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Dear Gays: How to Date Gay Men With Depression, Anxiety or Other Mental Illnesses

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There's no secret that a large majority of gay men in the community either suffer from or know somebody battling with mental illness. A lot of these men struggle with depression all the way down to bipolar disorder, and more.

Mental illness is often undiagnosed in the community and those of us who have encountered other men struggling with it know first hand of these unfortunate disorders. Whether if we see the signs through substance abuse or other factors.

I've dated men in the past who were mentally ill. I myself have battled with depression throughout my life even up to this very day.

There's a lot of stigmas when it comes to mental illness. The fact so many black gay men are still to this day undiagnosed speaks volumes. The suicide rate in our community is forever growing due to a lot of these men not receiving the help and support they need.

At this point, we all are aware of the fact that many black gay men have endured a lot throughout their lives and they have not sought out help or been seen by a professional. Sometimes due to the lack of resources, denial or even other unknown reasons.

If you feel like you may be dealing with some internal issues, please seek help.

I wanted to write this article to help you guys who may be dating or even someday may possibly end up meeting a man who suffers from mental illness. I want to share some things to do and not to do when dating or while being in a relationship with these men.

Disclaimer I am not a licensed doctor, psychiatrist or therapist. I do not have all the answers and I can not give advice on anything regarding diagnosing mental illnesses. These are just my opinions based on my encounters with gay men of color who have suffered from some form of mental illness.

Please do not try to self diagnose yourself or anybody else without seeking out professional guidance and evaluation.

Take Things Slow!

First and foremost you have to take things slow! This is a very very very important piece of information. When a person is battling with mental illness, every day is a new day and sometimes it doesn't go as planned. You have to take things on a day to day basis. Some days they may be in a good place and other days they may want to push you away. Sometimes people with mental illness will be in and out of relationships for varies reasons.

When they want to take a break just give them the space that they need. A lot of guys will ask to go on a short hiatus to get themselves together. When things get too heavy they may want to step away to not take things out on you.

You need to have a lot of understanding and consideration when dealing with these men. Some of these men can be very fragile when it comes to dating cause they know how hard it can be for them.

Don't Be Judgmental

You can not be judgmental! I repeat you can not be judgmental while dating a man with a form of mental illness. There will be times when it gets tough for you. You can not judge them because dealing with mental illness comes with a lot of baggage. It's a very complicated situation for a lot of people until you find that balance. If you, not a compassionate person or open to understanding this person's condition then there's no need to stay with them.

Learn A lot And Do Your Research

You must do a lot of research and learning. You should also go in with your partner for their appointments, therapy, etc. Be engaged and apart of his journey. You may even start to feel deeper into his illness and disorder. Being with him helps him understand that he's not alone and won't deal with his struggles by himself.

Be Considerate And Sensitive Regarding Their Mental Illness

Arguments happen and sometimes words can be said and not taken back. But one thing you should consider not doing is using their mental illness(s) or mental disorder(s) against them.

It's not fair to your partner when you decide to lash out at him due to his internal issues and battles! regardless of what the situation is, you should be able to speak to them without bashing or belittling them. If they contribute to the argument then express how you feel the right way. Communication has to be strong at all times even if they don't know how to communicate well. You have to communicate cause dealing with men with mental illness(s) or mental disorder(s) requires a lot of communication!!!

Don't Lose Hope (Regardless How Hard Things Become!)

Dating a person or being madly in love with a guy that is mentally ill is sometimes a major struggle.

Depending on the particular disorder or illness your partner suffers and battles with you'll have to adjust a lot. Your life will never be the same in the sense of now you dealing with a person who struggles on many levels with their issues. You can't lose hope and give up on them. A lot of these men have given up on themselves and still hanging on by a string.

If you decide to put yourself in a relationship with a person who suffers from mental illness then you need to know what comes with that type of commitment. Don't sign up if you don't plan to stay through the good, bad and the ugly!

Be Supportive And Not Critical

One thing you have to do is be supportive of your partner. But you can not make them take the medication or do certain things. I know we feel like if we threaten to leave then maybe they'll straighten out. But the truth is pressuring them does nothing more than cause more strain on the relationship. Being supportive means you are with them every step of the way. An ex of mine refused to take his medication because it made him feel like a zombie. So we found other coping methods to deal with his condition and it worked. Sometimes the best option is just listening and also giving your advice in ways to better the situation somehow. It may not be the medication route but help them find ways to cope and manage their illness or disorder.

Do Not Enable Him

One thing about all of this is remembering not to enable him. You do not want to excuse your partner from ever doing the right thing for their mental health. You may tolerate a lot but you need to be firm and direct about the importance of their mental health. If you know this person isn't doing the right thing it may be best to end things. If they don't want to try methods outside of medication then they just don't care. And if their problems are becoming problems for the relationship and they're not open to alternative options of help then you may need to walk away. Cause enabling them will do more damage than good!

Dating somebody with mental illness isn't a bad thing. Yes, mental illness has its ups and downs but it's not impossible to love somebody who suffers from it. If you're with somebody who is mentally ill cherish them. Love them regardless and remain solid with them. These people deserve to be loved and their mental illness should never prevent them from experiencing true love.

it’s a vibe it’s a mood 😛😜


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