There’s nothing sexier than dating someone who is self-aware and has dealt with their own issues.
The dating pool can be a toxic mess – with people using the push-pull technique, ghosting you every other day, or just pretending to be a whole different person.
So, if you find someone who is open about the fact that they take their mental health seriously – well that is a major green flag.
Why, then, aren’t more of us comfortable bringing up therapy in the early stages of dating?
According to research by dating app Hinge, only 9% feel comfortable enough talking about therapy despite nearly all (97%) of Hinge users preferring to date someone who actively takes care of their mental wellbeing.
‘The last two years have been tough on most of us,’ ‘Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It can be scary sharing something so personal, but aligning on self-care priorities can strengthen the relationship in the long run.’
How to bring up therapy on a date
If the very first date doesn’t feel like the right time, that’s OK. But bringing it up early can be a really positive move.
‘There’s no set time or way to bring up therapy,’ says Logan.
‘I would suggest casually bringing it up in conversation, saying something along the lines of – “I have therapy today”, and then give your date the space to ask any questions.’
Or you could bring it up in a way that emphasises your commitment to self-growth.
Logan uses this example: ‘I started seeing a therapist during the pandemic, and it’s really helped me figure out what matters to me.’
‘But the way you share your self-care priorities with a potential partner is entirely up to you, and what makes you feel comfortable,’ Logan adds.
‘Therapy isn’t a turn off – it shows you take your mental health seriously.’
According to the data, 84% of UK Hinge singles would prefer to date someone who goes to therapy.
In fact, they are more likely to go on a second date with someone who mentions on the first that they see a therapist.
‘Caring about your mental health (and talking about it!) has gone from being an “oh-no” to a must-have,’ Logan adds.
However, he says, on a date you shouldn’t feel the need to rush a mental health chat.
‘The conversation can be a casual and comfortable one, instead of being a big reveal,’ he says. ‘Make room for them to ask questions if they’re curious. This topic might be new for them.’
To help with this process, Hinge has launched ‘Self-Care Prompts’ which aim to make it easier to discuss your mental health on the app early on. They are designed to help daters be vulnerable from the and find others who are willing to do the same.
‘Keep in mind, if they are the right person for you, they will accept you for who you are, including whatever mental health issues you’re tackling,’ says Logan.
‘It’s a part of you, but not something that defines you.’
How to date in a way that protects your mental health
Dating can be tricky if you have mental health issues. Meeting new people requires vulnerability, risk and openness – and there is always the potential for hurt.
That means it’s important to be proactive about protecting your mental health when you’re dating new people.
‘My top three tips for protecting your mental health while dating are being self aware, asking for what you want, and investing in a support system,’ says Logan.
Logan says self-awareness is critical.
‘Before you ask for what you want, you need to know what you want,’ he says.
‘The good news is 61% of Hinge daters say the pandemic has given them time to focus on themselves, and 47% are now being more honest about their feelings.’
Once you know what you want, Logan says you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it.
‘Seek out relationships that fit your personality, rather than the other way around,’ he says. ‘Asking for your needs to be met is a normal part of any healthy relationship.’
Finally, Logan suggests building a support system around you.
‘You can always do things by yourself, like trying a new workout routine, journaling about your dating journey, or limiting your social media use, but you also want to spend time asking others for help,’ he says.
‘Whether it’s finding a therapist, continuing to get mental health support, or investing in your community, make sure that you have others around you who are helping you thrive.’
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