Dating is Hard, Mental Health Stigma Can Make it Harder

Men and women may approach telling their partner differently.

10.18.16
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Dating and relationships are super easy, a legit breeze. That’s why you’ll be thrilled to learn that according to a new study by Psych Guides, there is another thing you could be doing all wrong: not revealing your mental health diagnosis early enough.

Have you ever encountered or mulled this particular threshold? Of the 2,000 respondents in the study, 64% reported suffering from a mental illness (44% of which fell under the category of anxiety or depression), which means more than half of us have a new timeline to consider alongside other important stuff like when we DTR (define the relationship) or reveal our less clinical diagnoses (which we’ve discussed before).

The study revealed something else: There is a divide among genders in how they approach the topic. Of those surveyed, 73.5% of women in relationships said their partner was aware of their mental illness, versus 52% of men. That’s a sizable difference. And the most common timeline for everyone was between one and six months.

It’s interesting, no? The numbers (which, in an idealized version of society, would be 100% because there is nothing to be ashamed of) speak to a few different social stigmas — mental illness in general and emotional vulnerability for men. On the flip side, when men did reveal their mental illness to a partner, they felt more supported than women. “Women overall appeared to be less likely than men to be be supported by partners when dealing with mental health conditions compared to men,” explained Pysch Guides. “This may show that women have a slightly greater willingness to help their partners in coping with mental health issues than men are to support their partners.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I’m curious to hear about your experiences. How has mental health played a role in your relationships, past or current? Have you discussed it early on? Waited? Kept it a secret?

Photo via iStock.

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