Marriage, Relationships & Mental Health

Alexis
by

Approximately one in four people are living with a mental health disorder of some sort. Thus, there is nothing unusual about having a mental illness or psychiatric disorder. In fact, the bravest thing you can do is accept your diagnosis, be kind to yourself, and eagerly pursue self-improvement. However, if you think that you’re struggling and that those struggles are spilling into your romantic life — it may be time to take action. Learning how to cope, have tough conversations, and add more tools to your toolbox will help you conquer whatever mental battles you are facing. Below are some common concerns that arise when trying to maintain a healthy romantic relationship while coping with a mental health condition.

Should You Disclose A Mental Illness To A Significant Other?

Yes. As with anything, especially in the context of a romantic relationship, honesty is the best policy. To build and maintain a healthy relationship with a robust amount of trust, you must be forthcoming about who you are. And, on both good days and bad days, mental illness is a part of who you are.

Not only should your partner know what you are dealing with so they can be supportive, but it also brings a couple closer together when you’re both being your most authentic and transparent selves. If you find that you’re having trouble being vulnerable with your partner and communicating about your mental illness(es), a professional therapist may be able to help facilitate the conversation so you can get the ball rolling.

When To Disclose Mental Health Conditions With A Potential Partner

It can be tricky to figure out exactly when to have “the talk.” All too often, we feel insecure about mental illness that we may be living with, and we subsequently hold that part of ourselves back and stifle the emotions we are feeling for as long as possible. This is especially true during the dating process, where it’s tempting to present this “perfect” version of yourself in order to appeal to a potential partner.

However, perfection is a myth and you will have much more success in your quest to find a great partner if you’re open and honest from early on. You should disclose your mental health as soon as you feel comfortable; it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if anything, will make it easier for your partner to understand why you’re under the weather some days or might need to cancel plans.

How To Open Up To A Partner About Your Mental Health Battles? ​

By now it’s clear that yes, you should be open with your partner about your mental health — but the process of doing so isn’t always as straightforward. Since communication styles wildly differ from person to person, the approach to discussing mental health differs as well. For some people, it’s a serious talk over dinner. For others, it’s having a conversation during a fun activity together. And still others may find verbally communicating about this topic completely overwhelming and opt for writing a letter to their partner instead. There is no wrong way to talk to your partner about your mental health battles, so long as you do it and commit to hearing one another out. If you’re struggling with this conversation or cannot fathom how to take the first steps, a counselor can help you work through those feelings either alone or with your partner present as well.

How To Seek Help If Children Are In The Picture?​

Your children need the best version of you. Always. Without fail. And not only do they need to see you living a healthy life, but they also need to see emotionally healthy habits modeled by both you and your partner. If you feel as if your mental health is getting in the way of your ability to show up as the best parent and partner you can be, professional therapy should be the next step. However, it’s completely understandable if the hustle and bustle of parenting, managing your children’s school and extracurricular activities, among other obligations, make it hard to see a counselor in person. Luckily, online marriage counseling services are incredibly effective and allow you to receive therapy wherever and whenever is best for you — even if that means at home once the kids go to bed. It should be noted that counseling sessions can work effectively on improving your relationship even when your partner is not present.

Will Investing Time Into Your Mental Health Improve Your Relationship?

Treating your mental illness(es) will absolutely improve your romantic relationship and take your connection with your partner to new heights. Conversely, failing to do so could cause your relationship to deteriorate entirely. Not because having a mental illness makes you unlovable — but because you need to love yourself before you can love, and be loved by, others. A counselor will first learn about your needs and then teach you how to cope, reason, and improve your well-being. Making the effort to fight this battle is not only for the sake of your relationship, but for your sake.
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How to Recognize If Your Relationship Is Unhealthy or Is Contributing to Your Mental Illness?

While people in happy relationships typically have better mental health than those who are single, being in an unhappy relationship is the worst scenario of them all. In such a case, it may be your relationship that is causing you intense emotional anguish rather than your mental illness. In fact, sometimes people even develop mental illness(es) for the first time after being in a deeply troubled relationship.

On the other hand, you may be the one exhibiting the toxic traits within your relationship and causing yourself and your partner mental anguish. No matter who the emotional aggressor is, the course of action is the same. If you feel as if your relationship is causing or exacerbating feelings of anxiety and depression, or other symptoms of emotional disturbance, it’s critical to seek help and speak with a qualified clinician.

Overcoming Mental Health Issues Is Critical To The Success Of A Relationship

This section is here to offer you relevant and helpful information on how to navigate relationships while dealing with mental illness.

Getting help is the first step, and each subsequent step after that is easier than you may think. Whether your relationship is currently struggling, or you simply want to be proactive, working with a counselor can help you address issues and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Check out our guide and see how you can begin improving your relationship right this moment.