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"She would cycle between extreme happiness and depression," he says, recalling her paranoia, impulsiveness, and self-destructive insecurity.
"She broke up with me and started dating other people, and then when I dated other people she tried to win me back." Like many people with bipolar disorder, Tim's girlfriend also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and got deep into debt—with his credit card.
You may not always like what you learn, he warns, but keeping surprises to a minimum makes your relationship easier to navigate.
Building a team for support Many people enter into relationships with a bipolar person unwittingly, thinking it will be smooth sailing, says Adele Viguera, MD, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic who works with bipolar couples seeking to start a family.Depressive phases, during which the bipolar partner feels hopeless and sad, can drag a healthy partner down, too."Mental illness is, on some levels, a contagious disease," says David Karp, Ph D, a professor of sociology at Boston College who has studied interpersonal dynamics within bipolar couples.If you're involved with someone with bipolar disorder, the romantic relationship may be exciting, exhausting, and stressful.But it will rarely be easy, especially if the object of your affection doesn't comply fully with treatment.