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When to Walk Away from Someone with Mental Illness

A woman struggling with stress and anxiety
Learn when to walk away from someone with mental illness and don’t blame yourself for the problem.

Every relationship has its ups and downs and for some, mental illness is a difficult path they need to tread on. Loving someone with a mental illness can be complicated, overwhelming, and frustrating. You may go through painful episodes and find yourself clueless about what to do and sometimes even think that it’s a hopeless case.

A mental health concern becomes an illness when signs and symptoms frequently cause stress and affect one’s overall behavior and capacity to function. It includes illnesses like depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, and addiction. It has a great impact on one’s work life and relationships, especially those that are intimate.

Struggling with stress and anxiety could seem like your relationship’s bread and butter. However, it is important to know that it is possible to maintain a loving, supportive, and long-term relationship with someone who has a mental illness.

We just have to understand the situation, our needs, and where to draw the line, whether it’s to stay, or worst case, when is it time to walk away from a relationship.

Love Can’t Cure Mental Illness

A mental illness is a medical condition that requires proper treatment through medication and psychotherapy. We may sometimes be tempted to think that our love and affection alone would be enough to fill the needs of our partner who has this sickness but there are more factors in play than just your relationship.

The root cause of mental disorders can be deep and complex. Your partner has his or her history, personality, particular weaknesses and fears, and other important relationships. All these add up to a fairly intricate mix that has a bigger impact on their present difficulties than you can imagine.

Although falling in love with someone can have powerful positive effects, still, you are not your partner’s savior and you will never be able to fix them. On the other hand, taking advantage of a mentally ill person, such as encouraging codependency, will also not end well.

This is a struggle that they must go through personally. They have to act and lead their own lives to help themselves overcome such an illness. High-quality and meaningful relationships can have positive impacts on a person’s health and well-being but the relationship itself will not solve the problem. Love can’t cure mental illness.

This is why it is important to detect possible symptoms early in the relationship. Maybe you won’t be disclosing such a sensitive aspect of yourself on the first date but it is necessary to be honest about this before things get more serious, especially before considering marriage.

A man looking at a woman affectionately
Despite the struggles, supporting and loving someone with mental illness can strengthen your commitment to a relationship.

Understanding Mental Health Issues

If you know your partner has a mental health issue, it is best to educate yourselves about it. Learn its signs and symptoms, triggers, and possible treatments. This will help you discern if you are fit to go through this challenge as partners.

Understand as well that these facts are highly informative but they manifest in an individual in a particular way. Observe their subjective symptoms and behavior to have a fuller and deeper comprehension of who they are and their sickness.

If you are willing to give the relationship a chance, supporting your partner in this struggle would be the best option and would surely strengthen your commitment to each other.

As someone closely accompanying the mentally ill, to experience great mental stress over something regularly would require seeking appropriate help for yourself. Have a support system with whom you can share how you are doing mentally to help you navigate through the stress and demands of such a situation.

Is it Time to Walk Away from a Relationship?

So your partner is responding well to medications and is getting better thanks to the treatments. Well and good. But what if your situation is the opposite and hope becomes bleak; is it time to walk away from a relationship?

It’s never a wrong decision to try and help someone you love but your support would only go so far if your partner is not giving their best in return. If he or she is not cooperative with the treatment or is even hostile, then maybe it’s about time to reassess your decision.

This can be heartbreaking and is even more painful in marriage when you face losing your spouse to mental illness. But you need to accept the possibility that maybe being away from each other will in the end be better for both of you.

A couple in an argument
Understand the signs that tell you when is it time to walk away from a relationship weighed down by mental illness.

When It’s Okay to Walk Away

One of the legitimate reasons to walk away is when your safety is compromised. Persons suffering from mental illness may not have proper control over their feelings and actions and this can lead to emotional, mental, and physical abuse. When the illness puts you in a dangerous situation, then it’s the moment to step away.

Another case to consider is when your partner is outright refusing help. A mental illness that is not treated not only harms the person but those around him or her as well. If your partner does not want to help himself, then there is no chance that you can help him.

Third, when the relationship becomes toxic it is no longer bringing any good to either of you. When you are only filled with resentment, fear, pity, and sadness, then there is no room for your love to grow. It would be better to take some time away from each other, whether it be temporarily or permanently.

Coping and Acts of Self-Care

Loving someone with a mental illness will take its toll on you and your relationship. No matter how much you care for the other person, you will have to learn to take care of yourself first because if not, you will be drained and will have nothing to give to your partner.

Surround yourself with people you can confide in and who will listen to you with understanding. It is not healthy to deal with such a problem by yourself. Having someone to share with will help you take a healthy distance from the situation and make more objective decisions.

Finally, remember your own needs, treat yourself, relax, and de-stress. These acts of self-care may seem little but they are necessary in ensuring your security and peace.

Dealing with a person suffering from mental illness is a tall order, more so when it is someone with whom you have an intimate relationship. However, some people suffering from such an illness manage to work it out and find love and peace in a healthy relationship.

But sometimes, things will not work out as we wish and it’s completely understandable to let go of it. Whether you choose to stay or walk away, you are not to blame for the problem. We will then discover that sometimes it is choosing something painful that will lead us to heal and live more happily.

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