Ask Amy: Boyfriend refuses mental health treatment. I can go?
I have stayed this long because I believe that mental illness is like physical illness and is not a reason to end a relationship. However, lately I am emotionally drained. His negativity and victim mentality drag me down and drain whatever positivity I have in my life.
His bad attitude and refusal to take any responsibility are too much for me. He does not believe in therapy and believes that the bad experiences he has lived are exclusive to him. I’m not in love anymore You are not willing to change your attitude or receive help from mental health professionals.
If he’s always been good to me, is it wrong to break up with him just because I can’t stand his continued depression and negative attitude? When is mental illness a reason to end things, instead of maintaining a relationship and providing support?
on the fence: You have a compassionate attitude towards your boyfriend, whose negativity seems to be killing your own spirit.
Not “believing” in therapy to address trauma is similar to not believing in antibiotics to treat an acute infection. Therapy is not a faith practice; it is treatment. It is wound care for a deeply wounded psyche. In your situation, you would not be leaving this relationship because of your boyfriend’s mental illness, but because of his refusal to seek treatment for her.
I suppose your presence in his life is positive and helpful, but it shouldn’t be your destiny to sacrifice and undermine your own spirit to support someone who refuses to try to win back theirs.
You might ask yourself: Is your presence helping him heal? Are things looking up for him? For you? Or is their codependent relationship keeping both of them trapped in place?
Therapy is definitely needed, I highly recommend it.
dear amy: When I read your column, it seems like there are a lot of people who are going through a divorce after 40 or more years together. This tendency to get divorced after a long marriage makes me so afraid to get married.
I have been in a wonderful relationship for the past four years and we talked about getting married after school. But I still have this terrible anxiety that in 40 years we’re going to get a divorce.
How do I stop this feeling? I know 40 years is a long way from now, but it scares the hell out of me. I can’t imagine life alone after being with someone for so long.
My boyfriend and I have amazing communication, which is more important to me than anything else. We never go to bed angry and we listen to each other when we are upset or happy. But how do I stop this feeling of anxiety?
Scared: Keep in mind that the people who write to me are sharing their problems. This is not a statistical predictor of your prospects.
I don’t want to scare you more, but this is what awaits you for the next 40 years: illness, loss, sadness, pain, exhaustion, confusion, anger, pain.
And also be attentive to happiness, joy, beauty, light and charm.
They are all things in life. What Poe called “the fever called living”.
When you marry someone, you literally jump. You love him through it all and you are loved in return. Common sense might stop you, and if so, good for you! But keep in mind that fear is the worst reason not to take the leap.
Keep talking. As long as you do, you’ll be fine.
dear amy: I was moved by the question of “still grieved”, as well as his answer. This man was slowly being surrounded by his disorder, which as they both noted, was a response to his pain.
Retired: I have received many offers of personal help for “Still Grieving”, and although I do not connect readers directly with each other, I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by the generosity.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency