Bipolar boyfriend?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Could my boyfriend (age 24) be Bipolar? He does have episodes of depression and acts completely different when he is with his friends. I feel like he has split personalities. Many times he doesn’t remember tasks he completed days ago. We are at a stressful time in our relationship which includes the 6 month old baby. We used to be best friends and still today sometimes we enjoy time shared with the baby, but I see more and more he has no idea of what I’m referring to because he asks, “huh?” all the time. There has been lingering problems. About two years ago he was photographed in an almost orgy like sexual setting. However, he still insists and believes I (age 23) am the only girl he has ever kissed or hugged despite the pictures. It gets worst. There is another female who claims to have had a yearlong relationship with him that resulted in a baby! I believe her, and her child is two months older than mine. When I ask him he has no idea who the person is. I have even talked to the ex-girlfriend and one phone partner without his knowledge. He really thinks our relationship is fine. He loves our son and would do anything to take care of him, and he is happy to celebrate our would be 7 year boyfriend girlfriend relationship. He calls us his “family” and asks for us soon as he comes home from work. When I threaten to leave him he cries about how lonely he is and that he wants to kill himself. But, I still find him secretly texting girls on the phone that are listed under boy names. I really don’t understand any of this and I’m falling deeply into depression myself that along with the baby weight I can’t shed. If I ask him for the truth he will simply look me in the face and tell another lie. {I can’t bear it, seriously.}

He knows I’m sad, but he swears he isn’t doing anything. In your experience, please tell me if I am rationally analyzing the situation. It makes no sense to me how a man could lie when I often give him the option to leave. At times I feel like I am slowly slipping into the role of his mom, because his dad has multiple outside children and relationships outside of marriage while my boyfriend’s mom just stays home and does nothing. My boyfriend always promised me he wouldn’t become like his father and is eager to marry me with my consent. I hope you can shed some light on all of these conflicts.

Please reply. Tell me what you honestly think. My life is falling apart because of this. I’m also a full time graduate student working on a M.A.

Thank you,
Really sad Mom

A: It would be irresponsible for me to offer a diagnostic opinion of your boyfriend, but what I am certain of is that several of his behaviors are not good for you to be around.

First, his family of origin has set the stage for teaching him how to be a man. If you do not want to be in the same role as his mother with his father, you will have to deal with the situation.

The photo of the orgy is proof that he is either lying to himself, to you, or both. It is a very immature way of coping, but this is who he is.

The work here is for you to realize you deserve more and better. Regardless if there is a diagnosis or not, dealing with his unacceptable behavior should be the top thing on your list.

I would contact the counseling center at the university you are attending. You are entitled to counseling if you are a student. This is a good time for you to know your rights, become whole, and see the situation for what it is.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Bipolar boyfriend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/07/bipolar-boyfriend/

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