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Relationship - man with MH issues

(44 Posts)
Confusedsitcom Mon 30-May-16 14:09:14

Hello MNetters, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice!

I'm a single parent to 2 DDs aged 7 and 3. I have recently started dating a really nice man and have been thinking about making it more serious - possibly introducing him to my DDs. He has no DC of his own.

The other day he confessed to me that he has a history of mental illness. I knew he currently claims ESA although I hadn't asked why as I didn't want to pry until he felt ready to tell me. He has a history of depression, also he has bouts of seeing things/hearing voices, amongst other strange thoughts and dreams. He is currently on medication which controls this but if he were to stop taking it he could slip back into it and the doctors do not think he is yet fit for work. He has had periods where he has forgot or stopped taking the meds for whatever reason and was in sheltered accommodation a few years ago.

I was shocked when he told me as he seems so together, I couldn't imagine him having these problems. Of course though my DDs have to come first and while I do like him a lot I feel this may be too much for me to handle. I don't want to pre judge him but I'm just not sure I'd be strong enough to cope with this. If anyone has any advice I'd be grateful for it.

Summerwalking16 Mon 30-May-16 14:22:36

If you have kids - you don't need this, harsh but true. Get out. Let someone who doesn't have kids handle it.

holdontoyourbutts Mon 30-May-16 14:27:48

You need to let this one go. My last partner suffered with MH issues - namely depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts.

It's extremely tough, I found it took a huge toll on my mental health and the relationship wasn't sustainable.

If the doctors think he is not well enough to be working then he is also not well enough to be in a relationship right now.

Sucksfake1 Mon 30-May-16 14:27:50

hmm DF has had previous problems. So have I too a certain extent.

He is a brilliant stepdad and a brilliant partner.

Nice too see the mental health stigma still alive and well.

pocketsaviour Mon 30-May-16 14:31:49

I don't think it's MH stigma particularly: she's dating a man who is unfit to work and may be so for the foreseeable future. Like any lifelong health condition, it's something that needs to be weighed in the balance when considering whether to get into a serious relationship with someone - especially when you have young DC. You are signing up to probably being the primary, perhaps sole, earner of the household, plus providing a significant level of emotional/physical care, on top of your everyday parenting. It's not for everyone.

LateNightEveningProstitute Mon 30-May-16 14:40:15

It's not about MH stigma, sucksfake, the OP has come on here to ask for advice. It would be remiss of people to say, "Yeah, go for it, hun, it'll be fine". Because the reality is that it won't be. And certainly not if he is currently unable to work.

I have a history of MH issues; less so nowadays for various reasons. But I have a demanding full time job, take full responsibility for my MH, understand my triggers and know how to recognise problems and how to react to them.

If this man is currently on ESA and not working due to MH issues, that is a very different situation.

OP, with children, I would not get involved with him.

Confusedsitcom Mon 30-May-16 14:40:51

I'm not saying he couldn't be a good partner, my opinion of him hasn't changed. It's more the fact that he has needed additional support in the past and he may do again in the future. I don't know if I'd be able to give him the full support he may need along with caring for my DDs.

Confusedsitcom Mon 30-May-16 14:42:47

He has told me he lost his home previously through his MH issues which is why he ended up in supported accommodation. He is living independently now but still is not well enough to work.

Lunar1 Mon 30-May-16 14:47:01

He doesn't sound at a stage where he is ready for a step parent role. It comes with a massive amount of stress. This has nothing to do with stigma, but about practicalities.

I would either walk away or make a decision that this must be a relationship where you won't be living together and he won't be involved at all with your children.

He may need many years, if ever before he could be well enough for family life. Step parenting is far harder than work!

KittyandTeal Mon 30-May-16 14:48:07

Would he expect you to care for him?

Surely if he's on meds and stable atm then he is taking responsibility for his mental health.

Would you ask the same if someone with diabetes or chronic fatigue for example? If the answer is yes then take a step back and weigh up the pros and cons, if not then maybe you need to think about how you view people with mental health issues.

I know people like to think that they don't stigmatise mental health but the 'you don't need this' type comment is stigma. It's making the assumption that at some point he's going to be unable to cope.

karalime Mon 30-May-16 15:15:29

Well that's all very nice for you sucksfake but for some of us, having a mentally ill parent was hell. My dad was sectioned 4 times and I would never, ever subject a child to dealing with that.

If his MH issues are under control and well managed, then maybe proceed with caution.

But remember he is an adult. He does not need you to support him. Be helpful to a point, but you are not a mental health professional (repeat ad nausem).

Not having a diagnosed mental health problem yourself does not automatically make you superwoman and a qualified psychiatrist, so it is perfectly fine to at any point say 'I can't deal with this' for the sake of your OWN mental health.

flatbellyfella Mon 30-May-16 15:18:43

This is a No No situation. How long before he goes into bouts of depression again, it will be like you have three children to look after.

Summerwalking16 Mon 30-May-16 15:19:08

Well said karalime.

DeathStare Mon 30-May-16 15:23:27

I'm not sure why people are talking about whether or not he'd make a good step -parent. It's early days of your relationship and in any case some people with MH issues make fantastic step-parents and some people without MH issues make lousy step-parents.

If you like this guy then personally I wouldn't let the MH issues put you off. Take it slowly. I'd say that to anyone with children entering a new relationship, but in this case as he's still on the recovery process I'd say that for his sake as well as yours. And never forget that it isn't wrong to put you and your children first. Just like it's not wrong for him to put his recovery first.

princessmi12 Mon 30-May-16 15:34:41

AS pocketsaviour said, he is unable to take care of himself financially and you will be primary breadwinner. This is big issue for a start let alone MH issues.
Are you desperate for male attention? Why do you want to involve yourself with someone with serious issues?
You need to think of long term prospects here, not just short term gratifications.

Lunar1 Mon 30-May-16 15:47:26

My first husband died before we were able to have children. I cared for him and would never have walked away due to his physical illness, nor would I if he had MH illness.

If my dh developed physical or mental health problems, I would stick by him and support our children. I would not however begin something with someone new if I'd had my children during my first marriage where there was a high probability of going through it again.

There is a point where you have to put your children's interests first.

Sucksfake1 Mon 30-May-16 15:49:19

I only mentioned stepfather as that's what would eventually happen in a long term relationship.

There's plenty of women you see going through hell on the relationship board who's partners clearly have undiagnosed MH problems. At least OP's partner is dealing with his issues and receiving treatment.

Confusedsitcom Mon 30-May-16 15:54:40

princess don't really understand the "desperate for male attention" comment, as I stated I have been dating this man for a couple of months. He has only just revealed this to me and I'm now trying to decide whether to persue a relationship with somebody I like a lot. I don't really see what's desperate about that.

Thank you for the comments everyone. I think I need to mull this over some more. I don't like to pre judge anyone but I have to think long term.

Sucksfake1 Mon 30-May-16 15:55:53

Keralime yes it fucking is.

Fingers crossed you never subject your children too this.

You do know mental health problems can be hereditary don't you?

Dozer Mon 30-May-16 15:58:46

With DC to consider I wouldn't really want to date anyone unable to work due to ill health.

Even aside his health issues, why were you considering introducing him to your DC so early in the relationship?

ALaughAMinute Mon 30-May-16 15:58:46

He has a history of depression, also he has bouts of seeing things/hearing voices, amongst other strange thoughts and dreams.

OP, this sounds like psychosis and unless he's only had one episode it might happen again.

I think you should ask him a bit about his background and if he's been given a formal diagnosis. You can then educate yourself and take it from there.

ALaughAMinute Mon 30-May-16 16:02:55

Should have said that even if he has only had one episode it could happen again.

You need to think very seriously about this particularly as you have such young children.

princessmi12 Mon 30-May-16 16:11:12

seeing things/hearing voices is a common sign of schizophrenia,it is a hereditary illness.
OP you already dated him for couple of months ,presumably you known from the start he's out of work. What is the appeal of dating someone who's out of work? Hence my comment about being desperate for male attention

Confusedsitcom Mon 30-May-16 16:20:34

I did know he wasn't working, yes. That doesn't make someone a bad person though. I didn't know whether it was temporary, permanent or what the situation was until he told me.

princessmi12 Mon 30-May-16 16:53:54

Well now you know it's unlikely to be short term out of work situation. It doesn't make him a bad person but can make him being a cocklodger and unable to help you when you really need his help.If you strong enough to deal with financial side of things on your own -fine but I personally wouldn't want someone like that around my dcs .

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