Dating and Mental Health
Understanding the connection between dating and mental health is imperative when it's time to pick our mates. We've been conditioned to pursue the prince, solely for looks. In 'Cinderella' once she was rediscovered by her Prince Charming, she was rescued from the reign of her evil stepmother and jealous stepsisters, never to touch a broom and mop again. She snagged that fine man, soft life, and kingdom in one interaction. Which is a great display of the benefits of relationships, but also how relationships affect mental health in a positive way.
However, there are many women within reality that can attest to being pursued by “the finest man” who eventually treated them sub-par, while the conventionally unattractive men continuously worshipped the ground that they walked on.
The Importance Of Positive Relationships In Mental Health
The importance of positive relationships in mental health is often rarely discussed. We are instructed to prioritize having good relationship with others, but are never educated on how relationships affect mental health.
'Shrek' and 'Beauty and the Beast' have debunked the line of thinking that the Prince Charming is the better choice and have shown us that sometimes ditching the Prince for the “beast” has a better outcome in reference to romantic relationship and mental health. While Gaston was great on the eyes (to some), he was needy, demanding, and egotistical. Similar to Gaston, The Prince charming in 'Shrek 2' was far from the ideal mate: a momma's boy, spoiled, and entitled. Fiona would have been forced into the role of mothering her husband if he successfully rescued her from the castle, never experiencing the beauty and benefits of relationships.
While those are fictional characters, many have expressed how they have gone through hell dealing with a man who looked amazing, but did not value them within the relationship. Truthfully, some were unknowingly competing with their partner who often became envious and territorial when they received more adoration from others and the partner was no longer the center of attention. Having good relationships with others allows you to exist, and as Terry McMillan presented it, Exhale.
Healthy Relationships and Mental Health
Even the Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter went out and married, what some adamantly consider, an unattractive man. Although, he did cheat with the anonymous “Becky with the good hair” and as a form of retaliation Bey bestowed upon us one of the greatest albums to hit the scene in an attempt to turn lemons into ‘Lemonade.’ Beyoncé often expresses that Jay treats her well, is a provider, and a great father. If she likes it, we love it.
“But what will my friends think?” Who cares! Real friends will employ the saying “if you like it, I love it.” They will support you in potentially finding your person, rather than shaming you and negatively down on or talking about your situation. Which serves as another example of the importance of positive relationships in mental health. Romantic relationships and mental health are important, but platonic relationships and mental health also require support and honesty.
While you might feel a twinge of apprehension to engage in the extremely public soft launch. Soft launching, hard launching, displaying your relationship on any platform leaves room for unsolicited opinions. In stressing the importance of positive relationships in mental health, one must learn to think independently and have good relationships with others sometimes requires privacy, in comparison to secrecy.
Lean into your soft dating era, minus the hard wigs (IYKYK).
There are great looking men that are the ideal spouse, and everyone’s ideal partner differs. People have varying standards, but begin to question why you would prefer the emotionally unavailable and controlling partner who is attractive over the societally unattractive partner that is to your standard the ideal partner, but is “just ok” or “boring."
Does a part of you feel undeserving of a romantic healthy relationship, therefore you focus on shallow and superficial components within potential partners to avoid difficult decisions?
There are numerous benefits of relationships, however healthy relationships and mental health go hand-in-hand. In understanding how relationship affect mental health, you are encouraged to date with intention. Date with the intention that you deserve healthy romantic relationships and mental health. The importance of positive relationships in mental health spaces is often mentioned, but never stressed.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but reevaluating the root of your preference may reveal that your preference is rooted in trauma. Focus on acknowledging the root, develop your self-esteem, and shift the focus to dating men that like you for you and your experience may shift and attract your Prince Charming, but in a package you never anticipated. Dating the medium ugly man or Shrek might not a bad idea.