158 Comments to
Bipolar Disorder and Dating

The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. (If there's more than one page, click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.) Jump to reply form.

Comments: 1 2 3
  1. I have appreciated learning from life experiences from you. I have a son who is diagnoised as bipolar l with rapid cycling. After quite a few years of denial, he is now taking his meds. Lithium and depakote. Recently he has taken to drinking even though his doctors and counselors tell him it is not wise. He lives in our home and we try to support however we can. He has disability coming in and his meds covered. I have heard some talk that it is okay to have a few beers. Is this true because I have observed otherwise.. I don’t mind him drinking one beer a week but it seems he is spending more and more on alcohol. He bought a fairly new car and pays no rent except for 150 for food. As parents, we have some boundaries for living here…one is that he works or goes to school. takes his meds and doesn’t drink. Are these boundaries okay. He has recently been divorced and is in another relationship with a woman who has children. They plan to be married…he has no job. We are wanting to continue to help but not enable. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  2. I think its great your so supportive! Emotional support in my opinion should be unconditional for those you love, yes having some boundaries on your territory is a reasonable expectation too, taking into consideration his BP.

    Maybe trust what your instincts are telling you, are you able to separate who he really is, from his BP behaviour – for example – New car – Is it impulsive spending a symptom of BP or is he just being selfish.

    Alcohol, as you know it affects everyone different. Personally, I think it depends on ones state at the time. I occasionally use it to self- medicate as I have issues with medication – its has caused me all sorts of problems but then sometimes it does not.

    I struggle with jobs and relationships all the time although I’ve been successful with both – only because of some understanding employers or partners – theses are difficult to find!

    I feel you need to be diplomatic, honest and direct with him. Hope this helps!

  3. I just had my first experience with dating someone with depression/bipolar. We had a quick first date and on the second date she pushed to sleep together, and was reluctant to use protection. The third time we saw each other she was adamant about not using protection (I brought STD test results but she said “trust me” that she was clean and was on the pill). Pillow talk afterward he said she couldn’t remember my face whenever we parted.

    Soon after she gave me the official “it had to be you” and “you’re the best I’ve ever dated” boyfriend/girlfriend speech. Three days later it was an out-of-the-blue, “I just realized I don’t really like you,” despite carrying on as BF/GF without a hint of reluctance.

    The sexual recklessness/rush to intimacy, not remembering my face, to being BF/GF for just three days, are clear signs of BP/depression I come to find out through various mental health professionals. I should note she said on our second date she had depression, was on meds, and was seeing a psychiatrist. I didn’t press because she was beautiful, nice, and really really had her life together (masters degree, made $100k+/year as a programmer, active life with friends, family, hobbies, etc.).

    Personally I will NEVER again date someone with depression/BPD. I too have my life really together and though far from perfect I’m not going to settle for such fundamental emotional and behavioral issues. Though I was falling for her there are plenty of people who do not suffer from such afflictions.

  4. to all of you (mostly men) that refuse to date a bipolar human being:

    why would any self respecting bipolar want to be with someone so selfish as to put all of us in one big prejudged group? i’ve been diagnosed for over 40 years, and not once have i been abusive to anyone. ever.

    i am happy with who i am, and people love to be around me. bipolars are usually both left and right brain users. in other words, unlike unipolars (you) we are most often both highly intelligent AND creative.

    we bring light and beauty into the lives of “normal” people. without us, the world would be black and white. check out all the famous bipolars in the world, and you will see just what you are missing in your bland, everyday lives. i’m exciting and fun. if i feel like i am not “level” enough, i adjust my meds, and carry on.

    i happen to be a great “catch” for any man that is good enough for me. i am seriously bipolar I. i have mixed episodes, rapid cycling, usually slightly high, rarely so depressed that i stay in bed. i had a job for most of my life – i was successful enough to retire wealthy, at the age of 39, probably because of my “illness”. i was able to be better than anyone else in my area of expertise.

    i’ve had amazing boyfriends. so many of you non-bipolars are selfish and not that great as partners, anyway. anyone that goes to a support group and sees someone miserable and decides all bipolars must be avoided at all costs is an idiot.

    any bipolar that thinks they will never find someone that will love them is horribly, horribly wrong. take that magic you have and build an amazing life for yourselves. even if what you can do is limited, do it with as much gusto as you can. leave love until you meet someone as unselfish as you.

    i would have to guess that anyone that thinks a bipolar is the worst thing to date, probably can’t date anyone as exciting as us, anyway. i hope none of you are ever confined to a wheel chair, or get some other boring illness. acccording to your standards of perfection, you would be alone for the rest of your life. who would want to bother with all your mess? anyone with any respect for themselves would not date you anyway.

    maybe the people you date are all you can get, bipolar or not. unlike mine, your personality sucks.

  5. i need to address one more thing. i have told everyone i know that i am bipolar, and not one of them have ever judged me. they know if they need to point out some quirk that i haven’t noticed, and i take care of it immediately. seriously, just like any other illness, it is how you learn to deal with it. and to those BPs that are drinking, STOP right now. whether you are on meds or not, BP and alcohol do not mix. seriously.

  6. I have read all the stories and experiences posted above. It is not my interest to judge persons with BPD, but living with such people is a nightmare. And I am telling this from my experience that I had with my son’s mother. We started to date while I was still in the active duty, in the army. Sweet and supportive in the beginning of our relationship, and all of the sudden she changed. I was to be blamed for everything that was not right in her life. Unhappiness, her problems with her family, her incapacity to get her college degree, inability to find a well-paid job… I was not supportive enough she said. I did not care for her at all…that was all in her mind. Bottom line is that she made my life a living hell. I don’t blame it entirely on her, but on me as well. My mother told me that she had some issues, but I did not pay any attention to what she was telling me. I wish I had because I had a lot to gain from that. The relationship culminated with her having my child and managing to keep me away from him for almost 2 years. I am not mentioning the fact that she filed a restraining order against me stating that I had physically abused her. I have lost my job because of this woman, my self-respect, my friends and family and a lot of money. Plus I have been dragged through court date after court date because of her paranoia that I was trying to find her to harm her.
    We broke up over 2 years ago. And I have been working on getting my life together since then.
    Right after we broke up, I met a wonderful and loving woman. I was honest with her from the beginning telling her about my situation and my struggle to gain custody over my son. I did in the end. My son is living with my wife (we got married 4 months ago) and me. My son’s mother sees him from time to time. She tries to make my life miserable again, but this her target is my wife because she doesn’t want to admit that I have met a nice woman who loves me very much.
    My advice to all those who are dating people with BPD is that if you are not involved very seriously in the relationship try to go away as soon as possible. This is not life and if the people with BPD are in denial and don’t want to seek professional help then you are going to be in a constant nightmare. And nobody deserves this. So run while you can.

  7. To ‘me’

    What you are describing is not Bipolar Disorder. You are describing Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Bipolar disorder is sometimes abbreviated BPD, sometimes BP. Borderline Personality Disorder is usually abbreviated BPD, sometimes BP.

    Another confusing thing is that both have mood swings. The moods in Borderline Personality are often situational.

    Bipolar NEEDS medication to control the swings. Therapy added to this is helpful. Bipolar is thought to be largely genetic.

    Borderline NEEDS therapy. Medication is helpful for some. Borderline is thought to result largely from life experiences. The majority of people diagnosed Borderline experienced child abuse.

    Borderline Personality Disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality.

    Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, abbreviated Complex-PTSD might be a more accurate way to view some people who have been diagnosed as Borderline.

    To make it even more confusing, it is possible for a person to have more than one thing going on.

    Whatever the case, Bipolar, Borderline, Depression,ADHD and any other diagnoses are NOT an excuse for bad behavior.

    I agree with every word of the advice you give at the end of your post. I’m glad you found someone who knows how to love.

  8. I want to change this sentence…

    Whatever the case, Bipolar, Borderline, Depression,ADHD and any other diagnoses are NOT an excuse for bad behavior.


    Whatever the case, Bipolar, Borderline, Depression,ADHD and any other diagnoses are NOT an excuse for being mean, nasty or abusive.

  9. It always amazes me why you selfish ‘normal’ ones, who lack empathy and compassion, stay with someone who is sooooooo bad with BP/ADHD etc according to your comments – So why do you stay around long enough and allow your life to be destroyed?? Take responsibility for yourself and your actions rather than blame a mentally disabled person!

  10. To Get-real:

    It is so easy to not hold the mentally disabled person responsible. It is not there fault. We normal people are to be blamed for everything.On the other hand, you are right. I should have run and should have not paid any attention. But when it is a child involved, it is difficult to make that decision.

  11. Realtionships with those who suffer from bipolar disorders and don’t want to seek treatment or are in denial are very toxic.
    As far as my relationship with this woman, she set me up from the beginning thinking that I will be with her forever.She used her condition as a pawn to excuse her erratic behavior.
    I don’t want to mention the fact that she doesn’t care about her son at all.Or I should say she cares about him only when she wants to play the mommie role which is not very often. Thank God!

  12. Hello ME

    Thanks for your response, I was not blaming you, just saying you had a choice and to use the child as an excuse is no excuse for that choice. I understand it may have been difficult for you as a ‘normal’ person but can you understand how difficult it is for someone who does not have full control of their mind, I am not suggesting you be sympathetic just empathetic. I am sorry you had a bad experience, but lots of people have had bad experiences in relationships where there were not mental illnesses and usually its take two. I feel you need to search inside yourself and ask your self why you personally hung in there and maybe you are angry with your self for doing that, so maybe go a bit more gently on us mental folk most of us mean well I would like to think 😉

  13. Hello Get-real,

    I did not to blame mentally ill people for what happened in my situation.I understand that not all people diagnosed with bipolar disorders are abusive.There are some who seek professional help and create strategies to deal with the stress.
    You are right I should have left when I realized the potential trouble I was going to get myself into. In my case my son’s mother had also been diagnosed with bordeline personality disorder which made things even worse.She has made false abuse accusations towards me and has not shown up to any court dates.When I realized that she was troubled it was already to late because my son was on his way.
    But anyway, to make a long story short,every person who is in an abusive relationship should find ways to get out of it as soon as possible. TAKE MY WORD,IT IS AWFUL TO BE ACCUSED OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE and then to have a hard time proving that you are innocent.
    Once again, I apologize.

  14. To ME – I have been very successful in my life and I am intelligent enough to understand what is going on in my mind. After years of medical help and managing various BP plus disorders, I have taken medication on and off, but they make me ill. However, everyone else is happy because Im a zombie which affects my quality of life.

    I was never abusive until, time after time – people abused my trust, exposed my vunerability and the fragile person I am because of my mental health, it eventually sent me a bit crazy but I still just have my marbles!

    The abusive behaviour is just reactive to the pain one suffers and peoples response to it, it needs a special kind of person to understand that, or not go there in the first place.

  15. It’s all fine and good for people to claim that no one should ever stay in an abusive relationship, that they should get out as soon as possible. But quite frankly, that is not always possible. I am bipolar, agoraphobic and suffer from anxiety as well. It ranges from VERY difficult and downright impossible for me to work outside the home. Before I realized that this was going to be a chronic condition for me, I married a man with 2 children, who are now just like my own, and we had 3 together. I also have one from my first marraige, bringing the total to 6. It is everything I can do to just manage being a good mother to my children. If I tried to leave the marraige, three things would happen: immediately, I would lose the two sons (now 14 and 16) whom I have raised from 3 and 1. I would have to fight for custody of the younger children, because my husband’s family would never allow him to leave them with his “crazy” ex-and very well could lose them as well, and even if he didn’t try to take the kids, I would be unable to support them. Even welfare would not allow me to offer any kind of a decent lifestyle for them alone. Just the CHANCE that I could lose my children to the man who treats me so badly is enough to keep me here. At least then, I know the children are never alone with him. If I were not there to be the target of his abuse, I have no doubt they would become his new target very quickly. Because his abuse is verbal and emotional, it is extremely difficult to prove, and he would (probably successfully) use my mental illness to claim that I am irrational and making false accusations. The fact is, that I am extremely careful to ensure that my mental illness has a minimal impact on my children. I take my medication faithfully, attend counseling sessions routinely, and have an ongoing lifestyle that supports my stability. Unfortunately, a judge would very likely react with the usual stigma against mental illness and declare me “unfit”. I would lose my children to an abuser. The children are slowly growing up. The oldest is in college now (carrying a 4.0 on full scholorship), my stepsons are in high school and doing well. The next in in Jr High and unfortunately, has recently been diagnosed as Bipolar as well. At least she has ONE parent who understands and supports her comepletely. I worry about the two younger boys (9 and 7), as I fight constantly the attitudes that they are picking up from their father. If I were not there, there would be no one to combat his influence.

    So I stay.

  16. I have no one to express this to at this moment in time, but want to give up recently.

    The pain and suffering and what I have become as a result of my bipolar plus and the experiences that have been destructive to me and others recently is soul destroying.

    I do not know who I am anymore. I was once a successful person who did everything by the book now I want to throw the book at myself.

    I feel so misunderstood, trapped, lonely and I no longer feel there is any purpose being here at the moment.

    • Get Real, I don’t know if you will see this a year later….but I know just how you feel.

      I was successful, sought after in every way, and now my life is a pile of dog poo from this illness.

      Soul-destroying is right. Mine is crushed.

  17. just because somebody has bipolar disorder does not mean they will be absuive to there spouse more likley then any one elase would, anyone who wrote that is being narrow minded and judgemental

  18. Some harsh words in these comments from those with and those who have lived with bipolar sufferers.
    I have been in a 6 + year relationship with a man who admitted on our first date that he was bipolar but on medication. Neither of us are young – he is now 62 and I am 5 years younger. We “met” on an internet dating site. I was surprised to hear from him as we lived in different countries. He in Ireland and me in England. He said he had been separated for 8 years but not divorced,a similar state to me. He held a responsible post in the Health Service and sounded fun but lonely.
    We eventually met and clicked. He was a very sweet, generous and loving man. The only issue we had early on was the distance between us and the length of time between visits. But we were both busy at work and spent hours texting and phoning so it didn’t seem too much of a hardship and then when we did meet the separations got forgotten.
    His illness did not obviously affect us until about 18 months into our relationhip when he warned me that he was sliding into a depression and that I might not hear from him for a while. He said he usually went to stay with his sister when this happened and I was not to worry if we lost communication! Which we did for about 2 months. I just used to text him once a week telling him I was thinking of him and loved him and just hoped that eventually I would get a response. Which eventually I did and normal service was resumed. This happened on a few occasions but I felt if this was his way of dealing with it and if he eventually came back to our relationship then so be it.
    However at times I used to have concerns that we always met in my hometown not his and that when he did come over it was only ever for an extended weekend. Many promises were made regarding holidays together,seeing each other more often, being together permanently, but none of this ever materialised. I had huge doubts from time to time wondering if I was just a gullible fool and was he perhaps still with his wife but wrongly or rightly put the oddities in our relationship down to his bipolar and kept hanging in there.
    His grown children, although never having met me, had, according to him decided they were against me and didn’t want their father involved with me. He had met mine and they liked him. Eventually they persuaded him to spend time with them in Australia to make up, as they said for him being a poor father when they were growing up[??]. So he took a leave of absence from work and flew off with promises of keeping in touch by email. I heard not a word for nearly 6 months then had a quick flurry of texts in response to my pleas for some communication regarding his attendance at my daughters wedding. He said the flight was booked and he was longing to see me, no gossip about his trip, why he had not been in contact etc etc.
    10 days before the wedding I had a text supposedly from his son to say he had had a heart attack and was deepy upset not to be able to fly home for the wedding. I offered to fly out but was told no due to the delicate family situation regarding my involvement with his father!
    He did phone on the morning and evening of the wedding to wish us well but said he was not allowed to fly until the doctors said he could. He also warned that his new heart medication would mean his bipolar meds would need reassessing so was also worried that he would tip into a depresssion. 3 more months passed and again no communication.
    I may sound like a really stupid woman but although I had doubts and misgivings I honestly believed that deep down we would eventually get through all these trials and be with each other again. Because his activities when he had been at work often got reported and were retrievable on the internet I used to pop his name into Google to remind myself of his presence. So you can imagine I was not happy when I found an article in an Irish newspaper dated 3 months before his heart attack when he was supposed to be in Australia detailing his presence at an awards ceremony!! With heavy heart I dialled his works number and discovered he had retired whilst to my knowledge he was out of the country.
    I telephoned him and asked him to get back to me. When he did he as obviously in a very depressed state and didn’t want to talk so I just said I was missing him and then took the cowards way out by sending him a long text detailing what I had discovered and asking him if I was indeed a total fool?
    No response until 3 months later a letter came from Australia, a very sad and apologetic letter which expressed much love for me but on the advice of his doctor treating his bipolar he was saying goodbye and remaining in Australia.
    I felt at that point that I should just respect that and wish him well upset though I was.
    However, and even us oldies have a drink too many sometimes and send texts we probably shouldn’t…about 4 months later I texted one night saying how much I missed him and loved him and wished things could have been different. Imagine my shock when we started a tentative texting relationship which continued sporadically for the next 4 months seemingly paving the way for something better as he reckoned he might be returning to England and me in 2011. But and there always seems to be a but in this relationship 2 months ago all communication from him dried up again. I just have to assume another deep depression and perhaps I may hear something and perhaps not? I still send the odd supportive text rightly or wrongly who knows, but I now have a suspicion he has returned from Australia as the delivery reports of my texts coincide with British not Australian times.
    So where do I go from here? If I text I get no response, if I phone no-one replies. I only had a work address in Ireland. The ball as always is in his court. I guess I should probably just call it quits but I really care about this man regardless of whether we could ever sustain a relationship because in reality we have very little solid foundation to build one on – just from my point of view continual disappointment. He has not seen my 2 grandchildren, not attended my daughters wedding, my mums funeral and not acknowledged my message regarding my dad’s recent cancer operation.
    This has been a rather long post! I just wonder if anyone out there can recognise whether this story may be typical of a relationship with a bipolar sufferer who does actually take his meds but still suffers continual highs and lows or whether it is just a case of me falling in love with a rogue regardless of any illnes he may suffer?
    Best wishes to one and all.

  19. Sorry to be a downer, but I have no pity for Bipolars. I married one and tried to live a normal life. Nothing but hell and one crisis after another. Constant, relentless fights over nonsense. I am always thrown out or told I will be out on the street. It never stops. He destroys holidays, weekend plans or any kind of fun or celebration so I decided to never put up another Christmas decoration until the day I am away from him. Everything must be about him. He also seems not to want the house to be a home. No cleaning, decorating or fixing up anything without being verbally attacked, insulted and threatened. Having a job is out of the question, and we live very close to poverty. My career is gone as is any hope for a normal life. He has on occasion threatened suicide…I wish him much success.

  20. Whether you or your partner have Bipolar, we all need to take responsibility for ourself and actions if of compos mentis of course.

    If someone is committed – Where are the signs of commitment – Eg marriage or living together within a reasonable amount of time- then its in sickness or health, richer or poorer. I imagine most of you who entered into a bipolar relationship were fully aware and had access to the internet.

    Daphne – I am Bipolar and I admire you commitment – I wish my on/off part-time distant partner who lives 5 miles away had that same commitment you have – but he’s been too wrapped up in his demanding teenage children, ex- wife and interferring Mother for the last 3 years

    I suggest you examine the reasons why you are still wanting or needing this man- is it co-dependancy – deep down you will find the answers.

    Are the bad times out weighing the good times, putting aside the Bipolar.

    It strikes me that his family are more important than your relationship. I walked away for a while and if he does not make an effort I out of here!
    Good Luck!

  21. Although there are many harsh comments on the subject, I am grateful for those who shared their stories of compassion. As a young bipolar sufferer this gives me hope that if I continue taking my medication and following treatment that I might ultimately find love. Thank you.

    • There is a very real stigma associated with people diagnosed with bi-polar illness. Consequently, I keep my condition very private for personal and professional reason so they don’t prejudge. I have been fortunate to have excellent medical treatment, take my meds, understand my mood swings (mostly mild depression)and am a very high functioning mangement executive for over 25 years. In relationships and dating I have not revealed my diagonis so far and would rather let them people experience me for who I am, not my diagnosis.If a relationship would turn serious, I would share my condition, but only once they have seen me for who I am, not my diaganois.

  22. Not hugely relavant, however its something that is frustrating me:

    Im 25 and and can count serious relationships and encounters on one hand. I have recently met a girl i adore and the feeling is reciprocated and im already finding difficulty with communication, sensitivity and commitment.

    There is almost NOTHING on the internet advising on difficulties for a bipolar sufferer on dating and relationships, only on how the spouse should deal with their problems. surely the sufferer has a lot more issues with it?

    Im a sufferer and have recently found this out. Looking back at all my relationships, i can see that the destruction of them was directly related to symptoms of the disease and the manic and depressive states themselves.

    I fear that my anxiety, low self-esteem, pessimism and self-destructive thinking have all contributed to the demise of the partnership after very short time. i am already blaming myself and am finding it very hard to deal with this change. I now see it emotonally easier to pull back from the relationship, avoiding the need to tell her about my condition etc…

    Does anyone else suffer in this way? and does anyone share my frustration that there is very little support and advice for sufferers trying to find partners?

    Thank you

    • I’m 31 years old and have recently experienced the joy of involuntary commitment after manic psychosis. I was hospitalized 3 days after my former girlfriend terminated the relationship. She could no longer handle my manic state, my egocentrism etc. I lost my job in the same period and I am going through a period of mourning and sadness now while still being hospitalized. I feel that my dream of finding a new love has been shattered by my diagnosis and I’m very anxious about dating again. My former girlfriend was a psychologist, and already noticed some of my symptoms i.e. spending too much money etc. In a new relationship, I’d rather not tell and keep my moments of medication-taking for myself.

  23. I am sick of people thinking because someone has bipolar they are a bad person one our presidents of the united states had bipolar abraham licoln he was the president of the usa when us was being torn apart because of a civil war the north fight the south over slavery i have bipolar i am going to college and studying criminal justice bipolar is a mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain so people take medience to make the chemicals in thier brain balance out it is like any other health condtion i am sick of people not giving people with a mental illness a chance to have a job and be sucessful in life people with mental illiness are humans to just like anybody else

    • yeah i know this doesnt have to do with the topic but the south fought the north not over slavery that was actually a lie from abraham lincoln to stop the british from aiding the south,the north actually had more slaves than the south, since the south was too poor to have slaves in most situations, the only reason it seems worse is because of what lincoln lied about and the fact they’d work in the heat not inside like in the north, slaves were sold on what is now wall street in new york, come on! the south fought the north for equality in the government actually and not slavery its just easier to blame it on that than see the real reason because if you claim it is anything but you’re called a racist.

      point of fact most racists are up north most hate crimes happen up north or out west not south east the only southern states at the time, more black people live in the south than the north yet more violent crimes of white on black crime happens up north and not in the south by simple logic you and everyone else could know this

      hopefully you now know and can learn and grow and hopefully spread the truth and not a lie that is over 200 years old lol

  24. To zackqi………….
    It sounds to me that you have not done your research on bipolar disorder. It is from a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not a disorder we choose for ourselves. It seems to me that you lack understanding and compassion. Maybe all the fighting is from your lack of support.

    • Sounds like YOU have not done your research. The “chemical imbalance” hypothesis has been shown to be inadequate and has already fallen out of favour.

      I wish people would stop perpetuating this false belief; especially when they are trying to shout down someone else as being wrong.

  25. I do sympathize with those who have been hurt in a relationship with someone who has bipolar. In my 9 years of having been diagnosed and treated, I have received many different responses from women when I share this piece of my life.

    Of all these people, only one woman took the time to care enough about herself and me to educate herself. There are wonderful books on being in a relationship with someone with bipolar. NAMI has great programs for people to learn to not only understand the bipolar, but also to learn to know what they need in the relationship. Information and communication is essential.

    So of all these people who feel victimized by a person with bipolar, some responsibility lies with you. One google search will show you that bipolar is a very serious mental illness. Don’t you think it may have been wise to learn about it when told? You would have found out very quickly that there is a huge difference between the treated and untreated bipolar person. The next question would be clear as well: what is this person’s relationship to caring for their illness? Med compliant? Thearpist? Support Group? etc.

    By the way, this one woman became my wife. Kind of like the story of the princess kissing the toad. I’d say she considers me her prince.

  26. I am very sorry. I don’t think it is wise to get into a relationship with a bi-polar person. I dated one and ended up talking to a psychologist about her actions and behaviors. He told me what I suspected that because of her religious family she has untreated bi-polar. She knew it too that something was wrong. She didn’t want to go to counseling, lied about everything and I have little doubt that she didn’t cheat on me every chance she got. Yes…I’m resentful.

  27. I think there are abusive people out there who have bipolar, and abusive people out there who don’t. It’s not fair to assume that the people you are running into are abusive because they have bipolar. My ex was abusive and he was an alcoholic, but I don’t assume all alcoholics are abusive. That makes no sense!

  28. I was with a Bipolar person for a long time, and I loved, and love her more than anyone. No matter what I never would have left her, and would have stayed with her through every one of her episodes of depressions. She met another person during a manic episode and became involved with him.
    And to be honest, in a way, I am relieved that I am no longer going to be the one who has to deal with things like waking up to her crying in the middle of the night, or her episodes of misplaced and misdirected anger.

  29. maybe its just me…or rather my beautiful fiance who centers me, ive gotten mad at her ive gotten mad at others and yelled and screamed and she’s seen me do these things sadly but she can tell when im about to bout to fly off the handle and break something she’ll bring me back to earth or just grab me and wont let go of me lol

    • Justin,

      It is great you have a wonderful and supportive person in your corner. I to lost my temper easily, I even through a lawn mower across the garage followed by an edger. Later I found out I would lose my temper when I was maniac. Up until five years ago I still frequently lost it. I now take Lamictal and it has helped with my manic temper out burst, but also stablized my mood swings – I rapid cycle. I am not suggesting you take or ask for this drug, but it did have big change.

      Good luck, having Bipolar is harder then most people realize, but work hard will lead to a good life.


  30. I do not at all appreciate all these abusive behaviors attributed to bipolar.

    Did it ever occur to any of you that has nothing to do with the illness – that was just who that person was?

  31. i am currently in the process of separating from my husband of nearly 3 years, someone i’ve actually known and cared deeply about for 14 years now. he has been diagnosed as BP/ADHD since early childhood. we first met as teenagers and i fell head over heels for him in no time at all. he did tell me that he was bipolar early on in the relationship, but at the time, i was young and knew nothing about the disorder, and it didn’t matter anyway, because he was this mind-blowingly sweet, gentle, respectful person – SOOOO different from all the other obnoxious teenage guys i was used to – and for the next decade he would be my favorite person in the whole world, even though we were mostly apart during that time because we went to college in different states and so forth, and our lives only intersected occasionally – but every time i was around him after that, it was the highest high i’d ever felt, and then being away from him in between was just torture. i dated other people, and had more than one long-term relationship, but always in the back of my mind i was comparing them to him and wishing i could be with him instead.

    yeah, well, careful what you wish for. four years ago, we crossed paths again, and everything was all sunshine and rainbows, and we were both finally at a point in our young adulthood where we had some control over our direction in life, so we had this brilliant idea to get engaged. he actually up and moved from several states away, and we got an apartment together, and so i should have been on top of the world, because i was the girl who’d just gotten everything she ever wanted.

    what i didn’t understand at the time was that during one of those long, dark periods where we weren’t together, he’d been seeing some second-rate student health center hack who told him that if he felt well enough, there wasn’t any reason for him to continue taking his medication. i should point out that when i met him, he was on a steady stream of lithium, with a doctor’s regular supervision. apparently somewhere along the way, he started having issues with the old familiar meds no longer working, and struggling to find something else took a terrible toll on his life during college – he got kicked out of a university and had to start over elsewhere, he had trouble maintaining friendships and contact with his family, et cetera, and he began drinking very heavily in order to compensate for the lack of reliable medication. eventually he came to believe that he could effectively self-medicate with alcohol and do without the pills and the doctor visits altogether.

    of course, i wasn’t around during all that, and when we decided to get back together, he seemed like he was still very *together*. he’d finished school, had a job, had his own place, and was still attractive and creative and funny and sweet and oh so charming, so it was the easiest thing in the world to agree to marry him and move in with him right away.

    the domestic violence began almost right away, but i didn’t see it for what it was at first. what i could see was that he drank a LOT. i’d been kind of a binge drinker in college and had worked in bars and restaurants where the staff partied pretty hard after hours, and even still, his drinking struck me as being more extreme and desperate in nature than anything i’d witnessed before. so that was kind of a nasty shock, considering i had huge plans to spend the rest of my life with this person and have his babies, but i looked the other way and made excuses – he was stressed out because he’d moved and started a new job. it would pass.

    the emotional and verbal abuse kind of slipped under my radar at first. i wasn’t nearly as happy living with him as i’d expected to be, but i couldn’t really say why. i had a decent job, a still-newish car, good friends – and now the love of my life to come home to every day, forever and ever amen – so why was i so depressed all the time? hmmm, probably because this loving, caring, special person at home had begun quietly setting up a minefield all over our new life together, especially right inside my head, where i guess i forgot to look.

    by the time the physical abuse began, i was all tied up in knots. i had crying spells at my job, so intense that i had to go home early at least twice. i avoided my family, who had always been suspicious of him because of the bipolar issue – which i thought was HORRIBLY judgmental (and to be fair, it was). once i started getting in trouble for hanging out with my friends, i avoided them as well. i tried to accommodate all manner of weird demands, from uncomfortable sexual requests to unconventional housekeeping methods, and yet nothing i did was right, and the punishments were never in short supply.

    i don’t even remember the first time he physically hurt me. i have vague recollections of having my arms pinned so tightly that there were bruises the next day, of having thrown objects bouncing off walls just shy of my head, of being cracked on the skull with the thick bottom of a drinking glass. i would have died – literally – before telling anyone this was happening. and in between these horrible little incidents, i was ignored, berated, ordered around, dismissed, excoriated… and occasionally he still found time to make me feel like the most appreciated and loved person ever to walk the earth. what a mindfuck.

    i married him later that year, only a couple of weeks after a friend of mine called the police and he was taken away in handcuffs after an ugly scene in which he drank an entire box of wine and then hit me several times over some misunderstanding that nobody else could identify, let alone explain. the assault charges ended up being dismissed, because in my desire to protect him, i went through with the marriage, according to some twisted belief that, as his spouse, i couldn’t be forced to testify against him. romantic, no?

    that was almost 3 years ago. since then, i’ve moved several times, been mostly unemployed with no income of my own, lived in a series of run-down, trashed-out dumps that he saw as “fixer-uppers” except never got around to fixing, and had two miscarriages (one shortly after he kicked me in the belly and put a hole in the wall with my head) before successfully giving birth to a beautiful little girl last summer. i am currently back at home with my family and said baby, this being the third (and final, i assure you) time leaving him after especially ugly violent incidents. i’m in DV counseling, as well as two codependency support groups, and i’m seeing a therapist weekly. i haven’t got a job and have nothing professional to show for the last three years, my credit is damaged from too many unpaid accounts in my name that he didn’t think were important enough to pay, my car is covered in scars from random fits of rage and stains from alcoholic beverages “for the road”, and my self-esteem is a bloody pulp for the most part. i receive weekly emails from him detailing his plan to take our daughter away from me when this all goes to court, because i’m the crazy one and he never once laid a hand on me – I WAS THE ABUSIVE ONE.

    so. whether or not you should date that super awesome girl or guy you just met and totally fell for – i really can’t tell you. if my soon-to-be-ex-husband could have maintained responsibility for his condition by staying under the care of a doctor and at least trying to keep on some form of medication, who knows – maybe we’d be the happiest, loviest couple on the face of the earth today, instead of these sad, shattered, angry shells of our former selves. i’m positive that not all bipolar people are abusive, and i would never advocate writing them all off on principle.

    but i must agree with whoever pointed out the comparison with being in a relationship with a diabetic – if someone becomes unwilling to take care of him or herself on such a basic level, it will eventually rip your relationship to shreds. you aren’t responsible for fixing, changing, or saving anyone else. in fact, you CAN’T do any of those things. you probably already know that, but it never hurts to hear it again anyway.

    as i see it, the problem with bipolar disorder is that when it’s left untreated and becomes progressively worse, you are basically witnessing this seriously gruesome metamorphosis – remember that cockroach guy in the kafka story? – from the coolest person you’re ever going to meet in your whole life, to a miserable black hole of rage and despair. and if you let yourself get sucked in, thinking optimistically that it will pass, you might still see occasional echoes of that awesome person you fell in love with, but the odds are that you’re going to wind up with someone you’d have crossed the street to avoid meeting if you’d only known beforehand how scary they were.

    so i guess my point is that all you can do is try to choose wisely. if somebody can show you that they’re on top of the situation, then by all means, go ahead and have the most amazing, passionate love affair of your life. but be mindful of the fact that the other side of that coin is just as extreme. as many of you have said before me, “NEVER NEVER NOT EVER AGAIN.” <3

  32. Wow, this is a question I have been asking myself – I haven’t gotten far enough along in a relationship where I was ready to tell about my two little secrets. Not only am Bipolar I, but also a self-injurer – specifically a cutter. The Bipolar can be a date killer, but cutting (under control) – that I just don’t how a date will react. Oh yea I have tattoos on my forearms.

  33. Dear Jessie

    I have just checked in after sometime and saw your empathetic message – thank you… My now ex-partner of nearly 4 years on/off who has no mental health disorders apparently, finished me off whilst having an anxiety attack with a blow to the head whilst overpowering me and keeping me hostage! -then he lied to the police, I did not take it to court as I know he has to live with what he did to me in his own mind… This is another nail in my mental health coffin and how we are treated! I am not free from my mental illness, but I am free from this cruel selfish man and his disfunctionail family who have no respect..

  34. These are amazing stories and I feel so much better now. I just ended a 2 year relationship with who I thought was a wonderful woman. She mentioned that her kids have bi-polar and how was I so dumb to not think she had it? After reading up on these Manic episodes and depression crashes it all makes sense. Why would she not take her meds at 43 years old. Two divorces and relationships that never worked. I’m glad I caught it now and not later. I laugh when I see her living with her 3 adult kids who are screwed up just like her. I have no empathy for those who want to hide things and then act like they are ok. Med’s is the key to this disorder and if you don’t take then go hide in a room somewhere and beat yourself up instead of others.

  35. Tank – it sounds like you need a think tank!

    Why not just learn some love and compassion – In my experience never say never you could end up that way one day! For the record people like you are ignorant ‘Work out your anger its about your stuff not hers!’

  36. I am bi polar, and I will tell you I have no problem with people falling in love with me. My problem is that these nice guys fall in love with me and then I leave because “Im bored” I struggle with this everyday knowing I should leave the one I’m with and never date again.. but hurting people is no fun. So to the bi polar people out there worried about love, just be honest and help your partner understand, I’ve always done that and I can’t get people to leave me!

    • omg, you sound just like my girlfriend who is bi polar. she is gorgeous beautiful, blond hair and green/blue eyes. She has so many in love with her and claims she is the only woman she has fallin in love with and always has a sexual attration and knows she can spend the rest of her life with me BUT I know i cant with her although i am in love with her I cannot and will not deal with the rollercoaster but am very attracted to her physically and she always says I dont love her like she loves me and that I want her for sex only. I truly wish it could work between us but she wont stop her meth usage and alcohol drinking binges….she goes sour on the 3rd day of no sleep…

    • This is exactly what I feel, I’ve been single for nine years and always wondered why? I haven’t been professionally diagnosed but I’ve felt “different” all my life. Reading up on Bipolar symptoms explains it all. I’m not ashamed, just really honest with myself.

  37. Hi,
    I have been married to my wife for 16 years but have never loved her. We have openly discussed this and she will accept the fact that I may leave her. While she was away for 2 months I have developed a relationship with a co worker who is very unhappy in her marriage. We hung out and email each other all day at work and text outside of work. I am extremely attracted to her and her to me and we have a chemistry that I never had with my wife. She recently told me that her husband wants to divorce her after 3 years. It is her second marriage and she has two children from the first. She also recently told me she is bipolar. I am very confused and would like to pursue something with her but I am afraid I will only end up getting hurt and end up without anyone. Any comments?

  38. I have been in a relationship with a BP male for over 3 years. He is also a type 1 diabetic and has OCD and PTSD due to a bad relationship. In this relationship, five years ago, he was undiagnosed. He was given no online privacy, not allowed to even talk to his female friends (and so went behind this woman’s back to do so…should have been a red flag for me right there.) More than once she told him they were breaking up and left his stuff outside. There was a case of domestic violence, when he recovered from the episode he called 911 himself. Long story short, when they had another argument and he missed a court-ordered counseling appointment, police came to where he was staying, pointed guns at him, and took him into a mental facility for three days of observation. When he was released he had 24 hours to get out of the state.

    We met online through the same venue he met her, and there were other similarities that he saw that I didn’t. I am a kind and loving person, but because he was afraid I would somehow become like this woman, he had an affair before he moved out with me and continued it. I was forbidden to look at his computer. Long story short, eventually things were told to me by a third party. At one point I was using his phone and saw pics of women and erotic conversations and photos. We had been in counseling about other erotic online conversations I stumbled across and he lied to my face. He had been involved with over a dozen women online, sharing porn and writing erotic stories with them. Some of them he claims to not even remember, that he has “blocked it out of waking memory.”

    He claims I am “just like that other woman” and has punched walls, broken my computer, etc.

    He keeps saying he will get a job, but somehow that never happens. I have paid for everything, all his hobbies, his therapy, his medications, bought him a motorcycle (thought it would be cheaper than repairing his old car…mistake) and so on. It’s cost me tens of thousands of dollars, but I seem unable to deny him. I take the blame for everything because he cannot bear to have anything be “his fault.” I hit my foot on something he left in the bedroom and asked him to move it–I was “refusing to take responsibility” for turning on the light or being aware of my surroundings and blaming him for my injury….

    He has been on depakote and seroquel. Three months ago (with pdoc okay) he reduced the depakote to stop side effects. The side effects stopped, but to me, he has been more irritable. He did this RIGHT as I found out about the final betrayal and we were very precarious. Later he reduced the seroquel and had a bad episode in which he cut himself, said “This is your doing,” and threatened suicide with me right there to “make me always feel responsible for what I did to him.”

    We have daily fights, triggered by him misunderstanding my tone of voice, not liking my thought process, or something like the box left in the bedroom. He often says things like “I hate you” and “I’m leaving” and “you’ve ruined my life” in the midst of an episode. Tuesday night he said “I’ve been spending the last three weeks trying to find a reason to stay, and I realized I don’t love you any more.” There was something about that that was more like the truth than a BP rant. I asked him and he said indeed, he still did love me but didn’t think we could live together. I was out for a workout, he joked about my typing, I told him I wasn’t in a humorous mood. That night he went out, and I checked his computer (for the last three months he has given me permission.) I found he had been looking at porn probably when he was joking about my typing and also gone to a porn website that had forums and PMS–something we agreed he wouldn’t do. I texted him and he came back home. A HUGE fight ensued, with him saying “What is wrong with you? Do you like making me mad at you? Why do you push my buttons?” It escalated–he was saying I was looking for evidence to send him to the mental ward, and he wasn’t going to go. He choked me (not hard enough to leave bruises) shoved me down on the bed and struck my face in a glancing blow. He then warned me not to call anyone (our therapists) becuase “he wasn’t going back.” I was afraid to leave him because I thought as the mood changed he might harm himself. I had a bag packed and my keys near at hand if I had to bolt. I didn’t fight back.

    An hour later and since then, he has been extremely remorseful and very gentle. He’s been on the verge of a breakdown and so have I. He talks about future things but I truly think that now is the time to leave. He’s afraid of “failing” and if I don’t support him, he’ll have to go back to his father and give up on his degree (apparently he cannot get this degree in his home state…I find that doubtful). I don’t want to ruin his life, but I have lost so much and come close to at least financially ruining my own (and been diagnosed with PTSD from his behavior). I have horrible nightmares and wake up punching the pillow. He’s increased his seroquel, we have an appt. with our therapist Tuesday, he has one with his therapist Wed., and we see the pyschiatrist Friday. That’s about $450 right there. I’m not a rich woman, and I’m self employed.

    I’m terrified to force him to leave. I don’t want him to go “See, you’re just like HER!” but at this point, I don’t think I can be responsible for what he thinks. Today I’m going to take pictures of my property in case he destroys it. I’m terrified of the hour-ride back in the car from our therapist–he’s driven recklessly when angry before.

    I am, ironically, a very gentle and rather thin-skinned person. Yelling has terrified me since childhood, and now I know if I “provoke” him sufficiently, he will hurt me. I don’t see how I CAN stay with him, nor why I should–for his sake or mine.

    Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated.

    • Pooks, thank you so much for sharing all that you did. I am in the middle of a breakup with a guy I have known only a few months (even though it feels much longer). I didn’t want to see things and kept trying to put things in another perspective hoping that this would help. Last night he blew up (we have a long distance relationship) and wd not let me even call him. we had a huge argument via text. over something so so ridiculous. a few weeks back he told me that he was going to be tested for bipolar disorder but that hasn’t come up since. now as i read about this disorder i think that possibility is real. but it doesn’t make this pain i feel any better. wd love to hear more on where you are now.

      • I am in the same situation, my guy and I both have issues. I call him terrible names and he curses and screams at me for the simplest things like typing long emails to him. He always cuts me out of his life when he gets angry with me. I have been so hurt and depressed over this.

    • Your boyfriend needs a p-doc that’s good… Your boyfriend is at an agitated high (state) Serequel is an anti psychotic. He needs a stabilizer. Best is lithium and lamotragine. l wish you well….

  39. I have been searching on the search engines about good dating/friendship sites for people struggeling with Bipolar disorder. Ive found two that I like:

    http://www.mentalillnessdating.com – Costs
    http://www.mapofmates.com – Free

    Im not sure if its good to get in a relationship with someone who has also has bipolar disorder, but i will make a try.

  40. What does the statistics say? Isn’t it like 90% of bipolar relationships that fail?

  41. I’ve been with my husband for 11 yrs. He suffers from bi polar dissorder but refuses to stay on his meds. His episodes last for wks on end and he become delusional. He has lost just about everyone in his life and those who haven’t walked away are the ones who drain him financially. I have two children that don’t need to be in the middle of this nightmare that we never get to wake up from. I feel so trapped and have contemplated on leaving with my boys for several yrs but he closes accts leaving me broke and without groceries or even heat. When he was on meds he was so calm and could think straight but he convinces himself he’s cure after a few months on meds. this has gone on for 11 long yrs and I’m empty. I want my life back and I want my childred to be happy again. All I want is the strength to walk away. I use to be that person who could but she’s broken and scared now

    • I would take your life back and give your children the life they deserve. Obviously he doesnt want to help himself so too bad for him. Im seperated from my husband not for the same reason but he also had mental issues that i couldnt bare to put up with anymore. he was emtionally sucking me dry and making me physically ill with stress.I found the courage to leave the first chance i got and im telling you….IM ALIVE! I thank everyday i left. Im now im back to living life and worrying about myself. Only positivity now. Before was just negative,negative, negative. Do yourself a favor. I know its scary to start all over but if i can do it you can. My friends and family supported me and got me back on my feet. Its hard and emotional and scary at first but with time things fall in place. Good luck. Keep in touch.

  42. Wow!

    I am astonished at the pain and difficulty that everyone is describing. Thank you for your candidness and honesty.

    I just broke up with my boyfriend, because he hit me and then was deliberately saying cruel things to hurt me. I was afraid for my safety and asked for my keys back, and then told him he needed to leave.

    I have been missing him, but am ultimately glad he is gone. My mother gave me a piece of of wisdom that I thought to be very helpful.

    When we are in the process of letting go, it is uncomfortable. It is sad. It is hard. And we do not like it. We want to get away from these yucky feelings that come along. These yucky feelings are normal, natural, and unfortunately, just part of the process of letting go.

    At the same time, we miss the pleasure that we experienced with our loved one. We miss the good times. We miss the love. We miss the sex. We miss the happy times with this person. We miss the pleasure that we experienced with them. And, we can have that pleasure again with them, if we go back.

    This desire to go back is strong because in fact, it is two birds, one stone. The yucky of the letting go goes away, and we get back to the pleasure. Plus, there is the ADDED pleasure that comes from the yucky going away. So when we go from a -1 kind of feeling to a +1 feeling, it is actually a +2 change, and we feel sooooo much better.

    That is until the bad behaviour starts again, and we are back to the yucky, -1 feelings again.

    I miss Giuseppe. I really do. I want to be with him. I want the problems to be not there. I wish they were back to the fun and happy times.

    And I could go back. But I won’t.

    Battered people go back for more, and I am not a battered person or a victim.

    The key difference now in what I am experiencing is that this “yucky” that I am feeling–it is MINE. It is because I left Giuseppe, and I miss him. It is part of the breaking up process. I own it. It is not the yucky that he would GIVE to me as a part of his behaviour, making me feel bad about myself.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. I hope mine helps.

  43. Emily, you are insane. Are you kidding? So you know that for a fact? Just because you’re bipolar doesn’t mean you are abusive to your partner. Do some research. I have lived with this disease for three years now. It has been warped and stereotyped to the point where to uneducated people like you it just seems like exploding with anger sometimes and being normal the rest of the time. Get this into your head:
    Bipolar is different than just anger. Bipolar is different than just anger. Bipolar is different than just anger.

  44. I was diagnosed with BPD 5 years ago. I did my best to get treated, but after my ex and I got divorced, I can no longer afford my meds. I met a new Guy, and we’ve been together almost a year, and he has BPD too. Here recently, I have had an unjustifiable and inordinate amount of stress, and with stress being my biggest trigger, needless to say, its been very difficult. I decided it was time to move on, because my significant other began to get violent with me in his anger. I understand that he has aloe of stress on Jim. When he found out I was leaving, he got violent, and then started to cut himself in front of me. I love him with every fiber of my being, but we have both become so unstable. I still want to leave, so I can get help.for myself, but I’m afraid of what he will do to me and himself. Any advice??

Comments: 1 2 3



Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Post a Comment: