crazy_cat_lady posted a topic in Bipolar Spectrum Disorder - The Pole DanceHi all, it's been awhile... For the past 5 months I've been dating a guy who is in the army. He is an amazing person, we are a mirror of each other's best qualities, he accepts my MI without question and has researched the hell out of how to help me or just be there for me when I'm going through hard times, be they hypomanic or depressive. (In 8 years with my ex-husband, he never put in that kind of effort and often just told me to get it together). He has motivated me to work through my social anxiety by -- again -- researching how to support me when we go out or meet his friends. So long story short, he is a great guy, also closer to my age range (3 yrs vs. 16 yrs, and we're both around the 30-yr old mark). I could gush and gush but I digress. Side note: Since my divorce earlier this year, our close mutual friends have sided with my ex, or I've had to end my friendship with them, so my social circle has significantly decreased to one close friend. I know it hasn't been a long time dating. I know I fall hard and fast for the right people. I also know I've never felt as emotionally secure, comfortable, and connected with anyone else, even with my ex-husband during our best times. Since he is in the army, he is away a lot on courses, exercises, or disaster relief (and a lengthy deployment to the Middle East next year, which I'm not even going to dwell on yet). And I find it incredibly difficult to cope with missing him when he is on extended absences. When we started dating, for the first 6 weeks he was teaching a course 2 hours away, 5 days a week, so he'd be home only on weekends. That was okay, it was just the way things were but I still counted down the days and hours until he came home again. It's not so bad when it's just for a few days, or 5 days a week, because we still text and talk on the phone nearly every day. When he was doing natural disaster relief in August, we didn't know when he would be home, he often had no cell reception, and we spoke once or twice a week. (By no means am I minimizing the need for aid to those communities, but I selfishly want him at home.) The night before he left, I broke my finger at work and I'm off work until late November with minimal use of my right hand, so I was at home with the dog and had little else. At times I just stayed in bed and cried. During every absence longer than a week, it's taken a maximum of 4 days for me to emotionally fall apart and him have to deal with me over the phone in what limited ways he can. My very few friends were busy and I didn't see them much. I never realized loneliness could physically hurt. When he is home, it feels like everything was worth it, missing him, waiting for him. But I feel a frantic need to be with him as much as possible because I know he will be sent away again, and soon it will be a lengthy deployment to another continent, likely to the Middle East. I'm not even allowing myself to dwell on that nightmare yet. He is away right now for 5 days but due home tomorrow, and so far I haven't fallen apart at all, which is huge progress for me! For those who have dealt with relationships where your SO is frequently away (e.g. military, oil fields, etc), how do you maintain emotional regulation, especially when experiencing depressive episodes? I've posted in military spouse forums and talked to other people and it's always the same old "get a hobby, work overtime, work it off at the gym, see friends," but seriously, emotional regulation is a lot less simple than that when you're riding the bipolar rollercoaster. I've started to maintain a regular cleaning schedule to keep myself busy, but it isn't enough. My BF will be home for a total of 5 days in October, and off the grid for the rest. I still won't be back to work yet. And I'm dreading how I'm going to deal with it without having a complete skills breakdown from feeling so completely alone. My meds are stable, and I also see my pdoc on Monday. Sorry for the lengthy post... Any advice would be appreciated.