A: I’m sorry that you are finding yourself in such a frustrating situation, but I’m not entirely convinced that your boyfriend’s erratic behavior is due to Bipolar Disorder. You have documented some significant depressive symptoms and lots of inconsistent behavior, but I don’t see much evidence of mania or even hypomania. From an outside perspective it seems like he might not be ready for the same level of commitment that you are. It also seems like he does what he wants without much consideration of your feelings. Could that be related to a mental health disorder? Sure, but it could also be a lack of maturity, lack of commitment, etc.
I’m wondering if you may have more feelings for him than he has for you at this point. I’m also wondering what his history of long term relationships has been. If he has not had a significant long term relationship in the past, your heart might be in for a roller coaster ride.
Regardless of his diagnosis, you can get some support and resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It might also be a good place to get potential referrals for him, if he is willing to pursue help for himself. You can speak to him about the benefits of therapy and the importance of seeing a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation, but you can’t make him do either if he is not interested. Four months may be a little soon to seek couple’s therapy but if the relationship lasts, yet is still plagued with problems, it would be a good idea to seek this out as well.
However, I would suggest that you step back and take a hard look at how he treats you and if your needs are really being met in this relationship. It may be that it’s time for you to take a break of your own (longer than one week) before you decide how to proceed.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts