Dating and Mental Illness

As someone who experiences mental illness dating has always been somewhat of a challenge. Don’t get me wrong it’s doable, and I have had a few romantic relationships over the years, but it does make it a bit more challenging. If you’re in a good space and fairly stable then that obviously makes dating a lot easier.

This subject has come to mind as I have started seeing someone who also has a mental illness. We get on really well and have a lot in common. So far so good. I can see a future with her. We are still in the early stages of getting to know each other, but the connection is definitely there for both of us. We talk daily without fail. This leads me to ask…

Can two people who both suffer from mental illness be in a relationship together?

I believe the answer is yes depending on maturity, personal growth, self-awareness, and a commitment from both people to make it work. Others may have a different point of view. I would be interested in your perspective?

18 Replies to “Dating and Mental Illness”

  1. My last boyfriend also had a mental illness (we even met on the psych ward) and that helped me feel more accepted and understood.

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  2. I think it might take extra work sometimes, but I do believe that two people with a mental illness can make it work. The big thing is having a support system of some sort and recognizing each other’s symptoms and how they affect you both. Like any other relationship, just take it one day at a time.

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  3. This is all just my opinion: I think a few things come into play with this. Part of it is I if two people with mental health concerns are in a relationship, in order to be successful, they need to be relatively on the “same level” in terms of how far along they are with discovering, coping, and maintaining their mental health. If you’ve already learned to cope and are managing your mental health, it could be very frustrating and can backtrack your progress helping someone in possibly very early stages. Is it doable? Yes, but it depends on the people.

    I’m not sure if various mental health concerns could “battle” each other in a relationship, like anxiety for one and depression for another I could see maybe causing issues if one person “cares too much” about various household things, whereas the other might be in a “I don’t care” part of depression? If that makes sense?

    Otherwise, I feel like depending on the people, it can be an amazing thing. To be able to have that sense of understanding from and for another person, it can make the relationship even more “deep”/personal.

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  4. I think it can work, but yes, it takes lots of self-awareness, as well as room for grace when one or both people are just having a bad day.

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  5. Tough question. I find dating someone without a mental illness as struggle, as he doesn’t understand me at all. That said, I don’t know that I’d be able to handle dealing with someone else’s issues when I’m in a bad state with my anxiety. I look forward to hearing how things go for you.

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  6. I think it’s possible. I once dated someone who also had a mental illness, but because neither of us were in the right mindset or understood our own illnesses, it didn’t work. That doesn’t make me think it’s not possible. I think as long as you are both understanding of each other and each other’s illnesses, have a good awareness of yourself, and know where to draw lines when you or the other person needs space or extra help, there’s a partnership that can become pretty strong.

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  7. Thank you for raising this topic – I want to believe that it’s possible, but I’m currently reconsidering my current relationship. I hope things continue to go well with you two and I look forward to reading up on how it develops.

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  8. My husband has been the most supportive during my times of grief and suffering. He supported me until the very end and encouraged me to fight until I lost the battle. And even now he’s super supportive. I’m grateful. Especially during my major depression and anxiety episodes.

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    1. I forgot to mention that he didn’t believe me at first that I had a problem. Yet I was miserable every single day. This is no way to live. I think now he recognizes that I have a problem as my anxiety and depression has been recognized as an issue. I’m going to seek counseling and hopefully get some cognitive behavioral therapy as well.

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      1. I’m glad you are getting the help and support you need 🙂

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  9. Absolutely you can! Anyone can be with anyone, no matter what their/your illness, orientation, ability or disability. It’s all about having a mutual connection and making each other happy.

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  10. I was just dumped yesterday dealing with this issue. My ex told me she doesn’t have the mental ability to carry on with this relationship anymore which I respect. But it happened so abruptly, less then 24 hours out of nowhere. I am so lost and confused, was that even love to begin with?

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  11. Thank you for sharing this JR. This is precisely why I am single. I am a depression and anxiety survivor and it has made not just friendships, but dating and sex difficult for me my whole life. LOL it’s funny because as I feel better and more confident, I think dating should be easier, but it’s not. I still have similar luck. I ended a 2 year relationship with someone back in October because she also suffers from depression. It was very hard, but I needed to get away.

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  12. I think mental illness doesn’t necessarily dictate one’s ability to communicate and hold empathy of others, so yes, I think it’s possible to be in a relationship with mental illness.

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  13. I agree, it takes a lot of self-awareness from both people, and being able to trust each other and say how you’re really doing so that you can support each other when things aren’t always going the way we’d like 🙂 I hope it goes well for you!

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