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Shippy's avatar

Would you chose a partner with the same illness as you have?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) August 13th, 2012

Let’s say you have a physical or mental illness that you are half way to making good. You are now at a stage of relative health. I will use two examples, a recovering alcoholic and a bipolar well medicated and tended to. Would you choose a mate with the same disorder? If so why?

I personally would not. I asked myself why not and the answer is simple. I am handful enough for me, and I am getting a bit stale on the bipolar topic. Do I want another mate who is moody (yes even though on medication) hyper-sexual at times (does medication dull that?) and effervescent and wordy one moment and silent and dull the next. I certainly do not.

I am also an alcoholic in recovery; would I live with another alcoholic in recovery? Again no. that topic to me is also stale. We would be two stale boring people together. What happens when we are both manic? Who calms whom? To me there has to be a balance in relationships for them to feel comfortable in, how do you feel? (This can also relate to physical ailments as well).

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14 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I think not. What you describe sounds extremely difficult, at best. You only have one life to live. sounds like a soap opera.

keobooks's avatar

The worst relationships I had were with other drunks like me. I also quit going to meetings about 15 years ago. I’d hate to get “dry drunk” thrown in my face every time we have an argument. I don’t think I’m a dry drunk, but as soon as a 12 stepper finds out, they almost always toss me into the dry drunk bin in their minds. I am very grateful for the 12 step programs. They saved me. I still follow the steps and keep a 12 step journal. But honestly, most hardcore 12 steppers get on my nerves.

I am now married to a guy who doesn’t drink at all because he doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. I don’t think I could date a guy who drank alcohol. I don’t want it in my life. It’s not that I fear that I’ll start drinking again – it’s been about 20 years. It’s just not part of my life anymore and I don’t get into it and I don’t want social drinking in my house.

Mariah's avatar

I tend to think it would be really nice, although I don’t have any real experience with it to go on. I just imagine it would be nice to feel un-judged and understood. So much of what I go through is incredibly embarrassing, and as kind as an “outsider” might be about it, I have trouble believing that they really, truly, don’t feel repulsed by me. I guess that’s my problem more than theirs. But it would just be so nice…to not have to worry about that.

Things could get difficult if we were both very ill at the same time though.

wonderingwhy's avatar

While it’s nice to have someone who genuinely understands the struggles of your particular issues, mixing that into a dependent relationship seems like trouble I can do without. There are always exceptions of course, but my burdens are enough. I don’t mind taking on new ones as necessary, but I don’t need the existing ones compounded. Further, the motivation I gain from feeding off their success is largely outweighed by the pressure added by their failure.

bookish1's avatar

Interesting question, @Shippy. I come to a different conclusion because I have a different disease, I suppose. This summer I had a very brief fling with another Type 1 diabetic, it was the first type 1 I’d ever been involved with. It was lovely, actually. We taught each other some tips and tricks, he gave me some insulin when mine had run out, and we could just take for granted that the other one understands what a pain in the ass this chronic disease is on a daily basis. (Usually, it takes at least a month for me to teach partners everything they need to know, and even then they might not still “get” what work this disease requires.)
Also, naked cuddles and cookies when we had low blood sugar was pretty sweet!
I don’t think I’d mind being partnered up with a type 1 diabetic at all. As it’s an extremely rare disease, I doubt that will happen, but one never knows!

SpideySense's avatar

I don’t label people like that… I love who I love.

stardust's avatar

This is a really interesting question. I think it’d be detrimental for me to get involved with someone who has a history of bipolar disorder, as it is something I’ve worked so hard to get on top of, so to speak, myself. I’ve put and continue to put a lot of energy into keeping myself healthy and well. I wouldn’t want to jeopradise that. The last guy I was involved with had depression and it was very tough. I was going through quite a bad low myself and couldn’t be there for him, but he expected me to be at his beck and call all of the time. When I told him it was over, he said he’d commit suicide. It was one of the more stressful things I’ve gone through in the past year.

downtide's avatar

I think this depends on the specific condition. I think two alcoholics together would be a seriously bad idea. Bipolar I don’t know much about but I sufferd from chronic depression for many years and I think if my partner had also been depressed it would have been intolerable.

But in a situation like @bookish1 was in, it sounds like it would be a good thing.

My own physical condition is fairly new and as yet not completely diagnosed, so I couldn’t possibly say.

janbb's avatar

I have a friend who is bipolar among other things and feels he would only go out with another person with mental illness. I can see the reasoning in terms of feeling understood but it still seems like a potential disaster to me.

majorrich's avatar

- It would help each partner to remember to take their medications.
– It could stop the spread of Herpes
– It would make for some hysterical youtube footage
– you would have someone who completely understands what you are going through.
– Going off the wagon would be a family affair.

bookish1's avatar

Ah yeah, I forgot to talk about depression. I’ve been diagnosed with MDD and have never been medicated, and I feel like I am just now learning how to cope with it in a healthy manner. Although all of my best friends also tend to be depressive types, I don’t think I could date someone who was also a depressive.

SuperMouse's avatar

I think it would depend on what stage of recovery I was in. I have been sober now for about four years and my husband has been sober close to 15. That is not an issue at all for us. I also think that if we both had some kind of mental illness that was controlled with meds it wouldn’t be an issue. But if either of us was still struggling with sobriety or trying to find the right balance of meds for a mental illness, I would probably feel differently. As for physical stuff, my husband is adamant that two wheelchairs in the family is one too many, so there is no way he would date someone living with a disability that impaired their mobility.

zenvelo's avatar

I think the two conditions are not necessarily analogous. Bipolar recurs, even when medicated properly, but recovering alcoholics can be in recovery together.

That being said, I married a woman I met in AA meetings, and it worked well until her other mental illnesses came to the forefront. She also became addicted to prescribed medications, so even though she didn’t drink it was pretty bad.

I have met some long term AA marriages that have worked out well, but they require a lot of work and commitment to staying in a recovery thought process.

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