You need to assure your partner that “normal” isn’t what you want, that you want him or her to be happy and healthy.That you don’t pity him or her and that you only want what’s best.
Mental health conditions come in far too many forms—depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, autism and Asperger’s, those that don’t immediately come to mind and so many layers within each of those conditions—to try to come up with a one-size fits all approach for how to deal with dating someone who is mentally ill.Knowing what works for your partner and not just what you think will work best for them will make the ride a little less bumpy.And, if your partner is just learning about the condition for the first time, too, make sure your partner knows you are with him or her for every step along the way.I mean you need to understand how your partner has learned to deal with his or her condition as an individual.The way in which two individuals can deal with identical conditions can be anything but identical.Be willing to take or at least share the blame, be willing to take criticism from your partner (even though you are trying very hard because, yes, it is difficult to date someone with a mental illness) and be willing to change and to compromise.
You are both giving a lot to make the relationship work, more than a lot of other couples relatively speaking, so make sure to put everything into perspective.
Of course, you will always be looking out for your partner, and it’s important that he or she knows that, but in order for your partner to be confident that he or she can live with the condition on his or her own, your partner needs to know that he or she doesn’t need to rely on you for every little thing.
It’s easy for all the focus to turn to what is “wrong” or “lacking” in your partner, but always remember that the relationship is two ways, and if there’s trouble in paradise, it might be something you’re doing wrong and could have little to nothing to do with your partner’s condition.
As I alluded to before, pity is one of the worst responses to convey to your partner.
It only makes him or her feel like more of a charity case.
You will see your partner at his or her highest highs and lowest lows, maybe irrational, lethargic, erratic, manic, aloof or incoherent.