Mental Health Is a Common Challenge in Relationships

Paired surveyed people in romantic relationships and if — and how — their mental health has impacted their relationships
by Paired
April 28, 2023

Mental health is sometimes framed as something that people experience alone — but this is very often not the case. Although we’ve made strides in de-stigmatizing mental health, we don’t often talk about how it can impact our romantic relationships. When Paired asked their users what the most common challenges in their relationship were, “mine or my partner’s mental health” was number two, second only to “communication issues”. 

So, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to see if this was a common issue among non-Paired users, too. We ran an online survey in the U.S. looking into the impact mental health is having on couples at all stages of a relationship and learned that mental health plays a much bigger role in our romantic relationships than you might think. 

The survey found that for over half of people (58%), mental health issues negatively impact their relationships. What’s more, 29% said their relationship had ended because of a partner’s or their own mental health challenges, with a further 10% saying it almost had. 

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Out of 1,000 people surveyed: 

  • 46% are in a 10+ year relationship, 23% are in a 5-10 year relationship, and 14% are in a 3-5 year relationship

  • 70% were married, 30% were in a relationship

  • 50% were female, 49% were male, and 1% were non-binary

  • 88% were straight, 6% were bi, 3% were gay, and 2% were pansexual

Even though the majority (59%) believe they check in with their partner about their mental health often enough, 55% wish they discussed mental health more.

Interestingly, men were more likely to answer this way (61% compared with 49% of women), and six in 10 people wished their partner asked them how they are feeling more often. 

The number one thing that would help people open up to their partner is feeling more comfortable talking about their feelings (19%), followed closely by their partner “actively listening” during conversations (17%) or asking them how they felt (15%). 

“One of the biggest things couples struggle with is how to start these conversations with their partners in healthy ways,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and Paired’s In-House Relationship Expert. 

“Having conversations about mental health deepens a couple’s connection, yet starting them is daunting. Learning to talk about your mental health with your partner is one way we can battle loneliness and disconnection, and build what we all crave in relationships — closeness with our partners,” says Seeger DeGeare. Luckily, independent research shows that the Paired app is proven to strengthen connection and communication for couples, making it easier to open up about mental health challenges. 

It’s clear that of the people surveyed, mental health — and openly talking about mental health — plays a big role in their relationships, but the opposite is also true. The majority of people (31%) said their relationship happiness was the most important factor in maintaining their mental health, followed closely by having a happy family (26%), and financial stability (17%). 

It’s clearer than ever that our relationships with our partners play a significant role in our overall happiness and well-being, and openly talking about mental health can be a step to strengthening your relationship with your partner.

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At Paired we believe that much like our mental health, our romantic relationships require regular care to stay strong and healthy. With the Paired app, couples can make small, consistent steps towards caring for their relationship, and have more meaningful conversations to build a deeper connection with their partner. 

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Paired, the #1 app for couples, is your guide to a happy relationship via fun daily questions, quizzes and expert advice designed to improve communication and deepen intimacy.

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