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Should I Get Married if My Boyfriend’s Mother Is Mentally Ill?

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Today my future husband told me a story of his family. His grandmother is an alcoholic. The problem is his mother thinks that she is a descendent of The Romanovs (the royal family that was killed in Russia in 1918). It was happening to her gradually. She was okay till 2002, then she started to reproach her husband by saying that she is of the royal blood and so on. Now she has a strong feeling of paranoia as she thinks that everybody (especially doctors) wants to kill her. She also thinks that her husband doesn’t work and the government gives him money so he could support her and their children. They always fight.

I was going to get married in a few months but now I’m not sure if I should do this? Nobody knows what’s wrong with her because it is impossible to take her to the psychologist (and there are also lots of difficulties in Russia because of law). So they don’t even know the diagnosis. (His mother is 46 years old now. My boyfriend is 25 years old). I am so scared. Can this be inherited? Can my future husband have the mental illness transmitted genetically? Or can our future children have this kind of illness? I’m not sure if I should get married anymore. I’m sorry for my bad English as it is not my native language. Please, I’m begging you, give me some advice. Tell me if this illness can run in my boyfriend’s blood or in the blood of our future children?

Should I Get Married if My Boyfriend’s Mother Is Mentally Ill?

Answered by on -

A.

Whether schizophrenia is “nature or nurture” has not been resolved. It is believed that schizophrenia has a genetic component, but no one knows this for sure.

Having a family history of schizophrenia increases the likelihood of future offspring developing the disease but the risk is very slight. Whether or not someone develops schizophrenia, depends on many factors.

I would be less concerned about your future children developing schizophrenia than I would be about how her untreated symptoms might impact your relationship. You did not mention how much interaction you have with his mother and he with her. Problems with in-laws can be distressing for a new marriage. In fact, it’s a relatively common reason for divorce. You’ll have to decide whether or not you want to marry given his mother’s problems. Consider how her problems might impact your marriage.

I hope this answers your question. If you would like to write back with additional details, I may be able to provide you with a more specific answer. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Should I Get Married if My Boyfriend’s Mother Is Mentally Ill?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Should I Get Married if My Boyfriend’s Mother Is Mentally Ill?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 11, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/06/01/should-i-get-married-if-my-boyfriends-mother-is-mentally-ill/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.