What is a mental illness in a relationship?
Mental illness in a relationship is the inability of your partner to be physically, emotionally, and mentally sound in enjoying their romantic relationship. It’s so unfortunate that the impact of mental illness on a couple’s relationship has often been taken for granted in both the academic journal and public media.
However, individuals have examined and written about how a person’s mental illness affects their parents, or apparently, how a parent’s mental illness have deteriorating effects on the child.
Also, many relationship therapists have known that people living with mental illness can bring about a negative effect on their partner’s mental health, and vice versa. Sometimes, both couples in a relationship can be battling with symptoms that have surfaced as a result of the original illness in one of the couples.
Research on psychiatric illness in a partners’ relationship has deduced a positive impact between a partner suffering from a mental illness and a partner having a mental illness.
Your mental health condition can make you think whether or not to tell your partner about it. At times, people who’re single may wonder if their mental illness may impede great romance in the relationship. Notwithstanding, individuals with severe mental illness do enjoy strong, supportive, long-lasting healthy relationships.
Consequently, in a good relationship, couples do provide healthy social support for each other, especially during difficult times. But a bad relationship can help worsen your symptoms, especially in depression-related issues. We will be discussing a few of the questions people with mental illness ask about romantic relationships.
Should I tell my significant other about my mental health disorder?
Many individuals shy away from discussing their mental health condition with their partners because of the stigma and misunderstandings associated with it. You may assume since they don’t know your health status, they won’t feel heartbroken.
For a long-lasting healthy relationship, both partners have to disclose their health information. This information helps you both support each other came rain come sun. If you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s advisable you reveal your mental illness to your partner when you are sound than concealing it until an acute illness surfaced.
Never share your mental health condition with your partner especially if it’s a new relationship as it may make your partner not to develop an interest in you anymore. But as the relationship grows more committed, you can plan towards discussing your health issue with your partner.
How you can tell your partner about your mental illness?
If you’re worried about opening up, know deep within you that many individuals living with mental health conditions also have strong relationships. Your significant other already admires the personal qualities that have aided you to live sound despite struggling with a mental illness.
When you discuss your health issue with your partner, you share insight into not just your challenges but also your strengths. Also, know that even literate people may not know how to handle your disclosure because of the panics and misconceptions that are associated with mental health. The following kinds of reaction may be found:
Some individuals won’t consider your mental health condition a problem: They know deep within them that everyone has challenges and that a long-term healthy relationship entails supporting each other through difficult times. Here your mental illness challenge doesn’t count to them.
Others may not be about to handle their concerns: The fears and misconceptions associated with mental health might make want to end the long-term relationship. This is why you shouldn’t wait too long to disclose your mental history.
A large proportion of individuals will react to a partner’s mental illness with curiosity or uncertainty: These sets of people may tend to be more comfortable and supportive as they learn more about the facts and your treatment plan. It is through this process that many romantic relationships grow stronger and can stand the test of times.
When is the appropriate time to tell my partner about my mental health condition?
It is advisable to tell your partner about your mental illness when you are not actively experiencing anxiety, mania, depression or psychosis to avoid embarrassment. I know you may find it difficult to initiate the discussion especially since it’s a health issue. Never allow that to weigh you down, instead, you can put it this way to your partner. I know this is difficult for me to speak out but I hope you can listen and understand me.
Others may opt for the “sandwich” approach. This entails “bad news” between two pieces of “good news” as it helps calm an individual’s fears and curiosity. You can begin by saying some positive things about your romantic relationship.
Have your partner know that because of your love and support, you’ve to discuss something significantly difficult. When you are done describing your mental illness, recap on a more positive aspect by outlining what treatment options you’ve followed, how it has helped you, and what you’ve learned about yourself and other people due to mental illness.
You can also read books or surf websites that provide gainful information about your mental health condition. Also, have these websites ready to offer your gainful advice and allow them time to assimilate the information.
Relationship stress associated with a mental health disorder
I have also seen and addressed issues on how a healthy relationship can have on a person struggling with mental illness. Healthy relationships act as a catalyst to help a person ward off physical, emotional, and mental health conditions.
Consequently, it’s also known that relationship stress with a significant other can mar a person who is battling with a mental illness and make the condition worse. The stress in the relationship can affect their physical functioning too.
I’ve come across where relationship stress affects individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety and other related disorders negatively. Here is an illustration, a friend of mine came for advice after discovering his partner grows tired of caring towards her because she has been depriving him of his own needs. She begins by saying at the initial stage, her partner does spend quality time taking care of her and working hard to maintain their relationship.
This goes on for years until she starts observing a rapid decline in the care and support her partner does have for her. It appears her partner may have grown tired of the role because he no longer has adequate time for himself or his own needs. Her partner may react angrily virtually in any little thing. The partner’s attitude towards her can make her mental condition even worse.
Furthermore, research shows how partners who have been providing care to their spouses with mental disorders experience signs of burnout similar to those found in nursing staff at psychiatric hospitals. This is because they dedicate more time focusing on the suffering of their significant other. They tend to follow their partner’s prescribed treatment programs for them to heal fast and ignore their own needs.
A decline in their mental health surfaces and it affects their daily functioning, such as inadequate sleep and loss of appetite. They may also lose hope and have thoughts of shame as they no longer see the possibility of their partner recovering soon from the mental illness.
Also, when couples in romantic relationships are under stress, partners begin to lose interest in each other both physically and intimately. They tend to distance themselves from each other, and when they do come together, it’s often detesting, resulting in restrained or little conversations. Couples tend to feel an increased level of frustration and despair since they’re no longer attracted to each other prompting divorce.
Where one or both partners is battling with a mental illness, the above negative emotional reactions are often very strong. At a behavioral aspect, individuals tend to distance themselves, may indulge in taking drugs or alcohol to numb difficult emotions. Others may also indulge in cheating (extramarital affairs). If the marital stress is at its climax, there is a greater tendency of substance misuse, male aggression, and advancement toward divorce.
How can I get help to get my relationship back on track?
It is advisable for couples to get help in order to get their romantic relationship back on track before the situation escalate uncontrollably. Sadly, many partners leave their mental issues unresolved until it enters this later stage which can mar the likely chance of their relationship getting back on track. And by this point in time, at least one partner is feeling less hopeful than the other partner and is vying to exit the relationship.
Also, there are times when hanging on to the committed relationship is dangerous to the health of both couples involved, not to mention to the children, if they have kids together. Deducing a way to separate that, though painful, won’t be harmful can be an alternative for the couple to pursue.
Notwithstanding, even with the presence of mental health conditions, committed romantic relationships can benefit from interventions that help partners get back on track and help to improve, or at least stabilize, symptoms associated with mental illness. Going for couples’ therapy can aid partners to improve their problem-solving and communication skills, and refocus on strengths to enhance their resiliency.
Some marriage and family therapists have argued that premarital education is an essential tool in preparing individuals for marriage by educating them on the basic skills they will have to inculcate in their marriage.
This premarital education awareness includes modules on finances, healthy conversation, dealing with conflict and planning towards parenthood. Some organized religions require that couples undergo premarital courses if they want to get married in their church.
Most marriage researchers and therapists argue that having a clear idea of what you want for yourself and in your relationship is vital for the health of both partners and the committed relationship.
This is not limited to the degree of your mental illness, or whether mental disorder is even present. A healthy view of the couple relationship involves having positive expectations of the rewards that marriage brings, and knowing deep within you that it still requires personal effort by both parties to achieve desired goals.
Mental illness Questions & Answers
How do I know if my partner is struggling with a mental illness, or if they’re just reacting to some adverse event that is causing stress on our marriage?
You can know by being supportive, caring, and also inquiring from your partner. Also know that there is a difference between having a persistent mental illness, and experiencing a temporary stress reaction to an adverse event like divorce, job loss, or death of loved ones.
Could my partner be suffering from a mental illness if they’re violent toward me and others?
Never attribute behavior to be the cause. As there is a relationship between mental illness (like antisocial personality disorder) and abusive behavior. Some aggressive behavior is reactive, or a learned pattern of coping.
My partner is struggling with a mental illness. How do I help my spouse without detrimental to my own mental health?
You have to set some boundaries for yourself and avoid over-stressing yourself in the course of caring for your spouse to get well quickly. By doing this, you will still have time for yourself and get your needs done.
How can we save our marriage when children are involved?
You can visit a marriage and family therapist to have them treat the whole family issue. Others may opt for a separate therapist to treat their children issues ASAP. Notwithstanding, other therapists work alongside with the couple.
Why not consult your couple therapy if you experience some mental health symptoms as a result of assisting your significant other?
You can meet your couple’s therapist yourself.
When can you look at separation after trying everything possible to get the relationship back on track?
You can visit your couple therapy as they can assist you to enjoy your relationship to the fullest.
Can I enjoy a new relationship even with my mental health disorder?
A person with a mental health condition may not find it easy to get an ideal date and meet new people, because the urge to connecting with others may be diminished since your life is unstable.
Make the people around you see your positive qualities and you’ll meet people who share your values. To recap it, never feel discouraged as you deserve a loving, long-lasting healthy relationship irrespective of your health issue.
What if my mental health condition affects my lovemaking life, how can I cope with it?
Yes, mental illness can mar lovemaking but you can work with your doctor to get your sex life back. Most at times, the side effects of certain medications may disrupt your sex life, and your ability to achieve orgasm. This does not mean you should stop taking your medications as it can make your condition even worse than a low libido.
Read Also: The Importance Of Romance In A Relationship
If you experience undesirable side effects in the course of taking your medications, meet your doctor for optimal advice. Do you like what you just read? Kindly share this article with your loved ones and friends to help them curb their mental health condition and enjoy their lives to the fullest.