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Ways to Support Your Partner With Mental Health Conditions by Love Language

Dating someone who lives with mental health conditions can be stressful for people who don’t quite understand what life with their condition is like. As much as you love them, and as much as you want to be there for them, sometimes it’s genuinely hard when you don’t quite know what to do because you don’t know how depression can cause you to stay in bed all day, or how mania can convince you to roadtrip at 2 a.m. by yourself. You love your partner and you want to be there for them, which is amazing, but the how is the tricky part.

While you may not know how to physically and emotionally support your partner from firsthand experience, one thing you can do to try is to tend to their love languages.

Love languages aren’t just for couples or platonic relationships. They can be used for self-care too. It’s the language that you feel loved, and there are so many ways to feed into them even if you live with mental health conditions.

If you’re looking for ways to support your partner through their love languages, but you aren’t quite sure where to start, look no further. Here’s how you can do just that:

Quality Time

  • When your partner is sitting in front of the T.V. potatoing, sit with them. You don’t have to talk. Just be able to sit with them.
  • Offer to take them on a drive going nowhere listening to their favorite songs.
  • Build a fort with them on the couch (or without them) and invite them in there to play video games or watch their favorite movie.
  • Do absolutely nothing with them, but do it with them while affirming that they aren’t a burden in those moments.
  • Be visibly present when you’re with them.

Touch

  • Cuddles! If they’re OK with it, cuddles are amazing. 
  • Co-mental health napping under a weighted blanket.
  • Scalp massages or playing with their hair while watching T.V.
  • Use physical co-regulation techniques when they’re having anxiety and/or panic attacks.
  • If touch is grounding to them, hold their hand in anxious settings.

Acts of Service

  • Clean something for them (dishes, laundry, car, etc.,).
  • Pick dinner (and potentially make it).
  • Help them make appointments that they’ve been putting off.
  • Make their self-care items and rituals easily accessible to them.
  • Be the driver when you can be.

Gifts

  • Drop off (or make) their favorite morning beverage.
  • Create a care package full of small things that make them happy.
  • If you see something small that makes you think of them, show them.
  • Buy their groceries or gas.
  • Surprise them with a random gift sent through the mail (because who doesn’t love opening a package).

Words of Affirmation

  • Write them a letter with all the reasons you think they’re great.
  • Remind them that you’re happy that they exist.
  • Hide positive affirmations in their things (lunch boxes, pockets, wallet, books, etc.,).
  • Tell them you’re proud of them .
  • Remind them that their brain can be mean, and no matter what, you’re still there for them.

There are hundreds of ways to support people, but when you don’t know where to start it can be harder figuring it out. Of course pay attention to what your partner does and doesn’t love, because some of these things may not be for them, but with proper communication, utilizing love languages as a means of self-care for others is a great starting point.

Whatever you do, remember to remind them that you love them and that they aren’t alone. Ever.

Getty image by Willie B. Thomas

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