Dating and bipolar disorder
Often there is nobody more aware of the hurt and damage they have caused than the person with bipolar disorder themselves. The self-infatuation that some of us experience in mania is not grounded in reality and we are unlikely to be as brilliant, sexy, and enlightened as we may feel during these periods of grandiose delusion.
Thirty years ago it was a term from international relations, describing a situation such as we had during the Cold War where two states, the US and the USSR, had the majority of geopolitical power because they were the only two real players.
Is this the right way to describe a personal connection where at least one person has bipolar disorder?
The implications of this are that if bipolar has not been diagnosed and is not being treated, it is the mania that is more likely to trigger conflict, confusion, heartache, and possibly divorce. This tracks with causes of marital breakdown in general. This is such an important topic that bipolar and divorce is discussed separately on Divorce rates are no higher in marriages where one spouse has bipolar disorder than they are in marriages where one spouse is seriously depressed. Some research does suggest a higher divorce rate than across the general population for couples where one spouse has bipolar disorder. The single and the divorced are more likely to have bipolar disorder when compared to people who are married or never married.
The main reasons given for divorce are adultery/infidelity, domestic violence, the onset of a “mid-lfe crisis”, substance abuse and other addictions such as gambling, and finally, workaholism. My first marriage broke-up because of my undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
This has led me to much study, research, and reflection on the topic.
My current marriage is the most stabilizing thing in my life and has helped me manage my bipolar so that I have not had a serious episode since 2005. Despite the above, there is no empirical research that shows a CAUSAL relationship between bipolar disorder and marital status.
If you have the disorder, chances are high that you will have a sibling, parent, grandparent, uncle, cousin etc who does too.Bipolar disorder can be tough for the person affected; some people learn to control it, some don't, but it's important to understand how they're affected and how you can help them.Dating someone with bipolar is no different to dating anyone else.Recently I read a very compelling, evocative essay about bipolar relationships.The writer used the metaphor of a fire in the brain for bipolar, and described the way that spouses, family and friends may all get “burned up” as fuel. Our higher and better self – that idealized version of the self that is the best person we can be and that we all (hopefully) aspire to.It can be very difficult to turn around and cross back over those burning bridges. A person with bipolar disorder must be very careful not to confuse number 2 with number 4.