Relationships are hard, with or without bipolar disorder, but adding bipolar disorder to the mix just makes it feel that much harder. Before either rushing into a relationship, or avoiding them altogether, you might find it useful to hear a bit of advice from someone who fully understands the difficulty. Here are some questions I like to consider before things get too serious:
1) Do I know this person well?
This is important, especially if you feel you might be in a manic phase. You may like a person, but do you really like who they are or just what you think you know about them? Also, do they know you well enough? Is this relationship too spontaneous, or is it cautious and planned? If you want this to be a relationship that works, this is something you need to take time to consider. Honestly talk to the person about the possibility of a relationship, and see how they feel.
2) Would they support me?
Do you know them well enough to know that they will support you if, and when, you tell them? How are they going to treat you? Are they going to have a negative or a positive effect on your mental health? Be sure that they will support you and care for you no matter what might happen. Also, be sure that they are not going to hold your mental illness, or anything else for that matter, against you.
3) How do others feel about this?
Listening to any support members you have around you and what they think can be a really good indicator of whether or not this relationship is a good idea. Ask them if they think you are in a good place for a relationship and if you are being cautious and aware if you are not sure. Talk to people you trust, including friends and family, about the person.
4) Is this healthy?
Are you in a position to be in a real relationship? Are you having a lot of episodes, or having a hard time? Think about whether it is a good time for you to be adding another special, but burdensome, thing into your life. Is it going to be a healthy relationship for both of you? (It is also important to remember that you should not avoid a relationship out of fear of hurting someone, but you must be in a healthy place so you do not start off bad.)
Good communication and honesty is key to any healthy relationship, so remember this when you start a relationship.
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