This weeks question is an important one that many of us have encountered at one time or another:
Dear Uncle Bradley,
I want to date, or I just started dating. When do I tell said date that I am bipolar, unipolar? Do I bring it up at all? What if I am rejected?
Excellent question, Anonymous. If you are just dating someone then I personally see no reason to bring it up at all. Just enjoy your dates, and if you have those emotional times when you can’t handle it then just tell your date you don’t feel well and can’t go out.
If you are dating someone with the assumption or hope that it will develop into something more then that’s an entirely different story. I also think it’s more likely what you are referring too since not many people just date anymore.
In the early stages of dating I see no reason to tell your suitor that you are bipolar. If you are experiencing mood swings or behavior to the point that it is very noticeable then you probably want to tell him. I would think your odds of keeping the relationship going are better if you tell him in this situation, rather than if you didn’t tell.
Finally, what if you are dating an individual and then determine that the relationship is becoming deeper. My belief is that is when it’s time to tell him. Honesty is an important part of any relationship including your mental illness. Try and have some pamphlets available to provide him after you tell him. You could even ask if he’d like to go with you to talk with your therapist so he has an understanding. Don’t be too upset if he has a lot of indecision at this time because some people are very ignorant of bipolar and mental illness. I’ve had some people think that meant I was schizophrenic and some thought it must mean I become dangerous when I’m manic. Try and educate him the best you can.
What if you are rejected? It may happen and it’s something beyond your control other than educating him the best you can. Mental illness is scary to many people. Depending on your situation it may mean a significant amount of support that your other half may have to give and perhaps he’s unwilling or unable to provide that.
All you can do is be honest. Any relationship based on dishonesty is not a true relationship. Unless the situation remains as casual dating then there will come a time when you have to tell. All you can do is be completely honest and hope for the best.
If you are facing this situation, I wish you well.
Uncle Bradley is not a physician or therapist. He’s just a guy sharing his opinions based on his own life experiences.
If you have a question for Uncle Bradley then please feel free to leave the question in one of the comment sections during the week. If you prefer to remain anonymous then choose the contact button on the blog and email your question.