Romance and schizophrenia: Your mental health shouldn't be the reason you feel left out of love

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Illustration. (Getty Images)
Illustration. (Getty Images)
  • As we celebrate all kinds of love this month, it's important that we remember that not all romantic relationships are made up of two people who navigate the world conventionally and with relative ease.
  • Today we focus on people living with schizophrenia and what dating may look like for them. 
  • For many people living with schizophrenia, dating can be just a dream. But with the right person and open, honest communication, it’s possible.

Dating in an era of social media can be daunting. Dating for people living with schizophrenia?

Twice as daunting.

This is why many people living with schizophrenia (and sometimes any other mental illnesses) usually avoid relationships of any kind.

The symptoms of schizophrenia vary from person to person, which is why it’s important to have an open, honest conversation about what someone living with schizophrenia faces. 

READ MORE: WATCH | What you need to know about mental health care and financing it

Some of the symptoms include: 

Delusional behaviour

False ideas that are often far from reality.


Visual or auditory hallucinations that are extremely real to the person experiencing it. 

Disorganised thinking and speech

Effective communication is often impaired as a person living with schizophrenia, may be unable to have coherent thoughts, let alone a conversation.

Lack of emotions and expression

Commonly known as ‘flat-affect’, a person living with schizophrenia may be unable to express their true feelings through speech or actions. This may result in emotional distance between a couple.  

These symptoms impact a person’s ability to maintain meaningful relationships, especially romantic relationships. However, with medical progress in treating and managing the symptoms of schizophrenia, it has become possible to date and maintain long-term, meaningful relationships. 

READ MORE: Former top model B. Smith has Alzheimer's and lives in the same house as her husband and his girlfriend

Here are some tips to make it easier for people living with schizophrenia, or who are interested in dating someone with schizophrenia

Keep expectations in check

Even if a person’s schizophrenia is well-managed and they feel healthy, dating may result in social anxiety. From the beginning, it’s important to make your expectations known to your partner and possibly engage in therapy to better discuss these expectations.  

Take it slow

Stress is one of the triggers of schizophrenia and makes it difficult to manage the symptoms. Taking it slow is smart when easing into a relationship. Start with low-key activities such as coffee dates, picnics or going for a walk in nature. These activities reduce expectations and give you time to ease into a relationship.  

Go easy on sexual activities

Many schizophrenia treatment options impact the libido. If your medication results in the inability to get aroused or experience an orgasm, speak to your doctor about other treatment options. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

For many people living with schizophrenia, dating can be just a dream. But with the right person and open, honest communication, it’s possible. Go to therapy together. It will help your partner learn about your symptoms from the person that knows you best, your doctor. It also empowers your partner with the knowledge to help should a psychotic episode occur. 

Dating with schizophrenia is possible, especially with the right treatment such as long-acting monthly injectables to manage your symptoms. After all, a partner’s support can be one more way to live better with schizophrenia.  

To learn more about schizophrenia, visit for helpful resources and tips on living with schizophrenia, or join the Our Mental Health Facebook group for a like-minded community of people sharing their experience of living, dating and coping with schizophrenia. 

Additional information provided on behalf of SCHIZOPRHENIA24X7 by G&G Digital.

Follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 702 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 288 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1589 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 42 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 569 votes