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Monday, September 01, 2008 Chandra, Community Member, asks

Q: How do you enter or choose to enter a romantic relationship with a paranoid schizophrenic?

I am 25 years old and this past spring worked for my local tax office.  I met the owners son second hand and we began to joke and talk and be friends.  He is 37 years old.  I was told a couple of days after meeting him, when my bosses asked if I had met him, that he is paranoid schizophrenic and has been most of his life.  I knew little about the disease and was not thrown off by it because of my misundestanding.  They told me about the little quirks he has about sometimes becoming socially withdrawn, but he worked, is a member of a local mideval  roleplaying group and visits his parents everyweek. But to me he seemed ok.  we exchanged numbers and emails and have kept in contact  We reconnected at a company lunch a month ago and it was nice to talk to him again.  He told me what he had and he was on five meds and I was honest and asked some questions and confessed my ignorance and he was happy to educate. 

 

I told my mom and a friend about him as I am becoming attracted to him. They told me what they knew and  encouraged me to continue my education but to be careful.  I feel like they are trying to scare me off from him, not to be friends, I feel they are making me paranoid.  I just got divorced after six years so I am not looking for a relationship anytime soon, but want to be friends with him as we have a lot in common and get along well.  My question is that how, if at all, do you enter into that kind of dating relationship with a psz if both parties wish it?  How can I educate myself more?  What are the risks?

 

Thanks,

Chandra NM

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Answers (2)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
9/ 2/08 8:15am

Hello Chandra,

 

As feelings develop between you and this man (if they indeed do), it is within your right to ask him if he he takes his meds every day as prescribed, has he been in a hospital, and what his symptoms were so you can be aware of what's going on if he decides to stop his meds, or starts acting not like his usual self.

 

95 percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia require life-long medication therapy, that's an estimate, but probably accurate.

 

Plenty of people enter into relationships with people who have paranoid schizophrenia.

 

I really must say, this is nothing you should take personally, but I tell everyone who writes in and uses shorthand, that we ARE NOT "paranoid schizophrenics."  It is demeaning to identify a person by his or her symptoms.  We are people and have lives apart from the illness.  So please in the future, you may want to phrase any questions, "How do you enter into a relationship with someone who has schizophrenia?"

 

Though I'm personally upset to think people believe I and others are "paranoid schizophrenics,"  I am doing my best to let that reference slide.

 

The bottom line is, a person who has schizophrenia could be one of the most loving, giving people you'll ever meet.  But you'll never know that if you "assume" certain things about people living with schizophrenia.

 

Treat him with dignity, know the facts about schizophrenia, and educate yourself.

 

I suggest you log on to the web site for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org

 

More than that, I urge you to read the SharePosts that people have written here, both the expert's blogs, and the community members' entries.

 

Respectfully,

cb

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Animus, Community Member
9/ 2/08 2:05am

You are in a good situation by knowing upfront and this is the best situation as the best anyone can do is be completely upfront and honest. If you choose not to because of psz, you would be left wondering and if you do, you just might find happiness.

 

Why not talk to him more and try to get to know him personally... if you hit it off, the psz might not even be noticeable to you, especially if he is on meds..... good luck!

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By Chandra, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 09/01/08