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Manic phase - cheating


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I am wondering what kind of experience people have had with cheating on their spouses during a manic phase. I feel like a serial Cheater and I don't know if it's my bipolar or somethjng else. I have very little feelings of guilt or remorse. I just recently broke up with a guy I was having an affair with and within two weeks cheated again with two men. I don't know what to think about myself.

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I have been told I am bipolar by doctors but I am unmedicated for it mainly. However, I have cheated on every boyfriend since I was 16. More recently I have been able to control it mainly to making out. Which is still awful but it doesnt bring in a chance for disease or whatever. The times I have cheated seem to coincide with other symptoms of mania .

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i feel like this symptom (i do believe it can be a symptom) of mental illness gets a lot of crap. I mean people are really quick to attack you for this but not for other symptoms that can be just as damaging to others in your life. Its interesting. and kind of not fair. 

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It is a symptom. But you are still responsible for your actions. MI is a reason for bad behavior, but not an excuse

While I agree to a point...It seems that when someone says something like..."I am experiencing mania and I stole all my husbands credit card and bought $3000 worth of shoes. I am horrible person. We needed the money...etc"  that people are much more likely to say something along the lines of..."Don't get down on yourself, its the MI." They might encourage them to see their pdoc to get a med adjustment. But it seems that when someone tries to talk about hypersexual behavior/cheating during mania...no one says anything comforting or suggests they might need a med adjustment. It seems to me and from others experiences I have read about in forums, that people seem to not except it(cheating while manic) as a symptom of mental illness and its viewed more as a character flaw. 

 

Everyone who has done impulsive, reckless, and sometimes dangerous things while manic has to deal with the consequences. Obviously. The people who blow their savings have huge issues to deal with and that can destroy marriages just as quickly as infidelity. I think what I am really trying to say is that there should be the same level of understanding about all symptoms of mania and not just the ones we are comfortable with. 

 

Again, I agree that we are responsible for our actions. But thats our own personal struggle. 

 

I hope that makes sense.

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I kind of disagree. People are violent, or abuse drugs like crazy, or are non-compliant and super crazy, and we ask that they take responsibility for their actions. Even my raging at my husband when I am mixed merits an apology, at least.

 

I think you will find that people here are told to own all sorts of behaviors. Especially violent or emotionally abusive behavior. There was a post about someone using suicide as a threat to their partner the other day, and many people called her on it.

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I own all my actions as  long as a I was coherent and consenting at the time. I just don't believe in making character assessments based on peoples MI symptoms. If they come to people looking for help and get told off..well i hardly see how that helps anyone. 

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My tdoc and I spent a LOT of time sorting out the tangled web that was my wild sexuality. For me, sex and cheating on guys (did you know it's totally possible to cheat on more than one at a time?) was part of a coping mechanism that worked really well for a long time, but that I had to unlearn FAST when I got married.

Sex is boundlessly interesting. When you're manic, it's very easy to get bored, and boredom is intolerable. That's problem the first.

When you're manic, good feelings feel amazing. Sex feels amazing with a side order of chocolate syrup and crack. Problem the second.

And problem the third, when you're manic you're just not thinking that damn clearly anyway. Consequences don't seem that consequential. Everything in the univese has to happen RIGHT NOW, so how can you possibly worry about how you're going to feel tomorrw-or even in half an hour?

And for better or worse, men, in my experience, find manic women captivating. They will line up like bowling pins for you to knock down, and why wouldn't you?

Then there's depressed unfaithful sex, which I mostly had in a desparate bid to feel something that wasn't my horrible brain trying to kill me. Depression sex is about the void, about being unable to be by yourself, about having to have someone with you and paying attention to you every single second, someone to grasp as you slide toward the abyss. Until you learn better ways to cope, you'll use other people, and no one person can bear that burden, so you find as many as you can.

The price you pay afterwards depends on how much you lose and how highly you prized it. I cheated on my husband a lot when he was just my boyfriend, but he made it clear when we were engaged that that was it-I was out of chances and if I did it again we were finished. So when the mania that turned mixed state and finally broke my brain conclusively (hello, med-go-round) began less than six months after we were married, I didn't have one of my biggest and longest-term coping strategies to use. It wouldn't have saved me anyway, but at the time it felt like a horrible lack. But I knew I couldn't do that to Husband, and that I couldn't lose him, so I didn't cheat.

For a very long time I felt like a horrible person, not for all the other men, but for cheating on Husband back when he was Boyfriend. It still embarasses me to think about it, but I understand better where my head was in those days, and mostly I feel pity for the girl I was. She was a miserable fucked-up mess.

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Gearhead thank you for sharing. I actually found your story inspiring. Did you tell your boyfriend (now husband) at the time about all the cheating? or did he find out? 

 

I really wasnt trying to say that people should excuse cheating. I just think people might need more than just a lecture. they need actual help. 

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It is a symptom. But you are still responsible for your actions. MI is a reason for bad behavior, but not an excuse

What does this even mean?¿? It's like trying to have it both ways. If MI caused the behavior, then MI is to blame. BUT you have to "own" everything, so it's really your fault? Wtf? The net result (from this way of thinking) is that it's your fault, so you might as well not even bring up MI.

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When you are an asshole during an episode, it is not the target of your assholish-ness who is at fault, but you. You still committed the actions. This is something that is discussed here frequently, and frankly I am surprised you haven't read about this discussion before.

 

If you don't  understand the difference between a reason and an excuse, try this: "The reason I drove into that car and killed someone was because I was suicidal, and trying to kill *myself.* That's my excuse, and it's not my problem if someone died, because I'm depressed." That is extreme, but it happens.

 

But you really should know the difference by now. You may not like it, but you live in the real world, with people who do not deserve to be the victim of your mood disorder.


Apologizing is no fun, but it should be a mandatory first step after you are stable.

Edited by crtclms
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I think bringing up the MI is as much for the other person's benefit as for yours. People like to know why other people have done irrational things. Now we're into the difference between explainations and excuses!

Explaination: I'm sorry I Xeroxed my butt and faxed it to your office. I was off my meds and out of my mind. It won't happen again.

Excuse: I Xeroxed my butt and faxed it to your office because I was manic and out of my mind. It isn't my fault! The lack of drugs made me do it!

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Gearhead I can def identify with what u said. I am

Cheating when I depressed and when I'm manic. I'm cheating all the time. I do it out of boredom and I do it because I need a distraction from my life. I'm on websites to find guys and I'm chatting with guys and waiting for the next email from a guy. I love my husband and don't want to hurt him. But when im about to do it the consequences don't seem that bad. I don't feel guilty for what I do but I would feel bad if my hubs found out about it. I'm just fucked up.

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SC, it's a fine line. I don't think that you're "just fucked up." I think that you are acting out behavior that's worked for you in the past but that is now troubling you in some way-if it wasn't you wouldn't be posting about it. You might be ready for a change. Even if you aren't, you seem to be ready to ask yourself some questions you weren't interested in before. Who knows where that might lead?

In the meantime, at least protect yourself and keep safe. Cheating is one thing. Disease is another, and so is fucking strangers who could be dangerous.

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