3 Tips to Keep Your Relationship on Track

Last Updated: 16 Aug 2019

Here are a few simple relationship tips & ideas to keep you and your sweetheart in synch when living with bipolar disorder.

Cultivate connection:

Even during severe depressive episodes when she wants to isolate herself, LaRae of Maine can deeply feel her husband’s love in one of his hugs or an offer to clean up the dishes after dinner. “Just knowing there isn’t that much pressure to be overly romantic makes it a lot easier to have intimacy in a relationship,” she says, “even when you’re struggling.”

Time your talks:

“It’s sort of like with sex—it’s not a good time to talk about it in bed after something has just happened,” explains Anita H. Clayton, MD. “Set separate time aside to give the conversation the priority that it deserves.”

Decompress as a duo:

Maureen and her husband “have our secret places where we find serenity.” Together, the California couple walk in nature, pray in a chapel, or reflect in a meditation garden. “It’s important to have at least one special place just to ‘be’ for a while,” she says.

Read More: 
Bipolar & Relationships: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
The Sweethearts Deal: How To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Printed as “3 Tips to Keep Your Relationship On Track”, Summer 2016

About the author
Robin L. Flanigan is a national award-winning journalist for magazines and newspapers, and author of the children’s book M is for Mindful. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in language and literature from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she worked for eleven years in newsrooms including The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, and the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York. Her work has earned awards from the Education Writers Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, and elsewhere. She wrote the children’s book M is for Mindful, and also authored a coffee-table book titled Rochester: High Performance for 175 Years. When not writing for work, Robin is usually writing for pleasure, hiking (she climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2008), or searching for the nearest chocolate chip cookie. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and daughter, and can be found at thekineticpen.com or on Twitter: @thekineticpen.
  1. C.:
    If he says he doesn’t love you any more why do you stay with him? It really could be that the relationship is over; the marriage has reached beyond the romance part of the relationship and you, or he,has not found the resolve to work further on the relationship.. Does he say this only when he’s angry or are there other times he tells you he doesn’t love you. Are you trying to get back the romance part of your relationship? Are you facing the truth about your relationship? Are both of you seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist? Even marriage counseling can help.

  2. For those who are discussing rage and screaming……..do you feel you are medicated correctly? My daughter used to rage, scream, etc. and it was horrible for our family. We constantly walked on egg shells. We realized her meds were not right. One made her heart race (we decreased it slightly), and one made her edgy / irritable (decreased it by 1/2). We increased her mood stabilizer significantly until her ‘rage’ was gone. She still has some moody / irritable times but they are much more under control and we can deal with them with understanding, and be honest and upfront with her without it ruining our family relationships. We also do Ketamine infusions for depression and she has taken a lot of ownership of her BP2 and her needs. She has to decompress often, she lives alone but near us so she has ‘space’ when needed, she has 2 cats that help her feel calm and loved……. we have had many heart-to-hearts to discuss how her illness effects our family relationships. It hasn’t been easy but it has worked well and I feel we have strong family relationships and look forward to the future rather than dreading it.

  3. WillieEarl;
    I can imagine a long-distance relationship can be very difficult to maintain but I’d encourage you to work on preserving it if you can. Are you sure they (Does your partner prefer the pronouns they, them and their?) I wonder why you’ve never met their family since they’ve met yours. Are they ashamed of you? Are they or you afraid their family hurt you? Are you sure your partner really loves you or do you need to rethink your relationship? Have you become dependent on them rather than actually love them?
    Screaming at anyone is unhealthy behavior especially so if you do it often, and it is unproductive for any of your family to scream back at you. When you’re in a rage I doubt you even think of what you are doing to them or yourself much less what they are doing to you or themselves. Are you sure you’re doing all you can to control your outbursts and watching out for your triggers or could you be using your screaming as an excuse for not working on self-control and avoiding such destructive screaming? Do you (or they), ever apologize for screaming at each other? Sometimes there are meds that can help calm some of the anger, but you still have to work on controlling your temper. Your daughter and grandson may have had all the screaming they can deal with and if you scream constantly they may have decided to get out of your way and avoid all that screaming. All you can do is express to them that you miss them and that you are working on learning to control your temper and learning not to scream. Maybe if they see enough improvement they’ll resume contact with them. You might try attending both Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) – call Al-Anon for times and locations. The twelve-step group can help you learn how to have healthy relationships and improve yourself; The other is Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and even contact The National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) for help. Are you seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist? Both are really important…

  4. My husband is the best. He knows when I ain’t feeling myself. He will give a hug or space depending on my mood. I’m very blessed to have a wonderful support system.

  5. I am at my wittsend, I don’t know what to do. I am in one state and my partner is in another. I see them maybe one or two weeks ever 3 to 4 months. They know my family and friends, I know nothing about them. It’s been 12 years now we’re togeather. I have never been to their home or meant there family. I have been as patient, understanding and try so hard to be here for them. . They will go months at a time with no communication, none. When they do come around they act like nothing is wrong, everything is my fault. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I love them very much or I wouldn’t have stuck around this long. They are a beautiful loving person, but I am getting weaker by the day. What to do????????

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