Dating and Mental Health 2: is it fair for me to date someone when I’m such a mess?

Here’s a question I have often asked myself, both while single and while actually dating people. It has prompted me to break up with people more than once, and I’ve actually dated someone else who struggled with mental health issues who broke up with me because he just felt like he needed to focus on recovery.

I mean, I’m on dating sites. Halfheartedly, admittedly, and not really making any real effort to find anyone. I spoke to 2 guys last month (they messaged me first) who both seemed really interested, really keen. And I just kind of… fell off the radar and stopped messaging them. Some stuff happened and I just decided that maybe it’s better not to bother. My ‘do not exist’ injunction corrects – maybe it’s better that you don’t inflict your pitiful existence on other people.

Alas – a guy matched with me on Tinder the other day. He’s cute, his bio actually has some information on it and he seems pretty genuine and like he’s actually looking for something more than a hook-up. I break the habit of a lifetime and I message him first. It takes me longer than I’m proud to admit to drum up the courage to do so.

But anyway, it’s done and we’re talking and he wants to meet and I’m consumed with guilt. He clearly thinks I’m awesome. He’s really excited about it. I feel like a fraud, because I think I’m rubbish. I went on a date with someone once and pretty much laid all my issues on the table from the get-go, in some weird kind of self-sabotaging test. Like, are you ready for this? For ALL of it? Are you SURE?

But this time I haven’t spoken about my mental health at all, not even once. And I feel dishonest for it. But he’s a relative stranger, I don’t owe him my entire medical history, do I? I wouldn’t expect his. My therapist suggested that perhaps I’m sabotaging my attempts at relationships because I don’t think I’m capable of having a successful one. I look for reasons for it not to work and then when it inevitably fails, I’ve proved myself right.

So I’m trying really hard to be aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions, and where possible… if I spot a self-sabotaging one I’m trying to find an alternative. It’s just really difficult when these damning and very destructive thoughts are so frequent and invasive.

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