Normally. I never take to the internet to post personal stuff, so, as you can all imagine, this is quite sensitive to me. I have read several threads on the internet about this topic, read people's stories etc etc, thought "it won't happen to me", but, I wouldn't mind asking a bit of advice.
I've been with my girlfriend for over half a year now, and literally see her every day, and to me, it's amazing, simply do not get bored of her and genuinely appreciate every moment. We have never argued. You know, it sounds like, the perfect relationship, we bounce of each other, you know, something you'd see in a love movie. She always invited me to come around, or, meet up, so it hasn't been forced upon or anything like that.
Her hours have changed at work lately though and isn't getting out of work until at least 10/11 at night, I'm picking her up after work, and hanging out with her, till she feel's tired or whatever. We've been away together, done lots of things. Just completely fallen for one another.
Now - for the harder side - Admittedly there has been times that have been mentally challenging, but, I done my research before hand and come to accept that she may do things without taking other peoples feelings to heart first (random flirting, the need of attention), but, I've always reminded her of what she has and this will stabilise her for the time being - I have noticed this can sway though, she could either flirt or get offended by unwanted attention from other males at the bar or whatever.
That aside, we are very strong together it seems and do everything with each other - attend family events as well. Her parents seems to really like me, which I find a blessing. Before me, previous relationships were full of arguments, scumbag guys who treated her awful and controlled her, she has told me of some drug use ex's forced upon her etc. I've known all this before entering a relationship with her - she's the nicest girl you could ever meet and just got on so well with her. I have promised myself from day one that I would (and have) appreciate her every single day, I feel as though I have saved her as such from going down the road of getting mixed up with other drug users etc. I know because of this past with previous guys, she has become very closed, almost afraid to speak her mind to me - I've been completely open with everything with her, whatever I do in my life, she can know if she wants - I've tried showing this to her not to be afraid to being open with me.
Anyway, that's the backdrop, it's just today, out of nowhere I get a text sent from her saying "I don't feel as close to you anymore". I naturally ask "How come?" then the next text says "I love you so much". Understandably I am a bit confused by this. I am meeting her again after work later tonight - I mean, should I mention this? Is this just her bi-polar playing up whilst at work?
I know there's still a lot to learn, but, I love this girl to bits and seriously willing to learn, understand and hopefully grow old with her. I know this sounds corny as hell, but, previous relationships where I thought I was happy are completely overshadowed by this one.
Hope someone can offer some kind words of advice or input.
Hope my story hasn't bored you.
I don't know if your partner is on medication or not, and if she is, how compliant she is. For me no medication would be a deal breaker. Recently we had a scare with lithium toxicity and were both terrified about what it would mean if he had to change his meds. As he has said to me "you wouldnt like ne off my meds". It has all turned out fine but it was terrifying. Also, a lot of the literature on bipolar partnerships suggests the non bipolar partner take an active role in the bipolar partner's care, monitering medications, going to appointments etc. We have taken a different approach. He has been managing it for 9 years before I came along so it would be patronising of me to suddenly take over when he is the one with all the knowledge and understanding. My role is to be supportive. Your role might be different as your girlfriend may be relatively new to bipolar and you could be learning about this together.
Her behaviour with the text sounds to me like bipolar behaviour or possibly borderline personality disorder behaviour (not saying she has that) or just confused. What is important for you is to know what your boundaries are and how to respond to her behaviour in a constructive way. in our case if my partner seems particularly emotional I just listen. I don't try to engage, argue, put a different point of view etc. I just listen. But once he is calm we discuss the issue, very honestly and at length, without blame or judgement. Sometimes they are issues about our relationship. Usually about other things. We have both just realised that trying to discuss anything rationally when either one of us is emotional is pointless. The rational mind gets short circuited. Taking the time to calm down, think rationally and calmly discuss things has been a real revelation for both of us. It has allowed us to teach an incredible level of emotional intimacy.
I understand your gfs reaction to past relationships. After an abusive marriage of 22 years I had lost the ability to trust and was very closed. My partner has been amazing in helping me overcome that. He has given me an unconditional acceptance that I have not experienced before. Like you he has been incredibly open about himself, and that has allowed me to do the same and know that I will be loved and accepted and listened to. It is a slow process. For me I had the benefit of 9 months of therapy as well as an amazing partner in helping me overcome the trauma of my marriage. It sounds like your girlfriend has a real treasure in you. Hopefully your patience, understanding and openness will gradually encourage her to open up.
Relationships with someone with bipolar aren't for the faint of heart. They require patience, empathy, knowledge (get to know everything you can about it), strong boundaries, a clear sense of self, and lots of love. It is vital that you are able to talk about bipolar as easily with her as you would talk about what movie you want to see. It is also essential that you make sure you are treated with respect in the relationship. Bipolar can't be an excuse for bad behaviour. You can hold her accountable, you just might need to chose the right time to do it. If course that is really difficult if her moods aren't stable. But if they are mostly stable it is easier. And not everything she does is a consequence of bipolar. it just might be that she had done something inconsiderate (not saying that she is inconsiderate, just using that as an example). I'm sorry this is a bit of a rambling essay. I hope it helps. And maybe my.relationship is an example of one of the better bipolar relationships. I hope that gives you hope. As my therapist pointed out when I told her about him, "that sounds like one of the most positive stories of bipolar I have ever heard of". He has taken responsibility for his wellness and that makes all the difference. you sound like a wonderful, caring man. I am a little concerned for you when you talk about saving her. It's your role to be her lover but.not her saviour. That is not a relationship of equals. She needs love and support, not saving. I wish you both all the best and that your live flourishes. Without wanting to stereotype people with bipolar there is something very compelling about their creativity, exuberance and intensity that is wonderful to be around. It's just managing the hypo/mania and the darkness that goes with it that is the challenge.
Thank you for your kind words and I appreciate your story, I took many positives from it.
I enjoyed reading your story Sally, and truly am happy for you - it's not often that I have seen the good stories. Looking at how you mentioned the fear bit, seems logical enough, I know and realise it may take a bit of time for her to shake it off.
My girlfriend is an amazing person though, always has a way of keeping me excited to see her, she does take her meds daily, I mean, she probably forgets to take them about one day a month, but soon takes them again as soon as she remembers. I acknowledge that she will have these hypo/depressive moments and have witnessed a few times of this. I am guessing it's normal for people with this condition to "flip out" at certain things, it takes a minute or two to calm down, but after that, she's fine. The other end of the scale I've been there to support her with is the depressive moments, this often is triggered by certain songs / places / maybe a bit of alcohol - it's usually concentrated on important people that have passed away, all I do for these moments is let her talk about it (even if its for the 100th time, I know its something she needs to get out), and just reassure, they'd be happy now knowing that she is.
I can definitely see the difference over the the time I've been with her with opening up about certain things. She has had no difficulty telling me about her iffy past (sometimes I hear things I don't like hearing, as if she hadn't thought what she tells me wouldn't effect me), but it's only recent she feels more comfortable about her day to day thoughts and feelings.
In a way, this has been quite therapeutic for me, I haven't spoken to my friends or family about what she battles with as I respect her privacy & they don't suspect a thing either. I also think, this is still sadly a taboo topic, even though people have accepted her etc, I think if I was to tell them, their opinions would all of a sudden change. Either way, I'm giving it my all and looking forward to the highs and probably lows in the coming times.
You sound like a wonderful couple and I am happy for you both. All the best.