Worried About Boy I Dated & Myself
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Q:  Worried About Boy I Dated & Myself

I was dating a boy named Bobby for about a week and he suddenly told me he loved me and started to become obsessed with me.  A few days ago, he told me he is Bi-Polar and is not on any medication to control it.  I told him I would help him as a friend, but he is acting jealous and angry every time I talk to him.  I told him I didn't want to talk to him anymore, and he wouldn't leave me alone.  I had to block him online and screen my calls.  I know nothing about bi-polar disorder and am not sure he even has it.  When he was very young his mother died and his father abuses drugs and alcohol.  Bobby also got into drugs and alcohol but says that he quit.  I am worried about him and don't know who to turn to, and I am worried about myself too.  Please help me!



Dear Mandy -- 
First rule of relationships, with people with bipolar disorder or otherwise: don't become another victim (actually that's the first rule of whitewater rescue, but it seems to apply here too; if I had some time to fool around with it, we could look more at the analogy of whitewater travel and relationships -- another day...).  So, if Bobby's really struggling with his stuff (whether that's bipolar or antisocial personality disorder or both), the first thing to do is make sure that if you're going to try to help him that you don't get sucked down in the process.  In whitewater, that means having an absolutely secure place to stand before you start throwing ropes or pulling on the person's lifejacket; too bad that position is not so clear in relationships, but it's worth thinking about.  If you don't already know about them, call your local police department and ask about restraining orders and how and when they're used.  And you could even consider finding a local therapist to talk about stuff like this with, as she/he would probably have experience on helping you find that "safe place to stand". 

Dr. Phelps

Published October, 2001

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