It’s not easy suffering with depression regardless of your gender.
Depression can destroy your life, it can change the person you once were, turning you into someone you don’t even recognise.
Depression can hugely affect a relationship and can make it seem like there are many other problems despite the underlying issue being the depression.
It’s important to remember that when in a relationship with someone suffering from depression, the problem is not you.
There is a huge stigma in men suffering with depression, and often men who suffer do not like speaking out about it – this can also have a negative impact on a relationship, as poor communication can create distance and upset between partners.
Here are 9 things you should know about dating a man with depression.
1. It’s not personal
As much as you may feel like it is – it isn’t. People suffering with depression often don’t show any emotion or are overly emotional. Sometimes it’s hard to accept whats wrong. Sufferers may find it difficult to show any sort of love or emotion towards anyone, even if it’s someone you love dearly.
2. It’s not your fault
Its easy for sufferers of depression to lash out during an argument. And many sufferers won’t accept that there is something wrong beneath their anger. And though it’s hard to deal with, especially when you feel like you can’t do anything to help, you should never give up.
3. He’s not cheating on you
Whilst you may think he’s being distant, the last thing he’s doing is cheating on you with someone else. That hasn’t even crossed his mind. He’s struggling to contain the negative thoughts he’s having let alone thinking about running off with someone else. This may be what’s making him seem so subdued.
4. You might not be able to go out as much as a couple
Sometimes he may not want to leave the house. He may feel like he can’t deal with the outside world or that he just wants to be alone. This means missing out on date nights and nights out with friends. He’s not doing this because he wants to, he’s doing it because he’s struggling.
5. Medication doesn’t make him weak
In a lot of cases, people suffering from depression are usually steered down the route of medication. While he’s already feeling low, he’s accepting the help he’s been given. Be proud of him.
6. He doesn’t find you unattractive
Just because he may not be showing you as much attention doesn’t mean he finds you unattractive. A lack of sex-drive is very normal for someone suffering with depression.You’re still the love of his life, he’s just finding it hard to fight his demons.
7. His depression doesn’t make him ‘less of a man
What’s considered ‘manly’ anyway? Weight lifting? No emotion? Hard-faced? The protector? The fighter?
This is just societies idea of what a man should be. Depression does not make him less of a man. It takes a lot of will to accept that you are struggling mentally.
He may feel that he can’t protect you or be your knight in shining amour, the most important thing for him to know is that you are there and you’re supporting him 100%.
8. He appreciates having you there more than you know
You’ll probably never know how much your support is appreciated. But it will mean everything to him.
While he might not be able to show it, he is thankful, he wouldn’t be able to move forward without you.
9. It’s not the end
We can all have a honeymoon period where everything is rosy, but life gets in the way.
Struggling with mental health is hard, in men they tend to freeze, they become closed off. You being there when he is ready to talk will make him realise that you’re the one for him.
Offer him your help and support and let him know there is a silver lining. Let him know he’s not alone, and together you can work on getting rid of those grey clouds.
Words by James Conlon