Should I Divorce My Cheating Bipolar Husband?

by Elizabeth Atlas on June 29, 2011

Living with a bipolar husband is a challenging experience on its own. But when his mood disorder is compounded with infidelity, the situation can reach a crisis level.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood variations from mania to depression and there’s typically plenty of risky behavior in between. One of the worst is the connection between bipolar and cheating– adultery.

Even couples on the brink of divorce who are not facing bipolar issues often arrive there because of infidelity. It’s indeed hard to forgive these breeches of trust. But for bipolar husbands who cheat, the adultery for the spouse is like rubbing salt into an already open wound.

The first question that arises most often is…

“Should I allow my husband to get away with cheating on me because he blames it on his bipolar disorder?”

In other words, is a doctor-approved diagnosis of bipolar disorder a “get out of jail free” card for a cheating husband?

Does Society Condone Cheating from Bipolar Husbands?

Certainly, society has become more accepting of mental illness and there are plenty of public examples of bad behavior being blamed on a chronic mental condition.

Take, for instance, the recent case of New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner who apologized for his inappropriate “sexting” behavior by announcing he was going for treatment of his undisclosed “condition.” Speculation about his diagnosis ranged from an obsessive sex addiction to a narcissistic personality disorder at the root of his scandal, and he ultimately resigned from office.

In another story, a banker was penalized with a milder sentence for an outrageous theft because he was found to be suffering from depression.

Many bipolar husbands and wives use their condition as an excuse to seek out extra-marital affairs during the manic phase. A heartfelt apology is many times enough for someone’s human frailties to be overlooked, excused or forgiven.

The dilemma is the confusion over morality vs. biology. If someone with a mental disorder cheats, lies or is unfaithful, it’s common for this behavior to be more exaggerated than in someone who cheats who is not mentally ill. For example, sex addicts are known to be controlled by their urges, as opposed to most of society who feels the impulse but uses introspection and morality to respond.

Why Do Some Wives Put Up with Bipolar Lying and Cheating?

Wives want to know: Should I hate the sin or the sinner? Should I divorce my cheating bipolar husband.

To answer these questions, you must evaluate how your spouse’s behavior impacts your sense of self-worth. How much you can handle the cheating, the lying and the adultery which is likely never to end because it’s compulsive. Are you are willing to go the distance and participate in your husband’s therapy? Is he even willing to go?

Since there is no cure for bipolar disorder, just management of symptoms, are you willing to take the plunge and live with someone who hurts you emotionally and continues to “get away with it” because they have a doctor-diagnosed excuse?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

jennifer July 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

Hi-
I was involved with a married guy for quite sometime. We were friends but soon enough I discovered that he was 100% bipolar and narcissistic!! He is really sick!! the way that he thinks and acts and it took the second time around (we had the affair 2x in 3 years) for me to realize that he and his wife are both extremely mentally ill. The things that he would do and say??? and at the end he turned on me and switch just because I told him the truth about himself!! His wife is such a fool because he turned on her and told me all nasty things about her and he probably did the same when he told her about the affair about me. Absoultely no self-respect and now that everyone knows they are looked on as losers!! He has cheated numerous times and has come on to all types of women too. This time that I learned my lesson I can only feel sorry for them!! Luckily I have a happy and normal man in my life who treats me well and with respect!

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Elizabeth Atlas July 29, 2011 at 11:04 am

As Hugh Hefner said, you “dodged a bullet.” Congratulations for holding out for what you really wanted. – E

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lisa March 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

Wait a minute…you knowingly had sex with a married man and they are the losers??? The only loser’s are the 2 people that are having sex with eachother when they shouldn’t be…not the wife that was betrayed.
Sorry, women who sleep with taken men, don’t deserve “respect”. Karma will make herself known to you one day. You only get back from the universe what you put into it.

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maryam August 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

but you have nerve to think you are a victim. you participated with a married man? what you are “normal”? it takes a real low person to participate in that. you can’t get your own man, you have to get with a crazy ass bipolar dude who talks bad about his wife and then fucks you? gross. women are out of solidarity with each other it is so disgusting. i feel sorry for all three of you.

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dona October 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Well, shame on you for screwing a married man! I hope that you get married one day and love him so completely that when he has an affair you know the kind of pain that you caused another woman. and I hope you do know that it will come back to your adulterous rear end. What in the hell are you thinking? Get a soul ho.

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DYoung July 29, 2011 at 12:35 am

I need some help and guidance…my husband was diagnosed with being bi-polar 2 years ago. He does go to therapy and medication. We have been married for 15 years with three children (14,11 and 6). During our marriage he had sex with escorts,
“dated” while I stayed home with the kids, communicated on face book with young girls, etc… We have seen counslers and they all say the same thing; He loves you but he will proably never change. It is heart breaking…some times our marriage is good but since I have found out about all the cheating I am so angry and I can’t seem to forgive him or get past it. When I found out I did leave him but we gradually got back together…”a new start”. But it just doesn’t seem to be working. He has started back with the face book and I know he is capable of doing much worse it is a matter of time. How can I get strong enough to let him go?

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Elizabeth Atlas July 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

I’m so sorry for your pain. Having children definitely makes decision making harder in a bipolar marriage, for sure. But don’t make the mistake many spouses make who are married to unstable bipolar partners. Don’t wait for him to change. Psychologists tell us it takes 2 weeks to change a habit. And that’s assuming someone is trying to change. Breaking up and getting back together placates an upset partner. Promises voiced are not change until converted to action. The way to build emotional strength is to decide what *you* want in your life, independent of your husband’s influence and behavior. Then decide if he measures up to or (hopefully) exceeds your conditions for a marriage partner. Good luck. – E

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SALLY April 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

WHY DO MEN WHO HAVE BI-POLAR MANIC THINK IT IS OKAY TO HIDE WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND WONT TAKE MEDICINE. THEY RUN WITH MEN AND LIVE WITH THEM AND THINK IT IS OKAY TO GO CRAZY AND CHEAT ON THERE WIFE AND HIDE IT AND THE WIFE CANT HAVE THEM COMMITED UNLESS THEY DO SOMETHING FIRST AND THEY WAIT TO SEE THERE MARRIAGE DESTORYED AND THERE LIFE TORE APART.. WHY CANT DAYMARK DO SOMETHING TO GET THESES PEOPLE HELP BEFORE THEY COMMIT A CRIME OR KILL SOMEONE. OR BEFORE THEY END UP DEAD OR IN PRISON OR IN JAIL OR GAY…????? WHY CANT THE PEOPLE DO SOMETHING TO HELP THESES PEOPLE GET HELP BEFORE IT IS TO LATE?????

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Mike Bonnie March 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

My wife is bipolar diagnosed six years ago she is 42 and from south America i am 20 years older and we never had a problem with this but a lot of people out there do.anyway three years ago while in the mental ward she except that she was bipolar.she would do her meds religiously but things still happen.i find that body chemical are a constant problem. over the last three years she had me in court about four times on assault charges witch were dropped just cost a lot of money.looks like she likes to call the police. now she filed for divorce and moved out manic and homeless and my hands are tied because the law will not let me get her the right help.she is a wonderful person when things are going good.so I don’t know if I should go along with the divorce or fight it a county counselor thinks this will teach her a lesson if I go through with the divorce i’m between a hard place and a rock.

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