How should I handle this?

Last year I was dating a guy who is bipolar with mainly depressive episodes. He is on medication and has a new Dr. who he is very happy with. I have known him as a friend for a long time, so I have known about him having bipolar, plus he is very open about it with me. Things were going very well and then he disappeared. I know for a fact that things were going on with his company, so I attributed the disappearance to this. I did try contacting him and got no where.  I know that withdrawing from friends and family is something he tends to do for many months at a time.

Eight months went by and we recently saw each other at a mutual friend’s party and had a very lengthy and great discussion about what happened and how we still felt about each other. We decided we both wanted to give it another try and continue where we had left off, since we both feel we have this amazing  connection and level of comfort with one another and enjoy being around each other and of course we are attracted to each other, plus the relationship was going great. He told me he thought about me all the time but just couldn’t call and he didn’t know why.

Recently he started a new job, where he is starting up a new department. He is highly intelligent and is amazing at what he does. What he does is very technological and I know takes a great deal of concentration and time. Since we ran into each other at the party we have only been dating for a short time, but he has been very attentive and sweet.  The last time I saw him he told me he was crazy about me and thought we would be together for a long time. We spoke after this and made plans for the following weekend. He did text me during the week and told me the plans were still on. Needless to say he never showed up. I have tried texting him, since this and e-mail are the only ways I can contact him. He makes a point of keeping his mailbox full on his cell phone and always has it on silent. I felt like he was starting to withdraw again because his texts were very short and I could just sense it was happening.  I have not seen or heard from him in 3 weeks. I am thinking this is all due to his responsibilities and the level of stress associated with the new job. I know how important his work is to him and he tends to throw himself into it. His work keeps him stable and gives him purpose. I also understand that right now he might not be able to handle a relationship and work. This just might be too much at the moment. When we had our discussion, he was concerned that I would not be able to handle the difficult times. I told him I would be able to and would be there for him.  I also told him if he needs time for him self not to worry about me that I can always find things to do and I just need him to be open and honest with me and let me know if he needs down time. He said he would do that. But now I am thinking when he withdraws like this that he just can’t.  I care about him very much and I pray that he returns. I am trying to keep the connection by sending him easy going texts just asking how he is, how work is going, if he needs a break from work and wants to get together etc…etc… I am also not bombarding him with texts, just sending one a week. I just want him to know that I am still here. Do you think I should continue doing this? Is this type of behavior typical? I have read a lot about bi-polar disorder and am trying to educate myself, so I can better understand what it is he is going through. Any insight and suggestions you can give me would be very much appreciated.

This is so hard to answer. I think it’s a guy thing to withdraw and disappear more than women. Which in turn becomes a problem for the female in the relationship because as women it is SOOO easy to feel rejected when someone we care about disappears.

I applaud you greatly for your patience with him. It takes a very strong person to do that. You obviously care a great deal about him. I’m sorry the relationship has been so difficult. I don’t think he realizes how lucky he is to have someone who cares so much about him.

As a person suffering from bipolar disorder, I know how hard it is to juggle a job, family, relationships, school, children, a house, etc. It can get very overwhelming. There are times where I withdraw from everyone, however, I make a point to let them know I need some time for myself. I don’t think it is fair of me to just expect people to KNOW I’m going through a rough time. Though that would be nice, it’s not really realistic.

This guy sounds like he cares about you, however, he isn’t really respecting you. It’s not difficult to send a text or a phone call saying things are rough and he needs some space. By not doing so he is taking advantage of your relationship and assuming you will just be there whenever he’s ready to come back. I, in my opinion, do not feel that is right.

By the way you talk about this situation and how you’re handling it, I can tell you’ve done quite a bit of research on the subject of bipolar. Unfortunately, all the research is never going to answer this very common question. It’s a question we get on a very regular basis. In fact, here is a post I wrote a little over a year ago about a very similar situation …

… and another one this past summer …

I suggest reading through them, perhaps they will help a bit. Please let me know if there is something more I can do to help.

Again, I’m sorry you are going through this. <3 hugs <3

4 thoughts on “How should I handle this?

  1. wow, whoever wrote in with question has WAY more patience than 5 would ever have,and thats coming from someone who has bipolar.

  2. All relationships can be difficult at times, but a relationship with a person who has BPD can be a roller coaster for both parties. It’s important to understand this from the beginning because those “rose-colored glasses” often have us thinking, “I can change this.” When that initial “love crazy” feeling wears off, we are often left wondering, “what did I get myself into?” Well, learning everything you can about BPD is a great step to take BEFORE the relationship is cemented. Learning about the severity and frequency of your partner’s moods and issues will keep the relationship real. Questioning yourself relative to your goals in life and weighing whether you have the long term strength to be a full partner in this serious quest for balance is also an important step. Your heart is huge, that’s obvious, so good luck with your decision

  3. I tend to withdraw from everyone when things are rough. Sending a text or email is too much. Fortunately a have a mate who regularly chases me up & gently encourages me to hang in & helps me to go to church, bible study, writers group & the like. He also understands when I just can’t. I rely on him to mentor me & see me through. Comitted mates & family are the secret!

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