Advice For A New Bipolar Relationship?

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Hi all

I have just joined this site as I'm in a new relationship with someone with a diagnosed cyclothymic bipolar guy who is medicated with lithium. I'm sorry if this is too long but this is all very bizarre to me!

We have been dating for over two months now, he has been sweet, attentive, affectionate and manic which I haven't had a problem with. He's funny and silly which is great because I'm more of a reserved personality and he brings me out of my shell.

From about a month in he was desperate to tell me he loved me but I held him back because it was too soon. Two months in and I have fallen for him hard, two weeks ago he actually told me he loved me properly and last week I told him I loved him too, things turned more passionate and intense.

However, the week after this particular weekend he went quiet on me. I hadn't heard from him for two days so debated about calling him. I called him and we had a good conversation. I said to him that I hadn't heard from him and he said "I was thinking the same thing just now". He asked me if I wanted to meet him for coffee on Thursday which we've done in the past, before I go to my evening classes. For some reason, my gut feeling was that he wasn't going to turn up. I'm glad I didn't wait for him because I text him half an hour after we were supposed to meet and an hour after I got a reply saying that he was doing some gardening and completely forgot. He also apologised. I went off on one basically saying that this spoke volumes and how he hasn't bothered to talk to me even though previously he had been bombarding me with texts/calls every single day since we met. He told me to chill, that there was no agenda, he is very absent minded about these things and that with previous gf's texts became more and more infrequent when they weren't in each other's company as the relationship went on so it's not an issue of him going off me.

Anyway, I gave him a bit of grief that night about it. I asked if he was still bothered to see me. He told me of course and to stop acting like that. I went to see him on Friday and spent till this morning (Monday) with him.

Friday was great, mucking around and sleeping together like we always do. Saturday night he spent pretty much all of the day video gaming. I needed to do some work on an essay so I didn't mind this. We did it again in the late afternoon to which he went back to his gaming without even asking me if I would mind. I went downstairs and did some more work and later in the evening he came down. That night, I was feeling so frustrated that I denied him that night.

The next morning (Sunday), we got up late, I had a shower, went downstairs to do some washing up and sat down in the living room. He came down and he asked when I was thinking of leaving and I said "Why? Do you want me to leave?". His reply was "Yes, I do." He went upstairs and came back down again. And I asked him why he wanted me to go when usually he's asking me to spend an extra night with him. His response was that he wasn't feeling it anymore and didn't want to be with me. He said I was too serious and didn't like the fact I was studying psychotherapy and he fears I'm psychoanalysing him. I told him that I'm not too serious, he has only seen one side of me. I've met his friends and family but he hasn't seen me around my friends and my family and we're always over at his house, we don't go out so there's no way for him to see another side of me. I can be a fun person to be around plus he makes me silly and I'm silly with him. I also mentioned that I was planning on asking him to come with me to my friends party the following weekend as a way of seeing this other happy, fun side. As for the psychotherapy, I said to him that the therapy I was doing was couple therapy and I don't learn about mental disorders. In fact, I know hardly anything about bipolar and that this is a new experience for me too. He also said that he pretends to be this fun, upbeat person to distract away from the fact that sometimes he wants to kill himself.

I said to him I just don't understand how he can go from really liking someone to never wanting to see them again. I said to him, but you enjoy sleeping with me too? To which he laughed. I said so you don't enjoy it? And he said no. I know this is a lie because he's obsessed with me going down on him and he said I'm the best at it out of all the gf's he's ever had. We've had marathons, he's said in the past that he loves that I'm a goer, can keep up with him and he loves how the time just flies when he sleeps with me with me which implies he doesn't find it boring. The only thing I think he's had a problem with was me denying him on Saturday night and the fact that he feels he's doing all the work because I'm not comfortable with going on top. He then said, I'm a bad person, I'm not a catch, look at me, I don't even know why you want to be with me? I told him that I loved him and cared for him and that there doesn't need to be a reason for why I feel that way about him. He said to me that you can't force someone to be with them. I said yes but he's also taking away my choice. Surely it's my choice, my decision whether to love this "bad person" and that it's up to me to decide whether he's a bad catch. He then mentioned something about going on a break etc. I told him that I don't need a man but I want to be with him. He switched on the TV at this point and started laughing at something on it. Casually he said, but I know it wouldn't be the last time I would here from you, I didn't understand what he meant by this.

I sat in silence for a bit with my arms folded and a broody pout holding back the tears with him still laughing at the TV. He then, got up, came to sit next to me and said "give me a hug". I did that shy thing of saying no and eventually hugged him. The same thing happened when he said "give me a kiss". And then eventually he said, do you want to have sx? We slept together and after that he was all affectionate. He started asking me about the party next weekend and plans for Valentine's day etc. We had a marathon later that evening where he was all affectionate again. I know he has a high libido and I love this about him, it's his way of communicating. This morning (Monday) he was ok, usually he's a little bit grumpy when he wakes up, he was fairly jovial but I could sense that he wanted me to leave, sort of ushering me out saying he didn't want me to be late for work etc. I'm assuming he just wanted to play more video games! He did say "see you later" which sort of curbed my paranoia to him turning round and saying "I never what to see you again".

Anyway, my question is, does this sound fairly familiar to those of you in a relationship with someone of bipolar? I spoke to my work colleague this morning who's partner is also bipolar and she pretty much said that this was typical, of being pushed away and then held tightly, pushed away and then held tightly again. I could tell in this mood he was purposely saying hurtful things and when he returned to what I know as normal (i.e. manic), he was being really sweet and affectionate again. Last week, when I told him I loved him. A few times he asked me, do you really? Why though? etc. I'm quite an aloof type person and feel quite guarded when it comes to my feelings, I'm affectionate but have problems with lovey exclamations.

All I can think of is he doesn't believe I love him a) because of my aloofness and b) because he doesn't think anyone could love him because he's this "bad person" Also the fact that, I may have been a bit too negative with him the past week i.e. overreacting and making him feel sh*t for forgetting to meet me as well as moaning a few times about him playing video games all day (when he's already feeling sh*t). He was trying to reject me in that moment despite all the wonderful moments we've had together. I'm guessing he felt that my negativity may mean me thinking about breaking up with him so decided to test me by pushing me away. It was better for him to reject me than for me to reject him.

I don't understand how he could do a 180 so rapidly going from not wanting to ever seen me again to thinking about what we'll be doing next weekend.

I want to communicate to him that I have never met or been with anyone with bipolar. I have little knowledge about it. I want to learn not because I find him a case study but because I love and care for him. I don't care if he's a "bad person" or a "loser" because I've seen enough good things to know not to take the "nastiness" to heart. We all have flaws and his disorder may mean he has more than the average person but I don't fall for people so easily and I have with him and want to make this work. I expect him to push me away at times, I can accept that he'll want space but I can't handle him saying that he'll never want to see me again when he thinks that's what's best for me. He said something quite vague and unclear after our discussion on Sunday, "Let's see how much resolve you have". I didn't know what he was referring to and didn't ask but I think he's referring to my being with him as before he's mentioned that "being with me is not easy". I certainly know it's a rollercoaster!

Also, how do you think I should take it from here? Should I attempt to meet him for a quick coffee on Thursday to see how he's doing? Or wait to meet on the weekend? I think it might be best to meet him on neutral gorund after this heavy weekend.

How do I communicate to him how I feel about him?

How do I handle a next mood?

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19 Replies

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  • Posted

    Hi Melissa

    I dont really know where to start. Ive been with my Fiancé now for 2yrs & like you never knew anything about it before I met him. You're right when you say its a roller coaster! If he has cyclothymia that a milder version of bipolar but the moods cycle very rapidly. Which is what you've just experienced. My best friend has this form of it too.

    It's really not an easy illness at all. No illness is but this can be particularly nasty in how hurtful & personal it can be. Ive had my Fiancé in the past shouting in a rage, in my face & calling me some seriously nasty things. He's stolen my medication on 4 or 5 occasions now. He 'loses' money & once spent our savings on clothes & video games.

    I know exactly what you're going through atm & I know its not easy. I still go back to that place of not wanting to be another person who lets him down & leaves, to thinking I cant handle this anymore. The more you know about bipolar now the better you'll find a way to cope perhaps. Theres no cure. No matter how much they know you love them, when they flip and the aggressive side kicks in (not physically) it's like youre their worst enemy & they hate you.

    Then that switch 'flips' back & you've got your partner not remembering half of whats been said or done (if anything) but knowing its bad and feeling yotally remorseful, ashamed & deeply sorry. This is genuine & each time it happens it hurts really bad. It also leaves you feeling angry, annoyed, hearbroken, confused, scared & sorry for them all at once.

    Sorry if it feels like a massive kick in the teeth. I just thought you need people to be honest with you. X

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    • Posted

      I have this same disorder. It is really uncontrolable on some of the mainias. The things that happen will be for the rest of your life. Are you ready to be dissapointed time & time again? I even take med's go to therepy & still have the mainia's. I sometimes cant live with myself it is so bad. 
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  • Posted

    I agree with all of these posts and as the one diagnosed with Bi-Polar am sorry to say that prior to medication my expectations of my husband was to cope with my ever changing moods,behaviour,antics really no matter what i threw at him.It's funny cos looking back to when we got together i knew someting in me wasn't right but it was to be 25yrs before we got my diagnosis and he put up with all manner of complete rubbish from me.Thankfully i'm on lithium & quetiapine which suit me and having been more balanced for the last 6 months as a couple we are begining to build a different kind of relationship from what was before.He would say all his defences were heightened to cope with my erratic behaviours.I guess especially on valentines day today i'm trying to give those people in relationships with partners experiencing mental health problems hope,optimism and lots of luck cos its really tough and not at all easy to deal with.
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  • Posted

    Hi i have been in an on off relationship with a bi-polar sufferer for 5 years.  Looks like its coming to an end.  It is very hard and i have been through the worst times.  I was like you and wanted to love him regardless of what he did/said (he was also violent, stole from me, lied and used to disappear for days on end).  Maybe you feel like you want to fix him or that it is your role to be there for him.  I know i did.  Ultimately i ended up having a break down, contributed by the effort i had to put in to being with him.  Don't want to sound negative but it will consume your very being and you will end up questioning every thought, feeling, conversation.  Its exhausting.  I know you love him  and maybe it is a bit exciting at the moment (bi-polar love is usually intense) but you need to decide if you can do it for the long haul. xxx
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  • Posted

    Melissa,

    I'm not sure when you wrote this or if you are still with this man. BUT, I want you to know that you are not in the wrong. I'm not saying that you may not have normal relationship issues that most people have - learning to trust, opening your heart, talking about the future, feeling safe, etc. But someone with this illness is two distinct people with a stable person in between. You can not take ANYTHING the say or do personally. His cycling from saying negative things about you, himself, the world to being positive and open and dreamy - it's all part of the chemistry in his brain. 

    I just got out of a relationship with a man for a year - we didn't know he had it and it still isn't officially diagnosed but his sister is bipolar and there is some question around his mom being bipolar. He is cyclothamic. The scary part is that for the entire year I blamed myself. I thought I was causing his mood swings or things I said or did were out of line or maybe if I didn't put too much pressure on him the "good" side of him would shine through. He went from hating himself and his life - feeling overwhelming emotions of irrational pain and guilt and depression for 2 weeks (sometimes hours) to total elation, inspiration, loving life, feeling connected, being optimistic about the world and his projects and me and everyone. He, like your man, had really good explanations of why these things happen - they made sense - i trusted them. but something inside of me all along said that these vast and irrational and quick contradictions were strange. 

    All I want to say is read up about cyclothymia - understand what you are getting into. Realize your kids may have it if you end up having kids with him. Understand the life you are signing up for. I'm not saying it's impossible - but you absolutely 100% CAN NOT take it personally. If you are being an open reasonable and vulnerable partner - you have to ask yourself if you can handle the mood swings and constant changing of opinions and constant upset. I understand, they are mesmerizing, charming, beautiful people - the manic state and even balanced state is the most attractive man you've ever met - the feelings of pure adoration and feeling completely loved - those are alluring and amazing. And they are real. But the bad - the comments, the feelings of it being slighly off, the insensitivity, the changes, the push pull - those are real too.

    Wishing you lots of self-care, love and happiness 

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  • Posted

    Dear Melissa,

    Its my turn now for a long one Hee Hee.

    Welcome to bipolar. I am just exactly like him and can 100% tell you, that he is doing this to hurt hmself. I do exactly the same and turn away close friends, it seems as if I enjoy hurting them, but the reality is that I am harming myself. In past 4 weeks, I have dumped Compassionate thinking therapy group (which i had really enjoyed and found very interesting), sacked my psychiatric team, which has bad consequences as now they discontinue Lithium as not fully stabilised on it. An turned away several close friends. As you mentioned sex, hypersexuality is also a big issue to Bipolars when high/manic. The name Bipolar sounds lovely and cuddly like a Polar bear, well it's not. A low is just hell and I dont know if I will survive the next one. I'm bi sexual also, so the sex thing is pretty major to me.But I will spare you the details.

    So in summary, he will have dozens of thoughts racing through his mind, He has made a bad decision but really incapable of logical thinking and once made, its pretty impossible to go back. He will also, if he is like me, go yes/no yes/no cycling his thoughts and at times regretting saying no, but then convinced he was right and deep down, a deep satisfaction of self harm. That's why people cut themselves, to feel better. Did you know that suicide rates are at lest 15 times that of "normal" people. Oh, how I wish I was normal.

    My advice is to tell him you still care/love him. Tell him you're not going away and that come whatever, you are there for him. that will probably work and if you are prepared to make such a major committment to a bipolar (life will have many ups but also heavy downs), then I would gladly marry you myself lol, and, I so respect that you have researched instead of writing him off as a hard work loony tunes. Mty love to both of you and good luck Marish X

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for this ... I rescently was on a break w/ my boyfriend of 12 year to find out he was seeing someone else. we started planning for a wedding then he suggested a break until he can get his self balanced. Within the Same year he was Suicidal and then two months later he started seeing someone else. As angry, hurt, humiliated, and disappointed in him. I worry about him. I have spoke with him in a month. He moved on. I don't think after this round of behavior I can recover from this. He told me I was the one for him. Then he left me after all we went through.. I was his number one supporter and rooting for him.

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  • Posted

    Melissa.

    I am a mother with bipolar. It is the worst disorder for hurting those you love.

    I have so many ups and so many downs - no in betweens - and i am alone and lonely and have given up on everything; until the next mania cycle shows.

    I hate myself. Everything about me is a disgusting disgrace.

    I yearn for acceptance and compliments.

    I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do with your relationship, but as you've read in other posts, it won't be easy if you stay. He has to know you love him and will never leave, no matter what, and in a way he is testing you to see if what you say is true.

    I'm going to tell you something that breaks my heart, and i can't even really recall what it was, if that makes sense.

    One time i was in a very depressive low and i was losing my home; i was on the brink of a breakdown -mental and physical- and was so frustrated that no-one would help me.

    The house looked like a bomb hit it as i'd just lost control and threw everything everywhere. Things were smaked, there was broken glass everywhere.

    I lived with my son, then 19, who cared for me because i would wander off and end up in strange places, and spend all our money on things we didn't need or want, apart from other reasons.

    One night things got so bad that i threw all sorts of things. I just missed my son with a pair of scissors.

    My son has cried four times in 23yrs - when we had to put our cat down in march this year, when his cat passed in may this year, when we had to put our dog down 2 days before my birthday in june this year, and the night i threw the scissors.

    I can't remember what i said to him, i don't remember a lot of things, but whatever it was it broke his heart. I felt nothing.

    He later told me what i'd said to him and that through everything said and done, that was the only thing that broke him to tears. Even after him telling me what it was i said, i can't remember it, and i don't want to ask because it broke his heart and i don't want him to relive that pain.

    We lost the house and he went to stay with a friend from school. I slept in the car with my only friend, my dog.

    I know my son loves me unconditionally but he has said he can never live with me again. That kills me but i understand.

    To stay in your relationship you have to be prepared for everything and anything. Sure, the ups are amazing but the downs...total hell for everyone!

    If you let him down once, it will haunt him for a very long time. He will doubt you and test you.

    My only family is my son and now my only reason for getting up has passed, he knows that anything can happen, especially while i'm so depressed over our animals.

    My son has not left my side because he knows the risk of doing so.

    I have nothing now. There is no reason to get up to walk my dog; no reason to eat. My son understands the disorder because he has studied it, and thankfully lived thru it. He knows there is only one type of peace for me and he understands what that peace involves.

    Bipolar is an exististing hell - for everyone involved.

    You need to find out as much as you can about it before you make any decisions.

    This is YOUR life as much as it is your partner's.

    It won't be easy, but at times it will be amazing.

    If you decide to stay, you need to constantly let him know how much he means to you.

    You need to love him like you never thought you could or would have to, love and ignore anyone or anythinv in your life.

    Love is supposed to be unconditional, but bipolar disorder tests those limits.

    I lost a daughter because she couldn't accept the facts of the disease. I have not seen or heard from her for years.

    I hope my some of my story has shed a little more light on what is a horrible and traumatic disorder.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Is there any certain sites you think is best to do research on Bipolar? I've recently started talking to an old school mate and he has Bipolar 1.

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  • Posted

    Wow! I am 48 and reading this thread by accident, as I'm on the site for starting on citalopram, has shocked me by making me question if I am too bipolar.  We have mental illness in the family and I thought I suffered from only depression. I've even moved country away from family to avoid the feeling of craziness I was involved with. My relationships have been hell. I've always blamed the others.  I flip, no doubt. Proper flip. I can be intensely in love with someone, while they lavish me. When the messages stop, or xx at the end starts to drop off...after 6 months or so I freak out, and become obsessed with them, checking when they were online, last what's app time online...convinced they are leaving me...I panic like it's over, have a melt down, then find its all ok as they are just busy. Then when I know they are still into me, I'm thinking perhaps I can do better, and start thinking of ending it myself as I need someone who doesn't mix their signals...all in the matter of days!!  When I'm with them, I flip out and end it, walk off over stupid things...I can't help it and then break down immediately after knowing it was a flip, then I'm back to normal and expect them to forget it as I have. When they don't I'm hurt all over again.  I'm a night mare.  My current boyfriend has had anxiety in the past, we've been on and off for years, this time he's said to continue I need help, so I've started citalopram. In private, as he lives away, I'm on week 2 and having major flip out!  

    It was the comment about hurting those you love, your children that made me think.  When my daughter tries to talk about her issues and how I have caused some from my past I feel so betrayed, as I have tried so hard to give her everything, I flip out nastily at her. I mean real evil and tell her I never want to see her, we are over. She's 25.  Again after I apologise and expect all to forget it. 

    How is do I know if this is bipolar, or depression or if I'm just a nasty person?  

    My mother suffers from depression, she has had breakdowns real severe ones and I think she is on the spectrum, my dads family have vertigo, epilepsy and autism in the family too so the gene pool was nit the greatest lol.  My dad just has never married and is 70.  He was known as a Casanova jumping from relationship to relationship, with no empathy. Some very volatile. He uses alcohol and golf to cope, he seems happy just never fulfilled unless tipsy lol then he loves everyone! 

    Sorry a long one from me too. Never been so honest.  Therapeutic just writing this. 

    Any outside observational thoughts very much appreciated xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna.

      I'm sorry to say it, but you sound like me!

      I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder at the top of the list, but there are others that don't do so much "damage" to others such as social anxieties, ADHD, OCD, agoraphobia, claustraphobia etc, etc.

      Bipolar is by far the worst.

      It's a horrible infliction on everyone you love, and yourself.

      I hope it's coincidental and not what you have, but if it's not, there are meds for it to help.

      If you have questions, i'll try to answer as best i can.

      I wish you well.

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    • Posted

      Hi, thank you for replying. It's made me think.  I am currently researching Borderline Personality Disorder as you mentioned and its fits. At least it gives me some direction and I've actually started to accept it is me that has the problem.  Time to work on myself.  I wish you well too, it's a horrible trap to be caught in. You have no idea how helpful you've been. Thank you !

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna.

      I'm glad i could offer a little help and that you could take some direction from it.

      At least you have a possible starting point and can work towards repair and rebuild.

      I hope you are still in some type of communication with your daughter and that your relationship can be salvaged once she knows and hopefully understands what you go thru.

      It's not easy...as you say, it's a horrible trap...but i hope things get better and work out for you - both as a person and as a mother.

      I may feel like crap, but it helps me to know i may be able to help others thru personal experience.

      All the best, Donna.

      I'm glad i could help.

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  • Posted

    Out lives are so similar.. stay strong! I have the same questions racing trough my head. It's been a month since my boyfriend Who has BP dumped me for some one else. While I know it's manic behavior I don't think I can recover from this blow. It's been 12 long years. I think I would reach out to him but he crossed the line by being involved with someone else. I worry about him but it's nothing I think I can do at this point... he l left me as if I was old news after I have been his number one cheerleader. I wrapped my entire life around him. I hope the best for you! I hope you find resolve as well!

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    • Posted

      Hi Kim, I don't know if you still come on here but I just came across this thread. My boyfriend of a year and a half has bipolar type 1. We had the best relationship. During the last few months together however he started wanting to go out all night and meet new people constantly, it was quite exhausting. He's very sociable anyway but I could tell he was resenting me because I wanted him to spend time with me. He stopped being as affectionate and arguments ensued. He then impulsively broke up with me. This was a month ago and I'm sort of ok. I feel very lonely and miss him terribly. He says he loves me but he says he just can't do it anymore and he's really sorry. He says he will always love me and I'm the best gf he's ever had. He needs to do his own thing now. He wants to be independent and I should get on with it. He's also told me he's spent £2500 on his credit card and says he's been going to the gym/exercising and walking outdoors and it's become a bit of an obsession with him. He's also said he's re-organised all his flat. I've just been very nice to him through it all. I'm not angry with him, he's the nicest person I know. I guess I know we probably can't come back from this and after all the hurt I don't think I can do it again but I'm intrigued as to whether he's behaving like his because he's maybe manic? He takes his meds but I don't think they've been properly reviewed for a number of years. All I know is that he was talking about us getting married and saving for a house together a week before he ended it. How are things with your boyfriend now? I hope you are ok. Any advice from you would be much appreciated. Xx

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