Bipolar may up the ante in a new romance, but success still boils down to finding a good fit.
We started dating around three years after my diagnosis—when I was just starting to publish my blog and open up about my struggle with mental health. Slowly he began to use my diagnosis of bipolar against me.
In his mind, everything I said or did was a result of my mood disorder. When I suspected him of cheating, he made me feel as though bipolar prompted delusional ways of thinking. I questioned myself and my sanity, which was the wrong thing to do. But it was not long before concrete evidence of him cheating on me surfaced.
After our breakup, it took me almost a year to feel like I could start dating again. When I finally got back into the dating world, I was very skeptical of people. I went into dates automatically on the defense. My guard was up and still is today.
5 Secrets to Dating When You Have Bipolar Disorder
Past experiences with dating also include people asking about my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. On some dates, I have felt more like a therapist or consultant than a woman being courted. These experiences have only made me stronger and more confident. Bipolar disorder does the dirty work for me and filters out individuals who tiptoe through life. The fact is, we all have issues, whether you live with bipolar disorder or not.
Today I approach dating with one purpose— to have fun. Dating experiences can teach you a lot about yourself. When telling a prospective partner that you have bipolar, Little suggests sharing details about how the illness affects your behavior, including symptoms of mania , hypomania and depression , as well as emphasizing how you manage the disorder.
Hope says that learning how committed she is to managing her illness through medication, regular counseling and healthy habits went a long way to alleviating any worries her boyfriend had about dating someone with bipolar. My therapist always told me that I needed to find someone who would accompany me on my journey to recovery. Opinion is divided on the best time to bring up the subject. The conversation could happen on the first date to get the issue settled one way or the other, or later in the relationship when there is greater commitment and trust.
A breach of trust like that can be devastating to a relationship. Talking to his girlfriends about the realities of living with bipolar disorder—including his need to maintain a regular sleep schedule , avoid alcohol, keep up with his meds and attend regular counseling appointments—also makes it easier for Chris to stick with his management plan. Similarly, sharing details about his illness provides a context for his shifting moods and opens the door to conversations about how that might play out in the relationship. Although research is limited on how bipolar disorder affects new relationships, a report published in a issue of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology and other studies have found that marital disruption is higher when one partner in a relationship has a mental illness like bipolar disorder.
In a manic state, Chris can become volatile and unreliable, arguing with girlfriends over trivial matters and canceling plans with little regard to their feelings. In contrast, he says, depression leads him to withdraw and avoid girlfriends.
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Victoria knows that pattern well. The moment something goes wrong in a relationship, she pulls away and turns inward, deepening the rift. The beginning of a new relationship, meanwhile, triggers hypomania , decreasing her inhibitions, increasing libido and leading her to spend all night drinking, dancing and writing love letters to her new flame.
Victoria, 34, has had her share of new starts. Now a business writer in Orlando, Florida, she was 17 when she was diagnosed with bipolar. As an adult, she has struggled to find a partner who understands her mood shifts. One girlfriend tried to be compassionate, she recalls, but attributed all of their arguments to the disorder, making Victoria feel discounted as a person.
‘So, you know I have bipolar?’ – the perils of dating with a mental health problem
When Victoria met an artist who also has bipolar disorder, she thought it would be the perfect match. My anxiety over waiting too long to tell them is greater than the worry over how they might react.
For some couples, says Jon P. Bloch, PhD, co-author of The Bipolar Relationship, coping with the realities of bipolar disorder together can make a relationship stronger. She felt confident enough to disclose her bipolar on their fifth date and was not disappointed. When we met, I knew that I had found the right partner. Victoria recalls that the first girlfriend she talked to about her diagnosis stormed out of the room and then refused to return her calls. Ken Johnson not his real name , a non-profit administrator in Calgary, Alberta, suspects his illness lies behind many of his breakups.
Though such feelings are natural, Bloch points out that rejection based on your illness should not be taken personally. Research published in Behavior Therapy in found that the disruption of social rhythms, including sleep patterns, diet and exercise, often triggered depressive and hypomanic symptoms in those with bipolar disorder. At what point during the dating process is it appropriate to bring up mental health? The pressure of not knowing when or how to reveal your mental health status can be an additional and very valid source of anxiety.
You would have thought there was a finite number of ways to do this wrong.
https://cofunminar.tk I thought, after a month or two of relative tranquility. At that point I was deeply embarrassed by my previous psychotic episode, and tried to distance myself from it as much as possible. It was easier for me to avoid the topic and skirt around it awkwardly than to confront it.
I chose to blame my breakdown on the stress of starting university, moving away from home, and spending all my time drinking. It was two years into the relationship and we were in the pub. After two months, even, I could have escaped from the relationship pretty much unscathed. We argued about it a lot that day and from then on. He blamed me and said that he wished I would kill myself already and just get it over with if I was so serious about it.
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I was on a genuinely brilliant first date. He was tall, good-looking in a kind of dishevelled professor way and the first person I had met who had piqued my interest since the breakdown of my previous relationship. I was very invested in not messing it up. And I was nailing it. There was lots of wine and I was pulling out all of my best anecdotes.