I told people I’m bipolar on the first date:

IMG_3380

I told people I’m bipolar on the first date and I’d still be doing it if I was still dating.

Here’s the thing, I didn’t at first. I was terrified of what people would think of me, how it would effect my chances with someone. I wouldn’t tell a soul, I thought it was something that should be saved for a few months in, a “so I should probably tell you…” that comes when your ready to confess.

But why was I confessing? I wasn’t guilty of anything. I am bipolar, it’s part of me and it has been for a long time. I’m not ashamed of it, I’m annoyed by it a lot, but I’m not ashamed of it. It was out of my control and it made me stronger. It’s just there, a consistent part of me, and I share things about me when I’m trying to get to know someone, so why shouldn’t it be shared as well?

Sure, there is stigma, but there is stigma on all sorts of things, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be talking about it. Maybe by hiding our disorders we’re adding to the stigma. We’re acting ashamed, so they must be shameful! But it isn’t. Bipolar disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, so I started to act like it.

Continue reading

Romantic relationships are partnerships and should be treated like it.

phuoc-le-330455-unsplash.jpg

In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership.  I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.

I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.

The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.

Continue reading

Mental illnesses and romantic relationships:

alice-donovan-rouse-63281-unsplash

You don’t need to love yourself before someone can love you, that is something that I hate hearing, mainly because it’s not true, but also because it doesn’t inspire one to love themselves, it just tells them that they are worthless now. The intent behind it is something to talk about though, and that is that you need to take care of yourself sometimes before you get in a romantic relationship. That is true, even if the saying people have made out of it is false and cruel.

You can have successful relationships when struggling with your mental health, there is no question in that, but there needs to be some serious reflection on how your mental health is affecting your actions and also affecting your thoughts.

Mental illness can make us more stand off-ish or more clingy. It can make you hide the truth or deliver it in hurtful ways. Mental illness effects us all over, which is one of the reasons society needs to take it more seriously, but it is also a reason why you need to evaluate yours before you dive into a romantic relationship. What behaviors are your mental illness affecting and how will they effect a loved one? Everyone has a few behaviors that aren’t ideal, everyone has things they need to work on, but if we currently have more than normal, we need to address them before we make a significant other address them.

Continue reading

Single Status: How to Embrace it and Prepare for the Next Move

singleI’m a relationship person, I have no illusion that I’m not. I’m a nice mixture of romantic and realistic and am really good at making people feel loved. So needless to say, I went through a stint of time while I was single that I was actively looking for a boyfriend, because I didn’t really want to be single. I’m not saying that I had this huge change of heart and now want to stay single at all costs, because that’s not the case, but I will tell you accepting that you are single and learning how to benefit from this stage of your life is a game changer.

  • Learn the real benefits of single life: And when I say real, I don’t mean the fact that you’re not committed so you can do whatever with whoever whenever you want. If casual hook ups are your thing, so be it, but that isn’t the definition of single. Being single brings benefits away from boys completely. Imagine that. It means you can spend more time on your friendships, it means that you can travel without being homesick for a person, it means that you can spend your time working on your career goals- or maybe a novel. People always pretend that singleness is completely freedom from sexual commitment and responsibility, but it has a lot more to do with the ability to give other things a higher percentage of your abilities and freedom from the time commitment.
  • Identity: When we date someone they become part of us, and in fairness they should. When you’re sharing your life with someone they should have influence on you and you should on them. It’s a side effect of spending a lot of time with anyone really. But I’ve found that when we’re in our first love or in our early youth we tend to absorb more than we should. You know that whole thing about finding your other half? Don’t buy it. Being single for a while gives you the ability to figure out how to be whole without someone, and it will mean when you get in a relationship, you’ll be able to pick out someone who is also whole. Then you can be two whole people loving each other and supporting each other; properly.
  • Don’t Count Down: This one really got me towards the beginning of my single life. I was doing the “I want to be married by 25 and have kids by…” Okay, now, slow down. Life doesn’t happen on a time line. We can’t pick and chose the important dates in our lives. I’m 20, I shouldn’t be worrying about it yet, if I want to worry about not having kids yet when I’m working on 35 that’s fine, but right now there is no biological rush. There is only tomorrow, and I don’t need to meet the man of my dreams tomorrow. I don’t need to rush things. Everything is happening as it should, and time is not the enemy.
  • Standards: People tend to drop theirs when they are desperate for love. Learning to accept being single means that you won’t just throw yourself at someone who is a bit off. I’m not saying that there is a perfect man out there so don’t make lists of things you want in a guy. You’re going to be extremely disappointed. Rather, realize that you deserve something good for you, and that if you have to wait for it, so be it.