There are unrealistic expectations we set in relationships on both ourselves and others. One major issue is that we expect ourselves to be able to fix someone else. If you keep letting yourself believe this, you’re only setting yourself up for unhappiness. Your partner may have issues, but you probably do too. You should do what you can to love, support and help them, but you shouldn’t put their needs before your own.
This is especially true if someone suffers from a mental illness or substance abuse issues. When the recent news broke about Mac Miller’s death by apparent overdose, people were quick to blame his ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande. However, you can’t hold someone else accountable for another person’s issues. It’s heartbreaking that someone so young died in such a tragic way, but our first reaction, instead of pointing fingers at his partner or ex-partner, should be to realize that these things are no one’s fault. You shouldn’t feel guilty for your partner’s issues, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay with them if their issues are starting to affect you negatively or make it hard for you to care for yourself.
A similar issue is presented with the show “13 Reasons Why.” Hannah, who commits suicide, sends tapes to everyone that she blames for her issues. While many of the people did do horrible things to her, not everyone that got a tape did. Her love interest, Clay, feels like he’s responsible for her death and that he should have done more to help her.
This is a problematic message to send because, in the end, you can’t cure someone. If people have mental health issues, they need to see psychiatrists, doctors or therapists. They can’t just expect a boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s love to make things better.
Believing that a relationship will heal you or your partner is an unhealthy mindset. Yes, feeling loved is important and can help someone who is struggling, but it won’t fix everything. We romanticize relationships to the point that our expectations make it difficult to be rational. If you struggle with a mental illness, a substance abuse issue or another serious problem, you should be able to turn to your partner for help and support, but they should not be your only support. Your partner is not a trained professional.
If you are in a relationship, you are under no obligation to stay in it for any reason.
When one partner is going through difficulties, people expect the other partner to stay in the relationship and avoid the added stress of a breakup. But, if you are unhappy, if you feel unloved or unwanted or if you feel that you are sacrificing your own mental health, you should not feel guilty. You do not owe anyone your love but yourself. Putting your needs first is not selfish. It is self-preservation, and it’s important to know this to be in a healthy, mature relationship.