Updated: Aug 16
Let’s be honest, dating sucks. Dating as a single parent sucks. But dating when you have a mental Illness is hell. This illness makes every part of dating challenging. From the beginning to a committed and long term relationship. Mental Illness isn’t going to respect that you are trying to meet someone. Or trying to have a happy relationship. Mental illness doesn’t give a shit. In fact, mental illness finds new ways to show up, welcomed, but too stubborn to leave. Mental Illness is a tricky bastard. And once I thought I was strong enough to start seeing a guy, my anxiety and insecurities start to revert back to their old tricks. Here is my list of how my mental illnesses have made me #singleforlife 😂
1. Its incredibly easy to regress with someone new in your life. You may think that you’ve put months into loving yourself. You’ve seen huge improvement in yourself. You’re proud. And you are ready. Ready to accept that dinner invite from the hottie at your favorite coffee shop. Because what else could add more meaning into your life than a romantic relationship? And now we are at the point where I would start to breaking down. Someone is actually interested enough in me? They can’t be. It must be a joke, right? And there they are, all the insecurities I’ve fought with so hard to overcome. Just like that. The thought of a first date is enough to send me into a full on panic attack.
2. I expect them to treat me the same way my abuser did.
My ex and the father of my child used to tell me all the time that he is not my father. And he’s right! My ex was nothing like him. He didn’t scream at me for a day because I put something in the wrong spot. He didn’t tell me I was worthless and lazy. He is genuinely a good dude. And a great father. But I spent the majority of our relationship expecting him to
turn into my abuser. I paid attention to any little thing that could maaaaybe be considered a red flag. There never were any real red flags, but damn I swore I saw them everywhere. I learned that these ended up being completely made up “red flags”, warning signs that I had made in my mind. I had to constantly be reassured that I’m not living with a sociopathic monster anymore. That there are normal and kind men to love me. I just couldn’t let go of thinking the cycle of abuse was just never going to end for me and I’ll be treated poorly by everyone.
3. Depression makes fun outings and date nights miserable. With depression, you can’t see the joy in the things you used to. Going to dinner in a crowded restaurants and keeping up a positive conversation is a challenge for someone with depression and has been struggling just to get out of bed everyday. So you put on your “happy face” and you go. But your partner knows. And they sometimes can’t help but take it personally. These outings start to happen less and less. 4. Relationships can have a lot of triggers.
Lets be honest, my trigger is men. all
men. I assume immediately that my partner is using me, or doesn’t love me, or is cheating. Why? Because that’s all I knew! I have many PTSD type triggers and a lot come from the childhood trauma my own father imposed on me. Something as simple as me washing my partners shirt wrong, or not cooking dinner right, would send me into a spiral. Before my partner has time to respond, I’m already crying in the corner and in the middle of a full blown panic attack. Did he yell at me? No! Has he ever? No! But every other time in the past, I would have been verbally beaten. Mistakes are a trigger for me. My dad would leave us and disappear for days, doing who knows what. So when my ex would want a night out with his friends, I felt the world around me literally fall apart. I took that as a sign of abandonment and that I wasn’t loved. 5. You feel truly unworthy of love and push it away. How can someone love me when I can’t even find a way to totally love myself. If I can’t love myself, then I must be unworthy of love. When you are suffering from any form of mental illness, you’ve probably felt unworthy of a lot. If my own father doesnt love me, well than surly no other man can. So instead of getting out there and meet new people, you decide its safer to stay home and keep your heart intact. because of course, every relationship must fail miserably once this new person see how unlovable you truly are. 6. Fighting..... ohhhhh the fighting
With anxiety, you feel like you are constantly in fight or flight mode. Seriously, it’s constant. And once you decide you aren’t going to fly away from a potential relationship, what you’re left with is fight. Whenever I felt like I was being wronged, I would go to the extreme. A healthy, sit down debate isn’t an option when your suffer from severe anxiety. So things go from 1 to 10 in a second. I wanted to be the person to start the fight. Because I just knew one was coming and if he were to start it, well than that would mean I was in the wrong. Which again validated my thoughts of being unworthy And unloved.
I have had many failed relationships in my day, and unfortunately my mental health is a big factor in this. Ironically, a mean and abusive boyfriend was never the true cause of a breakup. Nope. Instead, the biggest cause is my assumption that I’m going to be with or am with a mean and abusive man. Well that’s just the trauma talking. The fact is? I’ve never been with a mean and abusive person. The men I have dated have been pretty great actually. My hope is to have myself and you realize what is really affecting your love life. And why. I hope my reasons match some of yours and help you guys put it into perspective as well.
Please feel free to make your own list of how mental illness killed your relationships. Put it in perspective. Think about why you act out over little things. Or why you picked that fight. Or why something so small that your partner did seems like the most tragic betrayal. Feel free to post your lists in the comments if you feel comfortable, or send them directly to me if you prefer. Or share how this feels relatable to you Or even your own examples. It helps knowing that this isn’t a rare thing that no one really experiences. You aren’t alone in this fight. ❤️
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