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    Relationships & Shame
    Anon_133302 posted:
    I recently admitted to myself I stay far too long in unhealthy relationships, because I don't feel like I deserve better due to knowing I can't compete with the mentally competent population. I have a white collar job (3 years); I have a college education; and I have been stable on medications for four years. However, I am so lonely all the time. When I'm absent a boyfriend I no longer sleep. I'm 25.

    Therefore, I signed up for eHarmany. I met a guy I was very interested in and visa versa. I knew this guy wanted kids. Therefore, I explained the genetic predisposition that the child could be subject to based on my genetic deficits. The guy stopped talking to me as he is a cop, and he explained some of the most dangerous situations he had experienced involved bipolar individuals.

    The shame I feel for my emotional deficits coupled with the rejection when I articulate the truth makes it almost unfathamable that anyone could ever love me...

    Does anyone else feel this way?
    ddnos responded:
    Hi, and welcome to the board!

    Maybe what would be better for you to do since you know that you have relationship issues that instead of looking for another relationship, you could work on the issues of why you are in and stay in unhealthy relationships in the first place. That way you can be more healthy upon entering a relationship instead of repeating the cycle.

    Why is it that you "can't compete with the mentally competent population? That sentence itself demeans who you are and says that the primary way you define yourself is bipolar. I'm sure there are FAR more things about you than being bipolar - bipolar is just a part of who you are, not all of it!

    Having a mental illness doesn't automatically mean you are less competent than someone who isn't! Sure, there are some people where that is the case, but it's not a given. I know that I am just as competent and even more so than many non-mentally ill people out there - to believe otherwise is sad.

    Our feelings can be fickle and not something that we should base all of our decisions on - if you have a therapist, work on your relationship issues rather than acting on your feelings that you need to have a boyfriend. The relationship will lean more toward being unhealthy as long as you continue to make unhealthy choices for yourself in that area. You are only 25 have lots of time for a boyfriend. Right now, in my opinion, you would be better off getting yourself more healthy first - not "perfect," but healthy.

    Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
    melly2210 replied to K_Polar's response:
    Hi Polar,

    First of all I want to tell you not to let being bipolar define WHO you are. Like Debbie said, it is only a part of the makeup that makes you you.

    I, too, experienced intense relationship problems. I felt unworthy to have a partner in my life. This also extended to my platonic relationships as well. I provided sex in return for acceptance and what I deemed as "love." It was important to me to be in a relationship to feel complete. I flitted from relationship to relationship each failing horribly and my self esteem plummetted with each failure. I finally had a therapist explain it to me like this:
    I was choosing the wrong partners. When I was weakest, I would pursue a partner who was always simple to find who would support me. I eventually would gain emotional strength and then part from him or have him leave me because I wasn't the "same person" he'd met. It made a whole lot of sense because I immediately thought about my most recent relationships and saw it. Sometimes it was reversed, but there it was.

    I have always been open about my diagnosis up front. I didn't tell someone on the first meeting, but when things looked promising, I revealed it. Sometimes these people parted ways immediately. Others distanced themselves in increments. And those who didn't understand stuck around until they experienced the roller coaster of BP.

    What I eventually chose to do was pull back and not have any non-platonic relationships for just short of a year. During that time, I worked on learning how to relearn loving myself first. I figured out what made me tick, how I selected partners, and examined where the process went wrong. I didn't have a tdoc at that time. After 4 yrs of bad relationships imploding and the year of working on me, I finally went out and interacted with potential men. There were a lot of jerks and people who walked away. Instead of thinking I'd done something wrong making it always my fault and lowering my self-esteem, I looked at it as they made an informed decision on whether they could handle my illness or not. When they left, I thanked them for being truthful to themselves and me for doing so. I've remained friends with a few, but not a lot.

    And then I met my hubs, who is schizoaffective bipolar, and when I told him about being bipolar never blinked an eye. He'd been through much of what I had and more. We help each other to recognize and episode. We're a team. And while we each have our own weaknesses, and sometimes both of our self-esteems are impacted, we tend to balance each other out. That is what you need to be searching for - someone who accepts you fully as you with no expectations and loves you anyway. Someone who supports you when things aren't so good and reminds you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Someone where you do not have to buy affection from. I ask for hugs and cuddles if I need more than usual and vice versa, and I get them unconditionally.

    So, I would suggest no relationships for a while until you learn to love you first...all of you. A good sign would be that you've learned to comfortable sleep alone. Sure, there's always going to be a night you wish someone was there. That's natural. But when that is gone and you feel better about you, then and only then, you should slowly slide back into dating again. Continue to be open and honest after a few dates about your condition. And if they go, then they were the wrong person for you. Better to know then than later when you've both invested yourself in a relationship.

    Good luck!

    Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson
    mattthecat responded:
    K I agree with melly and ddnos on what they said. But i believe there is a special some one out there for every one. I believe you will find some one who will be understanding about bipolar I know I can't be the only guy out there who can find a way to be understanding about bipolar disorder. So to sum up my advice just keep trying.

    TDXSP08 replied to mattthecat's response:
    Debbie I made a decision when i was younger knowing that there was some bad stuff in my Mothers genes I would not father a child,even turned down one women's desire for a child and no "male involvement with the child for $25,000 . and as i got a little older stuff came out that i was surprised at,got even a little bit older and Good God Almighty the Neurologist calls it a sporadic skip that no one previous in my Family had these but i would pass them to any child i had, and it was then that i said thank God i have been real careful with this thing and made sure to always use at least 2 forms of protection(men are dogs and try and push B/C off on their partner when it's there responsibility ) but suffice it to say i understand you perfectly and do not settle for anything less than a man who under stands you and Bipolar illness and can accept both at face vaue,YOU ARE WORTH IT !!

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