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I think my only major relationship as a single mom is going to end...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

My son's dad and I separated/divorced in December 2008. On NYE of that year (really soon I know but it wasn't intentional at all) I met someone and we fell head over heels in love. By that spring, he had become severely depressed. He has bipolar and told me at the very beginning and we decided we'd go with it...the bipolar isn't going anywhere, you know? Anyway, from then (Spring 2009) until now, I've taken care of him through a very deep depression. I've done everything...cared for my son, worked full time, did everything around the house, errands, everything. I didn't make my partner lift a finger and I never tried to force him to get a job or do something he didn't want to. We're musicians and I dropped over $2k on gear in hopes of bringing him out of the depression and motivating him to work again. All I wanted was for him to feel better. We got along really, really well, we felt perfect for each other. I thought that when he got out of the depression, things would be the same, we would be us but even better because he'd be happy, motivated, etc. We have a little business we run together. This past NYE, he proposed. We had been talking about getting married and we were really happy and excited for it. We had been making plans for a few months already and we were just really happy and content. Things were going really well and I was very happy.


In early January of this year, the depression disappeared and became mania. Since then, he's decided that I'm a burden, I cramp his style, he needs freedom. He goes out clubbing (we're in music business, make music, DJ, etc so this isn't out of the norm in itself) alone and says he needs to do that as much as possible to get away from me. We've fought terribly because I apparently can't question or oppose anything he does or cramp his lifestyle in the slightest. He's been talking to other girls and this morning came home, broke off our engagement, said he wants to date other people but probably still stay together, and had a strange girl's number in our cell phone. I know he's been talking to girls at clubs and on Facebook and such but I haven't said anything. He said we work well together for our business and he doesn't want to lose that, but he doesn't want commitment to me and has to have freedom. He said he's not 100% in this relationship in his heart or mind anymore but he wants to try to see if we can work it out.


I know some people do the open relationship thing but I can't and that was made clear from the very beginning. The thought of him taking other girls out while I'm at home (because he's not sure if he would want me to be able to date around -- and I have no desire to do so), treating them the way he should be treating me...it just kills me. It hurts so incredibly much.


I know much of this is because of the bipolar but it is still devastatingly painful for me. My son's dad cheated on me and was abusive, and when we broke it up it was easy for me to hate him for those things. I was angry at him, I hated him, I wanted him out of my life. This situation is different though...my partner didn't do anything wrong for the three years we were together. I have never taken care of someone the way I have taken care of him all this time. As much as I'm making him sound terrible, he has been such a good person previous to the past several weeks. We clicked...we are very similar in our likes, our worldviews, everything just meshed. I've never had such a connection with someone and that's why when he needed someone to care for him I put all of myself into it without a second thought.


There is also the problem that my partner has been my son's father figure/daddy for more than half his life. My son loves him very deeply. If we broke up he would be very badly hurt as well. Through all of this the past several weeks, it kills me when my son comes up to him randomly and hugs him and says "I love you daddy." I know he really does. It isn't just me who would get hurt if this ends, it would be my son too and that makes me feel overcome with guilt. What do I tell him if we break up? How do I help him through this when I feel like I can barely get myself through it? Will he be traumatized and messed up as an adult?


I just don't understand how he could do this to me. I feel so used and abandoned. He knew I had just come out of a bad relationship, I have my son who needs a happy and secure home and I've worked so hard to give him everything. I HAVE given him everything. I've never been a 24/7 caretaker for someone before but that's what I was...and to all of a sudden be a burden and to be tossed aside (which is how I feel)...I can't even put into words how deeply hurt I am. I was more open than ever, 100% honest, and gave every single bit of myself that I didn't even know I had in me to him and now he's decided he's bored with me now that he feels better and can be more self sufficient.


post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

Correction, I looked through the phone just now since a different random girl just sent a text message and there are six girls' numbers saved. I have no idea if these are friends, "friends," or what.


post #3 of 29

Is he on medication?



I'm so sorry Mama. *hugs*  It really sucks when a relationship ends, especially one with kids.


I say this as gently as possible, but from an outsider view, it does appear that he was using you, and you deserve SO MUCH more than that. So does your son.


It will be hard. I won't lie about that... but you will get through this and you will be stronger and when the time is right, you will meet someone who treats you amazing and who will not take advantage of your big heart, that you obviously have to have taken care of this guy for so long.


Don't let this break your spirit. Hold onto your strength and leave. You will know a true love one day. *hugs*

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

Yes, he's on medication. He's seeing a therapist too but I've gone with him to see her and she's pretty useless...doesn't really have anything to say at all, let alone anything helpful.


He says he wants to work things out even though he wants to date other people and I said no to that...I don't know if he's dragging this out, or if he's saying he wants to work things out because I'm providing everything for him...


Thanks for responding...I've just been sitting here at the table crying most of the morning. On top of that, my son has to visit his bio dad this weekend and leaves today and that always gets me really anxious.


post #5 of 29

Maybe your son going to his dad's for the weekend is a blessing for you right now. You will have a little space to do what you have to do (which is cut your losses!) Your dp's bipolar doesn't give him license to treat you like crap. You've been over-functioning for him long enough.  

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for responding... This is so hard. So incredibly hard. It is obvious what needs to happen but it doesn't make the situation any better...

post #7 of 29

Nothing will make the situation better but being away from it and giving yourself space and time to heal. *hugs*


I had my only romantic relationship since my divorce end 9 months ago. It's hard. But something better is out there for you.

post #8 of 29
Im really sorry OP. You sound heartbroken. As an outsider reading your post, all I can think is how you and your son deserve so so much more. I have two family members with bipolar. I won't minimize the impact but quite frankly, it doesnt give anyone the right to be a complete jerk, use other people, etc. To me, that's called a serious character flaw, not a mental health issue. I can see you have a great deal of empathy and compassion for others. It is probably easy for you to feel sorry for him and blame his behavior on bipolar. It also takes away some of the pain if you can blame bipolar and not him. But seriously, don't waste any more empathy on him. He doesn't deserve you. Someone is out there for you who will love you and treat you with respect. Someone who will treat you as if you have worth, which you do. Someone who will be a decent role model for your son on how you treat people you love and care about. This man is not that person. Yes, there will be loss for you and your son but you shouldn't have to live this way. The pain you and your son are going to endure if you stay will be much worse than the pain of cutting things off. Love yourself enough to realize that you both deserve better.
post #9 of 29

I also hope that I did not come across as minimizing Bipolar disorder. Especially since I have it, and know too well the havoc that it can wreak on life. I will say though that even if his behavior IS driven by the disorder, it just doesn't give him a free pass to make you suffer.


So sorry.





post #10 of 29
Moonwillow I don't think you came across as minimizing at all. I think you made a really good point.
post #11 of 29
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Moonwillow I don't think you came across as minimizing at all. I think you made a really good point.

On no worries!


I just felt the need to clarify.  smile.gif

post #12 of 29

This is not a reflection on you, your value, or your viability as a partner. This is a chronic illness that is not being managed. It is not your job to make someone else manage his chronic illness, or to manage it for him. I know that it is devastating, I know that because I have been there.


A man who will treat people with whom his is superficially connected with superficial respect is not necessarily a man who will commit and who will treat a committed partner with respect. His lack of respect for you is not a reflection on you.


You have a right to a partner who actively manages his chronic conditions (whether that is substance use, mental illness, or physical illness). If he isn't willing to take care of himself, it's not your shortcoming, and not your job to fix it, or to change to make it work. I know you've invested a lot. I know what that's like too. It sucks to be at the end of a three-year relationship-journey and feel, "#*^@... I've got nothing!"


You have you. And it sounds like you have a lot of strengths.


I hear you saying that he wants to rewrite the relationship contract to include things that are not okay with you. You can't control him or change him, but you don't have to accept it either.


Your child is still fairly young, but I fall in the camp of explaining things like mental illness in age-appropriate ways.

Originally Posted by MoonWillow View Post

Maybe your son going to his dad's for the weekend is a blessing for you right now. You will have a little space to do what you have to do (which is cut your losses!) Your dp's bipolar doesn't give him license to treat you like crap. You've been over-functioning for him long enough.  


post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've been trying to stay asleep until I have to pick my son up this evening. I just wake up and cry immediately. I stopped taking my antidepressant recently because I thought I may be pregnant...maybe it would help to take again. I may call my doctor...I am not functioning through this.
post #14 of 29
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post

I've been trying to stay asleep until I have to pick my son up this evening. I just wake up and cry immediately. I stopped taking my antidepressant recently because I thought I may be pregnant...maybe it would help to take again. I may call my doctor...I am not functioning through this.


Yes make the call! If you are pregnant and need to take something, they can help you figure out what the different classes of drugs are and what you may be able to take during pregnancy.


I understand not functioning (believe me). You KNOW you need help so please get it. hug2.gif  

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm not pregnant...kind of sad about it but I know that's the last thing I need right now.


He's out now but before he left we talked about breaking up. The thing that kills me is that I'm the problem to him. He doesn't seem to realize or care what I've put into our relationship. He doesn't seem to understand the reality of our situation -- that we're self employed and have to work, and not just on the fun stuff like performing and releasing music. We have to do the work that pays bills and puts food in the fridge. He doesn't care about that and doesn't seem to understand that if we are not affording the basics, we'll never be able to have a spare $1k to press an album or do things like that. He doesn't care, he said, because he doesn't need anything. But I do -- and I'm one of the least materialistic people out there -- and I mean, food, basic necessities around the house, etc. And my son has needs. He doesn't need to be spoiled, but kids aren't free. And he keeps saying, "Well maybe I shouldn't be in a relationship" and I ask if that's what he wants, and it'll go back and forth until he says "No, we'll work it out." And then the next day, we do it all over again...


I feel like anyone reading this must think I'm such an idiot. I'm a very smart person, I promise, I'm just very bad with relationships. I try so hard to make things perfect even when it is pretty clear that I'm the only one willing to put in that much effort. I'm always the one needing someone who doesn't need me and I guess just sticks around for the enabling/convenience.


I don't have insurance at the moment so I'll have to see how much an appointment is now with my doctor.


post #16 of 29

I don't think you are an idiot, at all. This sounds very tough, I'm sorry you're going through it. 

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

Today he said he's trying to move to LA with a friend in about five months. The friend who is going is also a musician has a record label-owner for a dad, they're established, have a lot of funding, etc. They apparently weren't aware that he intends to move out there with the friend. My partner said he doesn't think he wants me to go. He's not sure if he wants to try a long distance thing, or not. He's not sure if he'll find a girl in LA and bring her back to Maryland to settle down, or not. He said he has no idea what could happen... The problem with all of this is that the friend is well-funded to go. My partner, as much as I hate to say this, would literally have nothing if he left me. He would be depending on borrowing $20 here and there from friends. He does not have the music industry credentials this friend and his family have. I can't imagine this friend and his dad would be willing to support my partner, a grown man, and they know he won't/can't get a day job to pay his expenses.


We were supposed to do this together when he felt better. We were supposed to either move or go there frequently (we have other friends there) for work. We were supposed to be us but better and accomplish all of this stuff.


He's not even working on his own music. He goes out and promotes and talks about all this stuff he wants to do, but he's not actually doing it. He's hanging out with people who are doing it, but he hasn't touched his own music in at least a month or two, and before that it was over a year ago that he touched it (and that was only a brief period of working on his music as well). Is this part of the overblown ego that comes with mania? I read that people can get to the point of thinking they're chosen by God for a "mission" or something really extreme like that.


I know a sudden huge life change is normal in mania...a graphic novel on mental illness I have uses the example of selling a house, buying a car, divorcing, etc.


Through all of this it is killing me to drive by places that we had dates at early on. Or to think of going to the beach without him (that has been a huge thing for us) and playing mini golf or sitting on the balcony of the beach condo and looking at stars. I can see myself this summer, trying to go to the beach and enjoy myself and just being distraught instead.


I probably sound like I'm the crazy one at this point, I know. I just have all of these thoughts crammed into my head and I'm so hurt and so emotional and I don't really have anyone to talk to about all of this. I have to put on this happy face like everything is okay. All of our friends aren't happy with him and are telling me to dump him and then get over it.


post #18 of 29

You do not sound crazy at all. You sound sad and like you are in disbelief. I think the first thing you need to do is stop calling him your partner. A partner would not treat you like this. Honestly, if this is his decision to give you up and be so ungrateful for all you have done for him over the years then think of the relief that will come when you aren't caring for this man anymore. It sounds dangerously co-dependent. Especially the fact that you have been doing everything for him. Can you imagine having a healthy partner in your life who shares the responsibility equally in your relationship? Try imagining that because this relationship that you are in is unhealthy and sad. You deserve way better. If his mania comes out when he leaves, that is really for him to deal with now. Not you. Let him go. Mourn the relationship. But let him go.

post #19 of 29

The great guy that you have been with all this time appears to be gone- he's like a totally different person now. This is a huge shock for you, like your partner died or something. NONE of this is about you, it has nothing to do with you. This situation doesn't reveal any weakness about you, in fact it's the opposite. Your incredible personal strength is obvious from the way you cared for your partner while he was down. Dr Jekyll was hard, but Mr Hyde is going to grind you down. You need to stop having the same conversation with him. He doesn't get to work things out with you on the terms he's proposing. Those terms are ridiculous. This is a huge loss for you, and your son too, but what you had is just not going to happen, unless he does an about-face and gets this under some kind of control. And you really do have strength to spare. Anyone can see that you are an amazing person with a giant heart.

post #20 of 29

I'm so sorry you're in this situation. It sucks, it really does. It's so common for a woman to come out of an abusive relationship and wind up in a subsequent relationship that isn't abusive, but is still toxic. My trajectory was actually quite similar to yours -- I went from an abusive relationship to a relationship with a guy who was a bipolar alcoholic. He wasn't mean and he tried to be a decent partner, (well, sort of tried...okay, didn't try very hard at all). But he wound up being a total financial freeloader until I got my head on straight and kicked him out.

Anyway, do you know much about codependency? I know I'm codependent and it sounds like you might be as well. "Women Who Love Too Much" and "Codependent No More" are both really valuable books to read.

I'm sorry you're going through this heartache. But honestly, better to break up now rather than marry a guy who's going to be irresponsible, freeloading off you, and possibly cheating on you. Being a caretaker for your adult romantic partner is not okay (I mean, unless they've been in a car accident or have cancer or something). Grieve the relationship, be single for a while, and really focus on yourself and learning how to make good choices. Also, the private single parenting forum is a really amazingly supportive place, and a depressingly high percentage of the women there have escaped abuse. We spend a lot of time learning from each other how to make healthy choices in our relationships.

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