Relationships with Bipolar People
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Q:  Relationships with Bipolar People

I know some one who just met someone who says they are bipolar and they do exhibit the signs.  I just want to know how serious can this disorder be.  They want to start a relationship and I don't think my friend truly understands the reprecussions of dealing with someone with this disorder.  Please advise

Thank you.


Dear Kim -- 
How about knowing someone who is brilliant, creative, passionate (on average, more likely, according to many experts, than if a person is not bipolar)?  How much consternation is it worth, to know someone like that?  

How about if a person was known to have diabetes?  Would that be a reason to choose whether to have a relationship with them?   I suppose one could say: "well, you don't have a relationship with their pancreas", whereas in some ways you do have a relationship with someone's mind.  

Would the person with the bipolar disorder be willing to say, for example: "I told you in advance so you'd know.  I hereby release you from any obligation to engage with my illness; you can engage with me only, and when the illness appears, you can let that part go by -- I give you that permission, nay, I request that of you now." Then what?  

And what if the person one was about to enter a relationship with had lung cancer, except you didn't know yet?  The suppose after things started happening between the two of you, you found out about the cancer?  Is there really a stage in a relationship where we actually choose on the basis of these things?  

Maybe I'm sentimental or naive.  But there are some thoughts for you. I would imagine there are plenty of bipolar people's signficant others who could speak to this much better than I, from direct experience of the joy and the pain.  You might find some such comment on that website: (for the Significant Others). 

Dr. Phelps

 Published June, 2002 


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