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Bipolar Infidelity

My diagnosed (years ago), medicated s/o is manic right now or so I believe. Stress from a new job along with skipping meds for 2 weeks because he didn’t have the money, has triggered. The high signs are there and I recently, on Friday, caught him with another woman. I left without saying a word. However, I did leave a note letting him know how hurt I was. His response was just to delete him from my life. I returned the following day while he was at work and gathered all my things and left. I have not spoken to him since. I am a very supportive s/o we have had our true ups & downs but never infidelity. Now my question is, how do I approach him and when? I want to support him, and I want to be with him. But i also need him to know that it wasn’t acceptable. I’m just trying to figure out if I should wait for him to reach out to me or should I let him know that I still love him and need to talk. At this point I’m not sure if he even wants to talk to me or be with me at all.

Just 3 days prior to his infidelity, he was telling me how much he loved me, wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, that I was his “person” he appreciated all the support I had given him, and that I was the only person that he could trust to be himself. Now I’m the one that’s hurt and walked out on him. We are not married but have been together for 8 years, and were best friends since we were young 20’s, and we do not live together. My hands are tied. I know he needs his space in times like these but I also need to address this soon. Right? What do I do? What do I say? And when? I’m so lost right now. I love him and I’m worried sick because the guilt will hit him and the downward spiral into depression will come soon. And I want to be there for him. Timing is everything with this. (From the USA)

A:  While I admire how much you love and care about him I think you are not in a position to truly help. His acting out is hurtful and if the 8 years together wasn’t enough for him to find ways to talk to you, get help, and prevent this, then you will be living with the sword of Damocles hanging over you going forward.

I recommend you get some individual therapy (the find help tab at the top of this page will help you find someone in this area. Your first allegiance needs to be to yourself and your own well-being. He needs something more than you can provide, and the way you can help isn’t by talking to him, but by offering to help him find services for his bipolar condition. Helping him get help is the best way for you to have a connection without trying to make things better on your own. As you are helping him to find treatment option for no or low cost you can also point him toward our forums. They are free and offer a community of people who are struggling with similar issues.

Taking care of yourself isn’t a selfish act. It is important for you to deal with the emotional whiplash of what has just happened.

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

Bipolar Infidelity

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Bipolar Infidelity. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 27, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/02/08/bipolar-infidelity/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Feb 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Feb 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.