Schizoaffective disorder and relationships

Submitted by darbylee, June 17, 2010

I started dating this

I started dating this gentleman that told me on the second date that he has Schizoaffective disorder. I thought I would read up on it and would give it a chance before I made a decision before to end things. Things were going great, things were little off only because he has not really have dated many girls, and I am assuming it was because of his Mental Illness. We would discuss them and of course he would say that his family never did that, but we are in a dating relationship and some things are treated differently amount relationships among family members and dating relationships. Well, after that the little fights started over silly things, I just let them go, they were not big deal, he would apologize for them and I had forgotten about it already. Told him no worries.
Shortly after that they were getting more and more, he wanted to break up every weekend and then come back. He needed a lot of alone time when he only saw me on the weekends because of my work shift. We talked all the time and sometimes he would come during the week for 1/2 lunches and then go about his evening. Then he started not answering his phone, hanging up the phone when he didn't want to talk about something, I was beginning to not feel important. He would change is mind frequently, to not bad decisions, he stated he was tired of apologizing. But I still would get them any way. I fell in love with him and he said that he loved me and wanted to get married, things moved quickly.
The fighting began to get worse and it was every weekend he started having a break down it appeared. Then I received an unexpected text, Stating that he was the biggest jerk and he was going to work on his actions and words, that was on Wednesday. Friday night was wonderful, except one fight. He was still telling me he loved me and the next day as well, later that day it went down hill fast. I may have not been totally not to blame, but I had no clue what was going, with his disorder playing a major part in it. The next day he broke things off, saying he just didn't want to do it any more, with no real reason and no closure. He has completely turned very mean, cold, and treats me like I never exsisted. Totally had cut me out of his life like we never had anything at all, family turned against me. I asked him if he was done hurting me and he has taken everything back he gave me, he blocked my number. He didn't want to hear that he was doing anything wrong. No feelings or remorse. No consideration about the relationship.

Everyone has said that I have talked, counselor and a friend that her husband is Bipolor, and is a lot of the same actions my person has done, but comes back after several hours, days, or weeks.

Will he come back and how do I react? I don't want to turn him away because I love him. I want to do the right thing. Help? Is this normal? He is back on a dating website that I met him on? Is that normal for him to move on that fast?

Hi Darbylee, Before I answer

Hi Darbylee,

Before I answer the questions in your last paragraph, I want to start by asking you this: Why would you want to be in a relationship with a person who treats you like this? (And "because I love him" is not really answering the question...)

I know that may sound abrupt, but as I read through your post you described a very unhealthy relationship pattern that is not likely to change.

I actually disagree with the implication that this behavior is "bipolar" in nature (my guess is the woman's husband who is bipolar has been misdiagnosed and / or also has a personality disorder that better explains his behavior - and I think the person you described also sounds like he has a personality disorder - possibly in additon to his schizoaffective disorder).

Bipolar disorder is grossly overdiagnosed, and often a misdiagnosis for individuals with borderline personality disorder as well as other personality disorders.

Now, for your questions.

Will he come back and how do I react? I have no idea. If he does, it will not likely last. If you accept him back, this rocky ride will continue. Is that what you really want?

I don't want to turn him away because I love him. - Enabling bad behavior is not love. Love yourself enough to NEVER tolerate any man treating you this way.

I want to do the right thing. Help? To go back into what sounds like a very volatile, unhealthy relationship is not the "right" thing for anyone, in my professional opinion. You are not responsible for him or his feelings. Do not take that upon yourself.

Is this normal? No. This person sounds like he has very serious issues (and perhaps you do as well if you want to be in a relationship like this - I do not say that to be harsh, but healthy individuals desire healthy, happy relationships and don't stay in unhealthy, miserable ones. Again, I have to wonder why you would want this type of relationship. Are you hoping or assuming it will get better with time; that he will change? The odds of that are not good at all.)

He is back on a dating website that I met him on? Is that normal for him to move on that fast? I really can't answer what is normal for him, although based on everything else you described, it is not at all surprising. Some people are very quick to get back into the game when a relationship doesn't work out.

I know my answers are probably not what you were hoping for, but I have had far too many clients and patients over the years who tolerated horrible behavior from a spouse or significant other, only to be constantly miserable. Just because you believe you love someone (and I say "believe" because I think what you may love is what you think is his "potential", not who he really is, and many people make this mistake. Or, you love the idea of a relationship, no matter how unhealthy, which feels better, on some level, than being alone...)

My response is based on only the information you have provided, but again, what you have described are very unhealthy (or at best, very immature) patterns which are often due to characterological traits or a full blown personality disorder* (borderline comes to mind first). His schizoaffective disorder may be playing a role as well (for example, his need for "alone time", but I don't believe that is the primary issue here.

*Personality disorders are also known as character disorders, hence the term, "characterological traits".

If you have more questions, I am happy to help, and I sincerely wish you the best in this situation. But I hope you choose to find someone to date who treats you with respect and is more emotionally stable and mature than this person.

Dr. Cheryl Lane

Thank you for your quick

Thank you for your quick response. I guess I was just trying to process through it all and I can not exist to him and him turn so mean like I don't matter. I guess I would want to know if he was being truthful or was the disorder talking for him? There were a lot of good times don't get me wrong, but I can say that the bad ones out weight the good ones. I don't plan to get back with him, I am trying to talk myself out ot it.

I know the relationship would

I know the relationship would not work. I am sure that his family does not step in to help. I saw that first hand. He was different with me then his family, he was very withdrawal from his family and hardly spoke. Maybe they would see something was wrong if he acted like I saw him. He was lots of fun and silly. It almost appeared that he could relax around me and be himself. But then it all went down hill. I didn't let him get away with things and how he treated me to a degree, I was on the verge of breaking things off with him, but he did it so fast that day...I could not comprehend what happen. That is how I am lost.

Darbylee, I completely

I completely understand that you are trying to make sense of a situation that was puzzling in many ways. And it sounds like, although you recognize that the relationship may not be in your best interest, that still doesn't take away the hurt that you are feeling.

I don't know if he was being truthful or not. As for the disorder talking for him - again, most of what you described did not really sound like a direct result of his schizoaffective disorder.

Also, he may not even have schizoaffective disorder - he could have been misdiagnosed, or he could have made it up. Misdiagnoses happen all the time, so it's really impossible to say.

You've never said how old he is. His behavior sounds quite immature. Granted, if he hasn't dated much it could be a lack of social skills, but it may also be partly his age (although that doesn't explain everything).

I think it is a rare woman who has not dated a man (or several) at some point in her life who, like you, hasn't gotten hurt and then wondered, "what just happened?? Why did he do that?? Why would he be so hurtful?" Unfortunately, withouth talking directly to the guy all you or I can do is speculate. But even if I could talk to him personally, he may not be able to explain his actions very well.

I encourage you to realize that, as much as you want them, you probably will never have the answers to your questions. And I know how frustrating that is! I've known tons of women (personally and professionally) who have been in a situation similar to yours - Guy acts really interested, you have a great time, guy starts to pull away, guy comes back, guy pulls away again, then guy turns cold and girl ends up hurt and confused. (Don't get me wrong, many women have done the same thing to men!)

Maybe he will eventually talk to you, but even if he did, you likely wouldn't get the answers you want.

AGain, my best guess is that his behavior has little to do with his schizoaffective disorder (if he even is really schizoaffective) and is more likely due to immaturity, lack of social skills, and / or a personality disorder.

I truly hope at some point you are able to get some closure or let this go, as it clearly is tearing you up inside. And I applaud you for recognizing that you were perhaps better off not being in this relationship at all, as you mentioned you were on the verge of breaking things off. Perhaps he sensed that and wanted to beat you to the punch, so to speak, to protect his own ego.

I hope that helps a little. And if it is any consolation, he will likely treat the next person in a similar manner. He may be the type of person who wants to get close, but when he does, he gets scared and sabotages the relationship. Happens all the time!

Dr. Cheryl Lane

I am a little confused by the

I am a little confused by the statement you have made. I am the average girl that gets over looked, and it could be my size, but that should matter. I know I have a lot of great assets. I never thought this before, and I was dating and lived with a man for 3 1/years before I ended it with him. Other reasons I stayed for that long was his little girl involved. He was emotionally abusive. I have dated one man since then and that was about three years ago. I just didn't want to date again or get hurt. Plus, I was taking care of my own life.

I think it is a rare woman who has not dated a man (or several) at some point in her life who, like you, hasn't gotten hurt and then wondered, "what just happened?? Why did he do that?? Why would he be so hurtful?" Unfortunately, withouth talking directly to the guy all you or I can do is speculate. But even if I could talk to him personally, he may not be able to explain his actions very well.

He is 32 and I was his only second long relationship of four months. The other one lasted about 3 months and he saw no future with her. He didn't even hold her hand. He has no clue what a relationship is all about and he is selfish I think, it was too much work and he ran. I guess he thinks the next one will be easier. As far as the disorder runs in his family. He has been diagnosed for ten years and an is in NA. So he has come through a lot in the past and I commend him on his accomplishments.

I have no clue what has happen except one day he says he loves me and he is the world's biggest jerk and he is going to work on his actions and words, then he dumps me.

This is a private conversation, when it is over is there a way to delete it?

Hi, I've been in a

Hi, I've been in a relationship with a man for a year now. Our relationship has always been beautiful-NO UP & DOWN ROUTINE. He was the most kind, tentative and loving man I have ever met.
We moved in together in June(he moved into my home)things were as good as ever till mid August when he began to change, I noticed it and so did others. I thought he was on drugs or drinking heavily due to his behavior. I would ask him what was going on and he would basically reply with a 'what do you mean kinda answer'
His behavior started getting more and more bizzare. Talking to himself, laughing for no reason, pacing endlessly, etc, but he never stopped loving me or telling me he loved me. I finally asked him if he was suppose to be on meds that maybe he stopped taking...he said, no. By the end of October I was a mess, his behavior kept worsening so I told him to leave and go stay with his parents. He did reluctantly.
I work near by his parents home so, everyday at lunch I would go by to visit him. He would always be outside pacing back & fourth talking to himself and such. Every time I would see him he was worse than before and I saw him daily. Finally after numerous pleas to his family to get him help cause there is something wrong with him and he can't be left that way.I was told that he has schitzoaffective disorder-needless to say he never told me.
He stopped taking his meds and was going into a psychotic episode-thats what was going on all this time.
I took him to lunch and the park one sunday- he was very delusional and saying stuff like he has no kids, never been married etc. He has 5 kids and was married once. I asked him "what about our relationship" He said, "were friends, we've never been anything more cause we've never even had sex" I was heartbroken to hear that he forgot me. I began to cry and took him back to his parents.
The next day his mom called NAMI and a SMART team picked him up. He has been in the hospital for 18 days. I talked to him daily and visit a few times a week. He has good days and bad, but is always happy to hear from me and see me. Sometimes he refers to things we did together and sometimes not. On the 'not' days if I bring a memory of ours up, he acts like he doesn't know what I am talking about. It's almost as though he is purposely trying to hurt me by denying me. IS THIS PART OF THE PSYCHOSIS???
I love this man with ALL of my heart and I want to be with him for the rest of my life-can we be what we were after his recovery or has he truly forgotten what we meant to each other???

It appears you posted this

It appears you posted this twice. Please refer to my response to your second post.

Dr. Cheryl Lane