Disclosing mental illness dating
“If you’re mostly talking about surface level things like your jobs, where you grew up, or places you’ve traveled, then it’s not the time."What do you say?
Since there is so much misunderstanding around mental illness, it’s best to be prepared.
Talking about struggles is a deep issue and a truth that deserves to be shared only when the person you’re dating is sharing deep issues of his or her own.
You wouldn’t share private family matters with someone you didn’t fully trust, and disclosing your mental illness is no different.
Geralyn is a 27-year-old mental health counselor in Tampa who lives with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Although she embraces these diagnoses as part of who she is, Geralyn definitely gets nervous about telling new partners.
“It’s a moment of vulnerability, and you never really know how someone is going to respond, but I’ve found it’s very freeing when I do open up,” she says.
Not only will this assure your new partner you’ve got it under control, it will also mean he or she can help support the lifestyle choices that keep you feeling good. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that the other person will have a horrible reaction.Whether you decide to talk about it on the first date or not until months in, the important thing is that you have a connection.“If you’re dating someone, and it’s healthy and genuine, I think you’ll know when it’s the right time to disclose because you’ll feel safe,” says Geralyn.We all know we shouldn’t date assholes and that a person who doesn’t accept you isn’t worth it, but when you’re really into someone and deciding if you’re going to tell them something you worry could jeopardize the relationship, those platitudes just aren’t that comforting. Without opening up and being willing to show who you really are, you’re cheating yourself out of an honest relationship, says Batterson.So, is it ever okay to keep your mental illness to yourself? And, Kiki warns, it will likely come out eventually.
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“Have information about your diagnosis and how it is treated ready to share if the person doesn't know much about mental illness and is thrown off balance,” says Carolla.