My boyfriend and I have only recently become officially together, but have basically been dating for nearly a year now. He has always been very upfront about his struggles with being bipolar. He used to say that I was what he needed, the only person he could tolerate, and the only person he wanted to talk to. But now, he hardly ever initiates a conversation with me, he never tries to talk to me, and he gets angry at me within seconds, even if I don’t really say anything wrong. He tells me it’s normal for him to get like this, and he apologizes when I say I’m hurt, but it doesn’t really seem genuine. He hasn’t been on his meds recently, so I am sure that has something to do with it. He’ll still say he loves me and stuff when I say it first, but it’s never something he will say to me without me prompting him to do so. If I don’t make an effort, he really never tries spend time with me or talk to me ever. He never used to be like that. I understand that he needs to be alone, but he used to tell me I could help him out of these lows. Have his feelings changed for me, or is this a more intense kind of ‘low’ for him?
I love him a lot, and I’m willing to put up with this because I know it’s worth it. But it’s hard for me to stick around when I’m always unsure if he feels anything for me. He’ll tell me to f*** off and leave him alone and stuff, even though before that’s how I always acted. If I complain too much about it, he tells me I should leave him because it’s only going to get worse from here. Then again, he’s always told me that he thinks I should leave him because he’s not worth it. But If he really didn’t love me, would there be more clear signs than this? Is he just in need of being alone? I want things to go back to the way they were.
I can’t say I’ve ever been in a romantic relationship with another person with bipolar, but I was raised by a bipolar mom who was undiagnosed and thus untreated at the time. The behaviors you describe were the same, she pushed us children away, told us to leave her alone, didn’t seem to love us, when she was going through depression. I inherited bipolar from her and also developed poor coping skills that led to borderline personality disorder, and super low self-esteem to boot. I was a child and couldn’t get out of the situation. Not that I never tried to escape… I just wasn’t any good at running away!
It does sound as though your boyfriend may be experiencing depression right now, and no wonder if he’s off his meds. Living with me must have been a horrible experience for the many years I refused to accept the bipolar label and so didn’t take any medication! I know when I’m depressed, I’m withdrawn and don’t have much interest in anyone or anything.
On the flip side, there are people who are more prone to mania or hypomania. This didn’t happen often at all for me before I started taking meds, but now that I’m on an antidepressant but no mood stabilizer, sometimes I have hypomanic episodes or mixed episodes.
During mania and hypomania, someone with bipolar doesn’t have the lethargy attached to depression, and for a short time may just be fun and hyper, but often during this time he or she may have an inflated sense of self-worth and be very irritable. I’m much more likely to tell other people to f*** off when I’m manic than when I’m depressed, because everyone seems to irritate me at those times.
In your situation, you need to take care of yourself. If he isn’t willing to maintain his own well-being by continuing treatment, things are likely not going to change. Or, rather, his attitude may flip-flop as his moods switch, but that rollercoaster is not a fun ride for anyone.
He may or may not still love you. He may love you but is unable to focus on that in his current state. Another person can’t BE the treatment for this disease… if you stick around while he’s not taking care of himself, you may have some good moments but in the end, you’re probably going to wind up feeling very hurt.
If you can convince him to seek treatment and continue with it, that’s really what he needs. If he refuses, much as it may hurt you to do so, you’ve got to take care of yourself and walk away from this situation, distance yourself from him; you aren’t responsible for him.
Best of luck to you!