Thursday, February 5, 2009

Romance Among The Bipolar Set

There are many triggers and symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you're one of the older bipolar patients, say over forty, you've been living with the disorder for a long time and probably know what to watch for. Not the least of which is falling in love. There is a swing we notice where libido is either a trigger or a symptom. And "inappropriate sexual behavior" is on all the lists of triggers and symptoms. So is compulsive shopping.

So I watch myself carefully and avoid department stores like I was a recovering alcoholic and the department store was my favorite watering hole. I take my libidinous pulse now and then and find that my romantic heart is barely beating. And for many reasons I have not been shopping for anything more lovely than a used pair of jeans at a thrift store . I have been flirted with by a younger man with a quick wit and charming email style. I was tempted, but found myself believing that this attraction was more than likely the acting up or out of my bipolar disorder and nothing more. So my heart has remained in the deep freeze.

Life goes on. And 49 years later this boy is now an old man who has reappeared in my life. It was not his sexual aggression at eighteen that got us into bed, it was my sixteen year old self that did the aggressing. I was the sexual predator. I took what I wanted and left him without a word, without a backward glance. Oh, I thought about him, but I did not call, I did not return to explain my behavior, my moving on, my craziness. I did not look back and wonder if my carelessness hurt him. It seems to have left him whole and healthy. And my crazy life went from wild and free to a long string of failed romances, failed marriages. He on the other hand did all the things one would expect of a good man. He joined the Army and served in Germany. He traveled, he married, he raised two sons. He married again and raised two other children. He has a relationship with his grown up children. He seems to carry with him into old age the same kindness and gentleness he had as a boy.

Now he has found me again. His family is raised, his children grown. He lives alone in his house 60 miles from my house. And my libido is revived and revving. And I wonder is it love or lust or just bipolar disorder?

28 comments:

Nan said...

Go for it. On some level all romance involves craziness -- it's always irrational -- and you've been really upfront about being bipolar. And can it really be "inappropriate sexual behavior" when the two of you have a shared history and have been communicating again for awhile? Inappropriate to me implies wandering down to the waterfront and picking up anonymous sailors, not reconnecting with a boy you had a relationship with in high school.

Utah Savage said...

Thanks Nan, that's just the kind of advice I wanted. I do see my psychiatrist and psychologist on Monday. I see Cal on Tuesday. I'm thinking my shrinks are my new parents and I need their okay before I do anything rash.

MRMacrum said...

So what else is going on that might keep you from exploring the possibilities? Fear of another failure? I dunno, but personally with each year I gain, my fear of failure diminishes and my fear of not trying gains a head of steam. I say check it out. Sex does not have to be the only mechanism to build the relationship. It's a perk, but not necessary.

Randal Graves said...

Nan hit it. Once all those funky enzymes and microscopic bits of chemical reactivity start bouncing around the aorta and the skull, well, it's supposed to be nuts.

Plus, Valentine's Day is around the corner, and do you really want to pass up on the coincidence that is a Lifetime Movie of the Week, only with more swearing?

Stella said...

Nan, you are absolutely right. What a perfect response. There's nothing wrong with being the sexual aggressor, which may have nothing to do with being bipolar. Women are taught to be passive, even if they're not bipolar. The hell with that!

Go with it and see where it takes you. Enjoy the journey. You're taking care of yourself, you understand youself—you're doing everything right. No one ever knows if those feelings are lust or love: does it matter? I'm with Randal, too: it's supposed to be nuts.

Cal must be a great guy to attract you. As Nan said, you both already have a shared history. Let yourself be happy. Everything in life is a gamble. Throw the dice and let things take their course.

(pssst... I'm really happy for you...)

Utah Savage said...

You guys are either the best friends in the world or you're a bunch of enablers. And Stella, I've already started my Valentines post. I'm in edit mode now, but My Funny Valentine is embedded in my brain. I'm listening to a lot of love songs, and my technorati score is climbing--it must be love.

Gail said...

Hi Utah-
Well, from my distant place in your world and with reference from some things we have in common and some we don't, I will say this: Try not to give this romance away to the bi-polar d/o. It feels like this is your and Cal's to claim - you both earned it in your own ways. Remembering that for ALL of us, the moment of absolute certainty never arrives.
Love, Gail
peace.....

Kulkuri said...

If he has been reading your blog and still wants to see you, go for it. He has a good idea what he would be getting into.

Naj said...

I hope the rediscovered boy-now-man has equal amounts of love-lust-bipolarism?

:)

Utah Savage said...

I hope he does to Naj, otherwise he get ravished for nothing. I just bought my first little bottle of Astroglide. Just in case. Nothing works as well now as it once did but hopefully we both know a lot more.

It must be hell for the partners of some of us bloggers of the "tell all" sort to have to read about yourself from someone else's perspective. I was married to a writer of short stories who used me in several of his stories. I hated the way he portrayed me. Now I'm using him as material in my short stories. If he knew, I bet he'd be horrified.

Sherry said...

i agree with nan.

Utah Savage said...

Nan, you have fans here. Everyone agrees with you. Even I agree with you.

Sherry said...

it's a hard life with small bright moments.

take that moment.

Utah Savage said...

Sherry, thanks, I have a hard time giving myself permission to take chances. At least chances of a human to human kind with the possibility of real intimacy, and I'm not just talking sex.

themom said...

I too say "go for it." You have rationalized your feelings over the past couple of posts, and all sounds good. when someone makes such an impression as to stay in the forefront of your mind...there's something there. Enjoy and relish the rapture.

an average patriot said...

Go for it Hon have fun hell you deserve it! How is the book going by the way? Anything yet?

PENolan said...

Even if this romance is the result of mania, what the hell? If it triggers a manic episode, it's not like you never had an episode before. He's come this far in life and knows how to take care of himself. Besides, he may enjoy Roller Coasters.

Utah Savage said...

Very good description of this sometime affliction--the fun is thrilling and climb to the top divine, but oh the going down the other side can scare the hell out of you. It's been a long time since I had a real deep depressive episode, the it comes on like the flue and at first I think I'm just "sick" but then when I finally realize the dark side is back for a stay, I hibernate, more than usual. But then I've never had an understanding and/or tolerant mate. I've never had a mate who cheered me on, who was supportive of my writing or my need to read rather than watch TV with him. Now that I'm addicted to the 24 hr news cycle I rarely read anymore. I may have turned into one of my ex mates. That's a terrible thought.

MRMacrum suggested I might be afraid of more relationship failure. I think that's probably true. I think I gave up on human love as a possibility in my life, other than the female friends I haven't had real good luck with men. And I'm only fond of one of my past mates--Tom and I are like siblings with a love/hate relationship. Family whether we like it or not.

Utah Savage said...

James, I'm trying very hard not to talk about the book thinking that it's like a watched pot that will never boil as long as I'm watching it. I'm sure they'll keep me informed.

pidomon said...

whatever you decide i wish you and Cal the best

Steve Emery said...

To me it seems there's no reason not to meet. There might be caution signs up for going slowly - there's no rush, right? But nothing seems to say "stop."

From what you describe Cal won't be in a rush, if you won't. With all he's got to be reading here, he's going to understand your whole panorama of feelings. So slowly, savoring the moments as they unfold, seems like a safe and enjoyable road.

(Hey, Cal, From what Utah's shared with us, I imagine that you've got to be the steady and sure sort who would be like a mountain in the midst of all the weather of this incredibly complex and forceful woman.)

I'm rooting for both of you. I just hope neither of you expect too much and push it too hard. I hope it just becomes whatever it can be, and you both get to enjoy it. I hope it's a fire that doesn't consume, but by which you can both be warm, be yourselves, and be romantic if that's what happens.

Utah Savage said...

Steve, I'm planning on getting him naked and treating him with more consideration than I did the last time I assaulted him. He may have other plans. I plan to feed him eggplant parmigiana and ply him with red wine. I plan to feed him dessert. Then grapes. Maybe strawberries. Maybe in bed. I should buy chips. He mentioned a fondness for the potato chip. I too like chips. See, we share a common passion.

Cal mentioned that he used to wear a fragrance I loved so very much--when I was twenty and modeling at I Magnins, I stalked an old man for blocks because he smelled like a boy I once loved. The power of scent.

Lisa said...

Live in the moment, my love. And enjoy the heck out of it!

Linda McGeary said...

You get so many comments. Romance, true romance always has a touch of magic to it. A sense of the mutual attraction. The desire to stare endlessly into each others eyes. Sigh. The fizz of a simple touch.
It sounds like you have already decided about these things.
So, what do you need us for?
Trust you senses. Follow your dream.
You posted with me earlier, check back. Thanks for your comments.

susan said...

What can I add other than my wish for you to be happy. The fear of happiness is too common and you're already an extraordinary lady.

giggles said...

Late to the game here...but it seems as though EVERY ONE is in agreement.... You and Cal just enjoy the hell out of re-finding each other!

Steve Emery said...

LOL! You are something else. I really do hope the evening is one of the best in your life, and the start of something wonderful.

And I know what you mean about scents. Once I was a groomsman at a wedding, in my thirties, and leaned down to smell my carnation and WHAM! I was back on prom night, in a blue tux (1970's - this was not a good time for clothes) and about to go pick up the adorable blonde girl I still live with...

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

what IS romance and love if not bipolar? savor the moment. (oh and I GET the scent of a man thing. for me it is like man-crack. I hold a certain someone's sweaters to my face and inhale a hit now and then. when he's not looking, of course).