Mental illness can affect numerous aspects of your life, including your relationships. In fact, about one in five Americans will experience a mental health disorder, and being aware of the signs that could indicate that you are struggling can make a significant difference. Left untreated, mental illnesses can easily disrupt or even damage your relationships with men
But, how would you know if you have a mental illness? Since May is Mental Health Awareness month and I am a psychiatrist, let me tell you what to look for.
Different illnesses have different symptoms, and each individual’s case is unique, so this is NOT meant to diagnose any condition. If you are struggling with your mental health, then I strongly advise you to look for specialized help.
My aim here is to inform you that your relationship problems might warrant further evaluation. If you are experiencing similar issues in other areas of your life, then getting evaluated is strongly recommended. Mental illness can affect you socially, but it can also affect your occupation and can even disable you to the point that you cannot work or get a job.
Whether you could have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, childhood trauma, or some other condition, you might have just mild symptoms or they could be more severe and affect other areas of your life. If several of these problems apply to you and you have similar issues in other areas of your life, seriously consider getting the help you need.
Here are the 7 ways that mental illness can disrupt your relationships with men:
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #1: Self-Criticism
Being too self-critical is your enemy when it comes to dating and relating to men. Sure, you can improve yourself; we all can. But when you are focused on the negative about yourself, you can easily forget what you have to offer. You can lose sight of the most important goal: how to get the relationship you want.
You may tell yourself the problem is that you have no confidence. I beg to disagree: the problem is that you need to be kinder to yourself.
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #2: Poor Decisions
If you find yourself making bad decisions or having trouble making decisions, you may have a problem and need some help. Whether you later regret your choices, or you notice that you overlooked some big red flags, you may have trouble with impulsivity or protecting yourself. Do you always make excuses for men? Do you tend to ignore red flags? It might be hard for you to advocate for yourself.
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #3: Don’t Appreciate Men
If you are having trouble enjoying things, it can be hard to be happy about the nice things a man does for you. In extreme cases, you might want to isolate yourself and avoid dating or even seeing your partner. It could feel very exhausting and hard to put in the effort to make a relationship work.
When your anxiety level is high, you could be more anxious about what he does for you or whether you should even accept a date.
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #4: Overreacting
A man is likely to make a mistake or say or do something dumb or careless. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. If it’s something minor, ideally you’d want him to try and make it up to you. When you overreact, it might be hard to have that perspective. Something minor might seem unforgivable or it might overly scare you about how he might hurt you.
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #5: No Communication
In dating and relationships, it makes life easier if you can set boundaries and say “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want. You might not say those exact words, but you find an appropriate way to set limits. If he’s late for your date, you could say with a big smile, “You’re lucky I’m still here. I was just about to take off.”
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #6: Not Listening to Yourself
We all have instincts and intuition when it comes to dating and relationships. When you are preoccupied with other thoughts or completely distracted, it can make it harder for you to figure out how you feel or what you think about a tricky relationship situation. How are you going to figure out how to handle the situation if you can’t tune in to your inner guide?
Mental Illness Hurts Your Relationships with Men Way #7: You Can’t Let Go
When you have some mental problems, they can exaggerate any fear of being alone. That can make it much more difficult to leave a relationship that isn’t working for you. There is much more comfort in what feels familiar, so staying put rather than causing more stress always feels safer.
It also might be harder for you to let go of complaints or grievances. How can you “forgive and forget” if you can’t let go?
If any of these sounds like you and these problems are affecting your life, you might want to consider whether you have a treatable condition and should get a consultation with your doctor or mental health professional. Getting treatment could greatly improve your relationships and your life.