A patient of mine has a mentally ill brother who's depressed and anxious, as well as manipulative and stubborn. He often refuses to take medication that's helped him in the past and as a result often ends up lying at home in his bed, unwashed and unkempt, for days at a time. When my friend discovers him in this state, she tries various things: taking him to the ER (which she's learned leads nowhere), contacting his therapist (which sometimes helps, sometimes not), and even walking away, both figuratively and literally. She struggles with how much she may be enabling his behavior and with how unhappy his unhappiness is making her. She vents to me on occasion, and I try to walk a fine line between encouraging her not to give up on him and supporting her decision to protect herself emotionally. Recently, he had a particularly bad episode and it got me wondering: how can we best manage the unhappiness of people we love?
How to get over someone you have to see everyday?My long-term boyfriend told me that my mental health has affected him and he just wants to be friends as though nothing more ever happened. This really hurts me. What should I do?Can or should I ask my significant other to stop talking and to not associate with his ex? If so, how? How do I know if I'm in a toxic relationship?Why are we fighting over small and stupid things?What to do when you feel you are not good enough for someone?He said I was perfect for him, but he chose someone else?I regret breaking up with my ex. What should I do?How to get closure from my ex? I feel I need it.I love two different people. What should I do?
"People mistakenly believe that they shouldn't ask for what they want from their partner, when in actuality it is the best way to communicate and get what you want from your relationship. Your partner shouldn't expect you to meet all their needs—expecting someone to 'complete' you is a romantic idea but not a healthy one. But healthy couples do work together to make sure the most important needs are being met." —Clark

The best route may be to figure out WHY you’re not happy with your husband. You obviously respect and care for him…but you may not be “in love” with him. The thing is, we can’t always feel those passionate love bonds! Husbands and wives can’t possibly sustain the excitement of the first blush of love. They wouldn’t be able to go to work or cope with other aspects of life. So, maybe you don’t love him as a husband right now….but, in most normal healthy marriages, those feelings come and go. Feelings of romantic love do not remain constant.

Expressing the feelings from the masculine point of view is an arduous task for many. In most cases, they do not know how to do it and therefore they are afraid to say what they actually feel in their hearts. We can summarize that the emotional mind of men works very differently than in women, so we have to be aware of this fact all the time since he may be dying inside and we may not realize it.

Hi and thanks for your site. I love it! I’ve been married going on 3 months but have been with my husband for 2 years prior to marriage. I don’t know where to begin. I feel like I am going crazy and I don’t know what to do. I feel that my husband is a good man but we have a lot of issues to work on. I came from an abusive household but my husband didn’t. we both very bad tempers and there has been a lot of mean words said and physical violence on both of our parts. Whenever we argue my husband always brings up my childhood to deflect what it is that I have a problem with even though I’ve asked him not to do this. For example, he works long hours 6 days a week while I go to school 5 days a week 6 hours a day and do all of the household chores including laundry, cleaning, dishes, grocery shopping , and I always have a hot meal prepared for him when he gets home plus getting up early in the morning to make him breakfast and a lunch for work. He does absolutely nothing but work. On his day off he spend 12-16 hours playing videogames. When I asked him when we would spend time together he told me that he wanted to have fun and was playing the game. I asked if he meant that playing a videogame was more fun than hanging out with me and he said yes. Then he proceeded to put me down for not doing the laundry in a timely manner.

Ultimately the key thing here — whether it’s just moodiness or a more serious depression — is that he feels it’s out of his control. I know how it must feel that way, and that depression (if that’s what Katie’s boyfriend has) can create this vicious cycle where you feel hopeless about life — so why take action to fix it? But that first step is acknowledging the problem and perhaps how it’s affecting you and your loved ones and then getting some help. You can help them down the path a little once they get going, but only they can really take that first important step — which is ultimately one of taking responsibility.
Initially when I asked her that she just blew it off quickly and said “I don’t know, but he needs to stop acting like this or else I’M OUT!”. So I made sure to ask her ONE more time to really emphasize the fact that I wanted a legitimate answer. When I did that, her indifference immediately turned to outrage as he wondered why the HELL I was “taking up for him” when she was the emotional victim of his actions. She mumbled something about “men not understanding” and just immediately changed the topic, so I obliged and we began talking about something unrelated. But I really wish we could have let that conversation play out, because there’s one gross misunderstanding some women have about men that I really wanted to clear up for her.
If you are going to be a big enough idiot that you are going to deny your reality and not seek the help you need, I am not going to be a big enough idiot to go down in flames with you.  Doesn’t matter if it is mental illness, addictions, or cancer. I know that may sound harsh, but again, I will not sacrifice my life for someone who will not help themselves.  This is the only life I have!
When you say your "I dos," you're making each other your top priority above anything and anyone else. When you lose that essential part of your marriage, you can lose the person that once meant the world to you. If you're not making your husband a priority in your life anymore — or if he's not making you his — it's going to be really hard to stay a solid unit. Try going back to prioritizing your time together, each other's feelings, and each other's goals to get back into a healthy place before it's too late.
Unlike the previous signs, this one is a bit more subtle, but if you find that your relationship has seemed to stall out, Salkin recommends taking a close look at why that may be. According to her, relationships should progress at a natural pace, going from usual romantic dates to slowly meeting friends and families and going on vacations together. She warns if this isn’t happening, “it's likely that someone is not happy in the relationship, which is preventing it from growing, and that person has some reason they are holding back from allowing it to grow.”

As you've described her (and this isn't necessarily true for everyone who suffers from mental illness), your mom seems capable of appropriate behavior in the right circumstances and therefore is responsible for her behavior. My suggestion is that you and your family examine the attitudes you display about your expectations for her behavior. I suspect, based on your description, that you're all enabling bad behavior on her part. When you stand up and demand, via your actions, good behavior, if a person is capable of delivering it, they often do. You might find this link helpful: http://www.happinessinthisworld.com/2009/10/18/how-to-communicate-with-your-life/
I don't think that you're suggestions are going to be too popular....we have a throw away society. Anything that doesn't fit or work as expected is junked right away and replaced, relationships included. And taking kids into account? Forget about it! It seems like they are the very last ones to be thought of by a party seeking divorce, thought that could only just that, a seeming. People in our culture are taught to be very self-centered now-a-days, that ones personal happiness is all that counts.

Thank you, Alex, for your prompt response! Yes, I can see in my husband a world of hunger...never quite getting what he wants to make him happy. Sadly, I haven't helped - he wants to spend a lot of money on a new recliner so he can read his books. I ask him if it will make him happy, and he says yes, and alas, of course, in due time, it does not, which really shouldn't surprise me.
I’ve been in a relationship for three years now. I’m currently 19 years old. At 16 I fell in love with the most amazing man. In the months before we met I had been experimenting with drugs, ecstasy. I had become highly addicted (a couple pills a day). I needed help. At my rock bottom he saved me. I sobered up. Unfortunately, in the months following I started having extreme panic attacks, which I blame on my previous drug use. Due to this I was hospitalized. I wanted to die. I was put on Prozac for depression. But even through all that he remained my biggest fan. In the year following this things were wonderful. We’d talk for hours. Three months after my 18th birthday and four months after his 21st birthday we were married. We had a small wedding at my parents home. Sadly, one month after getting married the physical abuse started. He pushed me onto the floor then he’d throw things at me it quicky escalated from there. The break down of our relationship blame on the fact that I was working two jobs at the time I was at work an average of 13 hours a day. I was also a full time college student. He worked a hard labor job. We were always tired and never saw each other. At the time we were living at his dads house. Eventually I could not take it anymore. I moved out and we were separated for three months. During our “separation” we saw each other almost everyday. We remained intimate. Eventually we reconciled. We got an apartment together and everything was great. It felt like a fresh start. But before the ink was even dry on the contract I found out through his Facebook that he had been denying to random girls and old girlfriend that he was even married! He even went as far as to tell an ex he loved her and that if she would of still lived in our hometown he would married her instead of me. She in turn told him she didn’t care if he was married and sent naked pictures through email. I feel apart and packed my things. Somehow he convinced me to stay. During our separation I also turned to a guy that I had a past with. We had been friends through out the years and I wanted a man’s point of view on who was right and wrong on certain arguments that my husband and I have had. That’s was all. He developed feelings for me. Out of fear that my husband would think wrong of me I deleted all messages and denied everything. It was the worst decision I ever made. Eventually he found out and to this day he swears I had an affair. I DID NOT. After this our relationship went even further down hill. He started smoking meth. He has had this addiction for about six years. Which I thought was under controlled but obviously not. By this time we had been married ten months. He wasn’t sleeping at all. He became very paraniod and violent with me. One night he had me cornered in our kitchen. He was hitting me on the head. After months of abuse I finally had enough. He was wearing a shirt I had bought him. It was his favorite shirt. I decided I’d cut a hole in it so he could never wear it again. In the process I got a small cut on my hand and his. He slapped me harder then I had ever been hit in the face. Two minutes later the police was there. We both tried to down play each others involvement but it didn’t work. We were both arrested for domestic abuse. After bailing out I wanted to get help for him. We dropped our lives and moved to California with his mom. While we were out their we reconnected. He sobered up. Soon we moved back home. The problems and struggles of daily life got to us once again. We still haven’t been able to rebuilt any trust. At this time we have been married one year five months. The physical abuse is still going on. He is extremely remorseful after he hits me. We no longer sleep in the same bed, we are rarely intimate, we have as little communication as possible and he also refuses to delete naked pictures from his email! I dont know what to do I love this man. I feel that he is depressed. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I want to help him. I love him with all my heart and i know deep inside he is a great man. I feel that their is love for me as well in him. In my comment I know it seems I am placing all blame on him but I have many faults of my own. I’m not ready to give on my marriage I need advise! I do not have money to get professional help. Any comments welcomed.
Do I believe I made mistakes in that relationship? You betcha! Was I the best wife I could have been? Absolutely not! And for that I am sorry. But I also had to understand that all the blame could not be placed on my shoulders. Sometimes, often times, that’s what we women do. We take the blame for bad situations, and we wonder what we could have done to prevent them. 
I have also felt the need for external validation, but for my social skills rather than my happiness. When I was young, I was thought of as socially awkward. I never fully believed that, but I also knew I had no evidence to prove otherwise… because outside of my family, I was just not good at getting what I wanted from other people. And so, I became highly dependent on others’ validation for both confirmation and development of my people skills. Every rejection and “no” felt like more than just an ordinary setback. I came to see other people as,… Read more »
“It may be difficult to face the issues that you and your spouse are struggling with, but research suggests that couples who can manage to stay together usually end up happier down the road than couples who divorce,” writes Dr. Deborah Hecker on Should You Divorce or Save Your Marriage? “If partners choose to invest in their relationship and make needed changes instead of repeating their mistakes, they might be able to avoid an unnecessary divorce. And if they do finally decide to divorce, their personal work in couples therapy might increase their chance of a successful marriage next time.”
Evan, I’m de-lurking to say this post is BRILLIANT. Thank you a million times over for this! I’ve been feeling sad since dumping a moody guy last month, and this is just what I needed to hear. You’ve helped me feel so much better about my decision. I hear a lot of my male friends complain about dating women who are “downers,” but rarely do I hear my female friends complain about moody men, so I was torturing myself about dumping this guy. I wanted to believe he’d snap out of it, but he didn’t, so… goodbye and good luck to him. Thank you, Evan, for your perspective as someone who has “been there,” and thank you for reminding women that we deserve better.
Absolutely right, Arakiba. And our lack of emotional confidence shows up in many ways and places. It seems to be most triggered in our intimate relationships where we’re not getting our most urgent needs met. The specific ways men and women express that pain are very, very different. I teach men how to break through that pain and create what they want instead.

My problem is I’m not able to reason with her at all over the last few years, only if it’s in line with what she thinks is right. I’ve reached a point where I can’t go on arguing over stupid things because it’s at the point that I can’t deal with it and I don’t even care if my life ended. I have some health issues as well. By no means am I saying it’s always her fault, but I’m sick of it. If she told me to leave I would just to have a piece of mind. She doesn’t want me to have a dog, which I’ve had in the past,she gets upset over basically nothing and has an attitude till I apologize for something that wansnt even my fault. I’m not perfect by any means. This is a a very SMALL idea of want I have to deal wIth daily.
I have a moody boyfriend, and it seems that just about anything negative that happens in his life can get him in a bad mood. He doesn’t get mean, or anything scary. He just backs away, and stays there, sometimes for days.  Sometimes I just ignore it, go about my business, and wait for him to re-emerge. But other times, it affects me negatively, like when we have plans and he now “doesn’t feel up to it”.
This is just a good standard practice in a relationship, and it’s great for nudging a loved one out of a slump. It involves really seeing them, the contributions they make, and highlighting them. If your partner works long hours and then takes on a lot of the work at home in the evenings so that you can pursue your passions, acknowledge them for that. If they’re giving of their time and patience with your family, let them know you notice that.
Now, it must be said: If you really make it your job to make your partner happy and he (or she) exploits your efforts or never truly reciprocates — never meeting your love with love — you may be in a deal breaker scenario. Despite your best efforts, you may be with someone who is unable or unwilling to love you back and you will probably need to terminate the relationship.
My husband is the quiet reserved type – one of the things that initially attracted me to him almost 19 years ago. however, looking back now he has always remained detached from me throughout our marriage – we have a wonderful family of 5 children and for the past four years have become so distant from each other that we dont even talk. There is no arguing, so the kids dont see verbal violence, but they are not silly – they know there is a cold war raging in our home.
"I think it's very important for people to recognize that there are very few things that cannot be worked on in a relationship, and even repaired and resolved," Walfish says. (Think about how many couples can even work past cheating). But if a partner isn’t willing to work on improving your relationship, that’s a clear sign of trouble. After all, she says, "working on a relationship requires two willing participants. That means both partners have to be open to looking at their own stuff."
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