Do I have to open up about my mental health to my partner? No, you do not. When you share information about your mental health and who you share it with is entirely up to you.
My rule of thumb is to share when you feel comfortable enough to receive their response. It is not about them; it is about you. When you are in the right frame of mind where their response (good or bad) will not affect your mental health, then it is a good time to share. However, if you are not comfortable with sharing, it is completely up to you.
To be honest, most of us fear judgement and lack of acceptance. This does not make us crazy or dramatic, it makes us human. As human beings, we tend to crave acceptance. And that is okay. The idea of being rejected can feel overbearing. The thought of being labeled can feel overwhelming. Therefore, knowing if, when, and how to open up can feel impossible.
Common reasons people want to open up.
- To share more about yourself with your partner
- Help your partner to understand that your emotional reactions may not always be reflective of problems within the relationship
- To not have to feel like you are hiding a piece of yourself from your partner
- To not live-in fear of how your partner may react if they found out.
Here are some examples of what you can share in an intentional mental health conversation.
- How you are really feeling
- What you have been going through
- Ways they can offer support
Important things to remember.
- How your partner reacts is not a reflection of you or your mental health status.
- If they invalidate or judge you, then they are probably not the right person for you and your needs.
- Your partner may need guidance on how to show they understand and are there for you. If they have never had a conversation about mental health, they may not know the right things to say. The conversation should be a collaboration of continuous growth and learning.
- They may also need to feel supported and have their own mental health journey to share. Offer them space as well.