I really feel like I’m in the wrong here and hope that you can set me straight — well, not literally. I met my boyfriend about eight months ago. He is the funniest, most charming, and unbelievably perfect man who may have ever walked the planet. I am certain I was in love on the first date (and we hadn’t even had sex yet!). I have felt blessed since the beginning of our relationship, so much so that when he mentioned last month his lease was up at the end of November, I jumped at the opportunity to suggest he move in with me. He told me he was a little wary, but definitely was interested and wanted to think about it. His last relationship ended poorly, and three-and-half years later, I am the first guy he has dated seriously. He told me the next week that after asking his therapist (?), he thought we should have a trial run while he still had a place to return to. I knew he had a therapist, but I found it odd he asked her. I agreed as this really meant he would be moving in sooner! So, two weeks ago he moved all of his stuff into my house. It is amazing. I am sure it is the “honeymoon,” but I have done this before, and it has never felt this perfect. I think he is just as happy.
We have one problem — his half of the medicine cabinet. I knew he has suffered from some “depression and emotional” problems in the past, but the medicines he is on are some serious prescriptions. A lot of them, too. I looked a few up online when he was at work the other day, and it seems that he is maybe bipolar and schizophrenic and even epileptic!? What should I do? I am not at all familiar with this kind of mental illness. I want to say something, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings or seem nosey. I still want to be with him, but I think I should know more about his illnesses. What if something happens, and he requires emergency medical care? I don’t want to mess this up, but I feel I have to know more. Should I be concerned or offended that he hasn’t confided in me? I just want him to be OK. Please tell me what to do.
— Crazy in Love
Dear Crazy in Love,
At least now you know why he’s perfect.
But remember, crazy people don’t like the word crazy. I am guessing your prince charming isn’t particularly fond of mental illness as a term either, but who is? His downplay of his depression and emotional problems most likely stems from some embarrassment or discomfort about them. I can’t imagine it would be easy for him to break the ice with that, either. He may feel very secure in his pharmaceutical routine and so any issues he has are small in his perception. This could be especially true if he has been living with these complications all of his life.
There is a good chance that he isn’t actually on all of those medicines in the cabinet. Some might be past prescriptions he doesn’t take anymore. Several epilepsy medications can also be used as treatments for bipolar symptoms, though it would be important to know if he is in fact epileptic. It can take several tries to find a drug that works for an individual and his specific problems. Only he has the answers to these questions.
You will have to ask, but you don’t have to admit to snooping if you don’t want to. Casually mention the prescriptions. You could simply comment on their presence, not quantity, and ask if there are any allergies or drug combinations you should know about in case of an emergency. Or which ones to bring if he were to land in the hospital after an accident.
As with any relationship, communication is key. I don’t think you should be threatened he hasn’t confided in you yet. If he seems extremely reluctant to talk about it after you give him the openings, it might require a little concern and a more direct approach. Share and ask, but be sure to listen when he answers. The fact that he consulted his therapist shows that he is being thoughtful, both of you and the situation. Remember, being perfect isn’t easy — or likely — unless you’re Mary Poppins.
Much love and happiness,
Your Uncle Mat