When does one know how to end a crumbling relationship that has reduced itself to a mental health condition?
Falling apart is never an easy occurrence in one’s life especially if you plan on leaving someone who is struggling with a psychological disorder that debilitates not only himself or herself but the relationship as well. The reality of leaving someone behind is downright painful but is sometimes necessary for your sake. Difficult choices must be made to move on and close another chapter of your life.
Making Tough Choices
Nobody wants to be blamed for abandoning somebody during times of despair, but this does not mean that you should remain in a relationship that has been strained by depression and has no conceivable future due to guilt or duty. “Unfortunately, it’s a waste of your energy when they’re deep in depression, and actually leads to disconnection and distance,” says Caitlin Cantor, LCSW, CST. “This way of attempting to help can easily lead to arguments because your partner is unable to agree or see your efforts as helpful.”
For the sake of your mental state, sometimes the best thing to do is to bid goodbye.
Before Stepping Out The Door
You have to make sure that before you permanently close this depressing chapter of your relationship, you did what you can to salvage your partner’s mental health. Otherwise, you would find yourself drowning in a state of self-doubt and guilt that may haunt you for the rest of your life.
What are the steps that you should take before ultimately calling it quits?
- Ask For Help
Aside from professional help, you also need people outside of your relationship to help you figure things out. Share your thoughts and concerns with family and friends who you trust and ask for support and advice on how to manage or deal with your situation. You have to realize that aside from your partner’s needs, yours are important, too.
“You’re living in a difficult, stressful situation,” notes Robert Taibbi, LCSW. “Therapy can help you not blame yourself, help you stop walking on eggshells, provide you with tools to help you stay grounded, and give you the support you need to manage the day-to-day.”
- Not Everything Is About You
Your partner is depressed for a multitude of reasons, which is why therapy is necessary to find out the reason behind the condition, pluck it out, and treat it. Regardless of what you might think, you are not the primary cause of your partner’s mental illness. People who are constantly on the brink of depression may do or say things that they don’t mean. Your partner’s psychological status causes him or her to become irrational, moody, and irritated.
Mark D. White, PhD, says that “partners will not feel truly involved in the relationship if they are not held responsible for their part in it, including both the things that go well and the things that go badly. Being relieved of responsibility and blame occasionally might feel good, but if a person is never held responsible for his or her actions, it becomes insulting and demeaning: it means that person is not being taken seriously.”
- Ponder On Practical Conclusions
Living with someone who has a depressive disorder and sustaining the relationship for the sake of proving to yourself, your partner, and to other people that you have survived and thrived despite the condition, is noble but impractical. Most of the time, what happens in real life is that as the mental illness progresses, the unaffected individual would also be helpless and hopeless that there will be some reprieve.
If you feel that hope and affection have gone out the window, it is practical for you to sever ties completely. However, walking away from a struggling relationship with a depressed partner is not as easy as it seems especially when you already tied the knot and children are involved. Pondering on practical conclusions like you and your children’s well-being is necessary. So weigh the pros and cons before separating.
- Commit To A Deadline
Though it is a harsh setup to impose a deadline on your partner suffering from depression, it can save you from further damage. Often, things would be unbearable not only for your partner but for you, which is why considering a deadline for change is essential. But this does not entirely mean that you should easily give up after a couple of weeks that your partner has decided to go on treatments. You must also assess if your partner is willing to take the necessary steps to get better or if he or she keeps on delaying treatment and giving out excuses. Only then should you consider your options for staying or leaving.
- Decisions Must Be Carefully Thought Of
Being hasty in making decisions is detrimental to the relationship that can still be salvaged by a compliant partner who tries his or her best in getting better. However, there will be moments of clarity wherein you can no longer deal with the person because he or she is dragging you down. If this happens, take a quick break by keeping distant for a while. Seek brief respite to arrive at a decision, and if you’ve finally come to your senses, permanently part ways.
When dealing with a depressed partner, always take time to carefully weigh your alternatives before drawing the line and heading out the door. Because the moment you decide that you want to end your relationship, it’s something that you have to live with for the entirety of your life.