If you are married to someone who is suffering from a bipolar disorder, you know that it is a rough ride at times. Having a spouse with bipolar can put the other partner in the role of caretaker in a relationship. He/she is required to hold everything together when the situation turns bad.
A person with bipolar disorder may be loving and affectionate sometimes and then cold and distant at other times. These erratic behaviours and mood swings of a bipolar partner can be quite challenging, disappointing and frustrating for the spouse. 9 out of 10 people say that they find it difficult to keep the relationship going with a bipolar partner. However, with the right plan and support you and your spouse can beat this statistic and have a happy life.
We share some tips with you to manage and make your relationship work with a bipolar spouse.
Tips for Coping when your Spouse has Bipolar Disorder
- Help Your Spouse Find the Right Medication: There are many types of medication techniques to treat bipolar disorder. Every medication works a little bit differently so take care you find the right doctor and the right medication that works best for your spouse. Make sure to accompany your partner for his/her doctor’s appointments. Be interactive, ask questions and understand the progress of the treatment from the doctor. Good medication and support, can make a big difference to their quality of life.
- Educate Yourself: Educate yourself about what your spouse is going through. Find time to read and research about mental illness. Look for triggers, stressors, and soothers that influence your partner’s mood. When your partner is in a stable mood, pay close attention to environmental triggers that can help to keep them stable. Encourage them to use these soothers to maintain their mood.
- Encourage Your Spouse to Go for Counselling: Counselling is another effective means to combat bipolar disorder. Effective counselling from a social worker, mental health therapist or a relationship counsellor can help your spouse break the negative patterns of this disorder. Counsellors guides the person through the hard times and teach the skills which can help them change their view of the world around them. Counselling, in turn, can also help you to manage your emotions while in a relationship with a spouse who has bipolar.
- Encourage Them to Participate in Support groups: The main aim of these support groups is to bring together people with bipolar disorder on a common platform where they can share their experiences and talk about their problems with others. There are also support groups for family members and this may be helpful for you as well. Help look for a support group with your partner. If there is no group in your area, take initiative and consider starting one. This will help you and your spouse to overcome the situation and help keep your relationship on track.
- Build Support: Relationships are all about giving love and support to your partner. Extend your support by giving them the time they need, going out for a dinner date and talking about their day or checking in on how they feel. These small things can have a big impact on your relationship.
- Recall Your Love: When things are tough, take a deep breath and reminisce about the good old times that you both have spent together. Look at old photographs, recall funny stories and spend time with your spouse. Your spouse’s illness is something which you can both fight against as a team, it’s not who your spouse is.
Other Tips: You can also follow some general tips to manage the relationship with your spouse. These tips are:
- Don’t argue with them when they are in deep depression. Arguing will cause more tension and stress for both of you.
- Don’t blame your spouse for the situation; it’s not their fault that they are ill. Rather, talk to them about how you feel or what hurts you.
- If you are experiencing marital problems because of their illness, consider visiting a marriage counsellor for help when your spouse is mentally stable.The number of people experiencing bipolar disorder is increasing year after year. This problem is common in both men and women; however, it is more likely to affect women.
At The Family Enhancement Centre, we provide counselling for individuals as well as couple related issues. Our team of experts including social workers, mental health therapists and relationship counsellors can help guide you and your spouse and in turn, help save your relationship. Call us now at 905-799-2228 to check us out and see for yourself.