When A Partner Has Bipolar Disorder

Being involved in a bipolar marriage can be one of the toughest challenges for a loving relationship. With the bipolar spouse experiencing mood swings and the bipolar disorder symptoms of mania or depression at any given time, it can present a tough challenge for both the husband and wife in the relationship.

With some tough work and the proper treatment surviving a bipolar marriage can be done while decreasing problems.

According to bipolar marriage statistics, 90 percent of bipolar marriages end in divorce giving bipolar marriages a 10 percent chance of survival. This statistic does not take into account that some marriages may end with the bipolar spouse committing suicide. This percentage may grim, but if you are married to a spouse with bipolar disorder or have the illness yourself vow to be part of the 10 percent of bipolar marriages that do survive.

The reason bipolar marriages have extra problems and great risk of divorce is because the bipolar spouse may experience bouts of depression as well as mania with or without bipolar disorder treatment. These mood swings may have nothing to do with their partner or their marriage, yet the partner may feel the impact causing strain on the relationship.


A spouse’s bipolar disorder symptoms vary and the impact it will have on the marriage also vary depending on a number of factors. These factors are how well the bipolar spouse manages his or her illness, if he or she seeks treatment as well as how understanding the well spouse is regarding their bipolar wife or husband and their bipolar disorder. The well spouse can also be a trigger for the spouse with bipolar disorder as well because of their close relationship.

Some of the bipolar marriage problems can occur when the bipolar husband or wife takes out their depression, irritability or anger out on their spouse. At times a bipolar spouse can make poor decisions leading to marital problems and arguments. The well spouse may take on responsibility for their husband or wife making sure they receive treatment– a role he or she may not want to take on.

There can also be positive, happy times within a bipolar marriage. The whole marriage will not be doom and gloom because of this mental illness. Appreciate the good times and get marital counseling together if needed to weather the bad times.

Here are some great resources for those with bipolar disorder and their spouses:

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know

Break the Bipolar Cycle: A Day-by-Day Guide to Living with Bipolar Disorder

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