Depression can change relationship dynamics. If your boyfriend struggles with depression, you need the proper tools to help him. By taking care of yourself, but also being gentle with your boyfriend, you can help reduce the chances that his depression will negatively affect your relationship. If your boyfriend is depressed, you may have some tricky waters to navigate in your relationship. But with the right strategy, you can help your boyfriend through this troubled time.
A good start to handling a relationship with a depressed boyfriend is to take care of yourself. When you are able to meet some of your own needs, you can better help him with his needs. Engage in activities that you find enjoyable and spend time with others to re-energize your batteries. PsychCentral.com recommends maintaining healthy sleep and eating habits to enhance your physical and mental health. Such things will be a buffer for you so that you do not begin to manifest signs of depression, as well. Self-care is often neglected when you struggle with depression, so by amping up your self-care efforts, you can better protect yourself.
Be Tender With Him
Your boyfriend's depression doesn't only affect your relationship; it affects him as an individual. Men grow up with different tools than do women in navigating emotions. This process may lead to complications in male depression, such as frustration due to the pressure to be "strong" in society's eyes. If your boyfriend is depressed, show him tender loving care by offering yourself as a source of support. Let him know that while you may not fully understand his experience, you are there to talk. Such an act will honor his independence and autonomy, which men value. It will also show tenderness in a way that fits with his masculine identity.
Keep It In Perspective
It can be easy to personalize your boyfriend's depression, so handle it by changing how you view it. His declining interest in sex or lack of energy doesn't mean that you are a bad partner, but rather that he has reached a point where his depression has affected his ability to cope. Remember that depression is a serious illness, but that both your boyfriend and you can work through it together. Reframing your approach to the depression will help you handle it with a more clear perspective
On to the Therapist
When your boyfriend is depressed, therapy is a tool not only for him but for the both of you. His seeking therapy will be important because it will teach him tools to better cope with his illness. Many men do not manifest depression or process emotions in the same way as women, so therapy will be useful for him. Therapists can also help you both cope with depression and find ways to manage it as a unit, even if only one person has the illness. Therapy will allow you a space to be honest about how your boyfriend's depression affects you.
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