How do people with bipolar make best use of bipolar-free time - so far as their relationships are concerned?
In asking the question I'm making certain assumptions about the way bipolar affects people differently. For example, we know that rapid cycling or an episode within two years puts greater stress on partnerships. I'm also assuming a relationship exists where one person has bipolar and the other doesn't. A further assumption is that something brought you together and you've stayed together through some pretty tough times. For the ‘old salts' reading this, you already know what works, but if your relationship is comparatively new, maybe this is more about you?
There are times in most relationships when things turn sour. When a relationship includes bipolar it can be a bit like ‘three's a crowd'. Any strains can become amplified and more problematic unless the relationship is capable of withstanding it. The power of a strong relationship is that it provides security, enjoyment, satisfaction, and for the person with bipolar, even some protection from relapse.
Taking time to remind yourself of all the reasons you are partners is useful. It's a time for affection, communication and laughter. Shared interests should be enjoyed as should more intimate moments. Relationships can come under strain during long periods of depression. Lack of sexual interest tends to be a feature of depression but as depression lifts so interest in sex may return. However, if the relationship has taken a battering during a bipolar episode you may both need some time to clean up the storm damage before more intimate moments can be enjoyed.
The cornerstone to a strong relationship is communication. Effective communication brings with it knowledge, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness, support and a host of other positives.
Everyone knows it takes time to build a relationship. Time spent nurturing this is time well spent. A strong relationship isn't necessarily a bed of roses but what underpins it is the belief that together you are bigger than anything bipolar can throw at you.
Published On: September 14, 2009
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