Dating Someone Bipolar

posted 11 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
5546 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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sweetdee89 :  is he in treatment for it? I haven’t heard of borderline bipolar 1, I’ve heard of bipolar one and bipolar 2 but I don’t know a lot

I just didn’t see a mention of him being in treatment 

Post # 4
5546 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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sweetdee89 :  things are going well, but I would be wary if he diagnosed himself and isn’t treating his ups and downs.

You don’t know much about him and his symptoms, so maybe just enjoy your time with him, and ask questions when the time is right? See how he handles his ups and downs

Post # 5
3523 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

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sweetdee89 :  Borderline (BPD) is wildly different from bipolar disorder. They’re different diagnoses. Do you know which it is? 

Post # 6
7025 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Agree w/ PP, treated bipolar is one thing, untreated another, and Borderline is entirely another. Has he consistently maintained employment (how long has he been in his current job?), lived in the same place for a long time, has he shared what he does when he has “highs”, ie spend money, engage in other risky behaviors, etc.? 

Post # 7
1826 posts
Buzzing bee

I suggest just being super realistic about his reality. Don’t romanticize things or hope or plan that he might get better than he is right now. No rose colored glasses. Because if your going to sign up for a life with someone with bipolar you really need to know the truth of what your signing up for, especially if you want kids some day. 

Everyones bipolar is different and different severities. It can be a dealbreaker or it could not be. My brother’s girlfriend of 20 years is pretty bad and I wouldn’t recommend ANYONE to sign up for that. My brother has said he literally never can relax it’s so severe. They’ve had legal battles where she destroyed property, she can’t hold a job, she can’t be married to him Incase she ever did something and could be sued for it. Her daughter has to deal with the trauma of seeing that, and deals daily with her mom putting extreme pressure on her to be the source of her feeling complete and happy. No child should feel they are responsible for their parents mental stability. 

So just go into this eyes wide open, ask questions, be realistic about what he is offering. Trust your gut. And most of all please remember that if at any point you realize it is a dealbreaker for you,please do not feel bad about that in the slightest. You are allowed the life you want. You aren’t obligated to be with someone who isn’t a good fit for what you want no matter what. I’d also be cautious because his motive right now is to keep you around. So he might play down his symptoms. Just be aware of that.

Post # 8
459 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

I’m a psychologist and the bipolar disorder can often have comorbidities, for example a personality disorder, e.g. borderline personality disorder. So it could be that he suffers from both.

If I were you, I would want to go a bit  deeper into the issue, and he seems to be very open about. I would definitely ask if he’s been diagnosed by a professionalist and if he’s undergoing treatment. And you could also ask in what way his disorders manifest itself.

Post # 9
1090 posts
Bumble bee

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sweetdee89 :  My last boyfriend was bipolar. He didn’t take medication. His symptoms weren’t severe, but I remember his moods would range from calm and happy, to amped up and excited and happy, to angry at his boss, friends, or family for dumb reasons. I can say in five years he never directed his anger toward me. He treated me well. His outlet for his anger was rock and ice climbing. He would disappear in the wilderness for a few days alone—this was his therapy. It was sometimes difficult spending time with him when he was really up or down. I’m an even keel, mellow person, and his moods could be annoying, at times. Overall though, they weren’t a deal breaker. We broke up only because it was a long distance relationship, and we grew apart. I’m not sure if his moods were something I could handle if we saw each other more than a few weekends a month, or if we lived together, though. When he was amped and hyper, he was kind of fun because he was chatty and funny. When he was angry, I would just let him vent, and try to talk to him about why he was angry, and just be supportive. When he was mellow, he was a little too quiet for me, and I wished he could be a bit more talkative and engaging. 

I would suggest taking the relationship slow, and see if each mood is one you can handle. I understand extreme cases of bipolar disorder can be draining on loved ones. Hopefully your guy’s symptoms are mild. 

Post # 10
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2021

It is a very case by case basis. Some individuals living with bipolar disorder have more highs than lows while others have more lows than highs. A relative of mine who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder lives in a manic state and is 95% of the time on a high. They can identify when they are in a low disposition and take time to themselves whenever necessary. Their coping strategies have taken a number of years to develop. They are one of the most incredible people I know.

As a PP has stated, bipolar disorder is often times comorbid with other mental health diagnoses as symptoms and behaviours (as outlined in the DSM) are similar in nature. It would be in your best interest to learn what his diagnosis looks like. Learn his coping strategies and about how you can further support him.

Post # 11
350 posts
Helper bee

Some comments from my experience:

  • Someone in successful treatment for BPI may display no symptoms, or may display low-grade symptoms. However, a proactive approach is consistently needed to reduce the chance of relapse. If you drink, take drugs, smoke pot and don’t sleep, you’ll be putting yourself at risk. 
  • When things between you get more serious, see if you can speak to his treatment team and family to develop a plan in case things go wrong. It’s important that you feel supported and know where to turn. 
  • Many bipolar episodes come with warnings prior. These may include changes to sleep, energy and motivation. Psychologists generally encourage BPI patients to monitor this. 
  • Bipolar is a biological illness with biological triggers. Two of the main triggers for episodes include disturbed sleep and stress hormones. 
  • If he is at a risk to yourself or others, have no hesitation to call for help. It is common for people with this diagnosis to spend some time in hospital. That said, many people do respond to treatment, so hospitalisations are more of a blip than a regular occurrence for most people who are not treatment resistant. Once people become severely manic, they generally don’t realise they are – insight into their condition is limited. 

The highs/lows can differ from person to person and from time to time. A lot of non-BP people don’t know about mixed episodes, where someone has the hopelessness of depression and the energy/impulsivity of mania. These are particularly dangerous. 

During manic episodes, some people become impulsive/spend a lot of money/become hypersexual. Importantly, not everyone gets these symptoms, but figure out a financial set up where your money isn’t being put at risk in case this is one of his behaviours.  

Some things that can help during the lows include:

  • Having a partner physically stay by your side
  • Going on a walk (especially if atypical depression is experienced and people find it hard to move)
  • Eating well so that malnutrition doesn’t contribute to the exhaustion
  • Physical touch (not sexual, just feeling someone there)
  • Help with logistics (ie contacting work) if cognitive function is worse than usual. 
Post # 12
871 posts
Busy bee

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sweetdee89 :  

I don’t have any expert knowledge about this disorder, but I have dated someone who was bipolar (diagnosed by a professional), and I found it very exhausting. Another person might not have, so it’s important to know yourself.

I’m an introvert and a very even-tempered person, so for me, people who are very needy and experience a range of moods and inconsistent behaviour are very challenging for me and probably ultimately a dealbreaker. It’s just very draining for me and I don’t have the energy for it, and that negatively impacts the relationship.

If you are a very resilient person with a lot of energy yourself, and you don’t tend to get dragged down by other people’s moods, then I would say it could work, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

As PPs have mentioned, each case is unique, and each person’s symptoms play out slightly differently and with different intensity. Each person has different levels of coping skills.

My ex relied a lot on me during his moods. When he was up, I was expected to be up with him… and he would definitely spend money impulsively during these times. We bought thousands of dollars worth of gardening supplies (which we couldn’t really afford) because he liked to garden when he was in this mood.

During his low periods, he threatened suicide several times, which was very challenging. He required lots and lots of reassurance. He was extremely jealous and used to lash out at me a lot. He used to drink and smoke and take too much of his medication too, which didn’t help matters.

My advice to you would be assess the extent to which he is in treatment and getting help, and the extent to which he has coping mechanisms and how effective they are. You need to know what you are letting yourself in for.

Post # 13
1826 posts
Buzzing bee

I also just have to point this out. in my brothers situation with his bipoloar girlfriend he is literally the only person in her life who will take care of her. That is such a shitty thing to put on someone. Her parents divorced early and her dad is who knows where. Her mom is a lot older and can’t pick up any slack to help her daughter if she needed it. Her sister never had children but is married and also refuses to ever help her sister out. The burden all falls on my brother. My parents help more than they should because of my niece. 

Im saying, don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you are signging up to be the sole caregiver for someone. No one can handle that burden alone. There either needs to be some money saved up if intervention is needed, or family to help and step in. It reminds me of suicidal people who tell their parners they can’t leave them or they will kill themselves. No one should bear that burden either. So OP i highly suggest as you enter into this relationship you figure out what his support network is, is it sufficient? Because you should not have to sign up for a life with someone that you never felt you couldn’t leave if it wasn’t working for you because you leaving would literally mean they might end up homeless etc. 

That is the position my brother has found himself in. Even when he wanted to leave he couldn’t because if he left no one would step up for her, she would most likely end up on the streets. YOu should be with someone who wants to be there for you, wants to help but doesn’t have to sacrifice their entire life to do so. 

Also in my experience it is a huge lie to try and claim that with meds someone will be ok, will stabalize, will get better when it comes to mental illness. Bipolar is not curable, it is a constant ever changing attempt to regulate chemicals in the brain. My brothers girlfriend is constantly trying new meds, doing therapy and the results are still bad. Even when she is in what is considered a balanced state she has traits of her condition that are very frustrating. She can’t stop talking, she is unable to see the huge glob of ketchup she just dropped on the floor, she is unable to see the dirt or clean in any real way. She is extremely over protective of her daughter whom she doesn’t let travel hardly at all, or fly in an airplane or be away from her for more than 2 days because her sense of self worth is tied to her child. Because the only thing she has ever been able to accomplish in her life is having a child, she has nothing else, no job no nothing. 

So I really do believe in situations like these you need to look at where someone is and accept that is it. Don’t accept talk about how with the right meds it someday might be ok. In life you need to say to yourself, if right now is how this will always be, is it enough for me. Because you simply can’t make decisions about your future based on something changing. You can only make decisions on what IS. 

Post # 14
977 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

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sweetdee89 :  I think its super cool that youre asking questions and having an open mind. I also think if you dig deeper and youre not comfortable taking this on thats totally ok too.

As someone who has anxiety and depression (managed) I make a point not to date other people with mental illness. I just know that other peoples moods really impact my own and can send me spiraling into negative thoughts. So it may also be worth considering how you would handle the swings and whether that would aggitate any existing issues for you.

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