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When to tell new boyfriend about my bp?

Any suggestions/comments on how to let my new boyfriend know about my bp disorder?  I feel in all honesty I should let him know at some point, and also tell him that my condition is currently under control with the proper medication and periodic visits with my pdoc.  What if I have a "problem" at some point and have one of my meltdowns, he should at least know what's going on.

We are not young, both retired, and have been part of an informal group of people who have coffee at McDonald's every morning for the past 2 years.  Just recently we  both ended relationships and became "available" again and we've started spending time together and today we became intimate for the first time.
Any comments would be appreciated.  Thanks.
13 Responses
539694 tn?1434565947
When ever you feel the time is right =)

Does the new boyfriend know what bipolar disorder is? Will he be all confused and ask what it is? A lot of people in Britain dont actually know what it is they mostly think its the same as Unipolar depression =/

Just remember that if he really cares about you hearing that your bipolar should not matter to him. He needs to know just try to find the right time =)

607502 tn?1288247540
As i mentioned in another thread OBAD which is the Organisation for Bipolar Affective Disorder in Calgary have an excellend downloadable PDF book you can download free - http://www.obad.ca/book

This book is excellent for introducing people to Bipolar without scaring them to death.
Avatar universal
It is a hard decision of how to tell some one that you are bp. The problem is most people know absolutely nothing about it other than it is a mental disease. They only know of cases in the news where someone commits a crime or hurts them self. It can instantly put up a block and they hear nothing else. If I had to tell someone I would start with the being depressed and moody and lead into it so before you get to the word bp he understands what it is. I don't know how it is where you live, but here no one knows what it is other than mental and the things in the news they hear. Automatically they put a stamp on your head. They can understand a woman with hormone problems and the hot and cold reactions. It will work out. Glad to see you are going forward. RJ
Avatar universal
idk i told my fiance in a text message when i was on a trip in Georgia ..we both live in Massachusettes we had just started going out 5days before i left so it was easy bc all i did was text and tell him and said 'if you dont want to be with me than i understand'  lol he didnt care hes crazy bout me :o)
Avatar universal
Thanks to all of your for your posts.  I really appreciate your advice and kind words.  I don't know if my BF understands what bipolar is, however he is a retired chemical engineer and hopefully he is intelligent and well-read enough to at least have a basic understanding of it without immediately branding me as a "mental case".  

I will try to find the right time, soon, and will take your suggestion of first using the term "depression" and then expanding upon it to include "bipolar".  And you are right, if he is the right person for me, then he will understand and be supportive of me.

I will also look at that online book to get some ideas so he won't be put off or scared by this.

Thanks again.  You people are the best friends I could ever wish for.
Hugs,
Linda
Avatar universal
Hi, I've only just found this sight and I was planning on just reading a few posts just to get a feeling of not being alone in this, but I have been moved to respond to this message.

My boyfriend moved in with me a year ago and in the month prior to the move I really did worry about telling him I was Bipolar. It would have been really unfair to just let him join lives with me only to shock the daylights out of him the next time I fell off an emotional cliff! He didn't have a clue about Bipolar so I had to explain it all very clearly, with emphasis on the fact that in the year we had been together I had been a true representation of myself, gently working in the bits about not wanting to leave the house and crying in bed for days. I think pointing them to a good website is a good idea.

I think if they understand the situation from the start it helps a lot. my boyfriend is really supportive of me. At the moment it is hard for him because I am like a screaming banshie one minute and so tired I can't get out of bed the next, but he knows it's not him, and he can't fix it by exhausting himself, and that it is my illness not our environment or relationship that is causing the problems. So he just gives love and helps more around the house, and we joke that when I'm up and flying the house is spotless and I shine so much it makes up for it.

He will find out one way or another, it is defo best it is by you calmly explaining it, than in an ugly display of the darker side of Bipolar. You are doing the right thing, well done,  and good luck.

...and thanks for getting me writing, I think its been good for me.

Bean
605458 tn?1539228808
If it were me, I'd tell him sooner than later. Obviously, not like on the second date, but if you have know him for two years...wouldn't you want to now if he was going to have a problem with it? You can start by asking if he's ever heard of bipolar, get a feeling for what he does know already. Then tell him about it, and tell him about you. Give him an opportunity to ask questions and think about it. If you wait too long, he may think it is a bigger deal than it really is, as if you'd been hiding.

That is how I would go about it.
573297 tn?1304709140
Hi, I am a bit of a chicken with telling anyone now since I got shut out by my parents. I figure if my parents would shut me out because of ignorance....I would really scope out who and who not to tell.

My suggestion (as a chicken...lol) would be to talk to him about some friend of yours' situation and then mention that that person is bipolar after the problem is out and and gauge his reaction from it. He might just ask what that is....and you can go into the details and start the conversation about yourself. However, if he shoots it down...right away you will know either way.

Avatar universal
Ruby,

You don't have to tell him at ANY TIME if you don't feel ready.  It's your illness, and you don't owe him explanations at this point.  If you start to feel a manic or depressive episode coming on - then maybe, and IF you are going to continue to see someone long term.

You just got out of a long term relationship, and you should take it one day at a time.  I am just afraid that you will go into detail about the illness, and since we live it everyday, we know the ugly side of it, and that's hard to explain to someone new in our lives without the gorey details.  See how things are going and if you are compatible first.  

If you had cancer, etc. - would you feel compelled to explain your diagnosis with someone new - right off the bat?  We deserve privacy and just because we have this HORRIBLE illness - it doesn't negate our right to our own privacy.  

Be careful.  If I weren't ready to share it all, I wouldn't make up a scenario that he might find as lying later in the relationship.  Just wait until you are completely ready and it is NECESSARY to relay the information to him.

Like BipolarBear - my family shut me out, but friends embraced me - who knows how they will act.  You have to know when you are ready to accept the reaction.
Avatar universal
4 me,,,,


try to tell him now..............why?????because nOW ur relationship is in the intimate state...if you tell him now....it will bwe approppriate he'll cooperate...try to tell him now....dont let the time come that he'll not understand you.....dont let the time come that he cant able to ride on your mood swings anymore....It is appropriate for you to tell him now so the two of yopu could help each other regarding that.
585414 tn?1288941302
Why don't you explain it as I do. Just say you have a psychiatric disability. Its part of your life. That's nothing to hide or be ashamed about. If the way the bipolar manifests itself causes difficulties or impacts on people, then perhaps the medication isn't working as well as it could. You could speak to your psychiatrist about that. Its better to speak to them about those issues than your boyfriend. But do let him know what goes on. My girlfriend accepted me before I recovered from schizoaffective disorder. And I could get psychotic at times. But I am recovered now. And now she accepts the after effects, the psychomoter agitation from the tardive conditions and what they are identifying in study as tardive psychosis. Why? Because I explain it positively and factually. And I am there to support her with her everyday issues. And care about her. And it works that way with a lot of people I know. Accepting a disability and disclosing a disability is a strength. Then coping with it is a lot easier.
337492 tn?1212458836
I am open and honest with people I meet about being bipolar.  I too, have a new boyfriend and we met through an online dating service.  We talked on the phone for a bit before going out and during one of our conversations I told him I had something to share before we became involved.  He prompted me to tell him so I did.  He did not care and had no problem with it.  He said he has had friends with it and understands a bit about it.  So, there were no worries with him knowing.  If this fellow really cares for you he should not care too much about being BP.  If he does not have a lot of knowledge about it, why not print out some information about bipolar disorder for him to read??  Just a suggestion, hope it helps! Kris
Avatar universal
Hi Ruby,

I ask myself the same question. Maybe I wait, or is my depression, anxiety, mania (despite meds) going to show up. Maybe, you wait til you get to know each first, because they may be understanding, or have their own issues. My last boyfriend is ADD, and possibly has Aspergers. Maybe because he knew me before I was on meds for 3 years, or maybe its his issues combined with mine,,,,anyway he rejected me.( I think there are many people that don't understand what it is like to be bi-polar. Even my mom doesn't understand, and a stable man less than my ex-boyfriend or mom). Despite being somewhat attractive and intelligent; I am unsure if someone can accept me.Often that is the depression talking( for me) and there has to be someone that can accept that , and that will not completely understand me. But it is so hard for me to keep a job, let alone a relationship. It is like looking through a glass door into a whole nother world. Anyway, to answer your question.....I would wait til it gets more intimate. Details of one's life shouldn't be revealed, regardless of the scenario up front.
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