Why You Shouldn’t Fear Dating Someone Who Has A Mental Illness

Photo by Photostock

Photo by Photostock

After writing a blog post on some of the difficulties of being in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness, I thought I should clarify and write about why a person shouldn’t fear pursuing a relationship with someone who is mentally ill. The term “mentally ill” or “disorder” isn’t exactly attractive or inviting due to stigma, but it isn’t always a deal breaker either. It is important to be open-minded and accepting. If you hear or find out that someone you’re dating lives with a mental illness, try educating yourself first before backing away and calling it quits. Yes, there can be various obstacles when dating someone who has a mental illness (some greater than others), but there are difficulties in any relationship. It is utterly important not to define a person by their diagnosis as it only will feed into the stigma. People who live with a mental health condition can still be caring, loyal, and genuine people. My fiance would most likely agree that I can be a handful to live with at times, but that I’m also one of the sweetest people he has ever met. While I don’t wish to glorify mental illness, there are even a few positives to dating someone who has a mental illness. They can be the life of the party at times, funny, successful, intelligent, and creative. They can also be highly intuitive, sensitive, and observant individuals. Having a mental illness does not always mean that the relationship is destined to fail or that the person is “crazy.”

For those who are skeptical about dating someone with a mental illness, please take time to educate yourself a little on the topic for we are all imperfect beings. The person who you once feared or questioned might just be the person that will end up changing your life for the better.

This is not to say that I don’t understand or acknowledge some cases where it may be beneficial to end a relationship with someone who is mentally ill and unstable. I understand that there are certain circumstances where it may not be wise to remain in a relationship with someone if there are severe issues such as ongoing abuse (verbal, emotional, physical etc), refusal to get help, or drug/alcohol abuse. If a mentally ill person refuses to get help, there is only so much the partner can do. It is ultimately up to the mentally ill individual to seek and accept help and if they don’t, sometimes walking away from that relationship is the best option. Like any relationship, there is definitely a line that needs to be drawn and certain, severe behaviors, like the ones listed above, should not be tolerated.

The purpose of this post was just to point out that those with a mental illness should not automatically be feared or rejected based on their diagnosis alone. There are so many wonderful people out there who live with such conditions and are able to be loving and supportive partners despite the obstacles.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Great blog! Looking forward to following! Really enjoyed your compelling writing style!

  2. “Some people have diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma.” These conditions are in no way comparable to mental illness. They do not have the same devastating effects or negatively affect impulse control.

    “If you hear or find out that someone you’re dating has a mental illness, try educating yourself first before backing away and calling it quits.” Yes, you can read up on it but it doesn’t truly prepare you for what you’ll experience especially since everyone with bipolar is different. You don’t know how high the highs & how low the lows will be until you are thrown into it.

    In response to the poster named Leah, you said people can be cruel & that we shouldn’t judge all individuals with bipolar. In a previous post you admitted to saying “extremely hurtful things” to your fiance. Isn’t this typical bipolar behavior? Anyone who has dealt with anyone with bipolar has experienced that coldness & being in a state of confusion trying to figure out if they said or did something to warrant such a reaction.

    Yes people with bipolar can be very sweet & honest (especially if you don’t know them very well), but they can also be very cold & distant. The partner or family of the bipolar person often suffers the brunt of the mood swings. The question is, is there enough sweetness to make up for the rough times? The honesty part can be called into question as well. With the fluctuation of thoughts & moods & the words that follow, it’s impossible to know what the truth is at any given time.

    • Yes, you are correct on some of the points you made. It is true that the family and partner do suffer the brunt of the mood swings and are pulled into it, but I wouldn’t say that people should fear or not date someone just because of it. And yes, some people with bipolar do have it worse and may act out more etc. which can be really difficult to deal with, I don’t doubt that at all. The point I was trying to make is that despite the illness, bipolar individuals can be great partners. As for me, I am not always properly medicated. Sometimes I get hostile during my time of the month or if I’m stressed. My symptoms become much worse during those times and no, meds don’t always work 100% like you mentioned. Therapy is also extremely important and practicing coping skills too. I told Leah what I did because not everyone with bipolar will screw others over or lie. And I was not comparing mental illness to diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma, but I was trying to show that you cannot control what disease you have and that every disease requires some sort of treatment.

    • Also, doesn’t everyone, bipolar or not, say things they regret at some point?! It isn’t always considered typical bipolar behavior as I’m sure not everyone reacts in that way. Some may shut down completely or withdraw depending on the person. I am sorry you disagree or question my choice of words. I may need to review some of the statements, but I can only describe bipolar and what it does from my point of view as I am only one person.

  3. My freind went out with bipolar woman she screwed him for all thst he had and screwed .his brain .he is now on anti depressants.and cant get over .his emotional roller coaster ride.so why even go their.to be used abused lied to.and. she also destroyed his freind ships. His words be warned bipolar is a destroyer of life and lifes if you get involved you too will be come destroyed.

    • I’m sorry, that doesn’t sound like a good situation at all. I hope he finds the help he needs and that your friend is okay. I think some of the things he did wasn’t all related to bipolar though. I’m sure some of it was influenced by it due to his lack of treatment, but it seems more like a problem of character. Some people can just be cruel. I don’t think it would be fair to judge all individuals with bipolar based on one man’s actions. I hope you and your friend will reconsider your thoughts. I have met many kind and honest bipolar people. 🙂

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