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Dating Someone with Depression: 23 Signs & Truths You MUST Know

Are you dating someone with depression or thinking about doing so? You need all the information in hand to help you to help them. 

dating someone with depression

If you have ever found yourself dating someone with depression, you likely have a lot of insider relationship tips to share. In fact, more than likely, you have come to the conclusion that dating someone with depression can be an absolute nightmare. But, it doesn’t have to be, you just have to know what’s coming.

It is estimated that 350 million people suffer from clinical depression worldwide. Symptoms of depression include a general disinterest for life, self-loathing, irritability, lethargy, mood swings, hopelessness, reckless behavior, and loss of interest in friends, family, and loved ones. Not exactly great qualities to bring into a relationship.

But chin up, buttercup… all is not hopeless! Dating someone with depression can be fine if you are informed and educated about it.

[Read: Why we need to breakdown the stigma of mental illness]

Why do people feel depressed?

It is normal to get down now and then. Everyone goes through periods where they are sad and gloomy, but if you notice the person you’re dating is a little bit unhappier than average, you may be dating someone with depression.

Depression is a condition that makes a person feel hopeless and sad without cause.

It is an emotional state driven by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The hormone serotonin is responsible for mood alterations and feelings of happiness. If a person lacks serotonin, they miss what they need to chase away the blues. [Read: Is it worth dating someone who is depressed?]

The signs you are dating someone with depression

The problem with dating someone with depression is the toll it takes on you too.

When you are with someone, you want to make them happy. If all you seem to do is make them frown, you feel like you are doing something wrong or there is something wrong with you. Continually trying to do things to pick them up or make them happy to no avail, leaves you with feelings of failure.

There are some very obvious and subtle warning signs that you are dating someone with depression. Before you let it take its toll on your self-esteem, make sure to spot them and either find your own happy place or get them the help they need. [Read: How to help someone up when they’re feeling down]

1. They are always negative

If you come home with happy news, and you are always met with no response or a negative one, it is like someone popped your balloon.

A depressed partner is incapable of feeling elation, not only for themselves but those around them. Maybe you have a good idea, something good happened at work, or you see something funny and want to share. Yet it is met with indifference or no response at all. It is not a fun existence.

It leaves you feeling like a comic on stage who keeps checking the microphone to see if it is on. You stop telling them the good things that happen, or forget that good things do happen at all when you see the look on their face when you walk in the door. [Read: How to cheer someone up and make them feel awesome again]

2. They are withdrawn

You used to go out and have fun all the time, but suddenly they want to stay home and sit on the couch. That may not be a sign that they are bored with you, they may be depressed.

It is not unusual in relationships to go through a period where the magic seems to die a little. If they would rather bury their head in their phone, it may not have anything to do with you at all.

It is hard not to take it personally, but if they would rather be alone, then you can’t beat yourself up. You didn’t do anything, they are probably depressed. [Read: 15 revealing truths about feeling alone in a relationship]

3. They have let themselves go

If you notice they put on twenty pounds out of the blue, it is a huge warning sign of depression. The loss of desire to better yourself or care about how you look is a sign of depression.

Often, someone depressed stops activity and finds solace in eating. Two sure-fire ways to gain weight. If their appearance changed drastically, they may be depressed.

4. They stop talking to friends

They begin to “ditch” out of life. Not caring to go out with you, they also don’t want to see their friends. If they do make plans, they cancel them with a plethora of excuses.

For a depressed person, idle conversation, getting out the door, and going somewhere, are not motivating. If guys’ or girls’ night isn’t happening anymore, you may be dating someone who is depressed. [Read: What makes a good friend – 15 traits we desperately seek in a friend]

5. They are failing at work

If you notice their work performance dropping, and they get into trouble a lot at work, depression is at play.

Disciplinary actions, being late all the time, or even getting fired, if it isn’t their normal work ethic, point to depression. When depressed, working doesn’t seem like anything but a waste of time and trivial.

6. They may spend a lot of time crying

They cry often and out of the blue. If you notice your partner spends a whole lot of time crying over things that seemingly don’t call for it, they may be depressed.

Although it could be that their crying is a little under the radar. It might be obvious that they’ve been crying, e.g. red eyes a puffy face, but they don’t do it in front of you.

If they look sad most of the time, they may not have the energy to deal with it because of depression. [Read: 25 clues to know if relationship therapy will help]

7. Heavy drinking or drug use

A person with a drinking or drug abuse problem often masks symptoms of depression. There is no better way for a depressed person to deal with their feelings of sadness than to drink them away. Then, they don’t feel anything.

When you take things to alter your mood on a continual basis, there is a reason why you don’t want to feel anything. It is rarely because you are so happy in life. If your significant other started to up their intake of substances, consider whether they are depressed and trying to numb themselves. [Read: How to know if your relationship is toxic so you can get out fast]

8. They talk about when they aren’t around anymore

When someone is depressed, they feel hopeless. What is the point in talking about your future or making plans if you aren’t hopeful? A depressed person talks about when they are gone, fantasizes about a life with fatal illnesses, or think they aren’t going to live much longer. Almost as if they were wishing they weren’t here anymore. They constantly wait not to exist.

This isn’t always the case to that extreme, but if you notice that they avoid making future plans or talking about the future, it’s because they don’t have much hope. [Read: Are you feeling hopeless? How to stop feeling overwhelmed and see hope again]

9. They can’t make any decisions

If you ask something as simple as what do you want for dinner tonight, and they can’t seem to decide on anything, there may be a problem. Although there are times when we really just don’t have an opinion, if the person you date seems to not really care about anything or have an opinion, you may be dating someone with depression.

They also may have a hard time remembering things that you talked about in the past, or difficulty focusing on anything at all. [Read: Indecisiveness – When your inability to decide is a decision too]

10. They never seem able to rest

The opposite of what you would think, someone with depression often has difficulty sleeping.

Pacing the floor, disappearing in the middle of the night, or being gone when you wake up, might be misconstrued as signs that they are having an affair. But, the truth is that they may just be depressed and have difficulty sleeping. If there aren’t any other causes for the inability to rest, and they have other signs on this list, it may be depression. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]

11. They’re quick to anger

If your partner seems angry all the time, you may be dating someone who is depressed. If unsatisfied with themselves, it doesn’t take much to make them upset. Often irritable, they become angry at the slightest mention of certain subjects or when you make them feel insecure in the slightest.

If they fly off the handle at the smallest criticism, you may be dating someone with depression.

12. A lack of, or low, sex drive

One of the cornerstones of depression is the loss of sexual feelings. If you noticed that things just haven’t been what they were in the bedroom, either your feelings are changing, or you pass into another phase in your relationship.

If, after some effort, it remains stagnant, don’t assume that they aren’t hot for you anymore. They may be depressed. When depressed, you lose interest in things you used to love, including sex. [Read: 25 horny ways to increase your sex drive and keep it soaring]

13. They never feel good

There is nothing worse than dating someone who never feels good. If they always have a headache or some health condition that plagues them, with no cause, it may actually be depression.

When someone is depressed, they often have a mystery illness which sounds more like an excuse. It isn’t that they are making it up, their aches and pains are real, but what really drives them is depression. [Read: How to help someone feeling down and depressed]

14. A sudden weight loss

One day you look at them, and it is like they are a shell of themselves. It might be a sign of depression. Just like weight gain signals depression, losing a lot of weight without trying is also a sign the person you’re dating is depressed.

The heartbreaking truths about dating someone with depression

It isn’t easy to love someone when you can’t always make them happy. Whether you’re the sufferer or the mate on the other side, depression is hard – especially when you’re trying to make a romantic relationship work.

So before you embark on a new relationship, we’re giving you some tips. Remember – depression isn’t something someone can just snap out of. You might want them to do so, but this is a condition that is far more complex than most of us even realize.

1. Sometimes you just can’t help someone with depression

One of the most frustrating things to come to terms with is that sometimes, you can’t do a damn thing to make your lover happy.

You could be doing everything right down to the smallest detail, and your lover’s mood still won’t change. It’s normal to want to put a smile on your partner’s face, but if they’re unable to raise a smile, it could make you feel like you’re failing. You’re not. [Read: How volunteer work can heal depression]

2. You need to come first

This is pretty much the opposite of what we *think* we should feel towards our partners. You need to understand that your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t mean to be emotionally draining, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are.

Of course, it also doesn’t mean you don’t love them with your whole heart, it just means every now and then you need to take a breather and do things that refresh *your* spirit.

As sweet as it is that you want to expend all of your love and energy on your significant other to make sure they’re leading the happiest life possible – don’t forget to take care of yourself, too! You need to have an outlet for your feelings as much as your mate does. [Read: 15 revealing truths about feeling alone in a relationship]

Go out with your friends, exercise, grab a drink, laugh, watch YouTube videos, make coffee dates, take classes, try something new – do YOU! The only way you can give the best support possible to your lover is to be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself there is. When you feel whole, then it is much easier dating someone with depression.

3. When you’re dating someone with depression, try not to take it personally

Many times, we hurt the ones we love, and dating someone with depression is no different. There may be times when you feel like your partner is walking all over you or taking all of their depressed frustrations out on you unfairly.

The silver lining? You’re totally right. They probably are. But it’s only because they know you’ll love them unconditionally regardless.

When you’re dating someone with depression, you need to remember that the depression isn’t about you, it’s about your partner. So if they’re being unreasonable, just take a breath and remember not to take it personally. [Read: 25 sweetest romantic gestures to make your partner really happy!]

4. Getting frustrated doesn’t make you selfish

Have you ever uttered the phrase: “I’m sick of waiting for them to be happy”? Hey, we feel you. Life isn’t easy, especially when you love someone with depression. And at times, you’re going to have some less-than-loving thoughts about your significant other.

This doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you human. Dating someone with depression can be extremely frustrating, annoying, and at times you may even feel like a verbal punchbag – but this too shall pass. Bottom line: you’re going to get frustrated, and that’s okay. It’s not easy dating someone with depression. [Read: Is stress ruining your relationship? 10 signs and quick-fixes]

5. Depression isn’t logical

Think you’ve got the best slice of advice for your lover on dealing with their depression? More than likely, your partner already knows that exercise promotes feel-good, depression-fighting oxytocin. And they also know that open communication is key to a healthy relationship. And that isolating themselves is just about the worst thing they can do for their depression.

In fact, you may be saying the most profound, sensible thing ever that could totally do wonders for your lover’s spirit, but they’re just not listening. Why? Because depression isn’t logical.

6. There’s nothing romantic about depression

So you’ve started dating someone who says they’re depressed.

Your translation? Brooding depression makes them seem ultra-sexy, mysterious, tormented, and romantic.

The actual translation: they’re going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions and inner turmoil, and they’re not likely to let you be a part of it. Depression isn’t a sexy facet of your mate’s makeup, it’s just hard. Dating someone with depression means that it’s not always romantic.

7. Sex is going to be a come-and-go situation

When your mate is suffering from the big D, the last thing they’re going to want is the D in between their legs. When you have sex, you want to feel sexy, hot, and confident.

Do you know what rips all of those erotic feelings away from you? Depression.

Be patient with your lover until they get back into the swing of things sexually, and always keep the lines of communication open. [Read: 12 safe and natural ways to increase your libido]

8. Your lover does give back

Okay, so dating someone with depression doesn’t exactly sound like an ideal relationship, but that doesn’t mean your partner is going to be a loveless zombie. On the contrary, once you prove yourself to your mate, they’re going to be your loyal lover for life – or something like that.

The point is, just because you’re with someone who is clinically depressed doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be emotionally supportive in return. They can still be super sexy, loving, giving, and have the amazing ability to make you laugh. It just means those rough spots are going to come a little sooner than you thought. [Read: Dating an anxious personality and reasons why it’s totally worth it!]

9. Know when to throw in the towel

Just because you’re emotionally invested as someone’s support system doesn’t mean you *have* to stay with them. We’re not saying you won’t feel guilty if you walk away from the relationship.

But it is ESSENTIAL that you do not take on more than you can bear – and to know when enough is enough.

If you are sacrificing your own happiness in the pursuit of someone else’s, you need to reel it in and remember that you are the only person you’re guaranteed to be with for life. So in some cases, your happiness and mental stability have to come first.

[Read: 15 types of toxic relationships you need to watch out for]

Dating someone with depression isn’t easy

Depression is far more common than most of us realize. Anyone can develop depression at some point in their lives, yet some people struggle with it over the long term.

If you’re dating someone with depression, you must be patient and understanding. However, at the same time, you have to make sure that you don’t lose yourself in the effort to make them happy. The only person who can do that is themselves. 

[Read: How to handle and help your depressed boyfriend with a lot of love and support]

Bottom line? There is nothing easy about dating someone with depression, but the endless love they give you in return for your patience and support is definitely worthwhile. But all said and done, continuing to date them is a decision you and you alone will have to make.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...