Bipolar disorder is a mental illness than is characterized by two things: mania and depression. Depressive symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, depression, suicidal thoughts, sleeping too little or too much as well as changes in eating habits. On the other hand, manic symptoms are characterized by elevated moods, risky behavior, racing thoughts and being unable to sleep at all. These mood swings wreak havoc in the personal and professional lives of people suffering with Bipolar disorder.
Genetics and neurotransmitter disturbances are seen as the major causes of bipolar disorder. During the manic phase, this lack of impulse control can cause bipolar sufferers to be unfaithful to their partner or spouse. Hypersexuality is a real issue and dealing with bipolar infidelity is not easy at all. How then can you deal with bipolar infidelity?
- Get angry. Talk to a confidant and express your feelings to this person rather than your partner. You need to release your emotions and deal with it before you can deal with the actual problem. If you know that your partner is suffering from bipolar disorder, getting angry and freaking out in front of him will not help you or your partner at all. Remember that he is suffering from a disorder and may not have been in full control of the situation.
- Investigate. Get all the details of his infidelity. Knowing which part of the bipolar cycle (mania or depression) the infidelity occurred can help you identify the trigger to his wandering ways. Although normally associated with the manic phase, some bipolar infidelity can happen during bouts of depression.
- Talk to your partner. Communication is important so that the healing process can take place. Have a dignified conversation with your partner about what happened. Ask him how he feels about it and how you can help each other overcome the infidelity. Check to see if he has been taking his medications for his disorder.
- Come up with a plan. You have forgiven your partner. Now he has to come up with his own plan (with your help of course) of making sure the infidelity does not happen again. Make it clear that even if you understand he has bipolar disorder, engaging in reckless behavior will not be tolerated. Take about ways to avoid the temptations manic-depressive behavior brings. Part of the plan should be actively monitoring his intake of prescribed medication.
- Consult with your partner’s physician/therapist. Explain the situation. If your partner has been taking medications, ask if these need to be reevaluated. Find out if there are other forms of therapy that can address the problem.
- Take care of yourself and find support. Make it clear to yourself that the infidelity is NOT your fault. Love yourself by taking care of your needs. Go out with family and friends, have “Me” time by doing things you enjoy and find your own counselor, spiritual or otherwise. You will need the support of family, friends and most especially, people that are undergoing the same challenges as you. Find support groups on the web or ask your therapist for suggestions.
Dealing with infidelity is hard enough. Dealing with bipolar infidelity is doubly difficult. You cannot simply walk away from the person because you know that the reason for the infidelity is a mental disorder. Don’t just walk away from the situation. If you really care for the person, work with him and his therapist in curbing his infidelity. With a lot of love, patience and understanding, you can help your partner conquer his bipolar infidelity.