Bipolar husband & unhealthy relationship boundaries


Bipolar husband & unhealthy relationship boundaries


your avatar   SunshineBFine, 45-year-old woman

When I met my husband I was uncomfortable with how he hugged everyone or sat on their laps and acted, at times, somewhat infantile. He hugs adults and picks them up; sometimes he offers to give them a back crack. I addressed this issue and he got quite resentful saying that I was telling him that there was something wrong with him. I approached the subject very gently since his mom is Bipolar and I saw some traits in him. He walked out on me after 12 years of marriage because he was having an emotional affair.

He has never been diagnosed with Bipolar, but I feel that he is undiagnosed. He cheated on me when we were engaged, but now I'm thinking that he may have cheated all along when I think of other unhealthy behavior that we had fought about, like visiting some of my friends just to talk. One friend said that she was uncomfortable with his visits and felt that he would have "gone for it" if she had allowed him. He acted inappropriately with many women in front of me, but when I would get mad he would say that I was jealous and accusing him of inappropriate behavior. My family also thought of him as "touchy feely"; he never did anything outright but you definitely wondered whether he would if given the chance.

Is promiscuity a part of the Bipolar Disorder? Is this behavior hereditary? What are the chances that he had other affairs? We attended mass every Sunday and he seemed to go to confession more than the average person. He said he loved talking to priests, they were very comforting. He had me duped!


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear SunshineBFine,

Bi-Polar Disorder is a serious mood disorder. It is characterized by rapid mood swings from high to low. Bi-Polar Disorder has a strong genetic link and does tend to run in families. These mood swings often occur during the fall and spring.

The depressed cycle of Bi-Polar Disorder looks like Dysthymia or Major Depression. The symptoms are a significant change in appetite and sleep patterns. The sufferer is often pessimistic and displays negative self-talk. They often become listless, suffer short-term memory loss, and lack of concentration. They lose their interest in sex and day-to-day interests, and they may or may not begin to feel suicidal.

The manic phase of Bi-Polar Disorder is characterized by insomnia, rapid and pressured speech or thoughts, grandiose thinking, and marked irritation or euphoria. They often switch topics in the middle of a statement and make very little sense. Usually, they are quite impulsive during these periods, and engage in high risk activities that are unusual for them. These activities would include spontaneous traveling or purchases that they cannot afford and often their use of drugs or alcohol increases. Very often, they become promiscuous. Their boundaries become expansive and they act in odd ways socially. They often become hyper-religious.

Sufferers of Bi-Polar Disorder can become psychotic at times. This would include delusions and hallucinations. The hallucinations can be both auditory and visual. These two distinct phases can last for several days, weeks, or months. It is a serious psychiatric disorder and requires medication in order to truly stabilize. It is a stress-related disorder and can be triggered by stress.

The disorder is commonly treated with Lithium or an anti-convalescent drug such as Depacote or Lamictal. Unfortunately, a person with this disorder finds the manic phase appealing, as long as it does not become too severe. Therefore, they will often discontinue their medication, which precipitates another episode. They often feel depressed when they have a "normal" mood.

This disorder can be helped by psychotherapy, but medication is necessary, so they also need the services of a psychiatrist. It is also very important that the client is educated about this condition so they can ascertain the first signs of a possible episode.

I hope this has been helpful. Take care.

Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:

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