Bipolar Infidelity

I found this conversation between Stephen and Joe posted on another site and leveraged it. Have a read and see what you think. Whose approach is best? What point of view would you adopt?

Stephen says

I’ve been married for 19 years to a woman who was diagnosed as BP 8 years ago. To say that we’ve been through a lot is an understatement. Hypersexuality, mania and the resultant infidelity are things that we’ve had to deal with several times.

There are times when people with BP simply cannot exercise good judgment. Any competent care provider will tell you this. People with BP WILL do things that affect their families. That’s just part of being related to them. Although its really impossible to separate the illness driven behaviors from their personality, spouses and other family members need to understand that BPD changes the way people, think, feel and act. Allowances must be made. Not to do so is unfair because it holds people to unrealistic standards and disappointment becomes the inevitable outcome.

It is very hard to know that your spouse has sex with other people, becomes infatuated with other people, and can even turn against the people that love them most.For many people, these are unbearable behaviors. However, the reason they are unbearable is that they conflict so strongly with expectations. So you have two choices: moderate the behaviors and/or moderate the expectations.

It has taken years for us to come to grips with the fact my wife has BP. Fortunately, my wife is really good about taking her meds and seeking therapy. Even so, she has the occasional bout with mania so, for example, we now have an 11 month old girl by another man.

I could get all upset about that, demand a divorce, etc. But the truth is, I love my little girl and I still love my wife.

Joe says in response

Stephen–

I think you must be more tolerant than the rest of us mere mortals, because I’m not sure I would put up with quite so much. You mention two choices: moderate the behaviors and/or moderate the expectations.

First, “moderate the behaviors” can mean all sorts of things from the person with bipolar willingly taking her medications and putting an honest effort into maintaining mood stability to forced commitment. Too much tolerance, I believe, can lead a loved one to inaction, which can actually be harmful to the person with bipolar, not to mention yourself and everyone else involved.

I would question whether too much tolerance would be beneficial to the person with bipolar. If the person has no limits, faces no consequences for destructive behaviors, she has license to do anything. This is not good for her or her loved ones.

From my experience, a certain amount of tough love is required.

Oh yeah, my second point is that there’s a third option – leave. I’m not advising anyone to take this step lightly, but if the person with bipolar is doing nothing to help herself (or himself), I couldn’t fault anyone for taking this choice.


To read the entire article go to Dr. Candida Fink’s Bipolar Blog Information and Support site.

49 Responses to “Bipolar Infidelity”

  1. Bipolar Guy says:

    I’m with Joe. NO way would I put up with what Stephen is putting up with. No Way. See you on the BPS forum. Like your blog.

  2. Anon says:

    I think Stephen’s wife is very lucky. He is very understanding and devoted and willing to work through the manic periods

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. Having been involved in several manic episodes that have involved hypersexual behaviour, I’d have to say that both Steve and Joe combined would be the best approach for me.

  4. Luann says:

    This is a tough topic to deal with. Its drawn alot of attention on the blog and several people have written harsh comments that I’m not comfortable posting. Please remember that people with Bipolar Disorder are not able to judge their behaviors when in the throws of a severe manic episode. And we are not lazy or immoral, nor do we use our disorder to justify or excuse bad behavior.

  5. Anon says:

    Mania & hypersexuality are real, but I don’t know how to handle either. It’s not something that I can control easily. Take my meds and watch for triggers is what I do. Sometimes it works.

  6. Nick says:

    Being a surviving husband of a similar but less severe story to that of Stephen’s, I’d have to say that (like me) Stephen has a codependency problem. Look it up on any psych web site, Stephen. I’ll bet ya a $100 that you fit the bill to a T! Read Dr. Dobson’s book, “Love Must Be Tough.” I forgave my wife and we are giving it a real deal attempt to save our marriage and family. We have 4 kids and she is the love of my life but for the last 8 to 10 years, she was obsessed with another life with her old highscholl boyfriend that she stalked and wanted to have an affair with. She frequented internet sex hook-up sites and almost had an affair with a stranger. She had cyber sex with another bipolar man and ended up leaving me and our 4 kids to have an affair with him and start a new fantasy life. Believe me, this guy is nobody to be jealous of but my wife obsessed over him and had several sexual encounters with him and at least one other guy while she was gone for 4 and a half months in another state. Following two hospitalizations for mania, it took months of meds and counseling before she became stable and now she can’t believe she did any of this. I have to say that we have been together for 20 years and what she did was insane and totally inconsistent with her real self.. She is educated and intelligent but this disorder does not care. I can tell you for a fact that I do not intend to but up with infidelity or obsessions that would lead to infidelity ever again. I could not stand that kind of pain again. It sounds like Stephen would.

    • Luann says:

      Hi Nick,
      Thanks for sharing your experience and your philosophy. Your approach sounds like it combines both Joe and Stephen’s. You have empathy but you won’t allow yourself to be hurt again. I think that’s a fair and humane approach. I wish you and your wife all the best.

      Sincerely,
      Luann

  7. Nick says:

    A year and 8 months later after I postrf this, my wife has been veruy well and is more willing to try to prevent mania before it happens. Last August, she got manic and it was close to doing something terrible again. Family intervention worked after they noticed all of the historical signs and that she wanted to quit medication. She was able to overcome and our marriage is stronger today. This summer, she recognized that mania had happened 4 summers in a row and she asked her doctor to inrease her medication during these high risk months. It worked. I am so proud of her. Mental health reqires freedom of choice and she is making great choices these days.

  8. lunajenn says:

    I am bipolar and have been diagnosed for 10 years, and have been on medication constantly since I was diagnosed. Before I was diagnosed I did have episodes of hypersexuality which were totally uncharacteristic of my normal behavior. I got married to my husband 8 years ago and since then I have had a few episodes where I have become obsessed with another guy. For me there is an original thought that might spur the obsession, like, “I bet so and so would understand me better or know how to love me better”, but then the thoughts can become so intrusive that it is almost impossible to get them out of your head. Any random sign can be interpreted as a confirmation that these obsessive thoughts are true and valid. I can tell you I truly love my husband and I work so hard to keep these annoying thoughts out of my head and I still can’t. When the thoughts enter my head I try to push them out as soon as I can. The hardest part is trying to not act on them when it would be so easy to.
    I begged my husband to take away my access to the money, that way I HAVE to talk to him about any major purchases. I don’t have access to more than about 40 or so free spending money at a time. It’s limiting, but so much better than all the guilt after making compulsive purchases. It’s a struggle each day, and that is on medication.

  9. Luann says:

    It sounds like you are doing everything in your power to control the bipolar hypersexuality problems and the resulting chaos and pain that it causes you and others in your life. I wonder if perhaps a medication adjustment would provide more control of the intrusive thoughts?

    I’m glad you have a supportive and understanding husband. Mine is really helpful and tries to point out when I seem to be behaving in ways that are out of character for me. Good to get it early if possible.

  10. Nick says:

    Many bipolar people don’t want to be described as hypersexual or obsessed with having affairs. They find it offensive to be stereotyped. However, just look up the topic on any internet search and you will find scores or stories that are so similar. I don’t know how different it is for the sexes but Kay Jamison PHD says that research indicates that bipolar hypersexuality seems to be a bigger part of womens’ mania. My wife has had Jekyll and Hyde like behavior over the last decade. I don’t even know her during mania. The loving wife and mother becomes a lying, unloving, selfish, discontent, irritable and hypersexual woman that is capable of child abandonment, stalking a potential lover, multiple infidelities, stealing, manipulation and obsession with finding a new life and new love. Her type of mania has lead her to depravity that I can’t really describe.
    This harsh description of her mania is actually very kind. What would drive a woman tha loves her husband and kids so much when she is well to do some of the things she has done? I don’t know if it is simply because bioplar type 1 is much more severe than type 2 but my wife’s transformation is startling. She has been so determined to confront and beat mania for the last two years. Before that, she longed for the high during the first year of treatment. She was just going through the motions. The longer she has been on meds and in therapy, the more healing and restoration has taken place. She is such a beautiful person again and doesn’t want to lose herself ever again. She is blessed to have such a great therapist that can describe the dark half of mania and it’s horrible consequences. Some of the stories I read are even more heartbreaking than mine. Be patient and keep praying for miracles. God has answerd our prayers and he is a God of miracles.

    • Luann says:

      Nick, You write “She is blessed to have such a great therapist that can describe the dark half of mania and it’s horrible consequences.” I’d have to say that she is blessed to have you for her husband. Thank you for your inspiring comment.

    • Pierre says:

      Nick, of all the posts of all the reading i have done – your comment is the most insightful to me.

      Please tell us what has happened since the last update.

      Thanks!

    • Mike says:

      This is all very helpful. My wife is recently diagnoses as type 1 and this is all starting to make sense. I have stuck by her, even after finding out about several infidelities. It hurts the same, but is making more and more sense. She was undiagnosed and now that she is on meds, seems like we can make this work.

  11. nick says:

    Luann: Thanks. She is doing just great and has been well for a year and a half. Mild depression happens but nothing serious in the mania department since Summer of 2010. I think that one starts to recognize the sings of mania over time. She is such a good wife and mom again. I thank the good Lord that she is so dedicated to her treatment.

  12. Sad I indiana says:

    I am divorcing my husband who is undiagnosed but clearly seems BP. In 21 years he has had multiple affairs, spent grocery money on gambling, binges on food and alcohol and cannot commit to anything. He rages over nothing and terrifies those who love him the most. He also can be fun, funny, charming and intelligent. Right now he has left me for a much younger woman. I am done and wish I had set more boundaries in the past – when my mom had terminal cancer and was dying, this triggered him and he had an affair. I should have ended it there. It’s sac to know he is self-destructing but I cannot wear his behaviors like a tailored suit. I know I should not blame myself but I do. In the trenches, it is difficult to detach.

  13. Sad I indiana says:

    Luanne I understand what you are saying but you have not walked in my shoes. My husband may not be able to see clearly but at some level he knows right from wrong. And there is little empathy for the pain BP spouses cause. Most people think I am crazy because I put up with his behaviors – and I will say living with constant tension, fear, anger and abuse has left me feeling crazy at times. We need a place to let the suffering out, no one in my life right now understands how bad I feel, least of all my husband. I think I am being punished by God. It has been a living nightmare.

    • Luann says:

      Hi Sad,
      I agree with you that no one should have to live with the pain, fear, anger and abuse that you’ve experienced. First and foremost you must take care of YOU! If your husband has not been willing to get help to change his behavior over the last 21 years then you should definitely leave. Set your boundaries and stick to them.

      I hope you can find a support group in your area to help you deal and process what you’ve had to endure. You are not being punished but you do need to get yourself in a place where you can heal.

      You’ll get absolutely no argument from me on any of what you’ve written in your comments.

      Best wishes to you,
      Luann

  14. Carrie says:

    I am so glad to know I am not alone. After wondering for a year why my husband of 13 yrs was suddenly acting irratically he was diagnosed bipolar type 1. He went from being my best friend, a wonderful father and a hard worker, to distant, cold and aggressive. He began having a relationship with another woman which seemed to overtake him. No matter how he tried he just couldn’t stop talking to her. Every minute of his life seemed to revolve around when the next time he would talk to her would be. He always had his cell phone with him and every month his phone bill was filled with thousands of texts and calls. I love my husband very much and he says he loves me, but I am unsure of whether or not I can handle a lifetime of this. I feel betrayed and angry. I want to believe this can get better, but being bipolar doesn’t just go away.

  15. Amy says:

    Carrie –
    Your husband & my husband must be twins!! This is exactly the behavior my husband exhibited – he was then diagnosed Schizoaffective.
    The affair last about 3 months until his cell phone was turned off & that seemed to end the episode.
    He says he had NO control over his actions or his words during the episode. I am having a really hard time accepting that explanation – it just seems so unreal.

    He has been very dedicated to taking his medication & going to his psychiatrist & therapist. He says he doesn’t want to ever be out of control like that ever again & will do anything to stay stable.

    Like you, I’m not sure i want a lifetime of affairs & erratic behavior.
    I am heartbroken & in pain & I want to have a husband I can trust.
    For now, im not sure what to do. :/

  16. nikki says:

    My dear friends you are not alone. Don’t let the pain and anger stop you to do and feel what you want.Remind youself that is not your issue.Dont blame yourself there is nothing that you can do to change the past.
    My husband of 13 years had a bizzare manic episode two yrs ago. He had a affair with a younger women – rented an exclusive condo for her, was paying her monthly thousands of dollars and showering her with designer clothing, Channel bags and Prada shoes..bought himself a sports car, rented rooms at exlusive hotels. Wining and dining while I couldnt do anything because I was the enemy. I had to take care of my children and keep them safe. This all came out and when I confronted him he lied & denied & told me that I need treatment. BP is a very complicated disorder.

    I found this book LOVING somebody with bipolar which is helping me understand better why he devastated our family.

    Still the pain and anger is huge. Feels like tsunami just hit me. Does anyone deserve this? NO, but life has to go on and I have to wake up every morning and try to face the world..

    It hurts. MY husband wants me to give him one more chance, he tells me that he will change with treatment, and I am suspicious of the future.

    Betrayal is hard to over come but I remind myself daily it is the sickness.

    God bless you all and hope that each of you have peace in your heart.

  17. Luann says:

    Take care of yourself first Nikki. Sending you lots of positive thoughts.

  18. Sharon says:

    I recently found out that my husband has been having an affair with another woman. He then told me he had been diagnosed bipolar the year before, but didn’t really do anything about it. We’ve been together 10 years and it looks like he has had multiple affairs/infatuations for at least the last six years. I never saw this coming, in hindsight I can see some of the markers for bipolar, but both our therapists think he is a sociopath, in addition to being a sex addict. I love him so much this is killing me. Am I a bad wife if I just can’t do this? He is seeking help and is on medication now, but the level of betrayal is so deep. He denied ever having affairs and it took his “girlfriend” coming forward to tell me. and then the rest came out of the hat. I’m so confused right now. I love him, but I don’t know if staying with him is the right thing to do. I hate to see him in pain going through this and recently being diagnosed, but I’m in a world of pain too. Please help.

    • Luann says:

      That’s a tough call. If he truly is a sociopath that complicates things. People with bipolar disorder do terribly things when they are having an episode, but when taking the proper medication and staying stable they often behave quite morally and are terribly disturbed by the behaviors they exhibited when they were manic. I wish you well. You need to take care of yourself first. You are not a bad wife no matter what decisions you make regarding your marriage. I suggest that you both go to counseling together and work through the pain, the issues, and makes decisions about your future with an expert who can help you set realistic expectations about the future.

  19. BP2 says:

    My wife was diagnosed with BP2 six years ago and is on meds, but no “talk therapy”. As one doc said, she lives her life in a somewhat hypomanic state. There was one affair (that I know of) 25 years ago that caused a brief separation. We recovered from that and have had a pretty happy life since then and have a great son (now 19) who is the light of my life.

    Flash forward to today. 2 and 1/2 years ago my wife started drinking pretty heavily again and I suspected she had some encounters with other guys (later confessed to by her). Finally caught her lying to me a year ago. Since then she has had several sexual encounters, one of which occurred on a family vacation with a guy she met in the hotel bar before we even unpacked, and later left us at night to go meet up with.

    She’s made the bar scene and found that lacking after a while, so is now on a dating site. She’s had seven or eight dates in the past two weeks. Her time at home (when I’m around anyway) is pretty much spent alternating between texting and e-mailing, with a few phone calls.

    She says she still loves me very much but “the passion in our relationship has died”. She went to a therapist this summer but stopped after a few visits because she didn’t like what she was hearing and he “wasn’t doing any good.”

    At this point I would probably leave but (1) our son would be hurt, (2) she is bi-polar and I guess I have this wistful idea she may somehow emerge from this and the wreckage might be repaired, and (3) I’ve been the sole financial provider, and am not wild about having to gear up and work harder to ensure she maintains a comfortable lifestyle in a separate household (we had been planning for a happy retirement together and were planning to wind down a bit).

    Feel totally trapped and I won’t even go into the pain and hurt this has caused. I’ve been seeing a therapist and he says none of my options are happy ones, it’s a matter of whether I can live in a crazy situation without becoming crazy myself.

    Thanks for listening. I really sympathize with the others here (boy, do I know how it feels), but it has helped to understand that I’m not alone.

    • Luann says:

      You are in a tough situation. It sounds as though you are quite rational about your options. When she behaves badly she is in an episode and the only way to end it is to seek medical help and get her on a medication that keeps her stable. It sounds like she is not stable right now. I sure don’t have any answers for you but you need to set some boundaries and make sure that she respects them. I wish you all the best. Take care of yourself!

      • BP2 says:

        Thanks so much for the reply. My therapist knows her and says she’s in BP denial. She contends she is properly medicated, that with her personality she needs to live at a 7, and that she won’t put up with being “dumbed down” by meds to a 5 like everyone else. Thanks again for the comment!

  20. Luann says:

    Your therapist is correct. I hope the best for you and for your wife. Take care.

  21. JCR says:

    Hi,

    I stumbled upon this website and conversation – and I’m glad that I have.
    My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar in January 2013, although we always knew that this is what he had – but for him it was more like being an alcoholic eg “It’s not my fault, I’m Bipolar” etc, so just like an alcoholic it took a lot for him to admit it and start taking the meds. First he started on Quetiapine and now he is on Lithium.
    He has always been a flirty man and has had a few indiscretions in our 15 year history – which I have always forgiven him for (not forgotten – I can name each and every one of them :)).
    But recently, I caught him messaging a female through facebook – it doesn’t help that he is a professional singer, so coming into contact with members of the opposite sex is easy.
    His explanations after the fact were that he was just in the “right” time of an episode to need/want/love the ego boost – that someone was looking at him like they wanted him, like he was the greatest thing ever, and gave him sympathy if he needed it.
    Fact is – for me – this one has really stung, and I don’t know why. I guess maybe, I was just hoping that with the new drug (Lithium – which he has been on for about 6 months now) – that he would sort of be “fixed” for lack of a better word. I am finding this one really hard to deal with.
    I’m sorry for writing this on here – I don’t know if it is the right place. But I think I really needed to blurt my problems out to hopefully people who might have a slight understanding – I don’t/can’t discuss anything like this with my family, his family or my friends as none of them would understand; and would give me the typical “You deserve better” and “You should just leave him”. But it’s not that simple – BP is not like a common cold, you can’t just rest and it will go away.
    I feel like there is more that I could’ve done to be more supportive, but then I’m not sure.
    Sorry – today is a sucky day!! 🙂

    • JCR says:

      Sorry – just to add.. This happens every few years, and generally doesn’t involve sex (not in the last 10 years anyway) – just talking and hanging out with someone, for a couple of weeks and then it’s over.
      I guess I just wanted to know if this is typical BP behaviour – to need some sort of validation from someone new.
      It seems that he ends up not hiding it very well – like he wants to be caught by me – so it somehow completes the circle, and ends up with him feeling guilty and like a bad person because he has hurt the one person in his life that has stood by him through everything.

      • Luann says:

        Hi JCR,
        You sound like you have a very good understanding of the BP manic behaviors that can include promiscuity. I wonder if your husband might need a bit more Lithium or another med added to his current meds? It takes time for the medications to work and if he is manic and flirting again then he needs some help. You do deserve better treatment from your husband. You deserve his total effort at getting well. Sometimes it helps to draw strong boundaries and let the person know what you are willing and not willing to tolerate. Then they have to make a conscious decision and effort to change their behaviors while they are not in an episode. So that when one hits they can hopefully catch it early or listen to you when you see it coming on. Best to you and your husband. I wish you many happy years together.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi Luann, thank you for your reply.
          Just to update, things are better – although they got worse for awhile after my initial post.
          My husband’s psychiatrist has now diagnosed him as a Rapid Cycler. Although I haven’t had a chance to speak with them fully about this, I have read up about it and it seems like him to a tee. I have shown him what I have found and he agrees.
          They have now incorporated Sodium Valproate into his med list, and slowly coming off the Lithium when the Valproate is the right level in his blood. Still on Quetiapine. He was experiencing bad tremors and they think it might be the Lithium.
          Since on Valproate, we have had no manic episodes – which is fantastic! A couple of down days, but nothing like before the Lithium.
          In all honesty, I think that he is a little bit impatient sometimes and was hoping to be “cured” quickly with the meds. And also, he does not know what “normal” people experience – so to him having a slightly off day means that the meds aren’t working – which in fact they are, and all non-medicated people have bad days 🙂
          His psychologist has given him a book that has people’s personal BP experiences recorded. We are slowly getting through it, but sometimes it becomes too “real” for him to deal with. But it’s good for him to see that he is not the only one that has ever felt certain ways, and also that there are people who experience worse things than him.
          I am truly greatful that I found this page. Having an outlet when I really needed one was a godsend for me. Sometimes I just need to get everything off my chest – things I can’t talk about to other people or my husband, for fear of upsetting him. He is going through enough ups and downs, don’t get me wrong I do speak to him about everything but I have to be tactful – and sometimes that’s hard when I’ve been hurt by him.
          After 15 years of everything that his BP has thrown at us, I believe that we can make it. Two steps forward, one step back sometimes – but always working toward the end goal of him stabilising, getting better, and most importantly feeling better about himself – the amount of guilt that he carries around from all the stupid, insensitive things that he has done is such a burden to him.
          I just hope that the Valproate and Quetiapine continue to work their magic, and all stays happy 🙂

  22. Kelly says:

    My husband of 12 years is BP 2 diagnosed 4 yrs ago. He took meds over the past 4 years but not regularly. He is also a recovering addict and alcoholic. He wasn’t really working his program or taking pills and BOOM had a relapse. He didn’t pick up a drink or drug but instead – a woman. He answered an ad online and had an affair. This relapse was months in the making and started with getting on the computer, sexting, and then the one night stand. I am devastated.
    Prior to going inpatient for bp 4 yrs ago he was frequenting strip clubs and looking at internet dating sites, spending tons of money, and watching tons of porn. I knew those things were bp related and that’s what lead him to being diagnosed.

    He admits to what he has done recently and wants to stay married. We have three little children and he is my best friend. Being a dual diagnosis patient is way more dangerous than I ever understood.

    He had an affair seven years ago with a striper and later overdosed. We never knew he was bp at that point. Now I see how hypersexuality played into that whole crisis. I forgave him back then and now this…
    My boundary has been crossed and I am seriously contemplating divorce. He is back on his meds and is working very hard with psychiatrist and therapist to get better. He is actively working his AA program and trying to make sure he arms himself with a relationship with God and his sponsor. I just don’t know if I can stay married to him. I love him but I have little hope that he can get better. He is trying so hard but there is so much pain. Can you ever trust again? Can he get better?

  23. Adam says:

    Last year and for the early part of this year (between June 2013 and February 2014) my wife had a manic episode that involved hypersexuality and an affair that lasted 4 months.

    Prior to her manic episode, she had been misdiagnosed with depression and given a combination of antidepressants, diazepam and sleeping tablets.

    When the mania started, I saw my wife transform from a loving wife and mother, to a person entirely self-focused, possessing no morals, uncaring and emotionally vacant, with her usual empathy replaced with apathy. It was a truly shocking experience, which has left us both emotionally scarred.

    My wife has since been diagnosed with bipolar, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorder.

    Incidentally, we strongly believe that the antidepressant that she was prescribed, switched her into the manic phase of the illness. Further to this, the diazepam and sleeping tablets that she was prescribed, had a paradoxical reaction, which made her personality disorder much worse, making her more impulsive, aggressive and more irrational.

    The hypersexuality and obsessive behaviour led to her sending literally hundreds of inappropriate texts and pictures to the person she became involved with. However, the affair wasn’t straight forward, as there was a lot of manipulation and taking advantage of her varying states of intoxication, on the part of the other person involved, which played her mania into the vulnerability of her personality disorder. Without going into detail, we have since reported this person to the police, in relation to some of the incidents that took place during this time.

    When I first discovered the affair, my wife was still obsessed with sex orientated goals, and it took a long time before any rational thinking came into play. She now admits that she didn’t care about my feelings (about the affair) at the time, as she was still in the grip of mania and hypersexuality.

    My wife is now truly sorry for what she put me and the children through, and is having a very hard time coming to terms with the damage that she caused to our family, and that she let someone get between us. She is still unable to accept that it was her that did those things. At this time, she is still not yet fully recovered, though is determined that this will never happen again. On top of this, she is still trying to accept her diagnosis.

    We try and think of that time as her being a different person, that is in no way associated with her real character. Of course this is not easy, and we often have very emotional arguments, as the hurt cuts very deep.

    Thankfully, we’re both on the way to recovery, and believe that our special bond and love will pull us through.

  24. Farmers Wife says:

    It’s been over a year and I am still having trouble accepting my husband of 22 years having an affair which resulted in him receiving a diagnosis of Bipolar I. We had no idea he was Bipolar but once he became suicidal and we got him to a therapist (I really was after just getting him calmed down so I could proceed with divorce without him hurting himself), he was sent to a psychiatrist to make the official diagnosis with both professionals conferring. I have stayed in the relationship 1)partially because I want to believe him when he tells me it was the illness and not him making the decisions, and 2)because my children, sister, Mother In law, and doctors have also asked that I give him a second chance because this was not him in control of his actions nor his wants.

    He has a deceased paternal uncle that was diagnosed manic depressive and a second one that committed suicide so we do know it is in his family. However, the day we saw the therapist, he had no clue about this when he told my husband he saw bipolar and depression in him.

    He lost a dramatic amount of weight really fast, told me “it wasn’t him that did that” on the morning of my discovery of the affair, said a force pushed him thru it, said he was not in control, thanked me for releasing him from the trap he was in, started exercising vigorously, did not have sex supposedly only kissed her (this is what she told her husband and told myself as well-who knows though), he was VERY self centered and would get upset when someone didn’t commend him on his weight loss, had employees tell him they thought he was on drugs, and was drinking very heavily.

    This is a few of the ways he acted out. It truly is very out of character for him but I’m having a hard time not wanting to say he did all this on his own. This came out of the blue so unexpectedly without any warning, to say we were blindsided is putting it mildly.

    He is taking Depakote and Seroquel, has not had a drop to drink, and is going to his pdoc appointments regularly (every 2- 3 weeks). He is very remorseful and has so much guilt he carries from this. He tells me he hates the OW and feels like since it was not his true self making the decisions, he has been violated. This is just his way of feeling about the situation.

    I have received very valuable insight from reading all the posts on this site. It has helped me tremendously in many ways. Thanks for all the information you have provided on one site it has been extremely helpful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Forgiveness is next to godliness life with out him could be much worse, would you really like to be a single mother? the out side world could even be more traumatic. You are right to feel hurt but he didn’t do it to hurt you. Family is worth fighting for and you are a strong woman.

    • I also was blindsided I had no idea he could discard me an our bond. I know he was manic used drugs and alcohol never has he accepted he has bipolar disorder. He lost his phone and I found it he had been sexting a female that also had been throwing herself at him for years I let her be overly friendly she was his nephews wife they came over quite often my bipolar husband is usually in our room alone she always concerned with where he is..now in his right mind doing he had no interest absolutely no physical attraction she is very overweight u attractive and is not feminine a semi truck driver. He insisted he didn’t go through with the planned meeting his nephewson apartment when he went to work but last text was him telling her he is on the way she was getting cleaned up but what he said to her the one day he didn’t have the chance to
      Delete he had been sexting from Monday evening went to her apartment took her for a ride on motorcycle he said that was the only time they were together she told him she would do ANYTHING he wanted she has wanted him before either of his 2 nephews that she was passed from one to the other he a very handsome muscular fit man. He was in a manic hypersexual episode went back to his brothers text all night to the next day they were saying explicit things to one another he would not answer my calls but did hers..now knowing he had no physical attraction maybe he did just go ride the bike left her hanging but how do I know but suspect it’s true couldn’t get past her appearance. Had she been attractive it for sure would of went full on…he has perverted sexual behavior porn constantly hard core porn don’t want a respectably woman he wants slut types seeing them as instruments not wemon why so opposite of who he is but the main question I have is how does he come home he finds it easy to forget I am not allowed to speak of it sets him not a rage had total mental breakdown psychosis lost of reality memory in hospital to become stable I love him but suffer verbal abuse daily now this is to much wife’s have questions that no where I can find answers like why dirty wemon he despises now turns him on how long did he think about it before he went there on a upswing for weeks hypomanic to full manic hypersexual but for weeks kept it together then it went to full destruction who can tell me how to work on this if I leave him he will be so I’ll will not continue treatment will use drugs and alcohol will at some point act on impulse an comment suicide so I have to help him but don’t want to be vereally abused a tore down an hurt for the rest of my life have questions no answers where do I go please if anyone knows you hear something much about her wasn’t able to rationalize ect. He knew this was a deal breaker but didn’t care says never happen again but no idea why it did this time so yes seeking help will be manic again will look at me as enemy so what do I do

  25. Anonymous says:

    My wife has Bi polar. She has had many sexual encounters. I love her dearly and we have two boys. This year it all came to the surface all the secrets. At first it was my entire fault then not, and around it would go.

    I don’t want a divorce, but I don’t know if she realises the pain that I carry because of what she has done. I wish she could feel what I feel.

    She is getting help and talking medication but still gets moody and empathy is not really there, even though she says that she will fight for the marriage and she loves me, I don’t feel her comfort as she is working on herself and not settled with the new medication.

    It’s hard not to feel worthless when you find out all the truth and that you have to write it off as illness but the hurt doesn’t stop.

    Everyone here seems to have the same feelings and I bet everyone has received the same advise, be strong, it’s not your fault and things will get better.

    I know time heals , I thought if someone love you they won’t hurt you.

  26. Sharon says:

    I had always known my husband suffered from depression but I didn’t know he was bipolar. His diagnosis of bipolar II was made after a manic episode in which he had an affair with a coworker. I was made aware after her husband called me at work to tell me about what was going on between them. But, I had suspected something and had asked him about it a month earlier, of course he denied it. He had been acting so differently! He had started dressing differently, running, staying out late, was more sexually active with me (usually he had a low libido). So, I knew something was going on. We had gone to couples therapy and I asked if there had been any other inappropriate behavior with other women- full blown affairs, online, emotional affairs, anything at all. He swore on our children’s lives it was just the one. But I just found out that he had attempted to have an affair with another woman, he had emailed and texted her expressing his desires to have a relationship with her. It didn’t happen, but he was clearly fixated on her. A couple things, 1) he seemed to think I didn’t like him or even love him during these episodes. Which is so far from the truth! I’ve always loved him and wanted nobody but him! I have been the sole supporter of our family for many, many years. He had been fired from previous jobs and it was difficult for him to work due to depression. So, he stayed home with the kids. Believe me, I wouldn’t have worked 70+ hour weeks away from my children (when I wanted to be the stay at home parent) if I wasn’t committed to him, love him and choose him. 2) I simply don’t believe that these are the only 2 times. I have that feeling in my gut. And I am learning through all this, to trust my gut! I don’t know if he can be honest with himself, let alone me. But, I truly believe there is more he isn’t telling me. I don’t and won’t beat him up over any of it, however, finding out about this in pieces tears at me and reopens the hurt. I’m asking him to be kind to me and just share so that I can put it in the past and move forward with healing myself and our relationship.
    3)He just started taking mood stabilizers last week, but is still drinking and that worries me.
    I’d like feedback because I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable in asking him to disclose this to me so that we can get it behind us. I feel as though it’s an acceptable request and setting a solid boundary. But, I’m just getting used to setting boundaries, so my perception isn’t so hot.
    I don’t want to spend time wondering “what will I find out next”. I want to focus on getting both he and I healthy. Me, in setting better boundaries and he in taking his meds and talk therapy. I KNOW we can live a full, rich life in spite of bipolar. I just believe that honesty and cleaning up the past is an important part of the process. Am I off track?

  27. ARcv says:

    I need help and would like to talk to someone. I am 25 and I finally admit that indeed I have bipolar. I was diagnosed with it when I was 13, and took medication till I was 18. I thought it was a misdiagnosis and went off of it. Since then I have had affairs on my loyal wonderful husband on and off our whole marriage. Ill be the greatest wife and mother for awhile and then I will throw it all away for some fantasy I have with another man. I cant keep doing this to myself and my family. Im relieved that I wasnt just some whore and that hypersexuality is actually a real deal for Bipolar illness. This last affair I stuck a gun to my head and I thought about my family which made me not pull the trigger. I dont even know where to start. I will just want attention at first and then it spirals into things I feel good at the time and then afterwards I just feel awful. Idk I just need some help.

  28. Don says:

    I have just had my wife tell me that she has slept with 7 people over the last 4 years. She has bipolar and only recently has accepted this and taken into her own hands to get medicated and stay in a mental health care institution for 6 weeks to show her devotion in getting better. I pray every day and struggle with the choices she made. I have trawled the internet for answers and there are so many people in our situation. Is there an answer I don’t know, you probably have one by now. I do see how so many of the partners of bi polar people suffer. Do we leave, if the partner doesn’t accept their illness then the road ahead will be very difficult. If they want to truly save the marriage then their actions will be evident. The pain is with us to struggle through, I feel it every day. I hope and send love to all partners of Bi Polar to feel peace and find grace. I say to myself every day that I am a survivor and not a victim. It helps some days. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. I have started a bipolar support on Skype and plan to hold groups to help each other (bipolarpartnersupport)join me and I will send details for group session.

  29. Brandon says:

    My wife and I have been married for 8.5yrs. The signs of mania started in 2010 right after our daughter was born. She would start getting dressed up. She would spend hours texting, visiting websites and ultimately going out 2-3 times a week(she had an affair with a friend of mine for about a month). She was cold and distant during that time. She ultimately attempted suicide once she started to come down which resulted in a 6month inpatient stay. Fast forward to this past summer and and she started wearing makeup, getting dressed up and going to the gym. She was constantly taking selfies, using kik and Facebook messenger. One day she left for 3 hours and had an affair with a guy she had been talking to on fb messenger. She told the guy that she was getting divorced (she lied) and that she was just waiting for a lawsuit to settle so she could leave. I just found out about the details after having to go into her phone after she was hospitalized yesterday. She has not been formally diagnosed as BP but it has been speculated after years of being diagnosed as having depression and ptsd. I’m so confused and tired but I’m willing to go through with this hospital stay to make things work.

    • Brandon says:

      I wanted to add the importance of seeing the signs of a manic phase. The biggest flag I have seen is the amount of time spent on Kik, snap chaat and other messenger apps. These apps are so poisonous when it comes to BP. They make it easy to fall into a fantasy world of feeling validated and comforted. They seem to be a tool for one to have affairs while going through manic episodes.

    • Devastated says:

      Brandon,
      I am feeling for ou right now. Recently discovered my husband has had multiple sexual partners, some unprotected, in the last year, most of them extremely recently in a short period of time. He had set up new social media accounts and met many girls online while he was traveling. All the signs of mania were present for many months, building and growing, but I didn’t know anything about bipolar. Now I am left heartbroken over the infidelity and unsure if there is a way to rebuild. The bipolar diagnosis is new to me, and he fits literally every sign. After a week and a half on meds, I thought I was seeing some signs of the warm man I married coming back, but there are still moments when I feel he is cold and I get knots in my stomach. How can you ever trust again? How can I be touched again by him? I want to believe the life and love I lost is possible to regain, but reading all these stories seems discouraging- so many “relapses” even on meds. I had the love of my life, q friend and partner, now I am afraid and hurting. He is committed to meds and therapy, but i still feel anxiety and occasionally disconnect from him…. Can mania peek through the meds still? any support or advice? I’m dying over here

  30. wishingiknew says:

    I have been with my husband for 16 years. The first 8 were great. We were so loving and had a wonderful time. He was let go from a job, and I saw an ugly side of him, a side I didn’t know existed. He tried to blackmail the boss and despite me begging and trying to talk sense in to him, he continued his course of action. He was determined to destroy him, he was his enemy. We found out not too long into this time we were expecting our first child and his mood dramatically changed (over night), we worked through things, and began our family. I didn’t know what really caused him to act like that, but I wish I had. Fast forward 2 years. We sold our home and moved back to my home state. He was already feeling like a failure for selling the home, but I thought he wanted to, so it confused me. He lost his mother suddenly and then it all happened. He spiraled and was acting so beyond himself. I was pregnant again and he would spend days gone with me in the house with a toddler and pregnant. He was cheating (he says only emotionally) he was staying out drunk with friends. Mind you our first 8 years of our relationship he probably had a handful if that of drinks a year. I thought it was all grief, combined with PTSD that he was diagnosed with as a teen. He said he didn’t care for me and had been pretending for years, YEARS!. This went on for months, even after the baby was born. I couldn’t believe it, prior to this we had been real good, we don’t fight, we are a great team, we do everything together. He woke up from this one day, and said he did love me. A few months later, he was texting me again, saying he didnt have those feelings. As i did from the beginning i begged him to go to therapy to see someone. He finally did. They said he was Bipolar and i could tell immediately the difference between him on weeks he went to therapy versus weeks he did not. We were ok, we were trying.. he would have moods but he would bounce back. He didnt take meds and honestly i was too dumb to know he needed them, i thought he was just depressed, with moody spells, and the therapy alone seemed to help. I didnt realize what any of it was. I didnt even research it, and why didnt I? I somehow thought they were wrong? he abandoned therapy about three years ago, we were active things around the house with projects, his state of mind was good, he was helpful and seemed to be pretty happy.. he had a few instances of major mood swings and i suggested he should go back to therapy, but he didnt, now to A few months ago, he began slipping again. He realized it, i made him an appointment after a couple weeks of odd behavior and he went back to therapy, they tested him again and said he was bipolar, this time I took it seriously, they gave him medication, i wanted him to take it, I was hoping that i would get him back, the man i fell in love with from the beginning. I was mistaken, he took about 20 pills of his first thirty days, not even enough for them to work. He is now full on hypomanic/manic (honestly i dont know if he is a 1 or 2 as he wont talk to me, i believe it is a 2). He started an affair somewhere in the slip into this. He started staying gone for a day or two at time, i told him it wasnt ok. One day i had enough, i knew better of it as he is quick to blame others even in a good state of mind, but I asked him if he was seeing someone and he denied it and he blamed me for asking (cause HOW DARE I EVEN ASK THAT), said i was the reason we couldn’t have a chance and he wants a divorce. this has all happened since Feb this year, and I found out for certain he is having the affair. I tried to talk to her, to tell her he is sick. It didnt go over well of course. She knows hes ill but believes hes not sick, because he said hes not. He told his sister he was only on sleeping pills. He tells his friends, its not a big deal, he has some mood swings that is all. He says almost daily to me that he hates me. He is cold and mean, and just out of it. He is mad that i wanted him to medicate. Told me he doesnt have an illness, i am his illness and his therapy is only to talk about me, and how I am and how he cant put up with it. He blames me for his past, for his life leading up to meeting me. He blamed me for his mothers death before on his last episode, i am the enemy. He will stop at nothing to hurt my feeling and make me pay for .. what? I dont know. Being alive? Now this woman, this cowoker, whore, He calls her his gf and plans on moving her into our home. Our home we bought together after his last ordeal and he promised me if he didnt want to be with me, he wouldnt have bought the house, that he will always love me and wanted our family and our lives together. But now i found out He has even had her around our kids when he took them out to a park. I am livid, i am sad, i am so confused. He thinks this woman is the love of his life, he barely knows her. He says he HATES ME, HATES ME. Refuses to stay in the same house with me. Says he cannot even stand to be around me. Is demanding me daily to accept this is who he loves and to get out of his home. He has spent hundreds of dollars in last few weeks on frivolous purchases, he even traded in a 4 month old car new car, for a brand new truck without even telling me. I dont know how he managed it. I dont know how they gave him the loan. Its so high its insane. I am still hoping he comes down from this ASAP, like this very second could not be soon enough. It has escalated beyond control. Monday he told our kids. They are little. They didnt need to hear this. He tells them he is love, and he doesn’t love me, and we are moving. he claims i am threatening to take them away because i asked him to stay in treatment and then if he did and still felt this way, i wouldnt be the woman that did those things, i would never keep them from him. Hes lied to everyone, saying i have kicked him out, which i havent, i have begged him to stay, i have begged him to get treatment. The text messages i saw between him and her, was all lies to build himself up. Everything he did to me, according to him was things i was doing to him. Everything I did for the kids, he said he did, down to reading to them at night. I cannot reach him, he believes awful things about me. Whats worse, our children are so mad at him now. he thinks they are ok, and they are not. Our little girl had her father remove himself from the pedestal she had him on.He tells her these adult things and crushed her, she is only in kindergarten. He sat there coldly yelling at me, when i tried to talk to him this week. While she cried and my son says, its ok, shes never heard this before, you never talk to each other like this. Which is the honest truth, we might disagree from time to time but we have never had an argument. I am beside myself. Now all these people know and everyone including him are just telling me get out and move on. Its not that simple. I know hes ill. I know he loves us still. he claims he wants to see the kids, and insists i am going to try and take them from him, but in reality he cant handle having them. This week he had them for two hours, i was texted three times in that two hours to come and get them. He thinks this weekend he is going to take them away to go with him to his whores house two hours away. He has not idea what lines hes crossed. I have told him no, the kids told him no, he thinks it will happen. He is out of it, has no idea how inappropriate his actions are. I NEED HIM TO WAKE UP from this. I cannot bare another second of it. I have tried to accept it as the illness and separate it from the man but the longer it goes on, the more numb i feel. I am afraid he will push me past forgiveness. Meanwhile this week i went ahead and looked at homes with a realtor. Its nothing i want, its what everyone else wants me to do. I dont know what else to do. I dont want a divorce. I want him to get help. I want to work through it if we can. BUT HE HAS TO COME OUT OF IT. I keep praying he will. I am so desperate. I wish I had known it would happen, i wish i had been aware before the episode how it could escalate. He is in full episode and full denial.

  31. bipolarwidow says:

    My husband died during a manic episode. He had an affair and I divorced him. He too felt like I was the enemy because I wanted him to get treatment. None of his friends believed me he had bipolar after being diagnosed and most people thought I was just a horrible wife he needed to get away from. His friends believed his lies while he was ill and figured he was just happy to be free of me. His psychiatrist was lousy and couldn’t identify that he was high. I felt like I didn’t have a support system who believed the changes I observed in him. I am not sure if he died committing a dangerous act in euphoric, grandiose state of being or if he came back down and felt hopeless, I’m not sure, but the one thing I do know is to try to help your loved one as best you can. Try to stage an intervention with a lot of people who love the person with bipolar and try to get them treatment before deciding whether or not to leave them. Make sure you are safe first, and try to get them stabilized as best you can, and not alone. Like any of us, it’s not fair to leave a family member when they need you the most, even though they have caused you an incredible amount of pain with their inconsiderate actions without thought to consequence. I regret not doing more for him everyday. My heart broke twice when he left me for his new girlfriend and asked me for a divorce and it broke again when he died after. The highs of bipolar are just as dangerous as the lows, so don’t underestimate bipolar disorder, it’s a very serious condition that can lead to accidental death either way. My thoughts and prayers go out to all you visiting this blog. Bipolar affairs are so painful and difficult to understand. The rejection and breach of trust defy the moral code we follow in committed relationships. How can someone say they love you, and hurt you so much and express so much happiness while stabbing you in the back with betrayal? Just know, that the person you love is still somewhere inside even though they can’t hear you anymore and fight for the person they used to be before bipolar got a hold on them. I hope your love stories have a happier ending than mine.

  32. Jerimiah says:

    I recently left the house of my wife, this thing came from nowhere, all of a sudden about 1 month ago she would go to walmart for hours come back with only a few things, this led into her leaving and not coming home for days, when asked, it was not my business. One day after her work she went out with “work friends” and never came back till the next day, when asked where she was she did not tell me because she did not want me showing up. Even better, on our anniversary she did not show up, instead she was on facebook in times square (we live in CT). More recently she kept saying she wants a divorce, she wants a divorce, me to move out go live somewhere, until it escalated and she gave me a minor concussion. I decided right then and there I am done, when I went to get my things the lock was changed within 8 hours, I had to go back with a cop where she continued on and on, basically I left with the cloths on my back and few things, what was weird was as I was leaving she breaks out crying and say’s “don’t you think this is hard on me, I still love you” she suffered from depression before, and PTSD from her ex that used to be abusive, she was prescribed Xanax but takes it rarely and refuses to see a counselor, reading these comments gave me a better understanding, life is short, the road is long and in the end its only with yourself, I moved out I’m happy now and have no regrets…

  33. Hurtmomma says:

    My ex husband is in mania right now or hypomania. We had gotten back together, now he’s left. Staying out all night. He’s 39 seeing a 23 year old that lives an hour and a half away that way when she leaves to go back to work he can see other women here. He acts like I don’t exist and our life together meant nothing. He still sees our daughter a lot. He works to keep a connection with her but she can feel something is different. He tells me he started taking his depakote again. But I don’t believe him

  34. Lala says:

    I had been dating my boyfriend for about 8 months. He was married for 10 years. His divorce was final and I was separated from my husband. He told me upfront that he is bipolar, OCD and ADHD and is a recovering drug addict. He takes meds and is in therapy.

    We had minor arguments but nothing drastic and we always worked things out. He never called me horrible names (besides “jerk” but always said he was kidding) and he was not violent. He was not very nice to his parents’ pets, though. He lived at home with his folks since his divorce and would say he wasn’t happy about it. He didn’t have severe mood swings but would get easily annoyed or irritable at times and I would walk on eggshells as to not upset him. He had an obsession with shopping in general but clothes especially. He spent money like crazy but he has a good job and works regularly. He chain smoked cigarettes and drank coffee like it was water. He did not eat healthy or exercise and complained of being tired a lot. Overall, though, he was sweet, caring, affectionate, smart, charismatic and witty. He talked to me several times daily, saw me regularly and told me he loved me often.

    Everything seemed fine until two weeks ago. I missed a call from him and then he texted he would call me back later. I responded okay. He never called back so I texted him. No response. I called him and no answer. This is unusual behavior for him. I called and texted a couple more times through the night. I finally got a text from him the next morning saying he loves me but can’t be with me anymore. He has to end this chapter of his life. Goodbye. It was so sudden and unexpected. The day before, he was attentive and telling me he loves me.

    I am so lost and hurt. He won’t talk to me now, calls or texts. I believe he has blocked my number. Would this be the bipolar disorder even if he is on meds? I love him so much and miss him greatly. Sadly, from everything I have read, I believe I met him in a manic state and now he is depressed or manic again. I found out he had a new love interest 5 days after he dumped me. I am still shocked at how fast this turned. He is like a different person and I went from his lover to enemy overnight.

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