Depressed Boyfriend: 25 Signs & Ways to Help Him with Love & Support

Having a depressed boyfriend is a tricky experience, but it doesn’t have to affect your relationship. Here are ways to handle him with love and support.

how to handle your depressed boyfriend

Learning how to handle your depressed boyfriend could be easier said than done. 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.

But depression is a difficult struggle as it causes your entire life to go dark. You feel numb and empty, and that’s some of the problems of having depression. If you don’t understand him, it can make your boyfriend feel isolated and alone with his depression.

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.

During this tough time, the best thing you can give him is your unconditional love and support. Just be there by his side and love him, as that’s the best way you can love someone with depression.

[Read: How to deal with a depressed person and the 12 ways that honor them]

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. It’s such a far analogy, but the concept is similar to 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. You don’t need to be diagnosed with depression to understand your partner, but having empathy goes a long way in being there for them.

Imagine if it was you with depression; how would you feel? Because we assure you, that’s probably how your partner feels, but double it.

In learning how to handle your depressed boyfriend, you need to understand him, even if it’s just a little bit. Otherwise, you’ll never understand his struggle with this mental condition. [Read: 34 ways to build a stronger bond and make your relationship work]

How do you love someone with depression?

It’s easier to love someone with depression when you have some experience with it. Not necessarily with yourself, but maybe you had a depressed best friend or family member. You can love them by just holding their hand and staying by their side.

Don’t ever tell a depressed person how they should feel because depression is a serious mental condition. This means that unlike emotions like sadness or anger, they can’t control it. Those feelings don’t just fade after a day, and it definitely isn’t just a phase. Depression is real and isn’t just a figment of their imagination.

So if you want to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, just give him the support and empathy he needs to feel loved. You might wonder how a depressed person feels love, but of course, they do. Being supportive of their moods and energy levels is adequate for them.

When you know that there will be days that will be a struggle for them to even get out of bed or show you love, understand that they’re trying and doing their best to be stronger than their depression.

The most obvious signs of a depressed boyfriend

We all know that depression is a serious mental condition, but it doesn’t look the same for everyone. So what are the signs of a depressed boyfriend, and how to spot them?

1. Feelings of hopelessness

One of the most common signs of a depressed boyfriend is when he’s hopeless – about everything. Now, we’ve all had days where we feel defeated and don’t want to get out of bed.

But if hopelessness is the central theme of his life, he’s depressed. He doesn’t find meaning or doesn’t see a future in anything he does. He’s just lost hope in the potential of a great future or even in the possibility of living a happy life. [Read: Feeling hopeless – How to stop feeling overwhelmed & see hope again]

2. Loss of interest

When your boyfriend suddenly loses any will to indulge in his passions and interests, this is also one of the signs of depression. Especially when it comes to things he used to be really passionate about, whether it’s video games, working out, or his art, and he no longer does them anymore.

Depression can make you feel so numb and empty that you lose the motivation altogether to do the things you used to love doing. [Read: Are you feeling lost in life? These 6 lessons can help you find your way]

3. Mood swings

You can’t control most of your emotions when you have depression. Even if you want to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, his feelings can be so out of control that all you can do is support him and be by his side.

So watch out for mood swings as one of the signs he’s depressed. One minute his mood is okay and stable, and the next, he feels irritable and frustrated. If this happens regularly, he might be depressed. [Read: Moody friend? How to get along when you don’t want to dump them]

4. Sleeping most of the time

If you see your boyfriend sleeping most of the time, this is a sign to watch out for. Unlike anxiety, where you feel everything all at once, depression makes you feel empty and void of emotions.

So if your boyfriend is depressed, he will try to escape this empty black hole of a feeling by sleeping constantly. After all, sleep is a pretty great escape from your feelings, even for mental conditions like depression.

5. Not in the mood to joke or talk

This is one of the difficult things about your boyfriend being depressed. In a relationship, you want to be able to have fun with your partner, such as spending quality time with them and laughing with them. With a depressed boyfriend, this rarely happens.

Their depression can feel all-consuming, and they can’t talk to you or even make jokes with you. Even if they try, it can come off as distant and forced.

6. Having suicidal thoughts

Not all guys dealing with depression have suicidal thoughts, but they should be taken very seriously when they do. When a man feels helpless and unable to regulate their emotions, they search for solutions to relieve their pain.

We avoid discussing suicide as a whole, yet doing so might make a depressed boyfriend feel even more alone and hopeless. In any case of suicidal thoughts or obsession with death, it is crucial to seek help. [Read: How to help someone up when they’re feeling down and depressed]

7. Reckless behavior

When depressed, he may engage in risky or escapist behavior, such as reckless driving or partaking in hazardous activities. Alcohol, drugs, or gambling may be a problem for your partner.

So if you keep seeing this kind of behavior when you’re with your partner, it’s positive that you have a depressed boyfriend, and you should act on it before it’s too late.

8. Isolating themselves too much

When guys feel depressed, they tend to stay in one place alone and prefer to be that way for a while. Social life is no longer interesting, as well. Family gatherings are also not an option for them.

This is one of the signs you should look out for if you’re living with a depressed boyfriend. Yes, he needs space. But make him feel that you’re just an inch away from him to give him comfort and security in his tough times. [Read: I feel lonely – 30 ways to overcome feelings of loneliness]

9. Feeling like a burden

If only people could read minds, you could save your depressed boyfriend from overthinking. The truth is, when life gets us down, it’s normal to have thoughts such as feeling like a burden to someone.

But, please do help him remember that there’s always a solution to any problem. We have to stay positive and go on with our lives without overthinking. [Read: How to deal with guilt & drop the baggage weighing you down]

10. Blaming others for personal problems

It’s natural to blame someone if it’s their fault. But it’s a different story if your boyfriend keeps blaming you or other people for his personal problems. While most people may feel offended over this, you can choose to let it go and try to understand that your boyfriend’s dealing with depression.

Your boyfriend’s depression stage is not going to be an easy one to handle. Don’t give up on him; give your support and love every day despite what they’re going through. [Read: How to stop feeling guilty and finally start living for you]

A word of caution and advice before you step in to help a depressed boyfriend

But here’s a word of caution you should always remember. Your depressed boyfriend is not your fight. When your boyfriend goes through depression, it’s your choice to help him and guide him *even if it’s entirely in his hands*. But you can always choose to take a step back and encourage him to get all the help he can from a professional.

In a world that glorifies martyrs, you need to remember that a martyr is just that – someone who loses themself to fix someone or something else. Is that what you want? Would you like to sacrifice everything of who you are, in the hope that you can help your depressed boyfriend? [Read: The martyr complex – How to recognize the signs of martyr syndrome in yourself]

Give this a serious thought, because the movies make this look beautiful and glorious. But in real life, depression is pain, suffering, and all-encompassing gloom. Stand by your boyfriend and help him, but remember that it is not your fight to fight. And you always have a choice to step back, or walk away as well. No one will think less of you if you choose to do so. [Read: Loving someone with depression and why it’s not your job to fix them]

But if you do choose to help your depressed boyfriend, or if you decide to stay in the relationship with him, well, that’s a brave and bold step, and we applaud you for your grit and determination.

How to make a relationship with a depressed boyfriend work

If you’ve decided to help him, you need to know that 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 and steps, 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 massive 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. Remember what we said about empathy? You need to empathize with him and his depression, even if you don’t understand it.

Communication will always be vital in any relationship, so talking to him is essential in handling your depressed boyfriend. [Read: 9 ways to get your man to start communicating with you]

2. Don’t tell him you understand

That is unless you truly do and have been through real clinical depression – not just a period of sadness. Many people don’t understand that depressed people don’t actually want to hear that you understand what they’re going through 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. So be honest with him if you understand him or not. You don’t have to force yourself to understand to make your depressed boyfriend feel loved and supported, you know? You just have to be there for him.

3. Ask him what he needs from you

You’ll never know how to behave 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 your wanting to know, and he’ll be more likely to tell you if you’ve prompted the discussion.

Instead of trying to guess and assume what he needs, ask him directly. So if you want to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, ask what he wants and needs from you. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener in your relationship]

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.

He’s battling with his own darkness because of his depression, so having a patient partner means the world to him. In situations where he can’t be the boyfriend you need, be patient that he’s trying his best to be that for you. Don’t get angry and start nagging – this is the last thing your depressed boyfriend needs. [Read: How to stop feeling blue and get out of the comfort of misery]

5. Make sure he’s getting the help he needs

Some kinds of depression are 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 to come to you when he’s struggling. He’s already going through enough with his depression, and you shouldn’t add to his existing chaos.

If you’re serious about wanting to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, lift him up and help him find the light when he’s stuck in his darkness. He needs you to be the reminder of everything good in his life, not the opposite. [Read: How to become a better person in a relationship & be happier too!]

7. Don’t offer solutions

A depressed person doesn’t need you to fix things for them or offer solutions. They just need you to be there by their side and be patient with them. 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 easy suggestions, he’ll just feel like you want to “fix” him quickly instead of helping him.

And that’s one of the worst feelings for someone with depression. He’ll feel even more broken the more obsessed you are with fixing him. [Read: 5 ways volunteer work can help depression]

8. Don’t make it a big deal

The fact that your boyfriend has depression isn’t the only thing in both of 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 most significant part of your relationship.

Don’t let yourself believe that his depression should define your relationship as a whole. If you want to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, don’t make too much of a big deal of it. He has depression, but that’s not everything in your relationship.

9. Make sure he knows your feelings aren’t affected

His 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.

Overthinking to an extreme is quite typical behavior for someone with depression so just reassure him that with or without his depression, you’d still feel the same way. If you want to learn how to handle your depressed boyfriend, let him know that your feelings are constant for him. [Read: 15 little ways to make your boyfriend feel special and loved]

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 a separate entity. You treat it as just 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.

Stop trying to change, fix, or save him. Just accept his depression as a part of him as that’s how you can adequately support him as his girlfriend.

11. Learn about depression

Depressed mood, lack of interest or pleasure are all symptoms of major depressive disorder. A depressed boyfriend might have good days, even a few good days in a row, before returning to a sad state.

Addressing the illness is a good starting step. Depression symptoms might alter over time. To better understand your partner’s mood, ask open-ended questions and show empathy.

12. Encourage therapy

Work, education, social activities, and relationships may all be affected by depressive symptoms. Many people, though, may be unaware they are sad. They may not comprehend the signs of depression and believe they must tolerate their sensations.

People sometimes think they can wish themselves well, but real depression seldom improves without therapy. Encourage your depressed boyfriend to get treatment and accompany him to appointments if you want to help him. [Read: Relationship therapy – 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

13. Create a supportive home environment

Always remember that no one is to blame for your partner’s depression. You can’t solve anything, but you can help your partner through it.

Changing one’s way of life may significantly impact one’s recovery. Depressed people may struggle to make good decisions since their energy, sleep, and appetite are affected by despair. [Read: Toxic family members – 15 signs and reasons to cut them off for good]

14. Focus on small goals

Depression is a critical illness. If you’re sad, simply getting out of bed might seem like a considerable effort. Small goals and everyday accomplishments might help your depressed boyfriend get through slowly.

Those who find it difficult to get out of bed each morning should concentrate on getting up, showering, and eating a nutritious breakfast. Treating a depressive episode will likely improve your partner’s condition, but you must be patient and compassionate.

15. Knowing the warning signs of suicide

Major depressive illness is associated with an increased risk of suicide. If you see any of these symptoms with your partner at home, don’t hesitate to seek emergency medical attention.

Caring for a depressed boyfriend may be emotionally draining. During this period, it’s essential to take care of yourself so that you can have the energy to take care of your boyfriend get past his horrors, as well.

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

So, how to handle your depressed boyfriend?

Just like handling any depressed person, all your depressed boyfriend needs is to feel support and love from you.

By staying by his side and being the partner he needs, you’re already handling him the right way. Just refrain from obsessing over trying to fix or change him, and you should be okay.

[Read: Dating someone with depression – 23 signs and truths you must know to help them and yourself]

If you have a depressed boyfriend, know that you can overcome it together. Your entire relationship shouldn’t revolve around his depression, nor should your relationship change because of it. 

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