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If your partner has MH issues

(21 Posts)
WondersOfTheWorld Sun 21-Aug-11 11:50:15

and you are finding it impossible to live with anymore but he hasn't changed as such since you've met him/got married, is it OK to give up and leave said partner?

UsingMainlySpoons Sun 21-Aug-11 11:52:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WondersOfTheWorld Sun 21-Aug-11 12:07:00

My issue is about how much effort partner is putting in 'getting better' and how long one can wait. Now I feel like I have no more to give.

HairyGrotter Sun 21-Aug-11 12:19:39

Suppose it depends on the issues also. If the partner is making very little effort and no progress, there is only so much one can take.

As UsingMainlySpoons says, nobody should stay in a relationship they are not happy with.

garlicbutter Sun 21-Aug-11 13:29:23

I have severe depression. I work hard at my recovery. Even so, I wouldn't want to live with me! As Spoons says, nobody should stay in a relationship they don't want to be in.

That's the beginning and end of it, really. The other side of it is, nobody has the right to a relationship. Both partners need to be in it for mutual benefit.

disambiguation Sun 21-Aug-11 14:26:29

what is MH ?

littlepiglet Sun 21-Aug-11 16:12:08

You've not mentioned 'love', so by virtue of your omission, I'm guessing that you're not in love with your partner anymore?

Of course everyone has the right to be happy, but I think to ask such a vague & ambiguous question, is in fact entirely unfair - and to put all the blame on your partner's MH issues is very easy & convenient!

I have MH issues, and my relationship is coming to an end... and I don't know why, I really don't (and thinking like this makes me cry).

I have bipolar, and my DH blames all of our problems on that, and he could easily post on here, saying "my wife has bipolar & I can't take it anymore", and I imagine the posts sympathising with him would be many.

It doesn't take into account that in a relationship both parties have a duty of care & responsibility to each other. I'm not saying that anyone is responsible for another's happiness - that is ridiculous, bound to fail, and just inspires a 'needy, dependent' relationship! But if one person has MH issues, then the other partner has a duty not to inflame the situation & worsen the MH of the other.

For instance my DH went on holiday (alone) when I was heavily pregnant (to a nudist beach), then again when DD was 5 months old. I had severe anxiety when he went for the second time, and it triggered a worsening of my symptoms, to such an extent that it took months to recover from. Most (sane) women would have a problem with DH going at such a time, let alone someone 'vulnerable', but he did, and he blamed the subsequent distress on my illness.

He also has done other 'questionable' things (photos etc), that other women would struggle with, but again it's my illness that's at fault.

I'm heavily pregnant at the moment, and tired because of this, and looking after a baby too, and feel... bleurgh! I used to go to bed at 9pm, but have made the effort to stay up late, because he wants me to. But he never comes to bed early with me, he always has to have 'another' cigarette, and by the time he comes up - I'm shattered.... I yearn for him to show me some passion, some desire... we've talked it over countless times, but he's just not interested in mt. Therefore I've not shown him as much affection, as I can't bear to be rejected night after night. As a result he's now not talking to me (and hasn't for 2 days), and I know that he's going to end it, my illness will be to blame - again!

So is it OK to leave a partner with MH issues? It depends on whether it's really that, or whether there's an underlying problem.

And if they haven't changed since you met/married them then it begs the question - why on earth did you marry them???? If it was in the hope they changed, then it is you at fault, as they've not deceived you in any way!

purplepidjin Sun 21-Aug-11 16:21:29

I have mh issues. We're not married and have no dcs. I have said to dp that I wouldn't blame him if he left (I don't want him to, it'd tear me apart, but I'd understand if it was too much to handle) but he bizarrely insists he loves me and wants to be with me weirdo

If you love him and he's accepting support, stay. If his behaviour has killed the love then take a break. Supporting him might have triggered depression in you?

dodgybum Sun 21-Aug-11 17:50:27

littlepiglet, you're pregnant so it's not appropriate right now, but have you tried taking lamotrigine? I have bipolar type II and it's really helped me level out. I had to research it myself, my shrink just wanted to shove me on lithium, which I didn't want.

Lamotrigine is expensive so I don't think it's offered routinely.

It's terrible that your husband is so unsympathetic. I think maybe he needs some help understanding better your condition. If you have a community mental health nurse she might be able to help.

I know my condition causes difficulties in my marriage, but I won't accept that every mood, gripe etc is a consequence of my being bipolar, much of it is just the normal ups and downs of a long term relationship.

Thankfully my husband doesn't blame it all on my having bipolar. It sounds like your husband is unreasonably trying to put the blame on you for any problems and issues you have as a couple - it's cruel and means he doesn't have to take any responsibility.

This is very hard I think, because as you probably know, it's hard unpicking your own emotions when you have bipolar, working out what is 'real' and what is a symptom of illness. It's one of the hardest things.

Good luck, and OP, sorry to hijack.

littlepiglet Sun 21-Aug-11 17:59:44

dodgybum, Lamotrigine is good for me, but they stopped it when I found out I was pregnant, the best for me was Sodium Valproate - which I was taking when I got pregnant with DD (necessitating lots of checks on her). Thanks for that.

Sorry to OP too!

HairyGrotter Sun 21-Aug-11 18:12:42

The guy I'm seeing atm has Bipolar type II, which he told me during our initial communication. I study psychology and we recently covered MH issues etc, I accept his condition and am willing to see where we go in the future.

If he was reluctant to maintain his health, then yes, I'd have to sit and think through what I'd want to do next in terms of ending it or repairing it. MH issues are more and more apparent but shouldn't be held accountable for all relationship problems.

FabbyChic Sun 21-Aug-11 18:18:41

You say about how much effort he is putting in and I have to say that when you have depression it is not possible to put any effort into getting better.

It is not something you can control yourself.

The right medication is the only way to get better.

I was sick for three years at my worst, but in total 7 years.

It was not until I got the right medication that I actually got better.

He cannot pull himself together mental illness is no like that there is no way to make yourself better, time does it or medication.

garlicbutter Sun 21-Aug-11 18:28:06

Hang on Fabby, are you saying that all my therapy's a waste of time confused
Oh, never mind if you are - I reckon it's worth the effort!

I wouldn't want to live with me because I have very little energy, need to sleep a lot and cope poorly with challenges, even smallish ones. When I first got sick I was even worse than this, had to work extremely hard to see anything positive in anything and was rotten with self-loathing. No matter how much you love a person in their healthy state, I don't think it's reasonable to force yourself to live with somebody who's that negative.

OP hasn't said the illness in question is depression, but the point remains that mental illness changes the sufferer's personality. So they are not the person you fell in love with. You can distance yourself and give them time to get better, but you shouldn't ask yourself to like the new "them" if you aren't feeling it.

littlepiglet Sun 21-Aug-11 18:30:18

I agree garlicbutter, but the OP said that the partner hadn't changed - so it is the same person they fell for

TheOriginalFAB Sun 21-Aug-11 18:33:13

DH lives with me even though I have MH issues and he doesn't love me any less as he knows I have no control over it and I do take medication. In sickness and in health has been relevant to our lives sad.

worzelswife Sun 21-Aug-11 18:39:55

'You say about how much effort he is putting in and I have to say that when you have depression it is not possible to put any effort into getting better.'

I also disagree with this quite strongly fabbychic.

Yes it's an illness that very often requires medication but when I had severe depression, a big part of the reason I got better was because of how much effort I put in - going out for walks, getting a good diet, perservering with therapy when it was hard, reading books on depression. Just like if you have a physical illness you put effort into doing physio or resting or eating properly.

My dp has depression and it's a deal breaker that he puts effort in to keeping it under control. Just like I have a physical disability and I still make an effort with certain things to stay as well as possible. For the good of the relationship.

OP is is ok to leave. You have a right to be happy, especially if you've dealt with his poor health for a long time. It is draining. You can only take so much if he hasn't changed.

garlicbutter Sun 21-Aug-11 18:42:58

Oh yes, I'm sorry, piglet. That's confusing, I guess. All the same, we would tell an OP who asked "I just don't like him any more" that relationships should make you happier. So, if it's making her miserable and DP isn't improving ... sad
(It still begs the question of what has changed though!)

WondersOfTheWorld Sun 21-Aug-11 21:30:19

I think that between you all you have sort of summarized the dilemna I am finding myslef in.
H has always had this MH issue. This wasn't as pronounced when I met him I also missed all the clues (so I didn't get into a relationship knowing about it).

littlepiglet I fully get what you are saying. It's not because one partner has MH issues that all the responsability is on them. I've never thought that and take responsability for some worsening of his behaviour. The reality is more that we both have been trying our best to cope with circumstances and haven't always got it right (both ways).
FAB comment is really the thing that is an issue for me : we got married for better and for worse so should I not try more to support him through this time in the hope that things will get better? In that case how long is OK? What are the signs that will show when it is OK to stop and when you should hang on for a bit longer?
I've also likened it to living someone physically able. If that person has a car accident and ends up paralysed, would I be OK to leave that partner because of all the issues associated with that physical illness? I hope I would have learnt to cope with it, the same way that my partner would to. So perhaps I should actually do the same with H?

As for that had changed: the best way I can explain it is that the MH itself is the same as before. However its expression is different because circumstances have made it more 'visible' iyswim and therefore much more difficult to deal with.

I know I haven't said which MH issue I am talking about. That's because I am not after practical help on what to do. It's more of a moral dilenma that I belive people living in that situation will have faced, whatever the MH issue.

WondersOfTheWorld Sun 21-Aug-11 21:35:47

The other thing that has changed is probably me, in that I am much more aware now and can see things that I would have skimmed over before.

purplepidjin Sun 21-Aug-11 22:00:20

I think you need to consider some things that you might not want to publish on here:

Is he seeking help for his MH issues? IE has he taked to the GP, been prescribed medication, been referred for counselling

Is he engaging with those services or is he only doing it because he thinks that's what you want?

Different strategies work for different people. Medication (lots of different ones over the years at different doses for several months at a time) almost universally makes me feel worse than the actual anxiety, therefore I use exercise, counselling and sheer bloody-mindedness to function on my off-days. Some days yesterday I stay in my pj's and distract myself all day. Other days I can get my stubborn head on and refuse to let it beat me. It all depends on the person and the illness.

If he's trying to convince you everything's ok and he doesn't need help, yanbu to leave. The same as if he was aggressive (physically or verbally) and refused anger management...

littlepiglet Sun 21-Aug-11 22:11:46

I think you need to tell him how you feel. I always feel happier, and more able to cope, when faced with honesty... no matter how unpalatable the truth gives me more autonomy. If he is anything like me, he will no doubt pick up on subtle clues from you, which in turn make him react in a certain way - further causing more distance from you (not necessarily noticeable, but those who are sensitive can pick up on it), this constant spiralling is not good for anyone.

Secondly if your feelings towards him have changed, and his MH is eroding your love for him, then of course it's best if you leave - for you both. It's torturous to stay in a loveless (or diminishing love) marriage, and it'll be harder for you both to recover.

People do change, and if you've changed, or at least can see things clearer now, and life is untenable, then you need to address that, either by counselling/talking to him, or by leaving.

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