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Dating and Facing Rejection as a Person With Schizophrenia

datingAs a writer I’m no stranger to rejection.

I’ve seen at least a hundred rejection letters from different agents and editors and somehow I’ve been able to separate myself from work related rejection.

Personal rejection though, is a whole different beast.

I went on a date last Sunday with a girl I met on This was very exciting seeing as how I don’t go on a lot of dates.

For some reason I just have never been good with relationships and I’ll write on that topic later.

It seemed to go well though, we had a lot to talk about and it was fun but when I texted her after the date she said she didn’t feel a spark and asked if we could just be friends.

That was hard.

I know it’s a numbers game but dating is just not my forte. It’s even harder when you have an illness like schizophrenia.

I’ve said before that the way the illness manifests itself for me is an intense paranoia that people are out to get me or are making fun of me, and when you’re rejected by a date it only fuels that fire.

It’s been a week since the date and the notion still eats at me that there’s something wrong with me and that she went back to her friends and made fun of me afterwards.

Normally I’m pretty secure with myself and I’ve worked incredibly hard to get that way but when someone doesn’t like you, for whatever reason, it can slowly chip away at the resiliency of that wall of self-confidence.

I’d like to say that I’m unaffected by what people think of me but that would be a lie. I think everyone has a modicum of self doubt and when that self doubt manifests itself through paranoia and delusions, as it does in me, and I imagine anyone with schizophrenia, it’s not a good thing.

Trust is a strange thing that only comes with extended periods of time spent with another person and investing that time, I think, is what makes a good relationship. That’s why it’s even harder to get rejected after just the first date. I feel like I need a good deal of time to show someone how great I am on top of the paranoia and the rejection, you just feel cheated that you didn’t get to show them how awesome and worthy of love you are.

Dating is hard for anyone. Consider what it’s like when you have a mental illness though.

First you have to navigate the waters of attraction, hoping they’ll like you, then you have to find a way to tell them about your situation, which can go any number of ways and with the stigma surrounding schizophrenia I’ve heard and been witness several horror stories. After all that you have to work on building a relationship, building a trust that’s pervasive enough to quell the voice in your head that screams that they’re out to get you.

Simply put, dating is a struggle, it’s a jungle of uncertainty and trying to make a good impression and being rejected sucks. I get that, I’ve been there.

There are several things that have eased the pain for me a little bit though, those are good friends and family and people you trust innately giving you feedback, reminding yourself that you’re awesome, and some time out from stress that can reinforce your foundation of stability.

Although it may suck to face rejection, especially when you’re paranoid, just know that there are millions of other possibilities for a relationship, especially one that you can build on trust.

Also, it’s ok to not be in a relationship, if it’s too hard for you that’s ok. There’s plenty of time to work on it and figure things out. At least that’s what I’ll be telling myself.

Dating and Facing Rejection as a Person With Schizophrenia

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Dating and Facing Rejection as a Person With Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Apr 2015
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