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How do I make my relationship with mentally ill partner last?

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From a woman in the U.S.: Well me and my boyfriend have been together for 5 months and hes a great guy hes everything most girls would love to have. Hes amazing with children affectionate loyal but some days he gets so paranoid (and I’m well aware it’s part of it) but I guess lately I’ve been taking more offence to the accusations of me talking to people in the window when I go to the bathroom.

Hes made me get rid of old friends and claims I’ve done the same to him but not in the same reasoning.. his is through jealousy. Yes I get jealous sometimes but not in the extremities he does. Hes even went as far as asking my children if I’ve had people over while hes gone… which was extremely low..

He has this great job opportunity coming and he says he wants to put cameras up to keep an eye on me because he don’t trust me (mind you I’ve never given him a reason to not trust me I’ve always been 100% loyal him however i’ve watched him flirt with people in front of me and claims he was just being nice) anyways since he don’t have cameras hes not even sure he wants to work now…

I’ve always been a well respected and trustworthy person so its extremely hurtful and these kinds of episodes has happened everyday. I was well aware of his condition and I’ve read up on his illness but I feel like I’m at a loss of what to do anymore I just need some advice.

How do I make my relationship with mentally ill partner last?

Answered by on -


Having a mental illness does not give someone the right to be controlling and abusive to their partner every day. Being a loving partner when ill means doing all you can to be part of a team working to manage the illness. Instead, your guy is trying to manage you.

You didn’t tell us whether your boyfriend is in treatment. If he isn’t, you are not obligated to put up with his demands and his paranoia. You cannot and should not be more interested in managing his illness than he is. Without treatment, this is not likely to get better – no matter what you do. You will always have to be on guard lest you trigger his jealousy.

If he is in treatment, I think the best approach is to join him in sessions with his therapist so the two of you can work out how you can be be supportive of his healing without compromising yourself. The two of you may also find attending programs run by your local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) would provide further support. They run programs for people with mental illness and their families.

You’ve only been together for 5 months. From what you shared in your letter, it looks to me like this relationship is too unequal to survive. Do consider taking a big step back, especially if he isn’t actively involved in his treatment. Learn more about what it means to be a supportive partner for someone with mental illness. Before you get more involved, see if he is willing and able to be a team.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How do I make my relationship with mentally ill partner last?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How do I make my relationship with mentally ill partner last?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Oct 2019 (Originally: 15 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Oct 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.