Let’s face it, having depression fucking sucks, but adding dating or a new relationship to the mix can bring a whole set of new challenges.
Ordinarily, your funk of depression can leave you feeling irritable, hopeless, and lacking motivation. This may mean at times you prefer to isolate, basically, you want to tell the world to fuck off. You may not feel capable to pick up the phone or reply to text messages even with people who you like to talk to.
It’s not always easy to put on a happy face and fake your way through social interactions, and this can leave you feeling pretty shitty about being a part of the dating scene.
If you struggle to admit to your friends that you spent the past two days in pajamas, crying over animal welfare commercials and the only meals you ate were the same cold pizza out of the box two nights in a row. Then you might be feeling a bit hesitant about exposing anyone else to this part of your life.
Just because you battle with your mental health doesn’t make you any less deserving of love and companionship. How you feel and the labels that are put on you, does not define you as a person. There is a lot that you can offer to other people that you meet -depression and all!
Plus there are many benefits to dating as it can lift your mood, help to bring you out of your comfort zone, and could bring the companionship and support that you want in your life.
All human beings need love! We are social creatures, so friendships and dating are intrinsic to who we are.
But how does one navigate dating while in the middle of a battle with themselves? Can dating with depression be easier than we think?
Read on for our top seven tips on how to handle dating when you have depression.
1.Take Care Of Yourself
It might sound like a bit of a cliche but taking care of yourself and putting your needs before you consider the needs of someone else is important.
Dating can require a lot of mental and emotional energy, so if you are completely spent you need to invest time in yourself to get back on track. This means going to your mental health appointments, exercising, making your goals a priority, etc.
During episodes of depression you may not feel up to seeing people, you may need to practice some self-care alone, and this is ok.
Your health and happiness cannot depend on those around you. Dates will come and go, but the relationship you have with yourself is forever.
2. Keep It Simple
While you might be thinking that you only want to date someone who understands what you’re going through and accepts who you are as a person. You do not owe someone an explanation of your depression on a first date.
You may find initial conversations and first dates are best-kept light so that you both have the opportunity to get a feel for what the other person is about before sharing too much. This does not mean it is necessary to be misleading or bullshit your way through the conversation.
There are lots of interesting things about you and you are so much more than your depression. You also want to take this time to get to know the person you are dating.
Once you feel comfortable and have some idea of the kind of person that they are, then you might feel safer to delve into the more serious and complicated subjects.
In other words, keep it cute until that person shows you they deserve to know more.
3. It’s Ok To Not Be Ready
While your friends may be hassling you to get on the Tinder bandwagon or go on double dates, during periods of extreme depression it may not be practical for you to go out with people.
You may be struggling with the basics like sleeping, eating and unable to even fathom how to apply eyeliner right now so dating should be at your own pace and when you feel in the right mindset to do so.
It is ok to take time away from the dating scene in order to attend to yourself. Just as you would not expect someone to go on a date when they are physically ill, you too may not be able to attend when you are mentally unwell.
4. Don’t Settle
Don’t you dare settle! You are never, that lonely or in need of love to date an asshole, or just plainly the wrong one.
Date someone who gets you and who understands that you are not always perfect and that you do have flaws. Your mental health may sometimes get in the way of doing things but this does not make you any less worthy of love.
Try to date someone who is empathic, someone who realizes that your condition involves both ups and downs. The disadvantage to settling is you may end up dating someone who only worsens your feelings of depression.
There are also people who believe they can fix those who are struggling with their mental health, and this can be just as detrimental as the feelings that your depression already brings.
Some people out there who either have personal experience with depression themselves or will be willing to learn and gain some understanding of your condition. You shouldn’t settle for anything less than being loved just the way you are.
5. Know Your Worth
Know that you are the shit, a whole baddie, the bomb, a fox, fine as hell- you get the point. Have confidence in who you are! Even if you gotta fake it until you make.
A consequence of depression is constantly battling with negative self-talk and doubts about oneself that may not be entirely in line with reality. You may feel that you are undeserving of love or have doubts about your appearance.
Try to recognize these for what they are, thoughts that do not have any objective basis in reality. You are most definitely deserving of love and you are beautiful, know that you are deserving of dating someone who feels the exact same way.
Familiarize yourself with your insecurities so that you can distinguish between your own inner monologue and outside voices. It is easy to self-sabotage a relationship on the basis of assuming another person thinks or feels a certain way because of the thoughts you have in your head.
Likewise, it is easy to find yourself unnecessarily putting up with toxic behavior when you feel there is some basis for what the other person is saying or doing. Recognizing the difference between negative self-talk and your self-worth will help you to date the kind of person you need in your life.
6. It’s OK Not To Be In The Mood
Another challenging aspect of dating with depression is that you may experience bouts of not being interested in sex, or conversely hypersexuality.
While the latter may not be particularly bothersome, certain medications for depression can alter your sex drive, so if you have any concerns consider talking to your doctor to discuss possible alternatives and other options to address this.
While sex may not be the most important aspect of dating, sometimes a lack of intimacy can impact your emotional and mental health.
Don’t stress it. Let your partner know if you are just not feeling it (no pun intended.) Keep an open line of communication, if that person can’t accept it, then they are probably not the best choice for you anyway.
7. Don’t Let The Past Dictate The Future
Through dating with depression you may have had negative experiences in the past. There may have been relationship break downs that you feel were your fault, and situations you feel you could have handled better.
You may also be concerned about the potential for a depressive episode to be caused by arguments or a parting of ways, but just because this might have happened in the past, does not mean it will occur in the future.
Whether neurotypical or a person with depression or other mental health condition, everyone makes mistakes, nobody is perfect and most people will experience relationship troubles at some point in their life. Sometimes relationships can break down at the fault of no one. Some people are simply not suited for each other.
So just because situations have happened before this is not any reflection on you or your ability to date and have a successful relationship in the future. If you are worried that arguments or a parting of ways might trigger a depressive episode for you, it may be worthwhile thinking of an action plan to manage your feelings in dark times.
While you can’t always prevent certain events from happening. Creating a plan can go a long way to reducing your anxiety about meeting new people and getting out in the dating world.
Dating itself has challenges, but dating with depression brings with it even more hurdles. You might have days that you struggle to drag yourself out of bed or get dressed, so adding someone else to the mix might feel selfish and unfair. In focusing on all the negative parts though we tend to lose sight of the positives about ourselves. You were always lovable, worthy and enough so it is time to start recognizing that in yourself.
So stop asking yourself “why is dating with depression so hard?!” It doesn’t have to be! Take your time and find someone who will accept every freaking imperfectly perfect bit of you!