Dear Cheated On

This post is for the reader who came to my blog using the search term “can a mental illness cause a man to cheat”. Don’t worry, I don’t know who you are. I don’t even know if you followed my blog once you got here. But I hope that this post will reach you.

I don’t know your story and I don’t know your partner’s but I do know this: mental illness or not, your partner does not have the right to hurt you. Mental illness is not a “free pass” to do as we please to those we love or to those who love us.

Perhaps you are searching for a way to explain away a recent betrayal. I can understand that only too well. Regardless of the situation please know that your partner is not more important than you. Your emotions and needs are just as important as his. And you need to take care of you.

Living with a mentally ill partner can be exhausting and emotionally demanding. It’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to need help. Its okay to need give-and-take. It’s okay to need. If you need to talk about you and how you can cope with your partner’s illness please seek out a counsellor or a support group. Please value yourself as equal to your partner. Never let another person devalue you or reduce you to a secondary character in your own life story.

Dear Cheated On

Take Care

Today’s Daily Prompt is: When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?

My boyfriend says I don’t need him. He believes that if he walked out tomorrow I wouldn’t care. And in some ways he’s right.

If he walked out tomorrow, I’d be okay. I have come back from my lowest point, dragging myself kicking and screaming from rock bottom, and it has given me an odd strength. A kind of zen. I know that, no matter what, I will be okay. If I can survive those dark days then I can survive anything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t stare into the face of adversity screaming “bring it on” – I’m desirous of a quiet life with some measure of contentment. But knowing that I have survived when all I wanted to do was give up, gives me a sense of calm about the future and more importantly, about things that I cannot change.

If my boyfriend left me tomorrow I would be devastated, but I would not die. If I lost my job tomorrow I would be disappointed, but I would not crumble. If a family member was diagnosed with an illness I would be worried, but I would not go under. Knowledge is power. Knowledge that you are strong is the most powerful of all. I would not trade my own faith in my ability to survive for anything.

The thing that I think my boyfriend doesn’t understand about all of this is that giving me the space to reconfirm my own strength is his gift to me. Of course I know he’s there. Of course I know he supports me. I need him. I need him every day. Not to shoulder my burdens, but to silently watch me shoulder them, ready to catch me if I should fall.

Take Care