Dating Someone with Depression: 15 Tips for A Healthy Relationship

this is a drawing of two women hugging with depression

Loved Ones With Depression

Dating someone with depression and anxiety

Dating someone with depression can be hard. This does not mean you need to leave your depressed and anxious partner. To avoid making the anxiety worse, hurting your partner and creating more stress in the relationship, do not try to fix them alone. Work together with your partner in getting help, seeing therapy and working on bettering overall health.

Here is Dating Someone with Depression: 15 Tips for A Healthy Relationship

In today’s blog I am going to help shed some light on a tough situation… How to work together with your partner when you are dating someone with depression.

The mental, emotional, and physical toll depression takes on a person who has this complex mental health disorder can be crippling and also impact those closest to them. If you are dating someone with depression, but it’s an illness that you have never dealt with before, it can be tough to understand what they are going through. You may want to do nothing but support them, except you don’t know how because you cannot relate to their symptoms, feelings, or thoughts.

So how do you date someone with depression?

And is it possible to maintain a healthy and successful relationship loving someone with depression?

Welcome to today’s blog, where I will do my best to help tackle these questions for you, as I understand your confusion and even frustration. I know how much of a struggle it can be to watch your partner battle whats going on inside them. If you are dating someone with depression, it will not only impact you but some foundational elements of a healthy, lasting relationship.

In this blog, I will be providing tips that will help you to better understand your partner, understand their depression symptoms and how to support them. There may be a lot you don’t think you understand yet, but I’m sure you are already well aware of how your partner’s feelings of hopelessness can cause you to feel hopeless about helping them. It can cause you to feel hopeless about the relationship at times, too, despite the enormous potential for love and happiness.

If you are still reading this right now, I would consider that a sign that you want to try your best to understand and support the special person in your life, and I hope that you don’t give up on them or love before you apply some of the helpful things you will learn here. More importantly, don’t give up on or forget about yourself in this process. This blog will also provide you tips for taking care of yourself and your mental health while supporting your partner and striving to make your relationship work.

Please, please, please… do not overlook the value of going to a therapist for couples therapy or also separately, instead of reading 100’s of blogs for your answers (even this one).

Should you date someone with mental illness?

Dating is hard work and demanding for anyone, but it’s worth noting that a strong, supportive relationship is possible with a partner who has a mental illness. Genuine care and effective support techniques are invaluable to dating someone with depression.

How do you date someone with anxiety?

Ask if your partner is feeling okay or offer ways to help. You can find ways to be kind and validate them without confirming particular worries or thoughts that usually only perpetuate their anxiety. Also, remember that your partner is not their anxiety – be able to separate the two.

What should you not do when dating someone with anxiety?

When dating someone with anxiety, validate their feelings – don’t dismiss them. Don’t criticize them. Don’t try to “fix” or diagnose them – they understand their anxiety best. Don’t take their behaviors personally, like when they seem to be ignoring you because they need to cope or manage a situation.

15 Tips For Dating Someone With Depression

Below I have put together 15 tips that will help you and your partner navigate the murky waters of mental health struggles like depression. Along with these ideas, I want you to take the time to learn about their diagnosis, offer encouragement, be flexible and most importantly rethink communication as how you once knew it.

Recognize the symptoms

The first step to understanding your partner and their depression is to recognize common physical and emotional symptoms of depression, including:

  • Sadness
  • Mood swings and uncontrollable feelings
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Fatigue or sleep problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Changes in weight and appetite

Remember that depression affects more than just a person’s mood. The more signs you can recognize, the better you can support your partner when you notice them occurring. There are also times of the year that can affect your partners’ mental health more than others, seasonal depression can be a factor.

Ask them about it

Depression impacts people differently. Some people will feel intense feelings of sadness, while others feel more overcome by apathy or hopelessness. Once you understand more of the basic symptoms and signs, it’s time to become more aware of how depression impacts your partner specifically. This will help you know how you can support them and explain why they may behave in specific ways. The best way to learn more is by asking them.

Be adaptable and compassionate

It will help you go ahead and engrain it in your mind now that when you are dating someone with depression, things will not always go according to plan. Your partner may lose interest in doing certain things or bail on your plans together. Rather than criticizing them, let them know you are sorry they can’t make it and suggest an alternate plan for something simpler and more intimate, such as a movie at home versus the theater.

Don’t take it personally

In addition to being flexible should your partner not follow through on your plans, it’s in your best interest to make sure you do not take it personally. This isn’t to say you aren’t entitled to feel hurt or let it bother you, but taking things like bailed plans to heart will only leave you feeling worse. Your partner isn’t canceling their plans or ruining them because they want to make you unhappy – they aren’t in the same state of mind as you.

Don’t blame yourself

No matter what moods your partner experiences or behaviors they exhibit, it’s not your fault. If they seem particularly upset or anxious after a recent interaction or conversation, don’t spend unnecessary time wondering what you said or did to upset them – this will only cause you to feel anxious. Any number of triggers could make them feel particularly moody or sad, so don’t be too quick to take the blame, especially as it can make your partner feel misunderstood or worse because they didn’t mean for you to become upset too.

Stick to your plans and set boundaries

Knowing that plans will inevitably fall apart at times, it’s essential to set boundaries for yourself and your relationship that you and your partner both agree to. For instance, if they decide they aren’t feeling up for the plans you both made with a group of friends, you should still go if you want to, and not feel guilty. Sticking to your plan doesn’t mean you don’t care about them; it just means you care enough about yourself to let them know there are certain things that won’t work for you.

So, unless you want to keep them company, let them know ahead of time that unless it is an emergent situation where they need support, you will stick to your plans.

Validate their feelings

Your partner might have some negative thought patterns and ways of thinking that you don’t understand. They might make comments like “I can’t do anything right,” in which case it’s understandable that you will want to reject their thoughts to make them feel better.

You also might stray from validating them because you don’t want to seem like you’re agreeing – but there’s a difference. An appropriate response when you’re dating someone with depression focuses on their positive traits. It can sound like, “I know you feel discouraged that therapy isn’t helping yet, but there is still hope, and I admire you for trying so hard.”

Acknowledge your feelings

It can be tiring and burdensome at times when you’re dating someone with depression because it’s easy to put so much energy into helping them feel better and not focus enough on yourself. It is okay to have feelings, always – no matter if it’s related to your partner or something else. You don’t have to ignore your feelings to accommodate those of your partner. Give yourself the time and space to work through them and take what you need.

Don’t “fix” them - ask them

There is no single or overnight solution to aiding or curing depression. Sure, your extra love and support can help, but it won’t fix them. You alone cannot make everything okay, but you can figure out certain things your partner could benefit from, so ask them. Find out what helps them feel the happiest and most supported; at the same time, what triggers their depression. See if they have a particular coping strategy you might be able to engage in with them.

Practice self-care

If you don’t care for yourself, you will have a more challenging time taking care of your partner. That’s not to say your role is to take care of them, but it is normal for you to want to help them out. Not only can prioritizing your partner’s needs over yours cause you to feel tired and stressed, but it can lead you to resent them. Before you burn out, stop to make sure you are taking time for your interests, hobbies, and friends, as well as relaxation and sleep.

Seek support for yourself

You may have realized by now that dating someone with depression means that certain someone won’t be able to support you emotionally like you can for them. Be sure to maintain friendships for social support or talk to someone that can validate your emotions.

Help pick up the slack

Your partner may have trouble focusing or getting things done due to their heightened apathy or emotional state. If you want to be supportive, be willing to help with specific tasks that may feel overwhelming to them at times. Be ready to give more than you get at times.

Make yourself available

If you notice your partner seems off or stressed, ask them how they are feeling. Asking open-ended questions will demonstrate that you come from a place of care and concern. Let them know you are happy to help with something stressful, such as seeking a therapist.

Encourage them to get help

If you’re dating someone with depression, cheer them on and encourage them by reminding them that depression is treatable in most cases. Recognize their hard work, but don’t let them forget how indispensable therapy and lifestyle habits like exercising are.

Understand warning signs for something more serious

In addition to the common symptoms of depression, it helps to recognize signs that things are worsening. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, so it’s better to be safe and briefly inform yourself than sorry. Warning signs might be making comments about everyone being better off without them or going suddenly from an extreme low to feeling better. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner or call for help when they won’t do it themselves.

Conclusion for dating someone with depression

I hope this dating someone with depression advice has given you a bit more insight on where to head next.

Please remember that we are unique individuals and there is no cookie-cutter way to ‘fix’ someone, so take your time and work together on this.

Do you have a suggestion for another tip that could help our readers? Please leave it in the comments below, we would love to share it.

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