
  • Wanting to self-harm
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawing and disengaging from people

Does depression make it hard to be in a relationship?

Of course, it does! But all relationships are hard work and have their challenges.

If you understand what you’re going into and you properly understand the symptoms and struggles your partner might be going through, then you’ll be better prepared to support them and minimize the friction in your relationship.

Is it worth being in a relationship with someone with depression?

This all depends on whether you’re compatible, you see a future with them, and they’re the person for you.

A great question to ask yourself is, do they meet your love vision (Little Love Step #2)? Are you aligned when it comes to the big things in life? Do you share similar values, lifestyles, religious outlooks, have a similar relationship with money, etc.?

If the answer is yes, it’s worth being in a relationship with someone with depression. You’re with them for who they are, and although their illness will be another challenge in your relationship, this shouldn’t put you off trying to make it work.

15 tips for dating someone with depression

Here’s how to deal with dating someone with depression.

1. Have “the talk”

If you’re dating someone with depression, there will inevitably be a point where they feel a deep enough connection with you to disclose that they suffer from depression.

In this moment, it’s incredibly important not to judge them or make them feel uncomfortable. Listen, be sensitive, and ask questions if you have any, but don’t bombard them with too many—save the rest for another discussion! Thank them for trusting you enough to share something so personal.

2. Learn about depression

If you know you’re dating someone with depression, reading up about its causes, symptoms, and treatments can put you in a strong position to support them with it and spot if it’s ever getting worse. The internet is great for gathering information quickly.

Some great sources to check out include:

Alternatively, you could speak to a doctor or mental health practitioner to learn more and ask them to recommend a source they know, trust and maybe even work with.

3. Reach out for professional support

how to deal with dating someone with depression

Although you may not be the one directly suffering from depression, when you know someone suffering from it, it will impact your life. So, most of us have been affected by depression at some point in our lives, whether through a friend, co-worker, or partner.

One of the ways you can help the person you’re dating is to reach out for external support if and when they need it. Talk to them about this and emphasize that getting help is not a weakness.

If you start feeling overwhelmed at any point in your relationship, or even frustrated, angry, or sad, know that that is normal. What’s important is you don’t allow those feelings to linger and grow. Speak to a therapist or counselor or join a support group where you can vent your feelings and get the support and help you need to be the best partner you can be.

4. Be there for them

The best thing you can do when dating someone with depression is to be there for them and make sure they know you care. Tell them, and often. Give them a hug when they’re feeling down. Sit and listen when they need to talk. Help them make appointments or find a therapist if they need extra support. Take on some extra chores around the house if they struggle to do their share.

Going the extra mile to understand and empathize with them will truly mean a lot.

5. And look after yourself

woman thinking

When you’re in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression, your focus and attention can naturally shift to them, and in the process, you might end up neglecting your mental health.

Remember, you can’t look after anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. So be sure to make yourself a priority. Make time for self-care. Get a good sleep each night. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Get some exercise and fresh air every day. Enjoy the hobbies you love. Spend time with your loved ones.

When you take care of yourself, you’ll be in a much stronger position to support your partner, and you might even inspire them to take better care of themselves.

6. See them as a whole person

The last thing people with a mental illness want is to be defined by that illness, whether it’s depression, anxiety, bipolar, or something else. Depression is just one part of this person you love spending time with. So focus on all the other parts of them that you love and all the other qualities, gifts, and beauty they have. Maybe that’s their ability to always make you laugh, their intelligence, their kindness, their creativity, or something else.

Drawing more attention to these other facets might also remind them of everything they have to offer and boost their spirits.

7. Be prepared for plans to change

When dating someone with depression, things don’t always go as you’d hoped. You might finally go on that vacation you were looking forward to the whole year, only to have them bunker up in the hotel room for most of the trip. They might bail on dinner with your friends for the third time in a row. They might not be in the mood for sex even though you can’t even remember the last time you had sex.

And in these moments, it’s normal to feel frustrated and disappointed. But avoid criticizing them and be compassionate and understanding.

Also, remember that if you have plans to do something or meet other people, you don’t have to cancel them just because your partner doesn’t want to go. It’s usually better to stick to those plans because it’s good for your mental health and can prevent resentment from bubbling up.

8. Try not to take their behavior personally

Be mindful that depression can make people act differently than they normally would. Your partner might become sad, angry, irritable, tired, or withdrawn.

So whether they’re trying to pick a fight with you over nothing, overreacting to small things you say, losing interest in doing things you usually love doing together, or something else, try your best not to take it personally.

While it’s not okay for you to become your partner’s punching bag, cutting them a bit of slack is okay.

9. And don’t mistake it for laziness

People who are depressed often get labeled lazy because some of the symptoms of depression are that people become sluggish, messy, and unproductive. But this isn’t because they’re lazy; they are mentally and physically drained, which can make it difficult for them even to find the strength to get out of bed in the morning.

Telling your partner they’re lazy because they haven’t tidied up after themselves around the house or aren’t bothering to dress up or go to the gym will only knock their self-worth and worsen their depression. A better approach would be to help them do some of the things they’re struggling with.

10. Don’t blame yourself

When dating someone with depression, avoid blaming your partner but remember not to blame yourself. Their mood swings, anxiety, and sadness are not down to you. You might start wondering if you’ve caused them to be upset or angry, but it’s not about you. There are so many external factors that could trigger this. Recognize that there’s a mental illness at work here, and do what you can to help your partner manage this.

11. Don’t try to fix them

While watching your partner suffering from depression can be painful, know that you cannot “fix” them. There’s no magic cure for it. And trying to fix it will only belittle the illness in your partner’s eyes and leave you feeling more frustrated.

The best thing you can do is ask your partner how you can better support them and channel your energy there.

12. Don’t believe them when they say they want to be alone

It’s common for depressed people to start isolating themselves and pushing everyone away. They do this because they have little interest in being social or they’re afraid they might hurt the people they care about most, or they don’t feel good enough to be around those people anymore and are embarrassed by their illness.

So if your partner tells you, they want to be left alone, this is usually not the case and is really a cry for help. Be on the lookout for it, and ensure you’re there to help them through this rough patch. Don’t force them to talk about it if they don’t want to. Just sitting with them will make a huge difference.

13. Encourage rather than advise

How often has someone told you you should do something, but for whatever reason, you didn’t do it, and you ended up feeling bad for not doing it?

This is how it can feel when you tell a partner suffering from depression that they should go to therapy, get outside more, or see their friends. It might be well-intentioned, but it can make them feel even worse and overwhelmed by the mere thought of doing those things.

Shift the way you say things.

For example, instead of saying, “you should exercise more,” say, “I’m feeling restless; let’s go for a bike ride together!”

Instead of saying, “you’d feel better if you ate healthier food,” cook a nice big healthy, nutritious meal for them next time you’re having dinner together.

happy couple cooking

14. Help them be hopeful

One of the hardest things when dating someone with depression is that it can strip that person of hope and leave their world feeling very dark and empty. They feel hopeless, but they don’t know how to tell people that because it has become their new normal.

Do what you can to lift their spirits. Remind them of all the wonderful things in their life. Plan fun things to look forward to. Help them focus on the good and the bright side.

15. Set boundaries and stick to them

Boundaries are essential in any healthy, long-term relationship, especially when depression is involved. And that’s why setting boundaries is step #6 on my Little Love Steps.

So make sure you start setting boundaries with your partner sooner rather than later. This will protect your needs and communicate what you’re willing to tolerate and what’s important to you.

A boundary might be that when your partner flakes on plans to go out, you still honor that commitment and go out without them. Or it might be that you remove yourself from the situation when they get angry and talk to them when they’ve calmed down a bit.

Healthy boundaries and vital if you want a healthy relationship!

Remember: you don’t need to stay with them

If your relationship starts to drag you down and there are more bad days than good ones, it’s probably time to sit down and discuss whether this is right for you. Don’t feel guilty, like you’re abandoning your partner, or fret that they might sink deeper into their depression.

Remember that it’s their responsibility to manage their illness. So if they’re not putting in the effort and aren’t doing their share to make the relationship work, you’re right to walk away.

While mental illness alone is not a reason to break up with someone, if this is causing other issues that you cannot work through, that’s not a healthy place to be.

Here are some things you definitely should not look past:

  • Abuse or violence (verbal, physical, emotional, sexual, etc.)
  • Blackouts or hallucinations that lead to abuse or violence
  • Disrespect
  • Narcissism
  • Lack of empathy for other people and animals

A mental illness does not give anyone an excuse to treat others poorly.

If you love him and your relationship is healthy, it’s worth it

Although depression can seriously strain any relationship, if you’re in love with someone, you’ll be willing to do what it takes to work with this obstacle and learn how to cope with it.

Preparing yourself for the potential situations I outlined in this article will help you protect your mental health and be a rock for your partner. And remember, you are never alone. It’s worth reaching out to a mental health worker or licensed therapist to give you the extra guidance and support you need to thrive as individuals and in your relationship.

if you're dating someone with depression

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you deeper insight into what it’s like dating someone with depression and how to cope with it.

Have you ever dated someone with depression? Are you dating someone with depression now?

What has been the biggest obstacle in your relationship, and do you have any other tips you’d like to share with our community? Drop a comment below.

dating someone with depression



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