The “stepping back” is in full swing. The good parts are sleeping with new sheets and a froofy duvet cover. Eating less and more healthily. The bad is feelings of loneliness. Longing and uncertainty.

I’m entering a new phase in my relationship and in my life. It’s a bit disorienting, but I can’t honestly say that it feels bad or wrong in terms of my life’s path. I’m not sure exactly what to say about it because it’s still unraveling. In about a year, I’m sure I’ll have much more clarity over the situation.

When I got back into this relationship, someone suggested that they would be very hesitant to be in a relationship with someone who ever had depression. Okay, I agree(d), but most people I know suffer from mental issues in one form or another and that includes me. The line between the normal blues and depression is a fine one. Also, I’ve always been drawn to emotionally complex people, especially in the people I date. So, it feels like a catch-22.

Now, a year and a half later, I can’t help but feel like my relationship is coming to an end, not because of incompatibility, but just because of some bipolar cycling. Last fall I wrote about feeling manic myself. I am not bipolar. I think all people are prone to swings in moods and behavior and using the bipolar language can be really useful.

Here’s what happened that makes me think this separation is about being manic: Originally, Z was going to take a long trip for several months throughout the summer. That works for me personally because I like to have time alone and the summer is a great time to try to meet certain writing goals. This might seem like a red flag, but it’s really how we both want to live our lives, with some space, time apart, etc.

Then, things escalated. We discussed dating other people during that summer break. Next, we (and by “we” I mean “he”) decided to take a step back from our relationship altogether. Then that evolved very quickly into totally breaking up, with no plans to get back together. So, to recap, within about a month’s time, our great relationship very quickly unraveled, the stakes growing more intense each week until we were not together anymore. We quickly went from happily planning a future together to seeing other people, and basically homelessness on his part.

I still love him and believe in him, but it doesn’t feel real. It’s such a fast and shocking departure from the relative steadiness we’ve had in our relationship. I’ve cried hard a few times. As I mentioned earlier, this actually feels okay. Everything is going to be okay. But, on some level, I feel like I’ve been a victim of some unchecked bipolarism that’s just shit all over what was (is?) a really, really lovely thing.


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