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Being honest - up front


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#1 natoking

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 05:00 AM

I have been on several dates w/ a real nice woman. I feel a bit uncomfortable not telling my whole story. I think that despite my manic depression, I am a great boyfriend/husband. My question is, when, how and to what degree do I share. Before intimacy? This is why I feel more comfortable w/ like minded people. Two bipolar people don't alway mesh though.

Everybody has crap to deal with but BP can freak some people out. I like this woman. She is very kind and empathetic. I am just too much of an open book sometimes. I like to this way but perhaps I need to find the time, place and person to open up to. I would never want to start off a relationship hiding something.

Any thoughts? Bob

#2 drgnfly

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:14 PM

I think when the right time to tell someone depends on the relationship. I don't believe there are etiquete rules that say when the proper moment would be. Wouldn't that make it easier though??! If you feel uncomfortable not telling her, then maybe it is time.
You say she is kind and empathetic, so I would hope that she would not look at your illness as a deal breaker. You are obviously enjoying getting to know each other, or you wouldn't keep setting up dates together!
Being an open book is not a bad quality, it is refreshing to meet people who are honest about their feelings.
I wish I had better advice for you. Each situation is unique. I wish you the best with whatever you decide.
Sabrina

#3 RWigram

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 12:01 AM

Yeah, Nat, I agree with Dragonfly. There are no hard and fast rules but if you're feeling uncomfortable keeping the secret, that's a pretty good sign.

#4 natoking

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 12:33 AM

It is all food for thought. I just like to be honest up front. I/we just need to remember that we are far more than just our illnesses. Along with disorders come extraordinary qualities and talents too. Balance is the key. I think lifestyle and spirituality have the biggest impact on my well-being. While I don't have any intention of stopping my meds, I do feel "flatlined" often. A very "blah" feeling. I am trying to track my moods along with my meds and life events so I can work with pdoc to get the right combo and right dosages of drugs to maintain a bit of a sine wave in life without reaching too high or diving too low.

I really appreciate all of your responses. When you feel like you are all alone, you find that someone has taken the time to read your post, think about and respond in kind. Pretty cool! Thanks, Bob

#5 natoking

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 08:15 PM

Conclusion -

I should have been honest up front. I can be real relaxed when I share my hopes, dreams and problems. I didn't tell this woman what my challenges are. As a result, I never really opened up emotionally and I was never really myself. I am normally a really fun and outgoing guy but I felt constrained by keeping a secret. The relationship fizzled. I'm okay with this one but I need to learn about how to drop my guard and present myself in a way that makes others feel safe. My hopes are that if I share, they will comfortable in sharing their hopes and fears as well. I just can't live a lie. If a woman can't love me the way I am, than so be it. I just hate to lose someone because she doesn't know who I am. This is not to say that illness defines me but it is a condition worth noting. I also think that that the type of woman that I could fall in love with will understand and embrace me just the way I am.

I have very rarely experienced depression while in a healthy relationship. Loneliness is a trigger for me. When lonely, I get depressed. When depressed, I don't attract people into my life so it becomes a vicious circle. Hopefully I can break this vicious circle real soon.

B

#6 jillie

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:40 PM

(((Bob))))

It is always a difficult call. All we can do sometimes is learn from experience.

love Jillie xxxxx

#7 Ed the chow hound

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:54 AM

Bob,

You and all of us chronic depression sufferers are in a difficult situation. We are not healthy people and many of us never will be. I think accepting our lot in life is important and the limitations that are an inbuilt part of our life. Acceptance is the starting point in handling our depression in the long term.

So what can we reasonably expect from life? There is No One Answer to this question because each persons depression manifests in different ways and imposes different limitations on each of us. Many depressed people have been successful in business and politics and have married and raised families with various degress of success. Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression and so did Winston Churchill just to mention a few famous people.

I think it is a matter of taking very careful stock of our talents and skills and the way depression effects us personally. Then select a career that we think we could succeed at. In the romantic stakes the same logic applies we need to chose a partner that can cope with our depression and still be content.

We need to bring our expectations into line with the reality of the marriage market,we shound not expect to marry a rich, young and pretty woman who thinks we are the greatest thing since sliced bread and is a sex goddess as well.

I guess it is a matter of careful choice in career and in our love life. Depression limits the work we can do and also the range of marriage partners that are suitable, careful sellection is the key to success in both fields. I have been married twice and received two proposals of marriage in spite of being chronically depressed but I only dated Unusual and Excentric women and I held down a good job with good retirement and sickness benefits.

Successful marriage is about compromise and trade offs, I accepted my wives eccentricities and they accepted by depression. Wife number two was an actress and very eccentric but this marriage lasted thirty five years with all the ups and downs that are part of normal married life.


I think that we need to be honest with any date who is looking for a long term relationship and introduce the fact that we get depressed at times after the third date and see what reaction you get.

good hunting and good luck

Ed the chow hound

Edited by Ed the chow hound, 17 February 2010 - 05:11 AM.


#8 glassslipper

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:56 PM

Hi Bob

Even though I have been married for nearly 20 yrs, I can still remember when I was in the dating game and the new friendships I make (cept when you are living in Sweden, their idea of communication is living in the same road) I am always straight up front, but, I decide which friendships I want to pursue and if i detect they wont be a positive addition to me and mine (whether they are snobs, judgemental, more nuts than my family or selfish)I ditch them just by withdrawing from their life. Its always a risk when I tell people, but fortunately so far I seem to have chosen well on the whole. If anything I give a brief history and then get a torrent of history back about their lives, their loved ones lives, their friends etc. I have the sort of face that people want to talk to, which is complementary, but in another way it can be quite overwhelming. I do have the kinda body language/face that makes store detectives follow me a lot and people seem to think I work in shops that I am shopping in, sorry going off on a tangent, but its something thats puzzled me for years. Anyhow back to the point. I cant pursue any relationship of any kind unless I can be me, I am too lazy to pretend to be someone else and if I lie, having the memory capacity of a goldfish, I would soon drop myself in it. If I cant be me, I cant relax, I wanna leave, its too stressful putting on a face.

My depression is a part of me, my make up, my genes, my inheritance (gee thanks dad!)Its as much a a part of me as my sense of humour, my height and my dislike of rice pudding. I wont parade it around, but if someone wants to be a part of my life, I regard it as a 'need to know' item. Sometimes I will tell strangers at bus stops, but other people I would slit my throat before I whispered one word to them, its how I think they will react.

I think previous advice was good, if you are starting to feel uncomfortable, its time to seriously think about telling them.

When I met my husand I fell for him hook line and sinker, one of those 'love at first sight' moments, (yeh, I know, reach for the puke bag) He said one sentence, I thought he's the one for me! We met on Saturday, moved in on Tuesday, he proposed on the thursday and six weeks later I chucked everything in to move 200 miles south with him, BUT on the Monday evening I told him everything and I mean everything about me, all my skeletons, faults etc, because if this was going to work, I wanted no one and I mean no one to knock on our door and pull the rug out from under his feet with anything from my past. Well he told me everything about himself. Before I did this my heart was in my throat, I'd just downed half a pint of cider and I dont drink, so I was a bit squiffy, but it was All or Nothing at All as far as I was concerned and if he walked off, well that was the risk, I can't pretend for anyone. Well he thought what I told him was small fry and I thought what he told me was small fry!!! We laughed, cos we had both built ourselves up to this, and I couldnt see the big deal in what he told me
and he couldnt see the big deal in what I had told him.

20 years on I havent changed my way of thinking, I aint a Kippers and Curtains person, the only thing I do hold back on, at times, is my swearing, I can put a squaddie to shame quite easily and I dont like to think I would give some old dear a coronary. But if they are snobs or like to think they are better than me, oh boy, watch my vocabulary expand!!!!(I can swear in many languages now) Also I am careful in front of children, nuns, vicars, prospective employers and kittens. Once there was a really nasty Matlow I worked with and he was bullying another guy, so I called him a 'piece of female anatomy', the other guy said 'why did you call him that'?, I said 'cos thats what he is'. I am quite proud that I shocked a group of Matlows.

Honesty is the best policy combined with carefully choosing whom you are honest with.

love light and peace

Maria x

#9 natoking

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:58 PM

Wow Maria! You have really validated the way I feel. Thanks for putting it out there. For me, holing the truth back is like carrying a hammer in my stomach. Thanks again! Bob