By Joe Tuesday
Having recently come out of a relationship and feeling sorry for myself I decided it would be a good idea to see if the stuff I’m made out of is still somewhat sought after by the opposite sex. I’ve never been great at dating and forming relationships, my last relationship was the first long term relationship I’d had and I’d wanted it to last forever. Unfortunately, that was not the hand that fate dealt me and found myself here again, sat in front of my computer, with my phone to hand trying to decide what to do next.
I have a mental illness (the diagnosis seems to change from time to time, but it is generally schizo something or other) and the dating world for someone like me can be fraught with problems when disclosing this to potential partners. To be honest, I try to limit my disclosure to “I have a mental illness and had a breakdown a few years ago,” and perhaps expand on that if things go well down the line. I wouldn’t even go this far on most sites, e.g the Tinders, Bumbles and Pofs of this world.
A friend of mine suggested I look at nolongerlonely.com, a dating website exclusively for those who have mental illness. For me, disclosure would still be a bit iffy (even people with mental illness can be judgy), but it seemed to me to be a safer space than the usual sites. Mental illness is can be coupled with job problems and money worries so I was glad to see it is pretty cheap. The most expensive subscription is £50 for a lifetime on the site with extra help tailoring your profile. Much better value than any other site I’ve come across. At the moment the site does seem to be suffering a bit from take up. There could be more people on there and it is challenging to make connections. I have made a couple but they have both turned out to be “flaky” when it comes to messaging. This is by no means unusual in the dating world, it’s just it would be nice to have a few more options of suitors when coming to message.
The site is pretty easy to use and most people are fairly open about their mental illness in their profiles. I chose not to be, and this is okay too. Though I’d say I’d be happier disclosing after making a connection here than I would on your average site.
My search goes on and I’ve made a couple of connections from other sites that look like they’re rapidly approaching the friend zone and I’ve got to the WhatsApp stage with them. Nolongerlonely.com is the only dating site I’m still subscribed to and I log on every now and then to see if new suitors have signed up in my area.
Dating with a mental illness really is a bit of a minefield because of how harsh a lot of people are with their decision making. Even if it is not the case, I perceive that someone like me is first to the chopping block when it comes to decision making about potential life partners. There’s too much to think about. Profile’s state they’d just like someone “normal” or someone “who has their shit together,” and neither of those are really me, I’m just doing the best I can. That’s not to say that I can’t be either of those things some of the time, but I wouldn’t want to be all the time, I like the vulnerability and empathy that I have developed through my struggles. It has also helped my build resilience. I think perhaps others on nolongerlongerlonely.com may be like me, so perhaps one day I will find my diamond in the rough