Being Honest on Dating Apps About My Mental Illness

September 26, 2022 Mel Bender

Deciding What to Disclose About My Mental Illness on a Dating App

I've been on and off dating apps for many years. I joined a few of them again recently, and I've been struggling to decide how much to share about myself and my mental health, both on my profiles and in the messages I send.

I want to be honest with potential partners about who I am and what I'm looking for, but there are many things that I feel nervous about disclosing, including the following:

  • I have large gaps in my dating history, partly as a result of my ongoing mental and emotional instability.
  • I haven't been in a serious relationship in 10 years. (I did have a boyfriend who was the tender young age of 22 in 2017, but that was short-lived and was mostly sex dressed up as a relationship.)
  • In all of my 44 years, I've only had two romantic relationships that lasted longer than a year.

What would a young man I'm chatting with think if he knew these things about me (aside from recognizing that I'm clearly a cougar)? I suppose it depends on what he's looking for.

Someone looking for a serious relationship might be reluctant to take a chance on a person with a terrible track record in terms of the length and number of that person's past relationships. They might assume that person isn't able to commit to a relationship and isn't able to function well within one. It would be reasonable to say that I am one such person.

Looking at my past, there's every reason to believe that I'm not able to make a long-term commitment. There's also evidence to support my belief that I simply don't know how to function in romantic relationships.

What to Say on a Dating App About Mental Illness

Maybe the best way for me to tell someone on a dating app about my mental illness and dating history is to reframe them for myself first. Then, when I decide to share details about these things, I'll be able to provide some context at the same time:

  • I have gone long periods without dating, but that has taught me to be independent and enjoy my own company.
  • While I haven't had a serious relationship in recent years, I have dated casually, and there's nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed it, and it allowed me to have some companionship and intimacy while keeping a lot of time and space for myself.
  • Just because I've only had two serious romantic relationships doesn't mean I'll never have a third. That's something I want, and I'm taking steps to find, or at least make room for, in my life, for when it finds me.

I may have more mental health challenges than some people, but I'm resilient and proud of everything I've achieved. I may struggle to accept many things about myself, but I know I'm more than the sum of my weaknesses and shortcomings. I need to remember that if someone finds out about my mental illness and decides to reject me, they aren't someone I'd want in my life anyway.

APA Reference
Bender, M. (2022, September 26). Being Honest on Dating Apps About My Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Mel Bender

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