Bipolar Husband Took a Second Wife, Neglects Me and Kids

13 July, 2020
Q My husband is bipolar, has refused to take medication, and is emotionally unavailable.

We have been married for 17 years and have 4 children. When he is a maniac, he goes into relationships that fail later and he regrets afterwards.

He says he loves me but doesn't act like so. He has recently married a second wife.

He lies and doesn't fulfill his promises contrary to Islamic teachings and that hurts me.

I can't separate him from the condition, I am confused and don't know what to do.

Do I leave him? And how will that affect my kids who are still young? I love this man,I pray a lot to Allah swt.

He works in a different town from where we live with his new wife. Please give me some advice.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Being married to someone who is bipolar is not easy. It takes great patience, fortitude, and sacrifice.

As his wife, you have the same rights as a second wife.

 I kindly ask that you make a list of all the good points that you love about him, the things that he does for you and the children, and make a list of the negative points.

Sister you may wish to speak with him about the circumstances and how to make them better and more in alignment with your needs and Islamic requirements.

Speak about the importance of seeking treatment.

 I encourage you to reach out to family and close friends for support. Try to take extra special care of yourself at this time.

If he is unwilling and you are tired of trying to make it work, you do know that you do have the option for divorce although this is an absolute last resort.

In regards to the effects of divorce on your children-it may hurt them for a while but children are resilient with the proper supports.

If you are worried about the effects of divorce, ask yourself-what are the effects on the children of an emotionally unavailable father who does not live with them? 

Please make duaa to Allah to bless and assist you both in this process.


As salamu alaykum sister,

Sister as I understand it your husband is bipolar, manic most of the time and refuses to take medication. As a result, he is in and out of relationships when he is manic.

He is currently married to his second wife and lives elsewhere with her while he works. You have young children together and you are wondering what to do at this point. 

Spouse is Bipolar

My dear sister I can imagine this is very heartbreaking for you to endure. When we love someone, we want to see them healthy. When we are married we want to feel secure and close to our spouse. We want to be able to trust their decisions as well as depend on them to do the right thing.

We want our spouses to be emotionally available as it is part of the marriage relationship. At this point, your husband is emotionally unavailable, lies and doesn’t fulfill his promises contrary to Islamic teachings. As he is bipolar, you feel it is due to this and you do not know how to separate him from the illness.

Bipolar Husband Took a Second Wife, Neglects Me and Kids - About Islam

Illness or Convenience 

Sister as you know we cannot force anybody to do anything, even if it is good for them, such as your husband being compliant with his medication.

Some people with bipolar illness take medication for a while and then stop because they feel “normal” and therefore feel they do not need it-only to relapse.

Others have bipolar illness which is milder and they do not necessarily need medication but do partake in counseling.

At this point I do not know the severity of his bipolar illness, as you did not mention his status, however I am wondering if some of his decisions are based on personal choices or are due to his illness.

Being married to someone who is bipolar is not easy. It takes great patience, fortitude, and sacrifice. In some cases, behaviors thought to be attributed to a bipolar condition are actually attributed in reality to that person’s personal choices.

Insha’Allah you will be able to differentiate if there is any question regarding this.

In other words, if one is diagnosed with a disorder such as bipolar illness oftentimes manipulation can be used to do things that are not acceptable and blame it on the mental health illness. I’m not saying this is what your husband is doing, no. However, it may be a consideration for some of his actions, only Allah knows.

Rights in Islam

As his wife you have the same rights as a second wife.

. While you did not elaborate and it is not clear, I will just state that he should equally split his time between you and the children and his second wife. That is one of your rights. It sounds as if things may be one sided, Allah forgive me if I am wrong.  

Love-the Good and Negative Points

Sister you say you love him very much and I do believe that you do. However, given the situation I kindly ask insha’Allah that you make a list of all the good points that you love about him, the things that he does for you and the children, and make a list of the negative points.

The negative points would include the things that he does that are not in alignment with Islamic values, not conducive for a marriage, or just plain inconsiderate. Insha’Allah look at your list and see if the positive qualities outweigh the negative. If they do, alhumdulilah. Still there are issues to be addressed. 


Check out this counseling video:


Speaking with Husband

Sister you may wish to speak with him about the importance of seeking treatment. Speak about the current circumstances and how to make them better and more in alignment with your needs and Islamic requirements. Sister please do speak with your husband at a time when things are calm about the changes you would like to see in the marriage.

If needed, make a list so you do not lose track of your thoughts when you are both conversing. Insha’Allah, approach him with love and support and with a conviction to save your marriage. In this way he may respond more favorably.

When you are discussing your concerns and the changes you wish to see, you may want to include a timeline for any changes that he may agree to. This is important because oftentimes people can agree to something but it may drag on for years and years without change.

Self-Care

I am not sure what your social support is like, but I encourage you to reach out to family and close friends for support. Try to take extra special care of yourself at this time.

This would include eating healthy, exercise, attending Islamic events, spending time with family and friends, as well as picking up a special hobby or interest which you may enjoy.

Keep close to Allah and make duaa concerning this matter. By keeping a balance in your life, it will help your own mental health in terms of dealing with the stressors of your marriage. 

Conclusion

Insha’Allah you and your husband will be able to improve your marriage to a point where you are happy and feel fulfilled as a Muslim wife. If he is unwilling and you are tired of trying to make it work, you do know that you do have the option for divorce although this is an absolute last resort. Oftentimes it is a mercy.

In regards to the effects of divorce on your children-it may hurt them for a while but children are resilient with the proper support. If you are worried about the effects of divorce, ask yourself-what are the effects on the children of an emotionally unavailable father who does not live with them? 

Insha’Allah you and your husband will be able to come to an amicable resolution the problems you both are facing. If not Allah does make provisions for divorce. Please make duaa to Allah to bless and assist you both in this process. We wish you the best.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/video-counseling/he-left-me-because-i-have-bipolar-disorder/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/video-counseling/he-left-me-because-i-have-bipolar-disorder/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/mental-health/suffering-from-ocd-i-want-to-be-muslim-again/

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.