Louise asks :

Hi Lucy,

I'm wanting to break up with my boyfriend but I'm worried he will cope badly.. He has bipolar disorder, has been through a lot and I know how important stable relationships are to him. Last year he 'wasn't well' and it was really hard to cope. But this year he's been really stable. I recently cheated on him but didn't tell him as we're in the middle of exams and I worried it might cause him to spiral into old patterns. I feel terrible- I do still love him (so much) as a friend and he's great person; but I no longer feel the same. I don't want to keep betraying his trust and lying about how I feel, but I don't want to break him. Conundrum. Any advice?

Our Reply

Hi Louise,

It is unfair to go out with someone when you just don’t feel the same. No-one likes to break up with someone whether they have a disorder or not. Bipolar is something that can be controlled, but he will always have it, so there will never really be a ‘right time’ to do it.  If it has got to the point where you have cheated on him then I would suggest telling him sooner rather than later.

When someone says that they still want to be friends, generally this doesn’t work. They are trying to keep the person in their lives after having them in it for so long; however it hurts when one moves on and affections have to be dialled back. Many old couples find it difficult to maintain a friendship afterwards.

That said, if you truly want to still be friends, I would suggest showing him just how much you love him by sticking by him. Offer him the support he needs when he is going through a rough patch.

Think about it from his perspective, would you want to know if someone had cheated on you? Honesty is often the best way to go, it might hurt the person short term, but being in a loveless relationship will probably hurt more when he finds out.

Good luck,

Lucy x 

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