I have a complicated question. I have Bipolar 2 and Major Depression. I have been with my boyfriend for over two years now. He is a wonderful person, but he doesn’t understand my disorder and makes no attempt to try because he says that he “doesn’t think it will do anything.” We are long distance- I am away at college and he lives in a small town two hours away where I was born and raised. I am very irritable and tend to argue with him a lot and blow things out of proportion. He is very patient with me, but sometimes after a really bad argument, he will want to take a “break.” He says he is too stressed out and that he doesn’t want to be with me “right now.” Then after about two-three weeks he comes back to me and we are fine for about three-four months and then it happens all over again. This has happened 4 times. My parents and friends are so upset when he does this, because they see me go through depression so bad after he leaves, and then it keeps happening. I see their point, but I also see his of how he can only take so much. I also have separation anxiety from him, so when he leaves, my anxiety escalates out of control. I love him so much and I don’t want to lose him. I feel so terrible for constantly arguing with him. I don’t feel happy without him. Do you have any advice for me? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Wow! That’s a lot to handle but I certainly can relate to your heartache. Relationships are often hard to keep when we have Bipolar Disorder and often the partner has real difficulty coping with all that goes along with it. I know that stinks and it is so hard for the one afflicted. It can cause a lot of blame to ourselves and questioning our character. But I will say that education is power when it comes to this disorder. If you can start doing this it would be a great benefit to you. Educate yourself on the disease itself. Learn all the ins and outs of it, what it entails, how it affects you, how it affects others around you and how to cope with it. Also, I would recommend you get some other support as well either through support groups or web support groups.
When it comes to your boyfriend it sounds like he is uneasy and not sure what to do. I think soul-searching is a wonderful way of coming into contact with our inner self. Separation anxiety from someone who hurts you is concerning. I really think he doesn’t know what to do when the “blow over” happens so he pulls away. This has happened to me, too. It’s not fun but then this is the situation when we need to educate the partner on the disease. Also, maybe if you sat down and talked over with him what you NEED from him, how you feel about the relationship, find out what HE needs and is FEELING, and talk it over. Hopefully, there will not be an unwilling partner and you can talk about your needs.
If that does happen then you have to make a decision. Is this relationship healthy for me? Is it benefiting me in any way? Do we need a longer break to soul search and decide what to do? I know you love him very much. However, sometimes relationships do need breaks if there’s difficulty.
It might also be helpful if you explain to your family how you feel about him so maybe you can get more support there, too. They are trying to protect you emotionally. That is natural for them. However, only YOU can make the decision on this relationship. I will be honest and say it does concern me. I think it will take work for you and him to make it work. There’s no easy advice on this.
I wish you the best in the future and if you have further questions please let us know.