5 Things To Remember When You're In Love With A Man Suffering From Depression

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If You're Wondering What To Do About A Depressed Boyfriend, Remember These 5 Things
Love

You don't have to do this alone — and neither does he.

When you start seeing someone and fall in love with them, the world can feel like a cartoon full of rainbows and bluebirds and sparkling stars shining overhead at all times. You know, all that schmaltzy garbage that's so sickeningly sweet your teeth start to ache just thinking about it.

That's why learning that the person you've fallen for so hard has depression can come as such a shock.

Depression itself is tough to deal with, as when it rears its ugly head it zaps the joy right out of the world in which the sufferer lives, turning those rainbows and everything that goes along with them into the murkiest shades of gray.

However, just because your boyfriend has depression, your budding relationship is not doomed and it does not need to come to an end.

Depression is common, highly treatable condition, and with some solid knowledge and access to appropriate resources, you and your boyfriend can absolutely support each other for the long run.

RELATED: 5 Things You MUST Do If Your Partner Suffers From Depression

Above, remember that this is his mental illness, and while you might be affected by it, it's his problem and his alone. You aren't his doctor and you aren't his nurse. What you are is a person who can give him the support he needs to get well, just as you would be in a relationship with anyone else.

Here are five critical things to keep in mind when you learn that the man you're seeing suffers from clinical depression.

1. It's got nothing to do with you.

If he asks for space, give it to him. When a person who is depressed asks for time to themselves, you may feel tempted to insist that being alone isn't really what they need, but that isn't your call to make.

You aren't his mom, and you certainly aren't going to magically "fix" him by showing up at his place, ripping back the curtains and yelling, "Good morning, Sunshine!"

While sleeping too much and isolating themselves can be an unhealthy coping mechanism for some people trapped in a cycle of depression, your boyfriend might be asking for that time and space because he doesn't want his current mood to have a negative effect his relationship with you.

He might also know this is just something that his body and mind need after years of exploring self-care techniques to get him through his depressive episodes. Trust and respect that.

RELATED: 10 Agonizing Truths Depressed People Never Talk About

2. Know your role.

When you love someone you want to take care of them. That's just how it is. That's an impulse you're probably going to have a hard time shaking off. But while you can definitely be there for him, you are not his therapist. You can take care of your partner by loving them, by listening to them, and by offering advice when it is solicited, but that's where you've got to draw the line.

You cannot cure him, no matter how badly you want to.

And you certainly are not an anti-depressant pill (because that's ridiculous: pills don't have boyfriends, silly). You can be his shoulder to cry on, but you can't be all that he has. In the end trying to be these things won't help him, won't help you and certainly won't help your relationship.

3. Take care of yourself.

If the relationship becomes unhealthy, you don't have to stay. That might seem like a cold thing for me to say. It might even seem callous. But it's important to remember that you do not have to stay with this man (or anyone, for that matter) if it gets too hard. If he refuses to get help or gets mired in a cycle of depression and refuses to acknowledge it, you are under no obligation to stay and care for him just because he has a mental health diagnosis.

Yes, everyone deserves love, even that shitty Geometry teacher you had in high school. A person with depression deserves love — and so do you. So if you aren't getting what you need and deserve out of the relationship, you can leave.

Will that be hard for the person in question? Absolutely. But ultimately that's not your responsibility.

I know I may sound like the bitch queen here, but I'm saying this stuff with YOU in mind. Your boyfriend is responsible for building his own support circle and for finding an objective third party like a therapist to help him manage what is a medical, even if psychological, disorder.

You do not have to be his everything. In fact, you cannot be. You're just one woman.

4. Educate yourself. 

Learning about depression is a great idea if your boyfriend, or anyone in your life for that matter, suffers from it.Not only does educating yourself give you a feeling of power over a situation in which you are essentially powerless, but it will help you understand the intricacies of what he's really going through.

There are many misconceptions about depression out there. Approaching his issues from an educated place will help you to better understand him and to be a stronger advocate for people everywhere who are suffering from this disorder.

RELATED: 35 Quotes That Perfectly Explain What Depression REALLY Feels Like

5. You don't have to do this alone.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. He might be worried about asking for help himself, but that doesn't mean you can't reach out to get help for yourself if you feel like you need it.

You can contact your friends and family for advice and you can reach out to support groups or therapists for tips on life as the partner of a person suffering from depression.

If at any point you feel isolated, trapped, and/or afraid, it might be time to extricate yourself from the situation. This is why making sure that you've got your own support circle in play is so fundamental.

Just because you aren't the one who's depressed, there's no reason you shouldn't take the best possible care of yourself. After all, boyfriends come and go. You are stuck with YOU forever.

That might sound bleak and it might sound mean, but my goal isn't to cure your boyfriend, it's to get you into the mindset of knowing what it is you're up against, what is and is not expected of you, and what you should never have to put up with no matter what.

There is simply no excuse for anyone to treat you in an abusive way, no matter what, and that includes abuse via emotionally manipulative threats of self-harm.

That noise is just straight up not okay! He can get through this and so can you. And I believe you'll both be the better for it once you get to the other side!

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.