There are times [when our relationship] has plummeted to the depths whereby we were both ready to give up.” Between the periods of elation and bliss come what Paddy calls “bad phases.” “Sometimes among the arguments, the fits of anger and rage, the distrust, the paranoia, the mood swings, it seems like my girlfriend is a completely different person.” In the worst of times, he likens dating someone with Borderline Personality Disorder to having a relationship with someone who has dementia.“Sometimes they look into their parent’s eyes and they see a spark. The person they knew and love is still there, somewhere deep down inside.By Jodi Helmer Hope dated several men after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II in 2004, but none of the relationships lasted long enough to make her mental health an issue.When Hope, 45, developed feelings for a local restaurateur in 2009, she knew she would have to talk to him about her diagnosis before things got serious.
Chances are, there are people who will be in both groups.
That’s a pretty hefty chunk of the dating pool, not to mention the unreported cases and the probable addition of cases since that report was published.
Mental health conditions come in far too many forms—depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, autism and Asperger’s, those that don’t immediately come to mind and so many layers within each of those conditions—to try to come up with a one-size fits all approach for how to deal with dating someone who is mentally ill.
Still, here are a few suggestions for how to try to make it work with a significant other who is struggling, or how to let them go. Some days will be effortless, and others may be draining.
The first thing that may come to mind when you first learn of your partner’s condition is to opt out. The answer is, you’ve gotten yourself into a relationship that you now realize may have a few additional obstacles, but what relationship doesn’t experience its hurdles anyway? That really depends on the nature of the condition as well as its severity.