Loneliness In Bp Marriage

What does one do about the loneliness in a BP marriage? Any advice?

Twenty-years of very difficult marriage, virtually all responsibility for earning income, paying bills, maintaining hearth and home, not to mention monitoring my wife's ever-changing state of mind/mood falls on me. Moved cross country some time ago to be near family so that there would be greater support. It's been a mixed blessing but probably a good idea as we do lean on family to help with child care--and wife care--during the worst of times.

Yet, I have found that I am trapped alone in a challenging life, without the benefit of any real friendships. In our former city I had developed a few friendships, one of which was especially valuable to me. But, those are long-distance now, just keeping in touch by email, if that.

The irony is that I know a lot of people. I have a very active social life on one hand due to the type of work I do and the sort of volunteer organizations I serve. Yet I do these things alone, as something of a bachelor. I actually don't mind going stag in most cases, because it gets me out of the house, often separated from the craziness. Virtually no one in my work and social realms knows of my wife's circumstances. It's none of their business, not relevant to my relationships with these people, and would just create fodder for gossip that I don't want imposed on my wife or me. I generally stay chipper and blithe in public, no matter how bleak the circumstances on the homefront.

But beyond these activities, I've not been able to cultivate friendships. My wife is either unable to or disinclined to meet new people and maintain friendships. She is very close to her familiy and works part-time, so does interact with people. But the normal way in which couples make friends, socialize, and develop close bonds doesn't seem to be available to us. I've tried getting us involved in some couples clubs in town, but she quickly becomes disinterested, or more to the point, goes into a spell of mania or depression and just won't go along.

I am lonely, but I'm also sad and frustrated that I can't seem to get beyond the circumstances.

If you've stayed married to BP, how have you found valuable relationships outside of the marriage?






Babino Babino
41-45
6 Responses Jul 29, 2010

I am married to my bipolar busband. My situation nearly mirrors yours. When I participate in social things it is basically as a single person but people know I am married seeing the ring on my finger. He is disengaged we are not intimate at all. Even after I am home after work...he often stares blankly at the tv, we have opposite sleep schedules and he has no desire to meet any of my friends or family members. I often used to get a bit embarrassed explaining why he is non participant with me but I am past that and just go do my own thing with my own friends. He used to guilt trip me but now I think he may realize he really doesn't like hanging with me either. Basically I stick around because I committed to in sickness and in health. I doubt if situations were reversed he would do the same for me. I stayed with him through his bouts of alcoholism and sometimes I wish I had run.

This is so familiar to me that it moved me to tears. I am not perfect, nobody is. My partner stuck through it with my while I fought a hideous, emotionally, mentally, and financially crippling custody battle against my attorney ex husband to keep my children safe right in the beginning of our relationship. I am forever indebted and grateful to him for that, but as we moved away and started our new business...well new lives really, together and life started to normalize its become apparent that the difficult past circumstances I mentioned were not necessarily to blame for his exacerbated mania and constant withdrawal, depression, and nonstop sleeping.

Through it all I've remained positive and proud of him and us because he had a deep desire to grow and stop playing the victim of his disease. I shrugged off the extreme emotional abuse during difficult times and conversations, trying to always keep my empathy and understanding alive. The pain and fear and insecurity that Ive felt during turbulent bouts were always just a temporary facade on the structure of commitment, compassion, and love I had built for this man.

On and off as easy as a light-switch is flipped are his feelings of joy and life and gratitude to the ever more present attitude of dismissing, judgement, blaming, and self absorbed nonchalance. I'm so so lonely that it hurts in my chest and wells up like a tidal wave I want so badly to be able to shrug-off like I once could. But angry hurtful words during an argument are much easier to look past than indifference. Every day I'm texted over and over again while away from him sweet, wonderful things, but without fail I come home to a man who is so withdrawn and in his own head that there is no room to think about someone else in there. I feel hopeful and then abruptly abandoned over and over again when he fails to join me and the kids on an outing to the zoo, or a bonfire with new friends or when finally after an exhausting day of hard physics labor at work I get to come home to him and look for that joy and love in his eyes and am met with aggressive defensive guilt because he knows he just doesn't have room in his heart to think about my needs in this bout.

I search for that acceptance and understanding I once was able to muster up and I'm struggling now myself to get out of my own mind, which is now consumed with lonliness and worthlessness.

Ive felt this before. During other phases of different emotional ups or downs. And while it's exhausting to think about all the phases of loving a person with bipolar, it also brings me solace. This too shall pass.

But when? And how can I go on living these chunks of my life holding my breathe, just hoping I don't burst at the seams before we're on to the next.....the next that will have its own set of challenges. Maybe the joy and intensity of his pace will cause me anxiety and constant worry of whether or not he's spent every last dime on an impulse or relapsed and gotten drunk in a flurry of zest for life.

But that's okay. That I can deal with. This pain of lonliness....I feel I cannot.

I am in the same boat here. Married for 6 years this month. 2 kiddos, 2 and 5 yrs old. I knew my wife was bipolar when we met and started dating. She got pregnant about 3 months after we had been dating and decided to get married. I didn't know exactly how severe her condition was, but I knew I wasn't excited about it. I am a very strong guy when it comes to pain tollerance and being able to take **** from every angle. However, she basically has zero affection for me at all. I cannot remember the last time that I ever had sex with her and didn't have to do something extraordinary to bargain my way into it. And even then, she would still just lay there like a block of wood and tell me about the things that needed to be done around the house. Also, we both drink alot around the house, not that we are angry abusive drunks or anything, but I have made many attempts to try to cut back and she doesnt care at all. I probably wouldnt care, but I do believe it messes with her meds a bit, and that sucks. Also, I found out after 5 yrs of marriage that she is also bulimic and has been hiding this from me all this time. She could also be the world's greatest at not letting others enjoy a good ol social function. Whenever I go out, which isn't very often, I usually give her several days notice. Without a doubt, as soon as I begin to enjoy myself, I start seeing some hypochondriac text message about how she has the "worst stomach ache ever" or some such ****. Anyways, I did go out a few weeks ago with some old friends I hadnt seen in about 3 yrs(wife had to work early next am so she stayd home.) Well I ended up being kinda a 5th wheel with the group because there were two other couples there. Long story short, another very attractive 5th wheel showed up and we just had a fantastic time talking and getting to know each other. I went home and realized immediately that I havent had that kind of attention from my wife in years. Maybe EVER? Nothing happened with the mystery girl, but it was a very large eye opener and I am NOT HAPPY WITH THE ICE QUEEN. We are going to start therapy next week to see if we can fix things, but I am very close to telling her to go fly a kite in hell.

Thanks for sharing this. Just keep doing what you can to get out with good friends who understand and support you. You can't become codependent upon your wife. Also, never stop looking for better treatment options for your wife. Be proactive in learning about hospitals, support groups, etc. If you take charge you can feel better. <br />
<br />
I read a great book called "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder" by Julie Fast. It's on Amazon.com.<br />
http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Someone-Bipolar-Disorder-Julie/dp/1572243422<br />
<br />
It really helped me understand. It was like a godsend in validating my own feelings. <br />
<br />
My wife was diagnosed bipolar about 18 months ago. And she's been hospitalized three times in the past 18 months. Before that, for the prior 11 or so years, my marriage was always a puzzle to me. I didn't get my wife's behavior, but never having been married before, or living with someone else, I didn't have anything to compare it to. I knew something was wrong. I was frustrated by her behavior which was quirky and obsessive. <br />
<br />
She has become worse, with depression and cutting. Once she was finally diagnosed, it was like the universe telling me I wasn't crazy. I just wondered why it took so long. <br />
<br />
I've always been able to motivate myself to be happy, despite the obstacles. Maybe a bad thing if it makes me tolerate too much. I think that's the crux of the problem. You're living in a Twilight Zone of sorts. Read the book above to help you with that feeling.

Thanks for sharing this. Just keep doing what you can to get out with good friends who understand and support you. You can't become codependent upon your wife. Also, never stop looking for better treatment options for your wife. Be proactive in learning about hospitals, support groups, etc. If you take charge you can feel better. <br />
<br />
I read a great book called "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder" by Julie Fast. It's on Amazon.com.<br />
http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Someone-Bipolar-Disorder-Julie/dp/1572243422<br />
<br />
It really helped me understand. It was like a godsend in validating my own feelings. <br />
<br />
My wife was diagnosed bipolar about 18 months ago. And she's been hospitalized three times in the past 18 months. Before that, for the prior 11 or so years, my marriage was always a puzzle to me. I didn't get my wife's behavior, but never having been married before, or living with someone else, I didn't have anything to compare it to. I knew something was wrong. I was frustrated by her behavior which was quirky and obsessive. <br />
<br />
She has become worse, with depression and cutting. Once she was finally diagnosed, it was like the universe telling me I wasn't crazy. I just wondered why it took so long. <br />
<br />
I've always been able to motivate myself to be happy, despite the obstacles. Maybe a bad thing if it makes me tolerate too much. I think that's the crux of the problem. You're living in a Twilight Zone of sorts. Read the book above to help you with that feeling.

Anyone who is involved with a bi-polar must have outside relationships. They are what keeps the balance in your life and helps you realize what is real and what is crazy. Without those outside thoughts you will question yourself and not know reality. They keep you grounded. <br />
Good luck - Kathleen

You are me. I will pm at some point about this. Probably over the weekend because that is going to be one big email.