Mental Health and Its Role in Relationships

According to a recent survey, four out of five participants said that their mental health has had a negative effect on their relationship. Along with having trouble talking to their significant other, people who are struggling with mental health problems are also scared that their partner will likely leave them after finding out about their condition.

Struggling with mental health also means that you might be unable to be there for your partner when they need you. But by understanding the difficulty of maintaining relationships with mental health issues, you can learn how to solve them and work through your issues. 

Difficulty Maintaining Relationships Because of a Mental Illness 

Many deeper issues can stem as a result of people with a mental illness being in a relationship. While communication is certainly one of them, it is so well known that it overshadows some of the other issues it can cause. Some of these challenges can include: 

Lack of Intimacy 

Intimacy is not limited to a person’s physical needs, but it also refers to a person’s emotional needs. More specifically, the level of intimacy that an individual feels directly speaks to their ability to be vulnerable with their partner. And it is very possible for a relationship to have ample physical intimacy, without much emotional intimacy. In fact, some might even overcompensate their lack of emotional intimacy with their physical counterpart. 

The mental health issues that a person struggles with will often dictate their level of intimacy. Low self-esteem, a fear of being vulnerable, depression, and anxiety all affect your ability to be intimate with the people you love. One of the most effective ways to deal with this issue is through Inpatient Treatment at URP Behavioral Health


Another issue that people who have mental health problems will face during their relationship is codependency. It is possible for depression and anxiety symptoms to be so severe that they are likely to adopt negative behaviors with their partners. Becoming over-reliant on their partners to help with problems and fix issues or denying their needs to focus on their partner. 

In most instances, the self-neglect is simply a result of their inability to communicate their needs and wants to their loved ones. As a result, their feelings of isolation only tend to increase. 

Resentment and Insecurity 

Struggling with a mental health condition means that your thoughts are not grounded in a healthy way. As a result, you can struggle with emotional blind spots, where you cannot think in a positive way. This change of perspective can be so frustrating that it can lead to feelings of shame and regret.  

The resentment can be especially apparent when individuals are unable to follow through on their goals or be there for their significant other. It can also manifest in people who have yet to follow through on their daily house chores or on their self-care routine.

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship despite your Mental Illness 

Relationship distress is also a factor that contributes to poor relationships, as studies show that it can cause substance abuse, personality, and eating disorders. However, it is still possible for people who are struggling with their mental health conditions to maintain a healthy relationship. Here are some of the steps that you can take if you find yourself in a similar position. 

Developing a Support Plan 

Partners can be very supportive when their significant other is struggling with a serious mental health condition. But that is not to say that the partner in question should bear the responsibility of being your only source of support. It is important that you are able to develop healthier coping skills and rely on other family members for help. 

Furthermore, taking this type of pressure off the relationship allows the couple to reconnect and better talk through their issues. 

Practicing Self-Care

Another important stepin building a healthier relationship with your partner is by practicing self-care. The important thing about self-care is that it can help people develop a sense of individuality apart from the relationship they are in. Healing from mental health is often a team effort, and it is important that you become an active participant in it as well. 

Studies have shown that effectively practicing self-care can help better deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression while also being a great way to deal with stress. Practicing self-care can come in the form of light exercise, doing house chores, having a relaxing activity, and eating healthier food. These are just a few of the ways that you can effectively practice self-care.

Setting Boundaries 

To have a healthier relationship with your significant other, it is also important that you are able to set boundaries. Many relationships are off to a rocky start simply because the couple has yet to communicate their expectations to each other. By setting these boundaries, especially early on, both people in the relationship can stay happy and avoid any feelings of disrespect. 

Setting these boundaries can also avoid a lot of confusion, which can allow for a relaxed experience when being around your partner. Furthermore, you should also develop a plan to better deal with a mental health crisis that you both agree upon. 

Getting Therapy 

Finally, one of the most effective ways that you can develop a healthier relationship with your significant other is through therapy. Therapy can look very different for people, and it can often take some time for the benefits to really kick in. However, it can help you better handle your emotions and become a more empathetic partner. 

Remember that first, to improve the relationship, you need to improve yourself. URP Health offers a multitude of services aimed at helping you develop a more positive outlook.  


People with mental health issues often believe that telling their partner about the issues that they are facing will not have a favorable result. However, in the same survey mentioned above, over 70% of participants mentioned that telling their significant other about their mental health issues changed nothing in the relationship. Most partners accepted it and moved on. So, being open with your partner about your mental health is not a bad thing, but you still need to get help with your condition.