Dating Someone With A Mental Illness | Banyan Mental Health
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Dating Someone with a Mental Illness

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Dating Someone with a Mental Illness

Mental health issues have traditionally been a taboo topic, but when someone who suffers from mental illness experiences pain, it is important for them to be able to talk to someone.

The problem is that many people who do not suffer from a mental illness themselves can struggle to understand what someone with a mental health disorder goes through. While they may be willing and even eager to help, they may not always know the best way how. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships, this can create a disconnect between the partner with mental illness and the partner without. If you want your relationship to last, it’s important to be open if you are the partner with the mental health problem and it’s equally important to understand how to help a partner with their mental health issues if you are the one without mental health issues.

Mental Illness & Relationships

Dating can be a fun and exciting experience for two people as they are getting to know each other and figuring out if they’re compatible. But being in a relationship where one partner has a mental illness can be challenging for both parties.

Dating with a mental illness is difficult as the person struggles to navigate when and what to share with their partner. Opening up can be daunting as many people fear how their partner will react, but mental health should be discussed before things get serious.

If you are in a relationship with someone with a mental illness, it’s important to understand your partner’s mental illness as well as ways to help them through the challenging times. The more you can help your partner, the stronger your relationship can be.

How to Date Someone with a Mental Illness

Dating someone with a mental illness doesn’t have to mean walking on eggshells around them. If you are worried about saying the wrong thing or hurting your partner, this is normal. Being with someone with mental health issues can be especially difficult to navigate in the beginning of the relationship when trust is still being built and you may not be familiar with their condition.

Although overwhelming at times, our mental health treatment center in Pompano is sharing some tips on how to date someone with a mental illness in order to make your relationship stronger and lasting.

Educate Yourself on Your Partner’s Mental Illness

If you want your relationship to work, you should educate yourself on your partner’s mental health disorder. There is a big difference between anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders. They involve different symptoms and have different triggers. The more you know, the better understanding you will have of your partner and how to help them in their time of need.

Don’t Use Hurtful Labels

You should not use your partner’s illness to label them as “crazy” or “unstable” as this is a common stereotype. These terms are hurtful and can quickly end your relationship.

Ask Them Questions About Their Mental Illness

Internet searches can only get you so far; a person’s mental health problems are as unique as they are. While the basics might be covered online, your partner will be able to fill in the missing pieces about their mental health struggles. Being this vulnerable with someone can be a major step in the relationship so be sure not to push them too hard.

Promote Stability & Routine

Dating someone with a mental illness is more challenging at times, but if you can help your partner manage their symptoms, it can go a long way. Find ways to help your partner maintain stability with a daily routine. This type of healthy, regular schedule may help ward off anxiety attacks or feelings of depression.

Be Supportive

If you are in a relationship with someone with a mental health disorder, you need to understand that there will be ups and downs. Some days can be tough for your partner, and your patience may be tested. Try to bring positivity and support during these challenging times to help guide your partner out of a bad day.

Learn Their Symptoms

When dating someone with a mental health disorder, it is imperative that you learn their symptoms. If you can recognize when they stop taking their medication or when their symptoms take a turn for the worse, you can help them get the mental health therapy and treatment they need before their mental health spirals out of control. Also, when you know that your partner’s behavior is a direct result of their mental health disorder, you can stop taking their actions personally. This will make your relationship healthier and help you help your partner when they are struggling.

Don’t Try to Fix Them

Dating someone in therapy or with a mental health problem can come with the assumption that your partner is broken and needs to be fixed. It is not your responsibility to fix your partner; it is your responsibility to support them. Any “fixes” they make must come from them. If you keep viewing your partner as someone who needs fixing, then this may not be the right relationship for either of you.

Be Patient & Understanding

Mental illness is a very personal problem, and it can be difficult to tell someone you love about it. Your partner may struggle to talk to you right away. Be patient. If your partner is having trouble opening up to you face-to-face, encourage them to write a letter instead. If they struggle with opening up to anyone, encourage them to see a professional.

Get Them Help

If your loved one is experiencing intense symptoms but has yet to seek treatment, they need help. While they may be resistant to the idea, it is important to research possible treatment options so that they know what is available to them. If you are dating a girl with a mental illness like anxiety and she is resistant to the idea of taking medication, she may not know that there are other anxiety treatments available like cognitive behavioral therapy instead. By researching different options together, she could get the help she needs.

Don’t Ignore Your Needs

While dating someone with a mental illness can place a heavy focus on your partner’s symptoms and needs, you must not lose yourself along the way. Remember to practice self-care and establish your wants and needs with your partner. When you are able to both get the support and love you need, your relationship will be a lot stronger.

Whether your girlfriend has mental health issues that she has always struggled with or your boyfriend has a mental illness that just came to the surface, a mental health disorder does not need to mean the end of a relationship. Loving someone with a mental illness take patience, understanding, and support from both partners. Your partner’s struggles with mental illness may not come up immediately, but when it does, don’t let this intimidate you or scare you away from the relationship. Having an open and honest conversation will help you to not only understand their struggles but find ways you can support them as well. Two partners can make it through the difficult times that come with a mental illness if they work together.

Contact us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we may be able to help you or someone you care about with a mental health problem.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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