People with untreated mental disorders like narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, pedophilia and sexual sadism could be potentially harmful to the people they date as well, depending on the severity and symptoms of the disorder.
For people with more “minimal” mental health issues, dating has the potential to both benefit and harm mental health, and it can be difficult sometimes to determine which way you’re headed.
“The great irony of dating and mental health is that it can both ‘cure’ your minor mental health issues – such as low self-esteem, sadness, lack of motivation, anxiety, existential blues, negative thinking – or it can exacerbate those same issues,” Munoz said.
“If you have a positive dating experience, you can feel recharged, rejuvenated, hopeful, and motivated to move forward with plans and projects,” she added.
“However, a negative dating experience can confirm your darkest fears about yourself and the world, and leave you feeling even worse than before you took the risk to meet someone new.”
Munoz does suggest people try individual therapy or group therapy to help with some personal issues they might be having while dating, and especially before deciding to become involved in a committed relationship.
“Understanding yourself -- your triggers, biases, blind-spots, feelings, needs and fears -- will also influence who you choose to get involved with,” Munoz said.
“Generally, the healthier you are mentally, the healthier your romantic choices will be. Some couples and marital therapies (such as Imago therapy) hold that the deepest healing can only occur in a committed love relationship – that this kind of relationship creates the ideal starting point for two people to challenge each other and motivate each other in just the right ways needed for the deepest healing and growth.”
While dating and in general, it’s important to recognize how your personal issues, mental health status, disposition, characteristics and personality can affect dating and other aspects of life.