First, please realize that Google Answers are not meant to
substitute for informed psychiatric advice, and the only way
to do this satisfactorily is by way of a formal psychiatric
assessment which includes a thorough patient history. You're
also asking for thoughts about how "he might alter the
situation for the better", and I'm not sure this is possible
without extensive face-to-face professional intervention.
So I'm not sure what else I can offer you that is substantive,
but here are my thoughts:
First of all, the man is married. Without adopting any moral
stance, this kind of dividing of one's attentions and energies
generally has a negative impact on one's health and sense of
integrity. Add to that that he is mixing his psyche with one
of questionable stability and it becomes an even greater risk.
You also said the woman was married, is now separated and has
been living with another man for 6 years. Presumably you mean
a man other than the one this question is about. This adds yet
another layer to the mix.
You note that, several times, the man has desired the relations
to end due to the woman's insatiable demands for attention and
the threats of telling his wife. Add to this that she is charging
him for each meeting, periodically asking for additional funds,
and charging him an "exit fee", and I really see no hope for a
healthier form of relationship. From your description, it's not
clear whether she likes him at all, except for the monetary
benefits he can provide, and the threats about telling his wife
amount to extortion. I see nothing in your descriptions that
tell me that she exhibits any personal affection for him at all,
whereas it's clear she likes his money. I have to wonder what he
believes he is getting from the relationship, other than the
chance to appreciate her unique and extraordinary mind.
Since these patterns of interaction are well-established, I see
little likelihood that they can be altered, in which case they
are likely to be repeated, and the man's desire to end the
relationship as it stands will re-emerge. Realistically, I
believe he should honor this desire and end it once and for all.
On another tack, if she is Bipolar, it would not be unusual for
her to lie about her association with "top people". This goes
along with the tendency for grandiosity. My first introduction
to this disorder was an, as yet, unmedicated patient who said
that the song currently playing on the radio had been written
by him. Bipolar disorder can be treated with some success with
a combination of medication and counseling, however many feel
that the medication brings them down from their "normal" manic
state, in which all things seem possible, and so they stop using
their medications. To them, normal feels dull. It's also true
that Bipolar doesn't necessarily mean equal amounts of time
in manic and depressive states. Many are manic for most of the
time, with shorter periods of depression which they may hide
from others, since it feels so abnormal to them.
You note that she rarely says more than she has to and responds
minimally. In my experience, this would be unusual for Bipolar
disorder. One of the diagnostic features is called "pressured
speech", in which the person speaks very rapidly, as though
trying to keep up with a veritable waterfall of thought. You
also noted that she is unempathetic.
Given this, it may be that she is suffering from Narcissistic
Personality Disorder, as mentioned by pinkfreud-ga in a comment
on the original quesiton.
This disorder is characterized as follows, on the Encyclopedia
of Mental Disorders site:
- He or she has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates
accomplishments and demands to be considered superior without
real evidence of achievement).
- He or she lives in a dream world of exceptional success, power,
beauty, genius, or "perfect" love.
- He or she thinks of him- or herself as "special" or privileged,
and that he or she can only be understood by other special or
- He or she demands excessive amounts of praise or admiration
- He or she feels entitled to automatic deference, compliance,
or favorable treatment from others.
- He or she is exploitative towards others and takes advantage
- He or she lacks empathy and does not recognize or identify
with others' feelings.
- He or she is frequently envious of others or thinks that they
are envious of him or her.
- He or she "has an attitude" or frequently acts in haughty or
If an individual exhibits five of these nine characteristics,
they can be diagnosed with the disorder. There is much more on
the page that will help you to comprehend this disorder. As is
noted, the prognosis for this disorder is fairly poor, due to
the tendency for the patient to devalue their therapist, and
to have great difficulty forming the kind of therapeutic bond
which is necessary to resolve the underlying childhood issues.
Additionally, managed care no longer provides for extended
therapy, but focuses on resolving symptoms in the short term,
rather than allowing time to uproot the underlying issues.
Also on the page, there are two subtypes, out of four, which
may fit the woman you're describing:
"Craving narcissists. These are people who feel emotionally
needy and undernourished, and may well appear clingy or
demanding to those around them.
Manipulative narcissists. These people enjoy "putting
something over" on others, obtaining their feelings of
superiority by lying to and manipulating them."
See the section on 'Personality Subtypes'.
The diagnosis is not easily made, and many with the disorder
are mistakenly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder,
again, due to the limited interaction with the therapist which
is available under managed care.
Additionally, many with this disorder are quite functional
and successful, at least until later in life, so their
behavior is often excused as eccentricity rather than
coming to the attention of mental health professionals.
I even knew one such person who was the clinical director
of an outpatient mental health facility, and my boss! My
initial impression, and that of many co-workers, was that
here was a brilliant man whose understanding of the fine
points of many diagnoses was so detailed that it could
only come from a deep empathy and compassion for the
clients. It took many years for some of us to recognize
that on an interpersonal level, he was anything but
empathetic, and didn't think twice about bringing an
employee to tears, berating them in front of others for
having the audacity to challenge his perspective.
So, the bottom line is, I think the man will continue to
find the woman "unempathetic" to the point of great
detriment. This is not the kind of disorder that can be
effectively handled by a partner in relationship with
them. She would need extensive professional assistance,
and, as I noted, this is highly unlikely to occur while
she feels she is functioning effectively, and unlikely
to be adequately addressed in a managed care system,
even if she were to actively seek therapy.
I would definitely agree with your inclination to advise
the man NOT to seek to renew the relationship.