How do I cope with my boyfriend schizophrenia and his episodes?

Hi, this is my first time here, and my first language is not english. I reaching out for support on how to cope with my boyfriend pre-pschycosis (prodromal maybe). We are both in the late 40s and been together for 4 years. He got his schizophrenic diagnosis 20 years ago.

My boyfriend has paranoid schizophrenia and are on meds, but the dose has been reduced 3 years ago, and he has become more unstable since then. The relationship has been great, we both agree, and he can’t say it enough how much he loves me. And it’s the best relationship he ever had. Our relationship and I is the most important in his life. And I love him so much!

In January he broke up with me for the second time, this time because I said that I needed a break to recover myself. Last autumn has been a bit rough, because my boyfriend has been angry for little things and irritated in generally. He has increased his activity level this last autumn, maybe that has something to do with this.

When he broke up, he had this strange/odd aura or mindset over him, like he had no feelings, his warm personality disappeared and his emotions became flat. He also got a strange belief that he is only going to do his studies and the church. It was like he turned to be different, and our relationship become something that he could put away, like it was a practical thing. He speaks to me like I am a stranger, he is not in contact with his feelings and personality. It’s like something is disappeared inside him. Is this the flat effect? A part of the negative symptoms?

The same happened 3 years ago when the meds where reduced. He then got this strange aura over him, and the relationship turn to nothing, like it was “deleted” from his mind. Then, it also was only the studies that mattered. We got back together after three weeks and has been together to january this year, but now it is harder to get him back. I’m giving him the space he need, so we see each other once every second or third week. He do a big deal out of keeping me on a distance, and I don’t know why he doing it.

We have been apart for two and half month, and he is still in his strange mindset and has this flat affect. His feelings for me are gone, like our relationship never have existed. And that shift came from one day to the next. The day before he broke up with me, he talked about how great our relationship was and how important it is to take care of it. The next day he broke up with me. That has happened both times. Is it common that this suddenly shift in emotions can change from one day to the next?

Now he only wants to go out with me at restaurants and to drink coffee. I asked him why he broke up with me, but he couldn’t answer that question. He didn’t know and he do not understand that I am heartbroken because he dumped me.

When we have little quarrels he always threatened to end our relationship. I felt sad and immediately I could mirror my feelings in his face, which he reacts up on and got angrier. I asked him why he was saying such things, and it was because he was afraid/scared that our relationship will end. That make no sens and is confusing. I don’t understand why he broke up with me when he is so afraid of loosing me.

When we met twice in March, he constantly shifts between being in contact with his feelings (with his self), and being flat. It’s like he has a chaotic mind. He seems a bit euphoric also. Other people (teraphist, sister) I have spoken with says to me he will come back when he is connected with him self again. It’s so hard to stay in this situation, because I don’t know how long it would last or even if it will get over. It’s so hurtful!

How can I support him? Can this cause a new episode with psychosis? Do I need to talk with the teraphist about his medication? And would it help to remind him that I love him?

1 Like

Being in a relationship with someone on the schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder spectrum is extremely challenging even when that person is compliant in taking medication, like your boyfriend. But why did he cut back on the meds? Was it at the advice of his doctor or did he decide this himself? What you are describing sounds like someone whose symptoms are not being well managed.

1 Like

I am sorry that your own heart is in pain over his behavior towards you. To answer your questions: support him by continuing to love him and not getting angry. Anger or fear or crying never really helps.

You cannot cause an episode. Don’t worry about causing an episode. If it is going to happen, no one will know the cause.

Yes, if you can talk to the therapist that is a good idea. If you cannot talk to him then write a letter. Your views on what is happening may be way different than what your boyfriend tells the therapist.

It never ever hurts to tell someone you love them. However strong or weak a relationship is, I think voicing love and showing it through kindness are the best way to care for someone.

Your title question: how do you cope? That is up to you, schzophrenia is often unpredictable, sometimes worsens, sometimes gets better, and medicine doesn’t always work. I think that you should concentrate on taking care of yourself, be kind to yourself, and consider your long term goals. He may never be able to give you the type of relationship you want, but he is probably doing the best he can with his illness interfering with his mind.


Thank you for answering. He cut back on the meds due to the advice of his doctor. My boyfriend recieve the meds as an injection every third week. Before the change in the meds, it was every second week. He was more stable then.

It’s like he gets symptoms when his stress level increases just a little. He can easily become angry and irritated when he is stressed. He don’t see that himself, and he has increased his tasks without doing anything with his meds. He has also turned the clock around and has been up at night for the last month, and still he works, do his studies and participates in church activities.

Let me second oldladybue’s advice to contact the doctor or, if that doesn’t work, ask the sister to do so. The doctor may not be aware of his break-through symptoms. Your boyfriend’s mood instability, lack of insight and insomnia are further indications that he is not on the right dose of meds, or perhaps he needs to try other meds. The doctor is likely to take this very seriously because the last thing your boyfriend and you need is him slipping into psychosis.

1 Like

Thank you oldladyblue for your advice.

This is the most painful I have ever experienced. It’s not easy to not respond to his anger. I have recently realized that his unpredictable anger has to do with his schizophrenia, and recently understand how complex the symptoms are. I have done a lot of research on the topic since december last year, and I’m still learing. His family has not told me much about his sz, so I did not know how complex this is.

Yes, I can talk to the therapist. I’m going to do that after the next meeting with my boyfriend.

Can he be delusional/suspicious about me since he is holding me on a distance? He said once “is good that what we hide from each other comes out”. I didn’t understand what he meant. I’m not hiding anything and he couldn’t tell what he was hiding. I don’t know why he said it, and I have not asked him more about it, so I don’t know what he is thinking. He is doing a big deal out of keeping me on a distance and don’t invite me to his apartment any more. I feel it’s something wrong, something he doesn’t tell me.

He has been very interested in “the end of the world”-themes since October last year (I discover it first in february :see_no_evil: He never spoke to me about it). He suddenly became active in chuch two years ago. He wasn’t religious and was not active in chuch when we met. He has replaced his original studies, in which he was so passionate about, with theology. An his job is not so interesting anymore. He would rather work in the church. He has had religious delousions once before.
Should I be worried about this?

I am tired to be in this situation now, because I’m thinking a lot about what all this is. Thanks for the advice about selfcare.

1 Like

Yes, I know his sister is afraid that his brother slipps into a new psychosis too. My boyfriend has traveled abroad (more correctly, escaped because of a delusion) and got lost once before when he was in psychosis. It was hard to find him (his sister told me).

Maybe he needs to try other meds as you say. He has been on the same medication for many years now. Is it normal that the medication needs to changed from time to time?

Should I be worried about his passion for the chuch? See the post to oldladyblue.

Everything you are describing sounds like someone with inadequately managed symptoms. That can take many forms, including the religious obsession/delusions he seems to be experiencing, as well as the mania.

Many people do fine with a specific medication indefinitely. It seems more likely that the reduction in dosage is to blame, but only his doctor can determine that. He may have been successful at hiding from the doctor the fact that he once again started having symptoms. It’s pretty common for people with this disorder to hope to be able to reduce meds or even stop them. I hope between you and his sister you can get him back to the doctor as soon as possible.


I can totally understand your fears @Lorelai24 and you are right to be concerned.

As @kwillkat mentioned, his meds might need adjusted, and only a doctor can help with that. I like your plan to speak to the doctor the next appointment your boyfriend goes to.

To answer your questions directly: 1. yes, it is not odd that medicine type or dosages needs to be adjusted. 2. Delusions can take many forms, including a passion for the church. 3. Can he become suspicious of you or others? Yes, for sure.

I found strength in coming on this site and reading posts by others. I have posted on here for years, at first though I just lurked and educated myself. My daughter’s behavior changes were so odd to me, I’d never experienced someone with severe mental illness before. I found that you can enter a topic (such as “delusions” or even “oldladyblue”) in the search bar and learn a lot here from others who have posted in the past. Also, my favorite book is by Dr Amador “I’m not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”, you can download it and read it on your phone or computer. It explained many things for me about my daughter’s behavior. And gave a method for communicating with her about problems.


@kwillkat I’ve tought it could be inadequately managed symptoms since it has been an increase in his outbursts of anger, but his normal behavoiur when he wasn’t angry confused me. So I haven’t been sure. See it better now, since his symptoms have increased. This is the first time I’m experiencing a longer period of his symptoms, so it quite new for me.

He is good to hide his symptoms for other, but why can’t he hide them from me? Or maybe he thinks he do… He is avoiding eye contact with me sometimes, that’s new for him. He never do that normally.

@oldladyblue It’s the same for me, I have never experienced someone with SZ before. I’ve search the internet a lot these past three months and I was glad when I found this forum recently. It feel so good to read about other peoples experiences with the illness.

Thank you for the tip about the book. From where can I download the book? Is it here in the forum or to buy at Amazon? How was it for your daughter when she got out of psychosis? Did she remember anything of her changes in her behavior?

Your situation is similar to that of several other recent posters. Trying to have a “normal” romantic relationship with someone on the SZ spectrum is hard even if that person is med-compliant and has otherwise well managed symptoms. It is near impossible if the person refuses meds, is med-resistant, or is not on a regimen that manages symptoms well.

My experience, both personal and observed, is that the partner without the disorder keeps alive hope that their love and attention will somehow cure the affected partner or at least “snap them out of it.” This is often the case even if the mentally healthy partner reads up about the disorder and thinks they know what is going on. I call this the ‘partner delusion’ because being emotionally involved with someone on the spectrum can make even the mentally healthy partner suffer a kind of mental illness of their own. That is why self-care is so important, as many posters have mentioned on this forum.

The truth is that none of us really knows what is happening in the brains of our loved ones. It is near impossible to “read” them as we do with mentally healthy people. Their behavior reflects a constantly changing mix of emotions and experienced realities even if they are not in active psychosis. Their brains literally function differently, and science is still trying to figure out how. At times they can engage in the world and relationships and appear almost as if they were mentally fine. Other times they disengage partially or completely, or can be downright abusive to those closest and dearest to them. Expressions of love and empathy can be muted or missing entirely. Meds can also make them detached, flat, and unmotivated.

This doesn’t mean they don’t love us, but it does mean they are not consistent or reliable in their emotions. It also means they are very, very busy managing what is going on in their heads (voices, hallucinations, paranoia, etc.) If they experience delusions, they very well might behave in a manner that is outright hostile because they are truly convinced that the loved one is somehow a threat to them. That results in tremendous frustration, confusion and pain for loved ones. But the proper mix of meds and therapy can help them regain insight and that can help them function in a way that is more consistent and “normal” with those they care about. It may never be a relationship that one would wish for, but there are cases where it can work if expectations are realistic.


The book you can get from Amazon. Here is a great YouTube video:

It took over 2 years on medication for my daughter to solve her “anosognosia” (the term for lack of insight into their own mental disorder). She could see that she had some odd beliefs, but she couldn’t remember properly her years of psychosis. That slowly changed the last few years to where she has pretty good insight into her “crazy years” as she herself calls them now.


Let me just say that the LEAP method works very well as a general approach to others, not just those experiencing symptoms of severe mental illness. Listening, Empathizing, Agreeing with, and Partnering with people is a great way to offer support.

If more of us treated others this way, imagine the wonderful, cooperative and collaborative society we could build.


Thank you for shareing your thoughts and experience @kwillkat! I know very well what you mean by the ‘partner delousion’. I’ve felt confused sometimes when he has his more unstable periodes. And when he talking too much about everything we was going to do and plans for our future. He wanted to talk about it all at same time, spoke very fast. That’s made me tired.

I met my boyfriend on friday and he seems high, like he is euphoric. As he is on an very high energy level. In some kind of a bubble.He is busy all the time, meeting peolple and is around every where. That’s a major shift in how he usually behaves.

His facial expression has change a lot since I saw him two weeks ago. It’s as if it gotten stiffer and more tense. I have never seen him like this before. Is this a part of the symptoms?

He told me he don’t want to be with me, that I not the right person for him. I am not sure what to think, because he seems so convinced. Said that I’m not in his future plans. It is a huge change from loving me darely the day before he broke up with me and to not love me anymore the next day.

I asked him why he can not be with me and it is beacuse I’m so negative. He can’t explain what makes me negative. It’s just something that’s there. He couldn’t say exactly what it is. And he gives me different explanations when I keep asking why he broke up.

I spoked directly from my heart and told him that I was heartbroken. It touched something in his heart, because he was so upset and wanted to leave immediately.
I am so confused of what to believe. Maybe it is better to leave him alone. It’s hard for me to meet him when he is so unstable and have all these symptoms. The most hurtful is that his feelings for me are muted, missing or whatever they are. It’s so confusing for me that’s he is so cold emotionally and that I see his glimpses of love for me (if that was understandable).

I’m going to call his therapist and then I have to stop seeing him for a while. It upsets me to meet him when he is so cold emotionally. I hope the therapist talk with his doctor about adjusting his meds, so he can be himself again.

1 Like


I am in a kinda similar situation, if you want you can write me in private and we can share. I am also the same age as you.

I think though we should stop giving the fault to the disease for everything. Although it’s possible that it’s part of the cause, it’s not the only reason I think. Feelings change also in normal people…it’s just that some keep going for covenience, because they are scared of being alone, or because they lie to themselves…Anyway, DM me so we can talk more in details and share our pain.

1 Like

I have been following your thread and am so sad for you. Honestly, My dad is bipolar and my mom has stayed with him his entire life and been miserable much of the time. People with serious mental unwellness have a difficult time sustaining relationships. I may be off base here, but were I you? I would walk away. I would not want to spend the rest of my life trying to maintain a relationship that is relatively new and not legally complicated. It’s sad, but go live your life.


Another approach is to consider staying in their lives, but transitioning more to the role of loving friend and support person. I believe many people with this disorder, medicated or not, are often stressed by the obligations and expectations/demands of close relationships, especially amorous. That stress can trigger delusions and withdrawal or outright rejection of the partner. But it is a tricky situation because the afflicted person, who often has little or no insight into how their own behavior drives loved ones away, may feel abandoned if the mentally healthy partner gives us on the relationship. I imagine, though, that there aren’t a lot of people willing to move on with their emotional lives, form emotionally healthy and satisfying partnerships with others, and still want to help the afflicted loved one. Most want and need a clean break.


Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s really sad, because he is the love of my life.
It’s been three painful months since he broke up with me. It’s feels like someone died suddenly, because I could not predict it. He is another man now, not the one I’ve been with for four years. Not the man as I know him and that’s hard.

When he’s in his own world/euphoric, it gives me time to think about the relationship and my future plans. And what to do when or if he comes back. Right now it seems like he never will come back, because he are so ‘high on himself’ and lack of emotions.

1 Like

Take the time to grieve properly. It does take time.

And as you said, look at your own future plans. Give yourself some nice things to look forward to doing. It can help you get over the failed relationship. You have to help yourself become a better you, and not stay stuck in the past.


@oldladyblue Yes, it does. I’ve been grieving much already. Thank you for your care.

It’s not so easy to close the relationship when he is having so many symptoms of schizophrenia/psychosis. Our relationship is over because he is not himself and not on right meds. He lack emotions (he has turned cold), and he is ‘high’ and restless, so I am not sure that the relationship is over because of his illness or if it’s really over because of his person. If he has been a normal functioning man I would have close the relationship a while ago. It’s not a clean break up, as it would be with a ‘normal’ man. He want us to be life long friends and still making plans as we are together as a couple, but he don’t wants to be with me. It so confusing.

I still need to focus on my future plans, and to do nice things for myself, so I’m going to do that. I’ve not heard from him in over two weeks, and have decided to leave it up to him to get in touch.