5 Things to Keep in Mind When Dating Someone With Depression

Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux in The Girl on The Train (2016)
The Girl on the Train via Universal Pictures

There will be good days and bad days.

Dating isn't always easy, but it becomes increasingly more difficult if you suffer from a mental health illness like depression.

It doesn't only affect you, but your partner, as well. While you may know how to deal with your illness, your S.O. won't always be aware of what they should do.

If you recently started seeing someone with depression or have depression yourself and want your partner to better understand how to handle the situation, we're discussing five things to keep in mind when dating a depressed individual below:

Girls via HBO

1. It's Not Something That Can Be Fixed Overnight

The road to recover for depression is a long and winding one, and not as linear as many would hope or expect it to be. Not only that, it's different for everyone. While therapy may work for one individual, being on anti-depressants may be the better option for another. It's all dependent on the needs of the person with the mental illness.

However your partner is seeking treatment, know that this is what's best for them, but don't expect it to fix their problems overnight. It can take months, even years, for an individual with depression to see any sort of benefits come from their treatment.

The best thing to do is offer support and encouragement while your S.O. is seeking treatment. When they get discouraged by their progress, be there to remind them that recovery takes time.

2. There Will Be Good Days and Bad Days

Living with depression, not every day is going to be rainbows and butterflies. There will be times when the sky is incredibly cloudy, making it all the more difficult to want to do anything. They may lash out or just not want to spend any time with you. On the other hand, there will be good days when everything appears to be fine.

Depression is a strange disease in that it tends to come in waves. It's important to remember this when times are good, because they can quickly take a turn for the worse. Take each day as it comes and try not to let it weigh you down. Do what you can for your partner, but don't feel the need to fix everything.

3. They're Not Your Responsibility

Just because you're seeing an individual with depression, as someone who may not have it, doesn't mean they're your responsibility. You aren't the one who's solely responsible for them getting better. If they don't want to go to therapy or take their medication, that's not on you to force them to do it. It may feel like it is, but know that it isn't the case. You are only capable of doing so much and need to take care of your mental health, too.

Every relationship needs to have a balance. So as much as you can give to them, your partner should also be able to return the favor—even if they have depression.

4. Communicate Your Feelings Constantly

Talk about how you're feeling about everything, good or bad. People with depression tend to feel guilty about expressing their negative sentiments towards what's happening in their lives with anyone, so if you (their partner) is easily able to open up around them, they'll feel comfortable doing the same with you.

It's important to note that there should never be a judgmental tone when discussing feelings. Also, don't pressure them into talking about it. Just share your feelings and they'll follow suit. It may take some time, as it always will, but they'll eventually feel more content sharing everything with you.

5. Set Healthy Boundaries

Your mental health, no matter how strong it may be, is also important to maintain while you're in this relationship. If you need to take some time for yourself, don't feel guilty doing so. Though your partner may worry this means bad news, that's just their depression getting the best of them.

Again, you're their partner, not their caretaker. You can do what you can to help them on the road to recovery, but you shouldn't feel the need to sacrifice your overall health and well-being in the process.

No couple spends all of their time together, so it's more than acceptable if you want to take some time apart for a bit. It can actually be healthier than you may know.