From the married, fifty year old going through a midlife crisis having a clandestine affair for months to the non-existent moral compass of a repeat, one night stand offender boyfriend, all have one thing in common; an innocent, significant other. There are many reasons why people cheat and unfortunately for those of us with bipolar spouses, hyper sexuality and infidelity can also be a consequence of an untreated hypomanic or hypermanic episode.
Does this knowledge make it easier?
Does this mean we should just forgive and forget?
Does a diagnosis of bipolar disorder excuse the betrayal?
No. No. And no.
Let’s get one thing straight. Cheating hurts. No matter why, with whom or how many times. You have a right as the injured party to feel angry and upset and betrayed. Just because you know that your partner has a chemical imbalance that causes them to do things out of character, does not lessen the sting to your heart.
Mental illness is an explanation, not an excuse.
It doesn’t make you a bad person if you decide that you can no longer continue in said relationship after an infidelity.
It doesn’t make you weak and/or stupid if you decide to stay in said relationship after an infidelity.
For most people, the decision is difficult. You want to stay because you understand the illness but you don’t want to be stuck in a pattern of betrayal and pseudo forgiveness. If only you could KNOW for sure it would never happen again. Then it would be easy. But no one can make that promise.
How Do You Get Over Your Bipolar Spouse Cheating?
- You must allow yourself to feel hurt.
- Your partner must understand how hurt you are.
- Your partner must acknowledge that they betrayed you and be remorseful.
- Your partner must assume all responsibility for their actions.
- Your partner must give you enough time to process events and to trust again when you are ready.
- Your partner must be willing to implement a coping strategy to deal with future episodes.
- You must educate yourself and take an active part in helping your partner manage their bipolar disorder.
- You must set healthy boundaries for the relationship.
- Your partner must be actively participating in controlling their symptoms including being med and treatment compliant.
- You both must be willing to work on the relationship and seek counselling if needed.
- You must be open to love and trust again.
- You must not continually remind your partner of the infidelity as a punishment or to invoke shame.
- You must eventually get over the infidelity.
- You must never forget the infidelity and be vigilant in assessing mood swings and patterns to prevent future indiscretions.
THE DEAL BREAKER: IF YOUR PARTNER CONTINUES TO CYCLE AND CHEAT AND NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS OR IMPLEMENT A PLAN TO PREVENT FUTURE INFIDELITY, YOU MUST CONSIDER THAT THEY ARE A SERIAL CHEATER AND THAT BIPOLAR IS NOT THE SOURCE OF THEIR ACTIONS BUT USED AS AN EXCUSE TO CHEAT.
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or a doctor. This post is based solely on my personal experiences and should not be deemed as advice or counsel. Please seek appropriate medical attention from a licensed professional.
Recommended Reading/Products: (The following contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you click through and purchase.)
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families
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