Dating is fraught with apprehension and unsure feelings. To feel that way is normal. Anyone that you’re dating is likely feeling the same emotions. However, if you suffer from Bipolar disorder, there is an added element. As Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, and a mental illness, it severely impacts all relationships, particularly romantic ones.
While it’s important to be honest, there is no need to confess any psychiatric conditions that you may have on the first date. In fact, there is no need to do so on the second or third dates either. The exception to this is if you are currently suffering from a manic or depressive episode. Also, you may feel that it’s important to reveal the information right away, so as to be completely honest. That is truly a personal decision.
There is a time in which you need to tell your romantic interest about the illness. Once you realize that you are heading towards an exclusive relationship with someone, it’s time to have the discussion. That is the responsible thing to do, just as if you were afflicted with any other type of disease or disorder. It’s particularly important when suffering from a mood disorder or other mental illness. As Bipolar disorder has a strong impact on relationships, and usually a negative one, you must be honest about it.
Keep in mind that he may not react well to the news. Before you were diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, you likely viewed it in a very negative light as well, thanks to the fact that it’s portrayed badly in the media. Also, the disorder manifests itself differently for everyone. Just because one person is severe, does not mean that everyone will suffer to that degree.
When you have this conversation, make it clear that you are in treatment, this is assuming that you are. If you are not managing it with a psychiatrist, you have no business getting into a relationship. Discuss your treatment plan and medication. There is no need to go into great detail, just provide the particulars.
In addition, explain how Bipolar disorder affects your personally, and that there are different versions. For example, if you are Bipolar II, you generally won’t experience the type of manic and depressive symptoms as someone that has Bipolar I. It’s important to reiterate that you are treating the condition and will continue to do so. Also, explain how Bipolar disorder can affect relationships. It’s best to just put all of the information out there, even if the result isn’t what you hope.
This is easier said than done, but if the reaction that you receive is not what you hoped for, try not to take it personally. While it may sound harsh, but it takes a certain, special kind of person to be in a relationship with someone that suffers from mental illness. Day to day life can be difficult. In addition, if she wants to have children at some point, that can be a concern as she may not want to pass along the illness.
These are all valid reasons for not wanting to continue the relationship. Move on and it’s very likely that you will meet and partner with someone that can handle the limitations and issues that you face. Always remember that being single is vastly preferable to being in a relationship or marriage with someone that is not supportive. In order to maintain your health and well-being, you must have an understanding partner that doesn’t make you feel badly for things that you can’t control.
The outcome may surprise you. He very likely could be open to starting a relationship with you and is open to the challenge. People with Bipolar disorder have relationships and get married, just like anyone else.