This is a big question that has been asked by many: Should I tell my significant other that I have bipolar disorder?
Generally, there are three situations where this occurs:
1.) If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are going into a relationship. Should I tell my potential partner that I have this mental illness right away or wait?
2.) If you are already in a relationship (not married) and diagnosed with bipolar disorder after the relationship has started.
3.) If you are married and find out after you are married that you are diagnosed with bipolar.
I am not here to tell you what to do. I am not a medical professional. However, I would like to give you my insight and ideas.
Short-term relationships deal more with #1 above. Never feel ashamed of who you are, but I understand there is stigma out in the world.
When I was dating and knew the relationship was not going to be long-term, I did not say anything. “Our illness is complicated, why over-complicate it,” I thought. I remember there was a young woman who I dated short-term. She told me how mental illness is all in the person’s head. I broke it off that night.
The main thing you must remember is your comfort level and what falls within your belief system.
I had a friend that told everyone he had bipolar disorder the first time he met them. This was his level of comfort and what he believed.
If you decide not to tell your new partner right away, when is a good time to tell them? There is no fixed rule for the number of months you are together or anything like that. You need to search within your heart the value of the relationship and how it is progressing.
I always made sure I knew each person extremely well and that they were tolerant individuals. In addition, I made sure the relationship was headed long-term. There were probably exceptions to this rule in my past, but I generally followed it as precisely as possible.
Long-term relationships deal with #2 and #3 above.
Being in a long-term relationship is completely different than just starting out dating. There is a level of intimacy that is created the longer you are with another person. Full disclosure is appropriate at this level in the game.
If you are living together, whether married or not, it is extremely important to tell your significant other if you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. You would tell them if you were diagnosed with diabetes. Having bipolar disorder is no different. They are both chemical illnesses. Bipolar disorder just happens to have a stigma.
My take-away message is three-fold:
1) Do not feel pressured to tell anyone anything. Especially about your bipolar disorder illness.
2) If you are in a short-term (dating) relationship, do not feel like you must tell the other person.
3) If the relationship turns long-term, full disclosure is generally recommended.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog post. I would love it if you would join The Bipolar Battle Community! Until next time, take care! 😊