There is no law or rule that says, “You have bipolar disorder, you cannot date.” Everyone is deserving of healthy and loving romantic relationships in life.
When To Tell Them
Some people prefer to wait after a relationship has been established to tell the person they are dating about their bipolar disorder. With the hopes that the established rapport will compensate for what can be challenging news, waiting can be an option. Unfortunately, people are entitled to their reactions and opinions. Despite weeks or months of dating, there is simply no guaranteeing another person will understand bipolar disorder or want to be with someone who has it. Another person’s reaction to your mental health disorder is not a commentary on you. Instead, it is a blatant demonstration of their ability, or inability, to be accepting and understanding, as well as step up to difficult challenges in life. Mental illness is a part of life, for millions of people. Bipolar disorder affects approximately three percent of the population.
The other option is to be upfront and honest. Your diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not something you have to argue for. “But I’m still a great person!” “I’m still worth dating!” You are amazing and your bipolar disorder, the way you take care of yourself and live in recovery, is also amazing. Telling someone you are dating upfront about your bipolar will help you know ahead of time if they are willing to commit to your lifestyle of recovery. Though your bipolar does not define you, it is a part of you. Likewise, the people you date do not define you, they are part of your life. You get to make that choice as much as they do.
Reading Their Response
We can never fully know the extent of the experience of someone’s life. It’s possible the person you are dating has had negative experiences with people who have had unmanaged mental health disorders in the past. Your living experience with bipolar disorder might trigger trauma, fears, and insecurities in the person you are interested in dating. Mental illness is still largely misunderstood by most people. Being in a relationship with someone who lives with mental illness is a challenge, but it is not challenging all the time. However, someone you are dating just might not be emotionally mature enough or the right person for you to be in a relationship with.
Ask them to genuinely answer you. Give them a few days to process the information and ask them about their intentions in the relationship. Try not to push them out of insecurity or fear and let them take the time and space they need. Disappointments will come and go. Remember, every closed door means another, better door is opening.
Cottonwood Tucson is proven industry leader in the residential treatment of bipolar disorder and other co-occurring disorders. Our integrative approach to addiction rehab and behavioral health treatment creates a therapeutic environment of safety and understanding while promoting healing and hope. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.