Dating and When to Disclose You Have Bipolar Disorder

Last Updated: 9 Dec 2020

You may find it best to be upfront about your bipolar disorder diagnosis, so you can make sure you are with a person who will be supportive.

Dating is difficult at any age.  But when you add bipolar disorder to the mix it can be extremely daunting.  How does one hide something that has had such a profound effect on their lives?

I have been divorced for 20 years and single for most of that time.  Yes, I’ve done a lot of internet dating; perhaps too much at times.  I did live with a man for a year, but that was strictly for financial reasons.  I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent and survive because I couldn’t work at the time.  This lasted exactly one year.

During that time my teenage daughter was acting out, who lived with her father, so I had very little control in what happened in his home; my mother died and I had a lot of anger within me.

He kind of became someone I could yell at and take out my frustrations on.  Once I got stronger I asked him to leave, just one year after he moved in.  I decided I wouldn’t tolerate toxic people in my life any more and he was definitely one of them.

For the last 13 years I have playing the dating game.  But I’m getting older.  At 56, I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.  But when I bring the subject up, most men run for the hills.  They believe what they see and hear about famous people on television of social media—The crazy, out of control stuff that happens to us all.

And yes, there were times that I was crazy and out of control.

The funniest situation I remember is when I met a man for coffee.  As soon as I told him I had bipolar disorder, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  I have used the bipolar card when I’m not interested in a man.  Just telling him I have this illness usually drives him away.

I used to try to hide my illness from potential dating prospects years ago, but then it was hard to explain why I wasn’t working.

Today I have decided it is better to be upfront on the second or third date.  It’s much easier to feel that sting of rejection before things get too far along.  I expect total honesty from the people in my life so I try to give other people the same respect.

I have gotten to the point in my life where I know I may be alone for the long haul.  I am a very strong person with good morals and values (for the most part, although I must confess I hate wearing my seatbelt).

The type of man I am looking for would need to support me in whatever endeavors I undertake whether it be my Virtual Assistant Business or speaking about how to manage bipolar disorder effectively.

I have been completely open about my recovery which has included writing and self-publishing a book called “My Journey Back To Myself.”  Any man who wants to me in my life would have to be able to not be embarrassed by my unashamed approach to helping others.

It’s better to be alone and lonely than to feel alone in a relationship.

About the author
When Lynn Rae was 39 years old two psychiatrists told her that she would NEVER work full time again. She had accepted the diagnosis of bipolar disorder but would never accept the prognosis. After working part time at several different jobs between episodes of depression & mania Lynn was finally able to work full time and has been since 2009. She has now enjoyed over 10 years of good health. Lynn Rae can guide you in making those important decisions in your life surrounding Family, Friends, Fun, Fitness, Fulfillment, Finances & Faith through her Keynote “The Seven F’s to Your Fantastic Future.” She has written 3 books and self-published one of them which are available for sale on Amazon. Lynn received the Marilyn Nearing Award from York Support Services Network for the contribution she was making as a volunteer in the mental health field. Lynn Rae has her own business, GTA Office Services , in which administrative tasks are done virtually for her various clients. She makes her own home in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
  1. I tend to think it is best to wait a bit. So often we think what if someone rejects us. Yet why not spin it around. How do you even know if this person is a person you want as a friend or a romantic partner? Give it some time to get to know the person. Many people have their own issues and I wouldn’t want them in my life. I am also a much happier person for being selective about who I choose to be close to. That helps my health.

  2. Does anyone just want to ”fix” you?
    How timely to just find this site and see this post. I was diagnosed at 46 (and in the prime of my career), asked to leave my 23 year marriage at 53, and now at 59, I’m living in a 1br apartment, and on disability. Thankfully, no addictive behaviors, so my biggest expenses are rent, car and triathlon (my therapy). Yes, I date, and have had two 6+ month relationships, but have so little to offer behind the facade.. By the 5th date, I will “tell all”, and so far, no one has run away, but most want to “fix” me as opposed to understanding and accepting me.. With two incredible daughters, I thought we’d be a foresome for life.. Funny that online dating is now part of my life.. Good luck to all!

  3. I’m a 59 year old man,have always been told that I am handsome, known for having quite the sense of humor, quick wit, deep knowledge on many many topics, ( I get sought out for feedback, clarification or advice for many years), I have found 2 situations that are a significant challenge. I have been married twice, 17 and 15 years respectively, raised 2 kids, fostered 1 kid from 11 yrs.old to the present at 26yrs. old. Situation #1. I attracted, fostered and enmeshed with women that were at least as challenged as I am. I feel like, I attract women who I’ve been told are at my “same level of dysfunction” and as a result, even with love present, the relationships have been full of hurt , some intentionally so toward me. I was not properly diagnosed until 9 years ago with BP 2, Severe PTSD, MDD. Although I have been in therapy or actively working Twelve Step programs for 25+ years,proactively putting in tremendous amounts of effort, engagement and self examination.
    Situation #2. I would rather be alone than to be in yet another hurtful relationship that as times goes by is more and more painful for both. I don’t want to be the source of pain for anyone.
    Most of the time, I am able to see these issues objectively, but it is hard to live with the reality of what issues these disease/disorders do to the most treasured aspects of life.
    I had a mind blowingly successful career, that I never in a million expected both from income and influence perspectives. Sr. levels of management, public speaking, high level consulting,etc.
    However after years of extreme blame, attacks for everything, other than the attacker feeling and dealing with their own issues, my health mental, physical and financially are devastated. I’m fully disabled, not able to work and having to learn to live on the meager amounts of disability income. I have a fully trained psychiatric service dog ho is with me 24/7. I have survived 3 suicide attempts in the past 9 years ( 2 years ago was the most recent aided by my 2nd wife telling me that she would have “Them come and take me away” after she refused to get help.). I am very spiritual ( not religious), live in a very comfortable home, drive a newer, nice vehicle,etc.). This could be the calm, rewarding period of life and as such, I like many of you, would like to share it with someone who can stay committed to managing symptoms to be stable and healthy.
    Like many of you shared here, I have tried dating a dozen times or so and never got past the being ok with my health issues or they were just really in denial of their own issues. I have hope and do have faith that God can provide a soulmate if he sees fit. I’m done trying to take actions and then try to justify it being what God wanted ( Only fooling myself). Here’s to each of us finding peace, love, understanding and true happiness. It is possible, I know it is.

  4. I have the same problem in dating, thou i am attractive , intelligent, kind and considerate but feel i am damaged goods cause have bipolar 2. Don’t we deserve a fulfilling life too! Other people have physical health challenges!

    1. Mina: I have Bipolar 1, Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis and I can’t seem to convince myself that I’m damaged goods. I don’t let other people convince me that I’m damaged either.

  5. I don’t believe in the labels given by professionals in mental health. Emphasis should be on health not episodes. We do need to know what events trigger bad behavior and compulsive behavior, but let’s talk about those stable times more. Not just productive behaviors but creative acts and selfless helping others and just managing to get through the day on your own. Pleasing ourself is the criteria for a successful, eventful day, not who has criticised us or expected us to fail again. I have learned when to participate in group goals and when to pursue individual ones. I may cancel events based on self-knowledge. It’s okay to feel like not participating in a group activity. Its called independence. Our philosophy on life changes through stages, so we don’t always meet our own standards we espoused throughout life. We have to forgive ourselves and others as we know ourselves and can do better next time. I don’t label my self to others, I discuss how I’m feeling and reacting at the time. Talking it out is necessary to be understood at different times, if you care about the others you date or love or group with.

    1. I agree with you Kathy. There are times that we need to pursue solo activities. Self-help groups were very useful when I was first sick but as I got better I wanted to associate with people from all walks of life; not just people who had a mental illness.

Load More Comments

Leave a Reply

Please do not use your full name, as it will be displayed. Your email address will not be published.