Dating While Bipolar: Messed Up Expectations

I’ve mentioned to you before that I hate dating.  I’m not talking about being in a relationship with someone, but public outings with someone you don’t know well which involve some manner of getting to know each other better, usually through talking.  These pre-arranged outings a deux send my heart into palpitations and are the only activities other than exercise which make my hands sweat.

expectations21So in spite of my hatred, I actually went on a date last night.  His name was Matt.  And it was pretty good.  We talked and laughed enjoyably, we ate and drank, we shared a good-night kiss and he asked for another date.  At least I believe this to be a good time as I think these things go.  I’ve gone on so few good dates in my 30 year dating history that sometimes it’s hard for me to tell.

In fact, talking to Matt last night reminded me of my dreadful romantic past.  While Matt and I recounted our histories I remembered my very first date, one where I’d asked out a boy and he’d brought along his best friend.  And my senior prom which, because I never dated in high school, I attended with a boy that – unbeknownst to me – was actually dating my friend Kate.

Not having dated in college, my first tryst after graduation included my companion getting sick in the bathroom because he tried to impress me by eating extra-hot Indian food.  He wanted to kiss me after that.  I impolitely declined.   After business school, there was the man who showed up 4 hours late and thought we should have sex on my living room floor.  Then there’s Eggbert, the guy that I think had Aspergers but who didn’t think to mention it at any point during our date.

This litany of craptastic encounters would be enough to send a fully healthy person into permanent singledom.  If you add a touch of bipolar and chronic debilitating depression, you can understand why I’ve been single for more years than not during my dating life.  My brain doesn’t process individual romantic failures as unique instances, but rather it turns them into a trend for which I am solely to blame.  It tells me over and over again that I’m not worth of love and companionship.  And it probably sabotages dates that could be good by telling me to be clingy or jealous or just plain odd.

For now, I’m going to keep taking my meds and try to turn off the voices of doubt so that I can get to know Matt better.  In the process, perhaps I can get to know myself better, the self that connects with others and can form new, healthy relationships.  Whether or not it works out, I’m sure there’ll at least be one story for the blog.

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