Do I trust my heart and love to my bipolar boyfriend again ?

by Leeann
(Palm beach, Fl)

My story is an interesting one if nothing else.

Thirty years ago I was swept off my feet while in college by a neighborhood boy.
The relationship moved fast and we both fell in love during our first year in college, but my beloved's behavior was so over the top it was difficult to be with him and my and his parents made it known that they did not approve of the relationship,(especially since he was jewish and I was catholic).

My fiance had a huge ego, was over critical, and very controlling. He embarrassed me in front of my friends on campus constantly and the relationship finally came to an crashing end when I caught him in a campus bar holding hands with another girl after we had just gotten engaged.

So...I broke the relationship off and went on with my life, graduated college, got married twice, of which both relationships ended up in divorce.
Now...fast forward 30 years till the present day and that guy who swept me off my feet is back in my life.

We discovered each other again online at facebook and realized we lived in the same state 2 hours away from each other. We decided to meet up with each other and he then revealed to me that he was bipolar, had children, changed his faith and had been married three times.

When we saw each other, it was apparent to me that the years had changed him tremedously. His once abrasive personality had vanished. His conversion to Christianity and life woes had softened him.
He had become the kind and caring person I wanted in my life as a result of everything that had happened to him.

The moment we saw each other we both knew that we were still very much in love with each other after all those years. Since that meeting we have gotten back together and have been dating for 8 months.
During these months of dating I have only seen one manic cycle and my boyfriend was medicated for it. As a result of his meds, he was overly groggy, falling asleep before 9:00 pm at night and just drained.

My love has not been on any meds since that occurrence. There have only been a couple of times where he has become overzealous and I have kinda calmed him down.

He tells me that I keep him whole so to speak and when I'm away from him he is just not right.
So...by now you must be wondering what's your problem? Well...this now new and approved love of my life last month told me he was afraid to commit his love to me. He said he has had a bad past and has to let things go as they are, that he can't predict how he feels truly or if we will be happy together. This recent comment has been made after months previous to this he was spouting words of undying love and marriage to me, building a home with me, and writing me detailed love emails daily...

I have been on a roller coaster of emotional changes because of his ever-changing words and thoughts for the past 4 months.
Most of his words and actions emote love and devotion towards me but his most current statement of "You want me to become wrapped up in your world where all I know is you." disturbed me. He preceded that statement with this one- "I became wrapped up before in the past and I wont do again with my love relationship."

Since this statement I have just decided to stand back and not be over loving physically or verbally.

The result from my behavior brought about his proclaiming his love and being particularly amorous towards me today.
I love this man very much but I am so confused. I am beginning to wonder if he really loves me.
This morning he told me that "he's not good enough for me because he can't provide me with health insurance"
Can someone give me some advice here? Are most of these doubts he has bipolar related?
Help.

Please note that he is a very focused individual, who works very hard, as much as possible when he can, saves money, attends church regulary, and keeps the promises he makes.
Please advise!!!!

Ben's Answer:

To put it bluntly, your boyfriend has some issues. And being Bipolar can't explain them all (though it could certainly be a large part of it). His behavior all those years ago, could easily be explained as mania. Mania is often a very narcissistic state - where the ego is very inflated and there is a grandiose tone. Very self-obsessed.

What he's doing now seems not all that different. It's all about him. He's bouncing back and forth between total enmeshment with you, saying he's not whole without you, and that you make him feel "right," and his fear of losing himself in the relationship. These are boundary issues. And while the romantic way may be to just trust your heart, it's important to temper that with some critical thinking. He sounds confused. And if you give up your own boundaries and give everything to him, you could get very hurt.

You have to find the balance between being open and loving, while also being clear, communicative and solid about what you want and need from him. Don't let his Bipolar disorder be an excuse for him -- or his past failed relationships for that matter.

And if you do see a pattern of unstable mood (or sleep), then his decision to go off his meds, may have been poor judgment. If you don't take meds for Bipolar, you have to live an exceptionally healthy lifestyle - on all levels - if you want to have any chance of success in the long run. Not everyone can do it.

Put your needs first.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist






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