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Tips for Making Your Bipolar Relationship Work

Bipolar relationship tips aren’t easy to come by, so we’ve compiled some for you. Find out how to deal with bipolar in relationships, here at HealthyPlace.

Bipolar relationship tips may seem unnecessary to anyone who doesn't know what it's like to live with this condition. Every relationship has hurdles to overcome, and being with someone who has a mental illness is no different in that respect. However, bipolar disorder has its own unique set of challenges that can make romantic relationships more complicated. If you're struggling with relationship problems because of your bipolar diagnosis or you're not sure how to handle a relationship with someone who has bipolar, read on for bipolar relationship tips.  

Bipolar Relationship Tips: How to Handle a Relationship with Bipolar In the Mix

Are you looking for bipolar relationship tips to help you navigate life and love with a mental illness? Every relationship has its challenges, but bipolar disorder can bring its own set of issues to a romantic relationship. While many people with bipolar maintain healthy relationships, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Here are five bipolar relationship tips to help you maintain happy and healthy relationships.

Bipolar Relationship Tip 1: Be honest

Find a partner you can be honest with about your condition. Trust is an integral part of any relationship, and being open about your mental health is a great way to clue your partner in on your symptoms, triggers and treatment. Your partner is likely to form a large part of your support network going forward, so it’s vital that you feel you can speak openly about your experience and ask for help when you need it.

Bipolar Relationship Tip 2: Tell your partner early-on

Although no rule says you have to disclose your mental illness to anyone unless you feel comfortable, if you're in a new relationship, it's best to tell your partner before you've made a long-term commitment to one another. Having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder shouldn't change how your partner feels about you, but it may be important to get it out in the open so that they have a chance to consider how it may affect the relationship.

This bipolar relationship tip is discretionary, as only you know when the time is right to tell your partner about your condition. However, there are benefits to opening up early on.

If your new partner is supportive, then you can build your relationship from a place of openness and trust, and they won’t be surprised when you experience a mood episode. If your new partner decides your illness is too much for them to handle, then the relationship was never going to work anyway, and you won’t have wasted your time on someone who’s not right for you.

Bipolar Relationship Tip 3: Avoid blaming the illness

It’s easy to blame your illness for everything that goes wrong in your relationship, but the reality is that people with bipolar disorder aren’t ill all the time. This is one bipolar relationship tip that’s worth paying attention to, as not everyone realizes they’re doing it.

There will inevitably be times when your bipolar symptoms cause problems in your relationship. If you experience mania, for instance, you may have trouble maintaining a conversation, or you might engage in impulsive behaviors, such as heavy drinking or overspending. However, you'll also have to deal with other sources of conflict, and it won't always be the fault of your illness.

Bipolar Relationship Tip 4: Identify and avoid your triggers

If you can identify triggers for bipolar episodes, you may be able to lessen the frequency and severity of manic or depressive episodes and reduce their impact on your life and relationship.

Common mood triggers for bipolar include:

  • Changes in sleep habits, particularly lack of sleep
  • Sensory overload, such as loud noises, bright lights and crowds of people
  • Stress from work, financial trouble or relationship conflict
  • Excitement about an important day or event, such as a wedding or party
  • Changes to everyday routine
  • Quitting or changing your medication
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Switching time zones when traveling or on vacation
  • Changes in weather

Not all of these triggers will be avoidable all of the time, so it’s important to develop coping skills to help you deal with them. Ongoing treatment, such as therapy and/or mood stabilizer medication, can also lessen the effect of episodes when bipolar is triggered.

Bipolar Relationship Tip 5: Keep communicating

Unsurprisingly, communication is a vital part of making a bipolar relationship work, whether it’s you or your partner who has the illness. This is especially important when your symptoms are severe, or when episodes make you behave in troubling ways, such as drinking too much, overspending or skipping your medication. Although your partner may be concerned or upset to hear what you're feeling and how you're behaving, it's best to be honest. Not only does this keep the line of communication open and lead to greater intimacy, but it also holds you accountable for your actions during an episode.

These bipolar relationship tips are helpful whether you're in the early stages of a relationship or you've been with your partner for years. If bipolar disorder is causing severe problems in your home or romantic life, however, you should consider seeking additional help from your doctor and think about seeing a couples' counselor.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, June 19). Tips for Making Your Bipolar Relationship Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/relationships/tips-for-making-your-bipolar-relationship-work

Last Updated: June 25, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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