“Feeling bad about yourself, lacking motivation, and having high anxiety can actually create the negative dating experiences you are hoping to avoid -- becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Munoz said.
“When dating, it's important to be aware of your tendencies toward self-judgment or perfectionism or catastrophic thinking or whatever, recognize your fears and longings, and be very, very kind and supportive of yourself throughout the process.”
Even for people without mental health issues, dating can sometimes be an unpleasant selection process.
“People with mental health issues tend to be more vulnerable in situations where the risk of rejection is high – to have a harder time with what therapists call ‘affect-regulation skills,’ self-soothing, taking things in stride, believing positive things about themselves, viewing situations objectively – and so when they date, they need added support, internal and external, throughout the process,” Munoz said.
“People suffering from mild to moderate mental health symptoms would benefit greatly from being in therapy while dating to better understand and explore any shame, self-hatred, frustration, or other issues that arise. If that's not possible, a strong support network can help.”
Munoz, Alicia. Email interview. June 26, 2012.
Reviewed June 28, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith