Ups and downs are a natural part of any romantic relationship, but when your partner has bipolar disorder, it can feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster ride. Not knowing what to expect each day can be stressful and exhausting, and over time, it can take its toll on the relationship. According to Scott Haltzman, MD, people enter into relationships seeking stability. Dr.
Haltzman is a clinical adjunct professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, as well as the medical director of NRI Community Services in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He is also the author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women. He explains that bipolar disorder can significantly complicate a relationship. People with bipolar disorder may experience changes in their mood, personality, and interactions that can disrupt the consistency that is essential for any relationship.
All relationships require empathy, communication, and emotional awareness to be successful, and these qualities are especially important when one partner has bipolar disorder. With proper treatment, people with bipolar disorder can build healthy, long-term relationships. The partner with bipolar disorder may feel guilt, shame, or fear due to the impact of their mood episodes on the relationship. Meanwhile, their spouse may experience a range of emotions such as anxiety, resentment, loneliness, or feeling trapped. All relationships require effort to maintain them, and this is especially true when one partner has bipolar disorder. According to Dr.
Payne, couples counseling is essential for overcoming any discomfort caused by the actions of a bipolar partner. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is difficult to manage, and it affects both partners in a relationship. Medications used to treat bipolar disorder 1 and 2 range from mood stabilizers to antidepressants and antipsychotics. This is because many patients seek diagnosis exclusively for the depressive symptoms of the disorder, making it common for healthcare professionals to initially diagnose the person with depression.Couples therapy can be an effective tool for maintaining a healthy relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.
During manic episodes, a person with bipolar disorder may have an unusual amount of energy and may not be able to sleep. For the bipolar person's spouse, knowing when to offer help involves recognizing how your partner feels. If you have bipolar disorder, you may already be familiar with the impact your condition can have on a romantic relationship. Here are some rules to apply to a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder that will help you get out of the rough spots even stronger in your relationship:
- Place infuriating and frustrating behavior within the context of the disorder so you can blame the illness instead of the person.
- Understand that all relationships require work and being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder is no different.
- Know when to put your mental health first rather than trying to make a relationship work.
With proper treatment and support from family and friends, people with bipolar disorder can build healthy relationships.