Dating someone with schizophrenia can pose certain challenges, but there are ways a person can overcome these. However, romantic relationships can benefit individuals in several ways, including better health and positive emotions.

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health condition that can affect how someone thinks, feels, and behaves.

Symptoms of schizophrenia can include hallucinations, delusions, difficulty organizing thoughts, low motivation, and retreating socially and emotionally.

This article discusses dating a person with schizophrenia, challenges that may arise, some tips, and how to find support.

This article includes personal stories from Sofie Roos, author at Passionerad, and an individual who dated someone with schizophrenia.

Silhouette of a couple in front of a lit up city skylineShare on Pinterest
Busakorn Pongparnit/Getty Images

A long-term mental health condition that carries a lot of stigma, such as schizophrenia, may make it difficult to begin and maintain a romantic relationship.

A 2020 review of previous studies suggests that romantic relationships may be a strong desire for someone with schizophrenia.

However, there are several ways this condition can affect a relationship, including:

  • losing interest in romantic relationships
  • wanting to isolate socially
  • difficulty creating and maintaining relationships
  • having a lack of emotion or expression
  • having low self-esteem
  • experiencing medication side effects such as low libido

Learn more about schizophrenia.

Romantic relationships can present many difficulties along the way. Dating someone with schizophrenia may present another set of challenges that a person may not be expecting. There are several tips that individuals may want to consider.

Acknowledge the stigma

There is a lot of stigma attached to schizophrenia. Research from 2020 suggests that approximately 27% of participants with the condition may encounter discrimination in romantic and sexual relationships.

Acknowledging this stigma and separating the person from the condition may help those with schizophrenia feel there is a level of understanding and empathy for the condition.

Learn about the condition and symptoms

Several elements can make it challenging for someone with schizophrenia to enter and maintain romantic relationships. These can include:

  • being unable to trust a person easily
  • being unable to gauge the intentions of the other person
  • avoiding certain levels of intimacy
  • displaying a lack of emotion

Learning about schizophrenia and its various symptoms can help those dating someone with the condition. They can learn to cope with symptoms, have a level of understanding, handle any setbacks, and help support the person to work toward recovery.

Be empathetic and patient

When dating a person with schizophrenia, there may be challenges in communication. It is important to stay calm and patient, practice empathy, and reserve judgment, which can help build trust and understanding.

Take it slow

A person with schizophrenia may have difficulty trusting others, opening up to people, and overcoming a lack of self-confidence in romantic relationships. They may also find intimacy and processing emotions challenging.

They may also not respond well to stress and anxiety, which can come with entering and maintaining a romantic relationship.

Therefore, taking it slow when dating someone with schizophrenia can help them adjust to the relationship and give them time to build trust.

Talk about sex and sexual side effects

A person with schizophrenia may find intimacy challenging for several reasons. Schizophrenia and the medications someone can be taking for it can affect their sexual quality of life.

Additionally, individuals may have low self-esteem, a low libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty performing certain sexual activities, and low motivation.

Talking about sex and sexual side effects may help a person understand the relationship someone with schizophrenia has with sex. It may also make sexual partners feel more comfortable and at ease.

Research suggests that speaking about sex and the sexual effects of schizophrenia can benefit someone with the condition.

Encourage treatment

Someone with schizophrenia may have a treatment plan they follow. A person can encourage them to follow this regimen by offering gentle reminders about taking medication and attending therapy sessions.

Work together to better communication

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, developing good communication skills is especially important when someone has a mental health condition such as schizophrenia.

When dating those with schizophrenia, a person can work together with them to build good communication habits. These may include using statements that share how someone is feeling toward a situation without imposing perceived behaviors onto the other person.

Work with a professional

According to the American Psychiatric Association, talking with a mental health care professional may help someone with schizophrenia manage the condition, improve health, and enjoy a better quality of life.

Talking with a mental health professional can also inform and support a person dating those with schizophrenia.

Read about tips for living with schizophrenia.

Sofie’s tips for others dating someone with schizophrenia

Don’t carry your feelings around in your own heart and don’t keep it just between you and your partner, that will become too much to handle.

Let others in, reach for professional help, talk with friends and family, and tell people what you find difficult. Schizophrenia is very taboo, but I promise everything gets better when talking about it. If I would have realized that sooner, maybe I would still be with him.

Was this helpful?

The first place to help find support for schizophrenia may be a healthcare professional. They can direct someone with the condition to a qualified mental health professional.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has a treatment locator online that someone can use to find local mental health services.

Learn more about helping someone with schizophrenia.

Below are answers to common questions about schizophrenia.

Is it safe to live with someone with schizophrenia?

Most people with schizophrenia do not display violent or dangerous behavior. This means that it can be generally safe to live with someone with the condition.

However, those with schizophrenia may experience some symptoms that have the possibility of turning into violent behavior.

A person can speak with a mental health professional if they have concerns about someone with schizophrenia showing a potential for violent behavior.

What not to say to someone with schizophrenia?

The words a person uses with someone with schizophrenia matter and can have positive or negative effects. Therefore, they need to try to avoid using language that exaggerates schizophrenia, reinforces prejudice, and suggests a lack of quality of life for the individual.

A person can also focus on using first-person language that separates the individual from the condition.

Schizophrenia is a lifelong mental health condition that can affect how someone thinks, feels, and acts. Those with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations, have low self-esteem, and withdraw emotionally and socially.

Romantic relationships can also present difficulties. Dating someone with schizophrenia may present several challenges that a person may not be expecting.

There are several tips for those dating someone with schizophrenia. These can include acknowledging the stigma surrounding the condition, learning about schizophrenia, and being patient and empathetic. They can also talk through any issues or concerns, such as sexual side effects, and seek professional support.