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Depressed partner doesn't know whether he wants me and our family

Community Member

Ok Guys, this one is a doozy so settle in.

Background on me: I got married to a mentally abusive ex because I fell pregnant. It was a mistake - he was cheating and living multiple lives with other girlfriends. I found out via one of the girls becoming suspicious of him and investigating. Anyway, I left and copped continuous abuse via txt. He is to only contact me via email regarding our child and his supervised visits. I had panic attacks and serious anxiety from 6 years of horror starting as a teen. I went through therapy and medication and met current partner. My daughter sees him as her father of her own accord and we have a baby son together.

Now, fast forward, our son is 1, daughter 3 on her way to 4 and i've watched my partner become withdrawn, irritable and mean. Its been about 3 months of spiralling and arguing because I did my best to engage and try and talk to him to only be talked down to, ignored or fought with so then i also withdrew after experiencing a BPD ex who used downs as ways to make me stay and feel worthless myself. I have since realised I need to step up and became aware of the differences in the fake depression used against me to this very real, heartbreaking illness and want to support and help.
However my partner has decided he wants to leave and is further withdrawn and refuses to even sit near me. Its hard to even get him to engage with two children who are sitting right next to him asking for his attention. I try and speak to him to only hear he doesn't know if he wants to be with me or be a parent or that this life is enough for him which hurts me beyond belief especially for my daughter. He says he still loves me and can't live without me but he needs to leave because his head tells him to. Its breaking me because I want to be with him, I want our family and he just says he can't be with me and needs to leave but I feel that leaving is wrong and that if he does then that is it. There is no coming back.
He is also blaming me for a lot of the problems because I started fighting, however I don't fight with him, I ask questions and try to engage in a conversation and he ignores me or is snide or rude and I get upset and hurt. He does not see the things he has done and that I've been trying to help or find out what is going on. I feel horrible because sometimes I desperately want him to just go away because I already feel like a SM of 2 anyway.

He is saying i've changed as well. I haven't? advice please!!!

3 Replies 3

Community Member
Hi Beeky94,

Thank you for sharing your story with us – it sounds like there’s been a lot going on with your relationship over the years. It's so much harder to make decisions when there are kids involved as well.

It sounds like your partner is going through some struggles of his own lately and this has really affected you and your family. I completely understand you wanting your kids to have a positive relationship with their dad. While you can control the way you are as a mother, it is up to your partner to decide the way he fulfils his role as a father. It wouldn't be fair on yourself to take responsibility for not being able to control his actions. I can imagine it would be frustrating and you would just want to change the situation, but it sounds like you’ve done the right thing in trying to communicate with him.

On one hand, you say you desperately want him to go away, but on the other hand you say this is breaking you because you want to be with him. Rather than focusing on what you both want right now, it may be helpful to have a conversation around where you both see yourselves (and your family) in a few years time. Once you both have an understanding of that, you might be able to better brainstorm the things you need to do in order to achieve that end goal.

Community Member

Thanks Swan19 for responding. I have spent hours and hours researching to try and find answers for such a difficult situation.

I completely agree with you regarding his role as a father being his own responsibility, a previous therapist regarding my daughter and ex husband has said this same thing as I struggled to understand why he would forever be abusive towards me via txt and social media but disregarded anything about her and never even bothered further than "how is she today?" and never made supervised visits. I think it hurts to see my current partner withdrawing from her so much because she deserves better than to have two male role models not bother with her. I don't want her to grow up with little self worth and relationship issues. It hurts deeply.

I feel like I have tried and tried to do it the mature responsible way but when the children arent around and his behaviour is even more awful I will snap and cry and beg for answers but he interprets this as me fighting as well and it then becomes a fight. I feel horrible for it but sometimes it actually brings a reaction and a glimpse of the person I knew and for a minute it feels nice to see him have some spark of realisation but it never lasts.

I actually have spoke about how before this we had goals to purchase a home and get married in Vegas or elope anywhere. I struggle to get a response at all, sometimes he will say "we still could" when I talk about or ask if he still wants those things but then follows that he needs to leave and has talked about even moving states away. Then other days he talks about how he will move out, have his own place and space to be free and have the kids when I allow which also sounds completely permanent. Other days its only for a while, he will go to his parents and still provide all we have now for us (I SAHM for now due to severe food allergies in my daughter) but just not be around.

It is all so excruciatingly confusing and I am at a loss on how to be supportive and helpful when I feel like he is sort of using anything to find a way out and pretending like its temporary to save face? I am unsure if its myself being totally irrational to feel like this and insensitive but I just don't know. I'm treading water trying to keep up with an onslaught.

I guess i'm asking if this is normal and for experiences on whether this is the end or can be fixed?

Community Member
Hey again - It definitely sounds like you have the best interest of your kids at heart and I really admire that. You want them to have positive male role models in their lives and are trying your very best to make this happen. Are there any other supportive people in your lives at the moment? It must be really hurtful when he suggests moving away because you’re doing everything in your power to be supportive. It also sounds like he’s really confused about what he wants as well so it makes complete sense that you’re confused as well.

I think every relationship is exposed to periods of time that are really difficult, but I guess the question would be whether you feel as though your needs as a partner and a mother are being met in the relationship. It seems like you want to be really supportive of him, but it's okay to also take into consideration your own wishes and wellbeing.

You mentioned occasionally catching a glimpse of the person that you used to know, when you fight – what does that look like? I was wondering whether you would consider seeing a couple’s therapist or psychologist where maybe you could both discuss the way you’re feeling in a neutral environment...