I also like this short piece by Dr Jim Phelps on Relationships with Bipolar People.
Another problem with a lot of Internet “information” is that the people concerned have not necessarily been diagnosed by a psychiatrist so the issues discussed may have nothing to do with bipolar relationships. We are ONLY discussing people who have had an expert psychiatric diagnosis.
Once the bipolar spouse is stable, it is possible for both partners to gain insight into bipolar disorder and its impact on both partners – both as individuals and on their marriage.
Thirty years ago it was a term from international relations, describing a situation such as we had during the Cold War where two states, the US and the USSR, had the majority of geopolitical power because they were the only two real players.
This leads to conflict with their partner, whose negative responses to this “bipolar behavior” makes the bipolar spouse more stressed and insecure, in turn triggering even more episodes of mania and/or depression. They may repeat the pattern and end up with another spouse who has a mood disorder or other mental health problem.
It is actually more common than you may think for two people in an intimate relationship to both have bipolar disorder.Being in a committed relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder is a tremendous challenge. The statistics vary according to the source, but most experts quote rates two or three times higher than the national average. Spouses with bipolar disorder are likely to have a different impression of their marriage than their husband or wife.A huge proportion of the emails and messages I receive are from people who need information and support for relationship issues that arise out of one (or both) partner’s bipolar disorder. A common – but staggering – statistic that gets bandied about is that 90% of marriages involving at least one bipolar spouse will end in divorce. During episodes of mania, someone with bipolar disorder is likely to do things that are particularly destructive. For example, a married person with bipolar disorder is often not aware of the full impact their disorder has on their partner, children, or other family members.If you have the disorder, chances are high that you will have a sibling, parent, grandparent, uncle, cousin etc who does too.Obviously, the dynamics within a bipolar family can be very dramatic and intense.