Living with a schizophrenic husband

This is a long read. My first time writing anywhere about it.

Got married a little over a year ago to my husband. I love him very much but I’m considering leave my marriage. We had been friends for over 11 years but in that time I had no idea about his mental illness. He told me he had depression and was taking medication for it. But that was not the whole truth. I later learnt that he’s had several psychotic breakdowns over the years when he goes off his medication.
I witnessed his first psychotic break 2 months after we got married. It was mild and he slept through most of it.
It happened again last month after we went for my father’s funeral. This time it was scary and lasted for close to 2 weeks. He was screaming at me. Sent messages to some of his friends that I wanted to kill him. I had force him to go to a psychiatrist. That was when I heard the words schizophrenia.
He’s very functional, has a job as an accountant. And if you’ve never witnessed it you wouldn’t believe he has mental illness. It feels like a dream to me some times.
I don’t know what to do. I see him differently now.
I also think about the implications when we have kids. Can the illness be passed down to the children. How do I explain it to them when he has a breakdown.
He hates the meds because it’s affecting his sexual health. ED, low sperm count. He sleeps a lot everywhere which it very embarrassing for him.
I don’t know if I want to commit to this kind of life. I feel like I was cheated off the choice of choosing if this was what I wanted by him not telling his mental illness history.


Welcome Reta,
You have very valid concerns especially having kids. There is a strong genetic link in schizophrenia. It sure can be passed down and it’s a chance you’ll take. My child’s father his brother had SMI. I was very young and uneducated on genetics and how things work. I’m in deep regret of having my son because of the way he is and what he has been through. If I knew better like I know now I would NEVER get pregnant from someone with a family history of SMI let alone have it themselves. At least you know now what you have in front of you. He definitely should have told you the truth. You have a huge decision to make now.


Hello @Reta and welcome to this site. I am not in your situation, but I agree with you, you should have been told about his severe mental illness before you got married. There is quite a difference between someone having depression and someone having a severe mental illness that causes psychosis. However, you DO know about it now, and if you feel you need to get divorced, you have that right. Even if any children you have in the future do NOT have schizophrenia, the fact is that they will be subjected to the further psychotic breaks of their father, should he keep going off of his meds.


@Reta, I am so sorry you’re going through this and absolutely understand. I had been dating someone who was schizophrenic and I also had no idea of his diagnosis. Small things in discussions would come up {for example, your story reminded me of a conversation I had with my exes mother, I was under the impression that my ex was taking medications for depression- she had said “if he ever starts acting weird or aggressively from not taking his medication he needs to go to the VA”, she also had told me in the past that her father had it - l I knew it was genetic, so I feel stupid for not fully acting on leaving then, but of course things don’t work like that usually} and I never had fully known of his diagnosis or thought much of it but was so upset that no one directly opened up about it. Fast forward and it all became so clear… I had also written out my story here when I experienced his episode a few months back. I had to leave and not come back. I had many of the same thoughts you mention… on children, my own well-being, HIS well being… but at the end of the day, you are the one who creates your story, you have a decision and you are there to chooses the direction of your life.

It is unfair that he didn’t tell you and now you have to suffer through the consequences, but he also deals with something very serious which involves delusion so this seems to be pretty typical when it comes to being open about their mental health at the start of relationships - so I feel it’s tough to blame my ex and your husband for not telling us. I’m not going to be a stranger on the internet telling you what to do, but I will say that your concerns are very valid and you matter, you need to do what is going to be best for you at the end of the day. It’s not too late to leave, but if you choose to stick around, just make sure he is consistently taking his medications and that each of you are seeing a therapist and have a support group. I know I don’t know you- but I am here and fully can relate to your story if you ever need someone to talk to.

He may himself not accepted it, perhaps the family should have alerted
you but were probably excited. I would check out anyone my son was going to marry and would think something alsp might be wrong with them.
He didnt even tel the new psychiatrist, and didnt really know anything but
depression or doesnt believe it.
i wouldnt blame you if you leave. I’m with my son for 10 years and it is still sad, lonely, no conversations, and sad watching him. He doesnt want to do anything, not eat out, not go anywhere.
I had devoted myself to taking care of him, and also isolated myself
from people, and Im not sure how much longer I can do this, or if it is
better, if there are any group homes, where he also can have friends.
The episodes affected my work as well, and had been fired many
times and most people at work, dont understand what your going through
and when you tell them, your still a big cootie.

Thank you all for your kind words. It’s good to hear from people who have been in similar situation or have an idea of what you are going through. I’m really glad I could let it out here.

At the moment I’m not sure what I will do but it breaks my heart thinking about leaving him.
He’s back on his meds and we’ve talked a lot about the illness.
Like @C11 said he didn’t fully accept what was going on with him until a couple of years ago and also didn’t understand that he needed to stay on the medication even after the episode has passed.

I’m trying to be supportive. We have another appointment with the psychiatrist tomorrow to reevaluate again. He let me have access to his doctors so I think that help as well.

I will keep you all updated as it goes on


I’m the mother of a 28 year old son with schizophrenia who doesn’t claim that label and rejects all medication. In the past year, I feel like I’ve made huge progress in being able to work with him. In the process, I’ve passed through many self-help online Zoom groups as my abilities to understand him and my skills increase. I started with, then had a subscription at for their online course for family members—lots of role-playing— which taught me a lot, and lately I’ve found the Hearing Voices Network and Wildflower Alliance extremely helpful. Also, the LEAP method in the book “I am not sick, I don’t need help” has been crucial for me and other family members.

Here’s hoping there’s an idea in there that will help you.

Hello Reta

I have messaged you as well. And I want to let you know I am in the same boat. Torn between working through this and just leaving. One thing I have started to learn that helps me is sometimes learn to let go. You can’t treat this on your own. He needs treatment and counseling. So when you feel like you’re suffering please take a break and go somewhere. I used to be so worried about my husband that I put everything and everyone else on hold to take care and worry for him. It just made my life miserable. I have also learned to stop expecting anything from him. I have taught myself that he is sick and not normal so fighting with him over normal marital issues is meaningless. He has outrightly told me and made me feel as if I am a roommate and not his wife. He talks about someone else to be his wife who isn’t an actual person. He idealizes some other kind of person all the time and it hurt me to the core but I have learnt to let go. I am always nice to him and try not to lose my cool. If his words hurt me I simply just ignore him but if it is too much I go to the bathroom and cry and never let it show. Your husband is functional that’s a good thing because if not, their thoughts become and take a lot of their mind space like is the case with my husband. Hang in there. You’ll get through this.
Treatment is the only solution

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Some thoughts as someone diagnosed with SZA (schizoaffective disorder) and a long-time follower of this forum:

My experience, often corroborated in this forum, is even if you disclose your illness to partners, they rarely fully comprehend what it means until witnessing an episode. One exception was when I loaned a bookish prospect a memoir by a person with schizophrenia, and she came back after having read it saying it was “a lot” accompanied with many questions. We parted as friends not long after that, but I don’t think my illness was a major factor and we kept in touch for several years.

Stable relationships have the potential to moderate symptoms and can be transformative to diagnosed people’s lives. Add in stigma (self and societal), denial/anasognosia and challenges with adequately describing and being fully understood when you talk about your mental health history and current or potential symptoms, and it leads to powerful incentives to downplay or avoid the subject early in relationships. It’s an inherent power imbalance that’s tough to navigate even if you’re asymptomatic. Typically diagnosed people withdraw from society prior to and after developing symptoms as a coping mechanism (unconsciously or consciously) and this isolation can lead to a lack of or maladaptive relationship skills. For example, I had my first “real” date at 26 and a decade of false starts with a handful of prospects toward my first “real” relationship.

Sexual side-effects can be both real and (courtesy of delusions) imagined, and can motivate decreased dosages, taking breaks or abandoning medication(s) to preserve the relationship. Emotional disregulation can make breakups especially hard adding further incentive for maladaptions aiming to preserve the relationship, yet paradoxically symptoms, like paranoia, may emerge out of anxiety and fear of losing the relationship that sabotage or undermine it.

My moral calculus that led from acceptance and recovery from my diagnosis is a road less traveled. I’m childless by choice due to potential genetic issues, and although I’ve had long term relationships that rival many marriages, I remain unmarried. I also make it a rule to disclose in new relationships with what I call, “the talk”. It’s gotten easier, but it’s still risky and difficult to disclose. As I mentioned, I handed one gal a book— I don’t think I’ll do that again. Another I took to see “A Beautiful Mind” as a first date. This went better, but nowadays I’ve settled on a less heavy-handed approach and keep those in my back-pocket if I see gaps in understanding. I guess what I’m saying is there are dilemmas on both sides and, as you’ve discovered, elements of the illnesses can interfere with how they’re navigated.


My husband has this illness as well. We got together 4-2020, and I knew something wasn’t right immediately. The illness literally unraveled before my eyes. From extreme jealousy, to episodes of paranoia to extreme paranoia, to finally the voices😞 I see more and more now the delusions behind the hallucinations. I HATE it all! My Kris is just too precious to go through all of this. He’s currently on Seroquel, and just got it bumped up on Friday. I’m praying for a miracle. I will walk the ends of this earth, just to make sure we find the right medication to at least manage this terrible condition. I will NEVER give up on him