With more and more busy professionals turning to online dating, many people are wondering about the likelihood of actually finding a worthwhile partner. They are also questioning what the online dating scene does to your mental health. Dating, in general, can be an experience filled with anxiety. Navigating dating with a mental illness also poses unique challenges that can add significant stress to an already stressful situation. In an age when it is easy to connect with people in dating pools who share your love of faith, like Christian Mingle, or who are of your preferred age range, such as Our Time, it should come as no surprise that there are dating sites for people who struggle with mental illness. Does that guarantee online dating success? What does this all mean for your mental health as you search for love online? If you're searching for a psychologist in Charlotte, NC, call Legacy Freedom today.
One of the major benefits to online dating is that it increases the number of people that you can interact with. The downside to this is that there is no initial in person contact. Without this contact, it is easy to stay within your comfort zone and prolong the avoidance of face to face contact. Being able to avoid the social aspect of dating, however, can further push you into an anxious state if you become concerned that you may not click with this person in real life or that they are taking a long time to respond to your messages. These worries can force those with anxiety into an elevated state of anxiousness. Using online dating can help those who have difficulty with conditions like social anxiety connect with people initially, however, many of the common ways that people relate and respond on a dating site or apps can aggravate existing mental health conditions.
Online dating can further increase feelings of depression. Avoidance and isolation are hallmarks of several mental illnesses, and online dating allows those who are depressed to connect with others while never having to leave the safety of their own isolation. Knowing that these challenges exist in the online dating world, experts agree that it is best to follow some guidelines:
- Go Slow - Decide to be present and enjoy the process of getting to know someone new. If you have difficulty with social anxiety, be upfront so that the person you are meeting isn't put off by any awkward behavior.
- Safety First - While physical safety is paramount, emotional safety is important as well. Keep your expectations reasonable and continually re-evaluate whether you are feeling happy or fulfilled. If the answer is no, you can walk away.
- Know What's Important - Have a clear idea of what you value and what you want. Settling for someone or changing your views to match theirs will not make for a healthy relationship where both of you feel appreciated.
- Take Time for Yourself - As tempting as it is to spend all your time with someone new, don't forget to take the time to manage your own needs. Self-care is important. Don't skip appointments or medications just to make a good impression.
Meeting someone new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be scary and aggravate existing mental health concerns. Ensure that your family, friends, and care providers know that you are beginning to consider dating. Not only do these people know you best, they can help you honestly evaluate whether you are ready to begin this process and help you decide if trying online dating really is for you.
If anxiety or depression is leaving you feeling lonely, call or click to connect with Legacy Freedom of Charlotte today!