• Dating someone with depression can be highly rewarding—but may require special consideration when understanding your partner’s emotions and offering them support.
  • Unless your partner seems depressed for longer than 2 weeks or more, don’t assume they have a depressive disorder. However, if their symptoms persist, they could benefit from talking to a mental health professional.
  • Common long-lasting depressive disorders in major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and persistent depressive disorder.
  • Dating someone with depression can pose challenges to emotional and physical intimacy. In some cases, a depressed partner may want, more than anything else, someone to listen to and offer a shoulder to lean on.
  • Although this isn’t always necessary, it’s totally okay and recommended to pause a relationship if one or all partners require immediate mental health services to address thoughts of self-harm or plans or desires to end their life.

Dating someone with depression can be rewarding, but it may also require you as a partner to offer emotional strength and support in unique ways. Though depression doesn’t always create barriers to romantic relationships, depressive symptoms can affect the way your partner is able to express their emotions both verbally and physically.

Depression may also influence their energy levels, organizational skills, and cause irritability. To have a successful relationship while dating someone with depression, it’s important to check in with them, as well as yourself, in order to ensure the relationship is working for both individuals. 

Is It Okay to Be in a Relationship with Someone Who Is Depressed?

Yes it’s okay to be dating someone with depression. We all go through emotional ups and downs in life. Wouldn’t it be strange to encounter a person who has not dealt with emotional stressors and life transitions? 

Just be sure that you don’t assume someone has depression—and don’t try to label them with a diagnosis yourself. But if your partner is diagnosed while you’re dating, or discloses their diagnosis to you, knowing the symptoms of depression will be helpful

Depression often runs on several different scales, and there are many different types of depressive disorders. Some common, long-lasting depressive disorders include: 

  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: Frequent outbursts of temper over a period lasting at least one year with no more than a 3-month period without outbursts. On average outbursts occur three or more times weekly, and an individual’s mood is chronically irritable and angry. The diagnosis is typically made between the ages of 6 and 18.
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Persistent low mood, hopelessness, loss of energy, loss of interest in activities that would normally feel enjoyable, fatigue, and general sadness. These symptoms, which can include weight or appetite changes, guilt, suicidal ideation, and more typically must last two weeks or longer. MDD can occur in individuals of all ages.  
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. While depressed, at least two of the following conditions manifest: lack of appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, low-self esteem and difficulty concentrating, may be indecisive, and experience hopelessness. 

Is It Worth Dating Someone with Depression?

Yes, it can be worthwhile dating someone with depression. Just because you’re dating someone with depression doesn’t mean that you should obsess over their mental health diagnosis.

If we were to only see someone based on their mental health label or diagnosis, we would be missing the whole picture. When dating someone with depression, you may realize that your partner exhibits a significant amount of strength and has a tremendous amount of resilience. 

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Are Relationships Hard for People with Depression?

I think relationships are hard for many people in general—and dating someone with depression may be difficult at times. For people diagnosed with depression, socializing or keeping up with friendships or romantic relationships may seem exhausting, especially if a person is in a depressive episode. 

Often if you are supporting a friend or loved one with depression, it may be helpful to ask how you can support them. That might involve giving them space to process their feelings or simply sitting by their side to offer support in silence. 

What Might It Be Like in a Relationship with Someone Who Is Depressed?

If you’re dating someone with depression, they may not always feel fatigued, sad, or hopeless. But if they are going through a depressive episode, it may seem difficult to observe, and you may feel the desire to take away their sadness without knowing how. 

To offer support while dating someone with depression, you may share your observations with them, by stating: 

  • “I see that you have been sleeping a lot recently and haven’t been going out or spending time with your friends. Is everything okay?” 
  • “You don’t seem to have your usual energy and enthusiasm. Do you want to talk about it?”
  • “I sense you might be sad about something—I wanted to check in to see, and is there anything I can do to help during this time?” 

Often supporting your partner with check-ins and providing a listening ear may be the most helpful thing you can do until a depressive episode passes. 

What Kind of Partner Does a Depressed Person Need?

A depressed individual generally needs someone who is loving, caring, and compassionate. If you’re dating someone with depression, they may also desire someone who validates emotions but does not try to change how they feel. 

Sometimes depression and sadness are a way of signaling something we are needing. People who live with depression might most of all long for support and positive connection during difficult times.

Does Depression Sabotage Relationships?

It is not always easy to understand the thought patterns of someone who has depression. For both people in a romantic partnership, depression can be a barrier to emotional and physical intimacy. If depression is unaddressed, it can be a barrier to being able to have healthy connections. 

Depression can often cause loneliness, isolation, and detachment from loved ones. Being able to address depression and have healthy conversations with your partner may be the key to dating someone with depression. 

Is It Wrong to Break Up with Someone Because of Their Mental Health?

No, it is not wrong to break up with someone because of their mental health. If your romantic interest or partner’s mental health is worsening and in a fragile state, to the point where it is not safe to continue a romantic partnership, it is okay to put the relationship on pause until your partner receives help from a mental health professional they may truly need. 

You may not need to pause the relationship unless there are safety risks involved such as when and if your loved one is experiencing suicidal ideation or expressing a desire to harm themselves or end their life. If this is the case, it is important to urge your partner to seek mental health services in order to stabilize their mood.

A healthy relationship is one that has a healthy amount of reciprocity within it. Ideally, you and your partner would support each other through the emotional ups and downs in life. When it may be appropriate to call a mental health professional is when it feels that the depressive symptoms seem to be intensifying or worsening without much change. 

While it is normal to feel sad from time to time, if it feels like the type of depression that you cannot seem to kick or shake off, it may be a good idea to ask for help and learn some new coping skills to work on alleviating depression via therapy or psychiatric care.