Dating certainly comes with its emotional highs and lows. You can be singing the praises of that new person in your life one minute and then stressing about something that was said or unsaid, or something that you did or failed to do. Even the most hardened of people will feel the emotional tug of love, jealousy, heartache, and the other spectrum of emotions that come with dating.
While dating in even the best of circumstances can be difficult to say the least, likely none of the relationships you have been in have fully prepared you for the relationship you are in now. When your new mate has manic depression/ bipolar disorder, the ups and downs of a traditional relationship seem like a kiddie ride at an amusement park. The emotions of a relationship where manic depression/ bipolar disorder is at play truly overshadows any other relationship you have been in when it comes to extreme ups and downs.
When You Suspect the Diagnosis
There are essentially two ways you can enter into a relationship with someone with manic depression/ bipolar disorder. Either your new mate has been aware of the condition and has masked the symptoms from you, as many with this disorder are very adept at doing, or your new mate hasn’t yet been diagnosed with the condition.
The fact is that many people living with the condition, whether it has been diagnosed or not, do not like to talk about their episodes. The condition is characterized by very distinct periods of blissful happiness as well as dark low points, and while these periods of extreme highs and lows can last for days, the transition between the two can be sudden and dramatic.
If you suspect your new mate has this condition, you should approach the subject tactfully and carefully, all the while trying to prevent having your mate feel like you are attacking them or targeting him or her. This is a very common condition, and it is entirely treatable with medication. However, the first step is getting your loved one in to see a doctor.
When You Know the Diagnosis
Your new mate may be very aware of the mental illness he or she is living with, and may have been diagnosed months or years ago. If this is the case, you can help him or her out by ensuring medications are taken as directed and ensuring that he or she keeps all medical appointments. The medication will absolutely help to keep those extreme highs and lows that are characteristic of manic depression/ bipolar disorder from being quite so extreme. This means that your relationship will not have to suffer through the intense roller coaster of emotions that it otherwise would.
Dating Someone with Manic Depression/ Bipolar Disorder
As you likely know all too well by now, dating someone with manic depression/ bipolar disorder is a real challenge. The truth is that not everyone is cut out for being involved in this type of intense relationship. Upon learning the truth about what you are facing, you need to be truthful first with yourself and then with your partner about if you are ready to continue with the relationship.
You should be prepared for a relationship that is truly intense. Relationships where one of the partners has manic depression/ bipolar disorder are often dictated by periods of intense fighting and emotionally charged arguments. Break-ups are usually frequent, but make-up sessions often follow shortly after.
You should be prepared to roll with the punches, so to speak, and you should know that most likely these break-ups are not the mark of the end of your relationship but rather a peak in your mate’s emotions. You should also do your best to remain calm during these episodes of fighting so that the fights and arguments do not escalate unnecessarily.
It is important that you are aware that both the highs and the lows of your partner’s emotional spectrum can have an impact on you. You may think that the high points, which are characterized by extreme happiness and even excitability, may be great for your relationship. However, these high points can also be dictated by the person wanting to try new things and live out an adventurous streak. For some, this may mean traveling to new and exciting places on a whim. For others, however, it may mean driving too fast and far too recklessly, experimenting with alcohol and drugs, and even adopting a promiscuous lifestyle for that period of time. As you can imagine, the high points can certainly have an impact on your relationship.
With the lows, you will generally find that your partner is down and exhibits symptoms that most people think about when depression comes to mind. They may cry often and for no apparent reason. They may pull away from social situations and become more reclusive. As far as your relationship goes, your mate may even pull away from you. This emotional distance can be difficult to live with, especially when you believed the relationship was on solid footing. Yet when you know that this emotional distance has been created because of the illness and not because of anything you have done, it is often easier to live with.
Your Future Together
As you can see, dating someone with manic depression/ bipolar disorder is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. As much as you may love your new mate, this relationship will be taxing on you emotionally. Often, couples who are in such a relationship will benefit from seeking out couple’s therapy and attending regular sessions. This can help the two of you to stay an even ground and work through the complex and extreme emotions you both may feel throughout your relationship.
You may be wondering if there is hope for a relationship like yours that has to endure these incredible and intense emotions on a regular basis. The fact is that many couples just like you two go on to enjoy very long, happy, and albeit emotional relationships.