Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Boyfriend with schizophrenia

Thank you everyone in this forum! You have helped me tremendously over the last months and years, although this is the first time I am writing here.

I have been with my boyfriend for 17 years, and about 11 years ago he got sick. There were signs before, predromal symptoms, which made me even more committed to being with this man who found it so difficult to find his place in this world. He ended the relationship, moved to another country (he is from US, I am from a small country in Europe), and told me the relationship is over, over and over again. He came back, having no other place to go to, and I welcomed him back, over and over again. I thought I could help him and that my love would cure him. For about 9 years, I was able to convince him to stay with the meds, although he thinks he is not sick. For many years, he also stayed off weed. Things were not great, but tolerable. I was dreaming of having a family, but I thought he needed to be stable long enough before that could happen, so we did not have any children. And he is blaming me for that so bad…

About two years ago he decided again to medicate himself with weed, and about a year ago that he does not need medication. That he never needed them, and I was the one to blame for tricking him into taking meds and never wanting to have a family with him. Plus all the horrible things he started accusing me of: being an agent, receiving money from US government (saying that I never would have been with him through all the hardships without someone paying me), letting other agents coming in while he is sleeping to do things to him, my family being in on the conspiravy against him, etc. Plus all the other atrocities I did’t even know people could say to each other. These things have been around for all these years, but never this bad. He has never been physically violent, though I am so afraid of his verbal accusations and yelling that I have completely quit everything besides work in my life. Although it has been over 10 years living in this hell, I have not told my parents or my friends thinking it is his right to keep this private if he chooses to do so. I was in my early 20s when this started and had no clue… I studied to be a psychologist and have had no option but to work, since I have been the only one providing for us both for all this time (and believe me, he has tried his harderst to make me quit my job). My profession has helped me to understand him and communicate with him a lot, but it has also made the boundary between work and home really blurry.

He has been in a hospital several times, in the beginning, and then after a break of eight years again last summer.They kept him for about a month this time. He is very receptive to meds, and in only few days with meds he was totally a different person. Previously, he always quit meds when he was feeling better (creating a horrible cycle of every time he was feeling better and getting a job, which would quickly turn to worse). And after last summer, he quit the meds as soon as he was released from the hospital.

We somehow survived this winter, me spending every waking moment trying to keep him calm and not yelling in this apartment building. He has been accusing neighbors, yelling at them and breaking things, and I will be paying for it for a long time. I know he has been “contacting correspondents” around the Europe, while he thinks this country has “let him down, knowingly and willingly letting him to suffer the torture by the US government”. I am so glad I don’t even know about all the irrational things he has done, like I used to in the previous years.

Well, 5 days ago he left again. Took our cat and flew to another country in Europe. He was able to arrange this himself in secrecy (place to stay, storage for his belongings, passport & microchip for the cat, etc.), which gives me vague hope that he could be a little more functional than before. For years I have been taking care for everything in our lives, and this is the first time he has done things like this alone. Sometimes he is more functional, sometimes less. He was diagnosed when he was 33, and he had been living a somewhat fuctional life before that.

For the first time in years I feel like I have been allowed to breathe this week. He does not want to be in this country or with me. I think he deserves to be happier (as do I). We both want this relationship to be over with. I wish he could succeed, though know he can’t without meds. I know him being forced to take meds is not a sustainable solution, since it has been tried several times before and it has never lasted. He needs to realize it himself.

I am terrrified that he will be back (like he has always before), and I am also terrified and quilty that he is suffering there alone. I feel I have reached my limit, living like this for over 10 years, being his only support (withouth having any support myself) and only receiving insults and accusations in return. I have pretty much given up my dreams of having children and a family, since I am approaching middle age now… So in my desperate moments I feel like I gave my life to him, even though he did not even want it, but I did it because there was nobody else to take care of him.

For years I was worried about him doing something to himself, but over this last winter I have had these feelings of not caring what will happen to him, and I feel quilty about that too. On the other hand I have also finally understood that I can’t carry him through his entire life and help him if he does not want to be helped. I need to allow me to have a life too.

I don’t know why I am writing here now. I have not heard from him now for 5 days, but I know he talks to his mother (who is almost 80 and lives on the other side of the world), so I know he and our cat are alive. Like I said, I have been reading all the posts for years and felt the support in this group. I have finally been able to breathe a little, which makes me want to seek support. I want someone in the world to know that I have had these experiences and lived in hell for the last 10 years, that I still don’t want to tell anyone in details but I wish someone could understand how hard it has been. Before this, nobody knows, because I don’t want anyone to think bad things about him. And he is very perceptive about what people think of him, so previously when I have told my family members even vaguely that he has issues, he has somehow “felt it” from their responses to him and not wanted us both to have anything to do with these people again. I have wanted to keep my family away from his delusions, alienating myself from them at the same time. I have tried my hardest to keep our heads above water. I have tried my best. And I succeeded for a long time.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t do more, sometimes I feel I could, but he does not want my help anymore. I have felt very depressed and alone for years and years, but only after this 5 days I find myseld having hope again, planning of starting new hobbies and thinking about contacting my old friends and family. And then feeling quilty about it. Or maybe quilty is not the right word. I feel hope again, and every time I have felt like this before over the last 10 years, life (or he) has brought me back to my knees. I know he will be back and we will start the same cycle all over again. And now I am trying my hardest to prepare myself for that.

I just want you wonderful, strong people over there to know how much you have helped me and how much I appreciate it. You aree the only people I know that can understand. And you are the only people I have told this: I have been living with a man with schitzophrenia for 11 years and it has been a hell.


I read every word of your post. I’m so sorry for the hell you’ve been living, in silence.

Something you said over and over was “I feel guilty.” Please try not to. You didn’t cause this terrible disease to happen to your loved one, and you will never be able to fix it. It’s not your fault.

Yes, we do understand your pain. You’re not alone. Please continue to talk with us. I think it will help you heal.


We do know how horribly hard it has been for you. Its a kind of hell people can’t understand until they have lived it.

Its just heartbreaking. Do you think you could ever consider not starting up the same cycle again? I ask because I do take some solace in the fact that my son doesn’t have someone who loves him in a relationship. I really am glad that no one loves him in that way, which sounds terrible, but to know that my son can’t return their love without the illness getting in his way and making it rather hopeless for anyone that loved him as a man.

Could you love him as a friend and allow yourself to free up your heart? Or is that too much too ask?


Thank you so much for your reply! I think the quilt is starting to yield now that I finally realize I can’t cure him or live his life for him. But the sadness remains. I know we all feel it.


Thank you Hope! I have been reading your posts for a long time, found many things I can relate to, and you have helped me a lot! I understand what you are saying. And I think emotionally I am already getting there. I love him as a friend and I know it will not be more than that. But I am playing with the thought of whether I could leave him out in the cold (it is really cold here in Scandinavia right now) when he knocks on the door the next time, and how would that even be possible, since we are both legal tenants here. There is no discussing with him about him or me getting another apartment, since “he will not pay another cent to this deceiving country”, nor would he have any money then. He always comes back when all the money is gone and there is no other place to go to. But for the firs time I am thinking about it.



I’m so glad you joined us to talk. I do understand about not leaving them to be outside.


As I finally told a part of my story here, I am now realizing something important about myself. I have wanted for so long for somebody to understand my situation (though not talking about it). I feels really good that you understand and feel the pain I am feeling, but yet I feel this urge to tell you all that I am all right. That nobody needs to worry about me. I am so used to being strong and surviving whatever comes that it is not easy to accept these feelings of vulnerability. Maybe this is why I do not talk about it. And maybe writing here will help me to eventually talk about it. Thank you for that!


You are so welcome - I do get that you are strong, really strong. I also get how writing something like you did is a part of a growing or healing process. When we write something down, sometimes its the first time we get to see it a little more clearly for ourselves.


Yeah Amber, I can relate to everything you are saying. I have been with my husband for about 23 years, boyfriend/live in and married 15 years ago this year. My husband was diagnosed 4.5 years ago at 45 and it’s been nothing but hell ever since. All of the same things you have been accused of so have I including having an affair. My guy has constantly been in and out of the hospital and it’s heart breaking. But now I am becoming numb to it, like I don’t care anymore. I do care in the fact that he is family but not as husband and wife any more…sad but true! But because he is the father to my son and he really has no family to help him or see to his well-being, he will stay here with me! For most of 2017, we lived apart for reasons that are too long to explain but I advocated for him from afar and also had him committed twice as he was not well! I honestly don’t know what’s worse: living with him or living without him and worrying that he was getting himself into trouble! I am not here to tell you what to do but I know that if I wasn’t married to him and he wasn’t the father to my son, I would not be with him! It sounds to me like you have done your job and spent many years in doing so and if he is not going to gain insight into his illness then it is time for you to gain insight into your own life! It speaks loudly of your morals for staying with him thus far as it is a real daunting road, but it sounds like you have given up a lot, perhaps too much! As for family, I think it’s time you start telling the truth about his situation and let them step in and give him the help he needs! We can only take so much!


Dear Giger, I’ve been reading your posts for some time and I have related to many things. I am so sorry for everything you have had to go through. You are not alone. You are an amazingly strong woman!

I have been commited to the relationship with him all these years and never thought that getting married would change anything (though I understand that legally it does). His mother knows about his illness, alhough for almost 10 years she did no believe it, often convincing him to get (luckily temporarily) off meds over the years. Now that he has been off meds for over a year, even she can’t deny it anymore. And I have told her I can’t take care of him for the rest of my life, especially when he does not want my help. I have a good relationship with her though, and we keep contact and share information even when he does not talk to either of us. When he does not talk to me, he calls his mother daily, and when he feels like I’m his confidant, it has taken moths for him to not contact her at all. I suppose it’s related to the illness that he only has one person at a time he trusts.

This numbness is hard to bear. Feeling like I don’t care, but knowing at the same time that I do, and that I would be devastated if he actually did something to himself. That I don’t have the energy at the moment for feelings. My coping strategy has always been rationalizing. And rationalizing does not work now, since there is no rationalizing this irrational illness! I am sadder every day. And I know I need to go through these feelings to survive this!


@Amber This is understandably very hard. You DO have to work through your feelings and that takes time. Be patient with yourself. I suggesting making a list of small and big things that you enjoy and when your feelings are painful, go straight to your list and do something on the list (which could include planning for something bigger on your list). I have a friend diagnosed with PTSD from the marriage prior to divorce and what she is going through is in some ways similar to what you describe. She is doing a great job of working toward goals she has set for herself and doing things for herself and eliminating things (or people) that are not good for her.


His mother just called. When she does not talk to me for a while, she starts believing his story: that when he was visiting her in US almost 10 years ago, “they” sneaked in (her sleeping in the next room) and injected countless implants around his head and body and have been torturing him ever since (long story short). I always tell her that most of the symptoms and even the voices subside when he is on meds, That it is psychosis. She always thanks me for the information and seems to believe it. But we have had this same conversation dozens of times over the years. It is so frustrating!

Well, she told me that he is continuing to panick and visit different doctors there in the new country. His newest symptom (for about a year now) has been that he is convinced that these implants have caused “radiation cancer” that is spreading around his body. He has headaches that always go away when he starts taking meds again…He has had several full physical examinations, bloodwork done, even MRI here in this country, everything being physically ok. He thinks that US government is paying every doctor in this country to lie to him (btw he thinks they are paying me too, otherwise I would not have stayed with him this long…). So I guess that’s one of the reasons he left and moved, and is now seeking help in another country. His mother told me that he had been to ER there, and they told him that he was ok and refused to do MRI, which again pissed him off. I just wish one of these doctors would notice what is really going on, and convince him to accept help.

It’s heartbraking to hear this and imagine what he is going through there all alone. And at the same time I feel relived that at least for now he is talking with his mother and not with me like he has for the past 11 years…

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@Amber, do you think his mom might have some sort of issue herself that she believes the implant story sometimes?

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Yes I think so. It’s been more like depression or “burn-out” as she calls it herself. But she has also talked about these conspiracies and people bullying her and wishing bad things to her (and her son) for as long as I’ve known her (and also when she was a single parent to him…).

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My husband’s mother was always telling people that I had said rude things that I hadn’t said. I finally got to the point where I would not talk to her on the phone and I would send husband to visit his parents with our sons by himself so she couldn’t say I had said things I had not said.

MIL self medicated with alcohol and valium. I believed she was just a really mean person and an alcoholic. Of course now with Jeb, looking back and thinking about her sitting in her bedroom all by herself smoking like a chimney for years, it seems pretty obvious she had scz also.

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She has always been very nice to me and grateful that I have been there for her son. The only thing (that I know of) that she used to be angry at me for was not having children with him, because “it could have saved him”. What?

I don’t think she has scz, but she has other issues. I have been hoping that, since he refuses my help and has left, she could be there for him for a change. Though I quess it’s wishful thinking that she could in the long run…


For some reason he only seems to be able to have one person he trusts at a time: when he lives with me, he does not talk to his mother, and when he is away, he talks to her and not me. So over the years we have found a way of communicating with her and letting the other one know what is going on. I am really thankful for that!

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That is really something to be thankful for, I wish my son had someone in his life like you, at the same time, it would be sad for them.

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I got a message to work from his friend today that he saw him. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack thinking that he has returned without saying a word. Few hours later his mother finally confirmed that he was still on the other side of Europe. And when I finally built enough courage to ask his friend when he saw him, he answered that a month ago and that he did not even say hi. All I could say is that I am sorry. But what I felt when the message came whas “How will I survive this?”. Not “How is he doing?” or “How will WE survive”, like always before. Something has changed. Either I am just too exhausted about everything, or I am starting to matter to myself again. I don’t know which is it, but I am curious to find out.

Starting to matter to yourself, surely that would be a good thing?