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Thursday, April 08, 2010 diana, Community Member, asks

Q: Do BP needs (space) time alone.?

I'm wondering if the time I have given my husband to be alone due to his mania episodes is doing more damage then good to our marriage.?  I've learnd thourgh out the yrs of being married to my husband with BP allowing him the time to be by himself can be a good thing cus he always comes back in a great mood, However his time being alone can sometimes be for days 1,2 or even 3 days where he'll sleep in the garage or on the floor besides our bed, I'm thinking the more time I leave him to himself the more time he'll want away from me there are times when he doesnt even acknowledge me doesn't say hi doesn't speak to me this cound go on  for up  to 3 days maybe even more I've never really counted but when you live in the same home and share the same room its tough to deal with that! . I'm begining to feel more like his sister and not his wife. Is it typical for those with bipolar to need or want that alone time..??

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Answers (2)
John McManamy, Health Guide
4/ 9/10 10:38am

Hi, Diana. Short answer: Yes and no. The yes part:


People with BP and other mental illnesses often tend to find the world overwhelming at times. Too much thoughts, feelings, and sensory inputs coming in all at once. Too much to handle. If we don't have our chill times and time to ourselves times we are not going to do well. Even "normal" people need time out. Bipolars tend to need even more time to themselves.


Likewise, since bipolars can be too much to handle at times, it's often best that both partners get a break from each other.


The no part: But there are limits. Even when we need our time outs we need to abide by simple common courtesies. A number of things can be going on here with his extended strange behavior, but bipolar doesn't seem to be prominent here. What you are describing is a partner who seems to be opting out of the marriage. This may not be the case, but it is worth investigating the issue.


There are always clear warning signs when a relationship heads south. As a general rule, one partner tends to act strange, but the other partner seems to be in denial, thinking the strange behavior will somehow resolve. This is compounded by the fact that men can be very bad communicators. Unfortunately, when the point of no return is reached, at least one partner never saw it coming.


There are no simple answers to relationship issues, but I do suggest you treat this as a relationship issue rather than a bipolar issue. He needs to be communicating with you, and you need to insist on it. This also means you need to listen. For whatever reasons, he appears unhappy with the way things are, and you need to help him express that. Hopefully, things can be resolved. But often with relationships they can't.


But however it turns out, the two of you need to be talking. As I said, yes bipolars need their time outs. But they can't hide behind their illness forever.


Hope this helps ...





Suzannewinstar, Community Member
4/13/10 10:59pm

My ex husband and I were married for 14 years and over the years his BP seemed to get worse.  Finally I had enough and left him.  It seemed like abuse to me.  I couldnt get passed the anger of him destroying our family.  We did the counseling, the meds.  Nothing helped.  After seven years, we are now living together, we have no children in the home anymore, and yes the alone time they need it.  My ex even now, sometimes wont speak with me for weeks, then all of a sudden bang one day he's talking again.  He spent 26 years in the military and for some reason, that was so different for him, because he wasnt like that to his soldiers under him or his superiors.  That could possibly be because he knew he could lose rank/money or get kicked out.  He is now in training to drive truck long haul.  He calls me every night and is excited about his job.  And I almost think its good for him to be alone driving.  His military experience makes him so different because the military will always be with him and the world outside the military is just not the same discipline.  I disagree with the gentleman saying it sounds like he wants out of his marriage.  When I left my ex, he was so blind sided by it.  He didnt think I would do it because I left with our 4 children.  Its hard but let him have his time.  But there will come a time when you finally get fed up with it all.  Your only human.

diana, Community Member
4/14/10 1:45pm

Thank your for your input and you've made me understand a question i've had for sometime now ... why he never acts out at work the way he does with me at home hes had his job for 10 yrs now to his co workers hes one of their best workers, he works for cal-tras on our frwys not the easiest of jobs with other men and Im sure at time they get on each others nerves yet I've never heard of him blowing up with them or lashing out with any co worker, so I think your right he knows where hes he get his paycheck and knows there are consequence. *** I also want to thank you for your thought on what the genleman wrote in his comment  above he left me so confused because yes my husband get into these rages and goes off to be on his own yet hes never left the house for long to be alone hes always in the backyard doing gardening till late in the evening or the garage or maybe even goes for a coffee but comes right back.and when hes in his (good moods)  I tell you there is no other man like him that i've ever met hes such a wonderfull man and kind and soft spoken does everything for me cuts up wood till night fall just so i could  have wood for the fireplace cus hes knows i get cold easily, goes out and buys me special things, when he knows i want something hes goes and gets it for me then surprises me with it and most of all when hes in his (good moods) I think he can recall how he treats me cus he gets on his knees and calmly says " plz dont leave, me plz,  I know sometimes I can be so mean and I dont know why but know this I love you more then you'll ever know"   I love this man dearly but your also right when you say one will get  fed up and enough may just be enough After all I am only human. I hope to God that day never comes but I fear it will someday.  Your coments have been most helpfull and I so apprecialte your input agian thank you very much for your responce.   

Suzannewinstar, Community Member
4/17/10 1:35am

Leaving was a hard thing for me to do, but I'd finally had enough.  We are divorced now for 9 years, and he still remains bipolar, stopped taking meds a little while ago, still goes through the ups and downs, but believe it or not, we've been living together now for about two and a half years.  While its a little better now cuz all the kids are grown and gone and its just he and I, when he's on a down swing, I leave him alone.  Dont say a word until he comes to me.  Its almost like playing a game.  I let him come to me when he's ready.  I go about my normal daily business, I make him dinner, I go to work, do the house work and he comes out of it eventually.  But, its still hard and there are times when I just want to run cuz Im sick of it.  I want to say dont take it personally cuz its not, but you are your husbands comfort zone.  Just like I am.  If I havent figured out anything else with the bipolar, I have figured that out.  As the saying goes, you hurt the one you love.  Good luck with it.

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By diana, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/13/14, First Published: 04/08/10