RelationshipsMarriageWhat to Do When Bipolar Partner Ignores You?

What to do when bipolar partner ignores you

What to Do When Bipolar Partner Ignores You?

Being in a normal relationship with someone can already be a handful, so it’s no surprise that being in a relationship with a bipolar individual can be 10 times more challenging. Unlike normal relationships, relationships with bipolar individuals will take you to the highest of highs or lowest of lows, there’s no in-between.

In regular relationships, partners can ignore each other due to a lover’s squabble, but that usually doesn’t last long. But when a bipolar partner starts ignoring you, it can go on for days, weeks, or in rare cases, months. This can be very confusing and stressful to the other partner, to say the least. So if you’re in a bipolar relationship, here’s everything you need to know on what to do when your bipolar partner ignores you.

Bipolar Disorder: An Overview

Bipolar disorder: an overview
Bipolar disorder: an overview

Despite being a major and common mental disorder, most people have very little idea about bipolar disorder other than the fact it causes mood swings. However, bipolar disorder is a bit more complex than that, so if you’re in a relationship with a partner who has bipolar disorder, you need to have a better understanding of the condition so you know how to deal with your partner better.

The mood swings of a bipolar patient fluctuate between manic episodes and severe depression. Depending on how severe the condition of the disorder is, these mood fluctuations can last from a few days to months at an end. When a bipolar patient is hit with a manic episode, they tend to become unnaturally energetic, positive, and bubbling with creativity.

During this phase they don’t ignore anyone- if anything they draw attention to themselves with their excessive energy. On the flip side, when a bipolar patient is hit with a depression episode, they withdraw themselves from everything and everyone, including immediate family members and romantic partners. They don’t take care of themselves properly and ignore a proper eating and sleeping schedule.

Based on symptoms and duration, bipolar disorder can be divided into 3 categories- bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic. Bipolar I category patients tend to have more manic episodes than Bipolar II category patients who tend to have more depressive episodes. The Cyclothymic category of bipolar patients are usually ones who suffer from mood swings on both ends of the spectrum for an extended period of time.

Reasons Why People With Bipolar Disorders Ignore Their Partners

Reasons why people with bipolar disorders ignore their partners
Reasons why people with bipolar disorders ignore their partners

It’s usually during these depression episodes that bipolar patients cause their partners to wonder whether it’s worth being in the relationship at all. And if the partners are married, then the dilemma becomes more severe for the other partner. They won’t receive phone calls, answer back texts, or even open the door despite knocking or being loud.

In short, their feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and paranoia drive them to a very dark place from which they cannot come out. If you’re wondering why your bipolar partner might be ignoring you, here are a few common reasons why:

It’s not Just You, It’s Everyone

If your bipolar partner is ignoring you despite showing strong feelings for you, rest assured you’re not the only one he/she is ignoring. When stuck in a depressive episode a bipolar patient will ignore everyone instinctually because they feel more comfortable dealing with their demons on their own.

This can be especially frustrating if the relationship is new, but as someone who loves your bipolar partner, you need to accept that this is part of who they are and assure them when they’re back in their normal state of mind that you won’t leave them because of their mental condition.

They Don’t Have Control Over Their Condition

Do you think that bipolar patients do what they do because they have control over their actions? Certainly not! A bipolar individual’s brain chemistry is all messed up, so when they end up in a depressive state and ignore you, it’s not them but the bipolar condition that’s causing them to do so.

Your bipolar partner wants to be as loving and supportive to you as you are to them, but their mental disorder prevents them from doing so like a regular person. So if you intend to be in a relationship with a bipolar individual, learn to separate the sickness from the individual; it will work wonders for your relationship.

It’s Their Way of Protecting You from Their Worst Side

Even though they might not have control over their words and actions when going through a depressive episode, bipolar individuals are completely aware of what they say and do during that time and regret it afterward. Rather than say something that might end up destroying the relationship, staying aloof is what they consider the best way to keep you from seeing their worst side.

Unless you’re married this might seem a bit extreme for a normal individual, but you also need to remember that bipolar individuals are constantly afraid of losing people over things they don’t have control over.

They need Time and Space to Sort Out Their Emotions

If you’re in the early stages of a relationship with a bipolar individual, chances are probably high that enough trust hasn’t developed between you two and your bipolar partner feels uncomfortable sharing the emotions they endure during their episodes with you.

If that’s the case then give him/her the time and space to sort things out and don’t nag on the subject if they’re not starting the conversation by themselves.

What to do When a Bipolar Partner Ignores You?

What to do when a bipolar partner ignores you
What to do when a bipolar partner ignores you

Dealing with a bipolar partner who ignores you is not a cakewalk, but it’s not rocket science either. At times things might seem unbearable, but remember, at the end of the day you chose to be with the bipolar person despite knowing their mental conditions. So when a bipolar partner ignores you, here are some of the things you can do to deal with the situation:

Be Open with Your Communications When They Stop Ignoring You

Thanks to all the negative experiences in their lives, bipolar individuals often consider it a given that romantic relationships won’t last after a particularly long depressive episode. It’s your task at these times to communicate openly and honestly with them and let them know you’re not leaving them alone.

This approach won’t magically work overnight, but given enough time and closeness, a bipolar patient is less likely to ignore you during their mental anguish knowing you’re there to stand by their side without judging them.

Respect Their Boundaries, Make Them Respect Yours

Being in a relationship with a bipolar individual can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield, especially in the beginning. They tend to be very sensitive about personal boundaries which you should keep in mind. If they don’t want to talk about their depressive phase, don’t push them- once they start trusting you enough they’ll open up on their own.

Inversely, also make them understand that they need to respect your boundaries as well. Just because they are disconnected from the world doesn’t mean the world is not running. You have your social life and responsibilities, and they need to respect that as well instead of demanding all your time selfishly once they’re reached a normal mental state.

Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Most bipolar patients end up as bad as they are because they didn’t get professional help in time. A professional psychiatrist or therapist might not be able to cure the problem itself as there’s no known cure for bipolar disorder yet, but they can help bring their condition under control.

If your bipolar partner follows throw with the therapy and proper medications, there can be a significant reduction in the frequency of their manic and depressive episodes. As a result, both of you can pursue a more productive and healthy relationship.

Knowing When They’re About to Enter a Depressive Phase

One of the key ways to sustain a long-term relationship with a bipolar partner is to know when they’re about to hit a depressive phase. One important trait of bipolar episodes is that they’re fairly predictable. If you’ve been through multiple depressive episodes with a bipolar partner, you should be able to tell the timeframe when the next episode will hit again.

Knowing this will allow you to mentally prepare yourself and not get burnt out and bewildered at your bipolar partner’s behavior. Don’t confront your partner during their phase; communicate your feelings of hurt and fear once they’ve returned back to their normal mental state.

Keep Yourself Busy

Understand that when a bipolar partner decides to ignore you there’s nothing you or anyone in the world can do to bring them out of seclusion. Instead of going through mental anguish yourself when your partner is ignoring you, keep yourself busy with work, hobbies, and other things.

If there’s one thing you can be confident of with a bipolar partner who’s currently ignoring you is that they’re not cheating on you. If you can keep this in mind, filling your routine with activities while your partner is going through a depressive phase will benefit your own mental health and overall productivity.

Keep in Touch With Your Partner Even if You’re Ignored

Understand that bipolar individuals spend most of their lives dealing with their demons on their own. As a result, it can be quite difficult for them to open up to someone even as close as their parents or their romantic partners. You need to slowly imprint in their mind that you’re there for them no matter what.

The easiest way to convey this to your bipolar partner is to keep them updated despite knowing they won’t respond back. This will also help build trust in your bipolar partner that you’re not just a temporary presence in their life but are here for the long haul.

Be as Positive as Possible

Being in a relationship with a bipolar individual can be one heck of a rollercoaster ride, but it’s crucial that you remain positive as much as possible. Of course, there will be days when you won’t feel like giving 100% in the relationship due to your own problems or issues, but those are exceptions.

In general, you want to be as positive as possible when in the presence of a bipolar partner. Once you get married this will be more crucial as both of you will live under the same roof and just avoiding your partner when they’re going through a phase isn’t an option.

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Are Relationships With Bipolar Individuals Sustainable?

Are relationships with bipolar individuals sustainable
Are relationships with bipolar individuals sustainable

After reading through all this, you might be wondering whether having a relationship with a bipolar individual is sustainable. It’s only natural to think so as there’s a lot of stigma regarding mental health issues in almost every society in the world, no matter how advanced they are.

Your concerns are understandable since coping in a normal relationship can be hard enough on its own; being in a relationship with someone who’s emotionally volatile seems like taking on the impossible. But there are many couples who’ve shown that relationships with bipolar partners are not only possible but can thrive like normal relationships.

But for that to happen both partners need to put significant effort into the relationship to make it work. A bipolar individual is like an onion- the more layers you peel the more tears you’ll get. For the relationship to be successful you need to peel all the layers and forge understanding and trust with your partner.

However, building a sustainable relationship is not your responsibility alone- the bipolar individual also has to be proactive and dedicated to bettering themselves through counseling and therapy so that they can live as much of a normal life as possible with you.

But there’s only so much you can do before you have to come to a decision whether to continue the relationship or not. Despite the best efforts of their partners, many bipolar individuals are unable to make the relationship work out due to some particular reasons:

  • The bipolar individual refuses to take part in therapy or take their medications.
  • Their actions are putting both you and themselves in danger of physical harm.
  • The normal partner is experiencing burnout by putting the relationship above everything else which negatively impacts their lives.

Dating a bipolar individual can feel like dating two very different people at the same time. The manic phases of your partner will make them do and say things that’ll make you feel on top of the world, but quickly pull away the rug from under your feet a few days when they give you the cold shoulder for weeks.

So you need to understand whether you can balance your life around your bipolar partner’s behavior shift patterns and live with them long-term before committing to something serious like a long-term relationship or marriage.


1. What happens when you ignore a bipolar partner?

If you ignore a bipolar partner when they’re in a depressed state, they’re highly unlikely to take it personally. But if you ignore them when they’re normal, it might lead to some feelings of resentment.

2. How to tell if a bipolar man loves you?

As a rule of thumb bipolar individuals are reserved when they’re in their normal state. If they give more attention to you and act affectionately around compared to other people, it can be a strong indicator that a bipolar man loves you.

3. Is bipolar withdrawal from loved ones normal?

Yes, bipolar withdrawal from loved ones during a depressive state is completely normal. That is why during these times you have to be patient as it can last for a long time, stretching from a few weeks to a few months at a time.

Final Thoughts

Being in a relationship with a bipolar individual is very different from an ordinary relationship between two individuals. There are sacrifices and compromises to be made, and unless you’re ready to live with certain boundaries alongside your partner like getting ignored from time to time, the relationship won’t last.

So make sure the person who’s underneath the disorder is well worth it, or you might spend a significant part of your life stuck in an unhappy relationship.

Next Attraction: Why Would A Married Man Stay Out All Night?

Andrew C. Smith, an expert in couples and family psychology, brings years of experience in enhancing family dynamics and parent-child relationships. With a private practice background, Andrew is now a valued writer at Merge Family, sharing insights on communication and more

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