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Monday, December 3, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Possible Side Effects

Posted by on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published June 7, 2007:

I've got a confusing issue with my girlfriend. Our relationship was going great until I caught her having an emotional affair via MySpace. She swore to never hurt me again. Well, I recently found out that she posted an ad looking for NSA sex. She responded to several people who contacted her. When confronted, she encouraged me to look through her e-mail, to prove her innocence; but her e-mail proved her guilt. There was tons of evidence that she had been planning an affair—naked pics in her e-mails, contact information, pictures of guys. She says she doesn't remember doing any of these things.

My girl has told me that she is bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and has mental ailments. She's been on meds since she was 12, but I never knew to what extent until now. She's on four different meds. I've since found out about lots of other lies she has been perpetuating since the beginning of our relationship. She claims to remember nothing. Is it possible that the drugs could cause her to selectively forget things? Could her conditions and the drugs she's on cause this kind of amnesia? Or is my girl just a liar?

Duped By The Dope

My response after the jump...

Low-down dirty liar, victim of drug-induced amnesia; low-down dirty liar, victim of drug-induced amnesia... does it really matter which it is, DBTD? Because here's what we know for sure: Stay with this woman and you're going to be lied to, cheated on, and manipulated. Does it make it better if she can point to her meds and claim that the possible side effects—"drowsiness, blurred vision, erections lasting more than four hours, selective memory, serial infidelity"—made her post those ads, send those pictures, and fuck those other dudes?

So the question you need to ask yourself, DBTD, isn't "Did the drugs make her do it?" but "Am I willing to put up with this crap?" I think we both know the answer to that question: DTCMFA.


Comments (45) RSS

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For what it's worth: liar. I know some things about some psychiatric meds, and I have never seen "selective amnesia" on a list of reported side effects.
Posted by KayElle on December 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this

don't wait to pack your things...

Posted by you really shouldn't have to ask. on December 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
@1, amnesia does occur with severe bi polar people. My sister, in a huge state of mania, picked up the family german shepard, and through it against the wall. My sister is about the same weight as the dog. Our dog survived, but my sister couldn't even recall the event hours later. Severe mania can induce boughts of acute rage without memory. in fact, severe altimerzs can do the same. I can't recall boughts of rage as a string of emails. Dan is right, DTMFA. No matter her prognosis she is going to seriously hurt herself our someone else. RUN.
Posted by pussnboots on December 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Also, make sure she isn't a Meth Kingpin in the Southwest...
Posted by Schreiber on December 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
She's lying, but people living with bipolar can in my experience do bad things, and can change with appropriate medication. But a minimum requirement for that change would be including you in all her doctor appointments, etc. so that you could help her achieve mental health. If she's not interested in changing, nothing will change.
Posted by portland on December 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
I think the problem is that she's using MySpace. Run, friend.
Posted by AriGoldFilms on December 3, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
It appears she is lying about her activities. She will continue to do so. You gave her a second chance, and she blew it. However, there is a small chance that she really doesn't remember doing these things. It's a pretty poor liar that lets you go look for proof in a place that you'll find it. If you are convinced that she really doesn't remember doing these things, then she needs to see a psychotherapist and find out what's going on.

One possible explanation (of many potentials) - she could be a multiple personality, and it is not her but another alter doing these things. In that case, she might have no memory of doing things. Does she forget other things, miss appointments, find herself in places she doesn't remember going to? Do you see extreme mood and behavior changes, as if she's a different person sometimes? DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) is often misdiagnosed as BPD, OCD, PTSD, and other things - all things that meds may help, when they won't help DID. There are other psychiatric conditions that could cause this sort of behavior, too.

If you care enough about her to get her to seek help, and there is a verifiable cause for her behavior, know that you're in for a long road of struggle to help her help herself. Whether she's DID, improperly drugged, or has some other condition that causes her to lie, she needs to seek professional help.
Posted by MultiMe on December 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
venomlash 8
And I mean "hot" in the sense of "radioactive". Get out of that relationship and into quarantine for decontamination.
Posted by venomlash on December 3, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Meds can lead to amnesia. So can bi-polar disorder by itself. However that amnesia would not be selective. Whole periods of time would be blocked out and she would not remember all kinds of things. (And these are serious blackouts, not as: "Where did I leave my keys?" but more as in:" What am I doing in a car in Las Vegas"...
She has some behavior that is fairly typical of anti-social personality disorder. A lot of those people get put on all kinds of meds because of mis-diagnosis. If that is the case: Dump her anyway. Because, while of no fault of her own, people with anti-social personality disorder do not get better or change; it is who they are...
Posted by Hajo Smulders on December 3, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Amnesia is a plot device from soap operas, not something that selectively eliminates exactly the memories she'd want to conceal anyway. There should be no question in the letter writer's mind that he's being deliberately deceived.
Posted by Alec on December 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
XanaxTattooOnPenis 11
Borderline Personality Disorder.
Real Fu*king fast.

*5 years in hell, says I'm spot on correct*
Posted by XanaxTattooOnPenis http://[OO=00=OO]   - on December 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
I have bipolar disorder, and I've done all the things that this woman has done. But I've never forgotten any of it. People with bipolar are often hypersexual. If she's not stable, she should have he meds adjusted. But you need to decide if you want to deal with her issues. My current fiancé would not have put up with me for five minutes in my pre-treatment phase.
Posted by Bipolar but not crazy on December 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Loving someone doesn't mean you have to stay in a relationship with him or her. Some people are so damaged (or so damaged for the time being) that being in a healthy, mutually respectful and satisfying relationship just isn't possible. Wish her well and be free.
Posted by singer27 on December 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
I'm confused. What is this thing "MySpace"?
Posted by BostonMac on December 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Loving someone doesn't mean you have to stay in a relationship with him or her. Some people are so damaged (or so damaged for the time being) that being in a healthy, mutually respectful and satisfying relationship just isn't possible. Wish her well and be free.
Posted by singer27 on December 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Meds can make you forget things, but when you get frequent email responses from straingers with dick pics over the course of a week, with email chains you don't remember writing, it's kind of hard to claim you had no idea you were doing those things.
Posted by cpt. tim on December 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Bet the sex is amazing. Just saying...
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Corylea 18
I think maybe she really DIDN'T remember, or she wouldn't have given her boyfriend carte blanche to check her e-mail. But if she doesn't remember, that's pretty damned serious, whether it's her illness or her meds causing it. (Or an illness she hasn't been diagnosed with yet, like Dissociative Identity Disorder.) Whatever is causing it, the LW probably isn't going to be happy with her.

Posted by Corylea on December 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Alanmt 19
@18: No, it was a desperate bluff.
Posted by Alanmt on December 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
very bad homo 20
I'm not a doctor, but GET OUT.
Posted by very bad homo on December 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this

I happen to have BPD and I resent you telling people to run from people like me. This girl is nothing like me at all. I have never cheated, or lied and claimed I have amnesia - I just get sadder more easily than most folks. Not all people with the same illnesses are the same. I'm still friends with all of my exes and they have nothing bad to say about or time together.
Posted by Tiffy on December 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Whatever the reason why she did the things she did, you are going to have to make a decision if you can learn to accept her crap or to dump her ass. By the sounds of it she needs to find someone who is more open minded, and you need to find someone who doesn't do that kinda stuff online. There is no third option where she promises you she won't ever do it again. There seems to be even a difference in values where she doesn't think cybering is all that wrong and you do.
Posted by gpguy on December 3, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
@21 -- Don't get caught up in diagnosis. What your doc calls borderline personality disorder might be a completely different set of problems than what someone else's doc calls borderline personality disorder.

Thank you for working as hard as you sometimes must to behave decently. I appreciate all the people in the world who try to not be assholes.
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 24
Are we almost done with reruns?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on December 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
xjuan 25
Indeed, do it now if you haven't done it already... Those are just excuses.
Posted by xjuan on December 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Just for the sake of argument, assume that she is telling the truth, the whole truth (well, as much of it as she can remember, anyway), and nothing but the truth. Would that make those activities suddenly acceptable in your eyes? Because that's the bottom line: in all probability it's going to keep happening. If you aren't okay living with that, then you are not the right person for her, and it frankly doesn't matter whether her explanations as to WHY it's happening are god's own truth or convenient lies.
Posted by avast2006 on December 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Cheaters, when caught, will almost always resort to bold-faced lying for as long as you will let them. So there is a very good chance that she is lying, and will continue lying. Besides, forgetting an action doesn't necessarily mean the action was unintentional. Whatever, the whole thing is a mess, and she lacked even the decency to own up to her behavior. DTMFA
Posted by wxPDX on December 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
As someone who has also dated a bipolar girl who had a cheating problem, my advice to you is to get out now. My ex would lie about cheating, and when I found out and I would ask her what was going on or explain I found her actions to be hurtful, she'd say "You just don't understand what i'm going through!" ... worst thing was, I let her get away with it for years.

I learned the hard way, but you shouldn't have to. Trust is the most important part of a solid relationship, period. It's clearly not something she can give you (even if she legitimately wanted to, she has just proven she's not capable of it), and trust should be something you consider to be non-negotiable.
Posted by blackgambit on December 3, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
Look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder. RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
Posted by Tilted on December 3, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up, often for no apparent reason.

Posted by Tilted on December 3, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
sissoucat 31
"Who you're gonna believe, me or your own eyes ?"

Posted by sissoucat on December 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
For when I speak these words, you may well suffer an attack of explosive amnesia.
Posted by shmelse on December 3, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
John Horstman 33
(It's an old letter, so obviously any advice offered should be taken as advice to anyone in a similar situation.) Yikes, add compulsive lying to her list of maladies and then fucking run. People don't need to be perfect but really should be in at least reasonable working order before pursuing new relationships, as it's not particularly fair to drag other people's lives down into the mess that is one's own life (in the event it is a mess).

Also, I've never felt happier to have the type of bipolar disorder (type II) with the hypomania and severe depression.
Posted by John Horstman on December 3, 2012 at 3:17 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 34
Has anybody else ever read "The Good Soldier"?
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on December 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this
mtnlion 35
@11, Yahtzee! She's borderline as hell. Open and shut; run for your life.

People with bipolar disorder can be hypersexual, impulsive, and downright foolish when they're manic, but I've never seen or heard of someone forgetting that many things. She told you to check her email because she thought you wouldn't really do it; she was wrong; now she's lying her ass off and then playing the victim.
Posted by mtnlion on December 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM · Report this
I resent the fact that people with Bi Polar disorder are being roped in to this. Stop trying to diagnose her. She just has the case of the CPOS syndrome.
Posted by my boyfriend has bipolar and would never cheat on me on December 3, 2012 at 9:48 PM · Report this
I know it's been said already among the commentors, but I'm gonna say it anyway: It doesn't matter if she's lying or not, either way she's too broken for you to be able to have a happy, stable and loving relationship with her. It's just not gonna happen. Also: She should have put all of her crazy cards on the table much sooner, people have a right to know what they're getting into.
Posted by Friendstastegood on December 4, 2012 at 12:32 AM · Report this
Adding another vote to RUN.

I spent 4 years with a guy with DID trying to help him, trying to 'save what we had'. It was a living nightmare and I learned a hard lesson (many actually)--crazy is contagious. After awhile their bizarre stories seem normal-if you have to do mental gymnastics to make yourself (temporarily) believe your partner isn't cheating--they are cheating.

This isn't a blanket statement not to date those with mental issues (hell I'm on meds for anxiety and depression now). But it's really necessary for people to be in a healthy place to be relationship material.

God I hope Dan finishes the book soon.....
Posted by jujubee80 on December 4, 2012 at 5:19 AM · Report this
OutInBumF 39
Yes, Dan- whatever happened to "on hiatus until October"? Please come back to SLLOTD soon.
If he didn't run for his life in '07, he's probably dead by now. Why do people get involved with these types? My little brother seeks out the nut-cases like this, then wonders why he gets screwed....every single time.
Posted by OutInBumF on December 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
@38 - why should he? We're stupid enough to drive his traffic even when he's foisting old shit on us.
Matter of fact, I think I will just walk now. nothing but new content for me and I will only check in occasionally. sorry, dan but there is a limit to suckerdom.
Posted by seeker6079 on December 4, 2012 at 8:47 AM · Report this
She could have saved herself the "liar" tag had she disclosed her condition sometime prior to allowing it to screw up the relationship.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 4, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Most people who have mental/emotional illnesses who aren't dicks will tell you that you are never obligated to date or be friends with someone because of their mental/emotional illness. I think people should be open-minded about mental illness - don't assume every person with Aspergers is going to act like Sheldon Cooper, for example - but having an illness definitely doesn't mean you have to put up with shitty behavior in a relationship.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on December 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Why does it matter (for the purposes of this question) if the meds are giving her amnesia? Even she isn't arguing that the meds made her do these things in the first place, so either way you're dealing with a self-aware cheater who may or may not remember cheating.
Posted by Belle Starr on December 4, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
shurenka 44
The number of different "personality disorders" people are proposing just highlights the essential uselessness of such labels; many PD share similar "symptoms" and do not, in fact, say much of anything other than that a patient is especially difficult.

But I ESPECIALLY resent people calling this woman "borderline" when the hallmark traits of splitting (alternating between loving and hating people) and problems with object constancy are not present in this letter.

Whether or not amnesia is possible for any mental illness, or side effect thereof, please leave diagnoses to the trained professionals, mkay?
Posted by shurenka on December 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM · Report this
sissoucat 45
@44 The lady has bullshittia. Whatever other medical problems she has, pale in comparison !

@38 jujubee80 I've found that, when in a less than ideal mental health, the responsible thing to do is say from starts : "Look, I like you a lot, I can see something happening between us, but be aware that I'm treated for so and so and that I'm currently not stable relationship material. I'll quite understand if you'll pass this opportunity. But if you don't pass, bear in mind that whatever will happen, will probably be short term ; I'm not able to deal with real relationships for now".

And run from people who tell you that they trust you and will stick around for you however sick you are, until you're changed - those people are only looking for a providential sick to cure, in a narcissistic way.
Posted by sissoucat on December 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this

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