Intimate relationships too can have their ups and downs, but if either of the partners is experiencing a mental health condition, this can be an additional challenge to deal with. Mental health issues bring in stress not just to the person having it, but it can also be traumatic to the partner and anyone who is involved with the victim. Persons’ who have mental health issues pose distress and consequences are felt by others within their social circle too. Generally, the emotional outburst and behavioural aspects can go over looked and individuals may not comprehend that it is due to a mental health condition. Patience, empathy and being understanding is what is needed for victims of mental health conditions. If your partner is complaining of social withdrawal, insomnia, loss of appetite or emotional problems like anxiety and depression then it is best to receive some medical counselling to know the mental status and hence find some practical solutions to deal with it. Love, care and support are what would strengthen victims with a mental health disorder.
How can a mental illness can affect an intimate relationship?
Intimate relationships are personal relationships and no two personal relationships are the same. It is built on the level of understanding, love and intimacy shared by the two partners. Thus, it is very important to take into context on how unique relationships are and identify the areas which need guidance. Persons with mental health problems go through additional issues compared to normal intimate couples like,
- Stigma: Coping with a mental illness is hard enough, but having to go through social stigma, shame, resentment and guilt makes it worse, adding an extra layer of distress to both partners in the relationship. The victim of the mental illness could constantly feel embarrassed and shame about this condition, which might sometimes keep them from disclosing their condition, even to their partner, due to fear of being pushed away. If such is the condition, the receiving partner would not be able to judge the emotional outbursts and frustration the other partner is going through and this could lead to constant fights because of the behavioural problems brought in by the mental health condition. Thus, the partner knowingly or unknowingly would fail to comprehend the struggle of their partner with the mental ill health illness. The victim would struggle to maintain emotional availability, employment, household tasks and face withdrawal from society. This would add stain on the relationship leading to disconnect and disappointment.
- Intimacy Issues: Victims with a mental health condition may not be emotionally available and show disinterest in love making and bonding. This could be a direct result of the condition or a side effect of treatment taken by the victim. Anti-depressant drugs induce a decreased libido, and partners with mental health problems may show decreased performance and low self-esteem. The partner at the receiving end could feel that their needs are not met and it leads to a decreased opportunity and emotional detachment.
- Escalation of Co-Dependency Behaviours: Co-dependency is a negative pattern in a relationship where one partner may drive the other partner into a negative or poor mental health state leading to addiction and need for coping strategies. The receiving partner living with the victim might highlight their self-worth and show that they are not being loved or well-taken care of and call an end to the relationship.
In other cases, mental health issues can drive into very abusive relationships, which can make the relationship very manipulative, miserable and name-calling. It has been observed that male partners with mental health conditions, become aggressive beating their wife and children. A survey has shown that women who were in such abusive relationships continued to face beating even if they were separated or left the relationship.
- Violence and Unpleasantness: Severe psychiatry disorders and mental health issues could lead to severe health sequences to an intimate partner who could ultimately even end up in homicide. It should be noted that over half of the female homicide cases in USA were done by their own spouse, partner, ex-husband or ex-partner. In most cases, the woman were battered prior to death. Most of these violence was seen to increase in severity and frequency over time, which ultimately led to homicide especially if the man was not treated for the mental illness. Even if the woman finally leaves the abusive partner, there is still a high risk of homicide due to vengeance taking.
If you have a partner who is affected by a mental health condition, then it is important to navigate through the problem and take timely help. Both partners should have the awareness of the condition, what to expect and be open through communicate so that the challenges can be overcome. It is important to remove the stigma behind mental health conditions and not wait for a ‘Mental Health Awareness Day’ to talk about it, but rather make the public and victims feel more empowered to seek help when their loved ones struggle through mental health woes. It is important to understand that mental health issues are not a character flaw and an intimate partner should help the better half to over-come this through support strategies. Seeking timely medical advice is of utmost importance to help in coping and leading a normal life. Send All Request & Donations To: 2288 Gunbarrel Rd. Suite 154/388, Chattanooga/TN 37421. Our Cash App: $LoyalDetermined