I frequent some forums for mentally ill people. I've also been around them at different times in my life. (and if you are new to this blog, I have schizophrenia, so I also have some personal experience.). One of the things I hear most often on these forums is the wish being expressed for a romantic relationship. Sometimes this is merely a wish for a sexual encounter and sometimes it is the desire for someone to share the struggles we face; to provide security and housing; and just to have someone who understands.
Well. As a person who has been married to the same man for 23 years, I can speak honestly when I say that marriage may not solve any of those problems. A partner can be burnt out; not have a clue what we are going through; not be attracted physically; and can be really disrespectful of their partner's intelligence and their feelings. And there is always the chance that homelessness can occur as well.
And what do you give up when you say "I do," or have someone move in, or even just have a serious relationship?
You give up your right to live your life as you want to....or in the manner that you are able to.
You are now responsible to hold up your end of the bargain as much as possible in sharing of cooking and chores and yardwork...whether you are able to do it or not. You may also be expected to bring home an income. You stand a good chance --unless the partner shares the same mental illness as you do-- of being looked down on as though you are deficient, or less intelligent...even if that is not the case at all. If all you are able to do is to sit and stare at a wall, as has been the case for me at times, don't expect the partner to like it or to understand or even to tolerate it. You may be demeaned. Spoken to harshly. You may be more alone than you ever were when you were really alone.
Now this is not always the case. I know of people, even people who are married to "normals" who have wonderful relationships with their spouses. But I would be pretty close to the truth if I told you that that is the exception rather than the rule. Do not ever be surprised in the heat of an argument if you are called "Crazy" or worse....Do not be surprised if nothing you say has any validity or weight. Do not be surprised when your freedom to make decisions about your care is taken away...
Yeah, sometimes there are good things that come out of a relationship...but you really have to ask yourself if you are willing to gamble with the possibility of having a relationship such as is described above. Is it a chance you are willing to make? If it isn't ...then settle for being friends with someone and leave it at that. Friendships are easier to walk away from if they go bad than are marriages.