Living With Bipolar Disorder . . . Picking A Partner–Lessons Learned From My Patients, Part II

I was going to write on another subject today, but was struck by the tone of this letter I received from the UK.  I couldn’t help but respond.  My original subject will wait a few days . . .

i have recently been diagnosed with bipolar. my fiance has turned really mean, puts me down and has today told me that he ll cheat and possibly leave me and my 2 kids if my sex drive goes.when i get put on medication. hes been really insulting and not supportive at all. its him that upsets me and constantly accuses me of cheating. i am loyal and i m meant to be planning a wedding for next may. i have a dress and everything organised but cant help but hate him. i dont want him near me now, hes a selfish piece of shit but i somehow feel responsible.

I’m having trouble holding my tongue here . . .

This fellow you are planning to marry is not a nice person.  Perhaps you are were having trouble seeing that in the past, but it is clear as day now.  The typical marriage vows include phrases like . . . for better or worse . . . richer or poorer . . . sickness or health . . . Perhaps he hasn’t thought this marriage thing through.  And perhaps you have not as well.  You have been diagnosed with a potentially difficult medical condition that is  manageable, but only with effort, patience and support.  There is always the potential for difficult times.  Medication works very well and we can often find a medicine or cocktail of medicines that work to stabilize mood with a minimum of side effects.  Sometimes sex drive is effected, but not for most people with Bipolar Disorder. If part of your manic symptoms included periods of hyper-sexual behavior, that CAN get a person in trouble sometimes.  It is a part of the symptom complex that he might enjoy . . . but it must be controlled.  That is certainly possible (if not likely) without compromising your intimate relations with a partner.

But do you really want this guy to be your partner?  From your brief description, he is “really mean”, threatening (“he’ll cheat”), unsupportive (“possible leave me and my two kids”), “insulting” and “a selfish piece of shit”.

You can’t help but hate him.

You are going to marry this guy?

I urge you to look at my November, 2011 blog entry on “In Sickness And In Health . . . Lessons Learned From My Patients”.

This does not sound like the kind of man who is going to stand by you and help you and your children be the best that you can be.  Put the wedding on hold while you get yourself together and reassess your life.  If he can’t hang in there while you do that, you don’t want to be tied to him for the future.

Good Luck.

–Dan Hartman, MD



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