Bipolar and Long-Term Relationships
Long-term relationships are hard. Even on the best days, they still take work to maintain. On the tough days, they take a lot more.
Looking out for each other, putting another person's needs before your own, trusting and relying on someone, and being the person they rely on in return – all these things take effort.
When you mix bipolar and long-term relationships, things go from tough to seemingly impossible. No matter how unrealistic it may seem, though, plenty of bipolar people have long and fulfilling marriages and partnerships.
It's not easy – but it isn't easy for healthy people, either. No matter what TV and movies might want you to believe, nobody gets through a marriage (or other committed relationship) without their fair share of speed bumps and roadblocks.
In It for the Long Haul
My partner and I recently celebrated our ten year anniversary. We didn't do much in the way of partying – a nice dinner at home with the kids, a cake, and a quiet dinner out together the following weekend – but it was a huge milestone, especially for me.
Before we met, I'd never been with anyone for more than a year (and usually much less). My relationships were dictated by moods and episodes and were fraught with drama, passion, angst, and finally a big, explosive ending after which I'd never see the person again. To say I'd grown tired of it would be an understatement.
I wanted to find someone I could settle down with. I'd been married briefly, but that went just about as well as every other relationship I'd had. I didn't know yet that I was bipolar, but I did know I needed someone who counterbalanced me – someone who could be my rock, someone I could count on, someone who wasn't as fiery and temperamental as I was.
I'd always gone looking for people who were just like me, but now I knew that what I actually needed was the opposite. And when I found that, I held on tightly.