when to call it quits

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 9/3/2009 9:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Reading the other posts on here, I don't think I need to describe what it is like to live with a bipolar spouse.
She is finally taking medication, and has sought help to quit abusing alcohol. But things are so far removed from OK that I do not think our marriage is going to survive.
I need to start looking out for myself. I am a wreck, and fear it will start impacting my job and my own health. Most days I feel like a zombie. I am do not want to start taking drugs to mask the real issue. I think I need to get out of this unhealthy relationship.
Any one have experience with this? At what point do I cut and run? After 15 years of undiagnosed BP (longer, but that's how long I've been married to it), am I wrong to leave once she is finally seeking treatment?
We don't have kids, thankfully.
At one point, when I thought she was doing OK and we were having a good talk, I asked why I should stick it out with her. Her response was "because I love her". I'm sorry. I do, but I need more than that. I love bacon, but I know it can be bad for me if I eat too much, so I limit the amount of bacon I consume. I limit my exposure to it because I do not think bacon loves me back.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1154
   Posted 9/3/2009 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   
well if you feel it is over then it is over but have you asked yourself if this is what you want? fifteen years is alot to throw away especially if she is getting treated. why not try counseling (marriage) and see if you can heal. try dating her again and see if you cant find the old feelings again and see if mabe you are not just worn out. you dont want to get out and then realize that you just dont want to be without her. why not do everything you can to fix the marriage before giving up especially if she is willing.
i am a strong believer in marriage and trying everything before calling it quits and i worry that maybe you are so hurt by what has been going on that you dont know how to move past it. she is bipolar and it was undiagnosed but what if she gets treatment and things can be better. yeah it will be a difficult road but it would be worth it.
what she said maybe the only thing she can think of right now and may not realize everything. she is going through alot right now and i am sure her mind is spending. why not give it a trial period of let say a year and see if things work out. you never know it might surprise you.
but if you dont feel you can do it then be fair to you and her. the one thing that disturbs me is when you say 15 years of being married to it. is that how you think of her is as an it?

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 9/3/2009 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   

I'm truly sorry to hear what you're going through, and based on your other post as well, your marriage is definitely in shambles. What you do next depends on you. You ABSOLUTELY should take care of yourself and your well being first. Nonetheless, if she just started getting treatment, you may want to hang on and see how the treatment goes before you call it quits. It can make a lot of difference. Then again, if your love for your wife is no greater than your love for bacon, your marriage may already be over.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 9/3/2009 11:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, these are all good, fresh perspectives.
In counseling I have been instructed to say it is not her that is doing the damage, but her disease. I've been advised to not say, "She makes me want to cry," rather, "Her disease makes me want to cry." The "it" refered to her disease.
I suspect a lot of what I am feeling is fatigue, and letting things cool for a while would be a good idea.
It scares me that I feel myself pulling away, as if it is a survival instinct. My wife's disease has really taken a toll on who I am.
We're always instructed to stop doing the things that have a detrimental effect on one's health (such as eating bacon or drinking too much soda). There must a threshold for marriages, too.
Even her parents have told me (and I hope they've not told her this) that life is too short to be this miserable. That didn't make me feel like sticking around would be viewed as the heroic act it will be.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1154
   Posted 9/3/2009 11:57 AM (GMT -7)   
im sorry i was wanting to make sure on the it. staying with her would not be heroic, if you are gonna stay with her stay because of love not to be a hero. there is nothing wrong with you leaving if you decide to go but if you stay it has to be out of love. if you dont stay out of love then you are doing you and her a disservice.

take a week or two to yourself. go on a vacation and let her know that you just need to think. after a week or two you could have a whole new perspective on your marriage but dont make any rash decisions until you seriously think on it. If you love her, with all your heart, then you owe it to yourself to try and work it out. But if you dont love her with all your heart and you only stay because you feel sorry for her or want to be viewed as heroic then you are doing her and you a disservice by staying.

also if you get burnout and dont take time to yourself then you will get burnt out and trust me on this one i know

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/8/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
I was in the same boat. Becasue of my first hand expirence with the disease, I opted to bolt. I realized that he was not going to get the help he needed if he was just seeking help to save our mairrage. I started with legal seperation(mostly to protect my finances), and nesting with our kids. I begged him to get help for years prior to this. He did not see that there was a problem, or just blamed it on me. He belived that counseling was not effective, and that there was nothing that we couldn't work through as a family. I made an ultimatium, after he lost his job due to flying off of the handle at work. When he finally started his treatment, it got pretty scarry. He was so not himself as he began a course of meds. His reactions were so non-emotional it was scarry. We ahve always been spiritual/religious but it went overboard telling me about his talks with Jesus. After 7 years of marrige, and the disease's progression, I found myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. There were nights that I feared for my saftey, while we "nested" with the children. I slept with my cell phone and a kitchen knife. When he started coming home with books about "non medical appraches for bi-polar treatment" I then knew I needed to leave. I knew that if I stayed, it would be more than I could take. In retrospect. by the time that I filed for legal seperation, I was done in my heart. Too much pain, for too many years. Divorce is h***. I would not wish it upon anyone. I am happy to be safe, but the illness still lives in him, and continues to affect our kids. Divorce did not make it go away. Just made it worse.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 9/15/2009 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   

I am so sorry for the pain you're experiencing. I read your posts and wonder if my husband is feeling the same way...

It sounds like you're so tired and worn out, which is completely understandable.
I can understand the "it" terminology rather than the "her" terminology.
I cannot tell you how many times this week I have said something to my husband and immediately regretted it. I know I called him six times on my drive home from work yesterday, to reassure me about this and that.
(Bear with me, I do have a point.)
This is the thing - I know that at some point he may just be too tired to deal with it. If/when that happens I would be completely willing to do ANYTHING he asked me to in order to make things work.
If you can think of anything that would help, I think you should tell her.
Also, I think that you need and deserve a "break." Would probably want to word that carefully... what I mean is this -
Maybe you or she could stay with a friend for a couple of weeks, or even go on a trip if work permits. Maybe you could go on a couple of "dates" during this time.
This is the other thing I know first hand - when I hurt my husband, I can see the pain on his face. If he decides to leave, I may be hurt but not mad. No one should live in constant distress.
You have to make the decision that is best for YOU. If you want to be the hero, but you really want to leave, just leave kindly. She will need your support. Maybe you could continue some of the things you currently help her with (drives to doctor, someone to talk to every once in a while), and slowly distance yourself.
Hang in there. Remember that if you don't take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else.
That said, I strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage. I hope that you can find away to save your marriage as well as your emotions.
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