Hey, I'm looking for some advice and support on how to support my boyfriend of a year who has a version of Bipolar thats like... a real regular up/down cycle.
See, the struggle is not when he's going through normal/mania - that we are fine with. In fact, during these times he's so loving and affectionate and kind.
But when he has the down periods... I really struggle. I don't know how to support him. When I ask him what he wants, he gives me mixed messages. Sometimes he wants me to reassure him, sometimes he wants space, sometimes he says he wants me there then tells me to go away when I do go. He gets really snappy and honestly... mean. In his down periods, he makes me feel like my love and affection is an annoyance and inconvenience to him. So then I back off because he's snapping at me, getting angry with me (which really hurts me), and then he gets more upset because I'm upset and giving him space he's clearly asking for. I don't know how to love and support him because if I'm there reassuring him, talking to him I'm wrong and get my head bitten off, but if I leave him alone and give him space I'm making it worse by neglecting him.
And this all makes me feel like shit because I'm a very affectionate person - I like to message cute things, emojis, talk, cuddle. So when he goes from being as affectionate as I am to suddenly not it really messes with my own mental health and sense of worth because someone I love who loves me is hurting me.
And when I try to talk to him about this, it always ends up being spun into something I am either:
1. Not doing right
2. Being too sensitive about
3. Blaming him for past relationship trauma
I hate feeling so unsure and useless. I never know what to expect and I really struggle because all I want to do is love him and be with him but for 1-2 weeks every month it's like he hates me for wanting to love him.
I just don't know - I feel like this post has been very conflicted and garbled in actual message. Does anyone have any tips or ways I can protect myself in his down periods, but also support him when he doesn't know what support he wants/needs?