When you have a mental illness (or mental health issues) they are bound to impact your interpersonal relationships. As people living with mental illness, we experience a wide array of symptoms depending on our diagnosis. From the highs of mania to the hallucinations of schizophrenia – your partner is bound to be impacted by these symptoms. It’s important to have a level of open communication about the symptoms you’re experiencing with your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or partner. This way, this individual is better able to support you as you experience challenges. They might now understand what you’re going through, but they can empathize and be there when you need to cry, scream, vent or just talk about what you’re coping with. It’s so important to have a solid support system as someone living with mental health issues. This support network begins with your partner and if that person loves you wholeheartedly, they will do the best to be there for you in a way that you can see and appreciate.

What happens when your marriage is affected by mental health issues?

As stated previously, it’s important to speak about what you’re dealing with as a person living with mental health issues or mental illness. Candor is extremely important so that your partner can be there for you. However, there are situations in which your marriage (for example) can benefit from marriage counseling. Counseling can help to enhance the level of communication between the two of you. Marriage is hard enough as it is and when you take into account that one of the people in the partnership lives with bipolar disorder, PTSD, DID or any other mental health issue, these factors are bound to come up in a lost-lasting relationship.

That’s where marriage counseling comes in. Whether it’s in person or an online counselor like one mentioned in BetterHelp, it’s a good idea to engage in marriage counseling if one partner’s mental health issues are impacting a marriage. One issue that can come up is that if one partner doesn’t deal with mental health issues, that person may feel like they are more of a caretaker than a partner in a relationship. Another issue to consider is if both people in the marriage have different mental health issues that differ from one another. Let’s say one person lives with panic disorder while the other person lives with major depressive disorder. These are two different mental health issues and it’s important for each person in the relationship understand this. It might seem obvious, but trying to be empathetic to your partner’s daily challenges is of the utmost importance to keep a marriage strong.

It’s hard to confront marital problems

For people who don’t deal with chronic mental health issues it can be difficult to admit there is a “problem” in their marriage. For people living with mental illness, this can be even more challenging to confront. The reason for this is that many people with mental health issues struggle with rumination. Obsessing over a problem and feeling guilty about this issue is common in many different mental illnesses. Think of a person who lives with chronic anxiety; they may have a difficult time letting go of the fact that their marriage is struggling. This person might obsess and have a hard time focusing on other daily life activities. The idea that their marriage could end is seemingly all they can think about. This makes the person in question feel badly, but they can’t seem to detach from this persistent problem. That’s why it’s helpful to seek out your own therapist in addition to couple’s counseling. Your relationship is important, sure, but it’s imperative that you remain healthy as well.

You can heal and so can your relationship

For anyone out there dealing with martial problems that are triggered by mental health issues, there is hope to repair your relationship. As long as both parties are willing to work at being more effective communicators, your marriage has the potential to be healthy and long lasting.