Part of getting to know the person you’re interested in is asking all the right questions. However, you must be prepared to receive some answers you weren’t prepared for. That’s especially true as the stigma on mental illness becomes thinner. People are now more willing to talk about their mental health, but that can make dating more difficult.
When you don’t know anything about depression, anxiety, OCD, or bipolar disorder, you tend to make sweeping assumptions that aren’t always true. That, in turn, could prevent you from enjoying a long, happy relationship with someone you like. So, to get more information about mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or to find out if you have it as well, visit https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/bipolar_disorder-test.
10 Tips for Dating Someone Who’s Bipolar
In the meantime, use these 10 tips to secure a better connection with your beloved.
#1. Understand what bipolar disorder is (and isn’t).
Bipolar disorder, or BPD, is a chronic mental illness marked by extreme mood highs and lows. There are many causes, including environment, lifestyle, history, and genetics. Other symptoms may be involved as well, but BPD is not a form of psychosis or schizophrenia. Contrary to popular belief, those with bipolar disorder don’t usually experience delusions or hallucinations in their reality.
#2. Find out how it affects their daily life.
Compassion for others is a sign of being a great partner in a relationship, so now is the time to show off your skills. Try to start a conversation with your lover about their mental illness. Be open-minded and accepting to make them feel more comfortable. Then, ask them how their disorder affects their day-to-day thoughts, actions, and emotions. Use that information to love them better.
#3. Learn about their most important triggers.
Once you understand the disorder and learn how it affects your partner’s daily life, you can begin to recognize their triggers more easily. They may still have to explain some things to you, so be ready for an education. Find out what makes them tick and then try not to instigate any episodes. And if one should ever happen, you’ll have the tools to help your partner cope.
#4. Help them cope when the time is right.
Knowing how to help your partner cope with bipolar disorder symptoms isn’t always easy. It takes practice and patience, plus plenty of communication. Know when to step up versus when you step back. Sometimes, the best coping mechanism for someone with bipolar disorder is solitude and mindful meditation. So, try not to force your tactics and ideas on them, especially when they’re experiencing symptoms.
#5. Don’t make them feel bad about their disorder.
It’s already painful and discouraging enough to battle a mental illness like BPD. You don’t want to make it worse by saying or doing hurtful things to your partner, even if you feel justified. People with bipolar disorder may not be able to handle conflict as easily as someone without it. Thus, it’s your job to be patient and understand of your partner’s condition.
#6. Share some of your own mental health struggles.
Sometimes, it helps to hear that you’re not alone. Having someone to relate to can make a big difference in a sufferer’s demeanor and day. And since nearly 20% of the U.S. adult population struggles with a mental illness, you’ve most likely got more in common than you think. So, share some of your struggles and weaknesses but try not to make their battle seem insignificant.
#7. Give them the time and space they require.
Dealing with bipolar disorder symptoms and episodes can be extremely difficult, even with the best medicines and coping mechanisms on the planet. In some cases, your partner just needs to be left alone for a while to process thoughts and emotions on their own. This helps them feel less embarrassed because it also protects their privacy.
#8. Try not to take things too personally.
A person who is dealing with bipolar disorder can’t always be held responsible for what the disorder makes them think, feel, or do. So, try to take their episodes with a grain of salt. They may assume things or even follow through with threats while they’re coping with symptoms. That means you have to keep a thick skin and one eye on them when they’re feeling high or low.
#9. Discover ways to get them help when they need it.
Aside from learning coping mechanisms and avoiding triggers, you should also try to help them find effective therapies. Gently guide them to join support groups, hop on bipolar chat lines, or book an appointment with a therapist. There are many creative options to help bipolar sufferers and you can make discovering them easier with just a little effort.
#10. Get relationships counseling to remain a healthy couple.
If the damage has already been done and you need counseling to get your relationship back on track, seek help from a licensed clinical therapist as soon as possible. And even if you’re just getting started as a couple, having someone to talk to and get advice from can sometimes spell the difference between being in love and breaking up.
Loving someone with bipolar disorder takes a special kind of person – one who respects and appreciates the nuances of the human mind. So, practice compassion and get counseling when you need it.
Bipolar disorder affects millions of individuals worldwide, including some of the people you’d like to date. That means one of two things: you can either ignore that entire portion of the dating pool, or you can learn more about mental illnesses to become a partner that anyone would be lucky to have.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.