Wedding Woes

I think you need to ask a lot more questions since she seems open to discussion

Dear Prudence,

I recently started dating someone. She is funny, smart, thoughtful, beautiful, and a great conversationalist. I really like her! She has also casually mentioned things about her life that concern me, including a history of IV drug use, daily alcohol use, a DUI, alcohol-related ER visits, suicide attempts, questions of a personality disorder, and, most recently, that she receives adult rehabilitative mental health services. Is continuing to date her a huge mistake? Is it ethical to continue? How do I determine if she has given (or can give) enthusiastic consent? Are my concerns valid, or are they just a reflection of the stigma of mental illness?

—Dating and Mental Health

Re: I think you need to ask a lot more questions since she seems open to discussion

  • If this person is admitting to all of this its a good start.   But I also would be extremely wary of entering into a romantic relationship with someone who has so many issues depending on the extent of her treatment.   My limited understanding is that many in a stage of recovery are advised against even dating and depending on where she is in her treatment I would be very cautious.   

    I an also say that if I was advising a loved one who was in this situation I'd advise them to keep it platonic at most. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It’s okay to not want to take on someone who is struggling with a lot. 
    Agree with this. 

  • VarunaTT said:

    The ethical stuff is a bit confusing, which makes me wonder if LW does indeed know the answers to my questions above and wants to keep dating said person but needs validation or something else.  Unless she's high/drunk on their dates or has some sort of issue happening, why would LW be concerned about enthusiastic consent with the other descriptors of this person?
    Yes, it's infantilizing to this woman after she's been open with LW about her previous struggles and seems to be working on resolving her past issues for him to wonder if she's really able to enter into a sexual encounter freely with him unless she's said problematic stuff about previous sexual partners/encounters.  I guess I'd really need to know how 'recent' this past is and/or what she has said about her history, because it colors my perception of LW's concerns.   But to Starmoon's sentiment, you can choose not to take on someone's issues, even if you really like them.  He just needs to be honest with her and himself.  (If he's a he, I guess.  I just realized I assumed.)

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If most of the things LW talks about are in the distant past, I think the woman is just trying to be open about her past, so LW can make a knowledgeable decision about their potential future together.

    As for the ethical portion of the question.  If LW needs to know the ethical answer to this, it does sound like the woman is still in an active recovery and many of her listed "issues" are fresh and recent.  For that reason, I think LW should stop dating this woman.  If they want to pursue a platonic friendship, that is fine.  But the woman needs to focus more on her sobriety and mental health, than dating.
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