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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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My bi-polar partner has started sneaking out to see a woman.

Resolved Question:

My bi-polar partner has started sneaking out to see a woman. I am unsure how to handle this as I have discovered the woman is bi-polar too and also (as he is) an alcoholic and addicted to codeine. I am reluctant to just inform him that I know about this as the last two times I caught him out, he went screaming round the house, stabbing himself with scissors.

I am suspecting they have not yet started a physical affair, but are finding some comfort in each other. However, the last time I caught him cheating he said he did it because the woman felt fat and ugly and he wanted to make her feel better. I think he may be working up to the same situation.

We are living together in my house and I warned him prior to his moving in that the only condition I had was that he stayed faithful. We've been together ten years but only living together for two.

I know the other woman is on medication, but my partner is not. How do I handle this? I just want it to stop - or I will have to stick to my word and throw him out of our home... I know he is vulnerable, so I don't really want to do that - also, I would miss him, despite his strange moods and unexpected aggression!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Sadly, this is typical behavior for bi-polar disorder. The erratic behavior and moods, sexual acting out, etc. You partner needs to be on medications and you need to make a decision if you want to live like this. Odds are better if he is treated. Confronting him while manic will likely be erratic. You have to look ahead, not to next month. Will you be better off in a year or two? It would be hard to change now. People are comfortable with what they know. If he breaks agreements, you have to expect it in future. Up to you to decide whether or not to live with it.

Customer:

Thanks for your comments. I am sure you are right about the long-term future. It is sad because I have invested ten years in this man.

Customer:

I did not know my response would go before I had finished. This is a continuation. I think the situation here in Britain is different to that in America. It seems to me that medication is much more widely taken than it is here. I truly believe there is no way I will get him onto medication. He despises doctors (despite one of his affairs being with one) and hates taking drugs (unless it's alcohol or a street drug). He blames his doctor for his madness when he was taking Seroxat some years back - except I'm sure he wasn't supposed to be drinking as well as taking the drugs. He won't accept it might have been his fault rather than the drugs...

Customer:

I suppose I was asking - how and when do I tell him that I know? I am frankly anxious and do not want to go through the whole display that will happen if I confront him. I am scared. I don't want him injuring himself or throwing things around the house (he's had three lap-tops this year). He's been sober in 2010 and drinking steadily through 2011. He's just stopped a few weeks back as I promised him a thousand pounds if he stopped for a year. That's totally against all wisdom from the Alcoholics groups, but it seems to have worked and I'm reluctant to send him back to the bottle by telling him he's been caught-out. I'm actually thinking of talking to the woman instead of him and telling her I know about their relationship. However, I also don't want her going berserk or suicidal either. It's a hard call... Any ideas appreciated.

Customer:

(It looks like it's me who needs the psyciatrist!)

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Manics are very reluctant to go on medication here also. And they have the right to refuse and destroy their own lives. Very sad. Quite honestly, accept him AS HE IS, or get out. Bi-Polar is genetic/biological and if patients refuse medications, they get bad. Drinking is extremely common as they use it to control moods - it doesn't work.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

You may want to consider that he is not acting rationally and confronting him honestly may not be for the best. You need to be safe and take care of yourself. Ultimately, we all have to take care of ourselves. You cannot control him or her - just you. It is hard sometimes to let people make irrational decisions or go berserk. It is not your fault. I agree, a little supportive counseling may help give you strength and ideas.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Don't talk to woman. It is not your responsibility.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

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Customer:

Thank you Dr Wilfong. You are certainly a straight talker! I will ponder your advice and maybe get back to you some time. I'm still finding it hard to believe he can look me in the eye and lie. It's almost like when someone dies and you can't really believe they won't walk in the door any minute...

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

When people that lie to those that don't, it is hard to believe. You just have to trust it occurs, it hurts, and it is real. Always believe the behavior of others, not the words.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I am here whenever you need, but not on a regular schedule. Best wishes for you.

Customer:

Thank you again. I am going to press "Accept" now.

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