According to a PsychGuides study, nearly three-quarters of female partners and only a little over half the males in a marriage or similar romantic entanglement were forthcoming about their mental health status.
Let’s look beyond the numbers and into how one’s mental health poses a threat to a lasting relationship.
Lack of Intimacy
In the study mentioned above, it was found that most participants suffered from depression and anxiety.
These conditions are known to diminish self-esteem and cause the sufferer to experience performance anxiety. Moreover, dealing with depression through antidepressants may lead to a lower sex drive. Since that’s integral for most individuals, it might just be the last feather in the increasingly bare cap of a rocky relationship.
Fear of Stigmatization
The study also reported that most partners who didn’t share their mental health condition hid it due to fear of being stigmatized. However, instead of keeping them safe as they thought it would, hiding the problem only compounded the problem.
Here are some of the thoughts and feelings a person might have when they hide their mental health condition:
- Guilt about the harm their condition is doing to the relationship and the fact that they have to hide it.
Conversely, here’s what their partner goes through:
Increase in Mutual Distance
Shame, embarrassment, and guilt may snowball into unacceptable behavior on the part of the suffering partner. For example, their performance anxiety might translate to house chores, and they’ll stop pitching in altogether.
Other behaviors indicative of an unstable mental condition could be an inability to keep a job or a social lifestyle. We mention these behaviors specifically because they might give rise to discord and get in the way of a lifelong mutually fulfilling relationship.
Attempts to “Fix” the Condition
Let’s consider a scenario where both parties are cognizant of the severity of the suffering partner’s mental health issues. A healthy way for the supportive partner to respond could be to just simply listen to how their companion is feeling so that they can provide adequate support.
However, an unhealthy response would be to continue the relationship thinking they can fix something that isn’t theirs to repair. Thus, they should only be the support system their partner needs while they go through the healing process.
Push for Therapy
Many people suffering from serious mental health conditions should seek therapy. However, everyone may not find it effective. Some might give it up if they find that clinical counsel and medication are not helping.
Someone who has sought and failed to gain adequate support for their concerns may find it discouraging to look for other types of therapy or support systems. It would be helpful to investigate alternative methods and consult with other professionals for additional forms of support. Often, therapy coupled with another support system can prove to be successful.
One form of support could include spiritual, life and relationship coaching. Our very own pastoral care specialist, Freda R. Wilson has helped many individuals in building a healthy relationship and nurturing it through one-on-one coaching sessions.
Reach out to enroll in the program offered by the certified life and relationship coach.