3 Tips To Help You Disclose Bipolar To Your Date
Telling a new partner about your diagnosis is scary. Lisa Little, MSc, a chartered psychologist in Calgary, Alberta, offers these guidelines for starting the conversation:
#1 Gather your courage
It’s normal to feel nervous about telling a new partner you have bipolar disorder. Just don’t let fear stand in the way of sharing the information.
If it calms your nerves, practice what you’re going to say, but don’t get too caught up in finding the right words. Don’t lead in with a big buildup, either. “There is something I want to tell you …” will work as an opener.
#2 Provide specifics
Your partner may not know much about bipolar disorder. Don’t shy away from realities, but remember to focus on the positive and the fact that the disorder can be managed. Suggesting books and online resources can also be helpful.
“Offer to answer questions or go online to look things up together,” Little suggests. “It can be something you do [as a couple] to help them understand the disorder and what they are getting into.”
#3 Sit back and listen
Give your date a chance to ask questions and voice concerns. Your disclosure may be met with compassion, but there is a chance that your date might not take the news well. “If they ask for some time to digest the information, give it to them,” says Little. And remember that if you’re dumped because of your diagnosis, that has more to do with the other person’s fears and limitations than your worth as a romantic partner.
Bipolar Disorder & The Dating Game
Printed as “The Dating Game”, Winter 2012