According to the World Health Organisation, one in every eight people in the world live with a mental disorder. If you have a form of mental health condition and you’re in a relationship, you may believe that splitting up will alleviate the problems you are experiencing for both you and your partner. In this article, we look at the relationship between mental health and the end of a relationship.
Separate your relationship problems and your mental health
If you have an eating disorder, anxiety, depression or another form of mental health problem it can be difficult to know if your relationship is worsening the problems you have, or if you have an existing condition and the relationship is suffering as a result. It can be challenging to distinguish between the two, so it’s worth taking time to really think about the state of your relationship and the underlying causes of your emotional health. Understanding the source of your mental health problems is key to knowing whether or not you should call a halt to your relationship.
When you should consider ending your relationship
While there are no hard and fast rules about when you should split up with your partner, there are some signs you should consider if you think your relationship is affecting your mental health:
- When trust is no longer present due to an affair or secretive behaviour, it’s very hard to build it up again. Issues need to be addressed at their core and both partners need to be willing to work on things to bring trust back.
- If you have lost your emotional connection then you will no longer be sharing your inner thoughts and being vulnerable with your significant other.
- If there is domestic abuse including emotional, financial and controlling or coercive behaviour, then this is a certain sign that you need to call off your relationship.
Managing mental health in a relationship
While all of the above have an impact on your emotional and physical well-being, they are not always linked to an underlying mental health problem. If you are experiencing a change in emotions, personality shifts, isolation or a lack of interest in your personal hygiene, for example, this can negatively impact how you relate to your partner and lead you to believe that the issues lie in your relationship.
What you can do
To help you clarify whether or not you want to end your relationship, doing some soul searching and asking yourself honest questions about how you have been feeling will go a long way. If you feel able to discuss things with your partner, approach the conversation with a willingness to be authentic and open about how you have been feeling.
Another avenue is to attend couples’ therapy to talk through your problems together and to express how each of you have been feeling. Speaking to a third party can help you see your relationship through new eyes and support you in resolving any previous traumas you have experienced, helping you to understand more about yourself and how certain events may have affected your mental health.
Making the distinction between the source of a mental health problem and the nature and history of your relationship will be fundamental in helping you understand whether or not you should sever ties with your partner. Going through a breakup is also likely to induce feelings of grief and loss, sadness and psychological distress, so it’s important to be prepared for this by surrounding yourself with a strong support network or seeking advice from a mental health professional.