It’s important to try to separate the illness from the person. Some of the behaviors he is engaging in are likely due to his current instability. For instance, buying a one-way ticket may not be a sign that he doesn’t love you but rather a sign that his illness symptoms are not well controlled. Understandably, it’s difficult not to take his actions personally. Obviously, the cheating is a problem for the relationship but he’s unstable and not thinking clearly.
Please don’t misunderstand. His instability is not an excuse for the fact that he may have cheated but his illness symptoms could be affecting all of his behaviors. His uncharacteristic behavior might simply be an artifact of his untreated symptoms.
It’s going to be difficult for him to function in a relationship when he is unstable. It’s part of the challenge of being in a relationship with someone who has schizophrenia.
Encourage him to take his medication and to be hospitalized, if necessary. You will likely see a significant improvement in his behavior when he is stable and receiving treatment.
You may benefit from attending support groups at your local National Alliance on Mental Illness office. Many support group members are caring for loved ones who have mental illnesses. Some of the support group members may be facing similar issues. It would also be helpful to educate yourself about schizophrenia. The more you know about the disorder the more you will understand his behavior. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle