Is It the Marriage or the Bipolar Diagnosis?

Last Updated: 19 Mar 2019

In times of stability, it can be difficult—and painful—to determine if there are real problems with your relationship or if bipolar symptoms are the culprit; find out more:

Interpreting the symptoms

Even after years of stability, a stressful event or a build-up of stress can cause an onset of symptoms. These may be too subtle for the spouse without bipolar to recognize. Hurt and bewildered, support partners can find it difficult to decipher this distressing behavior. Is it an expression of the diagnosis, or is there a valid relationship problem that should be addressed?

Words that harm

Stories abound of partners who are married to the most “wonderful, caring and compassionate” spouses in the world. Then out of nowhere, that amazing spouse lashes out with hateful words and requests to end the marriage.

Said one caregiver: “How long will my husband tell me he doesn’t love me? How long will he use abusive language when speaking to me? How long before he loves me again?”

Said another: “I don’t think our partners know how hard it is to hear that the person who we love the most and dedicate all our efforts into, doesn’t want to be with us!”

In denial

In many relationships where bipolar is present, anosognosia can be a factor at some point—most notably after an extended period of stability. Anosognosia describes an “impaired awareness” of one’s own diagnosis. When bipolar symptoms do emerge, the person may deny anything is amiss with themselves. Rather, they will attribute any ill will to their partner, or to the marriage having problems—not to any manic or depressive symptoms. This can cause extreme hurt and confusion for the other spouse, who believed everything was wonderful in the marriage.

  1. Sounds like my life now… absolutely heartbreaking.

  2. Married going on 50 years. My wife had two kids from prior marriage, their Bio father abandoned them. I always supported them and my wife and my Son who with my wife. My wife has a lot of friends and a couple of Sisters Divorced. She once filed for Divorce from me (her new friends.) I continued to Love her and support her through years of trying times. She never collected support and worked minimum wage jobs. I always made certain all bills were paid and she always had everything she needed including new cars, new house in upper middle class neighborhoods. My adult step kids began pressuring her to leave me, even called us liars for saying their Biological Father who now has showed back up in their lives told them he paid support. The kids like my wife do not recognize that I was the one, and the only one that ensured life was good for them financially. I do not know how to handle all the negative emotions any longer. I retired again after 50 years of working and I am coping with it. My wife will not admit to submit to counseling or medical diagnosis. I cannot afford to leave her as she will get most of my pensions and the savings I have worked for my whole life. I need a solution. We have slept in separated rooms in our 5000 sqft 5 bedroom 5 bath house for 4 years. No sex as she refuses and I gave up tired of being rejected.. I buy her gifts (she has no income.) I pay all bills and do all the maintenance on her car, the house etc.. she just acts like a housekeeper living in another room. I do kiss her goodnight every night.. she is a very fit women who runs 5 miles a day.. and has been very active for over 20 years.

  3. Wow, this is excellent and exactly what I just went through with my wife.

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