The Relationship Issue People With Anxiety Have To Deal With

Photographed by Alexandria Gavillet.
Some might think revealing a diagnosis of a mental disorder is something you'd want to get out of the way early in a relationship. But, according to a new survey, many people wait six months or longer to have this vital discussion.

For the survey, asked 2,140 people about their relationships and their mental health. The results showed that not all respondents' partners knew about their diagnoses. And while about 74% of women said their partners knew, only 52% of men said the same.

However, when respondents told their partners about their diagnoses didn't seem to differ by gender. Most people told their partners within six months of starting their relationship, with nearly a quarter revealing the information immediately. However, nearly 10% said they waited longer than six months and 12% said they waited over a year.

A lot of this reticence undoubtedly comes from the stigma our culture places on mental illness, which is often magnified under the scrutiny inherent in dating scenarios. But it's encouraging that a large percentage of respondents said that their partners were supportive when their disorders got tough. Although women overall felt less supported by their partners than men did, 78% of those with OCD, 77% of those with anxiety, and 76% of those with depression nevertheless reported having their partner's support.

Of course, the only "right time" to reveal something as personal as a diagnosis is when you feel ready to do so. But the only way your partner can help you out is if that person knows what's up. And being able to talk about it — as tough as those conversations may be — is necessary if we're ever going to change the way society views people with mental illnesses.

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