My fiance has had an anxiety issue for almost a year now. It wasn’t until about 5 months ago that she made me quit my job and have her parents support me completely because she was unable to leave the house and would “freak” out when she was left alone. It is not that I have just quit my job I am also not able to leave the house for any reason but, to get her groceries occasionally. I am currently taking classes online but, it is diving me crazy I can’t do anything. I used to love going to the gym but, now I can only try to do a work out in the house. Is this something that is normal? Everyday I feel my life is being wasted. It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for what she is going through either. I want her to be healthy, productive, and happy again. I just feel as though my psychological needs are not being met at this time. So to sum it up my biggest concerns are:
1. Not leaving the house causing extreme emotional strain on myself, 2 possibly not being able to go to school this coming up summer, 3 being financially dependent on her parents which makes me feel very uncomfortable and bad that her parents have to pay my bills, 4 feeling like I’m doing nothing for society. (age 19, from US)
I’m sorry that your fiancé has such severe anxiety and it sounds like she has developed Agoraphobia. Anxiety disorders can be very serious and debilitating, but it is not ok that she is imposing her fears onto you as well. You have every right to be concerned and I would caution you about marrying someone who is making you change your behavior and lifestyle because of her fear, and furthermore, that her family appears to be supporting this.
She needs to get help (therapy and medication) but part of her treatment needs to include couple’s therapy to address how unfair it is that she expects you to change your life to accommodate her illness. I don’t mean to sound unfeeling, but she is controlling you and that is not ok. Your job as a partner is to be empathetic, supportive, and even involved in her care when possible, but it should not require giving up your own life to do so.
If she already has a therapist I would suggest that you attend a few sessions with her. If she doesn’t, I would encourage you to find one that will work with both of you, even if that means finding one willing to come to the house. If your fiancé cannot see how it is too much to expect you to stay home with her all the time, I would reconsider the marriage.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts