Should People With Bipolar Be In Relationships?
I’ve been writing about bipolar disorder and mental illness for 11 years. Eleven years. It’s been a long road.
And during that time I have heard a lot of people say a lot of horrible things about people with bipolar disorder. In no particular order, people have accused people with bipolar disorder of being: violent, manipulative, self-centered, selfish, abusive and many other negative things.
Certainly, if I bumped into a person with those characteristics, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with him or her. However, are people with bipolar really like that? Should people with bipolar disorder be in relationships? (I'm Bipolar: Will Anyone Ever Love Me?)
What Are People With Bipolar Disorder not Like in Relationships?
I, in no way, buy the nonsense that people spout against people with bipolar disorder. I, personally, am not manipulative, self-centered, selfish or abusive, and I strongly suspect I’m not the only one. Nowhere in that list of accusations is an actual symptom of bipolar disorder. While, I admit, anger does seem to be more prevalent in people with bipolar disorder, outside of that, none of those insults have been shown to be true.
There may be many things about a person with bipolar disorder that are different from your average bear, but all that crap isn’t part of it.
What Are People With Bipolar Like in Relationships?
Well, we’re people with an illness. So we’re people, plus the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Primarily, this means that we’re people with bouts of depression and hypo/mania. Of course, we might also be euthymic (symptom-free) for long periods of time too.
So, I would say, people with bipolar disorder, are just people with mood issues. If I were to characterize myself, I would say I’m just a person, who often manifests depression (rarely hypomania).
However, what I think is really important to remember is that who we are, is not the disease. The disease lies atop of us like a blanket. If you’re in a relationship with one of us, you need to know and see that.
Relationships With People With Bipolar Disorder
Some people would argue people with bipolar disorder are so broken, they shouldn’t be in relationships. Some people would argue that we can’t have a positive impact on another person because of the disease. Some people would argue that the disease is such a defining factor that it, and it alone, should prevent someone in being in a relationship.
This, of course, is nonsense. I know people with bipolar disorder in relationships. I know people with bipolar disorder in long-term relationships. Are there challenges thanks to the disease? I have no doubt. I have no doubt that any disease would stand in the way of parts of a relationship. I also have no doubt that people can work through those roadblocks.
Did we forget? No one is perfect.
And excuse me, but all those people who say that we shouldn’t be in relationships – are they perfect? Do they bring no problems to a relationship? (It seems to me, that, if nothing else, their hateful close-mindedness would be somewhat of an issue.) Because they would be the first people ever.
So while I, personally, often feel very broken and worry about my influence on others in my personal life, that doesn’t mean that people with bipolar, en masse, should not be in relationships. We’re all different. Relationships are right for some of us and not right for others. Just like everyone else.
I think it’s easy to feel such disease-hatred that it morphs into self-hatred and makes us believe that we’re not relationship-worthy. But that is a logical fallacy. We’re worth everything that anyone else is worth. Are there issues with the illness? Yes, of course there are. Are they insurmountable? No, of course they’re not. We succeed and fail in relationships. Just like everyone else.
Tracy, N. (2014, February 11). Should People With Bipolar Be In Relationships?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2014/02/should-people-bipolar-relationships
Author: Natasha Tracy
We have been together 2 years, 11 months married :)
My husband has bipolar.
Yes the highs are high and the lows are really low, but isnt a marriage about being there, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer.
Marriages needs to be worked at.
And in my opinion there is no reason why a person who happens to have bipolar shouldnt have a fufilling relationship
relationship until you can grow into a compassionate and mature, well rounded person.
I care for myself first. Stay on a regime that allows me to function and stay out of the hospital. THAT selfcare MUST come FIRST. If I can find someone who respects and fits into my world that's great.
Unfortunately, partners can't fit into my discipline for long.
I don't believe what I am doing is selfish or manipulative or controlling, its survival. I am honest with perspective dates, but I dont think they understand what they are getting into dating me and my illness.
Lately only i found out, about this disorder otherwise i would just keep quiet and after a couple of weeks she would revert back normally.At times she can be abusive too.Is difficult but not impossible to live together if i knew this earlier.
Sad and broken hearted.
I have just been dumped by a woman who told me "I realise you have an illness but nevertheless you were expecting an awful lot of a vital, well-adjusted woman to make a life with you...I don't know any woman who would have a relationship with you. That sounds callous, but it's the truth." She then went on to say, "My friendship is always here for you Bruce if you want it xox".
Clearly this woman wasn't right for me, but reading what she said, would any sane man, bipolar or otherwise, want to be in a relationship with her?
It's too easy to get sucked into the stinking thinking that says "I'm not OK 'cos I have bipolar". Yes, we are not easy people to live with all of the time, but as one who has dated and been in relationships with so-called normal people, I can vouch for their demons and inadequacies too. It's called life.
No, it's not easy, but yes, it is worth it. So what if he has mood swings? It's all about learning to deal with it the best you can.
I have bladder problems, but I'm not labelled because of it.
He is the most thoughtful, caring and kind person I have ever met, so a little depression here and there is more than manageable!
Plus, he is so much fun when hyper!!
My routine, my schedule, that I keep to try to ensure that my bipolar cycle is manageable almost necessitates that I avoid the "normal" course dating, e.g., going out evenings for dinner, a movie, home at midnight -- when I *have* to be home at 6pm and in bed by 10pm. You know, dating could be done on weekend days or during a weekday lunch, but the WHY of it almost demands that you reveal your bipolar disorder early or before you're ready to talk about such a thing.
My bipolar rapid cycling with its constant mood swings has also made it difficult to maintain any type of long-term relationships. I don't have remission tho, so the relentlessness of the moodswings (as viewed by others) becomes exhausting. I hear things like "how can you deal with it" , , , "don't you just want it to stop" , , , . But also, sometimes people don't take seriously the fact that, for instance, if they wake me up at night & keep me up, or if I don't go to bed on the strict schedule, my disorder starts spinning out of control. And, all it takes is 3 days not on schedule for me to go into a "spin-cycle" of intra-day mood swings for about 3 months. The fragility is difficult to understand.
There's many other things that, even my daughter, doesn't tolerate well, like the fact that during a mania I have to vigilantly clean my house and stock my freezer with made-ahead food to prepare for the coming depression. All the schedules and quirks can be a bit odd and a weird way to live life; and can I really expect another person, in a relationship, to sign on for all that if my own daughter can't do it?
Gosh, I'd really like to hear from other people how they develop relationships, in the midst of what you talked about and if they have the same sort of problems I do with keeping schedules and etc. ... .