Living with depression can be exceptionally difficult and can often impact areas of your life that you may not expect. Dating with depression, for instance, is a common challenge that affects you and your partner alike.

However, living with depression doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your life! You can still have a healthy and rewarding dating life when dealing with a depressive disorder – especially if you educate yourself on how dating with depression can affect both you and your romantic interest.

Why Depression Affects Dating

Depressive disorders have a complex set of causes, symptoms, and challenges. While many people still believe that depression affects them and them alone, the reality is that depression can affect your relationships, work, and ability to communicate your emotions or needs to others.

While it’s true that depression doesn’t need to rule your life, understanding the impact depression can have on your life is critical to continuing to live a full and rewarding life.

You can navigate around many of the challenges of depression and even find substantial relief through developing a deepening understanding of your depressive disorder.

Dating is no exception. While dating with depression can provide extra challenges to overcome, learning about these challenges and ways to work through them is important if you want to find success in your dating life.

What You May Not Know About Dating With Depression

Understanding the widespread effects of living with a depression disorder — more specifically, looking at the challenges of dating with depression — can help you understand the intricacies of romantic life while living with a mental health condition.

Here are some of the things you should know when dating with depression.

1. Communication is Critical

Living with depression means you may experience a host of mental health challenges that may not be apparent to others. Among other symptoms, people with depression may experience challenges such as:

  • Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • A feeling of hopelessness or despair
  • Trouble concentrating

While you may have developed strategies to help you deal with these symptoms on your own, if you don’t communicate them to the person you’re dating, you might experience interpersonal challenges because of your symptoms.

For example, if you have a date scheduled on Friday night but find yourself exhausted on Friday morning, it’s important to communicate these challenges to the person you’re dating.

If you simply cancel the date without explanation, they may think the reason is because you weren’t interested in them to begin with, and you may miss the chance to see them again.

Although you don’t immediately need to disclose your depressive disorder to your romantic partner early on, being open about your mental health challenges can strengthen a relationship once a foundation is built. However, building a relationship requires effective communication about how you’re feeling, what challenges are standing in your way, and how you can work together to continue seeing each other.

2. Depression Can Affect Emotional Availability

Living with depression can be an intensely emotional experience. It’s common for people to feel overwhelming periods of sadness, grief, guilt, or remorse. Alternatively, living with depression can lead to people feeling flat or empty, and they may have difficulty expressing any type of emotion.

Regardless of which category you fall into, this can affect your emotional availability while dating. The simple fact is that everyone has emotional limits.

It can be difficult to share the emotions of others when you’re overwhelmed by internal emotional experiences, and you may feel as though you have run out of emotional reserves.

Again, communication is critical if you’re experiencing limited emotional availability. Simply communicating, “I’ve had a pretty emotional day and can’t handle anything too intense right now,” can go a long way toward preventing hurt feelings.

3. Mood Swings Can Affect Relationships

It’s common for people who have a depressive disorder to have fluctuations in their mood and energy levels from day to day. You may feel like your new relationship is going great when you’re having a good day, only to feel like it’s falling apart once you’re feeling low.

Celebrate the good days and enjoy the upswing in your mood when it comes. But when you’re feeling down, communicating your challenges when having an off day or week can help your partner understand what you’re going through.

This awareness allows them to make a shift toward being supportive and not taking things personally if you aren’t feeling your best.

4. Depression Can Be An “Invisible Illness”

Depression is often referred to as an invisible illness, which means that the symptoms of depression are frequently held internally and not easily recognized by an outside observer. This is critical to understand when you’re dating with depression, as your symptoms may not be apparent to the person you’re dating.

Often, the signs of depression are intentionally withheld from others. You may feel uncomfortable sharing that you’re feeling sad, lonely, or exhausted.

People with depression often go to great lengths to act as though they aren’t suffering, which can even include continuing to go on dates or seeking out new romantic partners even when they’re feeling depressed.

Alternatively, people living with a depressive disorder sometimes don’t know that their symptoms aren’t easily seen. You might have a high level of empathy and an ability to recognize intense emotions in others, but the person you’re dating may not have the same skills.

Once again, the important piece is communicating internal challenges with your romantic partners. If depression is a part of your life and you want another person to also be involved in your life, sharing openly and honestly about your struggles helps them understand and empathize with your position, challenges, and successes.

5. Depression Can Have an Impact on Intimacy

Depression can have a negative impact on sexual intimacy. The issue is often exacerbated by certain antidepressant medications, which can sometimes drive your libido even lower.

The frequency of sexual intimacy is a common challenge in any relationship. If your depression is causing your libido to be lower than your romantic partner’s, having an open and honest discussion about your sexual appetites and what may be affecting them can help you navigate this relationship challenge while dating with depression.

6. Self-Care is Vital

Self-care practices are essential to helping you keep your mental health challenges from becoming overwhelming. Self-care refers to any routine that enables you to feel better, emotionally recharge, and prepare yourself for the days ahead. There is an abundance of self-care options, including:

  • Exercise routines
  • Meditation
  • Skin care
  • Reading
  • Hiking
  • Creating art or music
  • Engaging in a hobby

Self-care won’t necessarily help your depression go away, but it can help you manage the stress you experience on a day-to-day basis. A regular self-care routine can help you unwind, find emotional release, and reset your stress tolerance for the future.

These practices are important on both sides of a relationship while dating with depression. Self-care is just as important for your partner as it is for you, and you should encourage and foster healthy self-care habits on both sides of a relationship.

7. Medication and Talk Therapy Works

Depression can be debilitating, particularly if it starts to interfere with areas of your life, such as dating. Yet, there are several effective medication and therapy options that can help most people overcome depression and achieve mental health recovery.

As effective as these treatment options are, many people believe they simply don’t work for them. Maybe you’ve tried an antidepressant before without success or met with a therapist and didn’t see any improvement. This is an unfortunately common experience, but it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.

In terms of medication, there are dozens of options available to help people with depression. If the first medicine you tried didn’t work for you, meeting with a psychiatrist for medication management can help you try different medicines or combinations of medicines that may be able to provide better results

Medication management isn’t like meeting with your general practitioner for a prescription, as they work with you for an extended period to track your progress, adjust your dosage, and help you transition to different options if you haven’t received the results you were hoping for.

Similarly, talk therapy’s effectiveness depends largely upon your relationship with your therapist. If you’ve tried talk therapy before without success, it might just be the result of working with a therapist who isn’t right for you.

There are dozens of different therapeutic modalities you can try, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

When looking for a therapist, try making appointments with at least three different clinicians before deciding which one is the right fit. When you find a therapist that aligns with your needs, you can start to see improvements in symptoms, relationships, and overall quality of life.

8. New Depression Treatments Can Help

As effective as talk therapy and medication can be, they may not be the right fit for everyone. Some people simply don’t respond to medication or experience too many side effects. Others can’t resolve their challenges by speaking to a therapist.

Fortunately, several new and innovative treatment options can not only help you overcome depression but restore your ability to have a healthy and successful dating life.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) uses specialized technologies to help treat the root cause of depression. dTMS is a completely non-invasive treatment that activates areas of the brain associated with depression and can produce fast and lasting results, even for people who have tried other treatment options without success.

During a dTMS session, you’ll place a specialized helmet on your head. Using targeted electromagnetic impulses, brain regions that are underactive in people with depression are stimulated, creating new links that can drastically reduce your symptoms.

Ketamine-Assisted Healing

Ketamine-assisted healing uses the dissociative psychedelic ketamine to help supercharge the talk therapy process. Taking a single dose of ketamine allows people to look at their depression objectively, without judgment or bias about what has led to depression and what can help them recover.

Ketamine-assisted healing is done under the direct supervision of a trained therapist, who can help walk you through the ketamine experience and help you integrate your experiences into daily life.

Most clients feel substantial relief from depression after just a single session and can further solidify their mental health progress with follow-up sessions.

Start Treatment at Plus by APN

If you are ready to take the next steps in overcoming your depression, call our team at 424.644.6486 or fill out our confidential online form. Living with depression can be difficult, but recovery is within your reach at Plus by APN.


  • “Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed 8 June 2024.
  • Goodman, Rebecca J et al. “Close relationships and depression: A developmental cascade approach.” Development and psychopathology vol. 31,4 (2019): 1451-1465. doi:10.1017/S0954579418001037