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Navigating any romantic relationship -- whether it's dating or marriage -- can be a tricky endeavor.
Add bipolar disorder with its roller-coaster ride of emotions into the mix, and relationships become even more challenging.
"I've seen dozens of couples come through the door with their marriage in tatters." Bipolar disorder "puts a huge additional strain on a relationship, particularly when you don't have a diagnosis." Having a relationship when you live with bipolar disorder is difficult. It takes work on the part of both partners to make sure the marriage survives.
But when those episodes do occur they can wreak havoc on a relationship.
During the manic phase, a person can lose his or her sense of judgment.
"That's because you want to pull them out of their shell and you don't know how to do it." Bipolar disorder can become an issue from the very start of a relationship.
When you first meet someone you like, it's natural to want to make a good impression.
"But once you sense that there's a mutual attraction and you decide to become more serious with this person, when you decide that you want to date this person exclusively, I think at that point each partner needs to come clear with what the package includes." Knowing what triggers your cycles of hypomania, mania, and depression and watching out for warning signs that you're entering one or the other phase of the cycle can help you avoid uncomfortable situations in your new relationship.
"I think the more the person knows what their cycles are, the better they might be able to be in charge of them," says Myrna Weissman, Ph D.
Depression can cause the person to withdraw completely from everything -- and everyone -- around him or her.
"If you're a partner with someone, it's very frustrating," Haltzman says.
Mc Nulty watched not only his own marriage fall apart, but the marriages of others with bipolar disorder as well.