To tell or not to tell?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    That is my question. My boyfriend, whom I've known for two years but only been dating for seven months, has no idea I'm bipolar. I am in no hurry to tell him. He knows about my son's autism and my daughter's bipolar, but I've been keeping my own issues in the dark. He knows I'm on medications. He thinks I have anxiety and insomnia. That is why he thinks I am taking the pills. He's not on board with me at all when it comes to my medications. He doesn't believe in them. Whenever he's in pain he won't even take an Advil or Tylenol. He thinks all medications have the potential for drug dependency and he thinks they should only be taken in an emergency. Basically he has chronic pain and he lets himself suffer because he refuses to medicate. He thinks I should do the same thing.

    He thinks my "insomnia" is all in my head and I need to just learn to shut my brain off at night and relax. Same with my anxiety. He thinks I should just breath deeply, try and relax, and forget about all my problems and it will all go away. He has no idea. Anxiety is just a small part of my issues. He has no idea about the mania or the depression. He is clueless when it comes to my manic episodes and when I stay awake for days on end. He doesn't know about the irritabiltiy, the rage, the overtly sexualized behavior. He would freak if he ever found out. He doesn't know that when I get in a mixed manic state I get suicidal. I have scars on my wrists from where I've sliced them open, but he has never noticed them before. I am afraid to even say the word bipolar around him. So many people freak out when they hear that word. I'm just tired of hiding everything and I'm tired of our never ending talks over how I really don't need to be on any medications. If he knew all of my little secrets, he would probably change his mind about the medications. I just don't know if I'm ready to tell him. I don't want to lose him. I'm deeply afraid he will get scared off and run. Bad enough I have two difficult children, but me? He doesn't know the half of it and I'm not sure if I should let him in on it just yet. What do you all think?
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi CB. There are two "fidelities" at play in the situation you describe - fidelity to yourself and fidelity to your relationship. In the long run, being unfaithful to yourself usually turns out badly. :)
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Okay I'm having a blonde moment. What does it mean to be unfaitful to myself?
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    What you said yourself :)
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO, but... if it were me, having to even ask the question would mean there are problems with the relationship. You are not "at liberty" in the relationship, and his general feelings about medications are likely going to be a problem.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Telling him should not be an issue. Now I won't say your reluctance to do so means the relationship is not going well..........because we all know the public at large pretty much only has stereotypical information (if any at all) to base their judgements on such things. But telling your boyfriend you have bipolar should be along the lines of telling him had your appendix out or whatever. It's not like you asked to be bipolar, or want to be, it simply IS. The sooner he knows, the better in my opinion.

    Why? Because you're not being honest with him. Keeping it from him is just another form of lying. Ask yourself, why is it ok for him to know your kids issues but not yours? Do you expect him to hit the road the moment he knows? (I'm guessing yes) Well, if he does, then he wasn't worth your time/effort to begin with.

    His side..........I'd be mighty furious that someone I was in a relationship with for 2 yrs didn't bother to tell me something that important about themselves. It shows a major lack of trust. Nor would it let me know exactly what I was getting myself into relationship wise. Honestly, while I have little issue myself with mental illness (especially if the person is sticking to treatment), I'd walk simply because you weren't honest from the beginning. I'm not saying you should tell someone immediately, but 2 yrs is just too far in to the relationship.

    He can get educated. Either his views will change or not. But how are you going to feel if you give your heart totally to this guy, say accept marriage........and then he walks when you finally do get around to telling him? Know what I mean??

    Nichole has learned the hard way that there is no reason for her to be secretive about either her Borderline (BPD) or her bipolar. Now she won't pour out her life story to just anyone. But she is open and honest about it. If someone has an issue, then she knows before investing much into the relationship. Keeps either side from being hurt really badly. Shoot, her husband still has issues with it from time to time and he's known from the beginning. But we're amazed at how much he's learned over the years he's been with her. He's not perfect by a long shot.......but he loves her for her, illness or not.

  7. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I can understand why someone would want to put their "best foot forward" so to speak in a new relationship, and since bipolar is stigmatized, I see your reluctance. I wouldn't wait too much longer, though. Seven months is long enough. You'll know when the time is right to tell him, and it's important that you are as honest with him about your bipolar as you were with the kids' diagnosis's. I believe in full disclosure.
  8. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I know I have to tell him sooner or later but I didn't know if it was too soon or not. To clarify, we've been friends for two years. We've only been dating for seven months. Not all my friends know I'm bipolar so I don't think it was my business to tell him about it when we were just friends. Now that we're romantic I know he must be told at some point. I guess I don't know how to say it exactly. I mean, how do you just bring it up all of a sudden? How do I break it to him gently? Seriously cause most people hear the word bipolar and automatically think we're crazy loony bins who fly off the handle at random moments. That's not the way it is at all for me.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, well 7 months is definitely much better than 2 yrs. But I wouldn't wait too much longer.

    You could discuss your daughter.........then perhaps slip it into the conversation. He's known you this long. Obviously you're not what stereotype depicts and that will greatly work in your favor. Or perhaps you could educate him more on the disorder itself to help him let go of the stereotype beliefs and to help him understand better. I would try this approach first.....because it is information he needs regardless. Then once you have started the education process and he begins to let go of false beliefs, you can let him know that yes you're bipolar but no you don't behave at all like some crazy off the wall loon. Know what I mean??
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CB, it must be difficult for you to hide such a big piece of who you are and I'm sorry you've felt you had to do that. And, I also understand why you would. For me, what has always worked best is to take the risk and be honest especially with someone whom I love and who loves me. And, I realize it is a risk. However, by editing out parts of yourself, you are not being true to yourself nor offering yourself entirely to the other person. It may give him pause as he has to adjust to a change, but he may be willing to make that internal adjustment and then be more willing to listen to your point of view concerning medication. He will have to give up his judgments about medication, and hopefully he will be able to do that. If he can't, then at least you will know now and not later when you might be more invested.

    It's scary to tell someone the total truth about ourselves, that's true for any of us, but for you, it's made more challenging because you have something many folks just don't understand. But true intimacy is being "known" by someone, it's allowing another to know all of our parts, not just the ones in the light, but the ones in the dark as well. And, we ALL have the dark parts as well, just different ones.

    As you know, I have many close relatives who have various mental anomalies (including quite a few who are bi-polar) and even though it causes struggles and pain, I think they are very unique and very interesting people. Your boyfriend may have to give up his judgments but he can gain YOU with all your unique and interesting traits. It appears you plan on telling him your truth at some point, the question at this point is, is now the right time? You are the only one who can determine the timing on that. If it is beginning to surface for you, then I would guess that it's bubbling up for a reason, the time is either here or soon. You absolutely deserve to have someone love ALL of you, which includes the bi-polar you, it's part of who you are. And, from reading your posts and getting to know you from that, I find you quite endearing and lovable, as I'm sure he does. (((HUGS)))
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am one who keeps no secrets about my bipolar. Now the borderline? Well I keep that a bit closer to the vest because not many people understand personality disorders well. Most folks think you might become the next Ted Bundy when they hear personality disorder. In today's world it is almost normal to be abnormal.

    The one thing that does worry me is your boyfriend's reaction to medication. He really will have to learn about them. Does he read? Maybe he would read something like The Unquiet Mind.
  12. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I don't think you should tell. He has a problem with you being on medications for insomnia and anxiety? He should be supportive, he's only been with you a short time. He's not ready to know anything else. I'm sure sure he's not revealing every single thing about himself. He just doesn't need to know. in my humble opinion.
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I also am another who thinks you need to tell him. Is his reaction a risk to you? Perhaps. Is this possibly a defining moment for your relationship? Probably. The thing is, for seven months you two have been romantically involved. At that stage, there usually is an idea that this is potentially serious and obviously you both are committed to moving forward in whatever way. This isn't simply a few initial dates.
    Your worries are perfectly rational to me and understandable. The thing is, for a healthy relationship, both partners have a right to know the important things about the other at this stage. Because something like bipolar is not simply a personal issue for you, it effects an entire family. And if this relationship stands the test of time, a family at some point you will be. How can he decide if he can cope with it if he is left unaware? How can you know if he is the type that can stand behind you as you need over a lifetime if he isn't even aware? Know what I mean??
    I think that he might be hurt you didn't say anything sooner, but I also think it reasonable to respond that any sooner you couldn't have known of there was a possibility of something beyond a few get to know you dates. But now you can see this is trying to head to long term
    Relationship status, making it the right time to discuss issues like this.
    Regardless of his reaction (hopefully supportive!!!), you'll certainly benefit from not feeling that angst and torn feeling you are feeling if your sad sounding post is any indicator.
    I understand fearing rejection and lack of understanding or acceptance. But if not tested now, then when? And too much longer and regardless of his reaction to your disclosure, he likely will end up with a valid response of betrayal that leaves him feeling left in the dark about something very important to know about a long term partner. Informed consent, Know what I mean??
    Whenever you do decide to tackle this situation, I will hope that he is responsive in a good way, even if he needs down educating and some time to understand that you have bipolar but it doesn't define you. You are much more than a label or mood disorder and you hold all the qualities that he has enjoyed in you for two years of friendship and seven months romantically. A good cue that this is the right time, is his desire to know your children. An expression that he wants more than dating.
  14. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom, his moving forward and wanting to get to know my kids better is exactly why I'm questioning this now. Before it was just me and him. Now it seems like he wants the whole family or at least is moving forward in that direction. I know he must be told at some point. Maybe when I see him this weekend. The kids will be at their dad's. All I know is I'm probably gonna need a couple of glasses of wine before I tell him. I am nervous!