What you are doing in terms of really looking at this relationship as something you can deal with long term, is really the best thing you can do; both for you AND him. Many people go into a relationship acting as the caretaker knowing full well what is needed. However, they don't look at themself; at what they can truly handle without building resentment up and subconsciously sabatoging the relationship.
By knowing yourself and making sure this is the right relationship for YOU long term, is the smartest move.
As I'm sure you know, many people suffering from the illness tend to do things that may seem selfish on the surface, but if looking deeper, you can see they are doing things to sabotage the relationship on purpose. It is a form of unworthines on their part. I'm not sure if this may play a part on his intention to relocate for business reasons without considerig you being part of the decision making on such a substantial life event.
In any case, setting aside the fact that he suffers from BP/Depression, you need to take action/make a decision based on what's best for you and your child. If you need someone that is hands-on; someone that is there for you to lean on emotionally on a consistant basis, then choosing a person with this illness as a life partner should be re-considered.
As you have already experienced, he will have periods where he will withdraw from social activities and relationships and will not have the capacity to be emotionally or physically available to you..no matter how much it's needed. This time , you will seem alone even though you are with him. He did not ask for this illness, but is doing what he can to deal with the cards dealt him. You, however, have the choice as to whether you want to continue or consider taking a different route in life all together. By choosing to take another path without him by your side in no way makes you a bad person or selfish in any way. It may be the best decision for you and your son. But only you will know this for sure.
Whatever your decision Ann, don't ever stop listening to your intinct. When too much of your head or too much of your heart gets in the way of your instinct, the choice resembles more of a crap shoot rather than a smart move.
I am not sure about what to say in terms of the ultimatum you want to him. This may be something he agrees to but may possibly not be able to successfully fullfill/provide you. This is where you need to consider what he is realistically able to accommodate in the relationship given his limitations with the illness. Does that make sense?
My decision to move forward with my own relationship is fully realized on my end, as is his. I know full well there will be periods that I will be on my own even though we will be living together and maybe even married. I also know there is a definite chance the illness could be passed down to our children should we have any. I will need to be self-sufficient at times when it comes to my emotional needs as well.
I am fortunate though, in that, my bf does not have outrages and is not beligerent with me. He does not suffer from extreme manias either so we are safe in terms of any finanical explosions. When suffering, he tends to take on more of a stoic personality; absent of emotion/passion, and detached.
You are correct about work. Men, more than women, tend to focus their attention on work when they are experiencing an episode. It is a form of relief I think. They can focus their energy on something that is not personal. Does that make sense? But the desicion to relocate is an entirely different story all together.
Please let meknow how things are going or s you have any more thoughts you want to pass by. I am here and enjoy the talk; so to speak ;)-
After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, "No hablo ingles."