Delusional disorder ex

Hi all,
I’m new to this site, so please forgive me if I don’t follow any guidelines as I’m learning!
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I guess I just need a bit of support from people who understand what I’m going through.

My partner of almost 13 years seems to be suffering from delusional disorder. I’m not a healthcare professional (although after months of research and speaking to HCPs I feel like an expert!) but he checks every box and has a history of delusional behaviour before I met him. To anyone else who sees him he appears completely normal and holds down a job, but if you touch on his delusions he flies off the handle. He’d always called his previous crisis a ‘wobble’ and said it was because of him smoking too much cannabis (he was 24). I came to realise this wasn’t true - see later in post.
Long story short (and it is a LONG story!) he started isolating himself and drinking a stupid amount of whiskey every day, between two and three years ago. He’d been going through a lot of stress, and started to act more paranoid, detached and secretive than usual, became angry and abusive, and sat all day/night writing into his phone - the phone I used to share with him, but which now he would guard with his life. I assumed he was having an affair with a woman from work he’d been hanging out with (whilst he’d tell me he had no headspace to do anything with me outside of the house, or take me out, he was buying tickets to take her out, and jumping each time she needed something - no brainer, right?). I’d pleaded with him to open up and talk to me/go for counselling, but he said he was okay, the woman was just his friend and he too intelligent for therapy anyway! He’d occasionally say strange things such as he was certain he knew what happened after death, but I had put it down to drunken ramblings.
One night, last August, I went to get into bed, and as usual, he was asleep and his phone was open on the bed. I went to do what I had always done - pick it up, switch it off and put it on the bedside table. But when I picked it up, I saw it was open on a letter he was writing, detailing how he was in love with the woman from work. After two years of growing abuse, heartbreak and abandonment, I snapped and did what I never thought I would ever do - I took his phone downstairs and read his personal letter. I thought I’d finally found proof of his adultery. I used to be a proofreader, so I read very fast, but it took me four hours to get through it all. I wish it had been an affair…it was full of delusional ramblings about how he had been shown heaven by God, he was Jesus/he was Jesus’ emissary on earth, how he was having a secret relationship with a pop star, how God and aliens speak to him, how my 80 year old mum was sexually objectifying him, how the woman from work was the reincarnation of his dead relative and also how she was his true soulmate and he would marry her in his next life, how he wanted to palm me off on any number of his mates, so he was free to be with his true love, how he wanted to pour molten wax down my mum’s ears (she has hearing problems) and tempt her into bed, to show me what she was really like, how he would devise a new political system/cure cancer/accelerate the half life of uranium…it went on and on. It was 6am when I finished reading it in the kitchen, and I was in literal shock. I couldn’t stop shaking and kept thinking I was going to pass out/throw up. I stupidly went upstairs to gently wake him up, so I could 1) admit I’d read it and knew (I’ve never lied to him) and 2) to say gently that I think we should go and see a doctor together. He hit the roof (any little thing would turn him crazed for the last two years, and this sent him nuclear).
Since then, he decided to move out because anything I said was “conflict”, (no matter how offensive he’d been to me to make me question him) he said that what he wrote shouldn’t upset me, but my reading it without permission was the worst betrayal anyone has ever done, etc.
Things went from bad to worse and I couldn’t persuade him to seek help. He moved out in November last year into a flat he can’t afford. He took the last of my savings saying he needed financial help (and stupid me, not knowing what was happening and being grief-stricken gave him the cash) and went on a spending spree. I found out he’s bought a ticket to see the pop star on his own in Paris, and booked a romantic hotel suite, as though he thinks she’ll see him in the crowd and “just know it’s him” and he’ll whisk her off to the suite.
I finally managed to persuade him to see a GP, and went to speak to him before my partner did, to give him the full story, but he said he’d only be able to treat what my partner says is wrong. He went in, and apparently he’s only going to see a therapist, not a psychologist, so he obviously lied, even though he swore he’d tell the full truth.
To say I’m heartbroken would be the greatest understatement in the world.
I’m so unhappy. We had such an amazing relationship before all this happened.
After he moved out of the house, I dug around and found out that his last crisis had been far more severe than anyone told me. He’d been sectioned for turning up at his parent’s house with a knife, saying he needed to protect his mum and sister as his friends were going to rape and kill them. He was on anti-psychs when I met him, but said he didn’t really need them as he was okay, and not knowing the severity of his crisis had supported him in weaning off them. He was fine (or so I think - who knows?) for ten years.
I’m sorry this is so long, but I just don’t know how to deal with all this pain and hurt. He’s said truly terrible things, coldly to me. I ended up having to break up completely with him, as my own mental health began to deteriorate. He’d become so emotionally/verbally abusive and, towards the end, physically terrifying and furious.

How do I deal with this? Is there any hope that he will recover if it is delusional disorder? Does anyone have any words they can offer me from their own experience? As I said, I don’t know what I expect to get from this, but I feel so down and hopeless. Anyone?

Hi Amanda
The saddest thing about loving someone with severe mental health issues is that there is nothing you can do. Anything that can be done needs to come from him himself and it will be a long, lifelong battle for him to even manage, let alone recover.

The best you can do is look after and protect yourself. That means mentally, emotionally and physically. You have to be extra strong and self-reliant. You have to forge a life for yourself that does not let his highs and lows, crisis and euphoria affect you. Sadly most people with MH seem to seek to blame someone else, or put responsibility for any progress or slipping back onto someone else, I.e. you, when in fact it is them and only them that has to seek help, maintain any medication and therapy etc.

You can check out sites such as MIND and Rethink for ideas on how to support, but reading how severe his problems are, personally if I were you, I’d walk away and stay away. He sounds dangerous. It’s sad I know, but do you really deserve a life on eggshells and with even more upsetting cycles? I think not.

You have a chance to walk away, just ensure you stay safe


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post, Mrs A. I genuinely thank you for the advice you’ve given. I know in my heart of hearts that it’s time to move on, but it’s just so difficult when you still love someone. I was talking to my friend, and I likened it to the opposite of a ghost: physically he’s still around, but his personality and spirit have all but disappeared. Every now and again I see flashes of the old him, but I know he’s very ill and it won’t last long. It’s so hard leaving someone you love, when that person keeps telling you that they still love you, and it’s only you they want “in this reality” (he’s obsessed by reincarnation and the afterlife).
If he had simply fallen out of love with me, or had cheated on me sexually, I’d know how to handle it. But this is like torture. I know if I wanted to see him I could in five minutes, as he moved around the corner, but I keep telling myself no.
I know you’re right in everything you’ve written, and I need to put it all behind me. If only I could get over this chest-sucking wound of grief…
Thank you again. x

Dear Amanda (and everyone)

I have just come across your post whilst scouring the internet for experiences of delusional partners. I am beginning to think my new boyfriend is delusional and I’m devestated. We have been together for 6 months and he is loving, kind and great company so its been hard for me to face up to the fact that he isn’t all he seems. When I met him he said his wife of 31 years had been having many affairs and they were seperated, but he is unable to demonstrate who these affairs are with or when or how he found out about them - he just ‘knows’ and he exhibits true hatred of her. He also maintains she is a cocaine addict, she apparently completely denies both accusations which infuriates him. He has started divorce proceedings but now is saying he doesn’t trust his solicitor because he might know his wife. Then he said his adult children only side with his wife because she has money from dealing cocaine, however I know one daughter sent him a message saying she didn’t want him around her children ‘when you are like this’. To start with it sounded rather dramatic but plausable but I’m beginning to have horrifying doubts about his mental health. He holds down a job, loves his grand- children and would do anything for me but he becomes different when I discuss his marriage and gets angry with me. Then the other day he said to me ‘I’m not delusional’ and that his family were trying to say it was all in his mind. This chilled me and made me made research delusional disorder. I live 20 miles from his town and don’t know any of his family or friends. Don’t really know what I’m asking here, you can’t give me a diagnosis, but what are your thoughts? He seems so normal day to day other than this conviction but he is so vehement about it he becomes a different person. If he is delusional then he is total denial and therefore I cannot help him

We haven’t heard from Amanda since (yet!) :frowning:

In your situation, me, I would meet the wife and/or kids. I would also make sure I was safe . I wouldn’t’ buy a car or hire a decorator without checking references and checking out a potential life partner is even more important.

Even if it does prove to be mental health issue be aware these things are long haul, rarely resolve and just fluctuate between being managed and getting out of hand. Living with someone like this is often harder on the carer/partner and destroys families and relationships. Think carefully about how you want your life to be. Read many more of the threads on here

And please let us know what happens…


Dear Mrs A and all

Thanks for your reply, which I’ve only just read. Sadly, I have ended the relationship with my boyfriend as he is indeed delusional. I say this calmly but it has been a traumatic experience as I have had to obtain and piece together bits of evidence against someone I love and was hoping for a future with. Its been really shocking and upsetting.
To cut a long story short, more and more things didn’t make sense. My boyfriend’s wife was meant to be having lots of affairs but hadn’t made a new start with any of the guys and seemed heartbroken that my boyfriend was divorcing her. She had moved out 12 months before but wouldn’t progress the divorce or sell the house. She text him that his ‘behaviour’ was making her ill and he told me his adult children were ‘taking her side’ for which he could give no explanation if he was the wronged one. Aside from this, we were having lovely times together doing normal couple things and I was still unsure as to what to think. About a month after I posted he said his wife had made an appointment for them to see his GP and he was fuming (he didn’t go, of course). I asked him why she would do this and eventually he said she was trying to use his ‘mental health’ against him but would not elaborate. I kept asking him why his wife had moved out if she didn’t want a divorce and he blurted out he had put his hand to her throat during an argument about her ‘affairs’ and she left. Now she was saying that ongoing stress at work had made him delusional. Finally after much coaxing he admitted he had been sectioned 20 years ago for threatening violence to ‘someone’ and in that moment I knew I had to end it. He is 6 foot 4 and a weight-lifter and would be very frightening if violent . He had always been a loving and gentle with me, he was reliable, caring, funny - my best friend liked him, so it was horrific realising the truth. I did try to gently discuss with him about talking to his GP anyway, and that he could be wrong about his wife but he got agitated and said I was ‘projecting’ on him. I ended it by saying he had too much baggage with his family issues for us to move forward. I was concerned how he would react but he just shut down on me, went very flat, told me I had let his wife ‘win’, left and has never spoken to me since.
I still miss all his lovely ways, I feel a sense of disbelief about it. I have to remind myself that I only know a fraction of his behaviour and that he had physically threatened his wife at least once. He was adopted at the age of 5 due to childhood neglect, maybe that’s where it all stems from. I feel so sad for him and I feel sad for his family too.

Hi All,
Sorry for no response for ages, but things have been really chaotic. There’s been a very positive update in terms of my ex partner’s mental health, and he seems to be finally coming out of the fog. I’ve been supporting him where I can, whilst keeping my distance.
I’ve seen this as being two-sided: one side is his mental health and getting him well; the other side is how I feel about the relationship and the future. Up until about a month ago I wasn’t even thinking about the can of worms that is side two, but instead focusing on his health - much easier to do when separated and living apart, as I can walk away. I slowly and gently managed to persuade him to change from talk therapy, and instead go to see a psychiatrist and consider medication, for which he is now waiting for his first appointment. That was the first big step forward. He then began opening up, and talking about his thoughts and feelings, which is huge, as he’s been so secretive for a couple of years. He has spoken of how he knows it was his mind playing tricks on him, rather than god speaking to him, and has admitted to how painful ‘some’ of this must have been for me. He has admitted to having a drink problem to the doctor, and also a gambling problem. There’s a VERY long way to go, but each time I go to visit him, there’s been improvements.
However, the second side (my feelings about us) has started to take over now, and there are a lot of very damaging emotions for me to deal with. I’ve just booked in to start seeing a therapist who specialises in abuse, so I can start to get my head around what I went through and how I can deal with that. My ex keeps telling me how much he loves me, and misses me, and how I’m the greatest woman he’s ever known (he was like this for our first 10/11 years together). He also made reference to when we get married (we were engaged), so I had to pump the brakes and say to him: “Woah! We’re a very long way from that, if ever. I love you and will always love you, and I will always be there to help and support you where appropriate, but I don’t know if I can ever go back to being together. I’d need us to have a lot of abuse/couples therapy, and I would need a LOT of reassurances and safeguards putting in place: not least a signed letter from you to the GP staying that I have the right to discuss your mental health with him, should you show symptoms again.” He quietly accepted this.
He’s still ill, and I wouldn’t even consider a relationship until he’s totally in control of his mind again, and on meds. Even then, I really don’t know.
I disagree with what psychiatrists say about mental health and abuse being unrelated. He was the most incredible partner - loving, supportive, warm and caring - until his brain chemistry went out of whack, and he lost control of his mind/thinking. However, I agree that in terms of therapy, they need to be dealt with as separate issues.
So, I’ve pulled my (new) life back together, and with the help of some truly wonderful, supportive family and friends, have managed to find my confidence and self esteem again, and know now that I will never again put up with the behaviour I suffered for so long.
I want to thank you for your advice, and support. I don’t want anyone to see this letter as some kind of justification for sticking with someone who may abuse or hurt them. It’s very definitely NOT the intention.
I honestly don’t know what the future will bring, but whatever it does, it will be on my terms and only if it’s in the best interest of myself. Reading the first post I made, it’s painful to remember just how hurt and heartbroken I was. I’ll never let anyone put my in such a dark place again, whether it’s because of mental health or any other issue. I’m fine and, I can honestly say, really happy and contented on my own now. I’m living life again. I’ve got a new job that I love, a new car, I see my friends, I’ve completely decorated my house, and me and my two furry funsters (cats) live a very peaceful existence. If it stays that way, I know now i’ll be more than okay.
Your advice was key: to look after oneself first and foremost. Nothing and no one is worth you ruining your life for. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xx

What a very heart-warming post to read early on a Saturday morning! Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. It will certainly help others in a dark place, to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Loving someone doesn’t always mean it can work out, being with them can be toxic. Your bravery is inspiring.

Thank you for such a lovely message, Pet66. It certainly didn’t feel like bravery during the last two years, but actually, looking back, I’m very proud of myself for having risen above it and/or coped with it all. There were countless late nights, sitting, staring at the stars, crying, wondering how I would get through it all. I genuinely believe that the old adage of ‘one day at a time’ is the only way to manage something like this. I effectively wiped my mind of all the expectations I’d had for the future, and allowed myself to see the coming months and years as not ‘out of control’ but more ‘full of possibilities’. Sooner than I ever thought, I found myself enjoying life again. It’s taught me patience, and, for the first time in my 47 years, to let go and stop worrying, and ironically, for the first time, I now feel completely in control of my life. You’ve got to find the silver linings in situations, eh?
I honestly wish every carer out there nothing but love and light. Please take note of the above advice of ‘look after you first’. It works. I’m so much more use to my ex as a strong and capable woman, than I ever would have been as a wreck.
If anyone needs to ask any questions or talk, I’m here. I’ll try to check on this post more often now, in case anyone needs a shoulder. xx

This is lovely. Absolutely. I have been telling myself that from the start. I’m more useful as a sane person then insane is also what I tell myself every day. My son does not need me all the time so I work part time.

“This is lovely. Absolutely. I have been telling myself that from the start. I’m more useful as a sane person then insane is also what I tell myself every day. My son does not need me all the time so I work part time.”

I think it’s not just a healthy thing to do, but is essential in coping with the uncertainty and irrationality of someone’s mental illness. We have to remain ourselves, and live our own lives, whilst caring for others. Carers are mostly selfless people, who put others’ needs first. I also believe that as women (I can only give my opinion of my own gender), we’re brought up to sacrifice ourselves for the family’s greater good, but I think that reasoning has to end once and for all. Women are made to feel selfish and as though we’re failures if we continue our lives or don’t sacrifice ourselves, and our own wellbeing in the pursuit of others’s wellness and happiness.
If I had continued on the path I was on when I first wrote on this forum, I genuinely believe I’d have been heading for a breakdown myself.
In getting stronger, more self-resilient and capable, I’ve created a woman, not just strong enough to help my ex get through his negative and delusional thoughts, but also one who is entirely ready to forge a new life for herself should I need to cut the rip-cord on this relationship.
I now see that my happiness should never be reliant on the knife-edge emotions of someone else.
My ex now knows that he’s lucky to have me still around, after the way his illness made him behave, and also knows that it’s his effort which is needed to resolve this. My ‘fixer’ belt is going back in my metaphorical drawer! If he needs me, he knows where I am, but until then, I’m continuing on my own journey.
Stay strong everyone: not for anyone else, but purely for yourselves. xx

Hi there

I really need to connect as I’ve recently discovered my partner of 1 year has been experiencing delusions - I suspected some things prior to 3 weeks ago but 3 weeks ago he accused me of defrauding my own mother as she had transferred a property to me. He felt his ex was planning to do him over with a gang and she had stolen property from him. Now it’s me - he also says we met before and I’m not telling him. He stopped me going to his flat until he got ‘the truth’ from me and could trust me more. I called time out 1 week ago as it got too much - he’s shut me down. We are supposed to be chatting next week but I’m so upset about how he has treated me and is paranoia and mistrust. How do I handle this situation- I feel hurt and shut out but I know he’s not well. How do you not take it personally