What It Feels Like To Realize The Person You’re Dating Is Mentally Unstable

I dated a guy for a few months and things were going well enough at first. However, it wasn’t long before he started showing strange symptoms that eventually led me to realize that he was completely mentally unstable. It was so scary! Here’s what happened.

  1. He seemed too perfect. He was the type of guy my mother warned me about. From the first date we went on, I knew that this guy was too good to be true. He was always so nice and interesting, and after four dates, I started to wonder what was really going on. Could someone always be so happy, so cool, so fun? I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and it actually happened.
  2. I saw him on a bad day. The more he got to know me, the more comfortable he got around me, which is what happens in the early stages of dating. But one day it was like his guard dropped and the bubble burst. We were sitting in his living room when out of the blue he said, “Someone’s out there.” I thought there was an intruder or something, which was scary to imagine, but I didn’t see anything in the garden or elsewhere around the house. However, my boyfriend couldn’t calm down. He became convinced that someone was going to break into the house and kill us both.
  3. I tried to reason with him. But to no avail. He was going mad, panic shooting in his eyes, and he paced up and down for hours telling me that we were going to die. While his initial fear was that there was an intruder on the property, soon his paranoia became that he knew the person who was planning our demise. It was the guy at the post office who’d been rude to him. I was there with him a few days previously and the guy treated us just fine.
  4. I realized something was seriously wrong with my boyfriend. I had to get out of there. Although he was trying to make me feel like there was imminent danger from some external source, I felt that he was the danger! I made an excuse that I had to leave. Once I got home, I sent him a text and he was fine. He apologized for freaking me out and overreacting. I thought it was a one-off.
  5. Unfortunately, it happened again. This guy had serious problems. Everyone was always out to get him, or so he thought. He would tell me stories that just didn’t add up. His mood would change insanely fast. One minute he’d be telling me how angry he was—I could see the veins throbbing in his forehead—and the next he’d be so chilled he looked like he could sleep through a world war. It was so unsettling.
  6. I was anxious most of the time. Dealing with someone who was so unpredictable made me very anxious, and since anxiety is my BFF already, that’s saying something. I always felt like I was walking on eggshells, not knowing what I was going to find, the paranoid guy or the super-chilled one. Maybe the angry guy who wanted to pick fights with everyone (including me) or the charming guy?
  7. It was affecting the rest of my life. I was anxious and that, along with dealing with the guy, made me feel so exhausted. It was hard to concentrate on my work and social life because he was such a dark presence in my life.
  8. Added to that, I became afraid of him. He was unstable and that made me feel afraid of him. I didn’t want to be around him because he was so dark and unpredictable, but I knew that I couldn’t just end things. I felt unsafe to do that. He seemed like the type who would lose his cool and become really nasty.
  9. I had to do the slow-release. Instead of hitting the “eject” button, I had to ease out of the relationship really slowly. At first he was texting me all the time, but then as time went by and I always had an excuse for why I couldn’t see him or talk to him, he started to get the hint and thankfully left me alone. I’m the queen of the slow-fade. I felt bad, but I had to look out for myself. That said, I hope he got the help he needed.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.