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Dating while coping with a mental illness can be difficult though it can be rewarding at times. But even dating without a serious mental illness diagnosis can also impact your mental health.
Mental health experts explain just how close the relationship between dating and mental health can be. If you're interested in how that relationship becomes more complex with a mental illness, you can read my other article about the topic at http://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/mental-health-issues-datin...
Reef Karim, a board-certified psychiatrist and author of “Why Does He Do That? Why Does She Do That?” said in an email that dating and mental health are deeply intertwined.
“When you date and you have feelings for another person and have to deal with each person’s needs and resolving conflict, you are forced to deal with your own ‘stuff’ - how you handle stress, how you deal with anger, how you deal with love, etc.,” Karim said.
“How we handle emotions is a very big piece of mental health and it’s often front and center when we are in dating or in a relationship.”
Dating can actually be part of a self-discovery process, and encourages people to look at themselves in a deeper way. People have to start asking questions about how they function and what their weaknesses or faults are, since that could affect relationships with other people.
“Your chances of being in a healthy relationship depend on many factors, including who you’re dating, where you are in your life, the timing and particularly your ability to be in a relationship,” Karim said.
“Your mental health doesn’t have to be perfect but you do need to know/learn some basic things about yourself, your partner and how to deal with stress, conflict and compromise.”
He added that although there can be a diverse combination of couples, and there is generally someone for everyone, people with the same level of mental health generally do end up together. Also, once people find love, they need to learn how to maintain it and develop a lasting relationship.
“We all desire connection with each other - as family, friends or love interests,” Karim said.