How Bipolar Disorder Can Affect Your Relationships?

If you have bipolar disorder you’re probably wondering how it affects relationships? Also you may wonder how it affects how you love yourself as well as others?!

This is a disorder that makes it hard to form human connections. For example your symptoms might annoy as well as stress out those you’re connected to. As a result you might lose friends, family as well as any love interests.

In this post, we’ll be exploring how untreated bipolar disorde hurts relationships! We’ll also explore how to strengthen relationships, despite having bipolar disorder.

What Is A Relationship?

A relationship is the way two or more people behave toward each other. This includes your family, friends, colleagues as well as romantic partners.

There are many proven health benefits of relationships, especially ones full of love.

These Include:

  • Longer Life
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Heal Faster After An Injury
  • Good Heart Health
  • Less Stress
  • Greater Sense Of Purpose

What Role Does Bipolar Disorder Play In Relationships?

Here are some ways bipolar disorder can affect your relationships.


Roles That Bipolar Disorder Plays:

Social Anxiety

In a previous post, “How To Overcome Social Anxiety”, we learned about social anxiety.

Social anxiety happens when you have a fear of being watched as well as judged by others.

Sometimes it’s the result of trauma from being bullied. As a result you start showing signs of social anxiety disorder. Also it can be part of something more serious like a personality disorder as well as bipolar disorder.

For example there are a lot of people with bipolar disorder that also have PTSD as well as Borderline Personality Disorder. Also they might have an anxiety disorder to help add fuel to the bipolar grease fire.

Pushing Others Away

Bipolar disorder may cause you to avoid relationships. This may be due to not feeling good enough for other people.

Sometimes you might push others away due to mood swings. For example you might be in an existing relationship and you might be in the mood to socialize at that moment. Then at a later time your mood changes and you might push that person away. This is one reason why bipolar disorder leads to social isolation.


One of the worst effects of bipolar disorder is self-sabotage.

In a previous post, “How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs”, we learned that toxic beliefs about ourselves can hold us back. For example you might have a belief that your friend or partner doesn’t deserve you because of bipolar disorder. As a result you might actively try to ruin your relationship to make it fall apart.

Self-sabotage comes from low sense of self-worth that’s the result of trauma. Also it’s caused by self-loathing that comes with bipolar depressive episodes.

Here’s an interesting post, “Why Do People With Mental Illness Self-Sabotage?”.

Mood Swings

Bipolar Disorder is a mental health disorder marked by mood swings. They’re either high (manic) moods or low (depressive) moods.

The inner turmoil caused by mood swings not only affect you, but they affect everyone around you. As a result you may start losing friends as well as your romantic love interest. Also your family may start showing anger and also impatience with you.

Sometimes these mood swings lead to fights for no reason or for the littlest things. They can even lead to suicidal thoughts if they’re severe enough.

All relationships have their ups and downs, however if you have bipolar disorder the ups and downs can be more extreme.

Here’s a related article, “Mood Swings”.

Emotional Adversity

Bipolar disorder can come with emotional baggage. Mood swings can leave you with low self-esteem. For example emotional adversity can start from being self-conscious about your disorder. As a result it leads to feelings of low self-worth.

When this happens this can turn into social anxiety disorder. As a result you may have a hard time forming new relationships as well as keep the ones you have.

The prospect of taking medication for the rest of your life can leave you feeling hopeless. Also you live in fear of a relapse or even another breakdown.

Sometimes you can feel worse about yourself when you try to keep bipolar disorder a secret. In your mind you’re convinced that to be vulnerable is to be weak. Also you live in fear that the one you love might find out about your secret.

Keeping secrets is not good. It not only leads to less satisfying relationships, but also more anxiety and depression that make bipolar disorder worse.

Emotional baggage is something that everyone has. If you have bipolar disorder it’s more extreme and can hurt relationships.

Financial Problems

Bipolar disorder has two main types, bipolar I and II. Both types affect relationships because of financial strain.

Bipolar I has more severe mania when you’re in a high mood. Sometimes the severe mania leads to compulsive and high risk behaviors such as gambling as well as out of control spending of money. The severe mania can last a week or more.

What makes bipolar II different is hypomania. It’s a less severe form of mania that may last only for a few days.

Finances can be strained because of work related problems. If mood swings are severe enough, then it gets harder to perform at work.

When the extreme mood is mania it leads to poor judgement as well as being impulsive. During depressive moods you might have low energy and also lack of interest. As a result it makes it tough to find and keep a job.

Tips For Managing Bipolar Disorder

After asking how bipolar disorder affects relationships? You’re wondering how to manage it.

Bipolar disorder is a life long disorder. It can be successfully managed with therapy and medication. There are many things you can do on your own as well to make your relationships better.


Here Are Some Tips:

Get Help

The first thing you need to do is to get evaluated.

A professional can help you find treatment options that work best for you. Along with medication and therapy, it’s vital to take charge of your life. For example you can take charge by making lifestyle changes as well as learning coping strategies.

Let Go Of Bipolar Myths

There are many myths about bipolar disorder. One of the most common and harmful myths is about loving relationships.

Part of this myth includes, “Having a bipolar diagnosis means that I’ll have relationship problems”. This is partially true if your symptoms aren’t being managed properly. For example bipolar symptoms can cause tension.

When you stick to a treatment plan, you might have long periods with few or no symptoms. Some people with bipolar disorder can go months and even years with out showing symptoms. As a result their relationships get better.

Admit You Have A Problem

When you keep your bipolar symptoms a secret it can cause problems.

Keeping secrets leads to added anxiety and stress. As a result you not only make your bipolar symptoms worse, you may also ruin your relationships.

Start by admitting you have a problem and coming clean about your mental illness. As a result you’ll find that a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. This leads to less anxiety and stress.

Also, it helps if you’re entering a new romantic relationship to admit that you have a mental illness. The secret you keep about it might hurt your new love life.

Overcome Social Anxiety

Along with seeking help for bipolar disorder, it helps to seek help for social anxiety.

Social anxiety disorder can happen alongside bipolar disorder. It helps to gain the courage to face social situations you fear, instead of avoiding them.

It may seem impossible, but overcoming social anxiety can be done by taking baby steps.

Here’s a related post, “Can Anxiety Become A Superpower”.

Learn To Love Yourself

It can be hard to love yourself with bipolar disorder. Even when you’re being treated it’s still hard.

There’s a stigma attached to bipolar disorder as well as self stigma. In the post, “Tips For Improving Your Self-Perception”, we learned that a result of seeing yourself in an unhealthy way is low self-esteem. When you learn how to see yourself in a healthy way, you’ll notice a boost in self-esteem. As a result you’ll start loving yourself.

How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Your Relationships?

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