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Preparing to Break-Up But Still Unsure


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I've been with my girlfriend for almost 3 years now.  We have an amazing connection, have lots of fun, talk, are best friends, and just love each other very much.  She told me on our 2nd date that she was diagnosed Bipolar 1, and had episodes in her past (about 3) and doing ECT. After about 8 months, she stopped the ECT and went off her meds. She still saw a therapist and her psychiatrist regularly. Things were still going well, she's naturally extroverted and very outgoing so sometimes it's harder to make the distinction of when her mood is elevated. About a month ago, while I was out of town, she had an episode and was hospitalized for 4 days. 

Since then, I'm realizing more that if I am going to stay in this relationship, it will be cyclical, period of mania, depression, mixed in with periods of being somewhere in the middle. I've been asking myself "Can I ACCEPT all the variations of her" and is that really the kind of relationship I want to be in for the long haul. There are some concerns I have aside from the bipolar. She is naturally extroverted and I am more introverted. It's never really been a big issue before her episode, though I am noticing that since her episode, she has been extra extroverted to the degree of talking to strangers what seems like every other person she sees.  It's a bit much for me. She has enormous amounts of energy on very little sleep. Our routine is off and I am learning to accept that it probably will not be exactly the same, that she (and we) are in the process of evolving. We all evolve and grow, but it just feels like we could potentially grow apart.

The other day, she shared with me that she wants to sell her place and move about 20 miles north of where she currently lives.  She said she wants to buy her own place, to be the only one on the title.  I know she is not completely herself lately, but this did confuse and hurt me (even though I didn't tell her how I felt). She said maybe eventually we can live together, when we are both ready.  We've been together for 3 years, and by now I would want to know that the person I'm with will include my thoughts, wishes into a major decision like this.  Whether or not it will really happen or if it's just a part of her manic state talking, it still hurts.  It is also is unrealistic.  She doesn't have a job, the places she is looking at are beyond what she can afford.  Her parents are well off and have helped her financially in the past and currently.

We are having a hard time communicating and listening to each other. I don't feel like my needs are being met. That I am being heard, right now.  It was better prior the episode, but now it feels like it's all about her. We tried seeing a couples counselor, which actually helped for 1 season, but then her Dr advised not to do it because she is still healing and it's just "too much" right now. 

These are just some of the reasons why I am now seriously considering a break up. Break-ups have so difficult for me in the past.  I feel a lot of anxiety and sadness and frankly as hard as it is to admit...I'm afraid of being alone.  I have a therapist, a few close friends, and a solid job. My Dr. prescribed anxiety medication should I need it.  I'm still torn...my head says leave but my heart  says stay.  

Does anyone have any advice on "how" to break up in such a way that it leaves us both feeling at "peace" and even potentially be friends down the road?  Any advice on an exit plan, groups, books, tools that have helped you with break ups in the past? Is there any hope of salvaging this relationship? How can I find a place of "acceptance" where my head and heart are aligned with my decision?

 

 

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27 minutes ago, girltalkCA said:

 I know she is not completely herself lately, but this did confuse and hurt me (even though I didn't tell her how I felt). She said maybe eventually we can live together, when we are both ready.  We've been together for 3 years, and by now I would want to know that the person I'm with will include my thoughts, wishes into a major decision like this.  Whether or not it will really happen or if it's just a part of her manic state talking, it still hurts.  It is also is unrealistic.

Unrealistic.  Exactly.. and this is what you get, when they go OFF their meds!

I highly suggest you tell her to get back on her meds.. that is necessary.  That & her therapy, in order to be 'able to function' half normally.  

If it were me, I'd say you do this.. or else!  She's not being very responsible this way.

People in this state are very challenging 😕 .

What is she 'healing' from?

If you cannot handle someone like this, is best to just cut all ties.  So you can both work on accepting & healing.

But, yes, by all means. do take care of yourself here.

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32 minutes ago, girltalkCA said:

She said she wants to buy her own place, to be the only one on the title. .  Her parents are well off and have helped her financially in the past and currently.

She wants to go, so let her go. It's that simple.

She may be manic with psychotic episodes, etc., but she has her parents and she can rant rave outrageously, that's fine. It's the nature of the disease. Do her parents have power of attorney?

You're the one who needs to face reality in this scenario. She's not ready willing or able to have a relationship.

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You are asking the impossible. there are no magic words that one said leave you both with peace.

It takes being honest with yourself (and them) in the present moment.  And then lots of time and space to heal as your own person.  

Once you are at peace with yourself you may find peace with her as a friend.  but it's been my experience, when you're ready to be friends, you won't really want to be.

I would take the time to write out how you feel, sleep on it and then talk to her.

She's not including you in her life decisions (for whatever reason) and so you have to make your own, too.

It is hard to end things.  you will feel horrible, some regret and doubt. but I think you know this is right. 

She needs to deal with her health. And get back on her meds. You're a boyfriend, not a parent. She has to come to you whole and you need to be compatible. You are clearly not. 

I'm sorry.  It is hard. 

 

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57 minutes ago, girltalkCA said:

frankly as hard as it is to admit...I'm afraid of being alone.

That's what lies at the heart of the matter, OP. A good therapist will help you work out why exactly you are afraid to be alone. There has to be a reason.   Indeed it would be highly recommendable for you to spend a good long time alone, and get back to yourself.

Fear is a very bad advisor, and only shackles your life. 

And I remember your other thread OP.

And a year ago you remarked:

"How do I become more secure within myself and not be afraid to make hard decisions just because I'm afraid of being alone or not finding the right person?"

 

Edited by LaHermes
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What awful things do you fear will happen to you if you're "alone"? Are you physically afraid (burglars, etc.) or do you just not like to be by yourself because your thoughts go into a dark place? If it's the latter, you'll want to address that through therapy.

And no breakup will leave you both feeling at "peace", not at first. But you may experience some from of relief because you will be removing a major stressor from your life.

Otherwise you could allow your fear to rule and just be with her forever, knowing you'll be experiencing her "episodes" for the rest of your life.

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7 hours ago, girltalkCA said:

Does anyone have any advice on "how" to break up in such a way that it leaves us both feeling at "peace" and even potentially be friends down the road? 

Take your time about it. Think about it while the two of you are together, but don't do anything. When you are apart, take steps to be more independent. Deviate from the rules a little (but in a way that won't hurt her). That will help you to create space and separate yourself.

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Hey, OP. Sorry you are having relationship doubts and struggling with the decision of whether to break up with your partner.

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(even though I didn't tell her how I felt)

I think this is problematic - and you bear some culpability for this. In a healthy relationship, partners tell one another when they have an issue. How is your partner going to have the opportunity to fix what she does not know bothers you?

I think you should try communicating before you decide to break up. Your heart is still in this relationship - your brain says, "no," but -  logically speaking - you have not taken actions which might make you feel better.

I recommend you:  

  • Explain politely but directly to her that her plan to move without consulting you hurt you, and you wish she would tell you about major life decisions. 
  • Tell her what needs of yours are not being met. Then, you two can discuss what could help. 
  • Tell her also that you are concerned that she is off her medication/treatment plan, because [examples of mania/depression here] - if you can find a way to do so tactfully. 

I am surprised her doctor told her to discontinue couples counseling. That is not a doctor-like recommendation.

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even potentially be friends down the road

Sorry, OP. This is unlikely. No matter how kindly you break up, you will not likely be friends down the road.

--

Hope this helps.

Edited by Pleasedonot5
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OP, is she still not taking medications?

Do you know how dangerous that is for someone who is bipolar and not taking any medications. I am surprised you have been this generous with her and only now are you considering seriously breaking up with her because she didn't include you in her future plans. You should have broken up with her when she refused treatment.

OP, please learn to be kind to yourself. You deserve so much better.

 

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It sounds like she is going to break up with you, anyway. Manic or not, she is distancing herself from you and preparing a life without you in it. She is unstable, and you aren't in her long-term plans. 

Yes, it's time to go. 

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Well I was actually engaged and living with someone with very bad mental illness for a year so I can totally relate to this. It sounds like you've been very supportive and understanding to your girlfriend these three years and largely very patient. The thing about being in a relationship is there are actually two people in it. So that means that it's also about you and what YOU want and need. 

It's unfortunate if some of these behaviours are part of your girlfriend's mental illness and sure maybe they're not completely her fault. But the reality is they are there. Also maybe it'd be easier to be more sympathetic if your girlfriend actually did all the treatments she needs to do like medication and so on. 

The red flags I see here are...She doesn't have a job. Her parents have supported her in the past and also do now. She wants to buy a place but she doesn't have any money. She might either enter into a mortgage that she can't afford to pay off or her parents will give her money. Being financially supported by your parents when you're in your 40's is unattractive. 

Constantly talking to strangers is over the top. I wouldn't like it if my partner did that and I'm actually pretty social and outgoing myself.

I remember you mentioned that you were married to a man but then you realised you liked women. Is your girlfriend the only woman you've been with? Are you scared you won't find another woman if you leave her? If you want to be with a woman I'm sure there are more women out there who meet your needs more. I mean no offence but even by just having a job and being slightly more mentally stable would already be more than your current girlfriend can offer.

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On 7/27/2021 at 11:33 AM, girltalkCA said:

Does anyone have any advice on "how" to break up in such a way that it leaves us both feeling at "peace" and even potentially be friends down the road?

Nope. Everyone wants this unicorn. It's just not practical to wish for.

Either you want the peace of liberating yourself from pretzeling yourself around another's mental illness in order to pursue a healthy life with a healthy partner, or not.

Make the right choice for YOU, and don't try to factor responsibilities for another adult into your equation.

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She is manic. If she’s talking to every second random stranger,  expansive amounts of energy with little sleep and making dramatic decisions she’s manic ie wanting to move and make exorbitant purchases ie house and excluding you she is manic. 
 

You will have a lifetime rotation of mania and depression and on and off meds. 

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