April 26th, 2010
| | Posted in Dumped
Dear Bitter Single Guy: I’m a 20 year-old college student with lots of issues. I have Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. The first two have been kind of obvious throughout my life, but never diagnosed until last year, which was when all of this started happening. To make things much shorter, I have been hospitalized in a mental health facility 4 times in a period of 7 months, 2 for suicide attempts and 2 for near attempts. I have had extensive therapy; more (painful) medication changes than I can count, and even had to take a semester off of school to get myself out of it. Then I thought I had it all figured out and went back to school rarin’ to go. Turns out this was not the case, and I’ve been deep in the throes of depression for several weeks now. I consider it a success that I have not attempted again, but it’s really ridiculously hard to get up in the morning. I find myself crying and sleeping all day and skipping classes.
Throughout all this, my boyfriend has stuck by me for 3.5 years (incidentally, my first boyfriend). We have been in a long distance relationship for 2.5 of those years, and it has gone relatively smoothly. It’s been incredibly difficult to learn to do normal people things, like go on dates, eat at restaurants, and interact with his family, but I’ve done the best I can, and have improved exponentially. He’s also the first (and I thought last) person I had sex with or did anything at all sexual with, I hadn’t even been kissed before. We even talked about marriage and the long term future. The reason I say all this is because this relationship is really really important to me. And he broke up with me yesterday. He did so because he couldn’t handle the bipolar thing anymore. I gave him plenty of outs before, when I was in the hospital watching me in the ICU, I said I wouldn’t hold it against him if he wanted out, but every time he refused and said he would stick by me forever. He even signed a letter to this effect.
I get where he’s coming from, if it was me, I might do the same thing. I get that it’s really hard to watch the mood swings and be worried that the next time you see me might be in a coffin. But he did promise he was in this for the long haul. I am utterly distraught. So, what do I do? Do I just try to get over this and don’t date until I’m sure I’m emotionally stable? Do I try to get him back? Do I wait until I’m stable, and then try and get him back? Do I just enjoy being single for a while? Do I kill myself (kidding)? Seriously, what do I do? ~Looking for Balance~
Dear LFB: Firstly, the Bitter Single Guy wants to dampen his normally chipper responses a little to provide some pointed advice. The BSG believes that suicidal ideations (including jokes about them) are always to be taken seriously. While the BSG himself doesn’t have the array of daily difficulties that you are working through LFB, his first response is that if you are having suicidal thoughts, please get professional help right away. That’s the final game changer in your letter: the one from which there is no recovery.
That aside, the BSG wants to say that he appreciates the uphill battle you have against these disorders. Mental health is stigmatized in our society, which makes recovery and day-to-day life even harder than if you were suffering from more easily sympathizable disorders. Keep working LFB.
OK then…THAT aside, the BSG is going to provide advice for your relationship just as he would for someone without your extra hurdles. Here goes:
- At 20, you’ve had the same boyfriend since you were what…16?
- For the past 2.5 years of your 3.5 year relationship (that’s 71% of your total relationship time to day) you’ve been in a long-distance relationship.
- He’s leaving you and you’re devastated and (understandably) a little miffed that he’s gone back on his word to stay with you forever.
Welcome to the world of normal relationships, LFB. There are more people struck by lightning in cornfields than have stayed in relationships from their teenage years until they die. (by the way, the BSG also thinks that your point about the next time your BF sees you might be in a coffin is frankly a little selfish. Ask your therapist about that for more detail.)
It’s normal (and expected) that our personalities develop in our late teens and early twenties so that we become more of what we’re going to be, and it’s quite appropriate for people to grow apart even if they’ve signed contracts to stay together forever. Think about that contract for a moment. If, when presented with the contract, your boyfriend had said “I don’t think I can commit to forever” how would you have reacted? Yeah, the BSG thinks you would have dumped him, too.
This is normal LFB and given the tough row you have to hoe, the BSG is actually pleased to help you see that you get to have all the normal ups and downs in love that the rest of us have. Yes, the BSG thinks you should get more emotionally stable before you decide to participate in a relationship again. Good luck, LFB. ~BSG~
, Mental health