When’s the right time to tell the man you love that you’re bipolar?

Here’s a question that has been nagging me since the day I was diagnosed with bipolar. When is the right time to tell your gay lover that you have a mental illness? Not only that, but there are other considerations in finding the right time to do so. It’s a new relationship and you don’t want to mess it up by scaring him or making him want to feel sorry for you.

The last time I told a guy that I was serious about that I am bipolar, it was very stressful for me. To the point that I actually had a panic attack beforehand and almost didn’t tell them. I might have done it differently if I had read an article about it. It never occurred to me that it could be an issue. I have been bipolar for over a decade and haven’t been interested in someone in a long term relationship, to begin with. One of my issues with dating has been my bipolar. I am afraid of so many things, to begin with, and then I add this to the mix.

Usually the guys I’ve been with have always been weird and I didn’t think about telling any of them about my bipolar. Probably because I didn’t think it was serious enough to do so. However, recently there was a man that I fell in love with and I told him. My worst fears came to life, including some new fears that I was not prepared for. I know I made a mistake and I hope next time I am better prepared.

It’s a cliché. I found him online, we emailed for about a week. He made excuses for us not to meet and I pushed and he agreed to meet me. We hit it off great. I really fell for him. I thought I had found the man of my dreams. Truth be told, if we had ever seen each other on the streets, we would not have talked to each other. We weren’t’ each other’s type.

That same night I told him I am bipolar. I think it was because I wanted to scare him off so he would leave, more than anything. I used it as an excuse for him to have an excuse and kick me to the curb. I was half wrong. He didn’t mind, he thought it was too early, but he was okay with it.

We were together a week before he used it against me. He was very hurtful. I had gotten upset at him for not seeing me when he promised. I had only made a comment. He decided to make a big scene about it. “You’re bipolar, I don’t know what you’re going to do next.” Or my all-time favorite sentence from him, “Stop your complaining, you’re just bipolar.” At one time he got creative, “Wow. It’s like living with a crazy person. Wait, you’re bipolar.”

Truth be told, it’s not about when you tell him. It doesn’t really matter when you tell your lover that you’re bipolar. It can be the first night, it can be when you make it official, or it can be at your wedding night. Okay, maybe that’s too much. The wedding night? Nah. Don’t wait that long.

I think it has to do with whom you are telling. Make sure you know him enough that you feel comfortable that he will not attack you with it. Get to know his feelings about mental illness issues and see if you can bring that conversation at an opportune time. Overall make sure that he is capable of taking the news good-heartedly and with the love and affection you deserve.

Don’t be fooled and tell him when you think you’re all in love. Make sure he is in love too, and he can take the heat. You want someone by your side in the good and in the bad. Your mental illness does not define you and you should let no one do the same. Mentally ill or not, you are you and respect yourself enough that you demand to be respected.

Tell your new lover that you’re bipolar when you are ready, not when you think he is ready.