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Monday, August 11, 2008 Shawn, Community Member, asks

Q: Please help me with my bipolar girlfriend?

We started dating three months ago, and our connection is one I have never experienced before! I have fallen in love with her!  Two weeks ago, upon her wanting the dating to become more, we decided to take the next step and begin a relationship!  She is bipolar, on meds. Both kinds, I believe Prozac, and what she calls "tranquilizers" which she takes at nite an hr. before bed.  She had informed me that she has never been faithfull in any relationship, and has been honest with me about that.  However, had told me that she feels this is different with me. She said, she gets "numb" and stops feeling and the cheating is a rush, and helps her to feel a liltle?  Everything has been going very well, I noticed last few days she sleeps more then normal, naps, etc. often very hyper and constantly cleaning.  Note: we do not live together but were spending 5 or 6 nites a week together.  Two days ago, she informed me that she feels as if things are "fading" between us! I was literally in shock. . then upon more discussion she revealed that she is "numb" and she wants to break it off before she does what she always does which is cheat!  That she loves me too much to hurt me like that... We have kept in contact, and she is constantly saying she misses me, and wants  to continue to date! I feel like I am being played.. how much of this sort of behavior is Bipolar? or am i being strung along?  And if it is Bipolar how can she become more balanced or stop the "numbness" ? or is this something she will have to live with for the rest of her life, no serious relationship... Please enlighten me someone!

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Answers (1)
Jerry Kennard, Health Guide
8/12/08 8:51am

Hi Shawn,

 

I see your dilemma. It is certainly the case that active sexual experiences are sometimes sought by people during the more manic phases of the disorder. Having said that plenty of people with bipolar maintain stable relationships, whether or not mania is associated.

 

I'm guessing the tranquilizer you refer to might be lithium, which is a mood stabilizer. It could of course be a tranquilizer. The description of 'numbness' could possibly be associated with medication, but it's often a term used when people are depressed. Certainly during a manic episode you would not necessarily need to seek out the 'rush' you describe in relation to cheating.

 

You are trying to understand why your girlfriend does what she does. She may not even know this herself - or she may. For your own peace of mind I feel you shouldn't focus too much on bipolar as the cause (the only cause) of infidelity. This would place your girlfriend in a situation where her behavior is dictated totally by bipolar, which is rarely the case except in the most extreme circumstances. You have obviously been communicating quite well and it is just possible that your girlfriend is attempting to shift the dynamic of your relationship in a way she feels is comfortable for her.

 

You probably feel hurt, confused and lacking somewhat in direction. From what you say you feel your girlfriend is sending you some ambivalent messages. At the end of the day only you can decide whether your investment in the relationship is to your mutual advantage or whether you are feeling damaged by it.

 

It can be difficult to step back from a situation like this and try to evaluate it for what it is. Can you talk without bipolar being used as the justification for the decisions being made? Will it ultimately be less painful to end the relationship and move on with your life?

 

I wish you well with your decision.

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By Shawn, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 08/11/08