I was browsing through Facebook this morning and a conversation about anxiety and dating caught my eye. Dating when you suffer from mental illness can be a minefield.
I think internet dating is a really great way to meet new people. It can be difficult to know how much information you give away in your online profile? Personally, I wouldn’t write about my mental illness on my profile. Sure, it absolutely affects how I live my life but it doesn’t define me or change who I am. I think the best way to go about it is, following the initial first few messages, be open and tell them about yourself. Your whole self. Okay, they might not have any experience of your suffering, but you can be honest and up front about what it’s like for you.
Imagine there’s something you’re really passionate about, for example, spoon whittling (if you follow me on Instagram – shut up, it’s fun!). Imagine it’s something you do on a really regular basis and whilst it isn’t who you are, you’re not going to be giving it up. Would you keep that part of your life a secret just in case it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea? No. Sod that! It’s the same with your mental health, whilst it isn’t everything about you, it is an important part of your life.
When Do You Put It Out There?
People often decide whether to enter into a more serious relationship after around the third date, so the second date is probably the best time to divulge. Your date probably won’t be an expert on your particular illness so do tell them how it affects your life, how you feel and how it sometimes makes you behave. For example, do you know how many times people assume that agoraphobia means I can’t leave my house? No. This is NOT the case. Sure, there are many people that are affected in this way, but there’s no standard. There is no agoraphobia base line. It’s different for everyone. Even some doctors think agoraphobia means housebound. Grr!
Like With Like?
In this Facebook conversation that I was reading, they were talking about whether a dating website specifically for people who struggle with their mental health would be a good idea. This was met with mixed opinions.
I’ve never been in a relationship with anyone with mental illness. MrLovely suffers from social anxiety but it doesn’t affect his day to day life. It makes social situations uncomfortable for him but then I’m chatty and friendly enough for the both of us. My concern with two people with mental illness being in a relationship together is that they could trigger each other. Might it make you both more introverted? Could it make your World even smaller?
Another angle on the conversation was that maybe dating someone with a different illness to yours would be fitting because you wouldn’t have the same triggers but you’d be able to empathise and have compassion and support each other. She made a good point.
Love Is Understanding
Someone once said to me, everyone has a crazy and you just have to find a crazy you can live with. These were wise words. By accepting you as you are, warts and all, there’s a good chance you’re going to be on to a winner. The right person will love you, support you and comfort you without question because you are worthwhile and you deserve to be loved.
Why not start your search now, here are some sites to get you started on your quest for love: Wiltshire dating site, over 50s dating Cheshire, devondatingsite.co.uk, Peterborough dating or Worcestershire dating.
Good luck on your quest for love, I hope you find someone x