Can a marriage thrive with bipolar disorder? Countless people have messaged me this very question. And in my own humble opinion, I say absolutely, yes.
According to a 2003 article, “Managing Bipolar Disorder,” in Psychology Today, 40 percent of all marriages fail in the United States and Canada. The article goes on to indicate that a whopping 90 percent of marriages will fail when involving a spouse with bipolar disorder. So basically, the odds are greatly stacked against us.
Whether you’re married with bipolar disorder or not, you know how difficult marriage can be, but also how amazing. No marriage is without its cross to bear, so to speak. With bipolar disorder it is especially difficult to maintain a healthy relationship because you have all the “regular” marital issues, plus bipolar issues on top of those.
I hate to sound nauseatingly happy-go-lucky about this issue, but I truly believe with hard work from both spouses, a marriage with bipolar cannot only survive but actually thrive.
The subsequent post(s) will include tips that my husband and I use to keep our marriage thriving.
What are your biggest bipolar marriage questions you’d like answered by my husband and I?
I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.
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2 thoughts on “Bipolar and Marriage”
I recently entered into a relationship with a woman who had been diagnosed with BPD and PTSD years ago. She is very aware of various triggers and changes in her mood. I, too, have PTSD and have been doing as much research on BPD as possible so I can better understand what she is going through on a regular basis and how I can be part of a good support system for her.
I love her very much and try to pay close attention to changes in her mood – through things as simple as music she is listening to and subtle body language.
What recommendations and tips would you and your husband have for someone who is in a growing relationship with someone who has BPD? What actions can I take to be more supportive and understanding? Have you experienced anything in your relationship that you weren’t prepared for? How did you overcome those obstacles?
Hi AJ, I’m assuming that by BPD you mean bipolar disorder and not borderline personality disorder. So with that said I think that what you’ve already done is awesome, which is research. The more you know, the better.
I’ll answer this question by telling you what I personally love about what my husband does to support me (these ideas are not for everyone, I suppose you’ll have to weed out what will work best in your own relationship since I’m not a therapist or doctor).
I love when I get home from a psychiatrist’s appointment and he asks me how I think it went. This shows me he is interested in my mental health wellbeing.
Many times when I was too sick to help myself, my husband would actually go to my appointments with me. He would tell the doctor from his perspective what was happening and would help me voice buy concerns even when I felt I could not. This made me feel like somebody had my back
When depression hits and I’m crying, I love that my husband doesn’t try to fix the situation right away. He just holds me tight. Talking during extreme high or low moods never goes well. Just physically being there and holding me and listening are what really help.
When my husband sees that I’m not doing well, sometimes he will just say ‘stop what you’re doing, get in bed and watch movies. I’ve got the rest of what needs to be done.’ I don’t even ask for help, which admittedly I’m terrible at. It forces me to slow down and take care of myself, just as any other person with a health problem would do.
You asked if there was something we’ve ever been unprepared for, and I would say yes. We were not prepared for how terrible postpartum depression would be for me, as well as medication withdrawal symptoms.
We overcame those obstacles with a lot of persistence going to doctor appointments, seeing a counselor, prayer, and a lot of us talking things out ourselves. Those times were NOT easy, but because of our love for each other, we made it through.
Through all of the ups and downs in our marriage, we’ve come out so much stronger in part because of my bipolar. Bipolar has forced us to communicate and to know each other’s ‘deeper’ sides when we otherwise may not have. So perhaps, bipolar may be a blessing in disguise.
My husband says that patience is key. When we were first dating he said that he made the mistake of thinking my moods were a sprint instead of a marathon. He would try to make me happy by taking me to a movie, etc. Then he realized it’s more of a slow, on-going process. It’s more about support than entertaining me to get me to “snap out of it,” which just does not happen with bipolar.
Hope even one part of all this helps! 🙂