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Is my partner's mental health hurting our relationship or is our relationship hurting my partner's mental health?

Community Member

Hey Everyone

Just looking for some advice, direction, opinions and thoughts.

I could write forever but I'll try to keep it short.

At a glance, my partner and I have been together for 3.5 years. He is an asylum seeker and has been on a TPV for 6 years. We both come from very traumatic childhoods (emotionally and physically abusive). Our relationship hasn't been easy as we both have unhealthy relationship habits. However, we have been to couples counselling and have grown a lot and stopped a lot of the heavier unhealthy habits (control issues, anger issues, some physical abuse).

We got engaged last year but once that happened everything went downhill. He proposed but then became resentful of being engaged. He has control issues due to being excessively controlled as a child. Things climaxed and we broke up. He came back and wanted to talk and we decided to give it another go. We both agreed to call off the wedding because we weren't ready and still had to deal with our childhood trauma.

For the last year, he has been saying he's not OK. Feeling low, wanting to take recreational drugs more frequently, anger issues. The recent federal election was a serious blow for us in terms of visas. Another 3 years of stress, concern and anxiety. I have been encouraging him to seek help but he finds it hard to be motivated.

I am also feeling overwhelmed. I work in community services and I also deal with chronic pain. As a result I have had to quit sport and exercise and have put on weight and I am also a emotional eater. Calling off the wedding was really hard for me. I was 100% in but my partner never showed my enthusiasm at one point saying I wasn't allowed to mention the wedding. We had invites sent out and I ordered a dress which was delivered a few weeks ago. We called off the wedding in February. The dress arriving was really hard for me and he didn't seem to get it.

After we broke up in February and got back together, we moved into a new rental for a fresh start and gave it another go. I really tried to change my communication strategies but my partner seemed more distant and disconnected. His became violent again on a few occasions (smashed his phone and some plates on another occasion.)

More details in first reply below.

2 Replies 2

Community Member
This all came to a head 3 weeks ago when we had a fight and both blew up, he said we should end things. He said he didn't feel anything, not necessarily me but he said he didn't feel anything about everything in his life. He had no drive and motivation. I told him that I wasn't ready to let everything that we had been through go because we had grown so much and can grow more but he needs to address his mental health. So we decided again to hold onto to things for a couple more months.
I know things aren't going well for us and I can see that things look pretty obvious of not lasting. I love this guy, he has a lot of flaws but he is also a really good person. We're very supportive of each other and have a lot of fun in life. But he is so low at the moment, his words.

Is it possible that his mental health is overall impacting this relationship and if he gets the right help things could get better or at this stage am I better to let him go. I'm trying so hard to make it work but I'm also emotionally sensitive and feeling that disconnection is really painful.
Has anyone had a similar experience and once their or their partners mental health was addressed, things got easier?

Thanks in advance for any input.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Jmemaree~

Welcome to the Forum. Despite all the difficulties it sounds like both you and your partner realy do want to be together, thogh just at the moment might not be the ideal time to get married. You asked if it was MH hurting the relationship or the reverse.

I think I might look at it a different way. True you both have had very difficult lives in the past, and that does make an awful big difference to how one feels and trusts in a relationship, however the whole thing is overlaid by an extreme stress - the matter of the TPV, which will have a profound effect on your partner, his mental health and outlook. Also on you.

I would suggest that he needs competent medical support to deal with his depression and his reaction to his circumstances, irrespective of any effect of the relationship, though I guess as he becomes more able to cope things may well improve there too.

Feeling nothing about everything in his life, and no motivation sounds a lot like myself when very depressed, and it was not, in my case, a true indication of my feelings which were masked by the illness. As I improved my feelings returned.

So may I suggest you encourage him in every way to seek medical support and to stick with it - for his own sake. He really needs to learn boundaries and deal with his anger in a non-violent way.

You are going though a very stressful time too, trying to deal with an on-again-off-again relationship, as well as your physical hassles and the great disappointments you have undergone. You also mention feeling overwhelmed and eating in a way that might be considered a disorder.

May I ask if you are undergoing medical care at the moment, I don't mean just for your physical pain but your mental and emotional welfare too?

I'd suggest if you are not then now would be the right time to see your GP in an extended session and explain all that has happened, including the matters from the past that have affected you.

Do you have anyone in your life to support and care for you ? A family member or friend perhaps? Trying to deal wiht all this in isolation is very hard.

I hope oyu return here and talk some more