Dating someone with depression can be difficult. You may not know how to best support your partner or what to do when things get tough. You are likely struggling with a mix of emotions and lots of questions. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dating someone with depression:
First, educate yourself about depression, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments, to better help your loved one. Here is a great resource to get started:
Second, find support and treatment. The most important thing you can do when dating someone with depression is simply to be there. Assure them it is okay to not be okay. Let them know that they have a solid foundation in their relationships, and offer support when it comes to making appointments, doing chores, or just watching a movie. It might not seem like much but these little gestures will mean the world during tough times. Understand you cannot “save” or “fix” them. Seeking a professional therapist is not only important for the one suffering from depression but also for yourself. Having support for yourself helps you feel supported, express your frustrations, and make you more aware of your own emotional needs.
Lastly, don’t take things personally. When loving someone with depression, those closest may feel the effects as well which can create tension in relationships. Depression can make people behave in ways that they normally wouldn’t when they are feeling well. They may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. They may not be interested in going out or doing things like they used to. Your significant other may grow bored with sex. Don’t take these things personally.
Ending a relationship is difficult. It can be even more difficult when worrying that your ex may sink into depression after the break up. Mental illness alone is not a reason to break up. People who struggle with mental health conditions enjoy rewarding, long-lasting, happy relationships. Just because someone is suffering from depression does not give you an excuse to write them off.
Although it is okay to be concerned with your relationship when mental illness symptoms are interfering with day-to-day life, or if your safety is being compromised. A healthy relationship can flourish with someone dealing with mental illness but be aware of when things get unhealthy. Some signs your relationship is unhealthy include:
If any of these signs pertain to you, don’t ignore them. Violence or abuse of any kind is not tolerated. Your safety comes first. Overall, having a mental illness does not justify treating someone harshly, disrespectfully, or without empathy. Just as people without a mental illness could treat you badly, persons with mental illnesses are absolutely capable of showing others respect and affection. If you do decide to break up with your partner, be mindful of how your words may impact them and be considerate of the difficulties they are facing.
If you’re dating someone with depression, know that you’re not alone. There are many people who have gone through similar experiences and come out the other side. Use these tips to help you on your journey. If you or someone you know needs help, contact us today.