My Fear of Dating with Bipolar Disorder

February 3, 2015 Natasha Tracy

Dating with bipolar disorder can be tricky for so many reasons. You’ve got a bipolar routine to maintain, emotions to keep in check and a massive elephant in the room that you will have to deal with at some point. This evening I will be having a first date. And I have a fear of dating with bipolar disorder.

First Date Fears and Bipolar

Dating with bipolar disorder can be scary. In fact, I'm afraid of an upcoming first date because of my bipolar disorder and how my date will react to it.Okay, first dates are always fear- (or at least jitter-) inducing. However, I find dating with bipolar to be considerably scarier. And that’s because I’m going to have to tell this sweet, young thing that I have bipolar disorder (Stigma of Bipolar in Relationships). And, because it’s what I do for a living, I have to tell her on the first date. Bipolar disorder, serious illnesses, are not first date material for most people. But they have to be first date material for me because my whole life is comprised of dealing with bipolar disorder. As soon as the person wants my social media information (already requested) or details about what I do, I sort of have to say that I’m a mental health writer and speaker driven by my personal experience with bipolar disorder. It’s disingenuous to avoid it when I know that hundreds-of-thousands of people have read my work and oodles have heard me speak about it in person.

Early Rejection When Dating with Bipolar

Telling someone that you have bipolar early can lead to early dating rejection. This is both positive and negative. Of course, any rejection is negative and this rejection can be more prolific as the person doesn’t even know you before you tell them that you have bipolar. It might be better to introduce that information after they get to know your middle name.

On the other hand, if someone is going to reject you for an illness that is not your fault and that you didn’t ask for, early rejection isn’t really so bad. It hurts less when someone you don’t really know rejects you rather than someone who you’ve invested some emotion into.

Be Fearless, Reject Stigma When Dating with Bipolar

I think the only thing for me to do when facing my first date jitters is to fearlessly reject the stigma around bipolar and just present the fact as if it were anything else about it. Yes, it’s true, I have bipolar disorder. I’m also funny, smart, sweet and witty. I can really only hope that those things will balance that bipolar thing out. I like to think that they do.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, February 3). My Fear of Dating with Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

April, 11 2017 at 7:55 pm

thank you for the information this has been the best information that describes my situation and yes the best thing is to get inform

November, 9 2016 at 3:08 pm

I'm broke jobless had jobs fired from jobs because of my illness. So basically if I want to date I should have a therapist that isn't right or look for one I can't afford and when I date it's like we should see couples therapy. It's not fair to me or the other person so when ever I see a girl is attracted to me I turn away I avoid conversation instinctually. Relationships dating for bipolar people, it's real it's not fair much like nature like a female praying mantis eating its mate, it's instinctual mental illness as a whole is misunderstood in my mania I scare women away or they unrealistically attracted to me. It's painful I wish I had a disease that made me feel nothing instead bipolar a genius feak sex maniac. I've looked for help and it's not out there 2 years money spent insurance stops coverage so I'm reduced to this the internet. It's the look people give, the ones who know the ones who don't but that look like there trying to see past the illness a look of fear, worry, confusion like your a freak. Love in all this takes a fist full of pills and someone to put up with you. really? Put up with, with love, she wants security and I don't represent that so I let her go.

October, 15 2016 at 11:05 am

This article really hit the nail on the head for me. I have BPD2 and really have not dated for over 10 yrs due to it. I earned my B.S degree in Construction Engineering Tech and work for the U.S Air Force. I also retired out of the Army Reserves. So I keep myself pretty busy with work, and Taking college classes. I have learned that no one person can make you happy, that happiness comes from within. Yes at times I yearn to find that one special person, but most of the time it seems to elude me, so I just do what I have to do.

April, 14 2015 at 2:02 pm

Just saying there needs to be some balance
That's all

April, 14 2015 at 1:20 pm

I think when someone is down, the worse thing you can do is give 'em the 'ol drill seargent approach. Things happen when they happen. I, for one, am not gonna kick someone when they're down, recovering or tired. It looks like my other post didn't make it, but to summarize: no two experiences are alike, therefore, no two reactions are alike. Most importantly - don't make assumptions about what people feel, think, or experience. Just don't do it. Also, I had mentioned that plenty of caregivers have aired their complaints - and have taken over boards in the process. Sorry to be short with you - this whole topic is irritating and old. Please give it a rest.

April, 14 2015 at 9:50 am

Sorry Anon, but I don't feel marginalized OR dismissed but maybe I'm the exception to the rule. I was raised in an abusive environment rife with conflict (long before I was diagnosed with bipolar 1) so I had to decide early on whether I was going to let myself sink or swim, stand up for myself or else get trampled on. I chose the latter...

April, 14 2015 at 4:58 am

What is there to understand really when one is marginalized and dismissed? Renita, I get the whole devil's advocate approach, I get that loved ones have a hard time, but I don't think you're asking the right question.
How about "What is making this disconnect so difficult for both sides?"

April, 14 2015 at 4:20 am

So what are we who have a mental illness doing to understand those around us who don't have one? It seems to me that WE also need to use our common sense to find ways to be able to effectively interact with others as well, not all us us can afford formal therapy and how effective is it anyway if we don't bother to put it into practice what we've learned??? How about an article for that....

April, 14 2015 at 3:06 am

Let's face it for relationships to really work there needs to be an equal amount of give and take or at least and honest effort thereof by both parties. So what then does a loved one want/expect to get from a bipolar relationship? I'm curious.
There's a saying out there somewhere I've heard that goes something like this:
It's more important to seek first to understand than it is to be understood...

April, 14 2015 at 2:04 am

I realize this is a blog about mental illness but what bother’s me is that I keep I hearing over and over again in these aricles and blogs poor bipolar me, poor bipolar me, poor bipolar me nobody understands ME, ME, ME. I also have bipolar disorder and even I get tired of it so I can understand why so many loved ones who also read these blogs looking for a way to support their loved ones must feel and why they often leave their mentally ill significant other because it just becomes too much to deal with.
Let’s be honest, we ALL want to be loved and respected bipolar or otherwise. From what I’m seeing and hearing is that it’s mostly the loved ones who seem to be expected to give, give, give, while the mentally ill seem to get off scott free to take, take, take. How about an article for a change that invites some honest discussion about how it feels to be on the other side of the fence. There needs to be some balance to these articles. We are all affected by bipolar disorder in one way or another. And I for one would like to hear a little bit more from the significant others and how it affects them… Or would that be considered to guilt producing for the mentally ill person to bear. I for one, think not but then again that’s just me. Surely there is someway we can all learn to meet in the middle

March, 25 2015 at 3:05 am

I have been battling with Bi polar(Diagnosed ) 3 years ago. Its difficult for me because i always want to tell them first but i end up investing waay too much emotion into it, then when for e.g : A girl i met 3 months ago,we began to chat all the time and then my obsession came in,I always would get upset with her for not responding to my messages when we werent together meanwhile she was at the shop or something then the one day she had a male customer come in to her shop and i was working next door, and he tried flirting with her, she rejected him and i got so aggressive i attacked this guy with my fists ... and the sad thing was... we werent even dating... i feel like im gonna be alone forever cos i should trust people more but i just get so obsessed and paranoid almost instantaniously and it ruins everything for me... every day i go home i wanna cry and i dont know what to do... my medication has not been helping at all....if someone can give me a tip please its a real problem in my life and it makes me feel real depressed and i start to think peoples lives will be easier without me in this world.

March, 3 2015 at 11:01 am

Hi Natasha, I just discovered your blog today and have been enjoying it. I guess I'm "high functioning" with bipolar disorder because I'm able to work at a career I enjoy with people that I like and who know my situation. However...I'm a 43 y.o lesbian, allergic to animals (is that a cruel joke or what), and terrified of ever trying to date again. I gave it up over 5 years ago. I think it depends on who you are and what you want. Dating for me has always been a bipolar trigger in the past, sending me into terrible spirals and resulting in taking a leave of absence from work more than once. So I had to decide if I could be happy on my own. Surprisingly, I am. Sure, I have my moments. But I have family and friends and ways to keep my life full. I decided it was far more important to live for me than to live for someone else. Good luck Natasha, I hope you find what you need. We're all different. I sure appreciate all these articles!

February, 25 2015 at 5:13 am

I am 44 and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 19. I am now engaged to be married. I have dated a lot of people over the years, but I have only really had successful relationships with others who have been diagnosed with mental illness. This is just how it has gone for me. I have had relationships with men without mental illness and they couldn't understand why I would take medications that had bad side effects. They were also concerned about me taking medications while being pregnant, and it was hard for some of them to understand why I didn't want to have children, after I made that decision.

February, 24 2015 at 2:53 pm

Don't sell yourself short Phil. There's lots of fish in the sea...
Maybe your standards are too high. There's lots of people on disability that do volunteer work.

February, 24 2015 at 7:11 am

Sometime during the first ten minutes of my imaginary date: So, what do you do?
You mean work?
I'm on disability.
Oh, I'm so sorry, did you hurt your back?
No, I have bipolar.
(It just isn't worth it.)

February, 24 2015 at 6:46 am

So how did this date go?

February, 12 2015 at 7:04 am

I have bipolar disorder and this has been a huge challenge in my life.

February, 10 2015 at 11:49 am

I must be very care free on that matter. I really don’t care. I do get a lot more preoccupied if someone tells me that he/she has bipolar type 1 or schizophrenia those two are the most difficult to deal with. Never the less, shouldn’t it matter the most creating a relationship first and know each other better before deciding if it’s that person you want to work on a relationship? If so, then it would be the right timing to tell what disorder you have. Maybe you two together are not “intimate relationship material”, maybe you are just friends, who knows? It takes a long time to get an idea of who you are dealing with. For me, character is everything. I am in favor of getting to know that person for at least 6 months before I decide what type of relationship I want or not. I think that telling on a 1st or 2nd or in few dates, that you have a stop sign for everyone that is ignorant about Bipolar, is a very bad identity card to pass on. You have a condition yes, but we always have to teach those in our life how to deal with us and what is happening when we need the space or just to be alone for a while. It’s not the end of the world to date a person with bipolar, relax and live your life without the fear of getting hurt, everybody gets hurt somehow, it calls living. You will hurt a lot more if you don’t even try. All the best to you.

February, 6 2015 at 5:43 am

I agree. This is all new to me. Having insight into what is going on and trying to communicate with people while having a heavily stigmatized illness is difficult. We can only hope for the best, right? Thank you for sharing this.

February, 6 2015 at 5:24 am

54 year old man has not dated for 10 years she has experienced illness previous don't want to hurt her but unsure of my attraction to her due to my unstable condition, had to have medication, s changed she is aggressive

February, 4 2015 at 9:17 pm

Rejection can hurt. Think of it as a positive thing in that:
-you have been brave enough to try dating
-you have some more experience dating
-you didn't go ahead with something and get in too deep only to find out the person can't handle it.

February, 3 2015 at 10:53 am

Sounds a bit like an early miscarriage. Hopes dashed, but for the best, as carrying to full term would mean long-term heartbreak.

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