New to forum, need help in deciding what to do in the midst of divorce/separation/reconciliation

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 2/23/2009 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,
I've been reading the posts for a couple of weeks and found this site incredibly useful in understanding what my bipolar spouse is going through.
I'm currently in a divorce that turned into a potential legal separation that now I just don't know what it is.  This post is very long.  Like everyone's situation, there are many details that are being left out or else you would all fall asleep.
The short of it is I am trying to decide if I should file for a legal separation for my protection regardless of how well things seem to be going.  We went from divorce to legal separation to separation.  Now she is exhibiting major symptoms of her manic phase and I frankly don't know if I should just file the legal separation anyway.  When I mention it, she goes directly into her depression cycle.
A little background:
My spouse of nearly 19 years was diagnosed with BD about six months ago.  We now understand why the years of depression and anxiety medicine prescribed due to misdiagnosis didn't work.  She got on medicine and after a few weeks she seemed to be normalized.
I was not a very good partner in helping her.  I didn't understand what she was going through and didn't know the right questions to ask.  She never talked to me about what she was experiencing. 
It also doesn't help that I have been clinically depressed for many years and, even on medicine, have a hard time fighting my symptoms.  This has caused previous separations that came close to divorce.
Besides BD, my spouse has significant health issues that in the last four months have caused her incredible pain.
The current situation:
My spouse withdrew from me a few months ago, but when I tried to find out what was wrong she said it was the pain.
Late in January, I discovered a bill from a loan company that I didn't know about.  I called my spouse angry about it (stupid I know).  An hour later I received an email that she was divorcing me.  Two days later my spouse packed up her things along with our daughter and moved to her parent's house.  During those two days she told me that we had grown apart, she had absolutely zero feelings for me, that my depressive symptoms of negative self image, self hate, and my desire to just hide in my man-cave is just too much to handle given that she feels nothing for me.
What came out afterward is that in her untreated manic phases she spent money that we didnt have, and then hid the fact by taking out loans in her own name.  Besides the one loan I discovered there is another.  The amount of money is daunting to say the least. 
Over the weeks my love started to fade away.  During the whole time I tried to get her back and her position never swayed.  We decided to divorce amicably and worked on divorce papers we could file through a paralegal company.  I finally gave up and started to move forward.  When we met to go over the paperwork I realized that I still loved her so I told her it wasnt too late to turn it into a legal separation.  She broke down and finally left.
The next day she wanted to meet to discuss the idea.  Things went really well and she admitted that over the weeks, with distance and the communication we were having, that she still loved me and wanted to work towards getting back together.  We agreed to turn it into a legal separation (she is the petitioner and would have to file, I have already paid for this stuff).  I later suggested that with things going so well, maybe it could just be an informal situation.
Things now seem to have taken an abrupt 180 degree turn from divorce, divorce, divorce.  This, combined with two incidents of manic behavior have me scared and concerned.
A day later she sent me an email with a link to an engagement ring she wanted me to buy her.  We worked through that one but now I was afraid she was actually in a manic phase.  I started worrying if her feelings were real, or if it was coming from her manic phase.
We got together for a day and a half, had many good conversations as well as other things spouses do.  We discussed how she feels on her manic phases and she indicated she wanted my help to combat the urges.  The love has started to bloom again.  She said she had been suppressing the feelings because she felt she was doing the right thing with the divorce, and was trying to be logical.
Yesterday she went to a mall.  She called me because she saw another engagement ring she wants to buy.   I talked her down from it.  Then she texted me, and I said no. Then she texted again that "what if it comes from you(me)."  I once again said no. She walked out without buying it, but then went into full blown depressive phase and I spent hours in chat trying to talk her out of that.
I am scared of what may happen if I don't file for a legal separation.  I am scared of what may happen if I suggest it again.  She is supposed to see her therapist soon to discuss things before we meet a therapist for marriage counseling.  This may take a week or two before these two things happen.
I am looking for a little advice since I am lost.  Is it safe to wait a couple of weeks before making a decision about legal separation?  Should I suggest it now anyway, even though it throws her into her depressive cycle?  Should I get out entirely (not an option I was really considering until this last bout)?

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 2/23/2009 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   

Welcome to the board - sorry it had to be under these circumstances. sad

My first thought was - if it's real, wait it out.  If it's what you both really want then waiting a couple weeks won't hurt anything.  If it's part of her being manic, then she'll get the ring, be happy, tell you she was wrong about her feelings and you'll be worse off b/c now you'll owe money for a ring that she gets to keep!  Buy her an inexpensive band with a CZ (or just a plain band) as a "symbol" of what is to come.  Reassure her that you love her but with the roller coaster of the past that is your relationship, you want to take things slowly.  She might not like this - if she's manic.  Then you know you made the right decision.  If she IS in her right mind, just excited and anxious to be engaged to you again then she'll take your feelings into consideration and understand, or maybe not even fully understand, but at least respect them.

Good Luck and please keep coming back.  This board has been my sanity on some of the worst days!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 2/24/2009 8:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for your advice BD_spouse.

Her abrupt turnaround from divorce to reconciliation, and then the barely controlled "I want a ring" episodes concern me. A week ago she had zero feelings for me, now she is in fullblown raging love. If she is manic, are her feelings of love even real?

She broke my trust in so many ways that I don't know how I get back to where we need to be. I keep trying to tell myself that its her disorder and not her, but its a struggle to actually accept it.

We have a tentative marriage counseling appointment in a couple of days. I can wait at least until then before making a decision about legal separation or divorce.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 2/24/2009 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi theronson,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the bipolar board.

I think one condition you need to place on any reconciliation would be her commitment to seeing a psychiatrist regularly, getting on medication and her dedication to taking it, and seeing a therapist. As you have seen, untreated manic phases are just too unpredictable and too impossible to live with. The treated ones are hard to live with as well, but it's much more manageable.

Hold off on the ring. The marriage counseling sounds like a good plan, but make sure the counselor knows about her bp and that she is currently untreated. Don't be surprised if not much works right now. She really needs treatment before anything "sticks".

Good luck,
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

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