Hi there. I entered a relationship with an amazing man 4 months ago with excitement and heart palpitations! He swept me off my feet with his strong, silent, presence. This was a blind date. We met at an online dating site.
Our first date consisted of a short walk on a local trail with the dog and a chat. I found him to be a bit ‘shy’ as I would put it. After our date i didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks…but we did connect and met again for dinner. I labeled him the slowest man on earth at that time! He was very guarded emotionally, but I felt that the fact that he’d asked me out, all was fine. As the weeks turned to months, we dated about once per week (family obligations for both of us), and I began to feel very much a love for him. He was always difficult to understand….as his moods fluctuated…I thought that it was ‘new love’ stuff and that he was just scared. After 4 months I found some medication…Risperidone, Zyprexa, Lithium. I’m a nurse, so I knew what this meant. When I confronted him he admitted that he had been diagnosed with bipolar 4 years ago (hence, the end of his marraige). He assured me that he is fine now on medication and didn’t want to talk about it as he wants to look forward to the future …..
I find that I’m constantly craving attention from him. He gives it! But not enough……and not consistently. I find that I blame it on myself, which I know if probably not the case. It’s not physical attention so much, but emotional. He doesn’t pick up on some subtle clues about how I’m needing attention, or how I need him to be gentle with my feelings. It’s so subtle, that it makes it difficult for me to put my finger on exactly what aggravates me. Basically, he’s not overly attentive……just minimally all of the time.
He tells me he loves me. But he doesn’t feel like my ‘boyfriend’, although he is just that.
Is it me or is this what a medicated bipolar man is like and will be like forever?
He has told me that he thinks that I will break up with him, just because he has a history of being dumped. He asked me not to do it before Christmas. I’ve never before thought about breaking up with him, so I was surprised by his comments.
Now…I’m wondering what I should do. I’ve read soooo much about BP since finding out about his diagnosis. I love him and want it to work. I am willing to put effort into it. Does it get better? And why is he so ‘flat’ in his expressions?
Thank you in advance!
It’s really hard to say if the medications or the bipolar have anything to do with your boyfriend’s emotional ineptitude. Though I’m not saying it is impossible. It’s just without knowing him personally, I’d hate to make that sort of call.
HOWEVER 🙂 …. if these issues were to be the culprit, here might be why.
Bipolar itself: Having only been diagnosed a few years ago, he could be very guarded about his emotions and feelings. If he is taking his medications faithfully, then he is very serious about remaining stable. In which case, he probably is terrified. Especially if he does indeed have strong feelings for you.
When I think about what it might be like, I can’t help but be terrified myself. I mean, I have bipolar for monkey’s sake!!! To anyone out there who knows nothing about me or this illness, I look like a walking time bomb. And then what happens if I do slip? Who’s going to want to love me through all that? So I can imagine that I may be very cautious and emotionally detached as well. The fear of getting too close to someone only to have them leave you over something you have little to no control over, especially when you are trying so had to keep it under control, is gianormous! And I mean terrifying! This may be part of why he keeps such a distance.
Another reason might just be the meds. It concerns me slightly when you say he seems “flat”. Now I’m not a doctor (nor have I played one on tv) but although what we want from our medications is to have a more even range of emotions, sometimes if the meds are too strong we can seem more sedated and unemotional. And lithium is a pretty strong med! So this could explain it also.
Soooo after all that explanation and such … what can you do about this?
Stick with me here, because this is much easier said than done. I KNOW he doesn’t want to talk about this, but he’s going to have to. If he truly does love you and he doesn’t want you to leave, then he is going to need to learn how to communicate with you effectively so you can learn how to read his ups and downs. This will be very important in keeping the relationship alive. He’s still going to have ups and downs and it’s best to know when it’s just life providing those highs and lows or if it’s his bipolar. It would be awful if you took something personal that in fact had nothing to do with you at all.
I know talking about bipolar is scary, but when you are in a relationship with someone who suffers from it, I feel that it is very necessary. Everyone is different and everyone’s symptoms are different. If you are willing to go the distance and work through the peaks and valleys of those symptoms, then you need to let him know that. You need to take his fear of you leaving away.
Tell him you know that the future is important to look forward to, but sometimes it is necessary to know a little bit about each other’s past as well. Let him know that he has nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of. I’m sure if his bipolar is what ended his last marriage then he is probably convinced it will end every other relationship as well.
Also, keep up on the research and the reading. The more you know about bipolar, the easier it will be to talk to him and understand him 🙂
Oh, and let’s not forget, he is a man. Subtlety RARELY works on men. You pretty much need to wave a big red flag that says “Hug me I’m having a crappy day” in there face for them to get the point. Sigh… MEN!!! I tell ya what. LOL (No offense to my male readers…just saying…)
I hope this helped a little. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!