Is Mental Illness Damaging Your Relationship?

Posted By: on June 18, 2020
Broken Relationship due to Mental Illness

If your partner suffers from a mental illness, it can cause them to become withdrawn and even negative towards you, putting the relationship under growing stress and strain. This can be an issue whether you knew your partner was mentally unwell before you entered in a relationship with them, or if they subsequently began to struggle.

However, this doesn’t have to signify the end of the relationship, and there are things that you can do together, to reduce the levels of stress and show your support for one another, here are a few suggestions:

Be as communicative as possible

While mental health can be a sensitive topic for many couples, the more that you both talk openly and honestly together about how you’re feeling, the better the chances of you being able to work through things.

Gently engaging your partner about changes in their behavior or personality, and how you’re feeling impacted by it, can help create understanding. You’ll also want to be patient and listen carefully to what they’re telling you about their experience, without passing judgement.

Don’t over protect your partner

Wanting to protect your partner may be a natural and kind thing, but in some cases, it may inadvertently prevent them from being able to make progress with their mental health. Instead of jumping in and stopping your partner from having to fulfill obligations that you know they will not enjoy or find easy, try talking to them about the reasons why they don’t want to do something, and then try to tackle the underlying cause together.

It’s important that your partner is able to maintain some degree of independence if they are ever to improve upon their mental state, and by accidentally standing in the way of them having to face up to their struggles, you might save them some temporary discomfort or pain, but you might not help them in the long term.

Read up on mental health

The more you can try and understand about your partners mental health condition, the better, but always try to read from reputable sources. Your local medical center or counselor’s office should be able to supply you with some information, and of course you can also talk to them about your concerns. If your partner is undergoing treatment for their illness, see if you can understand the support their receiving and how you can lend a caring hand.

Make time to see a counselor

Whether you or your partner choose to see a counsellor separately is entirely up to you, but couples therapy can be immensely helpful, and can help strengthen the bond and level of support between you both. Counseling can also help you in the future should any mental health or other problems in your relationship recur.

Relationships can be tough at the best of times, but if one or both of you are struggling with a mental illness, then things can get even harder. Talking about your problems, however, is perhaps the single most effective way to help your relationship and prevent it from breaking down, and talking to a counselor can help you put things in perspective and learn new ways of supporting each other.

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