I really like your post. I'll subscribe to this thread to see the other responses.
Here's my .02
It definitely changes the relationship.
FAMILY - they coddle you, or suffocate you - definitely wear kid gloves. This really pisses me off. You try to educate them, but you're not educated yourself.
They forget, or certain things stick in their mind and they zero-in on that one thing, EVERY DAY.
FRIENDS (really close) - they stay friends. They're the ones that visit you in the hospital after you crashed and burned. One friend kind of monitors me, if I'm forgetful, she lets me know (privately with appropriate sensitivity). Just out of the hospital, they want information, like a youtube video or something, something convenient and not overwhelming. There were NAMI classes, but there's not enough NAMI interest in Dallas to justify a class.
FRIENDS (arms length) - I don't tell these people, period. I'm personally paranoid of it getting out. It would kill my job search possibilities, and my work that I do is such a tight nit community.
INTIMATE - I'm not intimate at present. Though one of the posters on this site, him and his wife are both bipolar. And he says it works. Sometimes I think I should only search for a mate out of the bipolar pool of people).
WORK - don't tell
WORK-MANAGER - ESPECIALLY don't tell...Only deal with HR, there the only ones who will keep a secret, they are bound.
--Again, I like the question you posted!