15 Things To Know About Dating Someone With Depression

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Dating someone with depression, like any other relationship, comes with certain challenges. Depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a condition characterized by symptoms such as extreme feeling of sadness, lack of pleasure in otherwise favorite activities, loss of interest in life, and low self-worth (1).

So, if you plan to date someone with MDD, gaining a deeper and more accurate understanding of the complexities of this condition will certainly enable you to have a better sense of what your partner is experiencing and offer them better support. Read on for some tips on dating someone with depression.

Dating Someone With Depression: 15 Tips

If your partner is suffering from depression, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to have a healthy and happy relationship with them.

1. Learn about depression

To understand how depression affects your partner, you need to do your own research and educate yourself about the reasons behind depression, its symptoms, and treatment. You can visit reputed sites such as the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The State Of Mental Health In America, and so on to better understand depression.

2. Keep communication clear

A person battling depression can be sensitive and may interpret things differently. This is more prevalent in the case of written communication. You cut a conversation short because something urgent came up, but your partner may see it as a sign of disinterest in them and may even stress about how you do not care about them. So, you need to be clear with them regarding what exactly is on your mind to avoid any misunderstanding.

3. Understand their mood swings

A person with depression is most likely to function according to their mood. There will be instances when you may want to do something, but your partner dismisses the idea because they ‘do not feel like it.’ Instead of arguing with them, understand the reason why they feel low. Know that their mood is not in their hands, and they too are troubled by the frequent ups and downs.

4. Support them instead of giving empty advice

It is easy to dish out advice to seek help for someone struggling with depression. What may seem like a simple solution to you may be a daunting task for them. Instead, when your partner feels low, ask them how you can help. Look for a good therapist and accompany them to the appointment. Let them know that they are not alone and that you are with them in this.

5. Refrain from pushing fake positivity

Sometimes it might get frustrating and heartbreaking for you to see your partner struggle, and you may tell them to not brood over things and simply shake it off. These statements can have an adverse effect on them as they may feel ashamed of how they feel and that they are a nuisance to you. It may even severely impact their self-esteem. So, do not treat depression as a silly problem that you can fix, and refrain from speaking anything negative about it to your partner.

6. Acknowledge their complex feelings

A person battling depression tends to hide their feelings because they do not want to become a burden for you. Bottling up their feelings can have a negative impact on them. They may not even acknowledge to themselves how they truly feel, let alone express it openly. You have to encourage them to open up whenever they are ready and tell them that it is completely okay to feel unsure, confused, and hopeless in their mind.

7. Practice staying calm

On some days, your partner may not feel like themselves and may get angry and lash out at you for no reason. This can lead to fights and abuse. You need to stay calm and get out of the messy situation to protect your physical, mental, and emotional health during such times. Remember that abuse in any form should not be tolerated. Establish healthy boundaries and set firm limits for behaviors that are not acceptable. You need to firmly and gently tell your partner that they are losing their temper, and you should stay away from them until they cool down and are in a better position to speak.

8. Don’t use depression as a taunt

If your partner seems miffed with you for a valid reason, do not dismiss it by blaming their depression for it. Depression may be the culprit behind their frequent change of mood, but it is not the reason behind their every emotion. It is important to understand that you do not blame everything on depression. Shaming your partner can have a negative effect on them.

9. Don’t blame yourself

If your partner seems upset for no apparent reason, do not become anxious thinking what you said that must have angered them. You may not even be close to the reason for their foul mood. So, refrain from holding yourself responsible for something that you did not do. Do not stress over your partner’s mood. Remember, you are with them in this fight and not against them.

10. Enjoy some ‘me’ time

It is great that you support your partner in their struggle against depression but do not neglect your health in the process. It is important that you spend some quality time with yourself too. Self-care is even more critical when you are looking after a loved one. Do the activities that you love doing. Spend some time by yourself or in the company of trusted and loving family and friends as much as you can because it is important for you to have a good social life to keep you happy.

11. Pay attention to your sex life

Depression makes a person lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. If your partner is on medication for depression, they are most likely to lose interest in sex (2). This is the result of the side effects of the medication and not loss of attraction towards you. You need to have an open and honest chat with your partner about this, as a healthy sex life is crucial for a relationship. Try to understand their problem too and find a way out together.

12. Support their dreams and ambition

A person fighting depression tends to lose passion and even purpose in life. If your partner shares their dreams with you, you must encourage them to go after them. Do not force them to do something, but if you see them showing interest in something, then support them to achieve their goals. Ask them how you can help them and do it promptly to show your true interest.

13. Do not act as a counselor

You may mean well and may want to help your partner by giving them advice on tackling depression. However, unless you are a qualified counselor, do not try to give any advice to your partner. This is because one wrong word from you can cause great damage to your partner’s fragile mental health and strain your relationship. Remember that you are their partner and cheerleader in their fight against depression, not their mental health professional.

14. Seek professional help

Dealing with a person with depression can take a toll on your mental health. Caring for a partner fighting depression may require sacrifices on your part, which can eventually threaten your emotional well-being and bog you down. In such a situation, you need to take care of yourself and seek help from a professional therapist. A therapist will guide you on how to deal with your partner’s condition without being unfair to yourself.

15. Try couples counseling

Loving your partner means accepting them with their flaws. But when their problem starts weighing on both of you, it is time to seek help. When everything else fails, try going to couple’s therapy together with your partner. A good counselor can guide you and your partner on how to strengthen the relationship.

Dating someone with depression has its challenges that can be overcome by being empathic and mindful of your partner’s condition. At the same time, remember to take care of your mental health by being socially active and doing healthy activities that you enjoy doing.

Key Pointers

  • If you date a person with depression, learn thoroughly about the condition to understand their thoughts and feelings.
  • Instead of giving advice, find ways to support your partner or stay calm when they are emotionally overwhelmed.
  • Take care of your health and mental state and spend time doing things you love.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Depression.
    https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
  2. Robert L. Phillips JR. and James R. Slaughter Depression and Sexual Desire.
    https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0815/p782.html
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Sadhvi Nishtha Om

Monk Sadhvi Nishtha Om is a practicing psychologist and psychotherapist in India. She has worked with children, adolescents and adults using tools such as Therapeutic Meditation, Inner Child Healing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Emotional Empowerment Technique (EET) in a career spanning more than a decade. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delhi, India.... more

Ratika Pai

Ratika has experience writing in various fields including finance, education, lifestyle, and entertainment. After her masters degree in Commerce, she acquired a PG Diploma in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. She is inquisitive about human relationships and likes to study people and how they manage their relationships, during her freetime. At MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on... more