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Dear Wendy Claims: Connection Between Conspiracy Theorists & Mental Illness

“My Boyfriend is a Conspiracy Theorist”

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I have been dating a great guy for about a year and a half now. Our relationship is solid – we both know each other’s family and friends, and there are no issues there. We are both in college and he is motivated and ambitious student. During the past four months, he has become very interested in a range of conspiracy theories: 9/11 was an inside job and New World Order/Bilderberg Group mainly. He watches a lot of online videos for his information. He talks to me about his thoughts on these topics pretty often, and while I can see that each side of the argument has points, I am simply not concerned. I feel as though my life is unaffected by the possibility of the these theories being true. When I say this, he says that becoming informed and making others aware is very important so that the New World Order cannot eventually take control some day. I can respect his beliefs, but sometimes he seems a little obsessive. I am a natural skeptic, so I don’t understand how he can distrust the mass media so entirely, but then put all his eggs into the alternative online media. I would love to hear from you or the readers if anyone has had any experience dating a conspiracy theorist, and whether or not this obsession is only a phase or if will become a lifelong thing. I really do love him and would like to make this work.

Oh, honey. Today, it’s babbling about 9/11 conspiracy theories and the New World Order today, and tomorrow your boyfriend will be writing on his bedroom wall, claiming to be the “true prophet of Jehovah.” Unless he gets mental help, this can’t end well. And even if he does get help, it’s probably still going to be a long and arduous road ahead for the two of you (certainly it will be for him). You’re both in college — the prime age for mental illnesses to rear their ugly heads in those unfortunate enough to be afflicted. And while I’m not diagnosing your boyfriend, I am suggesting that you consider that his behavior of the last four months is much, much more than a phase and that he — and you, if you stay with him — could be in for a serious, life-long battle with mental illness.

I’m sure you care for your boyfriend — you’ve been together for a year and a half, after all — so do him a favor and reach out to his family if you haven’t already. Let them know what’s been going on and that you’re concerned for his mental and emotional well-being. For all you know, this sort of thing may run in his family and they may have insight that can help you put things in perspective and make some sense out of what’s been happening. At the very least, you (hopefully) won’t be alone in your concern for your boyfriend, and his family will be on alert to watch out for suspicious behavior when they see him, too.

As for you and your well-being, you may want to start researching the connection between conspiracy theorists and mental health, as well as pay a visit to your campus counseling/wellness center. If you decide to stay with your boyfriend, you will likely face stresses and pressures you are inexperienced and unfamiliar with and it will behoove you to have a professional help you process some of your own emotions surrounding your boyfriend’s behavior and your potential mixed feelings toward him and your relationship. Good luck.

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