When Your Spouse Has A Mental Illness
You vowed to love your spouse and stay married in sickness and in health. But what if your husband or wife develops a mental illness after you say “I do?” Will you be able to deal with all the drama and personality changes that come with such a condition?
Many people suffer from mental and personality disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction, paranoia, and narcissism. While therapy and medications can help manage these illnesses, they can still impact your marriage. Do you stay or do you go?
Determining if There is a Mental Illness
You may feel as though something is off with your spouse. They may suddenly have different sleep schedules, they may start to be obsessed about certain things, or they may start drinking or doing drugs.
What should you do if you think your spouse has a mental illness? You need to let your spouse know but in the right way.
- Do it at the right time. Confront your spouse when he or she is calm and willing to talk. Don’t do it in the middle of an argument.
- Express your concerns. Discuss your worries and give specific examples. For example, “when you drink, you get angry and aggressive.”
- See how your spouse responds. Does your spouse agree that they are having problems? If so, ask them questions to get more information about how to proceed. Are they willing to seek help?
- Express concerns. If your spouse denies having a problem,continue to express your concerns while being compassionate.
- Set clear boundaries. If your spouse is willing to seek help, then go with them and be supportive. If your spouse continues to be in denial and continues the problematic behavior, then determine what will happen next. Will you separate? Will you move out until he or she seeks help? Will you get a divorce? Do not enable the behavior or it will only get worse.
Staying Together or Divorcing?
Living with someone who has a mental illness is not easy. Even if your spouse admits to having a problem, you’ll need a lot of support as you deal with your spouse’s condition. Be sure to focus on your own needs as well.
However, if your spouse is in denial and unwilling to change, you need to make a decision. You can stay married and focus on your own needs, but that is not a happy, fulfilling marriage. A good relationship requires the effort of both parties. If you are the one doing all the work, you’re better off getting a divorce.
Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today
Nobody is perfect and while we all have some sort of baggage we bring with us in relationships, a mental illness can be a dealbreaker. When a person won’t admit that they have a problem, that makes a situation even worse.
You may be struggling with ending your marriage to a mentally unstable person. The Columbia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you understand your options and help you understand what to be aware of. Schedule a consultation by calling (410) 774-5987 or filling out the online form. We have two offices to serve you.