Is My Wife Bipolar? How Do You Ask?
Could you be bipolar?
We had been married for 10 years. Together for 17 years. There were lots of good times as well as some times of extraordinary grief. Counseling? We went to counseling. I sat in the office with my wife on the first day of counseling not knowing what to expect. "I tend to be harder on the men" was the counselor's fist statement. "Maybe I feel like I am one of the more thoughtful husbands" I told him. I did have a question for the male counselor before the session was through. "Have you been divorced?". Yes was his answer. Made me wonder, if he considers himself a relationship expert, how come he couldn't save his own marriage? This counselor repeatedly told us "don't compare yourself to other people". I don't know if this is standard therapeutic advice from marriage counselors. I sometimes would point out to my wife that although we had issues in our marriage, we had what I thought was a happy and meaningful relationship compared to the relationships of most of our friends and neighbors.
Years later we went to counseling again. This time I wanted a woman counselor. I thought maybe a woman counselor would help my wife to realize that her husband loved her and did everything he could do to try to make her happy.
The arguments would always start over money. We made close to six figures between us. I worked days and my wife worked nights. Still there was never any money in our bank accounts. In fact not only was there never any money, there were negative balances in both checking accounts totalling thousands of dollars.
"Mind if I go get some flowers"? "Mind if I go out do dinner with my Dad"? "Mind if I buy a swingset"? The phrase was all to familiar. I was the saver in the relationship. My wife wanted to spend it faster than we could earn it. "I can't talk to you about money" she screams. It was time to talk about what bills to pay. Then I would see from the online bank statement that she had taken the kids to McDonalds or Wendy's 4 times in the last week alone. Food Shopping was an issue as well. I could go to the supermarket and come home with a weeks worth of groceries for under a hundred dollars. When my wife went food shopping the bill would be well over a hundred dollars and she'd have bought pretty much junkfood. "We need lunch meat". She'd by it then it would sit in the refrigerator until I threw it out. I didn't make lunches. I usually didn't take a lunch break so I could leave work earlier, giving her time to get to work earlier in the evening.
Once the conversation about money started, it was no longer a conversation. When I would say that I was worried about paying the mortgage she would get aggravated. "I can't talk to you about money". "That's because you don't talk to me about money, you scream at me and tell me I am cheap". I know I am not cheap. I am a man who does not spend money I don't have. We had close to $20,000 in credit debt. We had re-mortgaged 3 times and added cars and debt to the mortgage and still the debt would grow. "I won't use the bankcard anymore" my wife stated. "Good, take an amount of money each week in cash, when that is gone, that's it". She didn't follow that advice however. To her the bank card was like a free cash dispenser.
These arguments didn't happen often. They did happen on occasion and I would point out that all couples argue about money. I pointed out on MTV that Nick Lachey would complain to Jessica Simpson that she spend $800 on underwear. Here's two millionaires and they are arguing about money. (author's note: I would let Jessica spend her money on underwear).
Years go by and the arguments about money continued. Sometimes the arguments would be about disciplining the children. I read lots of information on raising children as well as healthy marriages and relationships. Arguing about disciplining children was pretty much second on the list of what couples argue about.
My wife worked nights and I worked days. I awoke each weekday morning at 5:15 am. It was over an hour commute each way. I'd get home around 5:30 pm. This would be the time that my wife and I would be able to talk. Except for the fact that almost every day I got home she would be in the shower getting ready to leave for work.
"We never communicate", another point in relationship troubles. "I try to get home each day early enough so we can talk, maybe you could take your shower a little earlier. "GRRRR". Our son was demanding as a baby. She would say that she never got a chance to take a shower. She would complain about the shower daily as well. "It's always cold". It was okay for me. She seemed to complain about a lot now. "The sponges don't hold soap". "The sink is too flat on the bottom". Still don't get that complaint. "The dog is up my ass all day". We had a dog for 12 years. She had died the previous year. I didn't want to get another dog until the kids got older. My wife would call me at work "I got a new dog". This happened several times. Each time there'd be a reason we couldn't keep the dog. Sometimes the dogs weren't good with kids. One dog didn't last more than 4 hours. I never even saw it. I get a call in work on a Saturday and she tells me "We have a new dog". I get home around 6 pm and there is no dog. She tells me that the dog was psychotic and wouldn't get off the couch. Every time one of the kids would go near it the dog would show it's teeth and growl.
"We never go anywhere, we never do anything". This I heard constantly. We both worked. On the weekends she would sleep in. I would get up early each Saturday and Sunday morning. My wife would lay in bed until 11 am or noon even. She'd be hung over because she had gone out with the girls the night before after work. "It would be nice if once in a while you could get up on the weekend with me and the boys". "GRRR....what's the difference you're already up". I got up every single weekend for 10 years. Even Christmas morning I would have to ask her to get up.
"I need more, I need to travel, I am sick of going to work and coming home to kids and clothes and a mess house". The house was a mess now. Dog hair everywhere. Clothes everywhere. Every time I turned around she was bringing shopping bags of clothes into the house. "Mind if I hit a yard sale?" She'd leave me with the kids and say she'd be back in a bit. Two hours later I'd be frustrated. I had been up all morning. She had slept late then talked on the phone with her friends for an hour. Then got on the computer and now she's out. I'd do yard work. I'd do laundry. I'd go food shopping and start something nice for supper.
"You don't do a fucking thing around here" That is when I started really thinking, is she insane? I bust my ass around here. I stay in on weekends and watch some football and do laundry for 2 straight days from 7 am until 10 pm. Sometimes she'd tell me "Stop". I'd say..."Just want to get it done." The mountain of clothes was growing in each of the boys bedrooms.
"I don't think I have feelings for you anymore". At first I shrugged it off. She was mad because I said we couldn't buy a trailer. We had just taken out a second mortgage on the house and remodeled the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. "Mind if I get the whirlpool tub? Mind if I get the rug for the sunporch?" (even though we needed oil) She got the rug.
I started looking into signs your spouse is cheating. They were there. New underwear. Late night phone calls. Lack of intimacy. "You never seem to kiss me in the morning anymore" I said one day as I left for work. I have morning breath would be her response.
As I read about infidelity I started seeing the word bipolar. I didn't know what it was. My wife told me that her mother was diagnosed bipolar. My mother in law I considered to be the most selfish woman I had ever met. Didn't start that way. At first I thought she was a sweet old lady .Now I knew her to be controlling and demanding and argumentative. She admitted she suffered from depression her whole life. I read that bipolar is hereditary. I couldn't help but think is my wife bipolar? How do I ask her to seek an opinion on this?
As my suspicions of infidelity grew her behaviour got outright irresponsible. She went on weekend trips with her friend from her hometown. This woman was the definition of the word slut. "Mind if I go out and have a few with Jessie". No. I didn't mind. I really didn't. I trusted my wife.
A jewelry box showed up in one of our cars one day. Where'd that come from I wondered. My wife would leave for work ealier and ealier every day now. She'd work till 3 am she would tell me. She would lay in bed as my 10 year old son would get up and get himself dressed and fed and ready for school. "Bye Mom" he'd say as he stuck his head in our bedroom door. I had already been at work. I left at 5:30 am each day so I could get home early for her.
Months went by and I read about bipolar. She had all the classic symptoms. Irresponsible or reckless with money. Her sleeping had no schedule at all. Flighty thoughts. Start one task and head right to the next, never finishing the first. Then the final straw. I learned indeed she had been cheating. She cheated with her boss at work. Months later the same boss would lay her off. Monts after that her boss got fired because my wife complained to the president of the company that she had been taken advantage of. Now I finally needed to know.
As she screamed at me one day about doing nothing I said it, "Your mother is diagnosed as bipolar, do you think maybe you should be checked for the disorder too? It is hereditary" She screamed at me. "Fuck you. You are unbelievable. I can't stand the sight of you. I can't stand the sound of your voice. I want you out of the house." I calmly told her that after discussing with our doctor some of our problems he said you may be bipolar. "Fuck you I am not bipolar". My mother is not bipolar either. She had told me her mother was bipolar for years. Now she wasn't bipolar. She told me "that was only one doctor who told her she wa bipolar." Her mother use to fantasize about sexual situations often. I knew this because she would say them out loud in all kinds of different company. My wife had started telling me about some of her crazy sexual behaviour. She used a dildo as she drove home from work 2 or 3 nights a week she told me. She told me about how her and her boss would have sex in the office. "Oh the things I could tell you" the grin on her face as she said this was more like a sneer.
"I am not seeking an opinion on bipolar disorder" There was nothing I could do. I sought help from her friends and from her family. This would lead her to accuse me of being a psycopath. I was doing everything I could to keep my family together. She just wanted out. "You think you will be happy in a 2 bedroom apartment with two kids?" I'll be fine she would scream. "What about the kids?" They'll be fine too. After the divorce was final she would pick the boys up at my home. The little one did not want to leave and would tell her so. "Why do you hate me so much". He didn't hate his Mom. He wanted to be home. The place that he grew up in. The place that was stable and didn't have alcohol flowing constantly. My wife had turned to alcohol now. She drank daily. She still does. She drank before work until she got laid off by the boss that cheated with her.
Two years have gone by now. My conscience is clear. I know there are two sides to divorce. I could have done things different. I also know that I tried my best to show her that I loved her daily. "You never loved me", "I was second pick" "You don't show affection in public, you don't take enough pictures?" Yep she was leaving me because I didn't take pictures. The excuses and reasons for her infidelity ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime. Not once did she ever look at her own behaviour.
How do you ask if your wife is bipolar? I am still not sure. In my case I still don't have the answer. She's run up $20,000 in debt in a year. That's a symptom right there. She says outrageous things to the boys. She keeps telling me when does it get better? Not sure for you. It already has for me.
More by this Author
What happens when one person in the marriage wants a divorce. This is the story of one man's fight to save his marriage and keep his family together.
Still have a 401K account in this economy? Better think about how the divorce will affect the nest egg. I learned the hard way. Spend it when you can before the ex wife and the lawyers get their hands on it.