Are Bipolar relationships different? The success of relationships including bipolar relationships depends on whether the needs of both parties are met and this is where bipolar depression makes it rather more challenging.
Look at any thriving relationship and most likely you will find both partners are working actively at keeping the relationship alive and vibrant. Whether still in the dating stage or way down the track effort is put into finding great date ideas for special quality time together.
Many partners have no desire to dominate in the relationship. Such a partner in a bipolar relationship would be more tolerant, comfortable keeping the peace, walking the tightrope and essentially doing all that is necessary to keep outbursts to a minimum. The bipolar partner with the dominant personality and big ego happily takes control, runs the household like a business manager delegating often useless tasks right left and center, and feeling very important in the process. However it’s not uncommon even in this scenario for the bipolar relationship to unravel over the long term, as the kids grow up without similar tolerance levels or the desire to pander to the unreasonable demands and often intolerable behavior.
Breakdowns in Bipolar relationships are a common consequence of the illness. The likelihood of divorce amongst bipolar individuals is twice that of the general population. Often it is the non bipolar partner who is the only one trying but knowing what to do in these circumstances is a great help. Rather than become a victim to the disorder take control and learn from first hand experiences in Bipolar Relationships or other books by experts in the field like Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner.
Any relationship breakdown whether it be with family, friends or work colleagues is likely to have an adverse effect on bipolar symptoms. Even with normal individuals it can be extremely stressful and play havoc with ones moods, how much more so with someone already fighting continual mood swings. In fact with hypersexuality, this often unsuspected symptom can trigger the relationship breakdown.
Often with poorly controlled bipolar disorder, those closest to the bipolar individual like parents siblings or children spend so much of their time and energy trying to keep the bipolar person happy. They get worn down to a point where they can no longer cope, or are no longer willing to tolerate the situation. Inevitably they drift away leaving the bipolar individual further isolated and vulnerable to regression of symptoms.
What if both in the relationship are bipolar? In some ways it’s likely to be even more dysfunctional but on the whole if both partners have well controlled bipolar and good support systems there is little reason why the bipolar relationship could not have a pretty good chance of success.