After 25 years my high school boyfriend contacted me via FB, we talked extensively on the phone and live 1.5 hours apart after all these years. He visited me, we connected decided to be exclusive again. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone and 2-3 days visits at a time. He said in passing that he’s bipolar, separated 15 months and final divorce soon. After 6 weeks I saw a photo of him and another woman on a FB page, taken while I was out of town. I asked him who she was, he said she’s … Okay I said then he realized I saw it on her page not his. He went into a rage! Got up started pacing, yelling at me saying his ex wive would scroll his FB page looking for evidence of him cheating, etc. So this back and forth went on for over 2 weeks, he made a HUGE deal about me seeing a photo on her page (when in fact he invited me to look at his friend pages) I digress. He says he needs time to think if he wants to continue to see each other because he doesn’t trust me. Within those 2 weeks of fighting and MY trying to make up with him, it’s a constant fight about this photo. I asked him a few times, “Do you want to continue this relationship?” and “Where do we stand?” He keeps saying “I need time to think.”
I just think he’s a coward and afraid to end it, so he acts irrational so I will end it. My questions are: is it common for a bipolar person to explode about a small issue or conflict? Unable to let it go, revisit and blame me for “what I did” I admit finding the photo, apologized for violating his privacy and he STILL holds a grudge. Also, I unfriended him on the FB site to give him his privacy, he took it further and blocked me on FB. He said “you unfriended me so I hit you harder and blocked you.” I think this is so irrational and stupid but is this considered normal outburst/reason to explode for a bipolar person? I’ve broken up with him, I love him (old feelings too) but he’s impossible to deal with.
You’re right to take a big step back. No, people with bipolar disorder are not necessarily prone to rages, especially if they are or have been in treatment. It’s too glib for him to say “My bipolar makes me do it” and it’s a disservice to others who are struggling with the same illness.
My guess is that he is still recovering from his marriage. He’s only been out of it a little more than a year. The way he reacted says to me that there are wounds that still need to heal. Instead of looking at his own reaction and taking himself off to a therapist, he wants you to take responsibility for an affront that is a product of his own imagination run wild. I don’t think he is necessarily a “coward” as you put it. I think his hurt and anger make it hard for him to see you for who you are. It may be that he is responding to you as he did to his wife.
As charming as he can be, he has work to do before he is fit to be in a relationship with anyone.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Bipolar Boyfriend. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/03/29/bipolar-boyfriend-2/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.