Dating can be stress-inducing for anyone. For those with depression, however, it can be especially frightening. The symptoms of depression, like social withdrawal and feelings of worthlessness, can make it challenging to feel self-confident in the dating world and open up to a potential partner.
However, healthy relationships are a crucial aspect of a well-balanced life, and romantic ones are often a part of that. It’s important that you realize that living with depression doesn’t have to mean an end to your dating life. Here are some things you need to know about dating with depression and tips on how to make it work for you.
Mood and intimacy go hand-in-hand
Physical intimacy and mood are dependent on each other. While physical closeness has been shown to reduce stress and boost mood, the ability or interest to engage in intimacy is often affected by mental wellness.
The pre-existing stress, anxiety, and sadness that typically accompany depression can cause several sexual disorders, including erectile dysfunction and low libido. These can interrupt intimate moments and prevent healthy physical relationships, which, in a cyclical pattern, can worsen depressive symptoms.
Tip: While it may be difficult to maintain, the mental health benefits of intimacy make it an important part of adulthood and relationships. To improve your intimacy while living with depression, speak with your doctor or therapist for recommendations. If your low libido is a symptom of your medication, your doctor might be able to adjust your dosage. Keep in mind, however, that this should always be done with a doctor’s recommendation to ensure nothing will interfere with your mental health. You can also work with a doctor through a telemedicine platform to get treatments for sexual disorders that work alongside your other medications.
Communication is key
As many know or have experienced themselves, depression often causes people to withdraw from many social situations. They may opt to stay home alone rather than venturing out to meet others. This constant struggle to motivate yourself to get out of the house can make dating more difficult and be limiting in terms of meeting new people.
Tip: Be sure you’re communicating these issues to your partner so they understand the root cause. Or, try pointing them in the direction of some online resources that can educate them on the illness. This education may help them remain patient and understanding if you’re having a bad day, which can take off most of the pressure associated with socialization. Then, they’ll be able to work with you to cater to your needs, experiment, and find a way for you both to be closer together. Opening a dialogue and being honest can also help you get closer and maintain a more trusting relationship.
Personal limits exist
Bear all this in mind with the fact that you will have off days when living with depression. There will likely be times when you simply want to rest or be alone, and that’s okay. Living with depression doesn’t come with a rulebook, so you should listen to your own needs. While it’s important to challenge yourself, it’s also crucial that you don’t push yourself into situations that you aren’t capable of handling or find uncomfortable. This can make you only resent the dating scene more.
- Tip: If you aren’t ready to be dating, don’t force yourself into it. It’s okay to take some time to focus on yourself and your mental health. If you’re already in a relationship and are experiencing worsening symptoms, you can consider trying out individual and/or couples’ counselling to open a dialogue and help find ways to be together that work for both your partner and you.
Depression can affect many different avenues of your life, from sleep, to mood, to physical health. But one facet of the illness that is often forgotten is the impact it can have on relationships. Be sure to stay open and honest with your partner and yourself in order to lead a healthier life and relationship.
And, as always, connect with us at @cmhahalton to share your experiences, thoughts and your own personal tips!