Dating Someone with a Mental Health Illness
The saying that true love knows no bounds is absolutely correct – and those that suffer from mental conditions have every right in the world to the same happiness and fulfilment that those without such illnesses enjoy.
There is still a certain social stigma that stems from the topic of dating someone with a mental health illness, but those that find themselves attracted to someone already in the process of handling such an issue can still find happiness in spite of all odds. Behind every person with a mental health illness is someone that deserves love, kindness, and respect. The problem is that there can be a lot of misunderstandings between someone with a mental health issue and someone without that issue – those misunderstandings can often lead to deeper problems that lead to painful breakups.
This article covers three tips that you can try today to create a pleasant experience when dating someone with a mental health illness.
Be a Good Listener
First, it is important to become a very good listener. One of the major concerns that people with mental health illnesses have is that they are not fully being heard and understood, or worse – ignored because they have a mental disorder. This fear can raise paranoia levels higher than normal and cause negative behaviour patterns to surface as a way of getting the attention they feel they are missing.
This can create a fair amount of tension between any two people, but when someone has a mental health illness, this tension can be even greater than before. There’s plenty of ways to avoid this, though: listening thoroughly to what is actually being said without letting personal emotions get in the way is a great method to diffuse most relationship problems of this nature. To demonstrate that you’re listening to what the other person really has to say, try to weave in past conversations into present ones. For example, if they mention really wanting to see a certain movie or read a certain book, you might place a movie review on the desk or surprise them with tickets. Your gestures of understanding do not have to be elaborate, but they must be sincere. There is nothing worse than finding that the emotions someone has for you aren’t authentic, and such a thing will cause further problems to develop.
Not Force a Dialogue
Just as good listening is key to dating someone with a mental health illness, so is giving appropriate space. When someone with a mental-emotional disorder is hurting, they may want to spend time alone. A common mistake that many people without a mental health illness do is attempt to force a dialogue on whatever might be bothering the person at the moment. This often ends in disaster: the affected party feels as if they’re trapped, and may only give a response just to get you to let the issue go. The better approach is to let them have the space they need without judgement. In any case, you can ask neutral questions which are not connected with a person’s private life.
Anytime we choose to date someone there will undoubtedly be problems and bumps along the way. However, if you follow the tips and tricks in this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to start a relationship off on the right foot – even with other issues in the background!
Someone you love has a mental illness and you have just about had enough.
You’re tired, depleted, sick of snow and Law & Order reruns. Please – today- take some time and fill your own well – be proactive about your own mental wellness.
22 Totally Easy Ways to Nourish Yourself
Take a walk.
Go to the movies.
Go to the gym.
Call a friend.
Make something different for supper.
Get out in the sun.
Read a good book.
Laugh over something totally ridiculous.
Do something creative.
Make a list of things that you want to do – schedule one each day this week.
Write in a journal.
Actually write a letter to someone – the kind that requires a stamp.
Connect with an old friend on Facebook.
Shovel the snow off your roof – look you will feel like you accomplished something big.
Go for a swim.
Go to the library.
Invite a friend to go out for some cheap eats.
About the Author
I’m Linda S. Davis, a psychologist. I also work as a writer for an expository paper writing service. I prefer natural remedies to cure mental disorders. My clients like my method of treatment through the writing process.