“My boyfriend’s mom has bipolar, she left when he was 9. He thinks he has it too, his family thinks it also and so do I. He has seen many counselors, nothing really helps long term but he has agreed to be tested for it at last (he is waiting for an appointment). Here is the problem…. he has just had a trigger that’s pushed him away… his ex who hasn’t had a proper relationship since they divorced 10 years ago has just met someone. He ended their marriage as he had an affair and left, she really suffered from this and seems a lovely person. The thought of her new relationship has triggered him as she has always been available to talk about their kids, they were good friends and he has been able to call in whenever to see the children for the last 10 years, so understandably that’s going to change now and has triggered him. He has questioned our relationship, their relationship, all sorts and has cut me off now and wants space to think. I don’t want to lose him as we have a great relationship despite his bipolar symptoms, so what do I do for the best without being his door mat? do I contact him and say I’m here if he wants to talk, do I just say I can see or I understand how his exes new relationship may make him feel, as in be understanding of him that it may bring him back. I feel this way may be counterproductive though in the long run as he may just see me as a therapist after that, or do I just leave him alone and see if he comes back apologizing? From what I’ve read on bipolar they value and stick with those who stay with them and are there for them during their mood swings? What do you suggest?”
Not being able to communicate with his ex anymore, after having doing so for 10 years can be a huge trigger. He is used to being able to contact her and talk whenever, and now that line of communication is all of a sudden cut off. That is a serious change in his life. We normally do not do well with any kind of “changes”. This is probably a shock to his system, so he is reacting the only way he knows. And that is by questioning everything and wanting/asking for “space”. He may be extremely confused and a little bit scared. I would suggest contacting him and letting him know you are there for him, and you understand that he is having a tough time because of the situation, just as you wrote. Let him know you love him and that nothing has changed between the two of you, as far as your feelings for him. Call him and tell him you would like to see him in person, and give him an idea of what you will be discussing, if he doesn’t feel comfortable meeting you in person, then just tell him over the phone. If he does not answer or does not want to talk, then write a letter. But you also have to give him a little space, don’t be too pushy, by constantly calling/texting, that may throw him off a bit. I would also suggest not to expect an apology from him, because he may feel he has not done anything wrong. If you love him and he loves you, then being there for him and letting him know that, is not counterproductive in the long run. Being in relationship with someone is a type of therapy. When my husband is “there” for me through the tough times, I do not think of him as a therapist in any way. He is my husband, he is supposed to be there for me. It is give and take. So, I do not think he will “see you as a therapist after that”.
When I was dating my husband, I tried pushing him away for the first 3 years we were together. I did not do this because I did not love him, it was because I loved him that I did. I thought I was protecting him… from me. But he stayed and took verbal abuse time and time again, and told me we was not leaving me. After 3 years I figured he was not going to leave, so I might as well stop pushing him away. And yes, I value him and the fact that he has stayed with me through the good AND the bad. I still sometimes push him away when I am not feeling “well”, but it is a different kind of ‘push’. I just tell him I need to be alone, then go to my room. Most of those times, after a few minutes of being alone, I actually want him to come in a hold me. It is only part of me that wants to be left alone. But he has learned when and when not to leave me alone. So while trying everything I suggested, try and get a feel for him. I do not know how long you two have been together, but I am sure after a while, you will ‘know’ when he actually needs space, and when he is just saying that because part of him wants the space. So, give him a little space while also letting him know you are there. When you talk to or see him gauge him, get a sense of how he is feeling not only by his words, but his actions, facial expressions, demeanor and such. Those physical cues are so much more than verbal ones. I do not expect you to be a mind reader, but after being with someone for a while this sometimes comes to you naturally. Don’t ignore those cues, if he seems angry/agitated in any way, then yes, give him space. But if you can see the pain in his eyes, talk to him, comfort him. I am also female, so it may be slightly different for men.
I hope this helps you some. But always go with what you feel is best.
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