I found over the years when I was single that it was very difficult to find a boyfriend who was knowledgeable of bipolar illness or of mental illness in particular. This changed when I met a man who struggled with clinical depression. He “got it” while most other boyfriends did not. We quickly got engaged but within a year’s time found that our illnesses tended to feed upon each other. It was if we had allergic personalities — our arguments seemed to accentuate our diagnoses and behaviors accordingly. We did not fight well, but always seemed to end up in the same argument time and time again. We also did not have a faith in God that bound us.
That engagement ended favorably with each of us expressing ourselves and our pain and our ability not to master our relationship’s ins and outs. He initiated the relationship. He initiated the end of the relationship. He also wrote to me about 2 to 3 years later to see if I were interested in reconciliation. At that time, I had moved on emotionally and was not interested. It was not because I was involved with someone else. It was because I was entering a lengthy period of celibacy that lasted about 7 years.
During this period of celibacy in my thirties, I began work on what would later become the basis for a big component of my Spiritual journey. During this period of celibacy, I became interested in Medical Intuition or the use of Spiritual work to help guide illness diagnosis and illness recovery. During this time, I challenged behaviors in myself such as alcohol use or going to bars as a means of meeting a mate. Finally one day, my closest friend suggested that I go on-line. This was in the years before on-line dating was prevalent.
In any case, I worked with my friend on an online bio and had a first date with my soon-to-be fiancé at the Starbucks near a local state park. I prior had resolved that if the coffee date went well, my date and I would go on a walk with my 100 pound black Labrador – half Newfoundland up a nearby mountain. We met at the coffee shop and soon were walking up that mountain.
It took no brains to determine that I had been looking in all the wrong places for a husband. In addition, as I got older there were fewer and fewer places to meet someone. College was out. Graduate school was out.
When I met my future husband, there were four key ingredients. He was aware of mental illness and bipolar in particular. We shared a faith journey in Christ and we fought well together. Not that we did not have arguments. It was just that we recovered from those arguments fairly quickly and with some degree of learning or emotional development. We also shared a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at self and with others.