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I read somewhere recently that the divorce rate when one marriage partner has bipolar disorder is 90%. While it seems kind of high to me, I suppose I understand it. In the 12 years I have been married to my wife, there have been many times when one or both of us was ready to quit.
It was January 2013 when I started dating my first boyfriend, and it was under precarious circumstances. We had met five months earlier in a speech course during the first semester of my college career, and we sat next to each other on the first day. We casually talked throughout the semester and became friends, but that was pretty much the extent of our relationship.
It’s classic, Shakespearean even. (Romeo and Juliet).
Boy Meets Girl in rehab, AA or group therapy and they fall ‘in love.’
Warnings fall on deaf ears. Their focus shifts from recovery to each other while they float off on a pink cloud.
Then the bubble bursts.
If the relationship fails, it’s heartbreaking. Betrayal is triggering, to say the least. I’ve been there more than once. It can be tricky.
On the other hand, a strong bond with someone who shares your challenges can be the most meaningful, supportive, enduring relationship ever.
Valentine’s Day is all about the romantic, idealistic side of love. While it can be fun and meaningful to celebrate your relationship with your spouse or partner (if you have one), the reality is that relationships can be hard. The Hollywood, happily-ever-after ideal image of relationships makes for enjoyable movies, but it’s not realistic—in the real world it takes a lot of awareness and maturity to maintain a healthy relationship.
Life with bipolar has a lot of ups and downs...and not just for moods. I think relationships, romantic ones, become one of the hardest parts of your life to manage and to keep balanced when you have a mental disorder.
Romantic relationships include allowing someone into your innermost circle and letting them see all of you – the good and the bad. Not just the loving friend, dedicated worker, or friendly neighbour – in order to have a strong and healthy relationship, eventually you need to share everything.
When my husband and I first started our relationship, we weren’t ready to be in one. I had just received my bipolar diagnosis a year before we started dating so I was still learning about how to function in life with a Bipolar diagnosis and he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. I am thankful for the first doctor that I encountered after I received my diagnosis because he never said my life was going to end. He immediately referred me to famous people with my diagnosis who lived successful lives despite their illness.
My version of love has changed from the past several years.
When I was younger, love to me was an infatuation.
When I was in my 20’s, love was lust – yes, there is a difference, but the label of love was used.
Now, in my late 30’s, love is completely different than I ever thought possible. It is not trivial. It is not selfish. It encompasses all there is about another person, rather than focusing on one thing they have to offer. There is no more taking advantage for a quick situational win. The focus has shifted to inclusion in all of life’s experiences.
It’s hard being in a relationship and having bipolar disorder. My disorder played a key factor into why I had a few relationships fail. Sure, we weren’t meant to be, but what I put them through didn’t help. I will say that I honestly didn’t know about my mental illness until after I married my husband, Sean.
Good evening readers, what a cold frigid night were having. But I’m thankful I am inside where it’s nice and warm. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and it’s a celebration of love, but it shouldn’t just be on this special day, but every day, we experience love in some form, whether it’s love between husband and wife, between boyfriend and girlfriend, between best friends, between mother and child, godmother and goddaughter or godson ect.