Dating a man with 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.“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.



“I thought that having the mutual experience of bipolar made us kindred spirits,” explains Victoria.“My anxiety over waiting too long to tell them is greater than the worry over how they might react,” explains Chris, 24, a college student in Tucson, Arizona.Also, he says, “I never want a woman I’m dating to think I’m hiding something.“I typically recommend that individuals with bipolar disorder tell their partner about their illness before they decide to make long-term commitments to each other [such as] deciding to live together, get married or have children,” Sylvia says.

Chris prefers to discuss his 2001 bipolar diagnosis right away, before he’s head over heels about a new girlfriend.

When we met, I knew that I had found the right partner.” Victoria recalls that the first girlfriend she talked to about her diagnosis stormed out of the room and then refused to return her calls.