If you’ve never been diagnosed with depression, you cannot possibly fathom how much it can affect one’s life. This means if you’re dating a guy who struggles with depression, it can be extremely challenging.
Think of it this way. It’s hard for you to be with a person with this diagnosis, but can you imagine what it’s like actually being in his shoes?
It is very challenging dating somebody you cannot relate to. It’s difficult to make it work, but not impossible. You can learn to get a clearer insight into his state and form a deeper emotional connection than you thought possible.
Follow these 6 tips in order to get a deeper understanding of your boyfriend’s depression and get through the rough patches as a solid unit.
1. Have an open conversation about it
Depression is not something you can sweep under the rug and hope it doesn’t affect you or your relationship. It is a huge part of who he is, and it is going to be a part of your life for as long as you are together.
Sit down with him, and have a heart to heart. Ask him how he feels and what triggers his depressive episodes. Ask him if there is anything you can do to help, and simply try to understand what he is saying to you.
2. Don’t say you understand if you really don’t
You may feel like he wants to hear that you understand him, but it will only make it worse (unless you have been diagnosed with it too, and you do actually get what he’s going through).
He will know if you are lying to him, and it will only make him feel worse. Depressed people struggle with people truly understanding them, so don’t pretend that you do because you won’t be doing him any good.
3. Ask him if there is anything you can do to help
He will be grateful that you are offering your help, even if there isn’t much you can do. But it will surely make him feel better knowing he can count on you if he needs you.
Depressed people don’t have the habit of opening up to people, so it’s on you to ask whenever you feel he may need something from you.
It will be good for your relationship to have an open, healthy line of communication and knowing that you can count on each other no matter what the other one is going through.
4. Learn to have patience
Sometimes it’s going to get challenging, understanding what is happening inside his head and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Accept that you won’t be privy to absolutely everything because truth be told, sometimes, he won’t have an explanation.
Depression doesn’t come with a manual, and it’s hard enough for him to fight his demons, let alone having to explain what he’s going though.
Have patience, and let him go through his things. Let it be known you are there if he needs anything, and allow him his personal space to deal with this.
5. Make sure he is getting the help needed to improve his state
Your boyfriend is probably on some medication or seeing a therapist. Make sure he is taking that medication and that he is regularly going to his sessions with his therapist.
Pay attention to any possible changes to his behavior. Take notes if you notice something off with him, and discuss it with somebody who is familiar with his state.
But know that it is in no way your responsibility to take care of every aspect of his illness. Of course you are going to be there for him, but it is not on you if he deviates from his progress and takes a turn for the worse.
All you can do is be there and pay attention enough to report anything you feel might be off, but other than that, it’s on him.
6. Support him and encourage him
Sometimes, all he needs is a shoulder to cry on and somebody to vent to, should he feel the need. Make him feel like he is not alone in this, and find ways to uplift his spirits.
Don’t offer any solutions because you are not qualified to do so, but rather just be there for him and be his crutch through his difficult times.
With your support, he is going to feel more comfortable while going through this and not feel like he is a hassle. And that is extremely important.
Show him he is loved and cared for, and be there when he needs you. When he wants his alone time, grant him that. Sometimes, that’s all he’s going to need.