While dating is something that most of us will experience in our lives – and which can be a fun and exciting experience, too – it does involve opening ourselves up to various situations and emotions that we may not be entirely comfortable with. Our vulnerabilities may be exposed, and there is the risk of rejection and disappointment, too.
When you’re suffering with depression, something that should be exciting, and fun can quickly turn challenging, as you may not only struggle with your state of mind, but with knowing how much you should disclose to your date. If you’re entering the world of dating, and you’re depressed, and are not sure how best to navigate these murky waters, here are some helpful tips and guidelines:
Don’t be in a hurry
If your date is worth knowing and establishing a relationship with, then they will be willing to wait until the time is right for you to bring up the subject of your mental illness. Take your time to get to know them and build up some level of trust, and while each dating scenario is different, a rule of thumb might be to wait until the 3rd or 4th date.
Before you talk about your own state of mind, you could test the waters by bringing up the topic of depression, and judge how they respond.
Perhaps most importantly, try to be as truthful as you can with them, since there is little better as a dating policy than honesty. Portraying yourself as someone that you’re not, could land you in troubled waters as dating progresses. You may have good days, terrible days, passable days and those in which you feel downright blue; trying to hide this may suggest to your date that something is wrong within the relationship, or that they are the problem, and this could easily lead to heartache further down the line.
Don’t expect your date to be the answer to all your problems
While the person that you’re dating may well be the tonic that you needed in your life, they will not be a quick fix solution to your depression in the long term, and you’ll want to continue looking after your own state of mind.
If your date calls and invites you out to dinner tonight but you’re not feeling mentally up to it, feel free to offer an alternative – such as dinner tomorrow – so that they don’t become disinterested or disheartened.
If you find that you begin to feel down (or were already not feeling at your best) during a date, it can help to shift your focus to them instead, giving you the chance to listen and offer care, and perhaps even elevate your mood.
If you’re dating and are trying to negotiate a new relationship while suffering with depression, remember to be kind to yourself and be aware of any triggers that might make you feel worse. As best you can, don’t agonize over small decisions. Lastly but not least, have fun and love yourself first and foremost.
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