How to Date Someone With Depression

How to Date Someone With Depression

Depression is a severe mental condition that can lead to harmful behavior such as drugs and even suicide. However, the situation is treatable if detected early and help is sorted.

Dating a partner with depression brings unique challenges you may never experience in other relationships. Watching your partner struggle with this mental condition can be difficult, and you might be tempted to help.

You should understand that it is impossible to eradicate depression by yourself completely, and trying can make you both miserable. You might be among the few people who have not interacted with depression. Therefore you must learn all about the illness very fast.

You can still be compassionate with your partner and support them healthwise in many ways.

Learn About Depression

people supporting depressed man

Internalizing the complications of depression will assist in making you a supportive partner. You can educate yourself about the illness by reading articles written by experts and talking to people who have been in a similar situation.

Depression has many causes, and it is wrong to assume the cause of your partner’s depression. After a while, your partner may be comfortable enough to share with you the fact that they are coping with depression. You should be sensitive and encourage them to open up more about their feelings but be aware of and respect their boundaries.

You Need to be Flexible

Depression affects the ability of an individual to participate in everyday activities. A good example is when you arrange a dinner date on Friday, but your partner’s mood has changed when Friday comes, and they find it difficult to get out of bed. You should not assume that they are doing this because they are lazy or not trying.

On the contrary, they undergo a painful psychological illness affecting their functionality. When such a situation occurs, you have to be understanding and flexible enough to suggest activities that may be within their comfort zones. You need to understand that they may not be up for socializing and only need some time to be alone. It is essential to respect their needs and not to take them personally.

Encourage Instead of Advising

friend encouraging another friend

Through treatment, depression symptoms may increase, urging you to advise them to see a therapist. However, phrases such as “You should go to therapy.” can escalate the situation.

Depression tends to make even the simplest of tasks seem complicated. Treatment does not work fast for depression, and not all approaches work for everybody. It is essential to avoid pressuring your partner to try other forms of treatment or pushing them to make lifestyle changes.

Your intentions may be good when advising your partner, but it might give your partner the impression that you don’t understand what they are going through. Therefore it is better to encourage rather than advise.

Avoid Blaming Everything on Depression

Dating a person with a mental health issue does not guarantee that all their feelings and thoughts are related to their condition. Assuming this only hinders honest conversation and emotional connection.

When your partner is not amused with your actions and tries to address their concern, try listening and reflecting on their sentiments. Constantly invalidating their feelings serves to push them further away and make them feel worthless.

Acknowledge Personal Needs

When in a relationship with someone in depression, you might think that your needs, wants, and problems should take a back seat. However, everyone goes through challenges in life, and it is okay to have human emotions like sadness, happiness, anger, or even disappointment. You don’t have to turn off your feelings or emotions because your partner is depressed.

You must ensure a sound support system and a safe place to express yourself. These may include friends, family, support groups, or even a therapist or psychologist in particular circumstances. It is also vital you share the real you with your partner. The right time to show your authentic self is when your partner is not going through extreme depression.

You must find your space in the relationship. You must acknowledge your feelings about your partner’s condition to do this. You should let your partner know that you are also going through a hard time because of their condition, but you are willing to work it out together.

Accommodate or Accept Their Feelings

When in a relationship with a depressed person, you need to let them have their feelings. A depressed person may sometimes try hiding their emotions in fear of being labeled a burden. Such a situation happens when the other partner is doing their level best to be understanding.

You must let your depressed partner acknowledge and express their feelings. It may be tricky since they also can’t tell if they feel sad or hopeless. However, your partner must know it is not their fault, and you are ready to listen to all their feelings whenever they feel safe.

Create a New Language for Communication With Your Partner

You can learn a new language or a different way of communicating with your partner. The new language should make both of you feel heard and validated. It is difficult to feel close to your partner, especially when they are not feeling well.

However, you can learn new communication skills and ensure your partner also knows them. These new skills will help enable you to connect to your depressed partner. By clicking, you guarantee the relationship for a more extended period. 

Depressed People Are Not lazy

There is a misconception by a lot of people concerning depressed people; they think that depressed individuals are lazy. This misconception stems from the fact that depressed people may sometimes be messy and unproductive when in a depressive stage.

However, you need to understand that depressed people are not lazy; on the contrary, such behavior is a direct symptom of depression. The condition is brought about by the fact that these patients are exhausted both mentally and physically.

Depression drains its victims, making them unable to perform simple daily routines such as getting out of bed. Calling your partner lazy will not help; instead, it will make them feel unworthy and powerless. You should try encouraging them or helping them do and complete these tasks.

It is Not About You

In some cases, it is possible to feel as if you are to blame whenever your partner gets angry or irritated. However, depression is a complex illness that comes with different mood swings, and it is not about you.

Sometimes their feelings may be affected by the environment, and it is not okay to think you are the cause of their mood swings. It will only make you feel terrible, and your partner will feel misunderstood. You must try and recognize their illness for what it is and only try to be supportive.

Establish Working Boundaries

You need to set limits around behaviors that are unacceptable to you. When you set boundaries, you safeguard your physical and emotional needs. Honoring these boundaries does not make you selfish or uncaring.

A situation may arise whereby your partner cancels plans when deeply depressed, and you understand. The problem arises when they expect you to skip it too. In this scenario, you should let them understand that you will carry on with your plans unless it is an emergency.

Depressed partners may lash out with hurtful words. They may not mean it, but you can still choose to establish boundaries around unkind and derogatory language.

Work on Your Sex Life

Your sex life cannot be normal, especially when in a relationship with a person experiencing severe depression. Both depression and medication used to treat it affect an individual’s desire for and ability to enjoy sex.

Dating a depressed person requires extra work on your sex life. The effects caused by depression can be frustrating and embarrassing to your partner, and they may fear you terminating the relationship. You need to be understanding and open to assist your relationship to grow.

Get Support From Others

girl providing emotional support to her mother

When in a relationship with a depressed person, you can’t expect to receive all the support you can get from a partner without depression.

You need social support and professional help outside your relationship when you have a mental health problem. Suppressing your emotions when dating someone is not healthy, and you need friends and family to offer support. They offer compassion and validation, things that impact your well-being positively.

You can also join a support group if you don’t want to share your partner’s mental condition with people you know. If the above methods do not work, you can see a therapist to guarantee peace of mind.

Cultivate a Balance

To love someone with depression is hard. You have to keep your partner’s needs above yours. To be fulfilled in a romantic relationship, you have to cultivate a balance. Trying to make your depressed partner happy is good and necessary for a short while, but the relationship cannot withstand it in the long run. Therefore, it is advisable to put yourself first from time to time without feeling guilty.

Get Involved in Their Healing

You need to appreciate your partner’s hard work and try to cheer them on as they seek treatment. You should try and let them know how proud you are of them for seeking help and respect the boundaries they have concerning their health. Some people like sharing their experiences, while others like keeping to themselves.

The level of your partner’s depression may require residential treatment, and they may not be aware. The honors might fall on you to suggest admission. However, before you do this, you must be confident that the level of intimacy in your relationship can withstand such a suggestion coming from you.

If your partner agrees to increase the intensity of their treatment, you should also get involved in the process. Some residential treatment programs offer family and couples therapy that provides an environment suitable for you to learn more about each other and steer your relationship toward recovery.

Compassionate clinicians can assist you in developing strategies for supporting your partner, aiding them in their healing process, and creating healthy boundaries.

Can You Break Up?

Deciding to end a relationship is normally not easy. The decision is made more difficult when you worry that your decision may lead your partner into a deeper state of depression. Mental illness should not be used as a reason for any relationship break up since many people are in long-lasting, fulfilling, and happy relationships while battling depression.

However, you should be concerned about the relationship when you realize the symptoms of the illness are interfering with your daily life or threatening your safety. You can have a healthy relationship with a depressed person but be vigilant to identify signs of unhealthy behavior.

These signs include:

  • Violence (physical and verbal)
  • Difficulty in controlling emotions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disrespect
  • No remorse or empathy for people or animals
  • Narcissistic tendencies

Do not ignore these red flags. Violence or abuse of any kind should not be tolerated or encouraged because of mental illness. Your safety is paramount and should always be a priority. When you choose to end the relationship, you should choose your words carefully, thinking about the effects of those words on the issues affecting your partner.

Unconditional love means accepting someone for who they are. This acceptance is very important, especially when your partner is depressed.

Being in a relationship with a depressed partner can be overwhelming. You can struggle to find a balance between helping your partner and taking care of your mental health. The pointers mentioned above can help navigate the relationship and bring you closer to your partner.

It is important to take care of yourself so that you don’t develop the same mental illness your partner has. You can’t go through all these alone. Some institutions and professionals offer help relevant and tailored to your specific condition.

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