Relationships are difficult to maintain in even the best of people. But in a relationship where one of the people has bipolar disorder, you may even be wondering…”Relationships with bipolar: are they even possible?”

A relationship involves two people, each of whom gives of him/herself to make the other person happy, secure, fulfilled. Unfortunately, however, when you are dealing with relationships with bipolar, you are dealing with a person who is inherently self-centered because they have bipolar disorder. I’m not saying that they cannot put the other person’s needs ahead of their own; I am just saying it would be very difficult for them to do so in light of their disorder.

If you are dealing with one of the relationships with bipolar, then you are dealing with certain problems. One of the main things you are probably dealing with is problems with communication. In relationships with bipolar, the person who has bipolar disorder is not always able to communicate their needs and thoughts and feelings very well.

In this case, you need to be even more supportive and patient than usual. Try to be a good listener, and listen to not only what they say, but also to what they don’t say. Watch also for cues in body language.

One thing you should NEVER say to a person with bipolar disorder, however, is “I know how you feel,” because they could answer you with, “You don’t know how I feel; you don’t have bipolar disorder.” What you can say is, “I can see how you might feel that way,” instead. This shows that you are listening, and trying to be understanding.

Relationships with bipolar are more difficult than those in which neither person has bipolar disorder. For one thing, when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, you’re dealing with heightened emotions. As in the example just mentioned, the person can be more defensive. This can make it difficult for you to know what to say.

In relationships with bipolar, you want the person to feel as “normal” as possible. There may be times that they are in an episode, but there will be more times that they are not in an episode. These are called “normal periods.” You need to concentrate on these normal periods, and help the person with bipolar to concentrate on these periods as well. In this way they will feel more normal. During these times, do the things you put off doing during episodic periods, for example.

In relationships with bipolar, you will have to deal with certain issues associated with their bipolar disorder. An example of this is anger. They may exhibit increased irritability, agitation, and anger, and they may take it out on you, because you are the person closest to them.

Do not take this personally. As I said, it is only because you are the person closest to them. Their anger may be triggered by something big, or even something small. It may even seem to be triggered by nothing at all. Many times it is triggered by stress. Often it is triggered by a feeling of losing control over things, or the situation.

Sometimes in relationships with bipolar, when the person gets angry, they will start fights. If this happens to you, don’t fight back. It won’t do you any good. They will keep fighting, even if they’re wrong. The best thing you can do is not engage in the fight at all. This way maybe they’ll just stop fighting, because how can you fight with someone who won’t fight back?

It is possible to be part of relationships with bipolar; you just have to be aware of some of the behaviors you will encounter and how to cope with them.