Abuse is not a symptom of schizoaffective disorder. The disorder can cause someone to act irrationally however, abuse is not common. No one should ever rationalize abuse. Not under any circumstances. It seems as though you are giving him an excuse, based on his mental health problems. That’s worrisome because it means that you are allowing someone to hurt you. Even though he has not been physically abusive, it’s possible that it is simply a matter of time. Emotional abuse may be a precursor to physical abuse. An individual who has anger problems can sometimes lose control. Add in the fact that he doesn’t think he has schizoaffective disorder, and the possibility exists that he may react with physical, instead of emotional violence. That is not outside the range of possibilities.
When someone is willing to tolerate abuse, it needs to be analyzed. You need to understand why. In your relationship, your happiness and whether or not the two of you stay together, seems wholly dependent upon his mood. That puts you in a precarious situation. You don’t seem to be equal. Perhaps it’s because he is the abuser, and you are the abuse. The imbalance is not healthy or safe.
I cannot make a relationship decision for you. Whether or not you decide to stay in this relationship is something only you can decide. My recommendation is for you to consider counseling (in-person) to explore why you tolerate his abuse.
You mentioned in your letter that you are now considering moving in with him. The problems that exist in this relationship will likely only be amplified once the two of you are living together. He may become even more aggressive and potentially physically violent. It’s a volatile situation that warrants, at minimum, your serious consideration of how you wish to proceed. You also mentioned that he is newly sober which makes this an increasingly volatile situation.
Should you move in with him or not? That is a decision only you can make. If he’s not stable with his sobriety, and he can be vile and emotionally violent, it would be best to keep your distance.
My overall advice is to be careful. It’s rare that people with schizoaffective disorders can be violent but when they are, they usually target the people closest to them (like family or those taking care of them). He has a proclivity towards emotional violence. His unstable sobriety increases the chances of physical violence. He also rejects the fact that he has schizoaffective disorder which means that he might also reject treatments for it. If he’s not receiving treatment, that increases the probability of his mental health instability which only increases the possibility of violence. It is not a safe situation.
I would recommend that you consult a therapist, in-person. They will assist you in examining whether or not this relationship is right for you. In general, no one should tolerate abuse. It shouldn’t be rationalized away by illness. There is no excuse for abuse under any circumstances. Abusive relationships are unbalanced and typically don’t fare well. One needs balance, safety, and trust in a relationship. If you can’t trust your partner not to harm you, emotionally or otherwise, then you have no trust. At this point in time, your relationship lacks both balance and the healthy dynamics that lead to success. Counseling will help you to understand relationship dynamics and assist you in making good decisions. Give it a try. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle