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New to dating. Making progress. Feeling hopeless.

Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
Hello. I am new to this forum. I found it while looking for places to share and ask for help.

I am 26 and spent my life undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, mismedicated, or unmedicated. Also abusing drugs. I also recently got out of a long stint in treatment after a big manic episode where the legal system got involved. Long story. You can ask about it if you think it is relevant. Due to all this I never dated.

Today I am sober and taking meds. I have been stable for about 21 months or so. I just started dating and am now dating this very great woman. It is casually exclusive; we both just gravitate toward dating one person at a time. I would like to make things serious. First order of business for that to happen is to bring up my diagnosis. I am scared to.

I feel like I will never be in a long term relationship or successful marriage due to my diagnosis and the related statistics. I have been obsessing over this. I really just want to feel some hope! It's like every relationship with a bipolar person you hear about is a horror story. I am trying to find solace in the stats that 50% of bipolar people are just not compliant with medication and that over 1/3 is actively abusing drugs at any time—I can chalk up all the failed relationships to the fact that people aren't doing what they need to do to be healthy, trusting that I have a chance at a good life as long as I take my pills, get good sleep, take care of myself, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Does anybody have any advice? I would love to get into a positive dialogue to try to change how I view this. It's not a terrible situation, but I do fetishize relationships as some sort of imperative to happiness—not that they are the whole picture, but I think they're a piece of the puzzle. Is anyone is the middle of a great marriage/relationship and would like to share, or do you have insight to help me out? Advice about how to discuss this with the woman I am seeing would be great, too. Like do's and don'ts. I am aware it may just be a deal breaker, but she seems like a total sweetheart so far. We've been on three dates as of last night and I like her so much. I will be bringing this up in therapy this week, but I like a wealth of input.

Thanks!
 
O

Orangeade

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2021
Messages
1,686
Location
England
Hello. I am new to this forum. I found it while looking for places to share and ask for help.

I am 26 and spent my life undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, mismedicated, or unmedicated. Also abusing drugs. I also recently got out of a long stint in treatment after a big manic episode where the legal system got involved. Long story. You can ask about it if you think it is relevant. Due to all this I never dated.

Today I am sober and taking meds. I have been stable for about 21 months or so. I just started dating and am now dating this very great woman. It is casually exclusive; we both just gravitate toward dating one person at a time. I would like to make things serious. First order of business for that to happen is to bring up my diagnosis. I am scared to.

I feel like I will never be in a long term relationship or successful marriage due to my diagnosis and the related statistics. I have been obsessing over this. I really just want to feel some hope! It's like every relationship with a bipolar person you hear about is a horror story. I am trying to find solace in the stats that 50% of bipolar people are just not compliant with medication and that over 1/3 is actively abusing drugs at any time—I can chalk up all the failed relationships to the fact that people aren't doing what they need to do to be healthy, trusting that I have a chance at a good life as long as I take my pills, get good sleep, take care of myself, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Does anybody have any advice? I would love to get into a positive dialogue to try to change how I view this. It's not a terrible situation, but I do fetishize relationships as some sort of imperative to happiness—not that they are the whole picture, but I think they're a piece of the puzzle. Is anyone is the middle of a great marriage/relationship and would like to share, or do you have insight to help me out? Advice about how to discuss this with the woman I am seeing would be great, too. Like do's and don'ts. I am aware it may just be a deal breaker, but she seems like a total sweetheart so far. We've been on three dates as of last night and I like her so much. I will be bringing this up in therapy this week, but I like a wealth of input.

Thanks!
Hi welcome to the forum! I think it will be hard to do, but bipolar is a big part of who you are and will affect your relationship going forward. I know it will be hard, but having an honest and open conversation with her might help. I have bpd and i have tried to hide it most times, but my erratic behaviour, makes me have to explain. I feel like if this woman truly excepts you for who you are, then it will be a good thing. Just be open and honest and explain anything she may ask because most people with no mental illness dont understand and get scared. I wish you the best of luck and hope your talk goes well x sending you love x
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
733
Location
Canada
Is anyone is the middle of a great marriage/relationship and would like to share, or do you have insight to help me out? Advice about how to discuss this with the woman I am seeing would be great, too. Like do's and don'ts. I am aware it may just be a deal breaker, but she seems like a total sweetheart so far. We've been on three dates as of last night and I like her so much. I will be bringing this up in therapy this week, but I like a wealth of input.

Thanks!
My wife is bipolar I. She disclosed it before we got married. We have been married for 10 years and it has been very good. We had a really rough patch last year when she went full blown manic but since then we have learned some good lessons and determined to use it to make the relationship even stronger.

I suggest just be honest with the diagnosis and that you have found stability with a med regimen that works for you. She will likely do her own research and come back with questions. Answer them honestly. Mention that with the right medication treatment and lifestyle changes, you can find long term stability and that you are committed to maintaining stability. But you may want to also mention things you will need you maintain this stability (what your triggers are, etc). Just be honest, even if you feel that your needs/answers will make her uncomfortable. It is best to get them out in the open now. If it was meant to be, then it will not deter her. There are many bipolar people who are married (I know, I am a member of a support group of bipolar spouses) and the relationship with major issues are the ones where the spouse with the illness refuses to be 100% compilant with medication or refuses to change their lifestyle to remain stable (will not quit drug addiction, too much drinking or smoking weed, overworking, partying too much, etc). Those are always on the verge of breaking up. The ones where the bipolar spouse works hard to be stable and never takes stability for granted, those relationships can do well.
 
Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
Hi welcome to the forum! I think it will be hard to do, but bipolar is a big part of who you are and will affect your relationship going forward. I know it will be hard, but having an honest and open conversation with her might help. I have bpd and i have tried to hide it most times, but my erratic behaviour, makes me have to explain. I feel like if this woman truly excepts you for who you are, then it will be a good thing. Just be open and honest and explain anything she may ask because most people with no mental illness dont understand and get scared. I wish you the best of luck and hope your talk goes well x sending you love x
Thanks for the welcome! And yes, honesty will have to be one of my top priorities for any relationship to work. Hiding my bipolar disorder is not my intention. I will try to keep myself open to answering any questions she has which I am comfortable with answering this early on. I will try to create dialogues about everything else as if/as I get to know her more. A little at a time. Thanks for your wishes. I hope the talk goes well too!
 
O

Orangeade

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2021
Messages
1,686
Location
England
Thanks for the welcome! And yes, honesty will have to be one of my top priorities for any relationship to work. Hiding my bipolar disorder is not my intention. I will try to keep myself open to answering any questions she has which I am comfortable with answering this early on. I will try to create dialogues about everything else as if/as I get to know her more. A little at a time. Thanks for your wishes. I hope the talk goes well too!
You’re very welcome! I wish you the best! Please keep me updated, if you would like to. I would really like to know how it goes. Sending you love x
 
Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
My wife is bipolar I. She disclosed it before we got married. We have been married for 10 years and it has been very good. We had a really rough patch last year when she went full blown manic but since then we have learned some good lessons and determined to use it to make the relationship even stronger.

I suggest just be honest with the diagnosis and that you have found stability with a med regimen that works for you. She will likely do her own research and come back with questions. Answer them honestly. Mention that with the right medication treatment and lifestyle changes, you can find long term stability and that you are committed to maintaining stability. But you may want to also mention things you will need you maintain this stability (what your triggers are, etc). Just be honest, even if you feel that your needs/answers will make her uncomfortable. It is best to get them out in the open now. If it was meant to be, then it will not deter her. There are many bipolar people who are married (I know, I am a member of a support group of bipolar spouses) and the relationship with major issues are the ones where the spouse with the illness refuses to be 100% compilant with medication or refuses to change their lifestyle to remain stable (will not quit drug addiction, too much drinking or smoking weed, overworking, partying too much, etc). Those are always on the verge of breaking up. The ones where the bipolar spouse works hard to be stable and never takes stability for granted, those relationships can do well.
Hello and thank you for sharing! That is great to hear that your relationship is lasting so long and that you are learning from the difficult moments to only strengthen it. And as I said elsewhere, being honest about my diagnosis is the only thing that I could do and not feel bad about. I intend to mention my success with medication and sobriety in the same breath as my diagnosis. She already knows I've been sober for 4+ years and I have lightly mentioned mental health stuff about social anxiety and mild things like that. Hopefully that prepped her a little, but at least she reacted well to all that talk, so that is a good sign. Mentioning what I need to do to stay stable, as well as my triggers, is important and that is a good reminder. That will be an important talk if we get there. I am hopeful to be the partner who will work the best they can to maintain stability. Hopefully my diagnosis continues to respond well to the effort! Thanks.
 
Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
You’re very welcome! I wish you the best! Please keep me updated, if you would like to. I would really like to know how it goes. Sending you love x
Thank you! And sure, I'll be happy to update. I don't know when I am going to have the talk, I am considering either the date we are planning for Saturday or the phone call we agreed to have before that to plan the date, but I'll get back to you. As nervous as I am, I have good reason to think she'll be accepting and compassionate about the diagnosis. I have a feeling she'll at least stick around to see how I truly handle my disorder and if I handle it as well as I claim. Hopefully she can accept that my past is my past and handle learning that I'm on benefits and housing support for the meantime—and that I will be until I graduate from college with a degree and can get a decent job. That would be the next hurdle! That's most of the dirty work I am stressed about, just talking about the diagnosis and my treatment history and my current use of government support as I work through school. That might take a bit of time to discuss, though.
 
O

Orangeade

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2021
Messages
1,686
Location
England
Thank you! And sure, I'll be happy to update. I don't know when I am going to have the talk, I am considering either the date we are planning for Saturday or the phone call we agreed to have before that to plan the date, but I'll get back to you. As nervous as I am, I have good reason to think she'll be accepting and compassionate about the diagnosis. I have a feeling she'll at least stick around to see how I truly handle my disorder and if I handle it as well as I claim. Hopefully she can accept that my past is my past and handle learning that I'm on benefits and housing support for the meantime—and that I will be until I graduate from college with a degree and can get a decent job. That would be the next hurdle! That's most of the dirty work I am stressed about, just talking about the diagnosis and my treatment history and my current use of government support as I work through school. That might take a bit of time to discuss, though.
From the way you described her, i truly hope she will be! One step at a time, is what i always say x
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
733
Location
Canada
Mentioning what I need to do to stay stable, as well as my triggers, is important and that is a good reminder. That will be an important talk if we get there. I am hopeful to be the partner who will work the best they can to maintain stability. Hopefully my diagnosis continues to respond well to the effort! Thanks.
Yup it is all important talk but also you may not want to talk about it all at once. Just move slowly and if things are still good, then you can continue to slowly open up more and more in subsequent talks. Best of luck!
 
F

flabbergasted

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2021
Messages
308
Location
usa
Thank you! And sure, I'll be happy to update. I don't know when I am going to have the talk, I am considering either the date we are planning for Saturday or the phone call we agreed to have before that to plan the date, but I'll get back to you. As nervous as I am, I have good reason to think she'll be accepting and compassionate about the diagnosis. I have a feeling she'll at least stick around to see how I truly handle my disorder and if I handle it as well as I claim. Hopefully she can accept that my past is my past and handle learning that I'm on benefits and housing support for the meantime—and that I will be until I graduate from college with a degree and can get a decent job. That would be the next hurdle! That's most of the dirty work I am stressed about, just talking about the diagnosis and my treatment history and my current use of government support as I work through school. That might take a bit of time to discuss, though.

I was on the other side of the coin - I was ready to re-connect with someone from my past from many yrs ago (we live in diff. states) - phone calls for months and finally ready for a visit. Early on in phone calls he told me he had bipolar - I was very ignorant about mental health (except my own anxiety problems)...He was very open about importance of taking meds, getting to bed at same time each nite and proper rest, eating well, etc. I just thought "oh well, he takes his meds and that fixes everything"....Prior to us reconnecting in person, a multitude of stress was dumped on him and the "episode" began....I believe on this forum we decided it was dysphoric (maybe that's the name) - it was bad and then depression for months - I was confused but hung in there as I care a lot of this person......then covid got in the way of us connecting and sadly he ended it.

I guess what I'm saying is that - if and when you do discuss with her - let her know that she can ask any questions she needs to ask because you do want her to understand everything about it --- I had it laid in my lap to ask questions but was tooo stupid to ask...

As to my friend with bipolar - I can tell you that if covid didn't exist and he reconnected with me today - I'd be packing as soon as possible for that possible connection with him....I know there would be times where it wouldn't be easy - but if you find a good person they are worth the fight!

Good luck with this.....
 
F

flabbergasted

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Joined
Jun 12, 2021
Messages
308
Location
usa
I was on the other side of the coin - I was ready to re-connect with someone from my past from many yrs ago (we live in diff. states) - phone calls for months and finally ready for a visit. Early on in phone calls he told me he had bipolar - I was very ignorant about mental health (except my own anxiety problems)...He was very open about importance of taking meds, getting to bed at same time each nite and proper rest, eating well, etc. I just thought "oh well, he takes his meds and that fixes everything"....Prior to us reconnecting in person, a multitude of stress was dumped on him and the "episode" began....I believe on this forum we decided it was dysphoric (maybe that's the name) - it was bad and then depression for months - I was confused but hung in there as I care a lot of this person......then covid got in the way of us connecting and sadly he ended it.

I guess what I'm saying is that - if and when you do discuss with her - let her know that she can ask any questions she needs to ask because you do want her to understand everything about it --- I had it laid in my lap to ask questions but was tooo stupid to ask...

As to my friend with bipolar - I can tell you that if covid didn't exist and he reconnected with me today - I'd be packing as soon as possible for that possible connection with him....I know there would be times where it wouldn't be easy - but if you find a good person they are worth the fight!

Good luck with this.....

Also - in my opinion Keith74 is the best for helping with this type issue!! He's wonderful!
 
Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
Yup it is all important talk but also you may not want to talk about it all at once. Just move slowly and if things are still good, then you can continue to slowly open up more and more in subsequent talks. Best of luck!
Yes, definitely. If I dumped my whole life story on her that would be bad. I don't know if I'd like having someone soak it all up at once even if they did accept me for it—that's just a bit quick. My plan is to just mention the diagnosis, then mention medication, therapy, and sobriety. After that I'll tell her she can ask any questions she'll wants and that I'll answer the ones I feel comfortable with. I will clearly state I do not want to open up all at once. Very nervous about this, which is why I want to get it out of the way. I do not want to sit with this feeling of "oh what will she think?" for any more time. Thank you for your comment.
 
Y

yololoyo

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
19
Location
Pittburgh
I was on the other side of the coin - I was ready to re-connect with someone from my past from many yrs ago (we live in diff. states) - phone calls for months and finally ready for a visit. Early on in phone calls he told me he had bipolar - I was very ignorant about mental health (except my own anxiety problems)...He was very open about importance of taking meds, getting to bed at same time each nite and proper rest, eating well, etc. I just thought "oh well, he takes his meds and that fixes everything"....Prior to us reconnecting in person, a multitude of stress was dumped on him and the "episode" began....I believe on this forum we decided it was dysphoric (maybe that's the name) - it was bad and then depression for months - I was confused but hung in there as I care a lot of this person......then covid got in the way of us connecting and sadly he ended it.

I guess what I'm saying is that - if and when you do discuss with her - let her know that she can ask any questions she needs to ask because you do want her to understand everything about it --- I had it laid in my lap to ask questions but was tooo stupid to ask...

As to my friend with bipolar - I can tell you that if covid didn't exist and he reconnected with me today - I'd be packing as soon as possible for that possible connection with him....I know there would be times where it wouldn't be easy - but if you find a good person they are worth the fight!

Good luck with this.....
Thanks for your comment. I am happy to hear there are people like you who accept people for who they are, even if they do have a serious diagnosis. I have great respect for people who commits to a person with a serious mental health diagnosis.

I am sorry to hear it hasn't worked out. That must be difficult and I can only offer my empathy. I am worried I will someday have a period where I get overwhelmed, despite my involvement in treatment, and lose stability. I can only do my best to be positive and remain active in supporting my mental health.

I will try to remember your experience and truly encourage an open dialogue. I will try to get her to engage in asking questions even if she isn't concerned. I do not want someone who doesn't know what they are getting involved with when they start dating me. I may be stable the rest of my life—that happens—but I may have an episode even while medicated in the next few years. You never know. My recent doctors have hope, so we'll see. I hope that the woman I am seeing gives me a serious shot.
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
733
Location
Canada
Yes, definitely. If I dumped my whole life story on her that would be bad. I don't know if I'd like having someone soak it all up at once even if they did accept me for it—that's just a bit quick. My plan is to just mention the diagnosis, then mention medication, therapy, and sobriety. After that I'll tell her she can ask any questions she'll wants and that I'll answer the ones I feel comfortable with. I will clearly state I do not want to open up all at once. Very nervous about this, which is why I want to get it out of the way. I do not want to sit with this feeling of "oh what will she think?" for any more time. Thank you for your comment.
Sounds like a good plan. Best of luck!

One last thing (though it may be a discussion for later down the road) is that for the best chance of relationship stability, both partners need to be involved and committed in helping the bipolar spouse. This was the one big mistake that I made in my relationship. After she disclosed and I saw how well she manages her moods, I was like "cool" and just left it up to her. Even though she did a great job on her own, I should have been more involved. We are coming up on our 10 year wedding anniversary but it was only during her last manic episode in the fall of 2020 when I actually starting learning about the illness with any detail. Basically when I joined this forum in fall of 2020, I was totally clueless. I had no clue what meds she took or how they worked. I only had a vague idea of what her triggers were. When she was hospitalized, her doctors would ask me all these questions about meds and details of her previous episodes and embarrassingly I would just be like "hmm... i don't really know". I have since been obsessive about learning more since then (which is why I still love visiting this forum) and realize that if I knew then what I know now, I could have not only dealt with her last episode much better (I would have easily seen some of the obvious triggers and taken appropriate action), but I should have been more supportive by being more involved in helping her with her mood maintenance. Definitely when both partners in the relationship work together (in a positive way) to help the bipolar spouse maintain stability, the outlook for the relationship can be really good. It can be tough because in my case, part of the reason why I left her alone with it is because she could be a little sensitive about it if I kept bringing it up. But now we are 100% on the same page and it is awesome. She has totally kept me in the loop on her treatments and moods, and likes to get my insight and opinions. This is really the optimal scenario - that you are totally open to keeping her in the loop, and that she is open to learning more about bipolar and doing her part to support you the best she can. It can take some time to get there but if you do, things can work out really well.
 
F

flabbergasted

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2021
Messages
308
Location
usa
Sounds like a good plan. Best of luck!

One last thing (though it may be a discussion for later down the road) is that for the best chance of relationship stability, both partners need to be involved and committed in helping the bipolar spouse. This was the one big mistake that I made in my relationship. After she disclosed and I saw how well she manages her moods, I was like "cool" and just left it up to her. Even though she did a great job on her own, I should have been more involved. We are coming up on our 10 year wedding anniversary but it was only during her last manic episode in the fall of 2020 when I actually starting learning about the illness with any detail. Basically when I joined this forum in fall of 2020, I was totally clueless. I had no clue what meds she took or how they worked. I only had a vague idea of what her triggers were. When she was hospitalized, her doctors would ask me all these questions about meds and details of her previous episodes and embarrassingly I would just be like "hmm... i don't really know". I have since been obsessive about learning more since then (which is why I still love visiting this forum) and realize that if I knew then what I know now, I could have not only dealt with her last episode much better (I would have easily seen some of the obvious triggers and taken appropriate action), but I should have been more supportive by being more involved in helping her with her mood maintenance. Definitely when both partners in the relationship work together (in a positive way) to help the bipolar spouse maintain stability, the outlook for the relationship can be really good. It can be tough because in my case, part of the reason why I left her alone with it is because she could be a little sensitive about it if I kept bringing it up. But now we are 100% on the same page and it is awesome. She has totally kept me in the loop on her treatments and moods, and likes to get my insight and opinions. This is really the optimal scenario - that you are totally open to keeping her in the loop, and that she is open to learning more about bipolar and doing her part to support you the best she can. It can take some time to get there but if you do, things can work out really well.

I would like to thank you for helping me understand this condition many months ago -- I still have the site bphope.com bookmarked on my computer. Haven't been on it in months - but back then it was a wealth of information and was written in a very positive way... Thanks again, you're the best!!
 

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