Mental Health
Exploring How Dating is Connected to Our Mental Health

Exploring How Dating is Connected to Our Mental Health

5 min read


Jareena Silva

Dating can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It can be a great way to meet new people, explore new opportunities, and build relationships. However, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety and can have an impact on our mental health. In this blog post, we will look at how dating and mental health are related, and explore ways to maintain your mental health while navigating the dating world.

What is dating? 

Many people might have slight differences in the way they define dating. But, we can probably all mostly agree that it’s an experience a person has when looking to engage in a romantic relationship at some level. 

Dating has been around since the beginning of time as an important part of human society. It is a way of connecting with someone, getting to know them, and potentially building a relationship. Dating can be a rollercoaster, as it involves taking risks and possibly getting hurt. 

How does dating affect our mental health? 

Dating can be a source of stress and anxiety, especially if it involves attempting to forge a meaningful connection with someone. Navigating the world of modern dating can be difficult, and it can have a profound impact on our mental health. 

Attachment Styles

There are 4 main attachment styles: anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. As we enter into new relationships, we may see the effects of our attachment styles come to surface. And, depending on the attachment style of the other person or people, it can cause conflict. 

Our attachment styles were most likely formed as a young child. Attachment styles developed in early childhood are based on the interactions between children and their parents. These same attachment styles can be used to explain the dynamics of romantic relationships in adulthood.

Anxious Attachment

People with an anxious attachment style are most fearful of being abandoned. When this fear is aroused, even in minor ways, they can become overwhelmed and respond by panicking. They may constantly worry that their partner doesn't love them and are very distraught when there is conflict in a relationship or when a partnership ends. 

Avoidant Attachment

Those with an avoidant attachment style may invest little emotion into a romantic relationship and find it difficult to express their feelings or thoughts. They also tend to prefer to handle conflict quickly, sometimes even outright ignoring it. These people may also have a very difficult time supporting their partner during times of high stress and can pull away. 

Disorganized Attachment

The disorganized attachment style is also known as the fearful-avoidant attachment style. People with this style tend to have experienced childhood trauma or neglect. And, as an adult, they may feel they do not deserve a healthy, loving relationship or closeness with other people in general. 

Secure Attachment

People with a secure attachment style tend to have long-term healthy relationships. They can typically share their emotions and feelings with other people easily. During times of conflict, they are able to handle it with confidence and are open to conflict resolution. Additionally, those with secure attachment usually have good self-esteem. 

Understanding your attachment style and that of your partner(s) can be helpful in navigating your dating life and romantic relationships. There are different ways to navigate attachment styles. For example, journaling can help you identify patterns in your behaviors and thoughts. It can also help you slow down and process your emotions. 

When conflict happens in your relationship, consider asking yourself the following questions

  • What am I feeling?
  • Is that a feeling based in the past, or in the present?
  • If it is based in my past, why? What is my body remembering?
  • What would a response based in my attachment history sound like?
  • What would a response based on solely the present dynamic sound like?
  • How are these different, and which is appropriate?

If you're curious about you or your partner's attachment style and want to explore more about how to navigate this in healthy way, take our 5-minute questionnaire to share your preferences and get matched with up to 3 providers. You can schedule a free phone consultation as early as today!

How can I talk to my partner about my mental health? 

Talking about your mental health in a relationship can increase trust, provide a safe space, and create an open dialogue on your feelings and emotions. Being able to honestly and comfortably talk about your mental health can hopefully lead to all those involved feeling like they can be their authentic selves in the relationship. 

When considering bringing up your mental health, treat it with the same level of importance as your physical health. This can help destigmatize talking about mental health and hopefully lead to a more comfortable conversation. 

Set Boundaries

Before going into the conversation, take a moment to think about your boundaries. What do you want to share and what things might you not feel comfortable sharing? Boundaries can also be how long you’d like the conversation to be, whether you want to talk or listen more, and the direction of the conversation. 

Prepare Beforehand

You may find it helpful to decide when is the most appropriate time to have this conversation. Maybe it might not be right after work when you’re feeling stressed, but it can be on the weekend when there aren’t other obligations that either of you have to attend to. 

Try writing down a few talking points you want to make sure you bring up. If you are talking about a specific mental health condition, jot down a few facts or resources you can offer them in order for them to better understand what you’re experiencing. 

Be Patient

The other person may be completely unfamiliar with some of the lived experiences or feelings you have. Therefore, be patient with them and understand that it may take them time to see things from a different lens. As mentioned before, it might be helpful to have a few examples, facts, or resources where they can learn more about the topics you bring up. 

If you're looking for guidance on how to have difficult conversations with your partner or any loved one, take our 5-minute questionnaire to share your preferences and get matched with up to 3 providers. You can schedule a free phone consultation as early as today!

How can therapy help with my dating life? 

In general, therapy can help with issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. It can also help with managing stress, improving relationships, and creating a sense of wellbeing. Going to therapy can provide an opportunity to talk with a professional about your issues without fear of judgment or criticism. It can also help to provide clarity and insight into your situation and can help you to develop strategies for dealing with difficult situations. Schedule a free consultation with a therapist or coach today.

Understand your Attachment Style

Studies have found that our first relationships in life can often have a significant influence on how we interact with partners in adulthood, though we may not be aware of it. Therefore, therapists who focus on psychodynamic, relational, and schema-focused therapy can be beneficial in helping to uncover and understand these patterns. Doing so can be key in helping to break the cycle of continually dating the same type of partner that is not conducive to a healthy and successful relationship.

Process Emotions

The therapeutic relationship provides a secure, reliable environment for people to share their feelings and emotions and to explore them in more depth. In our everyday lives, we often don't reveal our true feelings, even to those that we trust the most. This is because we often express our emotions in ways that we have been taught. In therapy, people can experiment with emotions they may not have known how to express before, or which they may have felt too inhibited to say.

Improve your Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can be the result of past and present events, relationships, or behaviors. By working with a therapist, you can gain insight into the source of your insecurities, and how it has been impacting your life. This can lead to difficulty in setting boundaries, expressing yourself, and advocating for your own needs. Whenever you recognize your own black and white thinking, you can consciously address it and prioritize your own wants and needs.

If you’re looking to start therapy to address any concerns with your dating life, share your preferences in our brief 5-minute questionnaire. We will then send you up to three personalized matches based on your preferences that are important to you. You can start working with a therapist or coach today!

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About the author

Jareena is MyWellbeing's Community Manager and is dedicated to supporting MyWellbeing's providers in order for them to offer the best possible care for you. Jareena is a mental health advocate and aims to identify ways to destigmatize discussions around mental health and how to make care more accessible.

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