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Depressed husband suddenly left

Community Member

My husband of over 20 years has suddenly left. We have three young children & we were a very close, fun loving, social family. My husband has struggled with mental illness since before we met & we have been managing this together over the years. His sudden walking out of our family has shocked & devastated us. The kids & I are really struggling to come to terms with it, our family and friends are completely shocked & saddened by it. He still sees the kids & says he's doing it to be a better dad.

I have researched that it's common for sufferers of depression/bipolar to blame the relationship & the only way they think they can escape their inner pain is to leave & start a new life. That their feelings are so repressed, they fantasise about a new partner as the only way they can feel anything good. This is exactly what happened.

Before he left, he was in a long depression - angry, snapping at the kids, withdrawn, unengaged & unmotivated. It was like walking on eggshells. He said he had been speaking to his psychologist about needing a temporary break from the family stress. It was a shock as he'd never hinted at something like that before. So he planned a trip away on his own for a week or so. A few days before he left he had a big night drinking (excessive drinking has always been a problem) & hit rock bottom the next morning with suicidal thoughts. The night before he left he said our marriage was a problem & 'we' hadn't been happy for 5 years!! This was the first I'd heard of it & I do not agree.

While away, he made the decision not to come back. I immediately went into overdrive researching intensive therapy, writing a mental health plan, arranging marriage counselling, whatever I could basically. But little did I know after only 4 weeks he'd started seeing a friend of ours, someone we saw every week with the kids. I found out about the relationship and he turned immediately on me - rage, anger, awful manic behaviour, threats to cut finances. I'm completely to blame apparently for not looking after him. I spent 2 whole decades supporting him, forgiving all kinds of inappropriate behaviour, finding therapists, picking up medication, picking up the slack at home, loving him unconditionally. But he doesn't see any of that.

He was severely depressed with delusional negative thoughts about our marriage, followed by a manic episode. Do you think he'll ever get to a point where he acknowledges & accepts what he's done & either regret it or at least show remorse?

1 Reply 1

Community Member

I'm sorry about your struggles Shininglight. It does sound like you've loved your husband through thick and thin, done the best you can to help him deal with his mental health issues & supported him for 2 decades. You should be commended for that.

It also does sound like your husband is struggling a lot & is in a lot of pain. However I'm mostly concerned about how this is effecting you. Yes, he's depressed, but it does not excuse him treating you as he has. He has left you, been unfaithful (you didn't say if the new relationship is physical but It is still awful that he's seeing someone else even if it hasn't gone there yet), and then blamed you for his behaviour. This must be very frustrating and hurtful, especially as you've said you didn't see it coming and were happy in the relationship.

The thing is, no one can know if he will realise his mistake sometime in the future and show remorse/ beg forgiveness. I guess my question is, is that what you want? If he does do this, will it make up for what he's done? do you still want your relationship after this?

There is no right or wrong there, I'm just wondering if you've asked yourself the question. If you are waiting for him to apologise or come to his senses, you are in limbo until that happens. And like I said, you can't know if it will. How will you handle it if he doesn't? Or indeed, if he does?

Do you have someone to talk to, like a counsellor or trusted friend? You need to look after yourself right now, so you can take care of your kids.

Hope this helps. Wishing you support and strength.