Bipolar Dating

All persons seek intimacy and romantic connection. I came out late in life at 35, and I spent a lot of time chasing men for sexual gratification. I’m now 48 and ready to date. It’s complicated, because I live in a rural, remote area. The available gay men are few and far between.

I’m being disingenuous. I’ve dated in those years between 35 and now. There has always been a question about when to reveal the unpleasant truths. I’m a recovered alcoholic. I’m bipolar. I dated one man for nine months before telling him. This was a period when I was completely stable, too. I told him. He vanished. It hurt.

That has repeated many times. We get close. I open up. They leave. I hurt. I now tell potential partners early in the dating process about my troubles. It reduces my pain. This happens with all kinds of relationships. Acquaintances. Friends. Lovers. I tell people I’m bipolar, and they leave. I can count on my two hands the number of people I’ve told who haven’t left, and it doesn’t take many fingers on the second hand to complete the list. I’ve become very selective about telling people.

I’m putting myself out into the dating world again in hopes of finding someone intelligent who will look at the actions and not the diagnosis. I’m looking for someone who can see me stable and unstable but managing my disability. It seems that’s hard to find. First, gay men often consider exteriors before looking at interiors, and I’m not the picture of brawny masculinity. I’m pudgy. Some of my medication causes weight gain.

I put an advertisement on a local personals list and got a handful of replies. I didn’t mention bipolar. I was honest and open about many things, including the fact I have children and their needs are important. I put my status as a recovered alcoholic. I also included that I didn’t want to date people who abuse alcohol and drugs, even marijuana. Where I live, that rules out 99% of gay men. Marijuana is quite prevalent.

Of the replies I received, one immediately asked for a picture alerting me to his penchant for brawn over brains. Another tried almost immediately to get me to move to a nearby city even though I clearly stated being near my children was important. He even sent pictures of his large, waterfront home luring me with the idea of luxury. My thought was “Next!” Another very interesting one who lives locally emailed me once and disappeared.

Someone new to the area caught my attention looking for friends. He’s partnered. We’re carrying on a very nice email correspondence. I’ve got another who lives an hour and a half away, and the last one lives nearby, but he’s been slow to reply. We’ll see where it all goes, and we’ll see with each one whether or not I choose to be open and when.

If one of these turns out to be someone special, I’ll have to tell them what the medicine bottles in the cabinet are for. I remain hopeful that he won’t turn and run for the door at that point. I am ever hopeful.

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