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She Won't Get Help

Question:

Hope you can help? My wife and I have been married for almost a year. I will do my best to keep this short and simple. When we met she had bulimia, I thought that it was related to a problem in her recent past and thought our relationship would help stop the problem. A year later I am finding that it is much more than I thought. The bulimia is not as bad but the mood swings are extreme. I am not sure what to do, I am at the end of my rope and am doing my best to hang on. I don’t think I will ever understand this disorder. She won’t get help, so I need some. Thanks so much.

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Answer:

You’re absolutely right and wise to recognize that you need some help. Actually you both need some help, or it is difficult to see how your marriage will continue. Marital partners have obligations to one another. One of those obligations is to stay true to each other through sickness and health. Another, just as important (if not more so), is that when a partner is sick, he or she take the steps necessary to get treatment for that illness. Failure of a partner to do so is more or less selfish behavior that doesn’t work well for a healthy marriage. Your wife should agree to an evaluation by a competent mental health provider. You’ve discussed mood swings and eating disorder problems. It might be very important for your wife to be medicated (for instance, if she is at all bipolar this would be one of the best available therapies). That is an ideal situation anyway. Maybe more close to reality, you might get her to agree to work with you in a marital therapy situation. Your marriage is in trouble and this sort of therapy is quite appropriate. Additionally, because you would both be in therapy, and because she wouldn’t be the identified person with a problem, she might be more willing to participate. Good luck with this.

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