2013 Bipolar Update
Dealing With Bipolar Relationships
Managing normal relationships is already challenging enough in its own regard but imagine the complexities associated with bipolar relationships. Bipolar relationships are those where one or both parties are suffering from bipolar disorder and these can be very taxing requiring constant adjustments and compromises. Further, because bipolar disorder alters the way people process moods, emotions and external stimuli, there are moments in the relationship when the bipolar patient can be quite unreasonable. It is in these moments when bipolar relationships can unravel and falter without warning. As such, people in bipolar relationships should take the necessary precautions to ensure that the relationship is always kept in a state where the effect of the bipolar illness is kept at an absolute minimum.
To put the seriousness and urgency of this issue into context, consider that based on nationwide statistics 90% of relationships involving a person suffering from bipolar disorder eventually end up in failure.
There are a variety of reasons why bipolar relationships end up in divorce. With a bipolar patient, each and every one of these reasons are in play because they have an altered sense of perception and reality when they are suffering from manic or depressive episodes. A bipolar husband can easily beat his wife for no reason and the same can be said of a bipolar wife doing physical damage to her husband. In all of these cases, and especially at the stage where the disease is yet to be diagnosed, the likelihood of failure is very high.
Once the patient has been confirmed to be suffering from bipolar disorder, the best bet for the relationship to succeed is for the patient to be ultra-meticulous in following the prescribed medication plan. Mood stabilizers can help greatly reduce the frequency and severity of bipolar mood swings, helping hte patient to have a reasonably normal life. In these moments, differences can be worked out and new commitments can be forged to reinforce the relationship.
For the partner not suffering from bipolar disorder, the most important attribute is acceptance and support. While this is easier said than done, it should not be discounted that a bipolar disorder is something a person chooses to have based on a lifestyle choice or an accident due to carelessness. Like cancer, it can come without warning, oftentimes without any accompanying explanation. In these cases, spouses should be all the more supportive and understanding in order to give bipolar relationships the best chance at prospering.
Bipolar relationships are never easy but it does not mean that they are impossible to maintain. True, it needs a great deal of personal sacrifice on the part of the non-bipolar spouse and an unbelievable amount of resolve from the bipolar spouse to try to overcome and be better than what the illness would have one be. With enough love, support, communication, and a commitment by the bipolar individual to stay on their medication, bipolar relationships are difficult but survivable relationships.
Our website has a very large collection of material on bipolar disorder and how to deal with them. This has been a more or less general article on bipolar relationships but we have much more information available.