Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Bipolar Guy

Will the ladies shun a bipolar guy?

In a comment on one of my other posts, Peter said ...In bipolar support group, I keep finding women who are married and men who are not. I think there is a sadly sexist expectation on women to be inherently "moody" and "mentally weak", therefore they don't necessarily lose attractiveness in a potential partner's eyes if they are diagnosed with a mood disorder. However, in american society, a "moody" and "mentally weak" man can pretty much expect to be shunned by women, even by the most active feminists. I don't blame the women, because a man's depressions are not attractive and definitely not very supportive in a relationship. Nonetheless, what are the man's options? What is your opinion on this dynamic of bipolar women with partners and bipolar men without them? Is it for the best, since women still primarily wish to partner with a man who can function competitively and provide in a capitalist society?

That's a tough question because I do think that society expects women to be more moody and/or irrational than men. There's sort of this concept that a woman's monthly will make her a little crazy or hysterical or what not. Now, is mental illness more acceptable for a woman? I dunno. I don't think anyone really wants to tell their potential future partner that they are bipolar. It's like telling someone you want to shag that you have genital warts.

I started dating Brendan before I was diagnosed. We've been together a long time and we were dating when I was hospitalized, so he could have run if he wanted to at that point. Being with a seriously ill partner is stressful and it's a relationship issue that any couple where one partner is bipolar will have to deal with. But couples are always dealing with some kind of issue, be it alcoholism or illness or financial ruin or heaven forbid all three.

Relationships are tricky and I don't feel comfortable generalizing about women as a whole. I think there are some girls out there who have a thing for guys with broken wings, guys who have problems or issues that these gals think they can solve or whatever. I think there are some women who would be very worried about being serious with a bipolar guy. It's not that all girls are raised with an expectation that a man will take care of them but I think that there's some part of every woman (and every guy) that wants to be taken care of and provided for.

I suppose my grain of wisdom on this, however small it may be, is that people fall in love with other imperfect people. There's no one out there without warts. I guess what's really important is to avoid using being bipolar as a scapegoat for failed relationships. It might be a part of why something didn't work out, but it's not the only reason.