Letter to Rebbetzin Yungreis this past week in the Jewish Press: A woman writes in that her son developed/showed signs of bipolar when he was 19. The parents kept it so hushed up that even his siblings don’t know. They got him medicated, and now nobody would guess he wasn’t 100% healthy. Question: are they required to release the information for shidduch purposes? The letter writer says yes, it’s only right. Her husband says absolutely not: it will shoot holes in their son’s chances of ever getting married. They don’t know what to do.
Seeing myself as a potential date of such a young man – after all, how do I know what my date is hiding? – how do I feel about the subject? Well personally, I wouldn’t consider bipolar disorder to be a huge strike against someone. It’s not like it’s chronic depression or diabetes or a family history of cardiac arrest by age 35. However, it is something I’d appreciate knowing before the engagement. Not necessarily before the first date, but certainly by around the 4th or 5th.
There was a recent incident of a local woman whose husband never told her that he was on medication for depression. Even after they were married, he kept it secret. (How he expected a marriage with such a huge lie in the foundation to last, I have no idea.) Anyway, after a year, he suddenly decided that he didn’t need to take his meds anymore. And he relapses and became terribly depressed and the marriage ended in divorce, with her in custody of an infant.
That is a very messy end, but it’s hard to see how it could be otherwise. When someone hides such a fundamental piece of information from you, how do you know that you can ever trust them again?