How to Handle a Partner’s Mental Health Issues in a Relationship

“Mental health awareness means ending the stigma of mental illness by sharing the complexities of our stories and fighting to make care accessible to every family” — Michelle Wu

Learn about mental health issues

  1. Research. There are a variety of resources available online that provide reliable information about mental health conditions. You can start by looking at trusted websites like the National Institute of Mental Health or the American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Seek professional help. Talking to a therapist or psychiatrist can be beneficial for both you and your partner, as it gives you a better understanding of their condition and also provides adequate medical care.
  3. Communicate. Talk openly with your partner about their symptoms, triggers, coping mechanisms, and treatment options. This will not only build trust but also allow you to offer appropriate support.

Remember that mental health awareness is an ongoing process; therefore, keep up to date with new research findings or developments in treatment.

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Encourage your partner to seek professional help

It’s important to remember that encouragement should be delicate, as it can make your partner feel ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid. Therefore, approach the topic with sensitivity and understanding, emphasizing how much you care about their well-being and want the best for them. Approach the topic with sensitivity and understanding, emphasizing the genuine concern you have for their well-being and your desire for them to experience the best possible outcomes. By expressing your care and support, you create an environment where your partner feels safe and understood, enabling them to embrace positive changes and navigate the challenging process of separation with greater ease.

Show patience and understanding

  1. Don’t take it personally. Your partner’s behavior may change due to their mental state, but remember that it’s not about you. It’s important to separate the symptoms of the illness from the personality traits.
  2. Listen actively when your partner talks about how they feel or what they are going through. Give him or her your full attention. You don’t have to respond, sometimes just listening can make all the difference.
  3. Celebrate small victories. Recovery is not always linear, so celebrate even small steps forward. This is important when your partner tries a new coping mechanism or discovers something new.

Patience and understanding take time and effort, but it will strengthen your relationship by fostering trust and compassion between you.

Practice active listening and communication

  1. Use “I” statements. When sharing your thoughts or feelings, use “I” statements instead of accusatory words. For example, say “It hurts me when…” instead of “You always do that…”
  2. Acknowledge feelings. Even if you don’t agree with everything your partner says, it’s important to validate their emotions.
  3. Avoid distractions. When talking to your partner, avoid any distractions (such as phones) so that you can give them your full attention.
  4. Paraphrase what your partner has said to make sure you have understood them correctly. This also shows that you are actively participating in the conversation.

Remember that active listening and communication take practice, but it will strengthen your relationship.

<h2>Do not downplay emotions and feelings</h2>

  1. Do not downplay emotions. Don’t say “Stop being so dramatic”. This comes across as insulting and dismissive and does not help solve the underlying problem.
  2. Use active listening techniques. When your partner shares their feelings, actively listen by summarizing what they have said and asking questions for clarification. This shows that you are engaged in the conversation and respect their point of view.
  3. Encourage professional support. If your partner has mental health issues, encourage them to seek professional support. Therapy or counseling can provide valuable tools for managing symptoms.

When dealing with a partner with mental illness, it is important to remember that mental health challenges vary for each individual. Avoid minimizing or dismissing your partner’s emotions, as doing so can hinder their sense of support and safety in expressing their feelings. By fostering an environment of understanding and validation, you can create a space where your partner feels comfortable discussing their experiences openly.

Respect boundaries and limitations

  1. Communicate. Have an open conversation with your partner about their boundaries. Ask what he or she needs from you and what triggers to avoid. This will help you understand how to best support them while respecting their autonomy.
  2. Don’t push too hard. Recovery is a personal matter, and everyone’s timeline is different. Avoid putting pressure on your partner to do things they are not ready or willing to do.
  3. Learn as much as you can about your partner’s specific mental health condition to better understand what they are going through, common symptoms, and triggers.

Remember that respecting your partner’s boundaries is not only important for their well-being. It is also important for maintaining a healthy relationship built on mutual respect and trust.

Take care of yourself as well, and seek support if needed

  1. Set boundaries and limits around what you are willing and able to do for your partner.
  2. Practice self-care. Make time for activities or practices that bring you joy or relaxation, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends.
  3. Seek support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist or support group to get help processing the emotions you may be feeling.

Taking care of yourself not only benefits you but also strengthens your relationship, ensuring that both partners are healthy and supported. Supporting your partner is essential for maintaining a healthy and strong relationship. By prioritizing self-care, you not only enhance your well-being but also contribute to the overall health and support of your partnership. Remember that taking care of yourself benefits both you and your relationship, promoting a strong foundation of mutual care and well-being.

How to Handle a Partner’s Mental Health Issues in a Relationship was last updated June 19th, 2023 by Lucy Bennett