Dr. Date: How do I deal with my mental health in a new relationship?

Explaining yourself and your own personal intricacies is difficult, and vulnerability is a virtue that comes with time and comfort.

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Dr. Date

Dear Dr. Date,

I’ve struggled with mental illness for a long time, and in my last relationship, I felt like it made things harder for me. I was constantly anxious. He always had to reassure me that everything was okay and that I wasn’t bothering him.

Now, I’m starting something new with someone else, and my mental health has inhibited me from being open with another person. I hate explaining how and when I get anxious or depressed, I hate dealing with the burden my partner has to carry, I hate feeling so overwhelmed that I cancel plans. I want to find love and be happy and care-free, but explaining my mental illness to someone else feels too heavy. What if they leave? What if they can’t handle it?

What do I do? I’d rather be alone and less burdensome than be with someone and a burden to them.

Sincerely,
Helpless


Dear Helpless,

I know starting over with someone else is a challenge. Explaining yourself and your own personal intricacies is difficult, and vulnerability is a virtue that comes with time and comfort. You aren’t alone in your mental health struggles, and you are also not the first person to feel uneasy about opening up to someone else.

I advise you to try to be as honest with this person as possible. Your choosing to be vulnerable and show this side of yourself to someone else will only help your relationship progress healthily.

They won’t leave. And if they do leave after you show more of yourself to them, good riddance! There’s no use in keeping someone around who doesn’t want to holistically support you on your best and worst days.

Explain to them your problems, have an open conversation about how and when these problems affect you the most and try to show them how they can support you while also reminding them that it isn’t their job to do that. Create an open and progressive dialogue and — most importantly — continue to be honest about where you’re at each day.

You can do this!

Sincerely,
Dr. Date

Are you romantically bewildered? Are you sexually consternated, and is your relationship status a little too complicated? Want advice from the Minnesota Daily’s in-house love doctor? Email Dr. Date at [email protected].