10 Ways People With Depression Need To Be Loved Differently

Depression affects millions of people, but that doesn’t stop us from juggling the everyday demands of life from work to relationships and everything in between. If you’re dating someone with depression, you’ll have to learn to approach them differently than those without it to build a foundation of trust in your relationship. Here are 10 ways we need to be loved a little bit differently:

  1. Get Informed On How Depression Affects Us. Depression affects everyone differently. In addition to getting educated about depression in general, it’s best to sit down and have a talk with us about the symptoms we experience daily. The more you know about what we go through, the easier it will be to help us. You don’t need to have all the answers, but wanting to get informed shows us you’re in it for the long haul.
  2. A Gentle Nudge Is Okay, But Don’t Push. There will be days that we’re not doing so well. If it seems like we’re struggling with something, it’s okay to give us a gentle nudge in the right direction — but please don’t push us. If you’re nervous about how to approach us, think more of a loving, caring partner and less of a drill sergeant. Yelling, hyper excitement, or worse, frustration, won’t help to lift our spirits.
  3. Ask How We’re Doing, And Often. With depression comes intermittent bouts of energy and contentment juxtaposed with feeling sluggish and sad. There are also times when we’ll appear deceptively neutral outside, but experiencing a plethora of emotions internally. Your best bet is to ask how we’re doing at that moment if you can’t tell. You save yourself from having to guess how we are, and your concern means a lot to us.
  4. Let Us Cry It Out. We’re going to have moments when we cry. Period. Sometimes the urge to shed a tear (or many) will come over us without warning, and we just have to let it do its thing before we’re okay again. It might be tempting to cheer us up, and while we’re totally fine with you consoling us, don’t tell us to stop — we can’t. Being there with us from beginning to end is a much better show of compassion than trying to stop us.
  5. Give Us Space When We Need It. We promise it’s not personal. Sometimes, we just don’t want anyone else around. The reasons why vary — we may need to recover from a rough day, want complete silence when we get home, or need to work some things out in our heads without outside interference. It might be tough to deal with at first, but you’ll come to find that we’re better off after having some ‘me’ time.
  6. We May Not Show It, But You Are Cheering Us Up. You tell a corny joke, and we give you something that vaguely resembles a smile. We watch a comedy and while you’re busting a gut, you only hear the occasional chuckle from us. Sometimes with depression, we have a hard time showing what we’re feeling on the inside — including happiness. We may not be laughing as much as you are, but spending time with you does cheer us up.
  7. We Might Need Reassurance More Than Others. It’s normal for people in relationships to get self-conscious and wonder why their partner is with them, and then seek reassurance to remind them. A lot of internal dialogue goes on when you have depression, like questioning why anyone would want to be with you because of it. Getting affirmation on why you chose to be with us and vice versa is infinitely helpful in silencing that inner pessimism.
  8. Make Plans According To How We’re Feeling. If we’re having a low energy day, please don’t plan for us to go on an intense hike. Likewise, if we’re having a burst of energy, let’s not sit and watch a movie. As I mentioned earlier, it’s okay to give us a gentle push; if we’re sluggish, for example, going for a casual walk is still a good suggestion. Respect our current mood and tailor our plans together accordingly. It’s very much appreciated and guarantees that we’ll have at least a decent time.
  9. Listening Is The Best Thing You Can Do. We don’t need you to have all the answers. We don’t expect you to, either. If we decide to vent to you our frustrations, fears, anxieties and so on, just listen to us. A simple head nod or “I’m listening” lets us know that you’re invested in what we’re saying with no strings attached. You’re not trying to give us advice on what to do or tell me how we should feel. It’ll also encourage us to share more with you in the future.
  10. Be Patient With Us. No relationship or partner is perfect. Our depression will inevitably get in the way of our relationship at times. We know it’ll be aggravating to deal with from your standpoint, but if you’re patient through the ups and downs, we can build something special together. Every day marks a new experience, and we hope you’ll be as happy to share them with us as we are with you — good, bad, or indifferent.