Bipolar Husband

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My husband is bipolar. We are just now discovering this. In reflection, it is obvious that this has been a problem over the 25 years we have been together but it escalated last year. He is getting treatment and wants to be well. There are many things that he is overly guilty about that don’t really matter and on the other hand he admits to being sexually promiscuous over the years (unfaithful countless times) and feels no remorse. He also says that he has no feelings for me, that our relationship has been farce. We have had a good relationship for 25 years, and we have been great friends, we have raised 4 children together. Is it possible that his disorder is affecting his perception of how he really feels about me? He still acts the same towards me as he always has, he is affectionate to me, and he not leaving us. But when we talk about our relationship he says he has no feelings for me and he never has. It doesn’t add up. Is this the disorder creating false feelings for some reason? Please advise, thanks.

A. Based on your letter, your husband’s statements are not consistent with his behavior. You’ve described your marriage as being very good over the past 25 years. You’ve been great friends and you’ve raised four children together. He’s in treatment and seems to be managing the bipolar disorder well. It’s unclear why he would continue to behave positively toward you if he truly meant the negative things he said. Perhaps there has been a miscommunication. Something is amiss and it may simply be that his words have been miscommunicated or misinterpreted. He may also have said something when he was angry and didn’t mean what he said.

It’s unclear what effect his bipolar disorder may be having on this situation. If he were symptomatic that possibly could explain the discrepancy between what he says and how he acts. I would need to have many more details about this situation to determine what if any effect bipolar disorder may be having.

The good news is that, despite what he says, the two of you continue to have a fundamentally strong relationship. He is affectionate, has not changed his positive behavior toward you and he has no plans to leave the family. As the adage goes, actions speak louder than words. He’s acting as though he’s happy with you and the marriage and that is encouraging. Marriage therapy may help the two of you rectify what seems to be a lack of clear communication. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Bipolar Husband. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/18/bipolar-husband/

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