“Can I Divorce My Bipolar Wife for Cheating Unawares?”

My wife is bipolar. I have read that someone with this disease can have a sexual encounter and not remember it. If this is so and I find out, could I divorce her for adultery or cheating?

This is difficult situation, and you have my sympathy. It’s hard to live with the extreme mood swings of someone with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). But it’s even harder to BE that person, I assure you!

When people experience blackouts during manic episodes, they are not in control. Their mental illness is in control. Like those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder), they can discover that they did things they would never have chosen if they were in their “right mind.” A dear friend of mine tells me that one of her “alters” (personalities) was a smoker although she was not. She would just find the cigarette butts and wonder why the car smelled like smoke!

This means that if you learn your wife had a sexual encounter that she did not choose and does not remember, it would be unfair and unloving to hold it against her.

Do you remember the part of your wedding vows that says, “in sickness and in health”? Your wife has a sickness. If she got cancer, would you divorce her for not being healthy? If you became disabled, would you want her to divorce you because you couldn’t provide for her?

It sounds like you might be looking for a loophole to justify divorcing your wife. I respectfully urge you to close down that search and open up a new one for a marriage counselor.


Sue Bohlin

© 2009 Probe Ministries