Marrying Someone with a Mental Illness

Marrying Someone with a Mental Illness

Marrying someone with a mental illness can cause challenges, but so can any marriage. A good friend of mine is married to a man with chronic schizophrenia, and I know from my brother (who also has chronic mental health issues) that romantic relationships can be extra difficult when mental illness is thrown into the mix. My friend kindly shared some of her experiences with me, and I share them on this post with her blessing.

Marrying Someone with a Mental Illness Can Be Isolating

Every relationship has its niggles, and venting to your nearest and dearest can be a great way to decompress. The struggles my friend goes through are often related to her husband’s symptoms — for example, if he’s feeling paranoid he might not be able to engage with her.

When her colleagues are bonding over their partners neglecting to fill the dishwasher, my friend stays quiet about her struggles specific to marrying someone with a mental illness. She worries that sharing honestly would make things awkward, so she tends to only do so on dedicated online forums.

Marrying Someone with a Mental Illness Can Be Sad

My friend was deeply hurt when her parents chose not to attend her wedding. They disapproved of her husband because of his inability to hold down a « steady job » — something that is directly linked to his schizophrenia. Their lack of understanding about his mental illness led to them labelling him as « lazy » and refusing to get to know him. 

My friend is a very successful career woman who brings in more than enough income to support their household, while her husband does freelance work when he is able to. They’re happy with this arrangement but deeply saddened at how others perceive it. The reaction of others to differences caused by a diagnosis can add another layer of isolation to marrying someone with a mental illness.

Marrying Someone with a Mental Illness Can Be Joyful

My friend wanted to make sure that this side of her story was also told. Her husband struggles with social events and keeps his circle very small — this means not many people know him on anything more than a surface level. She’s also an introverted person, so the idea of spending weekend nights at home playing board games together fills her with joy rather than FOMO. 

She considers it a privilege that her husband trusts her enough to let her know him intimately — to allow her to see him as the wonderful artist, quick-witted comedian and caring soul that he is. Their marriage certainly has its challenges, but it’s a source of genuine joy for them both.

I loved hearing about my friend’s perspective on marrying someone with a mental illness, and I’d love to hear your experiences on this topic too. Feel free to leave a comment.

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