Many people with bipolar disorder tend to not mention the condition when they first meet somebody. But as symptoms persist, it becomes inevitable people with the mental illness must reveal their dark secret.
When it comes to relationships, handling a loved one’s bipolar disorder can be extremely difficult. The manic episodes a person goes through often leave them in two distinctly different states – hyperactive and depressed.
It’s often difficult to communicate and socialize with people when they’re going through such major shifts. Even when a person with the condition is undergoing treatment, there’s still a lot a loved one has to handle. Especially, when this relationship is romantic.
It’s important to understand that romance effects everyone differently just as bipolar disorder does. No two people with the condition will experience the same kind of love. Therefore, it’s important to expect even the unexpected.
Still, there remains some similarities when it comes to bipolar disorder and relationships.
Within this article, we review how bipolar romantic relationships should be managed – whether you’re facing the condition or your partner is. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
When You Have Bipolar Disorder
To begin, the person with the condition might already be aware of how bipolar affects them. Even more so, the person struggling might have had previous experiences with relationships and is aware of how bipolar impacts them.
People in this position naturally might be anxious when it comes to starting new relationships.
You have every right to feel this way – especially, if bipolar has left negative affects on you in the past. Yet, it’s important to remind yourself that you have just as much a right to falling in love and having a healthy relationship as anyone else. Bipolar disorder can’t take that right away from you!
In order to make the best of your circumstances, there are a number of steps you can take in order to offer both you and your partner a healthy relationship.
What Can You Do?
- Be Open About Your Disorder – In order for any relationship to prosper, both sides must be open and honest towards one another. The same is true about your bipolar disorder. It’s vital to mention it before you and your partner become very serious. When you initially bring up the condition, you’ll want to:
- Explain All the Details of Your Disorder – Your partner may be completely unaware of what bipolar is and how it affects those with it. Even if s/he has some idea, they won’t know how it affects YOU. Be open when you discuss how you experience manic episode and what you do to manage them. In turn, there will be less surprise from your partner when you go through one. Furthermore, they may even figure out how to help you.
- Always Be Honest – In the even that an episode does arise, tell your partner. It’s important s/he is aware of the symptoms you’re experiencing and what s/he can do to help.
- Continue With Treatment – If you aren’t already under bipolar treatment, it’s important to get yourself into it as soon as possible. Not only can this help you battle your symptoms but it can also help strengthen your relationship. If you are going through treatment, discuss how it works with your partner.
When Your Partner Has Bipolar Disorder
When you first start dating someone with bipolar disorder, you’re going to notice a number of challenges you may not have previously experienced in a relationship. Not only will your partner be vulnerable to major mood shifts but you may find difficulty simply communicated how you feel.
It’s important for you to be patient with your partner. At the end of the day, they’re going through more than you are and need your motivation to get them through their disorder.
In order to make the best of your partner’s circumstances, there are a number of things you can do.
What Can You Do?
- Keep an Open Mindset – Your partner might have difficulty initially telling you about their disorder. This is normal as many people with bipolar feel ashamed of the symptoms it brings on. In order for you to get a better sense of how bipolar effects them, you should keep your ears keen when they discuss it. Furthermore, you should try to tell them how you feel. Though, never blame them for the way their disorder effects you. While you keep an open mind to bipolar, you’ll also want to:
- Ask Questions About Your Partner – As mentioned, your partner might not be completely open with you about their disorder. This is normal. In order to make them more comfortable, don’t be afraid to ask questions about their symptoms and experiences with the disease. The truth of the matter is your partner most likely has a clear understanding of how bipolar effects them. It’s important they pass this understanding onto you.
- Read Up on Bipolar – Coming to this blog post is a great first step to better understanding bipolar disorder. As you go about your research, you’re going to find it’s a very complicated disease that effects everyone differently. As your partner opens up more about how the condition effects them, be sure to continue reading up on bipolar. Through this, you’ll develop an understanding which can help both your partner and your relationship.
The Importance of Your Support
A person with bipolar disorder is in need of multiple people in his/her life who s/he can turn to when times get tough. As a partner, it’s vital you become apart of this support system. By helping him/her stick through their treatment and by offering a hand when necessary, you’re doing more than you can imagine.
Furthermore, as you carry along this relationship, you may find yourself also in need of support. There’s no shame in denying that dating someone with bipolar disorder can be difficult. Even your partner is aware of this. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, loved ones, and counselors when necessary.
How to Work Out a Troubled Relationship
Many people with bipolar disorder are already in a relationship with a number of difficulties. Admittedly, the condition can put a lot of stress on both partners and lead to many arguments.
However, it’s not impossible to make things work.
The key to it all is both partners wanting to fix the relationship. If you have this, you’re further ahead than you believe.
If you haven’t already, it’s important to find the right kind of treatment. A medical professional will provide you with both medication and therapies as a means of stabilizing your bipolar disorder.
By bringing your partner along for certain therapies, you’re allowing him/her to get a better understanding of how bipolar affects you and what s/he can do to help when episodes appear.
Still have questions when it comes to managing bipolar disorder and a relationship?
Feel free to ask them in the comments below.
If you have any personal experiences you’d like to share or more knowledge on these topics, we’d also love to hear from you.
We make sure to reply to each comment in a timely and personal manner.