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My bipolar wife wants a divorce

Community Member
I’ve been married for almost 10 years now and my wife who suffers from bipolar disorder is on the verge of leaving me. Despite having had all that time to research and educate myself on all things bipolar, I stupidly enough cruised along thinking everything would be fine, that we’d somehow manage to work through her ups and downs because we were madly in love. But of course times change, children come along, work stresses mount up and more importantly, my inability to step up when times got tough have led us to where we are now. Despite her giving me multiple opportunities to make amends and me saying all the right things, about how things will change, I tend to be good for short periods then slip into old cruise control habits. And now she’s had enough, we’re on the brink of separating and the reality is finally starting to sink in that I might be in the verge of losing my best friend and the one woman I’ve ever truly loved. She is barely acknowledging my existence at the moment and I don’t know what to do/how to make things right. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to save our marriage, but I think I may have used up all my chances (who could blame her really after the multiple times I’ve told her I’ll change?!) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
19 Replies 19

Community Champion
Community Champion

LH, hello again,

The thread is This Bipolar life, and people drop in and out. It is friendly and you can ask questions or just have a chat.

Nat glad I have some uses!!

I agree with Nat, 4 children is a lot of work.

Take care


Hey Quirky,

Thanks for taking the time to write, don’t worry, every word is greatly appreciated even if it’s just different insights into how bipolar can manifest itself differently from one person to the next. And it’s just nice to have a sounding board if you will in people like you and Nat as there’s only so much you can take from reading books on the subject, I seem to get more from personal insights like both of yours! And apologies, I don’t mean to eat into your undoubted precious time seeing as I don’t actually suffer from depression myself, like I said I’m just finding this way more helpful than some of the books I’ve read and the psychologist I’ve spoken to.

So like I just said, I have spoken to a psychologist through work which I didn’t really find helpful, although it was the first one I’ve ever been to so maybe my inability to open up or articulate my concerns as openly as I seem to be able to on here were part of the problem. Just in that topic, not sure if this is a stupid question, but I spoke to a male psychologist 2 times and was wondering whether I would get more out of talking to a female psychologist ir whether it shouldn’t really matter either way?

She’s been on a number of medications for years now. I think I read somewhere on here that you’re not supposed to discuss specific types of medications taken, suffice to say she takes a handful each morning and night (some have changed over the years, and she’s currently in the process of switching one type at the moment and is suffering terrible headaches in the process poor thing!) Embarrassingly enough if pressed, I couldn’t have told you exactly what she was taking every morning and night which is a sad indictment of my commitment to her and her illness. I’m currently in control of her medications. 

Almost out of words again, but as for our chat, even though some of the stuff hurt, it was great in an eye opening way as it was just nice to hear her talk to me again and hit me with some home truths rather than sitting in awkward silence like we have most nights of late, both of us with a million thoughts running through our minds but both to scared to share any of them

Hello again Nat,

Firstly, thanks for the heads up on that bipolar thread (and thanks quirky for the name of it), will definitely check it out.

The weekly chats are a great idea, we’ve tended to just do our own thing for a while now, I’ll sit inside watching my sports and politics shows while she’s outside on the balcony listening to podcasts and wheni do eventually wander out there we just sit in awkward silence most of the time. But she even said the other night she’d like to try and play more board games (like we used to), even if our friendly rivalry banter is only about the game, it’s got to be better than sitting in silence watching YouTube videos, wondering what the hell is going through the other persons mind.

The running away plan certainly came as a shock, just physically reading the list she’d compiled really hit me hard. And I know she’s said before that when she’s thought of killing herself that her reason is that we’d all be better off without her (and her issues) around. And i tell myself it’s just the bipolar talking, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder how much of it is actually the bipolar and how much is actually coming from her.

I think you and Quirky nailed it in how exhausting it can be. I mean I fully realise my wife is going through a hell of a lot worse than me wrestling with her demons, but I do find it overwhelming too, balancing seemingly being forever snowed under at work, coming home to cleaning, washing, the kids, constantly wondering what’s going through my wife’s head. Let alone the fact that we have to move out of our rental house in mid May (we’re kind of putting thoughts of what we’re going to do/where we’re going to go until after she’s starting to feel a bit better)...fun times ahead!

Her family is pretty helpful I have to admit. I took our 3 girls down to my wife’s great grandparents on Saturday night to give her some total alone time and her sisters are both more than happy to put their hands up to have our kids at the drop of a hat, which is a relief.

Funny you mention intimacy, it’s amazing how much you take it for granted. At the moment most of the time it’s a kiss on the cheek as I leave for work or she’s going to bed, but everything is so much more awkward and forced than when she’s her usual self. I just miss her touch, holding hands when fall asleep, the simple things like that. Even her laugh. Oh well, i just keep telling myself they’ll all be back soon enough

Thanks for listening,


Haha Quirky,

glad I have some uses!!

Far out you need to give yourself way more credit. There is a very good reason you're a cc my friend 😊.

Sorry to have hijacked your thread LH.

How are you going? Has having the talk helped your wife to feel able to stay and work on your marriage? I hope so.


Community Member

Hey guys,

But of an update and a bit of a downer unfortunately. The wife text me at work this morning and said she was going away for a while and just messaging me so I could make arrangements for the kids and school. So I rushed home and st least got there before she left but I may as well not have as she was rather fristy and there was no way of talking her out of going. At least I know where she’s going (she’s booked a campsite at one of our favourite spots to go with the kids) and that she said she’ll be back Friday for a doctors appointment, so I can only hope that she’s just going to clear her head. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, we’ve been told we need to move out of our current rental house in early may, so that on top of the shitty financial state we’re in as well as the mixed episode she’s going through have made for a toxic mix.

The fact I’ve always left the financial running of the house up to her has come back to bite me in the bum as we were a week behind in rent, not to mention owing $400 for our internet, which the wife had neglected to pay obviously due to her current mental state. I’m looking into ways to get us out of the financial hole but I fear at this stage our relationship is done and dusted either way as she said she wants me to find somewhere else to live, not sure if she means as soon as she returns or when our lease ends up in may.

I realise a lot of the anger she directs towards me is the bipolar as we can still have good days, but I think it’s less and less the bipolar talking and more the fact that I’ve been a useless husband, emotionally and helping on the financial front. I just don’t know what to say to her, I’m trying to read up as much as I can for bipolar and I’m finally gaining a much greater appreciation and understanding of what she’s going through, but I still can’t get past the anger that’s obviously built up inside her over the years of me doing nothing. One of the things she said this morning was “You can’t talk to me when I’m well, how do you expect to know what to say when I’m in crisis mode”

Anyways i think I’m done talking for now, need to go do some stuff to keep busy and keep my mind off things


thanks for your update but sorry it is not good news for. Maybe this time away will clear the air for both of you.

Relationships are tricky at the best of times but throw in bipolar and children it can be confusing.

I think when she said to you about not coping when she is well so how will you cope in a crisis, is something I have wondered too. For me it is not anger it is frustration and sometimes people feel the know about bipolar as they have read something but in reality coping with someone with a full blow episode takes trust, and support and experience and determination and unconditional love.

I think you are way too hard on yourself but she needs to know you are there for the bad times and the good times.

Let us know how the next few days go.

You are taking charge and doing your best, dont think about the past at the moment just the present.

Quirky xx

Hey Quirky,

Thanks again for your kind words, they really do mean a lot. I can understand what you mean about the difference between reading up/educating myself in bipolar and actually putting it into practice. That’s probably what I’m finding the hardest, as like I’ve said previously, I’m not the best communicator at times and that’s what my wife needs, someone to talk to rather than just being stuck in her own mind, having the same conversations with herself. Actually, I think the hardest thing is breaking through the anger barrier. She’s built up all this anger and resentment towards me (and fair enough) but because of that I’m finding it harder and harder to approach her and talk things through with her because I feel like she’s going to snap my head off whatever I say (logical or not). I feel utterly demoralised at times from all the put downs and snappy comments that I just find myself sitting on my feelings and that just exacerbates the problem because she thinks I don’t want to talk to her. But like I said I do, I’m reading a book at the moment by a female psychologist who has bipolar and she said her husband tells her she’s impossible to talk to when she’s manic, which is how I feel at times.

The more I read, the more it seems like passive conversation is the way to approach things, not to get angry, frustrated and take it out on your partner. But I want to let it all out, I want to be brutally honest with her and tell her how worthless she makes me feel at times, how I’m so scared at times of saying anything for fear she’ll leave me, that if we can just ride this rough patch out, see a counsellor and do whatever it takes to save 10 years of marriage that I’ll do it. I want her to know that I’m in 100% (unlike the past). I’ve actually been thinking about typing this all up and giving it to her when she gets back, but then with the mood she’s in at the moment she’ll just throw it back in my face and say I’ve heard it all before or words mean nothing.

Anyways I’m rambling now, thanks again for listening and providing some invaluable insights. Hope things are going well with you by the way, I feel so selfish at times seemingly being like woe is me all the time when you’ve undoubtedly got stuff on your own plate, so again thank you so much

A lot of the times it is the bipolar and not the personality.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Lost husband

I feel for you both so deeply as you deal with emotions that leave you both feeling drained and like life is so out of control.

I believe that we not only raise children but all people. We have the power to raise them to a level of feeling joy, fun, love and so on. On the flip side, sometimes it's also important to lower people, for good reason. Some may call this 'bringing people back down to earth'.

Some folk are incredibly sensitive: For periods they'll have incredible energy and then it won't take much to suddenly have them begin 'draining'. It could take a significant challenge they're facing, some harsh words that bring them down on top of a diet that messes with their energy levels, poor sleep habits and so on. Dealing with the highs can be draining. Staying on such a high uses up a lot of energy. Wondering if you've ever witnessed your wife suddenly 'power down' but couldn't put your finger on why exactly.

Imagine being so incredibly down that you just don't want to live. It's a torturous and debilitating low. Then suddenly life feels restored as energy levels shoot up. It feels like Christmas morning where life is filled with incredible gifts to unwrap. For some, they'll want to go out and suddenly buy a car, a new wardrobe of clothes, an expensive holiday they put on credit card and so on. Then suddenly someone will criticise them for being so irresponsible, so stupid, so selfish and then down they start to go back into that low. Even worse, once that exciting high that comes with child nature of fun and adventure disappears, they begin beating them self up. It's actually in the child nature phase that people need to be lowered a bit (aka grounded) very carefully. Care and thoughtfulness is required for highly sensitive people.

When your wife is on a high, does she long for you to 'vibe up' and feel the excitement and energy of life that she feels? In other words, is she looking for a 'play mate' to have fun with?

With her sudden haircut, did she do it at a point where she was going through a 'I want to let things go. I want dramatic change' phase. If so, that voice she heard could have been simple intuition. Some folk hear it louder than others. Sounds crazy but you hear stories about this kind of stuff, like a firefighter who couldn't find his way out until a voice suddenly said 'Go left'. He'll say that this voice directed and rescued him. Little outside the square but maybe your wife is sensitive and a little intuitive.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi again Lost husband

Strange question perhaps but when your wife cut her hair did anyone say how fantastic she looks? If she stood in front of the mirror at the result and thought 'I feel excited, liberated and I love myself' was the response more so 'Why did you do that? Are you insane?!' If this was the kind of response she got, I imagine it would have brought her down.

I believe she relies on others to raise her and ground her and keep her out of the lows, hence her disappointment and perhaps sadness when people can't deliver. By the way, does she tend to look to the child nature in your kids when she's looking for a high in life? Kids are generally packed with plenty of happiness and energy to inspire others.