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! 

Do I hate my ex-fiancé?

It’s been 2 years and 8 months since the big break up and I find myself asking, do I hate my ex-fiancé? How do I now feel about him and what he did? It’s a weird feeling I get when I think about this. I kind of awkwardly chuckle to myself. In my mature moments, I think “all is fair in love and war” right? He didn’t love me anymore, so he broke it off. Fair, no? But on the flip side, did he have to propose eight months earlier? No. Did he have to cut things off dryly (would not come home and see me the night of, after he basically broke it to me over the phone)? Those things I would say were unfair, he could have done it with some more finesse but I guess he was hurting too.

So do I hate him? Sigh. No. Hate is a strong word. Can you really ever hate someone you once loved and imagined your life with?

I will say though, that I have grown. I have grown spiritually and emotionally. I am a different woman now. I handle my finances better, I have an amazing job and I have even deeper relationships with my girlfriends/tribe and family (who both went above and beyond their support for me). I believe in myself, my merits, my smarts, my importance. Could all those things have happened while I was still with him? I don’t know. But to be on the optimistic side I will be thankful for those things. Will I ever thank him? Not today.

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?

A Jilted Bride Update

It’s been one year, four months and thirteen days since he broke it off and I’m still reeling. Not on the bedroom floor crying (anymore) – thank God – just obsessively thinking about him and his new girlfriend/lady in his life (I’m not sure what she really is and I’m too scared to ask). To be fair I was doing tremendously well until my living situation became out of control and family drama ensued. And just the mere tearing down of my defenses left me emotionally vulnerable. Everything feels so fresh. Our last words, last discussion, the entire freaking relationship really. I keep getting flashes of all the laughter, kisses and embraces. Obviously, that’s not all it was, there were dark times, but that’s all my frigging mind can all of a sudden recollect.

It only makes sense though, that in harder times I’m going to miss him. He’s going to seem like the only one that can solve my issues and help me cope. Now, I would love to argue that it’s the truth and he would make things go poof but for my own survival and sense of self I have to be reasonable. I have to remember, things will change, things will alleviate (without him) and I won’t feel as desperate.

And I think it’s the same for depression. In dire times, you have to keep reminding yourself that things will change. No matter the situation, things will change and you can bounce back to where you were. Like any struggle, there are going to be relapses.

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.

In the End

No matter what seems to happen, in the end I’m alright. Now it may not seem that way to me when I’m going through hard times but I have to keep reminding myself that in the end I’ll survive. It’s one thing that I always seem to lose sight of, despite the mounting evidence. And even if I think this is finally it, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, I have to have faith in myself. So through this break up, no matter how bleak it seems, I have to keep telling myself I’ll be okay.

How Fast a Man Can Change

This has more to do with my breakup than my depression but I thought I’d throw it out there. Now I’ve only had two major breakups in my life and I can’t help but notice how fast a man can change. To begin with, both men were naturally very kind and caring individuals so it came as even more of a shock when they pulled a 180 after we broke up. The special treatment, the attention and the patience, all vanished. Okay, so you may be saying to yourself “no sh*t, of course it’s all gone, you broke up!” but where did it go? And how did it disappear so fast? Is this a coping mechanism men use? Or is it just the way they were built?

Is Your Father the Only Man You Can Trust?

Okay, I know there are whack Dads out there. Like wiggity whack. But my Dad isn’t one of them. He’s dedicated his life to his children and they’ve always come first.

Newly single at 30, I’ve moved back home and he’s still dedicated as ever. Now don’t get it wrong, he can be imperfect at times. (i.e. When I’m crying and he just doesn’t know what to do. Hugging me would be a start but that’s another story).

I’ve always found myself with men that remind me of my father. And I’ve always thought that was a sign in a way. Especially with my ex fiancé. His dedication to me reminded me of my father’s. But here I am alone. And I gotta ask is my father the only man I can truly trust? I know that sounds a bit extreme but what am I left to think? He’s always happy to see me, never gives up on me and no matter what I’ve been through in life, ups and downs, life choices he might not agree with… He’s remained there with love in his heart.

Is that the way it’s supposed to be though? With divorce rates so high, should I ever even compare the two “trusts” in the first place?

A Jilted Bride, 30 and Depressed

ID-10079751I wish I had wrote this sooner. So much has happened between my original post and now.  Everything feels like simply a memory, which it is, but you know what I mean!

My first post was optimistic I think but things have definitely been up and down since then.

I had to do a lot of firsts without him. First thanksgiving dinner, first birthday and now soon it’ll be first Christmas. These were/are not fun times.

I’ve hit some serious lows. Bawling by myself in my room. Sometimes on the bedroom floor. Sometimes for hours. I don’t know what it is about crying on the floor that makes it more, for lack of a better word, dramatic. It’s like that’s how sad I am, I physically have to be on the floor. The lowest I can get. But with that logic I should be outside on the lawn or in a well somewhere bawling (LOL). But yes for everybody’s sake I kept it to the bedroom floor. I’ve cried on the train home, I’ve cried in the car with my Dad. Thank God I never cried at work. Haven’t done that in years! (Besides I learned not do l to do that when I read If You Have To Cry Go Outside). There have been some major moments. I think this is the longest period of consistent sadness I’ve ever had in my life.

I’ve had a lot of heaviness in my chest. Not a pain but a heavy feeling. I don’t want to forget that, how it feels.

I’m still in shock and haven’t fully excepted it. Even if it’s been eight months. Some days I just experience this befuddlement. Like what? How? Who? Did that really happen?

And to be honest there’s been a lot of suicidal feelings and thoughts. I’d say the most I’ve ever had in a given time period. Clearly that did not come to fruition. (I’ll write more on that later). Sounds pretty dramatic, especially over a man. That being said, it was nearly six years of my life. We lived together. Had a dog. Planned a future together.

My whole life has changed. I live at home now with my father which is a story within itself. He pretty much just doesn’t know what to do with a crying 30 year old daughter (aw yes I also turned 30, more on that later).

I’m not really sure what to say at this point. I’m still going through the journey. I will say this though. My CBT worked during the first couple months, then after that when I stopped distracting myself and the realness of my situation was fully realized, I didn’t have the mind power to deal. My CBT progress went straight out of the window, particularly with new thoughts of blaming myself for the break up. I couldn’t (and can’t) stop ruminating on the negative thoughts. “If I had done this or that,” “If I had cooked and cleaned more,” “If I had played that stupid game he was always bugging me about.” The thoughts just spiral out of control, leaving me upset. But the reality is the break up was much more complicated than that and that is what I am working on now. Looking at it realistically.

Read more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in my first post A Jilted Bride, 29 and Depressed

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