Depression is a complicated mental health disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. It’s a serious, but treatable condition that affects millions of people around the world. Dating someone with depression can be overwhelming. It can leave you feeling bewildered and confused. You may be at a loss of how to help your partner while taking care of your own mental health. There are several skills you’ll need to learn if you’re dating a depressed person. Practical tips can help you foster a closer relationship with your partner.
- Educate Yourself.
Understanding the complexities of depression is critical to being a supportive partner. If you’re dating someone with depression, educate yourself about the illness by reading expert articles online and talking to others who have been in similar relationships.
Also remember, there are various causes of depression. So, don’t make assumptions about what’s making your partner depressed. At some point in the relationship, your partner will likely disclose that they deal with depression. Be sensitive and non-judgmental. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, but respect their boundaries.
- Stay Flexible
Depression is a complex illness, so when you’re dating someone with depression, you need to stay flexible. Your partner’s mood can change unpredictably. This can interfere with their ability to participate in activities. For example, if you’ve made plans for Friday night with friends, don’t be overly disappointed if Friday comes around and your partner doesn’t feel like hanging out with others.
Take the change of plans in your stride. Suggest doing something within your partner’s comfort zone, like the two of you watching a movie at home. The mistake many people make when dealing with depression is blaming their partner. You have to remember that they’re not canceling plans to make you unhappy. They’re dealing with a psychological illness that makes it difficult to function normally.
- Don’t Blame Yourself.
When you’re living with someone who has depression, you shouldn’t blame them, but it’s equally important not to blame yourself. Oftentimes, you might find yourself wondering if you said something or did something to upset your partner, causing you to become anxious (you can do a self-assessment test for anxiety if you suspect this is happening).
Remember, your partner’s depression is not about you. A variety of environmental factors trigger their mood disturbances. You shouldn’t feel terrible that your partner is behaving in a certain way or blame it on your actions. Your misplaced reactions to your partner’s depression can make you feel unloved but also makes them feel misunderstood. A better approach is to recognize the illness and be your partner’s ally in managing it.
- Accept Feelings
Loving someone with depression means allowing them to have their feelings. People with depression tend to hide their emotions because they don’t want to be a burden. This is especially true if their partner has been going out of the way to be understanding. However, it’s important to allow a depressed person to acknowledge and express their feelings.
Sometimes, they may not even be sure of why they feel sad or hopeless. It’s not as simple as “I feel sad because…” If it were that easy, then you could simply fix whatever’s causing the depression. When you’re dating someone with depression, make sure to let them know it’s not their fault and encourage them to talk about their feelings.