Marriage and Mental Illness: For Better or Worse?

March 17, 2012 Randye Kaye

What happens when mental illness changes your spouse? Having a husband or wife with mental illness changes the marriage and bring challenges.

For Better of Worse? Yes, that's the vow. But when the symptoms of mental illness seem to change the personality - the very soul - of your husband or wife, how do you keep going? How do you hold the family together?

When faced with mental illness, family members have two sets of challenges. They seem to be

  1. the emotions we all face (like grief, confusion, guilt, loss, anger) and,
  2. the more practical issues in the role of any family caregiver - a role we all have to play at least some of the time in this situation.

My most personal experience, as a family member of someone diagnosed with mental illness, is as a Mom. In fact, I'd venture to say that a majority of the people who take NAMI's Family-to-Family course are parents. A typical class of 20-25 usually includes a handful of siblings, spouses, and/or children (that is, adults who grew up and may be caring for a parent with mental illness) - but the biggest group always seems to consist of parents.

Many of the issues, emotions, and challenges we face as family members certainly are universal to all of these roles - however, there are also additional feelings and obstacles that are unique to each "relative group."

Yes, I am a mother - but I also watched my daughter suffer through the loss of the "big brother" she knew, and adjust to her new role with a "little brother", whose growth and accomplishments now trail behind. I also was married to an alcoholic for seven years (Ben and Ali's father, William) and though I now struggle to determine if he'd had a co-occurring mental illness, I know that I did live with some of the uncertainties that spouses face when mental illness changes the partner they thought they'd married.

Challenges Facing Spouses with Mentally Ill Partners

Here are 5 things I learned from spouses of those with mental illness about their particular objective challenges, in addition to the ones we seem to all have in common (financial worries, staying alert to relapse symptoms, coping with family conflict etc.):

Spouses also face:

  1. Feeling like you've lost the partnership of marriage. If you always turned to your spouse in times of need, where can you turn now? (I know, in our house, my friends' sympathy for my Williams' alcoholic episodes wore thin very fast)
  2. Financial burdens. Coping with the loss of a wage-worker in the household, if mental illness has led to job loss. (I began to lose count of the number of jobs William lost, or the number of customer complaints when he started his own business, due to unreliability)
  3. Resentment - and sexual distance - that can accompany the change in roles when one spouse takes on the "caretaker" role.
  4. Single-parenting coupled with being the primary caretaker of your spouse. (One Mom I met told me about walking down the stairs dressed in her husband's Santa suit to greet their three young kids after he'd been hospitalized on Christmas Eve. That may the tip of the iceberg, but it still broke her heart). Worrying about your children's emotional state as well as your own.
  5. Stigma, social isolation, loss of the "couple friends" group. Invitations dwindle when your spouse's actions are unpredictable and sometimes embarrassing.

What helps spouses? What helps all family members? In my next post, I'll talk about life balance, and some concrete steps like learning all you can, reaching out for support in new places, and self-care.

Are you a spouse of someone with a diagnosed mental illness? Does this ring true for you? What helps you?

APA Reference
Kaye, R. (2012, March 17). Marriage and Mental Illness: For Better or Worse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Randye Kaye

October, 23 2019 at 7:26 am

Helping someone with this issue is hard. And even more if you love him. I know that very well. We struggled with it for many years until I saw a recommendation for this guide by Ellen Petersen. I got it here -
Excellent approach, which turned out to be a godsend so I can easily say that it's the best help so far and believe me I have read a lot of books in my life about alcoholism. Hope it will help others too

October, 29 2019 at 5:48 am

This is the definition of a COMPLETE GUIDE to helping an alcoholic! Perfect! Thanks for sharing

November, 5 2019 at 3:17 am

this guide changed my life and gave me the opportunity to change this terrible situation although it seemed impossible

August, 8 2019 at 7:33 am

My husband just lost his job yesterday, the second job he’s lost in 3 years. This is on top of his mother suddenly passing away nearly a month ago, and multiple, diagnosed, m mental illnesses (ADD, Anxiety Disorder, Sexual Dysfunction). We have a 4-year-old. We’re now on one income. My husband has been and is more so than ever, angry all the time. My child is starting to pick up these traits. It’s heartbreaking. And I struggle to even get into work on time due to all the chaos, and I’m now the sole breadwinner. Being the spouse of a partner with mental illness is beyond heartbreaking, especially with a little kid involved. I was already trying to cope with a sexless marriage (his choice, after years of couple’s therapy). Now this. I’m not sure what’s left other than compassion, a love for our son, & loyalty.

June, 18 2019 at 2:08 am

I have been with my lady for close to 7 years now. Im 25 and shes 24. We have a 4 yr old son as well. About a year of us being together i had discovered a bit of depression out of her but she always reassured me that she just gets down sometimes. After about 4 years In her depression got a lot worse along with panic anxiety occurring more and more. Her sex drive substantially decreased as well. She then started telling me it was because of our son being born. Which i completely understood being that she 3 years earlier was just a late teen with lots of dreams and ambitions but now had to sacrifice much for our son which she never planned on having. Her and I even til now have always been that lovey dovey couple, but her anxiety is taking over the girl I first met. There use to be just the bad days where every now and then, her mental illness got the best of her. Come almost 3 years later its now more of there is just 'some good days'. She has always been aware of her mental state but has a significantly harder time controlling it now. Weve worked to get her the help she needs but no resolutions came. We had a decent "behavioral" place for a little bit but the medications they tried werent doing anything but make it worse. After letting them know they still refuse to try diff meds for her and take her rejection to them as her being difficult and not wanting help. The hard part is other places we tried after all try to get her on the same meds and even with our info we give to them on how it's not helping we get the same resistance of its just her being dificult. We constantly let eachother know of the amount of love we have for eachother and both want the help for herself but its getting worse. She gets "triggered" now into explosive outbursgs or into extreme depression over something as simple as not having matching colored socks, etc. In tbe last year her filter has gone and I recieve much mental abuse from her. I know she doesnt truly mean the things she says, but when you hear it on a daily basis at least 3 weeks in a month it gets to me. Its at the point now where if theres anything wrong in her day she blows up on me, and with no retaliation or rebuttle on my part if im still not the one to go and apologize and comfort her after a session of verbally abusing me then it leads to a breakdown for her. She hurts herself, only herself. To the point where shell only stop once she hears what she wants to hear. This all would be less tense if I could be there for her more but the snowball is getting bigger and bogging me down. I work about 55 hrs a week and we only have 1 car. She has crippling anxiety to where she can barely drive withiout having an unsafe panic attack so I make all the commutes along with getting her to her part time job on my days off. She stays home the rest of the time with our son which she is a great mother too, but still sometimes gets emotionally unavailable to him which i understand. The biggest fear I have is not having the time to help her. We have no family around and cant afford daycare. She gets herself into this headspace while stuck home of depression and cries herself most the day til I can get home to help comfort her. Though this last no more than 30 minutes until her mood will swing dramatically. I wish i could be by her side constantly but someone has to keep the bills paid and my own mental health I feel is starting to deteriorate. Even currently she is in a hosp being watched after a recent episode. Her getting help is my only concern yet the problem is im now missing out $ and work (in which my position is relied heavily upon) to care for my son. I cant give up on her and wont but its hard when she herself has told me she wants me to give up on her and that id be better off.
Any immediate advice?
- your local relentless husband

May, 2 2019 at 7:12 am

Hi Ladies,
My husband started to cry and said he doesn’t know what he wants anymore after a little argument back in January. His work is very stressful And we had been trying for a child for 4 years. He asked me to leave to my home country for weeks to see if he would miss me. Before my departure he would not touch me nor kiss me, only my forehead! I also realized during that period of time that I had to make some changes about myself. Well 2 weeks before my departure we had incredible intercourses. He started to kiss me back but there was still this little distance!! While in France visiting my family his flame got back more than ever. He would make promises to communicate more and that everything is Going to be great!! So I was happier than ever I would get back to a happy and loving husband!! At my arrival he caught the flu and I was his nurse for couple days! After that he was not excited we tried to have intercourse and it didn’t work!!! Couple days later I asked that question : is everything ok? He started to cry and said I don’t know!! Just like back in January and we were beginning of April! I told him to seek for help. I made an appointment to a psychologist, he is seeing him and likes him but I am not sure he is making some effort outside the sessions!!! He said he loves me and that’s why he is getting help. He is so cold with me that is getting too heavy on me and we are only 32- 33 years old!! We should be happy and embracing life!!
I decided to make an appointment to the same psychologist, he said he can give me some techniques on how to approach him, he also said he is going to a midlife crisis/ depression. In the meantime I am thinking in going away to visit a friend for 2 weeks and leave him some space to think about it. He is the love of my life but if I can’t help, I can’t let the days go by and feel like nothing.
Does anyone experiencing of had experienced this kind of situation ? And how did you handle it?
Sorry for that long text, it feels good to get it out

May, 15 2019 at 3:27 pm

I am so sorry that you going through these things. I have not had the same experience, I write on this blog because my husband has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I know it isn’t the same, but I completely understand how frustrating it is to not know how to help or what to do for your partner. There are some days I am at a complete loss, but I have to remind myself that he is going through a lot and that I love him dearly. That being said, you certainly need to remember to take care of yourself and make sure that you are in a safe and healthy environment. Please feel free to read and/or comment on my posts any time.

Paul H.
January, 2 2019 at 12:06 am

My wife of 4 years hid her depression and anxiety from me until it showed up month 1 of our marriage. The career plan she outlined for herself in great detail all turned out to be a lie. She also hid her money problems, I inherited more debt than I can imagine. We have a 1.5 year old now and I don't know what to do. I want to leave, but I'm her only friend, supporter and source of income, entertainment & companionship. On top of that she has been suicidal as of last year. She has not worked consistently in nearly 3 years, hasn't worked at all in starting in '16. I understand her struggles to a point but I don't understand how someone would come into someone's life while keeping all this from their spouse or spouse to be. The stress I bear affects my work, my friendships, my relationships with family and my health. But for better or worse I guess

June, 6 2022 at 4:06 pm

My wife did the same thing, It dosen't get any better my friend . I stayed twenty five years, before I divorced her, They will lie and manipulate you.

May, 18 2018 at 4:43 am

After four years in marriage with my husband with 2 kids, he suddenly started going out with other women and coming home late, each time i confronted him it turns out to be a fight and he always threatened to divorce me at all time, my marriage was gradually coming to an end. i tried all i could to stop him from this unruly attitude but all proved abortive, until i saw a comment in the forum about priest manuka who helps people to cast a reunion love spell on marriage and relationship problems, at first i doubted it but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this priest manuka, via email, he helped me to cast a spell and within 8 days my husband came back apologizing for all he has done and promised never to do such again and today we are happily together again. thanks to priest mamuka for renewing my marriage.. his contact

May, 17 2018 at 5:10 pm

After four years in marriage with my husband with 2 kids, he suddenly started going out with other women and coming home late, each time i confronted him it turns out to be a fight and he always threatened to divorce me at all time, my marriage was gradually coming to an end. i tried all i could to stop him from this unruly attitude but all proved abortive, until i saw a comment in the forum about priest manuka who helps people to cast a reunion love spell on marriage and relationship problems, at first i doubted it but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this priest manuka, via email, he helped me to cast a spell and within 8 days my husband came back apologizing for all he has done and promised never to do such again and today we are happily together again. thanks to priest mamuka for renewing my marriage.. his contact

Tracy DF
April, 14 2018 at 6:06 pm

I am so scared my husband and I have been together for 17 years. We have a mine his and ours family. Over all our marriage has been very healthy and happy. He went for 3 surgeries 3 years ago and life has spiraled since. Lots of pain medications, lack of ability to do enjoyable things in life, such as hobbies, sex drive, go for walks etc..
Long story short, during that time we didn't have health benefits, nor income from his employer. It made things very tough, and my husband felt very Dishonored from his company. We ended up getting lawyers to fight for disability, 2 years dragged on, no solution, no income no nothing.... Finally we agreed to drop the law suit in order to get his job back. The agreement was, if we drop the law suite, he can go back to work for @a year at least. They took him back. Not ethically though. He found out in January 2018, when they Laid him off, it was planned all along. He took it to heart, felt betraded and self worthlessness. I tried reassuring him, it wasn't his fault. Over the last couple months, monies tight, no work and he has been recently diagnosed with severe depression and has now been hospitalized. He is normally a big, living, giving caring guy. He now is a ZOMBIE and no care in the world! Not even for himself anymore. I am SO SCARED OF WHAT MY/OUR FUTURE HOLDS!? I just want my husband back! HIM to be HIM. I am 110% supportive of him, but I'm horrified of him being a different person after. They're estimating 1 month treatment, hospitalization. He says I LOVE YOU because he said he knows he should, but has NO FEELINGS for anything or anyone. He talks so gently and slow. It breaks my heart. I don't know what to do to help him., Or don't do that would help him? I'm so scared of losing my husband to a breakdown and our life changing or separating. He says I'm better off without him. I told him I'm not one of those wives that is here for the money.... Clearly there isn't any, and I love HIM TO DEATH!! But I don't know what to do or expect... Can someone please help me? Can a marriage be saved after clinically severe depression has been diagnosed?? I'm so heartbroken missing my hubby so much!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 15 2018 at 3:19 pm

Hi Tracy,
I'm so sorry for your pain, but know that you do not have to do this alone. Check out the resources that offers on their helpline page (under Resources) or contact your local NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) to find a local support group and seek out help. It can be terrifying when a loved one slips into deep depression--both my husband and my daughter do--but, know that they can allow emerge out of it. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and seek the support you need to get through these hard times.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 4 2018 at 9:38 pm

Our son’s wife of 1 year was diagnosed with paranoid schitzophrenia. Prior to the diagnosis he experienced the violence, verbal abuse and confusion of what went wrong. We believe her family knew there were issues but didn’t tell him. We don’t know how he can afford her treatment on a teacher’s salary. Her spending sprees have caused additional problems. Are we wrong to encourage him to leave.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 19 2018 at 11:28 pm

.mental illness is hard but you have to remember is an illness and it's real. If he is strong he can live her through it. But it takes a special person. I think it's up to him. My husband suffers from bpd and schizophrenia with addiction. 11 years I have loved him. I will continue to do so. God is my comfort and my husband really tried hard. He has had a steady job for 8 years. But it didn't happen overnight. It took a lot of support from me and mostly me.

January, 22 2018 at 7:41 am

After 24 years of marriage, and 27 years of being together, my wife told me she was no longer in love with me. My world changed completely in that instant of time.
I’m 59 … she’s 49. We have two children whom are now adults, with the youngest being 18.
I was sexually abused when I was 3 … not by a parent / relative. It happened only once … and was not discovered by anyone. I “froze” that moment … then 6 years later, when I was 9, I was traumatized again. The effects of those events, coupled to growing up in an emotionless home run by a dictator and supported by my mother’s passiveness, my sexual development was warped, and I became very adept at being alone. This lifestyle caused me great shame and guilt and I could never understand why I didn’t fit in – anywhere.
I tried suicide at 23 … and from that failure I ended up getting professional help for the first time – to gain understanding of “why” I was the way I was. That took time, and I was doing ok with the new-found insights … and I left therapy thinking I was mostly ok - still alone but with better understanding and strategies to cope - and that I needed to move on in life. Soon though, I found myself again “alone against the world” and went back to doing what I had been doing prior to my suicide attempt to get some connection and pleasure. And I continued living this “lie” – was a real Jekyll and Hyde … until I met my wife – who had / has a heart of kindness I had never experienced before.
I was so glad to finally have someone to love … my first and only love … that I stopped my anti-social destructive behaviours and together we were the quintessential happy young couple – we were never great at sex, but for all other aspects of marriage – even communication, we were as happy as could be. And I never really told her of my past … until we started to drift apart – sexually – after the birth of our son, which was 6 years into the marriage. Sex casually left the building – and life took over. The issue of lack of intimacy would come up every now and again – always from her, and always as to why “how come we never have sex anymore”. I never understood why I could not commit this last bit of my love for her. And, she admits that she has issues of closeness also ... so ... more time goes by, and we keep "trying" ... "working" ... yet even after attending marriage counselling together … it never did get resolved. And I knew that deep down inside my psyche I had unresolved issues – or aftereffects – of the early abuse, and the damage to my “self” that had never been repaired.
Then 2017 came and both of the kids are on their own, and I decided to try and retire, and my wife and I committed to working on the intimacy / sex issue again … and we even planned a vacation for August – which we took and was the first for us together in over 20 years. We had a great time … but never had sex. Then we came home … talked more … and again neither of us made a move towards the other.
I then made the mistake of writing down what had happened to me when I was a child (I had, over the years, told my wife all of this – this was my first time ever writing it down) and giving it to her to read and maybe … maybe … help her understand me more. My wife’s response was a total and complete shock to me. She told me that she knows I’m in pain over all of this but that she is “no longer is in love with me”, and that she wants a separation and divorce, and that she does not see us ever getting back together. She next said that she thought I’d be better off alone.
That was at the end of September. I took this pronouncement very badly … and as I had already “opened” up all that shit in my mind re the abuse, neglect, trust, love, manhood, etc when I wrote it all on paper … I had a breakdown - I lost control of my thoughts. My wife moved out of the home … and two days later I woke up to my 3-year old damaged self holding onto an Exacto blade knife in one hand and my penis in the other as I was looking to cut that part off of me. I was so scared … and so alone … and it was so all of a sudden.
I realized I needed help, again, and I have since been doing that. I had to leave my home community as there is no available help there at all – and what help that is available is on a “wait list” and is for a residential facility outside my province only (and the wait list is between 6-10 months long).
My wife’s response was a complete shock – I truly believed she still loved me as much as I have always loved her … she was my only love … I have never loved anyone else and I never once fell out of love with her. I was the romantic in our marriage. I never had a clue … and so I could not understand her response. In the month it took for me to pull myself together enough to find the help I need and make the arrangements – she withdrew from me even more. Granted, I was pretty screwed up and I felt hopeless. But, I searched and I found a new place (with help from my in-laws - really), was diagnosed as suffering from PTSS, arranged therapies, and prepared to leave.
Then, while cleaning up our home computer, I found a file of pics. It seems that 3 weeks before I wrote her of my history and my concerns for us, she had had an affair. That discovery changed my fragile mind even more – it made me physically ill. My immediate thought was that I had caused so much angst with this lovely woman that she had changed her values … and that … that realization … is so damned PAINFUL. This pain consumed me … and it is what drove me - literally - 3700 kilometres to get the professional help I needed.
I've now been in intensive therapy - EMDR is a blessing - for three months and have made great progress with insightful linkages … and it is all led by my being as brutally honest with myself as possible. It is good. It is also very very lonely.
I have too much time to think … and I’m very scared for my future when I think thoughts like “what is the value of doing all this work?” The early traumas’ have been resolved to great satisfaction in my mind … I am confident that my thoughts are really mine now. I’m standing on my own again and confidently looking around at this new “present” … I’m just not ready to figure out the best next steps for myself … and I wonder about my ideals around “love” and “trust” and “sharing” and “truth” and it is scary. I have never wanted to be “alone”.
What bothers me the most though is the effects my early “life” has had on my wife ... I really don't know her anymore - she is that different to me now ... and I suspect she has been in pain for a long while and it took her that long while to get up her nerve to leave ... and I understand that on an intellectual level. Emotionally, I'm so very lost without her … so yeah it's very hard to learn that she's already planning a vacation for next month (February - something we had wanted to do ourselves but never did) ... and that she is so so quickly leaving me in the dust. This is so hard on me - trying to work on the issues of my early life which is so deeply tied to my present ... and my present has imploded.
Too much pain ... too alone ... and so full of guilt / shame / etc that I let my marriage fail. I had the best and I screwed it up by not dealing with my adult issues that were born in the unknown issues surrounding my childhood sexual abuse ... catch-22 at it's finest.

July, 2 2017 at 6:26 am

My husband has had anxiety issues for many, many years. I left him for a few years and returned to be with him when my daughter (not his) was 5 years old. He comes from a difficult background where his parents suffered a cot death in the family which started a whole spiral of negative things including his Father becoming an angry alcoholic and beating his wife. My husband suffers from anxiety, hypochondria and I think a touch of OCD plus depression. To be honest, I'm not sure what to do all makes me feel like jumping in front of a bus myself as it is too hard. When he's good, we have a good laugh but when he's down, anxious, has health is so hard for me, my daughter (now 15) and my elderly Mother who moved in recently (adding to the problems we have).

Jorge Angulo
June, 25 2017 at 7:32 am

My wife was diagnosed over six years ago after several violent episodes arising out of non issues. Once on treatment, smooth sailing until last December when she had another violent episode, but now our youngest is at an age where he would remember. This was her first one since her diagnosis. Police were called twice, each time I refused to hospitalize her. Told officers to let her go with friends. The next day she began process of divorce, within one week she moved in with these friends, and they filed for divorce. The husband is her attorney. Six months later she still lives with them. I'm contesting the divorce. As of now I have not spoken to her. Children devastated. Luckily, I have an incredible support group, have been in therapy as well as the children. I will fight knowing I will probably lose. But she is worth it. My only goal is to get her back in treatment and away from her friends. She has refused to return to the marital home, even if I leave it to her and I pay the mortgage.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 6 2022 at 5:54 pm

Cut your loses sir. I went through the same thing. Trust me you can't fix anyone, whom refused to be fixed

June, 8 2017 at 9:12 pm

It's like sacrificing your life to try to fix their life

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2017 at 1:29 pm

Exactly! I feel stuck.... Leave to save my life & I'm a horrible person. Stay, and possibly be miserable for the rest of my life. It's living with a constant dark cloud in your house. It's grief, guilt, resentment, and anger every day. I thank God that I have my faith or I don't know how I would survive!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 18 2017 at 9:45 am

My husband and I seek counseling together, which really helps with the struggles that come from living with a spouse or family member who has mental illness, and the inevitable stigma, and isolation that accompanies your situation-for all family members living with their loved one. I don't believe all the counseling in the world, could change the feeling of loss, that engulfed me , when my husband relapsed, and then stabilized with medication, but not without some real deficits in memory, cognitive impairment, and a certain amount of anhedonia. It was a devastating realization, that he would not recover, as he had in the past. I see how my husband, works hard to be involved, and contribute, and that motivates me, to keep pressing on, and not give up. We are very fortunate to have a good support system, where he seeks treatment. He initially was stricken, in his early 50's with a psychotic disorder, and received treatment , and was really well for 10 yrs. A particularly stressful time in our lives, threw him back into psychosis, and this time, he did not recover with his memory, and zest for life intact. I was shocked, and overwhelmed at this realization.
I cried for months, I never thought I'd feel happiness again, and then......I started to feel better, and the grief started to lift, it wasn't overnight, it was a process. I started to feel whole again, instead of shattered. He is much better, and has made some real progress, but it took time. His memory is better, and he really derives pleasure from some of his old hobbies and interests. I sometimes wake-up, and forget, that he is different now, and expect a certain amount of enthusiasm or spontaneity, and when I suddenly realize, we are, thats hard. I don't beat myself up for having to make the adjustment to our new reality all over again, or having lingering feelings of grief and loss for who he was, and what we had together. but he is trying, and I see that. I live for the days that, I see glimpses of him again, his wonderful self. If your not living with this, you don't understand. The counselor we see, helps both of us with perspective, and while this doesn't eradicate the feelings, of disappointment, or isolation, from family and friends, who start to fade away or outright reject you, , it does strengthen the bond we have with each other .I look forward to reconnecting with our local mental health support groups. It is fruitless to expect our friends, and his family, to embrace this in any way. This has been my experience. They appear in every way to want to distance themselves, with the exception of a few loyal and loving friends, who possess the humanity, and compassion we should all have. Achieving a balance , taking care of myself, and taking care of my husband, is a struggle. For months, I didn't leave his side. I felt so alone. I remember thinking and feeling, why am I the only one who seems to care how he is doing!? Nobody should have to go through this alone. What the hell! I have accepted that our situation requires me to be strong, and decisive, for the both of us, whether I wanted it to be that way or not, is not even relevant anymore, if we are going to survive. He now does things independently of me, and I do as well. It took us awhile to get to this point. And I am Grateful. I look forward to a time, when instead of running away, family and friends understand what a devastating illness this is, and not knowing what to say is okay, just ask.
!unfortunately the only people reading this, already get it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2021 at 7:36 pm

I really appreciate your story, your commitment, your insight, your acceptance of your lot and your good example of making the best of your life.. With the various health challenges that years bring I am sure that you will weather life together. Thank you so much gor sharing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 9 2018 at 1:59 pm

Wow, I feel the same way. I dont know how I can continue on dealing with this-but, maybe he will get better some day, or maybe Ill spend my life waiting and miserable...Im debating cutting my losses

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

heather clayton
March, 17 2018 at 3:29 pm

Awww that’s how I feel. Stuck, but with the huge pressure of making the decision to walk’s killing me!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 3 2018 at 3:46 pm

I'm right there with you! You put in to words exactly how I feel! Thank you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 12 2017 at 4:26 pm

Yes.. so much so.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Sandra Solt
September, 19 2017 at 6:12 am

Very True. He don't take his meds. He's in bed all the time. Soon I will lose my house I worked for

May, 30 2017 at 5:11 pm


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 15 2018 at 11:53 am have the right to mistreat your wife...and she has the obligation to endure? Might you be reaping what you’ve sown? When you spend your life mistreating someone and they finally stand up to it right to blame them for finally enforcing boundaries, choosing reality over your mental illness and prioritizing their own wellbeing over that of the person who persistently mistreats them? Why are you entitled to a never ending right to mistreat your spouse? Is this false belief part of your mental illness?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 8 2019 at 7:36 am

+1 The mentally-I’ll spouse, to the best of their ability, has the responsibility of working with a professional to manage their symptoms. It’s not the neurotypical spouse’s job to manage that for them. We’re immensely under qualified to do so. Both partners need to be accountable.

hiliary Parkes
May, 10 2017 at 10:54 pm

My mother was temporarily mentally incapacitated, husband took everything leaving her with barely enough to survive

Grace C
September, 25 2016 at 7:27 pm

I am in similar situation here. I've been married for 10years. With 2 children, and recently gave birth. My husband has anxiety, depression and anger issues. He is rather controlling, verbally and physically abuses me. He tried to choke me when l was pregnant. I regret giving birth to my second child and not being abke to give her a happy family. Everything has to be his way because everything l do is wrong like in the way l smile, talk, dress etc. This reduced my confidence and self-esteem. My eldest started behaving and talking lIke him. I had to tell him that Daddy is sick.
He refuses treatment and constantly says I'm giving out negative energy.
I hardly go out and neither do the kids because he wants us to be home with him all the time.
I work full-time, the kids are cared for at day-care. I do not leave the children with him as he had vented his anger on my eldest whilst l was pregnant and l had to use all my strength to stop him.
I feel drained. I put on a fake assuring smile all the time. None of my co-workers know.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Taylor Arthur
September, 27 2016 at 6:26 am

I am so sorry that you are living in this situation. Please, please know that if you or your children are in danger it is PARAMOUNT that you remove yourself from the dangerous family member. Here is a list of articles with information and resources for you:…. Please remember, above all else, that your children deserve to grow up in a safe home. Please take care of yourself and them.

September, 25 2016 at 2:48 am

Sian, your feelings and worries seem valid. Everyone needs support, especially if choosing to stay with, and become a carer for, a spouse with a mental illness. People caring for family members with MS need support, much less MS with psychosis. Of course you're feeling the way you do, you are human, It's important you get care and supports in place to help you process. It's a concept called 'self-care': People are better able to sustain a caring roll if they have supports in place; looks after their own needs; and take sometime for respite.
Also for everyone else in this comments section, this is an example of a website that might be helpful for free CBT etc. for yourself, spouse, kids.
Everyone is different and I wish you all the best. If I could send resilience the mail, I would. Take care of yours self first; put your own oxygen mask on first in an mergency, because only then can we help others who needs us.

September, 25 2016 at 2:38 am

I'm hearing a lot of pain in these posts and it seems like lots of people are going through of hardship, stress and struggling. I'd just caution that this is not a psychologist forum and perhaps, after posting what you need to, reflect on what it is you feel you need to express, why you need to express it and follow up to take it to a safe space (i.e. counsellor, psychologist, helpline).
Sometimes marriage (we are all human, navigating the world in terms of our relationships with others) get into cycles of distress with repeating patterns and behaviours.
It's awful to feel stuck and change is the hardest thing of all. You have bravery, you have courage, and though it may not feel like it, you have choice. Make a booking and shop around till you find a counsellor you trust; or join an online forum staffed by trained volunteers/counsellors. Call a TOLL-FREE helpline if money is a issue and someone will listen to you, facilitate you sorting out what you want to do next to break the cycle of dysfunctionality and make a referral . There's no shame in that. It's important to get help for yourself.
For women (and men), family and domestic violence is never okay. Speak to your local women's organisation or shelter to help you figure out how to stay or leave safely.
If you have children and you feel stuck, unsafe, scared or unsure what to do regarding a spouse that is violent, abusive, or you fear your partner's current behaviour so much, you use the analogy you feel you're walking around 'on eggsshells', learning a bit more about yourself will ultimately help your children and they will thank you for it down the track. Lots of spouses feel this way. You are not alone and there is help and a better way of living. Talk to somebody.

September, 22 2016 at 8:07 am

Oh, and I forgot. He is on SSI and does not work due to his mental disabilities. He has been through multiple jobs over the years and his anger at work scares people. He has been on SSI for over 6 years. He never leaves the house unless he has a Dr. appointment.

September, 22 2016 at 8:05 am

I have been with my husband for over 20 years and have known him for 30. He had a very bad first marriage with someone he couldn't trust. When we were first married, he was diagnosed with maniac depression/rage problems. He was on meds for awhile and started to feel better. Now, the last 10 years have been straight hell. He has now been diagnosed with schizophrenia with psychosis. He seems to think he also has Anhedonia. He says he can no longer feel pleasure from anything, including sex. He blames this on the fact that he was a "good guy" all his life. He didn't use people, cheat, lie, etc... He thinks if he would have done these things that he would still be able to feel now, because the people he considers "liars, cheaters, bad guys, deserters, etc" are living it up doing whatever they want being worshiped by those around them. He is focusing on people that I had relations with after I was divorced from my first husband, while he was STILL married to his first wife. Did I mention this first wife trapped him into a pregnancy? I mean literally trapped him? (put her legs around his waist and held on so she would get pregnant). He never stops. He just keeps coming at me about these people that have nothing to do with us or our lives. Honestly, these people have nothing to do with him at all. I am at a loss of what to do. He refuses to take his medication like it is prescribed. He is becoming more angry as the days go on. I am so afraid to have him leave because I'm afraid he might hurt himself or others. But, I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown! i have no one to talk to that would ever be able to understand what is going on. Advice anyone?

September, 18 2016 at 9:29 am

My husband has been ill for most of our marriage and was extremely irritable and unreasonable. As time went on he also thought that things like WiFi and Mobile phones were making him ill. His left foot started dropping and he had optic neuritis. He was diagnosed with MS last year and by this time last year he was heading for psychosis and eventually got sectioned. He has been in hospital for most of the year and only him for a couple of months which were a disaster because he doesn't seem to be able to do anything for himself and would spend all day ranting about going blind. He is in a neurological psychiatric unit being assessed and treated. His moods have balanced and he is no longer narcissistic. Also he wants to be a real family whereas before he saw our son as a block to our relationship. He has failed a mental capacity test relating to making decisions about his health. I love him very much and that is why we didn't split up during the rows over the years but I don't know how to feel about him. He will be having an mri scan soon to see if the MS has damaged his frontal lobes. I just don't know how to deal with my emotions and am fearful that it will be another disaster when he gets back. He lacks a degree of insight into his condition but is articulate and looks like himself. I don't know who he is any more. I know that I need to pull myself together and not dwell to much on my worries.

Sheena Lemon
September, 17 2016 at 8:07 am

I've been married nearly seven years to my husband andwe have two children. He's had between 8-10 jobs over the past 4 years. About a year and a half ago, he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I amso angry and full of resent that I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know what to say anymore. I want to believe things will get better, but I don't know. I don't want to be the caregiver anymore. What about my feelings and needs? I'm so broken and feel stuck. I've made so many sacrifices to get to a better life but this keeps holding us back. We can barely afford his medication let alone the counseling. I feel so isolated and alone. I can't talk to him without coming completely unglued. I play our courting days over and over asking what I missed. I keep beating myself up. How could I have missed it? Was I that despair are for love? I'm so financially, emotionally, and spiritually drained. I feel like there are only pieces of me left and those are for my children's sake. I'm so tired and exhausted. To make matters worse I just found out I'm pregnant again. I feel so stupid and ashamed like a teenage girl. I just ache all over. I just don't know what to do anymore. I want to live freely but I feel like I'm dying everyday.

September, 11 2016 at 11:37 pm

In addition to some other serious issues, my wife's illness makes her believe that I'm having affairs with all the women in our town, including her friends. As such, she resents me and sees me as a filthy maniac and she will not let me touch her. The meds have not helped. I've decided to stay with her and help the best I can. We have two teenage children.
However, I'm feeling the void that has been created by our physical and emotional distance. What should I do about my sexual and emotional needs as I no longer have a partner.
I don't want to feel like I'm cheating on her but God created us in a way that we try to fulfill these urges yet she will not let me near her.
Should I get someone on the side?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Taylor Arthur
September, 13 2016 at 7:09 am

I think your question is very valid. But first, let me address your wife's symptoms. Obviously, she isn't well. She needs medical help, the same way she would if she were diabetic and her insulin levels were off. Paranoia is a very common symptom, but can be treated. If you can do anything to help your wife, get her to the doctor and get her meds adjusted.
Concerning your needs, I write a lot about taking care of the caregiver on Healthyplace:
Mentally Ill Spouses: Give What You Can to Your Marriage:…
Marriage and Mental Illness: Take Care of the Caregiver:…
Marriage and Mental Illness: 5 Steps to Revive Your Sex Life:…
I am the spouse with mental illness in my marriage, and I have had to realize that my getting better is not just about me. It's about my partner, too. If I am not trying to get well, overcome symptoms, etc. and this has a negative effect on my marriage, than I do not believe that my husband is obligated to stay with me. That being said, if I'm doing everything I can to get better and there are still challenges in my marriage due to medications, etc., than I would hope my husband would be faithful to me through that process in the same way he would be faithful to me if I had another kind of illness that affected our marriage.
Only you can decide if your partner is doing all she can to get better and what your morals are. But having an affair on the side will only complicate a very complicated situation. Do you have someone you can talk to about this? A counselor, pastor, etc? I guarantee it would help you sort through all of this if you had someone outside the situation to talk to. Your needs and your humanity do matter in this equation! Find someone who can help you sort this all out before looking outside your marriage. I'm so sorry you are in such a difficult situation.

September, 4 2016 at 1:46 pm

I have been in a relationship for 8 years married tomorrow for 2. I have bipolar and have struggled my whole life to just maintained a resemblance of life. I wasn't diagnosed untiI I was in my mid 20's. I have a barely adult child that has had to go through all this with me. I regret I wasn't stronger, every day. All that it's something but not my main issues. My husband has issues as well, it runs in the family. But he will not even admit that anything is his fault. I use meds and understanding and practice control. He uses blame and threats. He constantly threatens divorce or hurting me. He has never out and out hit me but he has pushed me around and left bruises. Every time I need him to do anything that's when threatening and fighting begins.As long as I don't request or ask for him to do something we can go by day. But that doesn't stop it because we'll be going about our lives, everything is just fine not awesome, but fine. And bam! I'm nagging him, I'm a psycho, and he hates me, I made him marry me and he'll prove what a crazy I am and I'll have nothing. See I'm disabled and haven't worked in a very long time. He works, which is nice but isn't everything. He thinks that makes anything he wants, have or do or say is fine. He knew I couldn't work before we even started dating but I see now he didn't mind that because he could throw it in my face any time I needed him to step up as my partner. he doesn't pay my bills. He only makes more bills. I have to take care of all financial tactics. But if I don't pay the way he wants, so there is money for him to gamble, there is hell to pay. All he does is go to his job, does a super awesome job for them then brings home all the frustration and lack of interest. This is something I didn't know about him before I felt it was too late was he was in almost 30,000$ in debt. I didn't know this until the IRS started taking all my income tax. That doesn't count the numerous other bills he has added over the years. We just this last month paid off the last. And after 5 yrs of paying his debt and putting up with him promising to get help. His credit is best it's ever been and we can finally buy a house. He has told me that now that my credit is good and I don't need you any more, I want a divorce. And I'll get a house and you'll be left with nothing, because your a psycho bitch! He has made it where none of my small bills that is keeping my credit down have gotten paid and I'm worse off after being with him and trusting in my love. I don't know what to do. Because after everything I still love him. But he needs help, he is ex. military. And he has been in jail for abusing his daughter. Where they diagnosed him with Asperger's.Had an abusive relationship with his ex wife, but I push him, I make him, it's not him it's my nagging. His cousins have also recently told me about times they have gotten this behavior from him as well. I've never had these problems in any of my other relationships. So I know it's not me,which is what he gets infuriated at me for not excepting. I know myself. And yes I'm afraid that instead of the life that I thought I was supporting, now so close it will be ripped out of my hands, because my husband decides to be selfish and not get the help he (we) needs. And I will be on the streets. Which he loves to rub in my face. I know life is never fair,but there has to be something I can do to force his hand. I don't want to divorce, I want my life. Please some one out there, reach out to me, for I am falling further than I ever could on my own. I can't do this by myself any more! I can not carry his illness on top of my own without his willingness to help himself and us. Do on to others as you would have done on you, not because I'm religious, but because we're all human. Seriously at this point every single day I fight the thought that there is only one answer for me. And every day I feel myself weaken from all the fight that is life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Taylor Arthur
September, 6 2016 at 6:37 pm

I'm so sorry to hear how poorly you are feeling. Never forget that your health is your first priority. Are you seeing a doctor or therapist that might help you be able to find resources? Being safe is by far the most important thing for you, before everything and everyone else, even a spouse. Please take care of yourself. If you can, talk to someone outside your marriage who can help you brainstorm a strategy to stay well. Please know that you are loved and you matter and that you need to keep fighting. Don't give up.

Kathyx Pierce
August, 12 2016 at 9:56 am

I was diagnosed in 2009 with No-Polar, no one in my family took the Time to educate themselves about the illness or to provide any support. After 40 yerars of marriage, he used my illness against me and has filed for a divorce. My illness cost me my whole life.

August, 11 2016 at 8:12 am

I just saw all these messages. I am not alone. I am having a terrible time. I have lost all my patience. I've been married for five years now and I have a four year old toddler. It first started with him being over obsessed. I couldn't even kiss my own father or brother on their cheeks or give them a hug. In a car. I couldnt even sit next to my brother. I had to wear modest clothes and to an extent that I had to wear full sleeves all the time.
It went to an extent were he started to take promises from me for every little thing but that was not enough he had to keep reminding me of my promises and keep reassuring hin that I would never bread such promises.
Even today five year later it continues. I'm fed up of these recurring questions. I'm tI red of hearing negative about myself and my family all the time. He keep's disrespecting me talking about what a piece of trash I am. And as soon as he insults me he wants to ask if I remember all that I have promised him again and till when. Some days are good. But if he's better one day he gets worse two to three days after that. He keeps telling me what a piece of trash I and my family are good for nothing and that I became decent after marrying him. I'm going nuts here. I'm not able to handle all this stress. My four year son is tired of our fights and I'm worried about how it will accept him. I'm tired but I can't leave him. I simply can't. I don't even know why I still love him anymore. He is making my life he'll. I'm not able to handle anymore and I wish I could just die. He mentally abuses me all the time. Picks up petty fights. Keeps making me remember about my promises and telling me how cheap I was and how cheap my family are . I want to die but I can't leave my son in his hands. I can't do that to him. I can't even divorce him.
I need help.
I need peace in my life.
I am tired.....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Taylor Arthur
August, 12 2016 at 4:42 am

Is there some way that you can find a therapist, doctor, or pastor to talk to? It sounds like you need someone on your side. Being able to talk to someone outside of your situation can be so helpful. I know what it is to feel tired and in need of peace, and you deserve to find a restful, peaceful way to live your life and raise your child. Remember that you are not only fighting for your own welfare in this situation, but also for the welfare of your son. Please take care of yourself and find someone to talk to.

August, 6 2016 at 12:41 pm

Hello all, ALL ADVICE & COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED, THANKS IN ADVANCE.. My wife and I have been married for 9 months now.. Together for 7 years. Her and I have a 6-year-old son. She was diagnose with a form of bipolar sometime in 2014, the doctors prescribed her medicine, however she only took it once I believe and she said it made her feel "spaced out".. To make a long story short she has had so many ups and downs (mostly downs) and I'm confused as what to do. I love her but I've done so much to help her and its not appreciated. Her siblings don't like me because I don't allow them to use her, they have mental issues as well.. I have no one in her family that is logical or conscious enough to talk to. Her mother is slipping away do to dementia at 51 years old. Her father is 54 and still running the streets and acting like he's young and married to another woman. But her and I moved to a more nice, quiter neighborhood in the first week of January, we moved from the next city where most of her family siblings are, there was always so much drama there, the neighborhood is much more expensive, but doesn't make any difference because I just want peace for my family..
Things went fine for the first few months until maybe may, when her sister and her cousin, one of her "friends" also, started calling and talking to her about gossip and drama back-to-back it seemed, this went on for a couple of weeks, that's when she stopped cooking, cleaning or anything else besides sex, no conversation unless it was an argument or condescending talk. I also cooked and cleaned half of the time. She left after an argument in June, she was gone for two weeks, we began talking again and she came back home, about two weeks later the same thing, we argued about her sleeping all day, she works 20 hours per week, I work 80 hours per week, all she ever did was sleep, same thing this time she left for 2-3 weeks, we started talking she came home. Just three weeks ago tomorrow we had a big argument she left again, had not saw her in almost three weeks, until Thursday (2 days ago) she showed up to the house with her female cousin and they tried to physically take our son, long story short the police came, heard both sides of our stories, she was high off of something. They made them leave, I left out the part where she hadnt seen nor tried to see our son in three whole weeks, I had to text message her and tell her I was going to take her to court and get full custody since she abandoned him, that's why she played it off and acted like she cared. My question is what do you guys suggest/think I should do? Keep trying. Maybe force her to get help? Or just give up? Its weighing on me either way I look at it. She's 32 years old, I'm 31. Thoughts? Comments?

August, 3 2016 at 1:22 pm

I been married for 25 yrs. We have 3 boys. My husband has had 6 jobs in 5 yrs and now employed again. He is always thinking people are after him. He is paranoid with computer usage and call phones think others are hacking or taping his calls. He forgets important things but can remember things that have no meaning. He thinks people follow him while driving, last night he stopped his car and confronted a man for following him. It turned into an argument and my husband thinks he did no wrong. He snaps without notice even at my kids. Yelling at them for silly things then blaming me for all faults and failures. I want to leave him. I worry about my kids and how they will be when they get married. He is never wrong he never takes ownership on actions. He is not diagnosed with a mental illness he doesn't think he has one and gets mad at me for thinking that. He goes to counseling whenever it's really bad but doesn't follow thru. Tell me that his counselor thinks I am the problem. It's a mess. I want to take boys and just leave but he told me he will commit suicide and it will be my fault if I ever did. What should I do? We are always walking on eggshells when he is home.... tired of it but afraid to leave.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 8 2018 at 12:23 pm

If the tragedy of his suicide would occur, and it can, whether you leave him or not, is NOT ON YOU! YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN DESERVE A HAPPY LIFE. With mental illness, there are a lot of lies, or distorted truths. If you didn't hear the counselor say it's your fault, don't believe it. They would not blame you in this way. Think about the memories your children are forming for the future. Is this way of life what you want for them, for their memories? You must decide what is best for you and them. You get one should be one that makes you happy and keeps your children safe! Hang in there, Blessings to all of you!

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