What Dating with Bipolar Really Feels Like When you're dating with bipolar you have a whole other challenge on your hands. Here's what I've learned from my experience jumping into the dating world Article by: Hannah Blum Dating during your twenties is an experience in itself, but when you live with a severely stigmatized condition like bipolar disorder, dating can really be a challenge. As a year-old mental health advocate who is publicly open about her life with bipolar II disorder, I have often experienced stigma in my dating life.
Bipolar disorder is a part of me, and I am not ashamed of my condition, in fact, it is the opposite, I embrace it. However, dating—when you live with a mental health condition—can be complicated: When should you tell your date about your diagnosis? Should you even tell them at all? Will they think of you differently once they know? You have self-doubt, you question yourself, and mainly you assume you are the underdog in romantic relationships.
When I accepted my diagnosis and life with bipolar disorder, I finally found my confident self, but I had to overcome some obstacles to get there. I was in a toxic relationship where I was gaslighted by my boyfriend: He turned out to be a miserable person all around.
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. Rejected Because of Bipolar 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.
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. What I Know Now 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. Living with bipolar disorder gives you a very different perspective on the world around you. You look for meaning and depth in everything. We behave based on what we feel, not necessarily what we know is right or wrong. Sometimes this can lead us to be irresponsible and careless, but if handled properly, can actually be a gift to another person.
Article continues below Concerned about Bipolar Disorder? Take Bipolar Quiz In my opinion, everyone benefits from getting to know someone who is unlike them. We live in a society right now that lacks empathy and is void of emotion.
The most empathetic people I know live with bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety. My dating experiences have opened me up to individuals who are very different from me as well.
It is important for people to remember that challenges are inevitable in romantic relationships regardless of if your partner has a mental health condition or not.
My advice to those who live with bipolar disorder and ready to enter the dating world is to make sure you are confident in yourself. Do not assume you are the underdog because you live with a mental health condition. Self-love and self-acceptance are so important when it comes to dating with bipolar disorder. I never used to be a big fan of self-help books, but two books that have really helped me gain confidence are: Give them a read for yourself and see how you can incorporate self-love into your life.
It is not necessary for you to reveal your diagnosis up front. Wait until you feel comfortable, and believe that the other person deserves to hear about that part of your life. Remind yourself of that on a daily basis, and go into dating feeling proud of your differences.