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Newly diagnosed Bipolar husband with a toxic "friendship" Help!!
My husband is currently in hospital and has just been diagnosed with bipolar after the last few years of "strange" behaviour and now depression stage.
In this time after a hurtful situation directed at me I myself shutdown (didn't know he had bipolar at the time) to heal and focus on myself and our family and developing trust again. In this time he started a friendship with another lady and soon turned into something more. This other lady is dealing with her own marriage breakdown due to a partner with mental illness and was confiding in my husband. While she is not a friend of mine she has admitted to me that she is in love with my husband.
My husband is now confused as he says he still loves me but is not in love with me and he doesn't want to hurt me anymore ,We Have been together almost 20 years (married young). I know this is a feeling many bipolar sufferers feel. He also says he is not giving up this friendship with this person and gets very defensive even when I bring up compromises of public catch ups and not behind close doors to still respect our marriage and our relationship.
What do I do? I am doing everything I can to help his new diagnoses with research, professional help etc etc but I cant seem to move on from this as I see this is hindering his recovery and he feels like a hero I guess to her.
Will he see the grass isn't greener? I love him so very much.
Hello and welcome.
Firstly I want to direct you to a long running thread called This Bipolar Life and is in the Staying Well forum. It's quite long so I suggest you read the first and last couple of pages to get an idea of the topic. It was started by someone who had just she had Bipolar Disorder and she talks about her struggles, medication, work, thoughts etc. I know it's your husband, not you, with the bipolar but I think there may be others in your position writing on that thread and could be of use to you. Reading about these experiences I think could also be helpful. Feel free to join the conversation.
Another source of good information is the Black Dog institute. www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
Each mental illness is different but I think they have some common themes. One of the biggest is being unable to think clearly. I know from my own experience and looking back wonder why on earth I did or said that. It has been my observation the those with bipolar can be hurtful, especially when coming to grips with their illness. Being unkind is not exclusive to bipolar but it seems to bring out quite strange actions at times.
Confiding to others but not the spouse is also common. As you say, this is where the relationship with the other woman started. All good and innocent intentions, but two people trying to manage what feels like a devastating blow to their lives. It's not that surprising but I know that is not helpful to you. I think it is useful to understand how scared these two people were and probably still are. Two people clinging together on a life raft.
I think your marriage will survive. I realise you are hurting very much and the future looks bleak. Can you give it time? Does your husband see a psychiatrist? Do you think it would be helpful if you went to one of the appointments with him? Need to check it with husband and psych first. Is he still living with you?
So long as he is taking his medication as prescribed and is seeing a psychiatrist I think there is little more you can do other than make your home pleasant and welcoming, talk about neutral topics (which is hard) and let him see you do not want him to leave. Do not talk about the other woman unless he brings it up.Try not to be drawn into arguments about her or his bipolar. This is truly a no win situation.
If he wants talk, sit down somewhere comfortable and talk. The rules are no angry outbursts, no demands and not accepting what he does as a way to keep him at home.
I too welcome you and thanks for sharing your story. White Rose has a written a helpful and supportive reply.
I was diagnosed with bipolar many years ago.
Everyone experiences it differently so it is hard to make generalisations about behaviour.
You write that your husband is now in depression stage, is he taking medication.
I have tried never to blame my bipolar for my bad behaviour or used it as an excuse. It maybe a contributing factor.
I wonder if your husband has any time when he is neither high nor low, and then you could talk to him then. When one is high or low it is hard to focus and to reason and think clearly.
I can see you love him very much and it will take some time for him to work out who he is, to get used to the label.
I know that you are doing everything to help your husband but sometimes when you are first diagnosed it can be so overwhelming and it is hard to take on other people's help.
This Bipolar Life , as well as searching for other topics with a spouse who has bipolar in the search engine may be of interest you.