Dear Barb – Mood Swings

Dear Barb:

Hi, I have been with my boyfriend for five years. He suffers from bipolar disorder and, over the course of our relationship, has gotten worse. I love him a lot, but my life is consumed with his illness. Each day is dependent on how Gary feels. If he has a good day, then I have a good day and if it is a bad day for him, mine is too. I am in my early thirties and really want to have kids, but I can’t imagine caring for a child with Gary being so unstable. My family and friends all tell me I should move on so I can have children before It’s too late, but It’s not that easy. It doesn’t seem right to leave someone just because they are ill. If he had cancer I wouldn’t leave him, why would I leave him now? On the other hand, I’m thinking maybe I should have a child, it might help Gary to get better. I really am confused, do you have any advice? Thanks, Cindy.

Hi Cindy:

You are definitely in a difficult situation. Deciding whether or not to leave a mentally ill person is undoubtedly very complicated. It is important that you are not enabling their mental illness, if you are, the person may never get better and this is not what you want. Often people believe that they are helping someone, when in reality they are hindering them. Is your boyfriend doing everything he can to help himself? Is he following doctor’s instructions, taking his meds, eating properly, taking care of his body? If he is not, then he is not helping himself and you need to take a step back. I can’t advise you what to do, but I can suggest that you both go for counseling, if he refuses, then go by yourself. You need to keep yourself healthy, as It’s very easy to get pulled into someone else’s illness and that is not what you want. Your family doctor can refer you to a counselor in your area. Thanks for your question Cindy.

Dear Barb:

My boyfriend and I had been dating for two years. I thought everything was wonderful and he was the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. Things changed drastically when he told me he was attracted to another girl he is working with. I was heartbroken, shocked, devastated; I couldn’t believe it! I still can’t believe I didn’t see this coming. Three months ago Jerry broke up with me and began dating this other girl. Since the breakup I have been having a hard time moving on because I still love him. Recently I heard that the relationship with the other girl didn’t work out. I got a call from Jerry and he told me he wants to meet and talk about us getting back together. I agreed to meet, but I’m not sure if I would ever be able to trust him again, or even if should take a chance with him. What would you do? Thanks, Kristin.

Hey Kristin:

You are the only one who can decide what’s right for you. Do you feel this was a one time thing and your boyfriend has come to realize you are the girl for him? Or he is just going back to you because it didn’t work out with the other girl? Trust is a very valuable part of any relationship and once It’s lost It’s not that easy to get it back, but It’s not impossible. Perhaps if you really want this to work, you could both go to couples counselling and try to get to the bottom of why your boyfriend decided to end your relationship and go with this other girl. His perspective of relationships may not the same than yours and you need to find this out as soon as possible. Good Luck, Kristin.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.