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Understanding Bipolar: Infidelity – Forgiving an Unforgivable Betrayal

cheating womanLast year, when I wrote about my own experience with infidelity, the initial response was a little overwhelming. I was still new at blogging and hadn’t yet learned how to “let things go.”

Surely if I am going to air my dirty laundry I should be prepared for what will come. I was not prepared though for the judgement that would be passed by one person who had read my blog. I am going to assume this one person had been badly betrayed by someone he had loved, many times.

Here was what he had said:


If this is so it would be statistically significant. Most bipolar women are hyper-sexual when manic and have many one night stands mixed in with phone and Internet sex as well as long standing affairs. The appearance of a single data point says that you have the moral flexibility for infidelity and deceit and as these manic episodes are cyclic in nature I am curious if you have admitted to the least of your behaviour and are still hiding the rest of the iceberg. I takes low self esteem as well as poor boundaries to cheat, however if you add a manic episode than all the stops are out and it becomes very likely this was not as you say a one time thing.

When I had read his comment it became very clear to me, the stigma I was working so hard to fight. “Most bipolar women…” really got me good. He also went on to state that I “have the moral flexibility for infidelity and deceit…”

The particular post The Bipolar Wife: Infidelity – A Painful Consequence Of Mania was a very hard one to write, and even harder to post. I explained all about a time I allowed myself to be weak. It is true that it was well before my diagnoses. When I wrote this post I was still struggling to find some understanding in my diagnoses as well as some of my previous actions.

I’ve never been proud of what I did. I have come to terms with it now and so has my husband. We are okay. I am surprised by the amount of views that post still gets so many months after publishing it. I am finding that men and women who suffer with bipolar also suffer with identity problems which ultimately leads to either short or long term affairs.

Through comments left by my readers, I have also learned how much this hurts the partner. I have seen the very genuine pain behind some of these comments, folks who are struggling to understand “how” they could do this. So many questions surround a diagnoses such a Bipolar and there are so few answers. Unless one has felt that ultimate high from a manic/hypo-manic episode, there is no way to understand it.

I really don’t think it is about love or passion, it is all about the moment. It boils down to “feeling good” and then “feeling better” and then “WOW! Freaking awesome!” It’s about hyper-sexual feelings and lacking any real moral sense of right and wrong. It is not about love. It’s about illness.

I can’t sit here and lie. This is not what my blog is for. My blog is about truth – the raw, painful, honest truth.

I have “fleeting” thoughts on occasion. I may flirt more than I should, entertain very dangerous thoughts and ideas, and sometimes allow things to be said that “flatter” me because it feels good. The problem I find is hearing that little (sometimes very loud) voice that says “stop, this is wrong.” The hypo-manic/manic high drowns that moral voice that speaks up when my hormones are going a little over-the-top nuts.

When I am already “high” during a mild or extreme manic episode, the flattery and flirting is magnified as well. Everything that is felt while on a manic high is magnified, intensely. So, if you can think of the butterflies you get when you are experiencing a “new” relationship just try to imagine if it were any stronger – what that would be like? It is almost so strong that it overwhelms me and consumes every bit of my heart. The biggest problem here is it that it is not real. It is due to the heightened need for sex. Period.

The sooner the betrayed loved one can try to understand that aspect of infidelity, I think the quicker the healing can begin. It is very important to understand that when a person is hypo-manic/manic there is not always a clear understanding of their actions. After the fact, however, the depression combined with the guilt can emotionally cripple the cheater which generally leads to a confession.

With so many questions that have been asked about my experience, I felt the need to open up a little more for those who follow my blog looking to understand their partner’s illness. While I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, maybe speaking for myself will help shed some light on those of you who feel you have been left in the dark.

Sometimes all you can do is try. Soon I’d like to focus some on how we moved on after my own infidelity, how it can be forgiven (and doesn’t always happen again), and how to better support your loved one when it seems crisis is near.

There is no quick and simple answer, I wish there were. You can always choose to spend a lot of time and money with a therapist,  but even then you may never truly understand. So I will share as much as I can. It wont be easy, but for the folks who need to understand, I will try.

If you have any questions, go ahead, fire away.

Cheating woman photo available from Shutterstock.

Understanding Bipolar: Infidelity – Forgiving an Unforgivable Betrayal


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APA Reference
, B. (2012). Understanding Bipolar: Infidelity – Forgiving an Unforgivable Betrayal. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Feb 2012
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