click here It can be stressful, even downright frightening to constantly be pulled back and forth between different realities, and when combined with other mental health issues, this struggle is amplified. A self-deprecating voice inside told me I had no chance of getting better. I lived in an emotional black hole. However, in order to do so successfully, you must also understand the nature of their illness and how it is affecting the both of you.
Being in a relationship with someone whose personality can change swiftly and without warning is a difficult experience, one that can easily cause friction and turmoil within the relationship. In order to deal with this trauma, people with this illness create alternate psyches as a coping mechanism to dissociate themselves from the pain of the trauma.
Understanding this can help you better empathize with why they are feeling the way they are, anticipate when symptoms of their illness are most likely to manifest , and provide them with the support that they need during the moments when they feel lost. If and when you do approach them, be sure to do so in the most gentle, non-confrontational way possible. Since dissociation is a coping mechanism which has developed to help them deal with stress, an aggressive encounter could trigger a dissociative episode.
Calmly and compassionately emphasize your reasons for wanting them to get treatment—your love for them, your concern for their health, and your desire to protect and maintain the bond you share with them—and remind them that treatment will, in the long run, be beneficial both for each of you as individuals and for your relationship. At the end of the day, being able to understand and support your partner with DID will make it easier for you to gently usher them into the direction of comprehensive residential treatment.
Over time, I met each of his personalities and got to know them all at least a little bit. I really like all of them. Actually, it was harder for me to win their approval than it was for them to win mine! I want to be very clear about one thing: James has never been to a therapist and has never been diagnosed with anything, including dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder.
Unless a real problem arises, I leave that choice totally up to him. Paul keeps track of everything and can explain things in a logical way that James often cannot. Craig handles stressful situations and is good at processing frustration. I have no idea what Hector is for. Everyone in the world compartmentalizes things about themselves for different situations. For James, the compartments are just a bit more separated. To be sure, not everything is wonderful about being in a relationship like ours.
When James is stressed or facing emotional challenges, he can — and does — switch personalities. And I have my worries of the future. What if we have children? Fortunately, none of them would ever, ever do anyone any harm.
I know that most people would not choose to have a relationship with someone like James. I probably never will understand it, as he himself does not. We can never know if he was always this way since he remembers very little of his childhood before the age of thirteen and no one in his family knows about this part of him at all. It would be dishonest to minimize the difficult parts of loving James. Yet love him I do.
Knowing him has taught me so much more about understanding, patience, and identity. I am very much a better person for knowing this man. More than that, though, he is a fantastic partner and my best friend. The good outweighs the difficult a hundred times over. Now 20, she studies secondary education at New Mexico State University. She loves cooking, writing, and penguins. Gina is putting off wedding planning as long as possible and is therefore grateful for her very long engagement.
So I have to say, I appreciate that the writer is willing to be with someone with a mental illness like that. Dear Wendy December 17, , 3: I really appreciate Gina sharing her story with us. I think it was brave and open. Miel December 17, , 4: It seems like the LW and her fiance are happy and comfortable with the current state of things, but mental illnesses develop and change with time. The fiance might stay the way he his right now, but what if he changes?
What about if this one time something really scary happens? Who are you going to call?
If it were me, I would really want an expert to be around, just in case, just so if something big or strange happens, you are not alone to deal with it. TECH December 17, , 3: My perspective is that as long the mental issue is well managed, treated, and does not adversely impact the relationship, then live and let live.
While multiple personality disorder is not common, mental health issues are. And I think most of us have been in relationships with people who have mental health issues. Often times, the person in the relationship with the mental health issue is you. Coping with a mental illness is extremely difficult WITH therapy, family support, etc.
Someone just seems off to me. Bon Vivant December 17, , 4: Intriguing essay, to be sure. But I had the same thoughts and of Sue Jones. Wishing them the best though.
In the worst of times, he likens dating someone with Borderline Personality Disorder to having a relationship with someone who has dementia. Successfully maintaining a relationship with someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
I definitely agree with others that counseling of some sort should happen. Moneypenny December 18, , 1: I agree with tbrucemom. I find this story difficult to believe. Sue Jones December 17, , 4: Essayist is engaged at a very young age to a man with a mental illness. This can not end well. Sometimes new personalities emerge over time and if one of them has violent, abusive tendencies…. While one cannot ever predict the future, James already has the cards stacked against him a bit.
I would not proceed at all with a future with this man unless he was in the midst of therapy. I do wish them both well. Gina, it was really brave of you to share the story of your relationship with James, but like many of the others here I hope you proceed with caution. He needs to be receiving some kind of treatment not only to cope with the everyday symptoms of his disorder, but also the underlying trauma.
I truly hope that you take the advice here to heart and seek various forms of individual and couples therapy before getting married, and definitely before considering having a baby. It will be integral to find a therapist who can build a relationship with all of the alternate personalities in order to treatment to be most successful.
Imagine James drops your child off at school, then an alternate personality takes over for the rest of the day and never picks the child up? There are just so many ways this can go horribly wrong. I really hope that you and James seriously discuss ways to manage his Dissociative Identity Disorder. SSM91 December 17, , 4: But what will happen when he starts working? I know she mentioned that. What about just general social interactions?
These are only a few factors to consider. SSM91 December 17, , 5: All the more reason to go to therapy.
James deserves to live a normal life. Thank you, Gina, for sharing your story. James sounds like a wonderful man, but I recommend you to proceed with caution. I have to ask — is he aware he has multiple personalities? I think James should seek therapy, and it would be great if you would encourage. Dissociative Identity Disorder typically stems from trauma, and James needs to heal himself.
You want your future husband to be as healthy as can be, even if you have to weather a few storms to get him there. I would typically caution a 19 year old like yourself to move slowly in the relationship game. I would urge any 19 year old to focus on finishing her college degree, and spending time developing a career before getting married. You are his girlfriend, not his savior — remember that. I am seriously put off by this piece.
Mostly you talk about yourself rather than him. Then you acknoweldge some of the obvious concerns most anyone would point out. This is your piece and your life and you can write and do whatever you want. But what are you trying to communicate? Are you trying to explain why you would choose to commit to marriage with someone who has NO Treatment for a major psychological disorder?
Are you trying to justify going along with this ridiculous status quo because you have a high school quarter of psych explanation of each persona? And not even as adults who have come into your own. As barely out of high school dependents probably barely self-sustaining. Maybe not even that. HE might not have the mental capacity to determine it. How can you be so reckless as to agree to legally unionize with someone currently in this state?
Part of what really annoys me is that you ARE trying to acknowedge some concerns and you probably have the capacity for self-insight. And you are a grown woman now. Apparently with at least a year of higher learning under your belt. This makes me think maybe you are just irresponsible. Probably what bothered me most about this essay was the following quote: Start acting like an adult that gives two shits about responsibly planning a future with a man you claim to love.
Lyra December 17, , Just as an example, I thought of myself as a mature year-old and now, not even 9 years later, I look back and laugh…because there were some really stupid things that I did in that time.
I can literally feel a positive difference in myself and how I approach things. You grow a LOT, even from 20 to Everyone else has covered that very nicely. Third, should you end up marrying him eventually without finding a diagnosis first, you are taking a MAJOR gamble.
Just as one example what if one of his personalities turns violent towards you and you have no one to turn to for help in that moment? Mental illnesses, especially those that are this extreme, are unpredictable. But at the same time I think you have already made some incredibly rash decisions because of it.
So much so that you will likely be in physical danger at some point or another because this is untreated. Cellophane December 18, , 7: Sometimes I think you could do your own advice column. Lyra December 18, , 7: In addition to the 3 or 4 other types of therapy and counseling that I see as imperative here. Dear Wendy December 18, , 8: But people seemed to have really strong reactions based on what they assume.
Stanley and Hector only ever stick around for ten minutes to maybe half an hour, when the other three need to figure out a solution to some problem. My aunt saw him angry last month for the first time. I wish the best for this writer, I really do. Like I said, ever moving landscape. The longest we've ever lasted was a month and a week, then he'd pull the break-up card. Gina — just be cautious and try not to rush things.
I do not claim to know.