How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Relationships?


5 Answers

jer Huth Profile
jer Huth answered
First, thank you all for sharing your experiences - I hope others find this as helpful as I've found your comments. 

My relationship of about a year with a bipolar person just ended.  For the first 10 months or so, everything was wonderful - she was the most caring, loving person I've been with.  I knew she had some past issues with abuse, etc. But it didnt phase me.  I suffer from depression/anxiety, so I am very accepting of others problems.
However, about 2 months ago, my ex totally pulled away from me.  We used to be together every day, but since then we saw each other maybe 4 times.  Briefly before this happened, she told me she was feeling depressed and also hinted at bipolar disorder - having depression myself, I dove into efforts to help her.  We still talked/texted continuously, but our conversations would often end in fights.  She also refused to show any emotion, even when I told her how much I loved her and how important she was to only got worse.
I decided to study the disorder and resolved myself to standing beside her though her difficult time.  I tried to avoid confrontation and show unconditional love, even if it wasnt returned.  I kept telling myself that her true feelings were just hidden under this horrible illness.  But I caught her in a lie in which she admitted she had been seeing an ex from the past.  She also told me that "I never cared for her" and other irrational statements.
I've come to face the reality that it is not something I can fix, regardless of how hard I try.  In spite of all of the fights and neglect from her, I still love her.  But I also love myself and cannot risk my mental health - Ive offered her my help in getting treatment, which she continually refuses.
In the end, she has gone back to a destructive friendship and has shunned all of our mutual friends (all of whom would want to help her).  From past experience, I believe she will bounce around in bad relationships and self medicate.  It hurts me to watch this, but I know I cannot help.  To those of you who can sustain bp relationships (both sufferers and partners), I applaud you.  But I feel that if the person is not willing to help themselves, try to be understanding and help..but in the end please take care of yourself and do not blame yourself for the strains on your relationship.
Aimee Rogers Profile
Aimee Rogers answered
Bipolar Disorder can really affect sufferer's relationships. Every single relationship they have will be affected whether it is an intimate relationship, a parental relationship, or a friendship.

Some people who suffer from the condition say they get pretty argumentative. They suffer from extreme irritability and that causes them to lash out and to unknowingly hurt the people around them. Often sufferers are too ashamed to tell the people they love what they are going through. They feel that if they do, their loved ones will think less of them. That fear sometimes causes them to keep the condition a secret for as long as they possibly can.

So, if left untreated, relationships can really suffer and it can be hard to keep a successful one. The depression which comes with the Disorder can be really hard to deal with. Many sufferers say they would rather die than live like that for the rest of their lives. That is why treating the condition is so important!
thanked the writer.
View all 6 Comments
Anonymous commented
To Aimeelou1984.
I am a man who put his wife trough the exact same thing you described. I have just been diagnosed Bipolar 2, started meds, and now learning all this about the illness, I feel terrible for what I've put my wife through. I will be forever grateful to my wife for threatening to leave me unless I got help, and helping explain to the psychiatrist what was going on. I love her very much, just understand you will have to take radical steps for the good of both of you.
Anonymous commented
I was really depressed for days and then other days could not sit still.Also I had periods when I could not sleep because my mind would not shut down.This could be 3 times a week or last for days.Well this past thanksgiving I was coming home from work and would stay to myself not even talk to my wife.I went from the monday befor thanksgiving to the monday after with no sleep at all.I seen a doctor he said I was bipolar.I told my wife and she just laughed and said well I cant live with that.
Christy Wrightway
Aimeelou1984,. What you just described is NOT what i would consider bipolar. On it's face, this sounds like a personality disorder called "Borderline syndrome". I would look it up. Get a good book about this pers. Dis. In any book store. You'll find yourself reading his lifestory! There is no real treatment except serious, on-going therapy for the individual. He has to want it and KNOW he needs it; and since this pers. Dis. Excludes self knowledge of faults..cooperation will be hard to get!
jen biel Profile
jen biel answered
I was in a relationship with a bipolar before...and I can totally relate to what everyone is sharing here. Before I cannot really understand but now after reading all the stories here, I can fully understand why he is like that. At first he was a very caring and loving person that led me to fell in love with him but after a few months he started to change and become different,,he is irritable, has a temper, lies, cheating with other girls or women, etc,,etc..he also blames me for everything bad that has happened and after a year and a half,..I just cannot take this bad behavior and attitude anymore and I know that this will keep on happening..he does care about meds or therapy at all..he doesn't really care about helping I decided to just end the relationship than suffer with all these..
Michelle Vieira Profile
Michelle Vieira answered
I'm 18 and recently got diagnosed with bipolar last april. It made a lot of sense and answered  a lot of my questions as to why my moods changed a lot.  But anyways, if you are gifted with this lovely disorder you tend to change your mind a lot. For instance, liking or being interested in something and then easily not anymore. Your mind changes just like your mood changes. It's like a big swing going back and forth. I personally think it's hard to keep a relationship because of this. I broke up with so many guys. I've been with about 5 or 6 guys and I broke up with all of them. Thats why you got to make sure that this dude or chick is the one for you and your heart throbs for them. Make you shake of nervousness and give you butterflys. You know what I mean. I'm sure some of you have felt it.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
Wow at 18 you are by far more educated on a disease that I myself was diagnosed with at a very early age of 3 I admire you I commend you proud of you for learning and justcovering discussing your issues like this publicly as a young child for me everything about my "bad behavior"was Top secret&my family thought could be controlled by a diet(grapenuts);(if u think u may like the taste of cardboard then post grapenuts isn't for you). Ok this isn't about me but if I had your knowledge at your age I honestly feel my life would of turned out a lot differently for the positive side of things and that's your story you hit the nail on the nose so true every word keep up the good work&never lose sight of who you really are nor should you ever except for settle for anything less than what you deserve take care;) ps I'm 43 now&am touched by your story;)
Mi Mi Profile
Mi Mi answered
Quite a lot in fact especially if one: You are not aware you are BP. Two: If your other half seems to have the same/similar condition that also does not know that they have it and Three: You both have fluctuating emotions due to stress, low self esteem due to how the brain can change moods. It can work if either one or both are stable and understand the condition but not if the other is ignorant/totally blind to it and keeps behaving in a way that they refuse to accept is not ideal.

Answer Question