6 Things to Know About Dating Someone with a mental illness
Educate yourself on your partner’s mental health
Educate yourself on your partner’s mental health issue, and don’t worry too much about saying the wrong thing or hurting your partner; that feeling is perfectly normal. It can be especially difficult in the beginning of the relationship to navigate these issues because trust is still being built; although overwhelming at times, there are plenty of resources to help make your relationship stronger and lasting.
Ask them questions about their mental illness
Searching the internet and browsing the library can only do so much because a person’s mental health issues are pretty unique to them. Asking someone you love about their mental health issues means that they can help fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle, and it can signify a major step in the relationship.
Understand that your loved one will have ups and downs; some days will be tough, and your patience might be tested. Try being positive and supportive during these periods to help guide your partner out of a funk.
Learn their symptoms
Learning their symptoms is imperative when you love someone with a mental health issue; if you can recognize when signs and symptoms might be getting worse, you can help your loved one get the support they need before things get out of control. This will help your loved one when they are struggling and make your relationship stronger and healthier.
Be patient and understanding
Mental health issues are very personal; it can be difficult to tell someone that you love about them. If your loved one struggles to talk to you right away, be patient; if they are having trouble opening up to you face to face, encourage them to write out their thoughts instead. As an example, I often find it easier to lay things out in an organized fashion over online chat with my boyfriend, whereas talking to him face to face is sometimes difficult.
Don’t ignore your needs
Dating someone with mental health issues can place a heavy focus on your loved one, but at the same time, you must not lose sight of yourself. Practice self-care and establish your wants and needs with your partner; if you are both getting the support and love that you need, your relationship will be that much stronger.