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September 15

Disordered dating?

Filed under: issues,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:42 am

We use a lot of offhand shorthand about being “crazy” for someone or, on a not so good day, about a “psycho” ex. But figures of speech aside, what — as Jezebel (and, earlier, BG) have asked — is it like to date while you yourself are struggling with actual mental health issues? (Related: or with autism?) Sheesh. Obvious but necessary thing to say: Dating is hard enough when you don’t have (say) an eating disorder. You know? What do you do on dates when just the thought of just “grabbing a bite” is a source of unbearable stress? When (as with disability issues) do you disclose: soon enough to be honest, but not so early that you scare them off? How do you even get out there in the first place when — as one woman interviewed told Jezebel — you walk around with “this core self-belief that, basically, [you] suck”? Read the whole piece for some insight and perspective, but perhaps the key message therein is this (from Dr. Sarah Ravin):

Choose a partner who brings you joy and pleasure and fun. Try to view dating as an opportunity to grow emotionally, meet new people, practice new skills, and take healthy risks. If dating seems very stressful or boring or anxiety-provoking, you’re either not ready to date yet or you’re dating the wrong person.

“Sounds,” as Jezebel notes, “like good advice for anyone.”

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June 11

Reason #2347 why BG is co-ed

Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:33 am

A study at Wake Forest University of more than 1000 unmarried young adults ages 18-23 has found that the emotional roller coaster of romance has an even greater effect on the mental health of men than of women. “Surprisingly, we found young men are more reactive to the quality of ongoing relationships,” said sociology prof Robin Simon, who found that men experience both greater stress when things are rocky and greater “emotional benefits” when things are rocking.

“Surprising?” Maybe, but only against strong, silent stereotype. For one thing (as Simon notes), men are more likely to rely on their galpals as their primary source of intimacy; gals, meanwhile, have their own galpals.

Simon also notes that (paraphrase) “strain in a current romantic relationship may also be associated with poor emotional well-being because it threatens young men’s identity and feelings of self-worth.” While men are more affected by the quality of an existing relationship, women are more affected by whether they’re in a relationship or not. From a summary: “So, young women are more likely to experience depression when the relationship ends or benefit more by simply being in a relationship.”

What this says to BG:
1. These results jibe with the letters we get/got.

2. Chicken vs. egg/nature vs. nurture? These results might do away with some stereotypes, but to what degree are the findings caused by stereotypes — or at least cultural assumptions, proclivities, etc. — to begin with? That is:

(a) women are “supposed” to be the emotional CEOs of relationships; are young men not raised with the same tools to manage them?

(b) Women, arguably more than men, get the message that they’re “supposed” to be in a relationship, no matter what; this, at least as much as internal factors, could explain why the study found breakups leaving women more bereft. (This also explains a lot of this.)

All of the above speaks to BG’s emphatically co-ed mission. Even though men represent 5o% of the partners in straight relationships, romance isĀ  — still — usually considered WomensStuff ™. That’s dumb. Men — obviously — have questions, not to mention feelings. Let’s work all this stuff out together, according to what we need, not what we’re “supposed” to want or have. K?

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