Hurt by Bipolar's ex

by Desperately need help
(Barrie, Ontario, Canada)

I started seeing this person the first week of the year, we clicked and everything seemed alright. He showed real emotions and that he needed to be loved; I did fall in love with him even though that he confessed to me that he has a BPD, I decided it’s ok and told him I am fine with it. I am not sure what kind of PBD though.

Two months later he started to show signs of different phase. He started saying hurtful things talking about his ex’s and so on. He asked if we could be just being friends with benefits since he is not ready for a relationship for so many reasons. I cried because I wanted assurance and I felt safe and secure with him and now he don’t want to be with me officially.

I went through so very much the harshest time of my life, and because of my ignorance on this type of illness, I did everything wrong that I am not suppose to, for example, he asked me to give him space and I didn’t. I am jealous of his ex and others. I bet I triggered his rage and anger 20 times already.

Now he says that he doesn’t want to talk to me, even though I told him that I am getting myself educated. He treats me like a gum in the hair, he shows no signs of remorse or empathy, he forgot all the good times we had and all the memories we share.

I am in love with him, it’s been a month since I saw him, did he move on really or it’s just the phase he is in? Was it him talking to me or his illness? I researched bipolar for over three weeks now and I know what bipolar is.
I have been crying for a month, I lost weight and I can’t stop thinking or dreaming about him.
Can someone please tell me what to do next? I don’t want to give him up, I can handle his ups and downs I just need him back. What to do?
Thank you in advance for your time.

Ben's Answer:
I've seen many marriages and relationships lost because of the chaos created by one partner being Bipolar. It is no failure on your part that you couldn't adapt to his mood swings, rages, poor boundaries or lack of empathy. Bipolar or not - a relationship partner needs to be a partner. Otherwise they are a patient, and you are a helper, or a nurse or a babysitter, or a victim of their moods - and that just doesn't work for most relationships. It takes an extremely solid foundation, trust, love and mutual commitment to be able to navigate and survive the mood episodes that may come and go. You can't become knowledgeable about bipolar disorder in just 3 weeks. It takes some people years (including the person with BP himself!) to really understand it. Each person with BP has a slightly different experience - their patterns are unique, their level of high and/or low is unique, their triggers are unique, and so on. Don't beat yourself up. A one sided relationship never brings fulfillment. If he can't meet you half-way, it's time to move on. We all make mistakes.

Be clear with yourself about the difference between wanting a person in your life, and "needing" them. When we need someone, we will always end up hurt and disappointed.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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