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Dating with Depression: How Can I Hide My Depression?

Dating with depression can be tough, and you may wonder if you should hide your depression from the people you meet. But is that ever a good idea?

Dating with depression can be fraught with anxieties. Whether you’re trying to meet someone special or you’ve just struck up a new relationship, you may wonder whether you should tell the person you’re dating about your illness. We all do a certain amount of pretending when we first get to know someone. We want our new or prospective partners to see our good sides only. We want others to like us, so we try our best to bury the parts of us we don’t think are loveable. Putting your best foot forward is a natural part of dating, but how far should it go? Should you ever lie about your mental illness or hide your depression when you’re dating with depression?

The Challenges of Dating with Depression

Dating with depression comes with many challenges. Many people with depression experience symptoms such as fatigue, low self-esteem and sexual problems, all of which can surface when you’re dating someone new. You may wonder whether you should be upfront about the cause of these problems or hide your depression from the other person.

If that weren’t enough to deal with, you’re also at the mercy of your hormones when you first meet someone and fall in love. According to researcher Donatella Marazziti of the University of Pisa in Italy, the biological response in our bodies to being in love is similar to having taken cocaine. The nerve transmitters adrenaline and phenylethylamine increase when you are attracted to someone, sending you into emotional overdrive. Your serotonin levels also reduce, meaning you may experience more depression symptoms than usual. All of this can destabilize mood, create sleep problems and make you feel more paranoid than usual, which can be frightening for someone with depression.

Should You Hide Your Depression?

If you’re dating with depression, especially dating someone new, you might wonder how to hide your depression – or whether you even should. No one can tell you how much you need to disclose on a first, second or third date – that comes down to how comfortable you feel with the person and whether you think it’s necessary. However, when you’ve been seeing someone for a while, honesty is usually the best policy.

Not only will telling your partner about your depression help them understand you on a deeper level, but it will also make your life easier. This way, you can ask for help and support when you need it. If you're not sure your new partner will understand or support you in your depression, it's better to have that conversation sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment or frustrations down the line.

Reasons to Be Honest When Dating with Depression

In dating with depression, hiding your depression may only exacerbate your symptoms and make you feel removed from your partner. However, you should wait until you feel comfortable to open up to someone new about your depression.

If you’re dating someone new and wondering whether to tell them about your depression, here are some reasons why opening up is a good idea:

  • Your partner will understand you better: Although you may not feel like depression is a part of who you are, it is still a part of your experience. Telling your partner about your illness will give him or her the chance to truly understand you, which can only bring you closer.
  • You won’t have to lie: Lying in relationships is a deal-breaker for many people. Although it's understandable to want to hide your depression, there will come a time when it may become uncomfortable to lie. You may need to cancel or postpone plans when you're having a particularly bad day, for instance. Wouldn't it be better to be able to tell the truth rather than saying you have a headache?
  • It may bring you closer together: Depression is extremely common, and most people have experienced it or they know someone who has. Disclosing your experience may well strengthen your bond and give you a shared experience you didn’t know you had.  
  • Honesty helps destigmatize depression: The more people open up about mental illness, the less stigmatized it becomes.
  • Depression can strengthen a relationship: You won't know how depression affects your relationship until you open up about it. You might be pleasantly surprised and not all relationships with depression are doomed to fail.
  • Your partner will find out sooner or later: If your relationship continues, your partner will eventually need to know about your depression – especially if it is affecting your day-to-day life. It is better to find out now whether this new partner can provide the kind of love and support you’ll need to help you through tough times.

You can find in-depth, trusted information on depression on HealthyPlace. For local and online support groups, visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Take a Look at the Other Side: Dating Someone with Depression: Is That a Good Idea?

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, March 7). Dating with Depression: How Can I Hide My Depression? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/dating-with-depression-how-can-i-hide-my-depression

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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