Schizophrenia and Relationships: What You Need to Know

July 18, 2017 Guest Author

It can be difficult to be in a relationship with someone with schizophrenia. Read tips on having a successful relationship with one with schizophrenia.Relationships with schizophrenia are complicated. When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a lot of things suddenly made sense and a lot of things were instantly out of place. For instance, my relationship with friends and family got complicated. As first, I didn't know if I should tell them. I was afraid of how they might react. The same was true for meeting new people. When do I tell them? Should I tell them? What if I scare them away? The word "schizophrenia" carries a stigma after all. Stacked on top of this was the fact that I have always been more of an introvert by nature. Being told I was schizophrenic didn't help. Instead, it became a justification for me to withdraw and refrain from being social. My relationships have been altered by my schizophrenia.

I'm better about it now.

Understanding what's happening and why and having the unconditional love and support of my family, really gave me the courage to get over everything and be really open about it. As it turns out, I am not alone. If you have been diagnosed, or know someone who is schizophrenic, the following might help helpful.

Studying the Facts About Relationships and Schizophrenia

You see, I happen to be one of 2.2 million adults who suffer with this brain disorder. That means I am one part of a large number of people who at times experience these schizophrenia symptoms:

  • Cannot easily distinguish what's real from what is fantasy
  • Have trouble managing their emotions
  • Find it hard to make decisions
  • Have a hard time thinking clearly
  • Find it generally difficult to relate to people

And yes, while it can be debilitating, schizophrenia is treatable. I have found that I can manage schizophrenia best with the support of my doctor, friends and family. Nurture relieves the pressure and stigma attached to the disorder.

At the time of my diagnosis of schizophrenia, I was also in a relationship. My girlfriend at the time didn’t understand what was happening to me. So, this encouraged me to find out more about how schizophrenia generally affects relationships and actually write about it.

My girlfriend didn’t understand why I seemed to become more and more antisocial.

Social Skills Relationships and Schizophrenia

The first thing you must understand is that schizophrenia drastically affects our social skills.

  • We become introverted to the point where we would rather not speak to anyone.
  • We could notice extreme changes in our behavior. (For instance, we might have trouble with everyday tasks like bathing and dressing.)
  • We can be very irritable at times.
  • We lack motivation with no reason attached.
  • Sometimes we experience hallucinations or delusions

While my relationship ended after a while – probably because I was too young at the time – the fact that she stayed around helped a lot. I cannot really imagine what it must feel like to be the partner in a relationship with a schizophrenic.

However, if you are that person, then you need to understand what helped me and probably my girlfriend, too, was to communicate openly, to share and express our feelings and to make sure our mental health was as balanced as possible.

While it can be challenging to be in a relationship with someone who is very unpredictable, and, at times, unstable, many schizophrenics, such as the brilliant Elyn Saks, have held loving long-term relationships.

Relationships with Schizophrenia Are Possible

Don't let schizophrenia wilt your existing relationships or keep you from pursuing new ones. It doesn't have to. There are many examples and great resources available to help you on your journey. So long as you are willing to put in the work and accept help when offered, you have nothing to fear.

This post was written by:

Mike Jones is a blogger and healthy living promoter. His own struggles have ignited the spark to move past negative diagnostics, stigma, and rejection and focus on natural remedies and a great fitness routine. To learn more about the condition affecting not only his mental health but each and every relationship he had, Mike put together Find Mike on Twitter.

To be a guest author on the Your Mental Health Blog, go here.

APA Reference
Author, G. (2017, July 18). Schizophrenia and Relationships: What You Need to Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Guest Author

October, 27 2019 at 8:28 pm

My boyfriend was diagnosed with schizophrenia before we met, and he told me after he had an episode that landed him in the hospital, about three months into our relationship. After explaining, he gave me an out, said he'd understand if I couldn't handle it, and it was okay if I broke up with him. I didn't. Recently, he had another episode, and it was the first time I witnessed him experiencing his symptoms, and it was scary, yeah. He ended up in the hospital again, and I felt the most worry I'd ever felt. And people keep thanking me for everything I do for him, thanking me for being with him, telling me I'm brave and strong etc. etc., and all I can think, is, why? He's a wonderful human being who happens to have a mental illness; he isn't violent, even in his episodes, and I only worry about his own safety. I love him. Of course I'm going to care for him. I'm still figuring out how to do that, and how to care for myself at the same time. It's not easy all the time, and it won't be easy at times in the future. But I'm trying to educate myself more (hence me finding this article), and my boyfriend is agreeing to let me help him and keep him accountable, and I know he can live a somewhat normal life with the right support if he continues to be open and honest and take steps to care for his mental health. Anyway, I just needed to write this out, and I'm glad I found this article.

April, 17 2022 at 3:00 am

I know this is few years old, now, but as a schizoaffective, I still hope that I'll find someone to love me like this. It has been very lonely. Any relationship that I have attempted in the past has resulted in the ex-girlfriend leaving because it got too difficult for them. I don't blame them.
Here's hoping, someday.

Paula green
September, 21 2019 at 7:10 am

I was wlth a schizophrenic for 30 years I done everything for him he was in and out of hospital s now he's in a rehab cause he blow a block of flats up were he was living and to people died and had burns he wouldn't take take his medication and he's in a place with the authority when he went to court I stud by him all the way he's been there for 16years and I still stud by him now he said were finished in a text never ever be a mug again it was like walking on egg shall when I was with him

Gloria Santana
November, 6 2019 at 10:42 am

My ex bf was schizophrenia , he stopped taking his meds and relapsed. One day he decided to packed his things and just lefted after being in a 14 yr relationship. I knew he was schizophrenic and stood by him through All those years.we have no control of their mental illness. They need to also want the help as well.

September, 5 2019 at 12:15 am

Hi I'm in a relationship with a paranoid. Psychizophrenic and he has had 4 outbursts in public hurt my arm twice bruises from grab information it. I'm really scared now if I leave he will attempt suicide or hurt me. Need advice please. Thx rose I can't handle his abuse and lies and proposing then I buy my wedding dress and he says doesn't remember proposing.ughhh I was upset I paid big dollars for my dress . Sorry just upset. Any advice would be helpful.

August, 26 2019 at 9:32 pm

Hello, I have Schizophrenia and I'm also drug resistant but the main reason I wanted to write a reply was because my partner is constantly telling me that I obviously don't care about him or us because I overly spend his money and we can never save up. I don't mean to spend over the limit I don't realise I do. He keeps saying to not apologize for my behaviour because my apologies mean nothing to him. We've been together for almost 3 years and as the years passed he's become more and more angry at me. I don't know what to do. Is there a reason why I'm not understanding him and what I'm doing wrong? I've been well for 8 months but still nothing I do is enough. I love I'm so much but I feel like he's going to give up on me.. it already feels like he has. When he mentioned my weight he straight up told me he doesn't think I could. I'm broken. Please someone explain.

August, 19 2019 at 5:45 pm

My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years. We had, what I thought was an amazing relationship and would frequently talk about our future. I would share my frustrations with him about his anxieties and his lack of understanding but we could always communicate. He recently discovered a mistake on my part which I find trivial and insignificant but he cannot move past it. During our conversation about this (our first real fight), he tells me he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he cant handle what is going on. He didnt know if we should continue, he didnt seem to know what to do. He seemed to want to talk everyday but put our relationship on hold. I have some trauma issues and he wanted me to deal with that and then we would reassess our relationship. that arrangement was too hard for me and I decided if I was to take care of myself, I couldn't reopen the wound of not being with him with every text he would send. We arranged to take a 3 month break with no contact but I worry I am not taking care of him.

Connie Jones
May, 8 2019 at 10:47 pm

I was married to my college sweet heart I never had an indication that this man was as I believe now is a paranoid schizophrenia and never told me anything and we got married I was physically,mentally,sexual on a daily basis the last straw was he beat me so bad and always thought that I knew the people that was messing over him I didn't understand and now I do and I'm still dealing with the horror of the aftermath of his abuse and him and his family kept this from me and if I would have known what I know now I would have never got involved with him

March, 16 2019 at 9:29 am

I am profoundly in love with my exwife ..and always have been. I want to be with her but I get frustrated. Her words such as I love u very rarely match her actions which of course lead to doubt on my part. How can i reconcile this and move her and be supportive of her and get frustrated? I feel lost.

May, 24 2019 at 10:27 pm

I’m going through the exact same things and I want to support him but I don’t believe when he says he loves me because he once told me he wasn’t afraid to lose me and that everyone is scared of being alone so is he using me? Idk maybe, should I take time on this

July, 2 2018 at 4:04 am

I'm here because, I am trying to figure out if my ex boyfriend was schizophrenic. Few of the symptoms match.
I have dated him for 4 years and a year ago, he became very different. He will ask me to not stay in short shorts around the house because people might see me from the outside or he often would look in the window if there's somebody.
He watched conspiracy theories and believed in all of them, when the solar eclipse happened, he said its the end of the world. He started to believe there's no sun and the government tries to lie us.
He says, people are watching or recording him. He thinks people are making fun of him.
He says for a lot of people that they are gay or lesbians including me.
There was a show we watched together, it was called ' The Truman Show' and he said he is the caracter of that movie and how his life its a show and people watch it.
While we were together, he stopped having intimacy with me and his reason was he wants now to wait until we are married.
After a while he broke up with me because he said we are all brothers and sisters and relationships are against God. He said, he wants to be like mother Theresa and Jesus, not married or in a relationship. Later he says, he was trying to figure it out if that's true. Then he changed the reason of our break up, he said that Im insecure and jealous and I need to work on these in order to be back together, but in meantime he found a new girl while we lived together. We were still sharing the bed and living a life completely together. He wouldn't care to come home with all bite bruises from his new girl. He would often judge me even if I itched my nose he thought I am giving signals to people, they way he acts towards me is as he hates me but he says he loves everyone. He started to have very much interest in religion and he put stickers in his car about God. In social media, he makes posts of motivation and tells to everyone he loves them and they are beautiful while with me he is terrible and mean. He also was controlling, he didn't want me to wear tight clothes and open ones.
He left to many jobs and starts a new one, in the time he kicked me out from our apartment, I was the only one working and paying bills. He tells me, his new girl likes me and she is lesbian, then later he told me he was saying that to make me upset. His behavior it's very confusing and I don't understand what is wrong with him.
I hope someone could help me understand

Alij Mongor
November, 9 2018 at 2:10 pm

Hi Lola. I’m studying a degree in psychology.
I don’t believe that your ex-boyfriend has schizophrenia. I’m no medical doctor, however, I do think that he may have borderline personality disorders (BPD). Symptoms include paranoia, emotional detachment (including from himself), confusion, impulsive behaviour and contradictory feelings such as his drastic shift on his beliefs on sex, telling you that he loves you then shortly after degrading and portraying intense negative feelings towards you etc. He also displays intense, short-term anxiety, hostility, irritability, insecurities and identity issues. People with borderline personality disorders are often in poor, Intense, and unstable abusive relationships. The fact that he admitted to lying about his girlfriend liking you may be indicative of his fear of being abandoned in the sense that he may be trying to put in the effort to not lose you or he may simply fear loosing both you and his girlfriend to each other. Feeling rejected, neglected and relationship conflicts can trigger fear of abandonment. This results in the individual with BPD creating a negative perception of the other person, fighting and sometimes begging and threatening self-harm.

February, 20 2018 at 4:55 am

Hi i was just reading your story and i am going through the same exact thing with my boyfriend.
He to is getting in to things he will laugh with him self just out the blue and make a very big mess.
There is much more that is being done like he says he loves me and then the next min.he dosent even talk whith me or even know i am there and he becomes distance from me and shows signs like he dont care about us .
Well with that being said i do t have to put up with it but i do love him and i know even if he says (no) that he needs me so i stay with him and help him the best way i can and what i do with my boyfriend that helps him and i about his issues is i tell him i am in love with him exactly how he is and for him not to change to be him self and that I will be here for him no matter what.
There is one thing that i do know is they are already feeling bad when they can't even control the things that they do and they tell you that they are really trying,but to the other person it looks like they are doing the things on purpose and they really not
What I do is say I love you and i am very proud that you are trying and it helps me out little by little you will see a difference it just takes time and time is mostly all I have now well that is all I can tell you on what helps me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 15 2018 at 2:31 pm

That being said really helped i didn't know how to handle it or what to do with my bf but what you said really help put it in perspective

January, 30 2019 at 3:13 am

Bless you ladies for putting in the time and effort to help those that have schizophrenia. If you ever decide it's too much, don't feel bad... just to love someone with schizophrenia is heroic. But one has to wonder... Do people with schizophrenia get better? We actually do get better if we take our meds and see a therapist. The key word here is "better." There is no cure for schizophrenia. To put it bluntly, our brains are simply impaired. I've taken antipsychotic and antidepressant medications for 16 years. I'm stable, but I still have a hard time with relationships and being social. Just recently, I realized that the medications I take make me sexually dysfunctional. I mean, I've known for a couple of years that a significant side effect of my medications is sexual dysfunction, but I didn't realize how much involvement it had in severely blocking me from being social. We know that sexuality has a major part in everyday life (for those whose parts are in working order). Without it, we're not healthy. This horrible side effect from the medications may explain a lot to those in struggling relationships. The solution? I don't know for sure. There are many different supplements out there that increase a person's desire for sex, libido, stamina, etc. I wish that there were medications out there that can make me as stable as I am now, but don't cause sexual dysfunction. Does anyone know for sure?

September, 20 2017 at 9:15 pm

Sounds like she has been through alot, just love her... you don't need to label her!

July, 24 2017 at 11:01 am

I have custody of my granddaughter that has been missed diagnosed many times for different things and finally I helped her get those fixed . This problem she has now she has been in hospital many times . She has been treated for the bipolar but no quite sure if that is the problem due to many years she has been treated for that and none of the stimulation is working . I started ready about Schizophrenia and see this may be her struggle . She hears voices , she talks at times that do not make since , no feeling about losing anything or care about being pushed . Through fits to hear the word no . Go off the handle for no reason . Damage things . Lie. take things do not belong to her . Make friends but cant keep them . Poor Hygiene and the worse she looks the better she likes . Can someone help me to get her on the right path ?

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