Having a depressed boyfriend is not as detrimental to your relationship as you might think. Here’s how to handle his condition and come out stronger.
If you’ve never had clinical depression, you have no idea how impactful it can be to someone’s life. And that means having a depressed boyfriend can be a huge challenge. You can’t relate and therefore, you may lose patience quickly.
Of course, it’s not fun to be with someone who has depression. It’s a challenge in your relationship but it’s not just difficult for you. Imagine how he must feel being depressed while also not trying to disappoint you and harm the relationship.
When you can’t relate to someone, it’s harder to make it work
This is why a lot of actors end up with other actors. It’s not because they’re just in the same social scene, but because they can relate to one another. They both understand the duties of the job and how sometimes they’ll have to make out and even fake having sex with other people.
When an actor tries to date someone who doesn’t know that life and can’t relate, it often doesn’t work out very well. Arguments ensue because of the disconnect and it can end the relationship.
The same is true for those who don’t understand mental illness. If you’ve never experienced it, no amount of discussion or research will make you understand fully. And if you don’t work together to overcome that, the relationship can end.
How to make a relationship with a depressed boyfriend work
You can definitely make your relationship last even if your boyfriend is depressed. That doesn’t change your feelings or his feelings, either. With these tips, you can get through the rough patch and work toward better understanding and a deeper connection.
#1 Talk to him. You can’t just ignore something like depression. While it might not affect how you feel about each other, it’s still a huge part of his life. It’s something he lives with day after day.
You really need to sit down and talk about it. Ask how it affects him and what triggers may make it worse. Knowing the basic information like how long he’s had it and how it’s being treated is standard and it’ll help you better understand what he’s going through.
#2 Don’t tell him you understand. That is, unless you truly do and have been through real clinical depression – not just a time period of sadness. What many people don’t understand is that depressed people don’t actually want to hear that you understand when you don’t.
We think by comforting them, we make them feel better. However, your depressed boyfriend knows if you truly understand, and he’ll feel lied to if you really don’t. Depressed people struggle with feeling understood. If you pretend that you do, it’ll make matters worse.
#3 Ask him what he needs from you. You’ll never know how to act unless he tells you. But depressed people don’t often speak out about how they need to be treated. That leaves it up to you to ask.
Just ask if there’s anything you can do to make things easier or that’ll help him in some way. He’ll be grateful for you wanting to know and he’ll be more likely to tell you if you’ve prompted the discussion.
#4 Be patient. Depression isn’t easy to deal with if you’ve never experienced it. You just can’t know what they’re going through and why they’re acting the way they are. You really have to be patient with your depressed boyfriend. Don’t get upset and angry when he’s doing something that’s connected with his depression.
#5 Make sure they’re getting the help they need. Some depression is more severe than others. If your boyfriend is truly clinically depressed, he’s probably on some sort of medication that allows him to live normally.
He could also see a therapist or someone who can help him work through that depression. What you have to be aware of is if he’s actually using the help he gets. Be cautious of any drastic changes in behavior so you can determine if they’ve stopped taking their medication or not.
But also remember that it’s not your responsibility, either. Tell him that he needs to take it but ultimately, contact his health provider if you fear things are getting out of hand. Don’t try to deal with it yourself.
#6 Be supportive and uplifting. What your depressed boyfriend needs is support. He wants to know he’s not alone and that you’ll still be there even if he has depression. So be supportive and uplifting when he’s going through a tough time.
Be the positive force in his life so he can rely on you for help when he needs it. The more supportive you are, the more comfortable he’ll be going to you when he’s struggling.
#7 Don’t offer solutions. This is not your place to suggest meditation or extra time out in the sun. Sure, those things may work for some people but if your boyfriend has depression, he already knows about them. Depressed people usually want to find a way to make things better, so they know of any and all solutions already.
If you try to make things better by giving suggestions, he’ll just feel like you want to “fix” him. And that’s one of the worst feelings for someone with depression.
#8 Don’t make it a big deal. The fact that your boyfriend has depression isn’t the only thing in your lives. It should never be the focal point. It’s just something he lives with. It doesn’t really change who he is and what he values. So don’t let it become the biggest part of your relationship.
#9 Make sure he knows your feelings aren’t affected. The fact that he has depression might make him a little insecure that you like him less because of it. Just remind him that it doesn’t change anything.
You feel just as strongly for him as you would if he wasn’t depressed. Make sure he knows of your feelings so there’s never a miscommunication in that respect.
#10 Accept it as part of him. For some reason, people treat mental illness like it’s a separate entity altogether. They don’t often look at it as just being a part of a person. But really, you don’t treat a cold or the flu like it’s the other thing.
You treat it as just being something your partner has. Having a depressed boyfriend is the same. The only difference is mental illness sticks around longer than the common cold. But it’s a part of him. It’s just who he is. Either you accept and love that about him, or you don’t.
If you have a depressed boyfriend, it’s not a big deal. Discuss it with him so you know how severe it is and then be aware of how to treat him. The bottom line, however, is that depression doesn’t change your relationship.