Behind the Couple Photos: A Relationship Advice Blog

Relationships+ Mental Disorders   

Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

Around 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. have a mental disorder, so dating and mental disorders are bound to cross paths at one point. But disregard the stereotypical ‘everyone with a mental disorder is crazy’ phrase, it’s not true. Like any other relationship, everyone has baggage, limits, and quirks we all get used to after a while. What separates most people are how they handle their relationships, especially when your significant other has a mental disorder.

1. Communication

Now, this is a key component with any relationship, but it’s especially important when it’s in this context. Your S.O. needs to understand that you’re there for them, that their mental disorder won’t ‘scare’ you away, and your feelings towards them. Now it may be a bit rough at times, you may need to repeat it quite a bit, but trust me, they’ll hear you loud and clear after a while. It’ll mean the world to them.

2. Listen

I know there’s this big misconception that people won’t tell you what they’re thinking all the time, but forget that. You’re dating for a reason, right? So, hear them out about why they’re upset, why they’re feeling the way they are.

Be their partner, their yin to their yang. Now in this sense, I mean you have to be their counterpart to what they’re feeling when they’re in a bad state of mind. If they’re irrational and hypersensitive, you need to be logical, their rock, and listen. Don’t EVER call them crazy, that’s a one-way ticket to Splitsville.

2. Set up boundaries

This is integral in every relationship, without these everything would go terribly wrong. Figure out what their limits are in every aspect: sex, discussion, jokes, life. Make sure you voice yours as well— it’ll all go more smoothly that way.

3. Educate yourself on their mental illness

If you care about them, let's face it: you’ll try a lot to make sure they’re happy. Educating yourself on their mental disorders. Tip: look at both medical/fact-based articles and stories on first accounts/what they’re feeling. To know both the factual and emotional side of a topic will only help you. Don’t forget to put yourself in their shoes when you’re reading them.

4. Don’t forget about yourself

Yes, if your relationship is a priority, take focus on that. But no matter what, don’t forget about your own mental health. If you aren’t feeling mentally stable, then you can’t help someone else. So do whatever you can to relax and take time for you as well.


Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

Now, coming from someone with a few mental disorders, it’s hard to date sometimes. But this shouldn’t define you or how you go about relationships. Here are some tips I’ve learned from my dating experience:

1. Let there be communication

I know its difficult, that you feel like you’re being a bother. But think about it, they’re dating you for a reason. Your disorder doesn’t make you un-dateable. Having good communication will only help your relationship, give yourself time.

2. Separate yourself

This happens to me sometimes, and more people than you’d think: getting too attached a little too soon. In the honeymoon stage, they're your world and everything is about you guys. But listen, you need to learn how to separate yourself. Having one day apart isn’t the end of the world. Remember you’re a whole person, you’re more than someone’s significant other.

3. Don’t settle

Some people believe that the person they’re with now, even if its abusive, will be the only person who will deal with your disorders. News flash: there’s over 7 billion people on this planet who won’t consider it ‘dealing’ with your disorder. Never settle for anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself, you’'ll find love again if this one doesn’t work out.

4. Think rationally.

When your mind is in a fog, it’s hard to think of anything but a snowball downhill from the already bad situation. But listen: take 10 seconds to breathe, write down each event that happened, be objective, and work from there. Talk it out, even to yourself and think how to cut the distress asap.

Remember: Your disorder doesn’t define you, or your relationship.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Do you need time? You may need more tips. How to handle a breakup!

Breakups: no one likes them. Getting over a Breakup: the thing we all dread afterward. It’s never that easy, but it needs to happen. Now I won’t bore you with the atypical ‘only time will heal’ mindset. Yes, it helps, but time isn’t the only thing to count on to get over them. Here are some tricks that helped me:

  1. Get $10 worth of cheap plates from Goodwill, get goggles, and smash them. It helps get out your anger, and let’s face it— it’s pretty fun.

  2. Make two playlists: one full of depressive music and one for feel good. Listen to both when you’re in those moods, either grab tissues to cry your eyes out or dance around your room.
  3. Go on an adventure with your friends. Trust me, it’ll help take your mind off the situation.
  4. Get started on art: write poetry, make watercolors, play the piano. Get your emotions out somehow.

This is a fraction of what can help. But you know yourself better, as long as its safe- go for it. The pain is temporary, it always is. If you can survive your old relationships, you can survive this one. Stay safe and stay lovely!

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Cover Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash