“Recently I discovered that the man I love is bipolar. My story is long and complicated (I’m Italian and live in Italy while he’s American and lives in Los Angeles), but I’ll try to do my best and make it short.
I met this man at the end of 2010 when I lived in L.A. for 3 months. We didn’t even date at that time, but we worked together, enjoyed the time together and I started to realize how special he was. When I came back to Italy we succeeded to keep in touch. I was always happy to talk with him and he seemed to feel the same. Then, in September 2011 I was in L.A. again and at that time we dated. We had beautiful moments together. I felt he could understand me even when I didn’t talk and I started to think that something serious was beginning.
When I left, he proposed to meet for Christmas. He said that he would be able to come to Italy in December because he had vacations. When I was back in Italy we went on keeping in touch as usual but, at a certain moment, he said he couldn’t come and visit. I was disappointed and I let him know. He answered that he had a problem with his job, it wasn’t his fault, but he really wanted to see me and I was welcome to go and stay at his place whenever I wanted.
It was a hard decision, but I planned everything with my job for the best and, at the end of January this year, I was in L.A. again. Since the moment I arrived, I realized that something was wrong with him. He looked like he wasn’t happy to see me or better yet he couldn’t stand me. I tried to talk with him but he said he wasn’t there to answer my questions and he didn’t know what to tell me. He was angry, abusive and lying to me almost all the time, he changed his mind every few minutes and he treated me like I was an enemy. I didn’t know what to think about this behavior and I was confused.
Then I discovered his medications and he told me a little about his bipolar disorder. He also said that he couldn’t bear emotions any more, that he was very anxious and the reason for this anxiety was me. I didn’t know anything about bipolar disorder at the time and I felt like I was living in a nightmare. Above all I didn’t want to create him more problems, so I went to live by a friend and I told him I would find a flight home as soon as possible. He looked relieved and more quiet, but when I actually booked the flight he started to call me wanting to talk and asking me out. I strongly refused saying that he was changing his mind and his words at every moment and I left without seeing him anymore.
Now, having found more information about bipolar disorder, I feel so guilty because maybe I could have stayed there longer and tried to be more understanding. Also we don’t talk too much since I came back. Most of the time he refuses my calls and when we manage to talk he is always like in a hurry and anxious. I don’t know if he is pushing me away because I left without seeing him anymore or because he really doesn’t love me or something else … I’m confused and I don’t know what to do, above all I don’t know what is the best for him. I don’t want him to think that I abandoned him, but I don’t want to put pressure on him either.
So ,finally, my question is: do you think it is better to leave him alone for a while like he seems to suggest or keep on calling him (even if he doesn’t answer)showing that I’m there for him? Which is the best behavior in this situation, if there is one?”
Situations like this are never easy. From my experience I see it more with bipolar men than with women, but then when I talk to bipolar men they tell me the opposite. That they were too clingy and too emotional.
As someone with bipolar, I can honestly say I’ve never pushed anyone away on purpose unless I had a strong feeling that it wasn’t going to work. In fact, the guy I dated all through high school and was insanely in love with I pushed so hard to be with that it ended up making him push me away.
Just because a person has bipolar doesn’t mean they are excused from showing respect or loving someone like they deserve to be loved. Abuse is never okay no matter what the circumstances. I’ve gotten to know plenty of bipolar men who are actually very caring AND respectful of women, so I have a hard time believing it’s okay for someone to use bipolar as an excuse to treat someone otherwise.
You seem like a very nice woman. And it is obvious you care about this man a great deal, however, I’m a firm believer that if it’s meant to happen it will. Give him the space he’s looking for. He will find you if that’s what he truly wants. And he will also treat you with the love and respect you deserve.
I don’t think you’ve given up on him. You moved to LA!!! You made it very clear what your intentions were. If he was truly taking care of himself, taking his meds, and getting the proper treatment … he’d have treated you better. Having bipolar doesn’t change how a person feels love. And if he truly loves you, he will go the distance and make sure to treat you like you deserve or at the very least keep you informed of his moods and whether or not he truly wants you in his life.
I do with the best for you and hope you are able to make it work, but please do not sell yourself short. Don’t let his mental illness be an excuse for you taking his abuse. If he loves you he will find a way to get help and find a way to hold things together.