(Closed) It's not you, it's me….wait, no. It is you.

posted 9 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
2008 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think if you’ve been this hypersensitive throughout your relationship, then maybe that is part of why he’s been postponing.  If having a relationship with you has been difficult for him, which sounds likely he possibly couldn’t be open and honest and now hefeels like he can be due to your new treatment.

Constantly bringing up how tough this has been on him is sort of annoying but I’m wondering if he’s feeling relieved that his struggle is going to go away as yours does.

I would really choose my battles as best I could here.  His friend being married but a cheater, so what.  Him not calling, if you really dont care, don’t care.  Saying he doesn’t have to check in, not nice but not world ending.  Feeling lied to, possibly but maybe out of protecting you both from fighting and hurt feelings.

You might need to have an honest conversation in which he knows he can be honest without being punished.

Post # 4
679 posts
Busy bee

There are so many things I could say but I’d end up writing a novel. I don’t have Bridal Party but I have plenty of other (diagnosed) mental health issues and I understand how hard it can be, especially when you feel like those issues are affecting your relationship and you start to question whether your partner can really handle everything.

I’d suggest asking your therapist if your SO can join you for a session or two. For starters, the therapist would be able to explain to your SO objectively what Bridal Party is, the symptoms, how they are manifesting/have manifested/could manifest in the future in you, and how the two of you, together, can try to manage things. You can explain your condition to your SO as much as you want, you can blame certain behaviors on your diagnosis as much as you want, but there will likely always be a part of him that wonders, “Is she just exaggerating or being dramatic or using this illness as an excuse?” That’s because he’s not living in your head so he doesn’t fully “get it.” If you put yourself in his shoes, and imagine yourself trying to understand your behaviors, you can see, I’m sure, that it would be hard and confusing. Having it explained to him by an expert could help him to understand that this is real and scary and it could also teach him coping skills, just like therapy teaches you coping skills.

Also, by asking him to attend a therapy session, you will be able to guage his level of support and involvement. If he is willing to go with you and wants to really get a better understanding and handle on this thing, that’s a very good sign. If he refuses to go, that’s something to think about for you…

The other benefit of attending a therapy session (or 2 or 3…) is that it will provide a safe environment for you to talk to him about your feelings – your sensitivities, fears, insecurities, confusion, etc. Your therapist might be able to guide you through this, helping you express it in a clear and calm manner, rather than you trying to communicate with him in the heat of the moment while you’re questioning everything. In return, he might be better able to express his feelings to you – his own fears, his concerns, his thoughts about the future with you. You may find out some very surprising things if you’re able to get him to talk in a calm, controlled environment, and with a little guidance.

Maybe your illness has contributed to his reluctance to propose, and if it has, that’s OK, maybe he’s just not equipped to deal with this and he wouldn’t be a good partner for you in the long-run, since you deserve someone who can be a PARTNER in every sense of the word. But he does need to be honest, both with you and with himself, and I truly believe in the instance that one person in a relationship is diagnosed with a mental illness, BOTH people in that relationship should seek counseling.

Good luck.

ETA: In the meantime, though, perhaps you could sit down with your SO and tell him that you understand that he is also being affected by this and that he is stressed, and that you can empathize with him, but he needs to try to keep his complaining to a minimum, because it’s only making you feel worse. Tell him you’re trying your hardest to figure this out and that you honestly just need his support right now. Relationships are give-and-take and sometimes one person has to give more than the other. There are times when it will be 80/20 in his favor, and times when it will be 80/20 in yours. And that has to be OK.



Post # 5
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

*Hugs* I’ve read your previous posts and I know you’ve been through a lot these past months.

I think you should really try to make an effort to understand where your SO is coming from. Not just realizing that your symptoms put stress on him, but really seeing how your diagnosis has affected him. You’ve posted about all of the mixed feelings you had in response to being diagnosed. It’s totally normal for your SO to be experiencing those same feelings. Think about it, he went from thinking the mood swings were just part of your personality to finding out that you have a mental illness and will be getting treatment for it. That’s a pretty big shock and he’s probably struggling with a lot of conflicting feelings about it.

I’ve also found that people without experience with mental illness have a very hard time understanding it. They can logically understand the illness and its symptoms, but it’s often very hard for them to fully wrap their head around the fact that it is an illness and you don’t have control over your symptoms. Learning more about the illness should help with that, but it may also take time for him to come to terms with it. His complaining to you about his feelings is not helpful, but he probably does it because he doesn’t know where or how else to express those feelings. He may find it helpful to seek individual counseling or join a (online or in-person) support group. It really sounds like he needs an outlet to understand and express his feelings about this. He needs to know that he’s not alone and that other people successfully deal with this. He needs to learn how to cope with your illness and symptoms, while giving you the support you need.

PP’s suggestion of taking him to meet with your therapist is a very good one. Your therapist can explain the disease and answer any questions he may have. The therapist can also give both of you a safe place to express how your illness has impacted you and what support you need from your partner. Your therapist can also help both of you learn to communicate better and truly understand the other’s needs. He needs to be supportive of your treatment and understanding about the illness, but he will also need some support.

Regarding engagement, I think you’re overreacting. You two are in the middle of a major life-changing event. It’s come as big shock to both of you and both of you are only starting to learn how to deal with it. I don’t know your SO, but I think you should look at it more from the perspective of him wanting time for your lives to stablize. Getting treatment for bipolar can be a long and difficult process. It takes time to find the find the right medication and learn the best coping skills. It’s not unreasonable that he wants things to stablize before starting another major life-changing event (marriage).

When you take him to your therapist, it may be a good idea to discuss your prognosis as well. Obviously it can be very difficult to predict, but it may be very helpful to discuss what both of you can realistically expect from your treatment. Later on, this can probably also tie-in to your marriage talk because you can discuss what should happen in your treatment before you get married. You can also discuss how realistic those conditions are. If he’s expecting you to be completely cured, he needs to know that’s not going to happen and you need to know that he’s not waiting for that. These marriage conversations should probably happen later, once both of you have come to terms with the illness. He will probably need to work through his own feelings and fears to truly accept this diagnosis before he’s ready to have a fair, honest, and open discussion about the future.

ETA: Sorry this post came out so long. I really feel for you and I commend you on handling all of this so well. I hope some of these words will be helpful to you.

Post # 7
317 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Your last post made me so sad because I can relate to it so well. I’ve been battling cancer since January–obviously our illnesses are totally different, but I can draw parallels to a lot of the things you are feeling.Especially when you say that you feel guilty for putting him through this and that you think he may be better off with someone else. I tell my husband that all the time.  A real man would not agree with us, though….and obviously we both have pretty awesome men. Look at it this way, even though you aren’t married yet, you’re getting the “for worse” part of “for better or worse” out of the way much earlier than a lot of couples do!  It’s great that he’s taking an interest in learning more about your illness. Show him the information you’ve printed off. He’s made the first step in showing an interest, but you have to meet him the rest of the way and help him learn.

As to making the educational conversations less serious, what my husband and I do is that we have days where we talk a LOT about my illness and then we have some days where we agree that we aren’t going to talk about it at all. We try to plan these no talking days in advance so I can get it all on our talking days and I don’t accidentally forget to tell him something and then need to break into our no talking illnesses days. Otherwise, you can end up just talking illness stuff non stop and ignore other aspects of your relationship. You still have to make time to have some fun, even if it’s a struggle to find something fun right now.

I wish you the best of luck!

Post # 9
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Bipolar is a major diagnosis and he may need time to deal with it as well as see you balanced on your meds.  It runs in my family and it’s very difficult to deal with other family members not to mention the implication that it may be passed on to my kids.  Make sure you take your meds correctly and get him involved so that he feels comfortable letting you know when it may be time to up (or down) them based on your behavior.  A big problem with bipolar patients is that they tend to stop taking their meds because they feel better and they think they don’t need them anymore or they feel nothing and want to feel something.  So long as you both realize that it’s a lifelong diagnosis that requires regular monitoring and medication a healthy long term relationship is doable.  Smile

Post # 10
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I just thought I would add my experience with Mental Health challenges and how that influenced my SO’s decision/indecision around proposing.

I have been sensitive and reactive my whole life, and was like this when I met SO. Last year, after 5 years I really thought he was going to propose, but nothing. I was flying off the handle at the littlest things, not reacting appropriately for the situation, alienating my friends, family and him, and just being a real jerk. BUT, I didn’t know it. I thought everything was normal, and couldn’t understand everyones reactions. 

After our 5 year anniversary, I sat him down and had the talk. He said he wasn’t ready, but would like to see the ring I found anyway. Around the same time, I started having attacks of chest pain, and passing out at work or on transit. I went to the ER 3 times in a month (I was 24 so that is a lot). I started losing weight really fast (from 140 to 125 in a month) and when I finally went to the doctor she thought I had cancer.  Well, tests and a series of appts led to one conclusion. I had a Health Related Anxiety Disorder that was triggered by a diagnosis I got the previous season for a benign condition. 

Well, this made sense, but my anxiety was out of control and I had no idea that it had gotten so bad until the physical symptoms. In summary, I was able to get the right treatment (both phychological, behavioural, and medical) and I started to come back to normal. Interestingly, it was a feeling I have never had before, but I just knew I was getting better. People wanted to be around me more, no one was walking on eggshells around me and my SO kept commenting on how proud he was of my progress.

After a year of treatment, I asked him to marry me (this past Feb). I thought I had scared him off because of all the shit I had put him through, and I finally understood how hard it was for him to watch his loved one go through this when he couldn’t do anything to help. He felt lost and helpless, just like I think your SO does. 

After we had been engaged awhile, and I was stable, happy and my symptoms were managed I asked him how he felt about everything.  He said he knew he wanted to marry me, but he didn’t want to throw all the pressure of a wedding onto me when I was crumbling, even though that is what I said I wanted. He said he couldn’t do that to me. He also wanted to make sure I was able to self manage my condition so that I was not dependent on him to keep me stable. It was hard to hear, but it made perfect sense. Mental Health is a challenge, and the person affected needs to be able to know their triggers, symptoms and how to respond to them on top of the medication because that is what leads to long term success.

The struggle is life long, and our SO’s know this. They want to make sure we also know this before making big decisions that are sure to put pressure on us that we may not handle well. 

Take care of yourself first, learn what you need to do, practice these techniques and get better. The rest will fall into place. 

Post # 11
549 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m on my ipad, so I can’t write as much as I’d like. I just went through a similar experience of taking sick leave a month and a half ago due to anxiety and depression. My relationship with my Fiance was affected, especially when I was in a depressed state. I’m also trained in the mental health field, so feel free to PM me. I can use FI’s laptop to respond.

Post # 12
3148 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

it sounds like you have asked him repeatedly what he thinks of moving forward. like PPs have said, he was probably telling you little white lies because he thought maybe you were not ready to handle the truth

maybe you finally brought up moving forward so many times that he finally felt pushed into telling the truth. 

sorry if it turns out he lied to you, but I truly do believe that in some situations, a white lie in order to protect your feelings can be a good thing. but if 100% honesty is important to you (even if it may hurt feelings), then be sure he understands that. 

I agree with andilovesjosh: You might need to have an honest conversation in which he knows he can be honest without being punished.

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