30 thoughts on “Marrying Someone With A Mental Illness Is Not An Act Of Charity

  • January 2, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I disagree with the comment: “. A mental illness doesn’t change the core of who a person is”

    A person with a personality disorder presents to those closest to them as a pretty nasty person. No one knows what their core is because they cover it so well with masks and coping mechanisms. All their effort is spent maintaining their false sense that allows them to appear to the outside world as totally charming, but those close to the person know the real truth. My ex was actually quite self aware of her condition at times which makes the manipulative behaviour even harder to tolerate. Underneath the charm was a self absorbed, scared little child who had no business being in a relationship with anyone.

    • January 3, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Thank you for sharing your story. To be honest with you, I write from a perspective of a person with schizophrenia. I really don’t know about personality disorders.

  • January 4, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Thank you for the posting. I have Bipolar disorder, and my husband often gets the St. so and so treatment for having married me. What people forget is that “caretakers” often come with their own bagage which can be just as difficult, and often is less treatable, than the those that we with PMI deal with. In my husband’s case, his family of origin has extremely dysfunctional personalities and has been a challenge for both of throughout the marriage. we are all just people trying to do the best we can with what we have, and while my husband hasn’t Always had an easy row to hoe, well, neither have I (with a glimmer in my eye!).

    • January 4, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Thanks for sharing. I think all couples have things they have to deal with or work through. I don’t know why ours should be any different. 🙂

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    If there’s one thing I do not appreciate, it’s the comment above about personality disorders and what they mean and who and when you behave and all that stuff. i mean I have Borderline personality disorder accept everybody knows it and i don’t put a mask on for anyone, like am i now, well surely not. By the way my Dr. told me that all that bi-polar and anxiety which i also have fall into that category. She said it all goes with my illness, basically it’s all one package. My husband has his own issues but we’ve been together for almost six years now. We all have our right to our opinion i guess eh. Believe me if i could feel some kind of peace more often it sure would be nice but I can’t take medication because I have a seizure disorder and that is something that I have to deal with on my own and my husband. We deal with each other and it’s not easy. Thanks for the topic!

    • January 6, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Thank your for commenting. I often hear/read incorrect information about schizophrenia so I know how you feel when you read about personality disorders. The best we can do is to educate people about what having a mental illness is really like. I appreciate that you shared your feelings. Thanks! Have a good day!

    • January 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

      I feel like I am often misunderstood because I have schizophrenia. I fell like the best we can do is continue to educate people. Thanks for your input!

  • January 6, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Hi Rebecca. Very nice article. You make an excellent point about a mental illness not changing the core of a person. Every single person on this planet is flawed in some ways and to some degree in those ways. Every single person also has some good qualities as well. Oftentimes it is the arrangement of personality types that causes one person to be perceived as so far one way or the other.

  • January 6, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Rebecca – sounds like you landed yourself a real keeper there! I think you make an excellent point: people marry other people not because they want to be kind or make the world a better place, but because they want to spend their life with that person – because they love them. Mental illness is no bar to finding love or giving it.

    That said, I think people with diabetes and cancer can sometimes be quite a burden to their loved ones. You can love someone dearly and still be burdened by them. But that is quite clearly not the case in your marriage.

    • January 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Thank you for your kind words and support! I am sure there are many unhappy marriages out there unfortunately, but you are correct having a mental illness is not a barrier to love. 🙂

  • January 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I can relate to what Mark and RTS wrote. I have treatment resistant rapid cycling bipolar and my wife has some sort of personality disorder and between the two of us, its been a most difficult marriage. When we met I was healthier and able to work, which I did for many years but that came to an end a few years ago and now I’m on SSDI. My self esteem and confidence crashed and never really fully came back. Nor has my wife ever really taken an interest in learning about bipolar. Our therapist was the first person who forced her to confront the reality of my illness but she still isn’t ‘on board’.

    I’m the only one who has my back but I’m always there for my wife, which makes me a fool. I listen to her, comfort her and care about her well being. I don’t hate her. She has limited emotional functionality and has gotten by in life by staying in constant denial about her dysfunctional upbringing and adult life.

    • January 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      I’m sorry that being on SSDI has impacted your self confidence – we all need assistance at times. I’m glad you have a therapist and someone to talk to about how you are feeling. Counseling and therapy can be a life support. I hope things turn around for you. Thank you for sharing your story. Take care!

  • January 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    I thank you for sharing this too because as a divorced person with bipolar 2 and some BPD traits, I often ask myself, “Who in their right mind would want me??” Yet my family and friend’s tell me I am a wonderful person (as you say, the core person) and I have a lot to offer any man. I have worked very, VERY hard over the last 18 months to deal with my issues and treat my symptoms effectively and have grown so much emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I do believe I could make a good partner again someday.
    It’s nice to hear that someone else with a mental illness has a very happy marriage. Thanks for the hope! 🙂

    • January 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Of course you have a lot to offer – don’t ever doubt it! Hopefully, the right person is right around the corner! 🙂

  • January 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Sounds to me like some people fall victims to stereotypes. Meeting someone with such a manipulative PD is somewhat rare as I’ve helped treat about a 100 or so mentally ill clients and very few of them would be manipulative to that degree.

    • January 7, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Well as someone with schizophrenia I certainly know about the power of stereotypes – so discouraging at times.

  • January 7, 2016 at 12:07 am

    I want to start off by saying the psychiatric community is wrong. It ahoukd be decsribed as a MENTAL DISEASE not illness. Read the definitions. I have a diease I manage with therapy and medications. I now 48. My husband has been by my side for 27 years. He found out the same day I did that I was bipolar. That was 19 years ago. My life is a roller coaster and he has been on that ride with me from the day qw met (before my diagnosis). He is my best friend. He is my Saint. It’s not because he stays with me but because he loves me. He loves me, a woman who just so happens to have a disease. He supports me as I support him. We say “Forever & Always, No Matter What” not just the standard I love you. Bipolar does not define nor describe me.

    • January 7, 2016 at 1:34 am

      Thank you for sharing your story. I agree, schizophrenia doesn’t define or describe me either. I’m so happy you have a supportive husband – I love stories about successful couples.

  • January 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    I have had bipolar for nearly 40 years, and so did my husband. We were together for 28 years until he died last year. He leaves a huge gap in my life and my heart aches for him now. We helped each other manage our conditions, which were totally different for both of us. He had a great sense of humour and a heart of gold, which helped see us through difficult times. And we both learned through trial and error the importance of taking medicine which meant we both self medicated and stayed out of hospital for 20 years and we both held down jobs for that time too. We had lovely holidays together and created our own personal history over the years. Because we managed to stay relatively stable throughout our marriage, nobody ever guessed we suffered from bipolar and we made many friends and acquaintances who still stay friends with me now my husband is in heaven. Life with mental illness need not be a jail sentence or a constant battle, it can be rich and rewarding if you use a little common sense and listen to sensible advice from people who want to help. And if you are lucky you can help to enrich the lives of others too, you can do this even with having a mental illness.

    • January 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      I agree with you completely! I am sorry about the loss of your husband. I am very close to my husband, too.

  • January 14, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I have a few friends and family has bipolar and has order disorder I know it is a challenge to take care of them it take a special person to stand by someone that has special needs and I know the Lord gives the special child or adult that his know that they are to be together and that can take roll of there caretaker and I find that some people can not understand why a person would take the roll and I find they don’t have the heart or soul to hold that kind of need but everyone see in there own eye and in there mind they say the mother or father was taking drugs that why they are like they are and that is not true I was very taken when I have read your post thank you for sharing your life with us

    • January 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Thank you for taking the time to read and to leave a comment! I appreciate your input.

  • January 15, 2016 at 12:40 am

    I’m grateful for this article. Suffering from depression, I myself feel my husband is an angel for marrying me. I need to stop feeling that way. Thank you so much for this article!

    • January 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Thank you for reading it, and giving your support!

  • January 15, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Hi Rebecca

    Thank you for this article. It was an interesting read. I felt quite convicted as I am guilty of seeking the ‘sainthood’ treatment for being married to my very, very lovely husband who has Bipolar. My hubby is ever so good to me, but it is sometimes very challenging and I am not always sure how to ask for help from those around me. I was nevertheless most encouraged to read how many people on this thread have lived fruitful lives with bipolar or being married to someone with bipolar. I was wondering if you or any of the people on this conversation thread have any advise/tips on how to manage in a sustainable and effective manner?
    Kind regards xxx

    • January 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Hi! I think you can probably find some information about relationships on Psych Central (try a search). I have one blog post that gives tips to maintaining a healthy relationship when one person is mentally ill that you might find useful. I would poke around here a bit. Of course, if you are having difficulties in your relationship, contact a professional. Good luck!

  • January 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I do not want you to take this wrong, as I will explain, so keep reading g please. You are so lucky to have found such a great guy. Not because he helps and loves you. But, because you can love him. I was married five times, and they all either turned out to be wifebeaters, control freaks, co pulsive liars,or cheats. I envy you. I am happy for you, I like to hear stories about long and happy relationships.

    • January 16, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      I’m sorry about your marriages. I do feel lucky to have found my husband. I think he is one in a million, but of course, that is because I love him. I hope you can find some happiness in a partnership if that is what you want. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • January 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Mental health and special needs people need more patience and directions They can work in a marriage but it will take more dedication and PATIENCE.

    • January 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

      I think all marriages require dedication and patience. 🙂


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