My Morning Therapy: Thoughts on Dating and Mental Health

Mallet

Post-divorce I went on a heart strike, committing to singleness for the rest of eternity. It wasn’t because I believed good men didn’t exist, though I sang that song in my 20’s after a few situationships ended in emotional traumas. As I survived my choices, I matured into the knowledge that the only common denominator from the scar tissue was me. My picker was dysfunctional. I didn’t know how to fine tune it, so it was easier to just retire it. Which I did with a mallet just to ensure it wasn’t operational in the future.

Five years later, I came out of early retirement at age 50. It certainly wasn’t my idea, but sometimes the universe has other plans and I’was outvoted. I shared my dating experience through my blog, and it was interesting to see how popular online dating had become. At the same time, it was sad to see what it had diminished too. Relationships were now text messages and getting to know each other through conversations was old school. Something I never discussed in my dating experience is mental health and the dangers of dating. I watched it come full circle in a child support hearing yesterday. My son met a woman on Plenty Of Fish (though it could happen anywhere), and she manipulated her way into his heart, and his home. She came as a package deal, a three-year-old immediately accepted by my son. Although I knew something was off about her from the start, it eventually became evident as she shared her manic episodes on Facebook. She played my son like a harp and was a professional. However, she wasn’t the only one with secrets. He was a meal ticket and she isolated him from family. Note to men. When a woman keeps you away from your mother, she’s up to no good. A woman with good intentions will desire a relationship with his family.

My son was labeled Paranoid Schizophrenic in 2009. By the time they met, he had completed a 3-month stay in a mental institution and battled his way back from a psychotic break. He was working full-time and maintaining an apartment by the time they met. He never mentioned his diagnosis and she never mentioned hers, but no woman will ask her man if he thinks she is bi-polar. Our normal line is usually along the lines of whether our butt appears to be spreading. I suggested my son reveal his diagnosis while they were dating and warned that when women develop trust issues, it has a negative impact on the relationship. What I didn’t say, is that the emotionally unstable woman will seek revenge. Ruining his life becomes her mission statement. Not only has he lost everything he had, including his job and his dignity, but she was also an overachiever that decided to have a baby intentionally so she could also receive child support. Working wasn’t really her thing.

As I watched the sad scenario unfold in their court hearing yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking this is a great dating testimony of what happens when people don’t take time to get to know each other. Three years into living together, she finds out about his diagnosis by reading a school paper for his Psychology class. Already challenged with manic episodes, she went ballistic and today my son’s life is the result of his dating decisions. My next book will probably be titled Bipolar Meets Schizophrenia! Her vendetta dug four graves, including hers. My son lost his job, which meant he has no money for child support. Her anger flared in court when the judge granted child support but ordered two years of backpay to start immediately, at $10.00 per month. My mom used to say, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip!” A pathetic part of this story is that my son’s intention was always to support and be a part of his child’s life. Now he can’t even afford the $10!

Five lives are tarnished by her revenge, including two innocent lives caught in the middle. A child created for revenge forced her to compensate in a single parent household. Raising a healthy child alone comes with many challenges. Especially and the guilt of spending more time at work than with the child simply to support them. However, raising a child with serious medical issues is single parenting on steroids. My life was impacted because she blamed me for not keeping his secret and stalked me on social media and via text. I’ve had to change my number several times based on her threats and are always concerned she’ll bring her rampage to my front door. So many lives are impacted by a decision to date without taking the time to get to know each other. On my end, I’ve had to watch my son fall apart at the seams, and I have a two-year-old grandchild I’ve never seen, and not sure I ever will.

Who we date is one of the most important decisions of our lives and should not be taken lightly. A lot of women get caught up in the nice guy. Nice doesn’t equal ready, and dating potential is a disaster!

 

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If you know you are a complete package and have battled your demons (whatever they might be), don’t assume it’s you and don’t give up. We are simply up against a society that has so many options thanks to online dating that people literally get stuck on stupid and assume the person on the next page has more to offer so we don’t take time to get to know the person in front of us. I will date a person at least 5-6 times to ensure I’m not being overly picky but I know that person needs to be my mental, spiritual and emotional equal for this to work. Quality over quantity.

 

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