How can I help my boyfriend when he's depressed

13 Easy Tips For Dating A Guy With Depression

Dating a guy with depression

It sucks, right?

I mean, it’s difficult to see someone you love struggle. They feel hopeless and show signs of social withdrawal…

…Which can sometimes be overwhelming because you feel like it’s something you did or said or something.

So, you might often find yourself alone, struggling with a mix of emotions and lots of questions. Like…

Will I be able to deal with this? How will the symptoms affect my relationship? What can I do to make things better? Etc.

If these are the kind of conversations in your head, you aren’t alone.

Many people have trouble deciding whether or not to stick with a partner who’s depressed. To hold on or let go

Amanda found out her boyfriend suffers depression.

And her boyfriend sometimes ignores texts messages. Depression makes him feel hopeless and worthless. And it has built a wall around them.

Though they see each other every day, there seems to be a huge distance between them.

She misses him so much even when he’s right there with her…except that he’s kinda not. I mean, not in the way they both want to be anyway.

Now, she’s confused.  

And I totally understand.

What is this depression?

The National Institute of Mental Health says depression is a mood disorder that can affect how we think, feel, and handle everyday activities such as eating, working, or sleeping.

In fact, ten percent of the population of the United States exhibits symptoms of depression.

And fifty percent of them don’t seek treatment to alleviate those depressive symptoms.

Should you date someone with depression?

Now, it’s understandable if you want to back out just like Amanda. Because dating a guy with depression can be exhausting.

But if you choose to stick with your man, you may be asking…

How can I help my boyfriend when he’s depressed?

If you’re dating a guy with depression, there are a lot of skills you’ll need to learn.

These practical tips I’ll share with you can help you foster a closer relationship with your partner without taking the role of his therapist.

To be honest with you, dating a guy with depression isn’t a big deal – as long as he acknowledges it, accepts it, and seeks treatment to manage it.

You can build a healthy relationship with someone who’s depressed.

But before we go any further, let’s look at some…

Signs of depression in men

You can’t help your boyfriend heal if you can’t recognize the emotional and physical signs of depression.

So, here are some common symptoms of depression:

He may experience thoughts of suicide

Increased anger, aggression, and frustration

Feeling worthless and hopeless

Feeling restless or agitated

Eating too little or too much

Sleeping too little or too much

Fatigue and tiredness

Losing interest in activities previously enjoyed

Difficulty concentrating etc.

How to date someone with depression

If you identify one or even more of any of the above symptoms in your boyfriend, you’re probably dating a guy with depression.

As I mentioned, it can be a tough situation, but not a hopeless one.

Hopefully, as your boyfriend acknowledge his challenge and learn to manage these symptoms and perhaps improve, you must learn to hold space and support him with empathy, care, and love.

13 Tips on How to Date a Guy with Depression from Mental Health Experts

1. Educate Yourself About Depression.

Dating A Guy With Depression

First off, I don’t want you to make any assumptions whatsoever.

You know what they say about assumptions, right?

To be a supportive partner, you’ve got to understand the complexities of the depression you’re dealing with.

Go online and educate yourself about the illness.

Read expert articles on reputable blogs or forums. Talk to friends or other people who have been (or going) through a similar relationship.

This first step helps you gain a deeper understanding of what your partner is experiencing so you can make them feel understood.

Your boyfriend will be susceptible to your advice and influence only when you show that you understand him.

2. Be There For Your Partner

I can’t say this enough.

Your boyfriend needs to feel heard and understood.

So, you have to try your best to be there for him. Always let him know he has someone in his corner – who’s there for him.

When there’s no hope for the future, we lose power for the present. But, hope is restored when we know someone loves us and is there for us – no matter what.

It becomes very easy to fight our battles.

What to say to him when he is depressed?

To do this, you can use phrases like ‘I’m always here for you.’ ‘I hear you.’ ‘I understand you.’ ‘I’ll always be beside you no matter what.’ Etc.

3. Accept The Situation

Dating someone with depression is a choice. And I said this earlier on in this article.

You can either choose to hold on or let go.

But if you decide to hold on to your relationship, you’ve to accept the situation completely.

No half-hearted commitment.


The key to dating a guy with depression is having total acceptance of the situation. Both of you have to accept the situation. Otherwise, it’ll never work.

But when you both accept the situation, you can lean into the struggle and try to work things out.

4. Don’t Try To Fix Him (Be Empathic)

No matter the situation people face, no one likes to be fixed. That’s why you must accept the situation in the first place.

Instead of constantly trying to tell your boyfriend what to do, practice holding space…because in the first place, it’s not easy for men to open up with issues like this.

Say something along the lines of…

“You know what, I’m so glad you open up about how you’re feeling.” “Thanks for trusting me with your situation.” Etc.

Never downplay his feelings or minimize them. If you do, he’s going to shut you out.

Not sure that’s what you want.

5. Don’t Blame Yourself.

dating someone with depression


You shouldn’t make your partner feel bad about his condition.

But, it’s equally important that you shouldn’t blame yourself, either.

You might find yourself in that place where you’re wondering if it was what you did or said that upset him, causing him to become withdrawn or angry.

When you do, it’s important to remember that his condition isn’t about you.

The situation is more internal.

And besides, there are varieties of things in our immediate environment that can trigger his mood disturbance.

It has nothing to do with you.

Not only will your misplaced reactions to his depression make you feel unloved, but it can also make him feel misunderstood.

A better approach is accepting the illness and being his ally in managing it.

6. Learn His Love Language

Most people aren’t aware of this, but it’s very important.

People have different ways of feeling loved. And your boyfriend has his love language.

Learning your partner’s primary love language can really help support him.

For example, many men battling depression struggle with low self-esteem or self-confidence.

But by making an effort to learn and relate with your boyfriend in his love language, he can feel affirmed and reassured.

7. Stay Flexible

Let’s face it:

Depression is a complex illness. So, staying flexible by being open to changes is the key to dealing with depression.

For example, your boyfriend’s mood can unpredictably change from good to bad.

You have to remind yourself it’s not your fault or his during these times. So, don’t personalize it.

The negative feelings stem from depression.

8. Don’t Try To Be Overly Positive.

In this kind of situation, forced positivity doesn’t work.

You have to see the situation for what it is. And then listen actively to offer your boyfriend the empathy he needs at every moment.

Here’s what it looks like

Instead of saying, ‘why are you so hopeless about your situation?

Can’t you be more positive about the future or whatever” says something along the lines of, “Yeah, I can only imagine how you feel right now.

That must be hard. Everything is going to be alright because I’m here for you.”

See the difference?

One is forced positivity. The other one comes from the place of empathy. Empathy works far better.

9. Don’t Neglect Your Needs.

how to date someone with depression

Honestly, dating a guy with depression can be exhausting.

Women tell me they often neglect their needs because the focus is always on their man. And in the end, they become resentful toward their partner.

Most of them don’t even want to date a man with any slight trace of illness whatsoever afterward.

It’s not their fault.

When your needs have been neglected for so long in a relationship, you can’t help but to resent your partner.

So, it would help if you acknowledge your needs and feelings too. Remember that you’re human, too.

Turning off your feelings to accommodate your partner’s can lead to a bitter ending. Please don’t do it. Share your needs and feelings with your partner.

Don’t try to carry the weight alone.

Also, you might want to develop a broader support system by making new friends and reaching out to your family for support.

This helps you not to be entirely reliant on your boyfriend, who may not always be stable.

10. Set Boundaries

A healthy relationship is impossible without healthy boundaries.

If you’re dating a guy with depression, you’ve to establish boundaries around certain behaviors that don’t work for you or/and the relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries. It simply helps safeguard emotional and physical needs. And that doesn’t mean you’re uncaring or selfish.

For example, if after making plans, your partner calls to cancel on you, which is completely understandable.

But it becomes an issue if he wants you to skip out.

Let him know that unless it’s an emergency, you’ll go ahead and enjoy yourself without him.

Honor your boundaries and your needs. They matter, too.

Sometimes, people battling depression say hurtful things to you angrily.

Not that they mean it, but it’s better to protect yourself by establishing healthy boundaries around derogatory words and languages.

Here’s what that looks like;

Let’s say your boyfriend lashes out at you.

You could say, “I can see you aren’t in a good place right now. And I’ve asked you not to use such derogatory words on me.

So, I’m just going to leave. Perhaps, we can talk when you’re better.”

By so doing, you aren’t only setting boundaries; you also stick to them. And the more you stick to them, the more you re-enforce them.

11. Offer Hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

People living with depression kind of believe there’s no hope of them feeling better. Everything seems dark and bleak.

There’s no hope whatsoever that the emptiness will fill up.

They fear they’ll remain like that forever and won’t be able to get through the darkness.

Many of them can’t even put words together to express their hopelessness.

If you’re dating a guy with depression, one of the best things you can do for him is to offer him hope. Give him strong reasons why he needs to stay alive.

These reasons must be unique to him alone.

They must be something he cares about deeply as it helps him hold on until he becomes better.

12. They Are Not Lazy; They’re Just Depressed

I hear this often. And I think it’s one of the misconceptions people have of depressed people.

They think they’re lazy.


Because they can be unproductive and messy

But the truth is, they aren’t. They’re just exhausted.

It’s hard to live when you have no hope. And as I often say, “when there’s no hope for the future, we lack power for the present.”

Depression is draining. It takes a toll on the mind.

And often leave victims exhausted. Making it hard for them to do the things they’d normally do or even get out of bed.

So, calling them lazy will even shatter their self-esteem. Instead, offer hope and encouragement.

13. Depression Can Be Treated

Can depression be treated?

The answer is YES.

So, try not to feel discouraged about the whole situation. Instead, try and get your boyfriend some help as soon as possible to be happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth Being In A Relationship With Someone With Depression?

As I mentioned earlier in this article, depression isn’t an excuse to break up with your partner – especially when he acknowledges the issue and does everything to manage it.

Many people with mental illness can enjoy meaningful, happy, long-lasting, and committed relationships.

But again, it depends on you. It’s a choice, after all.

What Causes Depression?

There’s no single cause of depression.

There are many of reasons depression occurs and it has different triggers for different people. For some, it could be as a result of stressful life event.

Examples includes divorce, illness, financial worries, loss of loved ones etc.

What Causes Mental Illness?

Trauma in childhood

Events like car accident, or losing a loved one etc.

Unhealthy thoughts

Lack of sleep

Abnormal use of drugs and alcohol can also trigger a mental illness.

Can Depression Be Cured?

Currently, there’s no cure for depression. However, there are plenty options of treatment that can help keep symptoms at bay.

Final Thoughts

Dating a guy with depression can be exhausting. But there are plenty of ways to get help to assist your partner through periods of depression.

While you must support your partner, it helps if you can find a balance between providing help and meeting your personal needs.

Don’t neglect your needs. You’re important, too.

Find this article helpful?

Kindly leave a comment below.

Nelson Whetat is a dating coach who is fascinated by human psychology and passionate about helping single women understand men, increase their desirability and attractiveness so they can get their dream man. He’s also a marketer and direct response copywriter who enjoys crafting attention grabbing and emotional compelling content and stories to sell digital products

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