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My psychologist told me to leave my partner

Community Member

I am seeing a new psychologist for my anxiety. After two sessions she came to the conclusion that I have a controlling mother in law and my partner does not put me as a priority in his life (she hasn't met him or had him participate in any sessions).

Her conclusions were partly spot on especially about the mother in law, and she was correct in saying this is where some of anxiety stems from. I was happy we figured out where some of anxiety stems from...now to work on strategies. We didn't work on any strategies. She told me I have two options...stay in the relationship, suck it up and watch my mental health decline further....or end the relationship to save my mental health.

as you can imagine I was in shock. I never thought to end my relationship. I'm happy and I love him. I argued with her and justified that I love my partner and want to fix things. But hearing my mental health will improve if I let go was too good to hear. I was confused and didn't know what to do. I love my partner but I need help with my mental wellbeing. I also have the mentality that when someone is "broken", you don't throw it away, you fix it. I just didn't understand that someone advised me to end my relationship. Seemed a bit over the top, especially when we hadn't try any other strategy first.

when I left the session I was hysterical. I stayed at my parents that night. They said my psychologist was putting things in my mind and days before seeing her I was perfectly fine mentally. I had a huge meltdown where I hit myself, ripped my hair out and threatened to hurt myself. I haven't had a meltdown like this in 5 years. i guess my question is....can psychologists tell someone to end their relationship?

Only after two sessions, without hearing more about my life and relationship and without hearing my partners side of the story. She did have some truth behind it but she didn't seem to respect my wish to work on it rather than giving up after 6 years together.

my partner and I spoke about everything. Things are good but what my psychologist said is still playing on repeat in my mind. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi missbeckz,

I'm not really qualified so please just take my suggestions as...thoughts, rather than advice. But i don't feel like it was right of your psychologist to put that ultimatum in front of you. It is terrifying and they should know better than just to put it so bluntly.

Also, like you said, there had been no suggestion of seeking couple counselling which is somethign I would've thought would be an option to try and help your partner see what his treatment of you is doing and how you feel about it.

Have you been back to the psychologist to explain how you feel? Perhaps an email to explain that you felt like they hadn't listened to you or respected your wishes. If they are unreceptive to that, I think a different psychologist might be a good way to go.

It sounds to me like you know what needs to be done - you and your partner need to get some help together, but if he is unwilling to change, you might need to reconsider what you really want in a relationship. His mother should not part of this relationship.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello missbeckz, I'm going to play devil's advocate (as I suspect your psychologist may have been).

There is a saying, "the truth will set you free, but first it may **** you off".

I find it interesting that you had such a strong reaction to the idea of leaving your partner. I don't think you would have reacted so strongly if you didn't in your heart of hearts think that this was an option on the table.

Two sessions is plenty of time to hear what's going on in your life, from your perspective. Was it really an ultimatum you were being given, or was it two options? To see how you might react to the possibility of the relationship ending?

We're not privy here to the content of those two sessions. Perhaps your psychologist thought, from the picture you painted, that things were irretrievable and/or you were unwilling or unable to make changes. One thing you are in control of, of course, is whether to stay.

At least it sounds like the sessions with your psychologist have had the effect (intended or not) of getting you to speak to your partner openly and start setting some boundaries and discussing what your needs are going forward. What did your partner say about your feelings towards his priorities, and the way his MIL treats you?

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Missbeckz, mmmm is what I can only say at the moment, but don't forget that his mother would play a huge part here in influencing what your partner does or what he shouldn't do, so nothing will improve unless he lets go of his mother, because she will always be telling him what needs to do and what he has to ignore, and when this happens there can never be a comfortable relationship between the two of you if mummy is sticking her nose into everything.
You don't have to end the relationship because you love him, and remember 'two's company three's a crowd' and if he can't let go of mummy then the r/ship will not survive.
She is only confusing everything, because at the moment whatever you tell your partner his mummy will want to know what you have said, then agree or disagree, and when she doesn't like what you have said he is then brain washed into believing her, because she knows best, that's a real problem.
A discussion between the two of you should stay between you both, and not his mummy. Geoff. x

Community Member

Thank you for taking time out of your day to reply to my post.

I guess my intense reaction was because I knew deep down that everything the psychologist said to me was true. But I also knew that leaving the relationship was not a decision I wanted to make. I was in conflict. Yes I wanted to improve my mental health, but no I did not want to end my relationship. I felt like I was stuck with just two options, and there were no other answers.

My intense reaction was not surprising. I actually went to the psychologist to gain help with my emotions...and to learn strategies to stop myself from going from zero to one hundred in a second when it comes to an emotional event, conflict, chaos etc. So I guess I need to still work on that. I didn't look at what the psychologist said in a logical way......it was emotionally fueled.

After the therapy session, I rang my partner and said I wasn't coming home until I felt better. He wanted me home straight away and for us to talk and work on things. He knows me very well. As you can imagine he was quite taken back by what the psychologist said in regards to leaving the relationship. He felt he had been judged too quickly and she hasn't seen the whole picture of our relationship. In our 6 years together things have been bloody fantastic for 98% of the time. Yes we have had our ups an downs but we actively worked through it together. I was also confused as my first session my psychologist said she was impressed by my partner and that he seems to have his head screwed on properly when it comes to life. The next session, it was like he was the worst person in the world. I felt like she was reading the wrong client folder.

Throughout our discussion, I expressed the truth behind my psychologist stating that he didn't put me number one. My partner agreed. But he said it is not about being priority 1, 2, 3. It's not about the numbers. He is trying hard to balance his priorities in life- himself, me, our relationship, career, family, friends etc. My partner also expressed that he feels like I don't prioritise him. Which is true. I constantly have my face in a screen or I', obsessing over my job (I'm a school teacher). So we worked together on some strategies- limited screen time especially after 5pm, leave work on time and try not to bring work home etc.

I am reaching word limit, so I will continue my reply in another post.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hello missbeckz, good to hear back from you. This all sounds like very good news. I believe that every relationship issue ultimately comes down to a breakdown of or failure to communicate. You've both cleared that hurdle. As for the psychologist seeming to change tack in the second session, perhaps that's a reflection of your 0-100 emotional flare-ups, as described. I know there are certain triggers which can get me into a state where everything seems like a disaster, even though, as you say, most of the time things are ok. Perhaps you could talk to your psychologist about distress tolerance techniques?

Community Member

It is not a one way street and we both have things we can improve within ourselves and in our relationship. Leaving the relationship is a quick fix.

We also spoke about marriage. He wants to marry me and vice versa. He is a quiet man, socially awkward and doesn't like being the center of attention. He spoke of his desire to elope, something I didn't know he felt strongly about. He is worried about the "hoo ha" when the ring goes on my finger and is afraid of how his mother is going to act. She will be controlling and want what she wants etc. He wants the special day to be about me and him- no frills, no stress. However, we both want to celebrate with our families and have a reception like event afterwards. A couple of our friends have done the elopement wedding and it is perfect for us. It was so nice to get everything of our chests and realise we are on the same page as each other when it comes to life and life events. We work well together. We are happy together. We will move forwards together.

As for his mother you ask? We spoke about her, and he agrees 100% that she is controlling. She has been like this with him since he was born. He said that he is aware of her treatment of me and has spoken to her about boundaries and backing off. My partner is very strong and is able to tell her when enough is enough. He also has the confidence or "balls" to tell her no, which is something that we both agreed that I need to work on. Both boys in the family are like that. They stand their ground and they can say no to her because they have had 30 odd years dealing with her. My partner and I discussed strategies to help me to say no to her and to stand up for myself. And I believe with practice, I will be able to do that in my own kind way. My partner also agreed that her controlling ways have gotten worse in the last 6 months as there is a bit of family drama (my partner's brother is going through a separation after 2 years of marriage). We both believe she is struggling with the separation and because she can not control the situation, she is turning to other outlets.

In the end, our talk went well. We had a lovely weekend together and things look better than ever. I must admit, the words from the psychologist are still going around and around in my head, making me feel sick. I am trying to control that, but I'm obsessing over my thoughts. I will be seeing her around on Wednesday and will be more head strong, because I know what I want in life.


dear Missbeckz, that's what I had hoped you would say that your partner is strong enough to stand his ground with his mother.
You know when we go and see our psych they may tell us what we don't want to hear, and then you try and rationlise whether what has been said is right or wrong, or could it be they are trying to shock you into believing that all you have to do is reinforce and strengthen your initial thoughts.
There is a reason why this has been said to you and sometimes it's not for the obvious as it may seem to be, but get to think. Geoff.