What do you do when it becomes apparent that your partner is using their mental illness as a tool to manipulate you into staying in a relationship after they’ve changed the basic nature of what the relationship started out as? What started as a D/s dynamic has now become a constant battle over her anxiety and her refusal to seek treatment. If anything is said however, she brings up her “Abandonment Issues” and blames anxiety for everything she doesn’t want to deal with. It’s exhausting.


Hi Anon,

I hear you. It can be utterly exhausting to care for someone who needs treatment and isn’t seeking it.

However, I need you to remember something: you have to be looking out for yourself too. Her mental health doesn’t supersede yours. It sounds like this dynamic has become unhealthy for both of you. And you are not obligated to stay in a relationship because your partner has anxiety.

Her abandonment issues don’t mean that you are forced to stay with her forever. It’s unfair to put you in that position.

If you’re worried that she may be a danger to herself if you break up with her, then maybe tell a close friend or family member of hers that you’re going to do this and ask them to keep her company for a few days. If it’s a more imminent danger, you can call 911.

At that point, you have done more than enough for her. You’re not helping either of you by remaining in this relationship that’s unhealthy for you both. Her maladaptive coping skills are being enabled, and you’re getting exhausted and frustrated.

It’s not an easy thing to do. If you need more support, we’re here for you. You can also message me privately @submissivedreamer.

I’m sorry you have to do this. It’s never easy.


Years and years ago a wise old Sub on a long-dead closed forum said…

“Cheating is changing the rules without telling your partner.”

By rules, of course, she didn’t mean D/S rules.  She meant the common agreements, stated and unstated, that define the terms of one’s relationships. 

Presenting one’s self as being a kinkster when instead one is covering for a mental illness is… cheating, same as it would be if one is a cynical manipulator.  True, we can feel WAY more sympathy for someone who’s ill than someone who’s just an asshole.  But it’s still cheating in the sense that it’s misrepresentation.

I probably don’t need to say it but I’m going to anyway: There’s nothing at all bad or wrong about mental illness, and great relationships are possible when one or both partners are dealing with it.  Just not when one or both partners are in denial about it, and when both partners are committed and capable of working with it in non-destructive, non-enabling ways.  Denial, evasion, hubris, or outright dishonesty on the other hand?  No so great for either partner.  Also not fair to either partner.