Sunday, March 02, 2008

To tell or not to tell

Okay, now that things with Shawn are slowly shifting into more of "relationship" thing (not serious but definitely becoming more than just casually dating)--when do I tell him about the bipolar? To refresh, the two schools of thought on this are:

1) Tell them right away; if it's something that they can't handle, it's better to find that out sooner rather than later. Plus, they'll be less likely to feel that you were "hiding" something from them

2) Wait till....I don't know. It's definitely serious, I guess. Maybe even until the L word is introduced. At that point, you know they're in it and they're less likely to leave because of it. Plus, by then, they're already more invested in you. If you tell them sooner, it would be easier for them to leave. If you wait, they're more likely to care about you unconditionally. Then again, they may be resentful that it took you so long to tell them. Plus, if they DO leave, it will hurt that much more.

For the record, Dave says tell him now. =-) (We still talk every couple of weeks. We don't hang out, though.) He says, as you remember, that part of the reason he reacted so badly is because I never told him. Of course, I wasn't medicated so obviously it's totally different, but he still says that if I HAD come to him sooner, maybe things would have gone a different way.

I really don't know, guys. I want to handle this whole thing the "right" way. It hasn't escaped my notice that my first post-med relationship is going very well, very slowly, very normally and very healthily. (Is that a word?) And I don't want to mess it up by saying too much too soon--OR by waiting too long and having it somehow blow up in my face.

I need help, guys.


Jen said...

OK I still want your advice but I've been doing a lot of reading online and here's what I've come up with

1) I DO need to tell him soon. The general consensus out there on message boards is that while you don't want to tell him too soon (ie first date, or even first few dates), as it starts to become serious, you need to at least start thinking about it. One person said it best when he/she said that once you know this person is becoming a part of your life--that they're going to be around for a while--it's time to tell them.

Second: I'm going to phrase it that I'm "being treated" for bipolar disorder, not that I "am" bp or "have" bp. I'll start out by saying something like "you may have noticed the medicine that I take at dinner" and go from there. I'll say that it's completely under control and it's almost a nonissue, but that it's something I'll always have to monitor. I'll say that it affects my life in little ways--sometimes not sleeping at night, coming up with great, albeit not very longlasting, ideas and interests (for example: he knows I wanted to be a ghostbuster for about 5 minutes and now I'm on to astronomy)--in other words, I'll point out that with the meds, it affects my life in little, sometimes funny, ways. I'll acknowledge that there is a darker side to BP but that I'm confident it's under control--and that we can talk more about that down the road if it comes to that.

What do you think?

Renee said...

Yes to all of it. I think you need to tell him soon. It'll probably be one of the hardest things you'll do, but I think if you wait too long there's the possibility of him feeling like you "trapped" him, for lack of a better word.

The best part of it, though, is that everything you'll tell him will be true, now that you ARE on meds. And honestly, by this time in previous, unmedicated relationships, it's affect on your life has been made apparent by now :-)

Good luck! Do you know when you're having the chat?

Jen said...

But do you think I've already waited too long? I'm going to bring it up casually, like, "hey, by the's not a big deal, but you've probably noticed the medication I take..." and go from there. so hopefully that will lesson the "trapped" feeling too. does that make sense? once he sees (hopefully) that it's NOT a big deal, he'll be like "oh okay." that's my plan, LOL. but seriously, do you think he'll feel that way already? and i'll explain that it WAS hard for me to know when to tell him, because I didnt want to do it too soon but I didnt want him to think I was hiding anything.

probably this weekend. i'll be in clearwater for grandpa's bday on Sat during the day but I'm driving back here that evening. I think I'll see him then. I dont think I'll see him this week.

Jen said...

LOL. I took everything I've learned and read and answered ANOTHER girl's identical question ("how to tell the guy you're dating you're bipolar") on Yahoo answers--and she voted my answer the Best Answer.

And the student becomes the teacher, grasshoppa.

Renee said...

LOL! That's cool.

No, I don't think you've waited too long. If there ever IS one, this is probably the best time. I think after last weekend you're no longer questioning whether you guys are a "couple", and I think it's understandable to not want to tell someone before you know whether they're gonna be around for a while.

Jen said...

I agree that it's the right time. However, at the risk of angering the Dating Gods and incurring their wrath, I would like to go on record as saying that we are still not officially a couple. We are moving in slowly and unspokenly in that direction, perhaps, and there is a (unassumed) chance that he MAY possibly be around for a while--and by a while I mean more than a couple of weeks.

How's that? =-)

It still bothers me that we don't talk/hang out during the week though.

Renee said...

LOL. Okay, but I still think that after how well last weekend went it would be a good time to tell him.

Have you ever ASKED him to hang out on a weekday? Like while you're together on the weekend, say "hey, you wanna meet for dinner on Wed?" or "we should do something wild and crazy and get together in the middle of the week." See what he says. It's not like he's ever said "yeah, I don't want to see you or talk to you on week days" ;-)

Jen said...

Yeah we talk about it but it just never seems to happen. and honestly, i'm usually busy enough during the week that i dont press it.

it'll come. if it's meant to

keesh said...

Yup tell him. he probably knows something is up anyway since you do take pills...but it is best to be honest and upfront right away. Make sure you EXPRESS how it really is no big deal and that you are better since you stopped ignoring the signs

Anna said...

I don't think you should tell him until he asks or it comes up in conversation. (How's that for a different answer?) I just think you don't need to make an issue out of something that doesn't "define" you as a person. When/if he asks why you take pills at dinner, then give him the casual answer as you phrased it above. Until then, just keep getting to know each other.

I say this because just this weekend a friend was telling me her dating history and she told me about how a guy told her he was bp on their first date. She felt like it was a big thing to hear on a first date. They didn’t have a second date, not just because of the bp, but because of a variety of things he said and did.

If you do tell him soon, I’m glad you had such a great, bonding birthday weekend. I think it’s those experiences that will hold you together. Let him get to know you with great times together like that before you go sharing things that might make him pause. You’re an amazing person who is fun, smart, beautiful, spontaneous, caring, and so much more than being treated for bp.

Jen said...

Interesting, Anna. Brad (roommate) was of the same general school of thought but for different reasons. He said that in the first few months of dating, no is really "themselves"--you put your best foot forward, watch what you say and do, etc--so that you don't actually see the "real" person you're dating for several months anyway. that's why HE advocated waiting.

Renee said...

Well, now. Those are both really good points, Anna and Brad!

I still worry, though, that he *could* feel blindsided and hurt and/or angry that she didn't tell him sooner if she waits til he asks.

But now I'm wishy washy on the whole thing because those are some great points to weigh!

LOL. I can rarely stand firm on an opinion once given other sides of the equation to think about.

Renee said...

Don't you ever worry about boyfriends finding your blog, though? Especially since you linked it on your myspace blog?

Eduardo said...

Tell him now. I don't think you sugar coat it in any way. We judge folks by their actions, not their definitions. Remember that how he takes the information has to be part of the process by which you evaluate him.

Jen said...

Ed: thanks so much for a guy opinion. It really helps.

Renee: I didn't LINK it on there, I said they had to email me to get it. Plus, Shawn's not on myspace (or at least doesn't have access to my page).

As for finding my blog: the only way it comes up in random googling that I'VE found is when you do it this way: "(last name) +(jen)". and usually, when you google someone you just do their name in quotes. (And yes, it only seems to come up when you use Jen rather than Jennifer.) So unless he does that particular search combo, I'm okay.