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When do you tell? May 1, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in friends.

I’m jealous of diabetics with insulin pumps. It’s there; people can see it. When you go on a date and your order low GI foods, or you might need to excuse yourself to check your blood sugar. The point is, as far as I know, there isn’t as much stigma to it as there use to be. Maybe there is. I’m not diabetic. My jealousy extends to people with heart problems, epilepsy, and – well – just about every chronic physical aliment.

My jealous stems from the fact that irregardless of frustrating, painful, possibly life-threatening disease my friends have found faithful boyfriends and partners that will be with them. Well of course, right? What self – respecting man would dump a girl because she’s diabetic? I mean, that’s just awful. Who would even contemplate the idea of divorcing someone because they have gone blind? Of course, we’ve heard the stories, and we furrow our brows in disgust at those people. Selfish, heartless, destined to alone for life because their imperfect partner didn’t meet their “ideal.”

Now, what if that person had a disorder that was potentially life threatening, except you couldn’t see it? There are no physical malformation. What if you were interested in a girl who seems absolutely, perfectly “normally” dispositioned? Then, one day, for no apparent reason, she sleeps constantly; she’s moody; she irritates easily; and suddenly you have a girlfriend who’s cutting her wrists. Do you break up with her? By the way, the girl is bipolar. I’m not talking O.C or One Tree Hill bipolar. I’m talking honest-to-god bipolar. The kind that runs in the family. The kind where grandmother was on anti psychotics for 40 years and you know that your great-grandmother is just as bad, but she’s Missionary Fundamentalist. So, no one can tell if she’s having a religious moment or an episode. The kind where mother’s drugged and auntie is drugged and you tried to not be drugged – but death came a little too close a few too many times.

Yes, this is a personal story. I was dumped for being bipolar. Or rather, I was broken up with because he “couldn’t meet my emotional needs.” While the situation has left me with 1) plenty of anger and 2) questions of properly blamed guilt, what I want to ask is “When do you tell?” My former boyfriend knew from a pretty early start. This was the first rough patch we really hit, six month in, and he caved. So do I tell up front at the first date over cocktails, or do I put a quickly read passage in my marriage vows?

I, Amber Peace, promise to love, honor cherish, andonlygocrazyoncea year

Hun, what did you say?

Right now, I don’t date. I have decided that for me, the best boyfriend would be one that’s known me for a while and I can trust to not run off at the first sight of a difficult time. This clears up my question of “when to tell,” because they should already know. It doesn’t answer the question, though, for millions of other people.



1. Justin - May 1, 2008

Well, this is an interesting predicament, and it’s not one that has an easy answer. I would tell you to run away from any sweeping doctrinal statements. Theology isn’t one-size-fits-all, as you well know, and neither is your love life. Take these things prayerfully and on a case-by-case basis. God will let you know.

Discernment is key, and it doesn’t speak in absolutes.

2. cbrunette - May 8, 2008

If you think you can trust a man with your mental health, you’ll probably stay together for keeps. šŸ™‚

My husband and I are fortunate enough to share the same neurology, so we get along just fine through our fits and starts at normalcy.


3. Amy - May 30, 2008

Reading this was like reading my mind! I stuggled with this for so long. Still do, there are many people I see everyday yet have no idea about my disorder. Who do you trust?? My husband is wonderful though, when we were first talking about marriage I gave him a heap of stuff on bipolar and told him that was me, it cames with the package so he could make a choice with the facts. He choose to stick it out and although it is tough sometimes we have managed and are now waiting for our first baby due in October. There is hope, there are people who are prepared to look beyond the disorder. šŸ™‚

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