Partner with Bipolar? The Duality of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder

Julie A. Fast is the author of  Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner. Loving was the first book written for the partner of a person with mental health concerns and is now in its second printing,  It teaches partners all over the world how to love someone with bipolar disorder while also getting their personal needs met in the relationship. 

Dual Feelings in Bipolar Disorder Relationships Can be Confusing… but they can also be understood and managed…. 

  • It’s possible to love someone and be upset with someone.
  • It’s possible to love someone and be worried about someone.
  • It’s possible to love someone and be very, very angry at someone.
  • It’s possible (and normal) to be two places at once with your emotions when you love someone with bipolar disorder.

Love is interesting. We can love those who harm us. We can love those who disappear. We can love those who refuse help. And we can love those who are too sick to receive our love.

Seeing the duality of loving someone with bipolar disorder allows you to have conflicting emotions while you learn how to help a partner manage the illness. It lets you know you’re not alone and helps you realize that no…….. other relationships do NOT go through that you go through. Loving someone who has bipolar is a unique experience.  You need help just as the person with bipolar needs help.

  • Loving someone while also setting limits allows you to take care of yourself when a person is ill.
  • Saying no to behaviors that don’t work for you allows you to keep the peace in your own brain when the brain of a loved one is anything but peaceful.
  • Understanding that you don’t save the life of another person doesn’t mean you are abandoning someone you love.

These are just some of the emotions and situations I cover in Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder.

I wrote Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder:Understanding and Helping Your Partner out of a place of love. I wrote it for all of the partners who went through and are going through what I experienced when my partner with bipolar was so sick he said he didn’t love me, had never loved me and didn’t care if he ever saw me again! I wrote this book for all of us who have had health care professionals brush us aside when we voiced concerns about a partner’s health care.

I wrote this for partners all over the world!

You are not alone if today is hard. You are not alone if you love someone who can’t be there for YOU at this time.
I teach the concept that only when your needs are met in a relationship will the relationship find stability. You can start today and get clear on what you need.
  • Decide what you need in your romantic relationships in general.
  • Decide how you want to use your money.    (The article linked here is for parents, but the concept works the same for partners. )
  • Decide the line that you will not cross to help someone who is ill.


Bipolar and Children

This is your life. If you have a child with the person who has bipolar, you might have to focus on the child over the needs of the partner. No one told you that relationships would be like this! No one prepared you for what bipolar can do to YOUR world! But you can learn what works and use it daily.  Partners have to make decisions that focus on the children sometimes at the expense of the partner who is ill.  Then, once the child is safe and well cared for, partners have the energy to go back to helping the person with bipolar find stability.

Does this create guilt? Of course it does- Duality means that there are two emotions struggling with each other. Love and guilt. Love and anger. Love and frustration. Love and DONE. Ask yourself:

  1. Who am I in the journey of loving someone with a serious mental health disorder?
  2. What role do I want to play in the life of someone who is ill?
  3. Who can I talk to about this who will actually understand?
  4. What do I need?

Focus on your needs first. Get clear on what you will and will not do. Write this down and plan around this list. If you only have a list of what your partner needs to do and this takes precedence to your needs, frustration and resentment can grow.

Clarity around your needs gives you the strength to handle the multiple emotions all partners feel when bipolar is in the relationship.

If you’re new to my work and need more help on bipolar management in general, read Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder along with loving.

My mottos is TREAT BIPOLAR FIRST.  For people with bipolar, management comes first. When a person manages bipolar, they then have the clear head needed to be a good partner.

This lets you (the partner) focus on yourself while they are focusing on managing bipolar. This might sound like a dream right now, but figuring out what you need and learning the system in Loving  and Take Charge does make this possible. Partners who know what they need have clarity.

Can relationships survive when a partner has bipolar? Of course they can! I did it and you can do it as well, but these two steps are needed:

  • Clarity on your needs.
  • A partner who is moving towards the life motto of Treat Bipolar First.


My General Advice if You’re New to this Bipolar World

Read the chapter called The Bipolar Conversation in Loving and Take Charge. Learning about The Bipolar Conversation will give you immediately skills for talking to someone in a mood swing.

  • Ask for help from someone who has been there.
  • Read Loving more than once. It has so much information that each time you read the book, you learn something new.
  • Highlight the ideas in Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder that you want to use in your relationships.

Learn all you can and take care of you!

We can live with dual emotions if we know it’s a normal part of loving someone with bipolar disorder.


My Facebook groups: If you’re a partner, please join me on The Stable Bed. If you’re a parent of a child with bipolar disorder, please join me on The Stable Table.  If you have bipolar and want to learn more about how to help those around you understand what YOU need, join me on my Julie A. Fast Facebook page. I teach bipolar basics on my Instagram. If you want more information on The Bipolar Conversation, this article on the Bp Magazine Website gives more details.

Comments are closed.