Dating can be difficult for anyone: what to wear, what to say, or what to do are all common grievances in the dating scene. Once we're in a committed relationship, communication problems, trust issues, and conflict can arise, but those with a mental illness have an added complication and may need to approach dating differently. For example, when is the right time to reveal to a partner that we've been diagnosed with a disorder?

In the U.S, approximately one in five adults are affected by mental health conditions every year. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, yet they’re highly treatable. Although mental disorders do not define people, they often influence the way they relate to other people, especially in relationships.

PsychGuides, a company that provides surveys and guides on psychological disorders, has shed light on the impact of mental illness on romantic relationships, like when to tell someone about a diagnosis.

In a recent survey, more than 2,000 people in the U.S. opened up about their experiences and concerns regarding dating with mental illness. Among the respondents, anxiety and depression were the most common issues, together comprising over 44 percent of reported mental disorders. Anger became the third most common issue, while a number of disorders, including substance abuse, addiction to sex/porn, other addictive behaviors, ADHD, and eating disorders comprised around five to six percent.

Unsurprising, a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health with their significant other. This is tied to the stigma attached to mental health disorders, which can make people hesitant, or anxious to tell those closest to them.

"It is unfortunate that we still speak of mental disorders in hushed voices; wouldn’t it be great if America would take the same approach to mental disorders as we have taken to seek a cure for cancer," Ken Yeager, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, previously told Medical Daily.

So, how many men and women open up about their mental health status, and how do they approach the issue?

Disclosing Mental Illness

Nearly three-quarters of women told their partners about their mental health issue, but only slightly more than half of men disclosed the information. However, the time it took to share their diagnosis varied. One-quarter of those surveyed disclosed the information right away, while another quarter discussed it in under one month, and nearly 29 percent shared between one and six months. Meanwhile, 22 percent waited six months or longer.

Interestingly, men took longer to reveal their diagnosis to their partner. Researchers suspect it has to do with the stigma tied to their mental health issues. For example, societal gender norms like "boys don't cry" can lead to an unhealthy self-stigmatization, especially in depressed men who feel they should cope with their illness without professional help, according to a 2014 study. Patients who are in need of treatment may further reduce their self-esteem due to self-stigma.

Out of those who do seek treatment, over three-fourths of women and half of men tell their partners about their use of medication. Although medical treatment is a private issue between the patient and doctor, patients are willing to discuss it with their partners.

Partner Support In Mental Illness

Mental health disorders can come with a wide range of challenges and symptoms. The support from a partner or loved one is an important part of recovery. Among male respondents, those with with ADHD (79.5 percent); panic disorder (77.1 percent); and PTSD (75 percent) were most likely to say that their partners supported them as they struggled with their mental health condition.

However, addiction to sex or pornography took last place, with 60 percent of men saying their partners were supportive of them. This suggests partners may be more willing to understanding issues that have less of an immediate impact on their lives, like ADHD. Meanwhile, partners may struggle more with conditions that have a significant influence on their relationship, like sex addiction and porn addiction.

Researchers found women tend to experience less support from their partners when they have a mental illness. For women, OCD (78.1 percent); anxiety (76.6 percent), and depression (75.8 percent) were most likely to be associated with support from partners. Womens’ partners were more supportive of struggles with sex addiction, while only 50 percent received support if they were coping with schizophrenia.

"This may show that women have a slightly greater willingness to help their partners in coping with mental health issues than men are to support their partners,” according to the researchers.

Mental Health And Relationship Insecurities

Couples can struggle with insecurity issues in a relationship, like infidelity. Respondents were asked to report how likely they were to feel about potential insecurities. For example, over 750 men and women reported feeling like they weren’t good enough for their partner – with more men than women feeling unworthy.

Some mental health disorders can greatly exacerbate insecurities. Relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder (ROCD), a form of OCD, can lead to unwanted thoughts and feelings that prompt certain types of behavior.

When it came to privacy, respondents who snooped were in the minority. For example, 32 percent of men with no mental disorder say they have never snooped, compared with around 24 percent who have a mental illness. In women, roughly 13 percent who don’t have a mental illness say they have never snooped, compared with 15 percent who do have a mental disorder.

However, men or women who have mental health conditions are slightly more likely than those with no mental illness to report checking their partner’s messages frequently.

Just like any relationship, those who are dating with mental illness go through similar trials and tribulations. The key to any successful relationship, regardless of health, is communication.