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“Pretending [the illness] doesn’t exist is more likely to cause problems in the relationship.” 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.It’s important to recognize that your date probably will have concerns—some legitimate, some stigma-induced—about getting involved with someone who has a chronic mental illness.Hope dated several men after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II in 2004, but none of the relationships lasted long enough to make her mental health an issue.
So, while you don't have to let bipolar disorder define a relationship, it's essential to be honest early on.
When should you tell a potential partner you have bipolar disorder?
“I was excited about this blossoming relationship and enamored with this man,” recalls Hope, a freelance communications consultant in Denver, Colorado.
“But I remember thinking, ‘He’s going to freak out when I tell him I have bipolar disorder.’” The “when and how” decision was taken out of her hands when her new love dropped a bombshell: His soon-to-be ex had bipolar and her illness was one reason they were divorcing.
Relationships can be a challenging even under the most ideal circumstances.