Supporting a partner with mental illness

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An unhappy couple
An unhappy couple

You’re in a relationship and everything is going well. Suddenly, you feel nothing. Then the arguments begin. She thinks you’ve checked out. You, on the other hand, struggle to explain that your sudden emotional collapse has nothing to do with her. The more you argue, the harder it becomes to find words. Instead, you turn inwardly, and go through silent battles with anxious, depressed thoughts about what is wrong.

You don’t want your girlfriend to think that you’ve plunged into “depression” because of minor relationship problems. You don’t want her to think of you as weak in the face of your storms. After all, you are her man. This is seven months into the relationship. You’re madly in love, but suddenly have no clue how to connect meaningfully with her.

Is it possible to maintain a healthy long- term relationship with someone who is suffering from a mental illness? From the first instance, my instinct was a reluctant “no”.

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