Dating in 2018 and Having a Mental Illness: 8 Tips & Tricks to Avoid Getting Hurt

Let me begin by saying I am no man expert. In fact, I’m not very good with men (despite having my first boyfriend in Grade 4 – we held hands). I’m terrible at the “game.” Usually, my past boyfriends have started out from friendships. BUT what I do know is mental illness, especially how it interacts with dating. It’s a new world of dating out there but even if you do have a mental illness you deserve love too! That being said, you really need to go out there with a plan, a plan to protect yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually otherwise this new dating game can really derail you! And that’s no fun. Here are some tips and tricks I think will help you before you dive into the crazy world that is dating in 2018.

First, let’s talk about the reality of dating in 2018. Due to technology, people are a bit more disposable (that includes you! No matter how special you think you are). People have hundreds of options literally at their fingertips and for better or worse you can’t necessarily get emotionally involved. Men may not be ready for a relationship or want one, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to message you or sleep with you. You can’t really take what men say to heart.

Timing is also a huge factor – with everyone having access to so many people not a lot of people are doing the self-reflection needed to perhaps take a break and are instead pursuing what they can get – short term pleasure. Technology can also make you feel closer faster, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can make you feel safe to let your emotions grow, only to end in heartbreak. And then there is ghosting. Ghosting was really always a thing but instead of ignoring their messages you simply just didn’t call back. Technology now makes that rejection more tangible in a sense (seeing that unread message or seeing them active on social media but ignoring you) and you know he’s likely off to his other choices and you just didn’t make the cut. For all these reasons your emotions can really be toyed with and you need to be prepared.

Make sure you’re strong and in a good place. Looking for reassurance? Support? Someone to help you get your rut? Someone to essentially rescue you? Tell you that you is kind, smart and important? Dating is not the answer. A man will not complete you or save you and if he does this might cause problems down the line. Take the time alone to work on yourself and your mental health. You should never be looking for happiness in a relationship. It’s also important to have a thick skin with the nature of dating in 2018. You cannot go out there being vulnerable.

Know your weaknesses. No one is perfect and we all have our relationship/dating faux pas. For me, I tend to fall too quickly. I’m pretty much that excited puppy dog that wants to play with everyone. As you can imagine that can be a horrible mindset in today’s dating climate. Acknowledge your weaknesses and make sure you’re taking them into account, especially if they can make you susceptible to heartbreak.

Decide what you want. Do this even before you get on the apps or give out your number in person. Assess your situation. Are you looking for fun (totally okay!) or a serious boyfriend? This will cut out a lot of the confusion and really help you sort out your emotions and help you figure out what’s acceptable. It will also help you avoid getting hurt. Personally, I would not recommend dating apps if you are looking for something more serious, try the dating websites for men who are looking for relationships.

Be Realistic. Men are going to ghost. This is the reality. But before you cry tears of loss, stop to assess. Did you really like him that much? Did you even know him that well? Did you have anything in common? Were you attracted to him really or the idea of him? Were there signs it wasn’t going to work anyway? (He might be gay, married, racist, too young, too old, looking for a VISA, of another religion, on the rebound etc. – I’ve been in most of these situations DM me for details) I think there is also a tendency with depression, anxiety and OCD to only see certain facts. It can be overwhelming at times, why are all these men playing games? But have you done any rejection yourself? Look at the entire picture of your dating journey and all the positives and negatives. Learn your lessons and accept it all as an experience.

Listen to what he is saying. There’s a scene in “How to be Single” where the charming womanizing bartender swears you can be honest with a woman and she still won’t hear you. He then walks around the bar to women he’s sleeping with and says things straight up to them such as “I’m really not interested and will never settle down with you.” The women giggle in response and seem oblivious to what he’s saying. Now, it wont’ always be this obvious but a man often drops hints to what he’s looking for. If he’s asking what you think of casual dating or isn’t asking for your number or not setting an actual date to see you – he’s probably not that interested. Listen to what he’s getting at and act accordingly.

Try to look at how you will feel in hindsight. This point is really just about sex. How will you feel about it afterwards, especially if he ghosts? Think twice. Is this the kind of guy who might ghost after sex? Will it devastate you if he bounces? If it will, don’t give up the goods.

Don’t take things personally. This is one I definitely struggle with, especially with my mental health issues. Your thoughts can really spiral out of control, what’s wrong with me? Why didn’t he like me? Am I not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough? Firstly, you have to accept not every guy is going to like you (and you’re not going to like all of them! There is power in realizing that), secondly it’s not always you. Maybe it’s not the right time for him and even he doesn’t know it. Maybe you truly just aren’t a good match, better you find that out sooner than later. Again, don’t take things to heart and you should be fine.

Have fun (Okay, 9 Tips & Tricks). Though dating in 2018 can be daunting, take breaks and enjoy yourself! Delete the apps for a period if you have to and come back to it. It’s also a way to find out what you want in a partner and learn about yourself. You’ll only be single for so long (God willing) so create memories, have jokes and get stories you can tell your children (or warn them about). In the meantime, live your life, your best life, in between these men and put your mental health first! I promise when you do find the one, it will be easy. There will be no questioning, no ghosting and no ambiguity. And the more mentally healthy you are when he comes along, the better!

A Warning: Some men, even though it may have ended badly, will want to stick around as “friends” even some as “friends with benefits” – I kid you not. It is a tempting situation but you really have to ask yourself who this benefits. Is this this a real friendship? Does he add value to your life? Will this deter you from finding the right one? Is he just keeping you around as a spare? Is it contributing to your mental health? Do what is best for you and only that.

A great rule if you’re feeling depressed about a dating situation gone wrong: The 5×5 Rule – if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes upset by it. Trust me when I say you won’t think about most of these guys in 6 months to a year, especially if you keep dating. They will just become a story. Honestly, I give them all nicknames (The Prince, Barrie, Persia etc.), it helps with giving them less value and more hilarity/lesson learned over time.

Some great Instagram accounts that post about dating to give you a chuckle and let you know you’re not alone: @talkthirtytome @justmikethepoet @stevenfurtick

WatchHe’s Just Not That Into You” for dating hilarity and some more hard dating advice. I actually had to re-watch recently to give myself a refresher. I own it on DVD.

Happy Dating! 

How I got a Insta-boyfriend, Scammed and then Faded On Part 1

*I have many draft posts I never got around to publishing, this is quite old. April 2017. Still a funny read though. 

I don’t know how I didn’t see this coming. I can usually spot a sketchy guy from far away. I’m out of practice. I fell in love (8 years ago). The game’s changed. Men are different. Hook up apps have changed the game.

He was doing everything I wanted, unlike all the other, as my friend calls it, fuckboys, I had dealt with. The things he was saying to me, about me. The things he was telling his friends and family. I was finally being seen as the catch I thought I was!

After about a month (maybe less) of dating, he insisted I travel with him to Ottawa to attend his close cousin’s 30th birthday. Now being a sensible woman, I hesitated. Were we really ready for a weekend trip away together? With all his romantic speak, I was soon convinced it “felt right” and we should go ahead. Long story short, his credit card was rejected at the hotel and low and behold I had to pay for us. I didn’t think much of it as he assured me he would transfer the money to me once he fixed whatever was happening with his card. I also assumed the hotel wouldn’t charge my card until the end of the trip and we would have solved his credit card issue by then. What happened next I blame on myself, it was naive and stupid quite frankly. I paid for a few of our meals as my “contribution” to the trip, thinking he would pay me back for the hotel.

Overall, the trip was entertaining and fun (except for one major issue, to be discussed in Part II). He was a fun and high energy guy, there was no denying that. When we returned from the trip he started a new job and soon began to pull away. Once I realized he was *fading (oppose to straight up ghosting) I started to ask for my money. I even sent him my email address for an e-transfer and told him it was okay if he didn’t want to date anymore but I would like my money back. He left my WhatsApp messages unread.

How did I not see this coming? There were a couple of odd situations. He would call and text excessively if I wasn’t answering within an hour. And really who goes that fast (other than people in love and there were no “I love yous”)? Sociopaths who take your money, that’s who.

My therapist asked if I was willing to get a lawyer and I can just see me in small claims court a la Judge Judy asking for my $240 back. How did my life turn into Judge Judy?

It wasn’t the money that was the issue. It was the principle. This was a grown 36 year old man. I found myself questioning things, does he even really owe me the money, since he paid for all those other dates? Was this him calling it even?

All I know is I have two weddings, two baby showers and a move coming up and I want my money.

Never again.

*By fading I mean he wasn’t treating me the same, wasn’t messaging frequently like he had previously, leaving messages unread for very long periods etc.

What are your worst/most humorous dating stories?

Is 30 Too Old to Date Casually?

A hot topic among my girlfriends seems to be should I be casually dating someone and how long can it go on for?

Now the guy I’m “seeing,” who I met on Tinder, I’m pretty sure will never marry me. Ever. He’s still in his twenties and a few years younger (which is another story in of itself as this seems to be a very special ‘last hurrah’ time in a man’s life). A lot of my friends seem concerned. Am I wasting my time? Will I get hurt?

With my supposed biological clock ticking (which my journalist girlfriend pointed out is based on old science) and my youthful looks withering, should I only date men that are older and serious about our future? Can’t a girl just have fun, well into her thirties?

Spoiled, Dating and Depression – Part III

There are so many angles I want to examine this from.

  1. From the dating perspective, part of me feels I made a big mistake giving the second guy (Uber guy) an ultimatum. As my brother-in-law informed me, no one likes an ultimatum –no one, not your family, friends or significant others. Keep them to yourself. It’s funny because I didn’t necessarily view it as one during the time. I thought it was a playful way (this is when I thought he’d choose properly and not make me leave) of getting what I wanted essentially. But I was wrong, he didn’t like me enough to Uber me home apparently and it backfired. It ended something fun.
  2. From the point of view of examining myself mainly how self-assured and self-reliant I am – it raises some good issues. Should I have been looking to these men to find my way home? In hindsight, no. We weren’t officially bf/gf and as a grown woman I should have planned ahead.
  3. When looking at my self-esteem and mental health, I think lord help me, is there a part of me that relies too much on men to be my caregiver on some level. My boyfriends have always taken good care of me, driving me home, cooking dinner etc. Maybe it’s time I start to take care of myself, no relying on men. At 30 years old, I should be more self-reliant, especially when going out on dates. More self-reliance equals greater self-esteem, which equals less depression. The second situation was tough for me, I really liked the guy and the following week was an emotional challenge. I can’t help but think, if I took control of these situations in the first place I would be more confident and less affected by these men and their choices.

Spoiled, Dating and Depressed Part II

Spoiled, Dating and Depressed

I wrote a post last week about my latest dating adventure and I mention that a certain situation (the man not making sure I had a means to get home) has happened to me before. This is that first situation.

We went to a movie that ended at about 8pm. And decided to walk to his place which was maybe a 20 minute walk (and far from the subway). We ate leftovers at his place, snuggled to a game and at about 11 o’clock I asked him if he was going to drive me home (which was 30-40 mins away). Now I’m not a total nut/diva, he had driven me home before from his place so it wasn’t that far-fetched, not at all actually.

And then he said it “I’m too tired to drive.” Pardon? He just kind of nuzzled into me further. Like guy, this isn’t a burrow. I thought maybe he was joking so I asked again. Nope, he was serious. Or sleepover he said. So I could do the walk of shame to my job the next day in the same clothes? Was he insane?

When I realized he was serious, I started getting ready to leave. The subway was too far away so I opted to take a taxi (a $62 ride, I still have the receipt). I was a grown woman who’d get herself home.

So I’m ready to go and homeboy puts on a hoodie and grabs his keys. For a moment I thought he was going to drive me and I was about to turn my sweet side back on…before I realized he was just going to walk me to the cab at the front of his building.

He hugs and kisses me goodbye before I jump into the taxi. And I will never forget the look on his face as I sped away in that taxi. A lost puppy is what he looked like.

He later messaged me that night with a sincere (as one can get over text) apology and that he’d make it up to me. I ghosted on him and never replied.

The End.

I wanted to write this post because I mentioned the story in a recent post. To follow I will write my thoughts (then and now) about these dating scenarios. I’ll also discuss how this relates to my depression.

Part I to this article When a Man Doesn’t Drive You Home. A Dealbreaker? Hell Yes

When a man doesn’t drive you home. A dealbreaker? Hell yes!

Now this has happened twice to me in the last year. But even the second time I feel hella good doing it/not standing for it. And that is odd for me because sometimes I can get down on myself instead.

I am just too old for this foolishness.

After meeting a suitor on Tinder (which should have been my first warning), we had 5 “dates” and I use the word loosely because it was more like we’d end up back at his place to fool around. We went to an actual restaurant twice out of the 5 times. Now by the 5th time something was sort of bothering me. Usually when I date men (or even my friends) they make sure I get home safely. I was staying late at his place and commuting home (he did order an Uber to the subway station, probably like 6-8 bucks I’m guessing, note that it  took me about another 40-45 minutes to get home). So I got cheeky and gave him a…for lack of a better word, ultimatum. I said I could a) sleepover b) go home earlier (which would be soon) or c) he could Uber me home.

You should have seen his face when I said the last option. It was scrunched up like “nah nah, like what”? But in my mind I was like “Do you know who I am!? I am a quality woman, one you make sure gets home safely.” Every woman period should get that respect. Period.

I should have scrunched my face up back at him, “that’s not really how things go in my life.”

I ended up leaving after a bit of cuddling (I love to cuddle) and finding my own way home. He acted sad when I said I was going to leave but it was his choice and that’s what he chose! Cry me a river.

I don’t know. Am I being old school? Is it too much to ask that I make it home safely? That I’m not taking the bus at all hours of the night? It’s 2016. Should I be making my own way home? Am I far reaching? Should I not be expecting this from men? Find your own way home? Is this it? Is chivalry dead?

My therapist is going to die when I tell her it’s happened again! But she’ll be proud I shut it down!

Insanity I tell you insanity! It’s real in these streets.

You Should Date An Illiterate Girl

How clever and beautifully written. Out of all the nonsense on the Internet this is worth your five minutes.

Thought Catalog

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into…

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