The Challenges Of Dating With Depression

By David Konow 12/04/18

Experts explain the challenges people with depression face in the dating world.

Man with depression on a summertime date with a woman

Depression can often be a full-time fight, and it can make practically every aspect of life difficult, including dating. While dating is still possible when battling depression, it can often require extra effort and care.

In a new look at depression and dating, Ask Men spoke to several experts about the specific difficulties and challenges people who are struggling with depression can face when they’re looking for the right soul mate.

As Lindsey Pratt, a relationship therapist, explains, “Depression may impact your relationship as it reduces general feelings of wellbeing, as well as overall energy. If you struggle with depression, you may notice that it prevents you from feeling excitement over special moments with your partner, that you have trouble finding energy to spend time with that person, or that your ability to imagine a happy future with your partner feels limited.”

If you suffer from depression and want to try online dating, Pratt recommends that you “practice patience and compassion with yourself that your speed in replying or interacting with potential dates may be limited. Battling depression can be physically and emotionally taxing, so make sure you’re going at your own pace and being kind with yourself in the process.”

Yet Dr. Paulette Sherman, a psychologist who has written several books on dating, also recommends pushing yourself a bit to get out there, even if you feel down in the dumps. “It is healthy to take action to forge new connections, to have fun and to remain hopeful that something good could come from your efforts,” she explains.

Pratt also recommends being aware of what triggers your depression and to work around those triggers when dating, like scheduling a date around the hours of the day you feel best. Once the date is happening, it’s important to be in the moment and to not bring your depressive thoughts and feelings with you. “Try to focus on what there is to enjoy and what you appreciate about your experience,” Sherman says.

Another difficult aspect of dating when you’re depressed is when to disclose to someone that you suffer from depression. “You’ll need to determine the best time to discuss your depression with a date,” Sherman explains. “Often this conversation happens a month or two into dating.”

Psychology professor Amanda Rose recommended to US News that when it’s time to disclose that you’re dealing with depression, “Be brief and to the point. I don’t know if it’s always relevant to go into too many details.”

As Dr. Gary Brown, a marriage and family therapist, also explained to Elite Daily, “I really like to encourage people to say, ‘You know what? I suffer from a condition that’s pretty common in the population. I have this sadness sometimes about me.’ You don’t even have to use the word depression.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.