Medical Questions > Mental Health > Bipolar Disorder Forum

Bipolar Boyfriend wants space

Hi all,

I just wanted to start off by saying I'm so glad I found this forum, it has helped a lot.

I've read a lot of the "bipolar ex's" posts, and I'm just so confused. I don't know where else to turn. My 23 yr old (ex) bf and I were dating for 3 months, and we were GREAT. He would do anything and everything to be with me and make me happy. From the moment we met, we just clicked with everything. We both felt like it was fate that brought us together (cheesy I know). From the moment we had our first date, he literally lived at my apartment. I mean he had an apartment and everything, but we just wanted to spend all our time together.

Well throughout all this time, his job was getting slow and he wasn't making a lot of money. Then his mood started to change. He started to get irritated with little things, and I admit that I would get angry too. He would get upset that he didn't have money. When work started to pick back up, he didn't see as much and I would get upset (which looking back on it, I wish I hadn't).

Then one night we broke up, and everything changed. I had found out that he had done weird online things (not anything like cheating, just dumb things). And when I confronted him about it, he lied and lied for 3 days. It hurt so much that he would bold-face lie to me. Then he finally told me that he's really depressed and feels like he's going crazy. He said that he needed space because he's not in the right state of mind and that if we continued, he would just screw it up. And that he'd rather wait until he was better to give us a "fighting chance". He said that just didn't feel like doing anything with anybody. All he wanted and had time for was work and sleep.

I gave him his space for a few days, and he wouldn't call or text. Then I would see that he would go out with his friends. And it hurt so much that he could be with them but not me. I feel like what am I doing that he can't hang out with me. How can someone that I love so much not want be with me, even if its just sit in silence. I feel so lost and alone, like I was in a dream for 3 months and now I'm back to this lonely reality. It has been 3 weeks since we broke up, and I'm still a mess. I can't eat or sleep. I don't understand how I think about him every second, and he seems to not even think about me.

We have been in this unhealthy cycle of him telling me he loves me but needs space, then me getting emotional and sending angry text messages. Then me apologizing for being mean followed by him ignoring me again. I'm just so confused and hurt in the fact that he can go from loving me and wanting to be with me everyday to this.

He also said that he was hasn't felt like this since he was 16. And he tried medication when he was younger but it made he even more crazy so he never took them. He just started medication and seeing a psychiatrist a week ago. My question is will this happen all the time, even if he is on meds? I mean he said he hasn't felt like this in 8 yrs, so it that a good indication of his cycles? Does he even care about me? Can this relationship ever work? Do you think his meds will help and he'll be back to how he used to be? I really love him. I've never clicked with someone so much but after reading so many post I'm scared that him needing space will happen again and again.

Thanks!
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First Helper guest30967
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replied April 23rd, 2011
Extremely eHealthy
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replied April 25th, 2011
OMG! I feel like I wrote that post...

I have been dating my (ex) for the last year and a half, and it seems about every 3-5 months, he has an episode and we break up. He tells me he loves me and asked me to move in with him (I didn't, already re-signed my lease) and meet his kids.

He has ruined almost all of the holidays since we started dating (including leaving me in Florida while we were together on Christmas the first year)

He is absolutely wonderful-funny, intelligent, interesting and we do fun things together, so caring. But when he falls into a depression, he just shuts down and leaves me alone. This last time, he had just started taking Adderall for his ADD (only medication he is on) and then told me he needed space. I then found him on a dating site (actively using it) and flipped out. We have not spoken in over a week, and he has blocked me from calling him.

I hope that we can get to talk again and move on and maybe get counseling together to help me understand when his mood sets in, what I should do and not take it personally...but I am not sure that is ever going to happen.

Ugg...so sad for everyone involved. It is so frustrating on my end, and it must be so frustrating for him as well.
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replied April 25th, 2011
I just don't know if I should try to stick out. I mean how many times is this going to happen. I never want to feel like this again. And your ex does this every 3-5months ugh!

He ruined our first V-day. I read all his txts from when we started dating, and I can't believe how much of a 180 he has done. He was so sweet and caring. I haven't seen him in 3 weeks and haven't talk to him in a week. It's crazy how he can go from "I love you and I want to spend all my time with you" to this. Ughhh it's so frustrating.

And no one understands. All my friends say to just move on, but they don't know he is bipolar. I wish it was easy to forget him, but I just keep remembering how happy we were. And now I'm doubting everything. Like did he really love me, or is that he's manic side. Or was this all one big joke on me? He said that we are on a "break" and that he doesn't/won't get with another girl but that I was allowed to do what I wanted... ? I've tried to talk to other guys, but its never the same. I feel like I've met my other half, and now I've lost him. He also blocked me from fb... ugh why I didn't even do anything. And when I asked him, he said he blocked a lot of ppl... but why me???

Yea my ex also is online TOO MUCH. Like he will chat to girl "friends" online and ask to hang out but fortunately he never acts on it. Its like he needs the attention. He stays home alone all the time except on weekends, when he hangs with his 2 best friends. I guess its good he's not hanging with girls, bc that would kill me. He'll even tell me how he's sorry that I have to thru this bc of him. Idk what to do. I feel like if I wait for him, he might not come back.


Is your guy on meds? Mine just started... so we'll see if that helps. *fingers crossed* for you too!
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replied April 26th, 2011
He wasn't on medication until just recently, which he started taking Adderall, which is for ADHD. He is also divorced & has kids...and is having problems getting visitation at all. So, he has a lot on his plate.

I do think that the Adderall made things worse for the first two weeks he was on it, and then I haven't heard from him in over a week. I think he is on the wrong medicine, but I have a degree in art and not in psychology.

My friends say the same thing, move on...you don't deserve this, he's an a**, but then I think about all the great times we have had and think that if he gets on the right medicine or gets more help...things could be better.

I think that he has low self esteem because of it, he is embarrassed about it all and doesn't want me to see the "down" side of it all, but what he doesn't seem to understand is that I have been here for a lot of it, and don't want to see him go through this alone and love him...very hard for me to understand as well. I feel like sometimes he is speaking Chinese and I am speaking Greek. and there is no one on the planet to translate.

He said also that he needed space, but was not looking for anyone else...he just didn't want to be seen. However, he can go out with other friends. So while most people on this forum say they can barely get out of bed in a depression, he is able to get up, go to work and go out with friends...he just can't see me.

Who knows. He has blocked me from calling & texting him and won't answer my emails. I do want my things back that he has of mine, if we aren't going to get back together, so I can move on. Its sad, because he has such a good heart most of the time, and then this happens and its out of the blue and quite shocking.

I have also tried to see other guys, but they are not the same.

Only time will tell. I am not contacting him for a while and then will have to figure out a way to get my things back.

Good luck. Keep me posted. it was definitely good to hear other people are going trough this too!!
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replied October 25th, 2012
Omg I've gone through the same thing. I met my bf online 3 months ago. I'm 23 his 25. Everything was going so well. We would have so much fun. We shared so many things. Then all of a sudden he said to me he doesn't know what he wanted so I said I'm leaving him. He told me not to leave him and that he knew he wanted me in his life. He then later that night told me his bi polar. He said he loved me and to give him time and space to sort himself out. I said that I wanted to be there for him etc...
Anyway days past i tried calling him he didn't pick up i text him asking if he was ok. He replied back saying leave me alone I don't want to be with you or anyone. He said he doesn't want to be in a relationship and that he wants nothing. He even told me it was nothing between us. He even told me to delete his number and leave him im so upset I sent him a really mean text. I later sent a text apologising. I havnt heard from him. It's been nearly 5 weeks since his been in his depression phase. Do you think he will come back???
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replied March 21st, 2016
I just wrote a post about this and finally read this. I too could have wrote this. I haven't spoken to mine in about 7 days. It's horrible and so painful. It's difficult to focus on work. I just checked snapchat and he's with his friends laughing. I'm not sure I'll hear back from him again. After reading all these posts, I'm not sure that I want to. I left him because he was distancing himself and I could feel that he was always on his phone etc. He told me random girls on SC always send him dirty photos etc but he never responds...every morning he wakes up he takes his phone with him to the bathroom. He is always on his phone and gets defensive when I look over or dare I ask. if it's only been 3 months I say run. I've been with this guy for over 3 years and now I feel like I wasted time. I had no idea. I thought he didn't love me because of how I saw myself and my own insecurities. I feel a little better now knowing that it's his sickness. I was hoping that by leaving he'd get some time to get right and realize what he's done wrong. I now know that he may never come back at all.
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replied May 4th, 2011
Experienced User
jillybean430, DazednConfusedGF

A lot of those symptoms sound a lot like what I have been going through with my ex-fiance this past month. The common symptoms should tell you something, that it really is a symptom of the disorder and not of their underlying personality. Since you have only known each other for four months (in the original case) you might not be really certain about their underlying personality, but you should have a good idea.

My former fiance has just completely shut me out. She lives far away, and when I returned home, she just stopped calling. If she replies to my messages at all, it is usually one line and then no followup. It is frustrating.

But just realize, it probably really is depression. It took two years before this happened to me. In a way, you are kind of lucky that it is happening sooner, because if you decide to move on, at least you have only invested a few months. I think it hurts a lot more than other relationship trouble, because even if we do not understand the disorder, we know that there is no good, normal reason. My ex-fiance just told me that she is not sure she loves me anymore, could not explain why she loved me a week before. Now she will not talk to me.

And yes, I am sure that she still goes out with friends. I am not sure how often. I also know in the past, when she was going through severe depression, she would literally lock herself in her room, only leave it to use the bathroom or eat, only leave the house to buy food. I am pretty sure that she is still going to work, still communication with some people, and still going out and having fun once in a while. This is probably a good sign, because it means the depression is not so severe.

I think sometimes when our loved ones go through these episodes, relationships just become another complication for them. They are usually having enough trouble just getting out of bed in the morning, putting on clothes, and not getting fired.

Still, understanding the reason and the fact that we are being treated so poorly does not make it hurt any less. At least, if we knew that this was a reflection of the person's genuine personality we could just write them off as a putz and get them out of our lives, but we know they are sick. I feel like I have lost my best friend. The best advice I can give is to just find something else to occupy your time. They are going to leave you alone when they are going through an episode.

If you live close (I wish I did), you might just want to show up with some takeout (something they like) and some movies they like, but don't talk about anything serious unless they bring it up, because they probably feel like they cannot deal with that sort of conversation. Just try to be their friend and let them know that you are there for them if they need you.
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replied May 4th, 2011
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. It is definitely hard to understand what they go through because their minds don't work like ours do (and vice versa). And it comes on like a hurricane or a tornado and before you even know or understand what happens...you are left alone.

He is absolutely wonderful when he is in a good mood...we have a great time sitting home watching movies, making dinner together, going out to dinners, the beach, etc.

I have noticed its about every 90-100 days that we have a falling out because his mood changes. It happened in mid April this time, and the last time was mid September. Its definitely has something to do with the weather changes...which is fascinating. I mean, I know that the winter gets me down...and rain is annoying to deal with, but to have it affect you that much is incredible. And then it takes him a couple of months to feel comfortable enough to talk to me again.

It is sad to watch or feel someone you care about go through this, know that you can't help or change anything, and then be told that they don't even want you around.

I would not dare to show up at his place unannounced...even if it was with food and a peace offering. He has made it clear that he doesn't like "pop-ins", so that is out of the question.

I am hoping in a few weeks he can get better and maybe we will have the chance to talk again, but I can't see him unblocking my number with Verizon. That is pretty drastic.

I am trying to keep myself busy, and trying to stay physically & mentally healthy...which is hard. I definitely am devastated. I feel like someone gave me a downer pill and it isn't wearing off. I miss him.

So...good luck. Smile Keep in touch. It is nice to hear from other people who have gone through this too.

Thanks!!
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replied May 4th, 2011
Experienced User
Yeah, the weather connection is interesting. I spent the winter with her, and I know I was miserable, because I am from a place where the worst we have to deal with is occasional rain and windstorms. Where she lives has full blown winter, snow and everything. I had to put on a wool coat, gloves, boots, and a hat just to leave the house, and I was still cold.

She told me that she would love to see me over my spring break. I told her that the tickets were pretty expensive, and I would rather wait save that money to do fun stuff in the Summer. She started calling me less, and then I found some cheap (relatively, they were still about $600) tickets and told her I was coming the next day.

Big mistake. Not only was she upset with me, but she could not even remember having the conversation where I told her I would keep looking for tickets. She did not even seem to appreciate that I spent a lot of money, left my home where it was over 80 F for the first time in March to go spend a week with her in a place where it was still snowing and miserable.

I did not understand what bipolar disorder really meant at the time, and she seemed so distant. I half-jokingly suggested that she had Seasonal Affective Disorder. She said there was no such thing, that it was just called winter and it was supposed to be depressing. I think that is also the attitude toward her disorder, that it is just the regular blues and she does not need any medical intervention.

She barely touched me until the last day, when we finally started connecting, but then I had to leave the next morning. She said she thought she loved me, and when I left, she told me she loved me and would miss me (but it sounded kind of hollow). When I got back home she just stopped communicating with me. She told me things like, the last time we were together, she could not see spending her life with me. I know that she might have been stressed out some of the time, but there is no way that could be true, because of some of the things she did and said to me during that period, and afterward.

It was like, "falling out of love," in a period of days was normal. She used to love me, suddenly she stopped. "That is just life, " she told me.

It took me a week to figure out something was out of the ordinary, that this was not some weird but normal falling out. I have read so many thousands of pages of literature and journals on bipolar disorder since then. If she is not going to get treatment, I am not sure we can ever build a life together, but I would at least like her back as a friend. I would like her to start talking to me again. I think because we spent so much time apart, what I miss most is not the physical intimacy, but just the communication.

And yes, weather can be a trigger for bipolar depression or mania, at least based on what I read.
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replied May 4th, 2011
Is she on medications or not getting any help?

My ex-boyfriend is going to a therapist & a psych, but only had a script for xanax until recently, when he got the Adderall for ADD/ADHD. Within days of him being on Adderall, he was a completely different person. He thought it would help with concentration on work & his custody battle. I don't think that it has helped...but I also haven't heard from him in a few weeks Sad

I also think that they are not dealing with bipolar, I can't imagine that this is all from ADD/ADHD. But I can't be sure. My therapist definitely thinks he is bipolar. Sad

So not sure if he is going to "calm" down in a few weeks and come back, or he will still be on an Adderall high/mania and I will just never hear from him again...

Will be interesting, I am sure, either way. Never a dull moment with him. We would joke that I had no drama in my life and his life was all drama...
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replied May 4th, 2011
Experienced User
As far as I know, she has neither taken medication nor seen a psychiatrist since she moved out of her father's house about four or five years ago. I think we talked about it one time, she told me that her father thought she should be medicated. I had no idea about any of this, so I told her that sounded ridiculous. I guess I know better now.

I remember one time she was sick, and when we stopped at the gas station, I bought her some cold medicine. She became really upset and told me that she did not like other people buying medicine for her. I think she also thinks the lithium she was on made her gain weight, which is probably true.

I know her condition is probably not as severe as most. I do not know if she needs medication. However, I do know that if she ever tells me that she wants to get married again, I am going to be pretty firm in saying "no" unless she creates a plan for staying healthy with a professional. I realize now that just how serious the disorder can be. It is not fair for a partner to commit themselves to a lifetime of dealing with the disorder if the sick person is not committed to trying to stay healthy.

I guess mostly it is just good to find some people who are going though something similar and vent. It is not something I can talk about with most of my friends. They do not understand.
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replied May 4th, 2011
I agree-I wish that I had said that he needed to get more/better help when we got back together at Christmas.

And my friends and family, for the most part, do not understand either. While they know the bipolar/ADD diagnosis, they don't understand how it affects a relationship.
While they mean well, I do not like hearing that he is a jerk, an a**hole, etc. I want him to get help so that we can have a relationship and that I am not left out in the "cold" again.

But I do not see that happening...so have to look forward and hope for the best. But still wishing... Smile
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replied May 4th, 2011
It's just so hard to understand how they can go from a great, happy person to such a cold individual. We're left feeling so alone, and they seem to be so complacent with life.

I really wish I would have found this forum before I said so many ugly comments to him. I feel like I've pushed him away for good. There are so many signs saying "run far away from him", I just can't. I know how great we can be, but idk. I haven't talk to him in two weeks. I'm almost at my breaking point. This isn't healthy for me. I just wish he could talk to me, I mean he talks to his friend about it.

Well I hope you are doing better than me. Keep in touch
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replied May 4th, 2011
Plus I'm so tired of ppl saying he's a jerk! He really wasn't. All my friends loved him in the beginning, until all this happened. I wish my friends would understand that telling me he's a jerk isn't going to help me get over him. If we ever do get back together, I really hope they don't hate him, ugh.
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replied May 4th, 2011
Experienced User
If you have a hard time understanding it, you might want to do some reading. I doubt any of us can understand what a bipolar person experiences when they go through an episode, the same way that you cannot really understand what it is like to fight in a war or go through cancer treatment without actually experiencing it. However, you can learn about it.

Some of the same neurotransmitters that are thought to be responsible for romantic love are also thought to become unbalanced in bipolar individuals. I doubt it is a coincidence. The brain is, after all, just a biological machine, an organ.

I have realized that, if it truly is the disease, I do not just want to run away from her because she is sick. She is a good person, and I love her, and she does not deserve to be left alone just because she is not well. On the other hand, I also understand now that none of it is my fault, and if I cannot handle it, I should not feel guilty for leaving her alone. She survived most of her life without me, and she can survive the rest of her life without me.

Realizing that the root cause was almost certainly the disease, and not that she really stopped loving me, made me feel a little better. It also made me feel helpless, because there is little that I can do if she shuts me out. All I can do is realize that it is out of my control, and let it be. I just text her or send her something every once in a while reminding her that I love her, that she is my best friend, and that I miss talking to her. In a couple weeks, if she still has not called me, I am going to tell her that I am going to begin seeing other people, but that I still want to be her friend, and spend time with her.
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replied July 2nd, 2011
Anyone have any updates on the above scenarios? I am in a similar boat & found this thread comforting to know i'm not alone in struggling with the fluctuating feelings of a partner who has this illness.
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replied July 3rd, 2011
Experienced User
I tried contacting her for the first time in a month. She said that she does not want to speak right now because she does not want to lead me to believe that we will EVER get back together and does not want to be reminded about the hopes we shared together any more so than she already is. She thinks I am using her "condition" as an "excuse" to explain how she could want to break up with me without her EVER wanting to get back together. She thinks we should not speak for a more substantial period of time.

I think in the meantime I will respect her wishes. I will try contacting her next month and see how things go. I noticed this trend in her, that she shuts down communication with me whenever we have gone through difficulties. Supposedly, according to her Facebook status, she is in an "open relationship" with one of her friends. It kind of bugs me, but not too much because I realize she is not really capable of maintaining a relationship for very long (I am pretty sure ours, which lasted two years, was the longest one she had by far) and I am just going to be moving on with my life as well as I can.

I have also been reading about how to talk to people with mental illnesses. One book I just read was really helpful, even though it was primarily intended for professionals and family members dealing with people with severe schizophrenia and bipolar disorder instead of high-functioning people with bipolar II. The key though is that it was written specifically about getting mentally ill people with lack of insight to agree to treatment. I realize now that telling her she was sick and explaining all the evidence was probably not very helpful. It just made things worse. The next time I try talking to her, I will try using the techniques in the book.
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replied July 3rd, 2011
Cogito- would you share the name/author of the book? I have experienced a similar situation - this past week my bf asked to slow things down because he felt guilty about snapping at me so often lately. Its like he'd almost prefer not to see me than to have to deal with the repercussions of his words, words that he seems unable to filter at times. Although I care for him deeply, I think he may be doing the right thing to distance himself. It is just awful to think of him with someone else, but I have no control over his actions and can only hope he will be faithful while he has his space.

Thank you for the update- I agree staying busy and focusing on your own wellbeing is the best thing to do.
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replied July 4th, 2011
Experienced User
You cannot post Amazon links here, but the book was:

I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment
By: Xavier Amador, Pete Earley

I also found:

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston

and

When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner by Cynthia G. Last

helpful.
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replied July 4th, 2011
Thank you- I will check those out. (My bf & I had a good talk last night & I am feeling hopeful.)
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replied October 26th, 2012
The cycle is hard and very difficult to go through, its like one moment they are normal, they next they are not. And when you think its all don't, they come running back to you. Its a crazy rollercoaster.
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replied October 23rd, 2015
Bipolar boyfriend left for no reason
I have been dating my bipolar boyfriend for a little over a year, most of this being long distance. We met and instantly fell in love. A love that I have never experienced before. He is so attentive and we are so connected that I could never truly picture letting him go. Through the long distance we have had many arguments and there are a lot of stressors added to our relationship (money, jobs, distance, jealousy, trust). Last April he had a manic episode that landed him in the mental hospital for two weeks. At the beginning of the episode (before I realized he was manic) he was very agitated and was always yelling at me and blaming me for everything. One morning at 6 am he called and dumped me out of nowhere and told me that I sounded like a baby because I was crying. I had never felt that pain before in my life. I truly felt like I was dying, couldnt eat or sleep or focus on anything. After a few days in the mental hospital he called and told me he had no memory of breaking up with me and wanted to be together and missed me and loved me so much. I visited everyday and everything was better than it ever had been. He was released and promised to stay on his meds. I came home for summer and things were great. We fought about petty things but overall we were working it out.I then went back to school in a different state and things continued to be fine. He came to visit and it was like we had first met, the connection was back and everything was great, except I could tell something was off. He assured me it was nothing and returned home. The next few days I barely heard from him at all and he was agitated with me. He then broke up with me and said he needed space to think. At this point he told me that before he had visited he had been suspended from work which was the reason he was acting weird towards me. I, again, felt like I was dying. How could he do this after he was just here visiting and things were fine? I called and cried and begged him to come back but he just didn't know what he was unsure about but he needed space. He then contacted me a few days later and acted like everything was fine. He even asked what I was nervous about and when I said "our relationship" he said "oh yeah duh sorry." He says he misses me but isn't ready to make a decision right now. I feel like he is being completely heartless and cruel but for some reason I can't seem to let this go. What do i do? Is he going to come back? Is this him or is it his bipolar? I live in a different state so I can't always be sure that he is taking his meds.
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replied January 20th, 2017
Wow. I feel this all too well. Reading all these posts really pulls at my heart strings. My boyfriend is bipolar and decided to stop taking his meds because he doesn't like the way they make him feel. He went from being head over heels in love with me, to cold and distant out of nowhere. One minute he says how amazing I am and how I make him feel less broken, and the next he says he needs space. I respected his wishes and gave him space, and then I get a message from him a day later saying "I don't want to be in a relationship with you anymore. It's not you, it's me". I am crushed. Totally blindsided. He won't answer my calls. I can't stop crying. I would have been there for him and gave him all the space he needed, I just wish he didn't give up on us and can't believe how he could just shut off his emotions like that but I'm realizing now that it's all part of the illness. Now I'm worried about what to do when he starts feeling better if and when he realizes he made a mistake and wants me back. My heart says YES because I feel he is truly the love of my life but my head is telling me to protect my heart and get off this roller coaster ride. I am so torn and don't know what to do...but reading these stories helps me feel a little less alone.
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replied January 23rd, 2017
Repsonse
Do yourself a favor and run. Don't look back or think you can change the situation. Consider it a blessing. My best advice is for you to keep reading on other's who have dealt with a bipolar partner who is off meds. It's no good. Even if he does take meds and get's help it usually ends up being the same story...lies, cheating, secret life, gambling, weird online addictions etc. List goes on and on. There were probably many situations where your boundaries were pushed to accepting things you normally would never accept. I know for myself I had to seek therapy to heal. I can say a year later I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I have no contact and loving it. I still get sad but once you are informed and really start reading about the condition and symptoms..the mind games...you will be much happier finding someone who is not mentally ill. Further more dealing with someone who is mentally ill and decided not to take care of it. It's very selfish yet they all seem to do it. Denial is part of the condition. Also so don't wait around for him to realize that he's made a mistake. He may not ever see it that way. That's your ego in play and it does not help the situation. I'm only speaking from experience. I stayed in a dark place holding on to hope much longer than I should have. If anything I hope you can take my advice and learn to REALLY understand that this is not about you. You are more than enough and great just the way you are. Healing yourself and not him is the mindset you have to move forward with to get past this. Even is he does come back it's only cause he hit a low spot with your replacement and he knows you will accept his crap. Once mania or hypomania hits again he will back to thinking he deserves better and can have a better life WITHOUT you in it.
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