Medical Questions > Mental Health > Bipolar Relationships Forum

Dating a Bipolar Girl (And relationship advice?)

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(Hi, I'm new on this forum. And thought I'd say hi first! Glad to be here. And, sorry if this is a long post.)

So, this summer, I have gotten out of a relationship with a girl we'll call Jenna. It was a pretty miserable one after a while and was glad when it ended finally after almost 4 years. But, this isn't about Jenna. Before I dated Jenna, I dated a girl we'll call Sasha. In fact, I had met Jenna when I was dating Sasha.

I met Sasha about 4.5 years ago in the summer. Our relationship was kinda wild, and fun. I actually told her that I loved her in the midst of all of it! I was really having a great time. Sasha and I had many of the same interests and seemed to connect in ways that you can't with others. However, we were younger (me, 24; her, 21-22) and in that phase, you know. Lots of drinking. I think the best way to describe it was magical, but entrancing, addicting. I met her parents, who were both very nice. Her dad, she told me, was bipolar. Fall came around and she kept getting sick, while I continued to party a lot without Sasha. I met some girl (Jenna) that seemed to like me and maybe it was the stability of it that first attracted me to her, I'm not sure. Maybe I thought Sasha really wasn't interested anymore and was making up excuses. I honestly can't remember exactly why I chose to stop dating her. It was probably all the partying. Who knows.

Fast forward to this summer. I finally get a good job, but my relationship with Jenna still goes to the dumps, we break up in July and I move out. I have a couple weeks of disconnectedness. I kept going out and drinking, hoping to meet someone. That fails miserably. Work is great. Feeling free but lonely still. I try doing internet dating. It just makes me feel worse.

Sasha's birthday rolls around and I accidentally text her instead of FB message (saying "Happy B-day"). We talk for a couple nights, mostly over text, and she comes over, we have a late night drink at the bar for an hour and she sleeps with me. The next day, I figured she would write it off as a one-night-stand but she didn't! I was ecstatic. Turns out she had got out of a relationship with a guy she'd been seeing for 3 years (off-and-on). She was finally through with him. She had just got a great new job, like myself, and suddenly we were equals again. It was magic. We watched movies, cooked for her, ate chinese food out of to-go containers, went to shows and hung out with all our friends we still knew together. We drank less. And both agreed that we had matured more and that's why it was working now.

We have now been dating for over two months now. Things have been going great up until last week. I got the cold, and she started "not feeling well". I asked what was wrong but she couldn't really specify. I blamed it on the change in season and I was feeling kinda crappy too (we live in the Midwest, prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder). I stayed home a couple nights because we weren't feeling good and my friends asked if I wanted to go out on Friday. I was feeling a bit better after two days rest, so I said why not. I texted Sasha if she wanted to go out and she called me after she was done with work. She was hungry, so I made her some quick dinner. She was also very quiet and seemed disconnected but very interested in my housemate's dog, which I found odd.

We went over to the bar and had a pretty good time, met my friend's new girl, and Sasha seemed pretty normal but more quiet than usual. She was having her uncle over for the weekend, so she wanted to head home early. I left with her to walk her to her car. She turned to the left and started walking slowly, looking vacantly at the sidewalk. I asked her what's wrong.

She says something to the effect of, "I dunno, I just, dunno." And goes on to tell that she had still been seeing her ex when we first started dating. And that she lied about it. This really didn't upset me. She says she's not seeing him anymore (which I actually believe since I've been seeing her a lot, and doesn't mind talking openly about her ex). She reminded me that her dad is bipolar and she's afraid she has it too. And, that she is best being single. Because I'm a really good guy, I shouldn't get involved with her. That she'll just bring me down. I tell her that it's okay and that I'm willing to work through it, and see how it goes. That there isn't any reason to just run from problems without trying. And, then included something in there where she said she doesn't want to be alone. Which also confused me to the max, since I was there comforting her. Either way, I told her that I still want to be with her. She says she needs to go home, and think. And that she needs rest so she can work overtime tomorrow. I tell her that she doesn't need to be afraid of anything. She never tells me what's *actually* wrong.

I tell her over text that she can talk to me about anything. She says, thanks for always being so nice and that I'm a good person. The past two days has been confusing for me. Not sure if she just doesn't like me or she's going through a bipolar shift. She's been talking to me, and being very nice still. It's not like she is making me suffer, but it's that fact that I don't know whether or not this is her disorder happening or something else.

Over the weekend, she sleeps till 1pm both days. We finally get to talking about what's going on tonight over text. She got to asking about something my ex said to me. I told her she wouldn't believe the stuff she would say to me. Sasha says that's what she's afraid of, "when hearts get twisted and ugly inexplicably". She says she's afraid we would get like that. I pushed her a little bit, insisting that it didn't matter to me, and that she has nothing to be afraid of. She wants to talk about it in a couple days.

What do I do? Does this sound like a bipolar shift to you? Do you think this might be too tough for me, considering I'm writing on a forum seeking advice already? Or is that a good thing, that I'm seeking some advice on how to work it out? What is some good advice on how to continue with this relationship in the most healthy manner? Do I continue to help her work it out? Anything else I might be missing?

Thanks in advance. Sorry this was so long.

TL:DR; Dating a girl. We really get along. Something strange happens. Not sure if it's bipolar or just personality?
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First Helper 6vilblue6yes
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replied November 7th, 2011
Experienced User
I am not going to tell you to walk away. That is something you will figure out for yourself. I am not bipolar, but I was in a relationship with a bipolar man. We are in our 40s. It was never easy. He would berate me, cut off contact, blame me and manipulate me. I stayed for the "good" times. Those so called "good times" became less frequent. He ruined my birthday, ruined holidays and cancelled planned events. It just got ridiculous. I don't have a self esteem issue it wasn't that, that I hung around. It was because when I give my heart to someone, I give my all. He did not return my love. And did not respect me one iota.

This is what you can expect from a bipolar relationship. Even with therapy and medicine it is a struggle. Life is so precious. Do yourself a favor and don't stay in for the long haul if it doesn't feel right. I stayed too long. I still see him occasionally, but we don't have a future and I know that. There are other woman out there. Don't be afraid to go solo for a while. Concentrate on hanging out with friends and your buddies. Take care of yourself.
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replied March 22nd, 2012
Does love conquer all? Or does bipolar conquer love?
I wish I knew if this is a bi-polar shift, but I can tell you that she sounds depressed. I've had lots of experience with depression. I'm 34 and recently had my first truly manic phase in October. Its frightening because I've watched my father and he can be truly scary...of course he also has Schizophrenia which they are sure I don't have. One is enough thank you very much!

I think that having seen her parents struggles it makes sense that because she cares about you she doesn't want to see you go through that. I'm sure she herself has dealt with pain and suffering because of her father's illness. They do have so many new medications now, and being so young finding out perhaps she can get help. I hope so.

I've been with my husband since I was 16, and he was 17. We got married just 10 years ago, when I was 24. I didn't want to get married for a long time, I was afraid. Perhaps a different kind of relationship can work for you? I've heard of couples who live separately and that it works better because they can retreat to their own space but still enjoy each other. Don't rush in, and see how that goes before you ever decide on marriage.

I think that being willing to learn is a great sign. It means you will not have false expectations and you can plan ahead of time how much you are willing to do and how far you are willing to go. Be careful not to bring children into the mix so that it will never be "I'm staying for the kids", that is never a good idea. Man or woman.

Above all, good luck and I do hope that you can find happiness.

Myself? I tell my husband all the time he is free to leave and I would never blame him. He refuses. I guess he must be getting more good out of this than bad, but since I hate myself and always have its hard to see why he ever loved me or loves me now.

I suppose I'm not as bad as some. I don't and won't ever cheat, nor lie. I do get horribly depressed and im very sensitive and needy. I am very hard to please in bed, and that gets frustrating for me and exhausting for him. I've got a shopping problem, but now he has the only debit and credit cards so I can't screw things up again.

I would say, keep finances separate...

The only thing that seems to make me feel better when I'm low is physical intimacy. It works everytime. I don't know if that is just me.

Now that I know I'm bipolar I have started to wonder if my family would be better off without me. I'm so afraid and feel so alone. I don't want to end up hurting everyone and being a monster. I don't want any of the horrible things I've heard others have gone through happen to my sweet husband, and I don't want to ruin my kids.

:'(

I hope that there is someone out there who has not had a horrible, torturous, life of suffering because they chose to love a person with bipolar disorder. I hope, but so far they are an enigma.

Sadly and with <3 in my heart,
Sweetpea
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replied March 22nd, 2012
I wish I knew if this is a bi-polar shift, but I can tell you that she sounds depressed. I've had lots of experience with depression. I'm 34 and recently had my first truly manic phase in October. Its frightening because I've watched my father and he can be truly scary...of course he also has Schizophrenia which they are sure I don't have. One is enough thank you very much!

I think that having seen her parents struggles it makes sense that because she cares about you she doesn't want to see you go through that. I'm sure she herself has dealt with pain and suffering because of her father's illness. They do have so many new medications now, and being so young finding out perhaps she can get help. I hope so.

I've been with my husband since I was 16, and he was 17. We got married just 10 years ago, when I was 24. I didn't want to get married for a long time, I was afraid. Perhaps a different kind of relationship can work for you? I've heard of couples who live separately and that it works better because they can retreat to their own space but still enjoy each other. Don't rush in, and see how that goes before you ever decide on marriage.

I think that being willing to learn is a great sign. It means you will not have false expectations and you can plan ahead of time how much you are willing to do and how far you are willing to go. Be careful not to bring children into the mix so that it will never be "I'm staying for the kids", that is never a good idea. Man or woman.

Above all, good luck and I do hope that you can find happiness.

Myself? I tell my husband all the time he is free to leave and I would never blame him. He refuses. I guess he must be getting more good out of this than bad, but since I hate myself and always have its hard to see why he ever loved me or loves me now.

I suppose I'm not as bad as some. I don't and won't ever cheat, nor lie. I do get horribly depressed and im very sensitive and needy. I am very hard to please in bed, and that gets frustrating for me and exhausting for him. I've got a shopping problem, but now he has the only debit and credit cards so I can't screw things up again.

I would say, keep finances separate...

The only thing that seems to make me feel better when I'm low is physical intimacy. It works everytime. I don't know if that is just me.

Now that I know I'm bipolar I have started to wonder if my family would be better off without me. I'm so afraid and feel so alone. I don't want to end up hurting everyone and being a monster. I don't want any of the horrible things I've heard others have gone through happen to my sweet husband, and I don't want to ruin my kids.

:'(

I hope that there is someone out there who has not had a horrible, torturous, life of suffering because they chose to love a person with bipolar disorder. I hope, but so far they are an enigma.

Sadly and with <3 in my heart,
Sweetpea
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replied October 23rd, 2012
Bipolar and healthy relationship
I disagree with what is said about not having a healthy relationship with someone that is bipolar, as I'm bipolar and engaged, however the person I'm with is the one that seems to feel that it is okay to talk poorly to a woman that is engaged to him, when we get in arguments it's due to misunderstandings on his end and then he calls me names etc. My point is that it is possible to have a normal relationship with someone with a mental illness subject they are taking care of themselves and taking meds and seeing a therapist etc. it's the stigma and lack of education for the disorder that leads people to believe just because one has this disorder that it's impossible to carry on a relationship. That's a wrong assumption. If you love someone you will do anything to make it work, provided they do their part to. And bipolar is a common disorder,millions of people have it, are you telling me that millions of people can't have love or be loved in their life due to a chemical imbalance in their brain which is beyond their control? Because I too can say that it would be impossible to carry on a relationship with someone that out of sheer ignorance feels that way. When it could be the other way around!
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replied October 24th, 2012
I have been with my girlfriend for 3 months now, and I love her very much and I would walk to the end of the earth for her, She has told me she never loved anyone as much as me, and loves being with me, we have a blast together we laugh about the same things and are views are the same on a lot of the same things, we both know nothing is perfect, but we text almost all day see each other almost every day, when we first met she told me she was bipolar, I wasn't even bothered by this, why should I be? I love her, anyway we are going threw a stage were she don't want to be bothered with me so much, like pushing me away, says she loves me, that she is just going thru somethings rite now, I have not seen her in 3 days and we hardly talk or text.... she isnt sleeping at night, this happened once before she said she needed time to think, and 2 weeks later she came back and its been great, till now, she has not said she wants a break and she said this has nothing to do with me or us, yet she is still pushing me away not talking ect.......
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replied October 24th, 2012
I completely agree. It has been one year since my diagnosis and I am on Lamictal. It has helped immensely and restored my life. I think finding the right medication is so important! It took a few different ones to find the one that worked for me, and because everyone is different no one medication can be defined as the right one without trying it first. As a matter of fact the first one we tried made me worse.
As of September I have been married for 10 years. We went on a second honeymoon, we have 3 children, own our home, two cars, and have a very full life. I did get sick, and yes...it wasn't easy for a time. However, my husband was sick 11 years ago with Chronic Fatigue and I didn't bail on him...it was hard and we got through it. You just never know in a relationship what will happen. Its no different with any illness, its difficult when the person you love is suffering.
I am doing very well, even going to school to be a microbiologist. Our two oldest are teenagers and judging from what other friends kids are doing...we did a very good job raising them. They are kind of home-bodies, but go with friends now and then to movies or theme parks...or the mall. My son is talking about being an engineer, my daughter a writer. Their grades are always b or better. The little one just turned 2, she's a happy, healthy, smart girl. No doubt she will be as successful as the other two.
Last year, when I wrote the above post...I was in a very scary and bad place. Fear is a normal emotion with any illness, and I've heard someone with cancer tell family members that they thought the family would be better off without the burden of caring for someone so sick. I think its important to remember that this is an illness. That mental illness is a disease just like cancer, or stroke, or even Chronic Fatigue.
Individuals are different...
There is no uniformity in how someone who is sick will act, even if they are sick with a mental illness. Being sick is frightening, but on top if that being sick with a mental illness is also marginalizing, and isolating. There will be no parties thrown by friends and family to fundraise as would happen if you had cancer or Parkinson's or a stroke. I've seen people have just those things happen. You won't get sympathy or get well cards or balloons or flowers from co-workers if you are hospitalized. No-one will bring your family a home made dinner...as they did when you were recovering from childbirth.
Friends will disappear. You may even be fired from your job, as I was.
Anyone who knew I was sick, but wasn't close enough to know the truth was told I had other health issues. Cholesterol, blood pressure, and migraines were blamed [since I did also have those issues...they were just not as severe as to hospitalize me]. I just couldn't afford everyone knowing what was wrong with me...and isn't that ridiculous.
I felt like a modern day leper.
Its not right to assume a relationship with someone can't be rewarding and fulfilling, and successful...just because of an illness. Everyone is different.
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replied October 24th, 2012
Jonny,

When I'm not feelin well I withdraw as well. Anyone who doesn't live with me loses contact for a while. It's just too overwhelming.

I can't say for sure that it's the same, but when I'm having a bad time everything feels very sensitive. Like my entire self is just a raw open wound. It's easy when in that state to take things wrong, or just be unable to handle much.

Being an emotional wreck sucks for all parties involved.

If she's anything like me it's likely she is trying to shield you, but who knows why the wind blows...

It's best not to assume anything.
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replied October 25th, 2012
Thank you for the info, I just never had to handle this before, I love her a lot, and I would do anything for her, I have not been pushing her, I do text her in the morning and when I get home, she does text back but not much, she will call me and she does tell me she loves me, and says she is just going threw some things and its been a bad week, but she will not say why, its Thursday and I have not seen her since Sunday,i'm use to talking to her threw out the day and texting the I love yous and the cute lil things.... but this week not so much... just at a loss right now and kind of in the dark...
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