Expert Tips On How To Talk Mental Health When Dating

While we are slowly getting better at talking about mental health, it can be difficult to navigate these conversations with our connections when we are dating, and even with established partners – the ones who see us at our most vulnerable. The long-attached stigma with seeking help, or fear of being emotionally vulnerable, can hold people back from opening about their mental health and wellbeing when dating.

Fear of feeling judged or not understood are just some of the reasons why people do not often open about their mental health in the first few dates. What is important to remember is that our mental health is as important as our physical health.

Gen Z and young millennials in India, however, are becoming more aware and open about mental health conversations, especially post pandemic. Bumble’s recent study revealed an increasing trend of people prioritising their mental health in relationships as over half (52%) of single Indians surveyed said they would encourage someone they are dating to be open about their mental health. In fact, more women (57%) than men (51%) surveyed claim they will encourage their partner to be open about their mental health. In fact, the study also found that over three quarters (77%) of single Indians surveyed find people who go to therapy and are open to discussing and exploring therapy attractive.

Ruchika Kanwal, Clinical Psychologist, comments, “Certain phrases like “You’re being delusional?” , “You’re so hysterical”, “Don’t be so manic” are some of the mental health phrases that are casually used in our everyday conversations. We need to be more aware of ourselves, and such terms should not be used so casually. Using such phrases to describe a person when one has a difference in opinion or lapse in remembering an event or in a heated argument, is not justified as these are mental health conditions that might need expert diagnosis and intervention in certain cases, if required.”

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While it may not always be easy to have such a difficult yet important topic to discuss while dating, it is important to reflect on what values matter the most to you. Kanwal suggests you ask yourself if you would respect someone who can show their emotional vulnerability to you, if they do then they are opening to you and perhaps they will respect your truths too. She adds, “Talking about your mental health should not be the reason for someone to accept or reject you. It is essential to allow someone to see you as a complete person with your strengths and weaknesses, and make a compatible choice to be with you. “

Here are some ways to help you approach mental health when you are dating someone:

There will never be a right time to disclose and discuss, but there will always be a perfect time to share 

Whenever you feel ready and feel a connection, you may want to disclose that you are going through something and processing it. If the other person is willing to know more, you may share as much as you feel comfortable with. In addition, if they need information about your diagnosis, you may suggest articles and links to help educate them better rather than them looking up unreliable information on the Internet.

Going for therapy is a sign of commitment not weakness

Working on your mental health is a commitment you make to be better, and that itself is a sign of strength. In fact, more openly people talk about mental health, there is more acceptability for people reaching out to seek professional help.

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Be thankful

Expressing gratitude to your connections or partner for hearing you out patiently should not go unacknowledged. In case your partner talks about their mental health, remember to thank them for trusting you and opening to you. Whether you have problems with mental health or not, it is important to value and nurture your relationship.

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