Love and falling in love are one of the most common themes in movies and literature. The industry involved in weddings, dating, and relationships have billions in profit. It is perfectly fine to assume that everyone is enamored with love. People are willing to spend money and time hopefully to find their match. Falling in love is one of the simple pleasures of life. Isn’t it fascinating to find someone who rejoices simply because you exist? Of course, other than your family and friends.
The experience of true romantic love is enriching but the journey is oftentimes excruciating. For women, they might have kissed a few frogs along the way. For individuals with mental illness, the journey on finding the right person can be intimidating; however, always remember the love knows no boundaries and it’s inclusive of everyone. Mental illness and dating can mix well as long as both partners are willing to compromise. It is best to ponder on these tips to hopefully help you in your relationship. Remember, “Love is the root of what brings each and every one of us to therapy—the need to understand love, the hunger and desperation to find love and experience love, the desire to love and the desire to be loved.” Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC said.
Mental illness doesn’t equate to instability
Despite the level of awareness and lesser social stigma associated with mental illness, many people associate these attitudes to a person with mental illness: unstable, unreliable, irresponsible, commitment-phobia, impulsive, etc. Symptoms of mental illnesses are extremely varying to the point that even a normal person with healthy mental status can possibly fit in one of these categories at one point in their lives. If someone you are dating confides in you about their mental illness, take the time to listen and also ask about their condition. There are many people with bipolar disorder who excels in their chosen field despite their condition. Examples of these: Carrie Fisher, an actress-writer, and humorist; Paul Dalio, a writer, director, and rapper.
Open the lines of communication
Open communication is vital in any relationship but it is a key factor in making a relationship with someone who has a mental health problem. The perfect example is Paul Dalio. He is a writer and director of the movie, “Touched by Fire.” The movie tackles about love, mental illness, and creativity. The movie was loosely based on his experiences having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his twenties. Presently, he is married and with children. He shared that his marriage is working because his wife fully accepts and understands his condition. Moreover, they make modifications and adjustments to fit their situation dealing with the disorder, raising a family and thriving careers.
It’s not your job to fix your partner.
While it is painful to see your loved ones suffer, you cannot decide and force them into something they don’t want. All you can do is offer support, assist them out in seeking help, and aid them in making adjustments. “Negative thoughts are just a part of life, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of trying to ignore those thoughts altogether, try countering them with positive statements.” Licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D. said.
Standard Relationship rules still apply.
In dating someone with mental illness, there might be different expressions of love and affection and different conflicts and arguments but in essence, like in any other relationship, there should be a balance of give and take respect and commitment. Having mental health issues doesn’t give a person a free pass to cheat or treat the other person horribly. “Recovering from an affair is not impossible, but it takes a lot of work. It takes commitment and a willingness to forgive and move forward.” Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP said.