Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Mental Health in Relationships(14 Posts)
Afternoon all - first time writer here on this forum but wanted to get some thoughts on a situation I'm trying to navigate.
My partner and I have been together for 13 years (not married, no kids) and cohabit in her property. About 7 years ago she had to leave her job due to stress that led to a NB triggering some issued with anxiety and OCD. Since that time 7 years ago she hasn't returned to the workplace (or tried to by any measure) - so I inherited 100% financial responsibility against my better judgement.
Over time our reality has played out in a way I couldn't conceive possible with me working (50-60 hours a week) and my partner at home full time and having cut herself off from her family and social circles some time ago (for what she believes were slights against her) it leaves me as her only "support network" which is putting a huge amount of pressure on me to ensure we always remain solvent and to handle regular downloads about day to day problems.
I guess I can't really conceive someone being at home for 5-7 years yet managing to busy themselves to the point of exhaustion when that same person won't entertain a discussion about bridging some family gaps or trying to re-enter the work place.
Not sure what I'm asking here but maybe some mature advice on how to speak to a 41 year old who, from time to time, has shown an explosive temper and clearly puts some topics of discussion off limits.....
I've had periods of clinical depression and anxiety so can speak with some knowledge of the situation. I think you are enabling your partner to withdraw from life and her responsibilities by shouldering the financial side of things.
Depression can make people very selfish, again I'm speaking from experience. However, the longest time that I have had off work was 6 months and I am much better off having the routine of going to work rather than sitting at home in a spiral of negativity and apathy.
Is your partner taking any medication or having counselling or does she just rely on you for support? It can be hard to break out of the fog and move forward but I think you really need to give her an ultimatum of some sort.
You are working 50/60 hr weeks and supporting a depressed and volatile partner. You really need to start thinking about yourself or you could end up having a breakdown and it doesn't sound like she would do an about turn and care for you the way you care for her.
You are also paying her mortgage? Have you any stake in the property formally?
You do need to talk to her, and don't give up if she kicks off or makes threats to hurt herself. There shouldn't be any off-limit topics after so long together.
I do empathise with people who suffer from MH problems, but ultimately we can't go through life being propped up by others and at some point we have to take responsibility for our own health. Maybe a joint counselling session for you both could be an easier way to initiate a conversation?
Being depressed and anxious doesn't give people an excuse to be an arse.
I think it is very very hard to come back to a relationship of equals from an unhealthy enabling parent type relationship such as the one you describe.
With any health issue what is necessary is for the person suffering with it to manage it effectively, engage with treatment and not place unreasonable burdens on those that love them.
If she won’t even discuss this stuff you should just leave her TBH.
It’s outrageous if you really have been paying for her property for 7 years and she won’t even discuss things with you.
It's really hard to live with someone who has mental health issues. Presumably you have thought about leaving her? But you feel guilty?
You feel that this is not the real her and she is in there somewhere? You live for a hope that she will be her old self again? Unfortunately the real her is her current one - we are our actions.
I agree with PP that you need to give her an ultimatum. You can't compensate for her to this extent.
My STBXH had had depression and stress in the past, and although he is no longer depressed, the behaviour and dynamic between us is still there. He got used to me handling everything, and resists any simple request I ask him.
To be put under so much stress 24/7 is really very bad for your own mental and physical health.
You need to put yourself first and foremost before you own health suffers.
On the money side - she took a payoff, then exhausted it and I picked up the mortgage for the past 3 years plus all utilities/car/holidays for the past 6-7 years. But we have no agreement as to share just an understanding/expectation that I will pay indefinitely and the only way for her to access money is to sell the home (not to try to work).
There's two sides to how I feel about it really - one is that we are genuinely close and loving and I don't think this is irregular when someone perhaps suffers with depression/anxiety. The other side is that I have, generally speaking, a strong sense of responsibility and that is true through my work, family and relationships, but yes, this is the reason I've enabled so much of this situation.
I genuinely believe sometimes that some partners who have affairs would not be on the receiving end of some episodes e.g. smashing items, kicked hole in wall, screaming, swearing, disappearing. Each time ends up with the same thing – me apologising. Even now sat here at work, am thinking that I will get one of two people when I get home. I did end up in counselling myself about two years back - my partner's OCD (cleaning for cross-contamination, ordering) just simply became too much to live with (when not a sufferer). I have never really given her an ultimatum, I asked her last year if she would consider some counselling for the OCD/Anxiety/Anger….it was a flat “no”.
I guess I’m trying to figure out what’s normal and what’s not in a situation where on partner suffers with mental health issues – no easy answers I reckon…..
I have serious MH problems and am 41.. but I take my meds, see a psychiatrist 3 monthly & have therapy.
I get very paranoid but work hard to maintain my relationships & job. Yes, I admit it's difficult and I work only part time and have to have DLA.
What I'm trying to say is that unless your partner is so unwell that she needs sectioning then it would not be unreasonable to ask her to step up & take some responsibility for her own mental health or to at least allow you to get help for her.
It's not fair that all the pressure is on you.
I have close family who care about me but I try hard not to be a burden to them as they have their own jobs & lives to live.
I don't expect anyone to be my carer.
If her temper is a problem ask her to get therapy or try anger management- I too have a temper apparently due to BPD traits but I've had (NHS) therapy to help me keep control.
Basically have a conversation with her about what you both expect in the the relationship. If you can't even talk to her why are you with her?
Leaving is the only thing I would advise you to do TBH after that update re her behaviour.
This is not about MH problems it is abusive behaviour.
That is why you are frightened of her and because you are frightened of her you are doing what you feel you need to to keep the peace (or more accurately - prevent abusive episodes).
You have asked her to get help, you have accommodated her way of doing things... you live in misery and walk on eggshells.
None of this is ok.
Sorry for your experiences.
Legally speaking: Your contributions financially towards the running and maintaining of the house need to recorded or documented somewhere properly to protect you. As 'co-habitee' do you have a written co-habitation agreement in place? If she were to die would you inherit the property? Maybe not. First option: Would the mortgage company allow you to go on to the mortgage account now? Your would need the lender's consent and approval to a transfer of equity to put you onto the deeds and mortgage account. I recommend you consider this if you're not already named on the mortgage account as a borrower and also yo ought to be named on the HM Land Registry Register of Title. I am a conveyancer. Search the internet for what happens if my girlfriend dies and the property is in her sole name? Her family would inherit unless she has made a will. Does she have a will? Are you her Executor? Are you the sole beneficiary under the will? Seek legal advice please. You might regret not doing so.
Kind thoughts and wishes.
I hope your partner will consider trying to get and keep a part-time job to try to help you out with the finances. Even a couple of half days working will give her a motivation to 'get up, make up, dress and show up' (A saying I stole from some cheesy wooden home furnishing made of wood). the sentiment gets me motivated on difficult mornings. I tell my self to get up, dress and show up. Once I'm there at work/social function the hardest part is done.
You owe it to yourself to be happy and have the life you want.
It's a choice for her to behave as she is to you. She could and should be accessing help with her mental health issues. You can't fix her and if you let things stay as they are you're condemning yourself to a lifetime of work and misery.
I genuinely believe sometimes that some partners who have affairs would not be on the receiving end of some episodes
I'm confused. Who said anything about an affair?
I think the OP meant that the behaviour displayed was so bad that it wouldn’t even be considered understandable if they’d done something really bad such as having an affair fritz!
have a look at this link Will it may help you see things differently
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.