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Should I ask him if hes thought about seeing a doctor?


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I’ve seen this guy off and on and our relationship has been very unstable, partly because there’s been long distance but I’ve also noticed something deeper that might be going on, something cognitive or psychological that could be causing his shifting moods and behavioral patterns. To the person who doesn’t know him too well, he’ll come off as very charismatic and funny, and sweet. Then I started to notice his impulsiveness and recklessness. He’s been pretty flaky with me and his mom and friends have said he’s the same with them too. There are times when he disappears for weeks to months and then reappears with loving arms. Then he gets overwhelmed and ghosts everyone again.


I’m no doctor but I’ve had family with illnesses and after some independent study he seems likely of bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder or some form of depression. It’s the only type of thing that explains his behavior. I know he’s a great guy and I know he loves me, but I sense a certain lack of control over himself.


But should I talk to him about it? And if so, what approach should I use?

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Speaking from personal experience: he is very unlikely to take your suggestion well.


And you are probably not the first person to want to suggest he seek help. If he's this erratic, people have almost certainly brought it to his attention before, and yet, he is still displaying the same unstable behaviour. That should tell you something about his willingness to acknowledge a problem and seek out help for it.


I would be very, very wary of proceeding with someone you describe this way.

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Unless he is 5 years old, you would be the 100+ person in his life to notice his issues and try to tell him he needs help. Unfortunately, there is nothing that will turn a cluster b personality disorder against you faster than pointing it out to them that they are disordered....and Mr. Sweet and Charismatic may well turn vindictive and pure evil on you, so do beware.


Ultimately, it's like dealing with an alcoholic or a drug addict - you can tell them they are addicted until you are blue in the face. However unless they decide they have a problem AND decide to do something about it, NOTHING that you say or do will make any difference. With personality disorders it's even worse - they don't think they are disordered and even if they do realize it, they are well adept at being themselves and selecting people who will put up with them. In other words, motivation to change is virtually zero and a very tiny percentage actually seek out help and get themselves sorted successfully. Well....a tiny percentage ever venture so far as to get diagnosed and out of that a tiny fraction go so far as to fix themselves successfully. In other words, you have a better chance at winning the lottery than this guy getting himself sorted out ever in his lifetime.


Unfortunately, I think you are determined to try and will learn the hard way that you should have stayed away and quietly disentangled yourself from this relationship.

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The majority of therapists say hot/cold people should be avoided, and if you are in a relationship with them, to run for the hills!


How they work: when things are good, they start to worry and get anxious/insecure. Sometimes they even feel it physically. In order to relieve themselves of this anxiety, they run and hide, pull away. When they feel better, they come back around, and the cycle starts again.


I have know people to take it further and go on a total bender out of town, slamming every guy in sight, then come home after a few weeks to their husband.

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I know how tempting it is to pin people with a mental disorder in order to explain and understand their behaviour, but truthfully I think this is only helpful when you're at the point where you need to justify distancing yourself from the person and that label is what is going to help you overcome your emotional barriers to doing so. That is to say, you can recognise he has some issues but if it's at the point where it's creating problems in your life and you recognise that something needs to change, that something is really YOU needing to remove yourself from the situation. If you stay, you are only enabling him to continue with his current patterns - and trust me, patterns overrule logic and love.


So, sure, you can ask him if he's thought about seeing a doctor. But make sure you have your mindset and expectations right first.

Things you should not expect: Him to suddenly realise how wonderful of an idea that is, to reassure you he wants to change, to get help in the near future

Things you should expect: Defensiveness, resistance, blaming, denial, retaliation, and a continuance of his current patterns.


I'm just being realistic here, you can mention it but one mention isn't going to do a thing to improve the dynamics between you two. So if you think this is going to save the relationship, think again. And proceed with caution (protect your feelings). You'll probably need to end the relationship soon - sometimes that's the only way you can begin to inspire someone to change

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He sounds bipolar. How old is he?


When did his change start? I'm surprised his mother said what she did.


Does he drink, too?


He's 28. I've known him for a few years and he's always been like this since I've known him. He's moved around a lot. He used to drink but he's been through a program and says he's sober for a few months.


Where does he disappear to? Can no one find him? Or is he just not contacting you? Does he live with anyone?



It's A little bit of both. One time a friend kicked him out and he went missing for 2-3 days afterwards and his mom had the police looking around. They found him staying at a shelter. His mom then had him live with her and her bf.


With me, he'll usually get to a point where he knows he has disappointed me (mostly not showing up when we have agreed to meet up, or not calling me back after he promised) and then he'll quit all contact. After I know he's not responding, I'll quit trying and I'll back off. Then after a a few weeks or a couple of months, he'll contact me again with an apology and wanting to get back together. Sometimes he'll get kind of dramatic and say he wants to elope or move away together, but I have told him I don't want to dive into it like that and he understands.


You don't. And just a protip... You should avoid diagnosing people with mental illness. Behavior can result from a number of causes.


What else could his symptoms indicate?


How do you know he actually is ghosting everyone else?


Two of his friends and his mom have told me he does it to them too and that's just how he is sometimes. They told me after I reached out to them worried about what might have happened to him.


I don't think I will approach him about his patterns any time too soon. Last week we were supposed to meet up as I flew back into state to see family, and he never made it over. The last thing he said to me was through text that he filled up his gas tank to make the trip into my town, and then silence. This has happened before, but he always eventually comes back saying how terrible he feels and how much he regrets not taking the opportunity to see me. I sent him two texts that he didn't respond to so I assume it's time for me to back off again.


I guess it's a good thing that I now live 5 states away from him.


But I know it's only a matter of time before he pops up again with an apology. It's for sure a pattern now.


My best friend had originally thought that he was just an immature flake who doesn't know what he wants, but now that a predictable pattern has formed, and how he is full of drama and highs and lows.. I think it's something a little more serious.


However, I know I'd be taking a huge risk at suggesting he might have a mental illness. On some level I think he might be aware but ashamed to admit it. I've tried to ask him why things are the way they are and he admits that it's him that is the problem, but the details as to why are always vague and don't make much sense.

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Ok, so we know he disappears for weeks and months, but how long does he actually *stand still* with you before he's compelled to dash off again?


If he sticks around for months at a time, IF he were Bipolar, surely you would be witnessing some extreme mood swings, are you?


Extreme highs and lows, if Bipolar 1, mania/depression -- severe, debilitating.


if not, and the only criteria you have is that he disappears for long periods, but fine when you're together, it's probably not Bipolar.


Without knowing more, sounds more to me like he has severe commitment issues -- commitment phobes are notorious for running off, disappearing for long periods, then returning, often with some elaborate excuse that doesn't make any sense, hanging around for awhile, then disappearing again.


Rinse repeat, in some cases for years if their partner allows it.


Which begs the question, why do you allow it?


At best, he is completely irresponsible, at worst he doesn't give a s***.


Note that severe commitment issues are not limited to only romantic relationships, they can affect every aspect of their lives, and their relationships with everyone -- friends, family, employers, does he have a job??


If so, does he just disappear from his job too?

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You need to stop allowing him to pop back into your life, OP. He can't do any of this without your consent, in the sense that you keep responding and trying to make it work. By now, you know it's not going to work.


This is who he is. Mental illness or not, he isn't someone who is going to be able to provide a stable relationship. It's time you cut the cord here, unless you want to continue this mad cycle of disappointments.

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It's fortunate you live 5 states away. There's no possibility of a relationship with someone like this. Trying to diagnose and fix him indicate your need to play detective, doctor etc. as well as your curiosity and love of drama. You already know the patterns. Drinking, cops, shelters, disappearing, unreliable, empty promises, showing up when he needs food, cash, a place to stay, etc. The only 'diagnosis' here is vagabond and that's all you need to know to block and delete him and all his people, so you can move forward.

He used to drink but he's been through a program and says he's sober for a few months. They found him staying at a shelter.
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he'll usually get to a point where he knows he has disappointed me (mostly not showing up when we have agreed to meet up, or not calling me back after he promised) and then he'll quit all contact. After I know he's not responding, I'll quit trying and I'll back off. Then after a a few weeks or a couple of months, he'll contact me again with an apology and wanting to get back together.


This is when you don't let him and you don't get back with him.


He treats you this way because you let him treat you this way. He knows he can not go find treatment for his problem because you will be there to pick up when he decides to show up, be it a result of mental illness or just being rude.


If you want him to address this issue, then you have to stop being his haven when he decides to return. People do not do much when they're comfortable--they tend to make changes when they are uncomfortable and not getting what they want. If he goes to some other chick, then let him be her problem. It's not worth it to continue with someone who treats everyone like this. His mom has to hang in there because she's his mother, but you don't.

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Unfortunately from your description, if you must find a "mental illness", your friend has a pattern of great deal of these characteristics/behaviors. These people never seek help. It is usually court ordered, however it is generally not treatable.


The Hare Psychopathy Checklist is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies

• glib and superficial charm

• grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self

• need for stimulation

• pathological lying

• cunning and manipulativeness

• lack of remorse or guilt

• shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)

• callousness and lack of empathy

• parasitic lifestyle

• poor behavioral controls

• sexual promiscuity

• early behavior problems

• lack of realistic long-term goals

• impulsivity

• irresponsibility

• failure to accept responsibility for own actions

• many short-term marital relationships

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