5 Secrets to Dating When You Have Bipolar Disorder

5 Secrets to Dating When You Have Bipolar Disorder

For people with bipolar, dating means taking it slow, minimizing anxiety, and putting yourself first.

For people with bipolar disorder, piloting the unpredictable waters of dating can mean much more anxiety than normal. Here, five adults with bipolar disorder talk about their dating experiences, and how they navigate both the scene that is dating the crucial question of when to disclose their mental health issues. Melanie Greenberg, PhD, a psychologist that is clinical Mill Valley, California, and author of the Mindful Self-Express column on Psychology Today, also weighs in.

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“I’d just remind myself to cool it — it’s just a date,” says freelance writer Laura Dattaro, 28, of New York City. Dattaro was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder right after her 23rd birthday. “It can be easy to get carried away, especially if your mood is on the upswing.” That excitement and good feeling may make the new person seem like your soul mate or new best friend, she says, and when that doesn’t pan out it’s a big bummer.

Dr. Greenberg agrees, noting that in someone with bipolar disorder, that excitement can be heightened. So to those with bipolar who are entering the scene that is dating she advises, «since bipolar people can be impulsive, you might want to prepare yourself for taking your time.» For example, you might not want to get too sexual prematurely.

Greenberg also says that your anxiety could be heightened. Leah Yegneswaran, 24, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 20, agrees. “I worry that I’ll be triggered over the course of the date,” says the University of Mary Washington student.

So Yegneswaran creates a backup plan to accommodate the possibility of an anxiety attack. “I tell friends in the area of the date I need to crash somewhere,” she says that I might need a safe space in case something happens and. […]