Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Husband of 21 yrs left me 5 days ago.

Community Member
I am absolutely shattered. My husband and I have been married for 21 yrs, together 28 yrs. we met when I was 17. Five days ago he revealed over breakfast that he doesn't love me anymore and just loves me as a friend. He wants to feel that butterfly love in his chest and he doesn't get that with me anymore. We were a couple that did everything together caravaning, shooting, camping, shopping, bush walking etc etc. We very rarely argued and a few days prior he was sending me loving texts (which he often did) I am in complete shock as I had no inkling at all this was to happen. Everybody I tell are totally shocked and say you are the last couple I thought this would happen to. I can't eat, I can't sleep. I cry constantly as I thought we would grow old together. We had loads of plans for the future set in place, by him. So I am totally blown away. I have no job, as he said 5 months back I could throw my job in of 16 years and have a break for a bit. I have moved in with my parents as he is still living our house. I have moved my horses, given away all my chickens and reptiles. He has lost nothing. I can't see light at the end of the tunnel. Any tips on how to cope with loosing my best friend as ever time I think of my future it totally freaks me out big time.
23 Replies 23

Community Member

Hi Shattered lady,

I am sorry to hear of your separation. I have great empathy for you. I am 3+ months out from a separation of a 5 year relationship, its a very stressful and painful thing to go through. I dont know if he is having a midlife crisis or what? Hopefully that is the case and he comes to his senses.

Really try to take care of yourself, If you find you cant eat, try some UP N GO, its a breakfast drink, and will give you some nutrition. Go see your GP, tell them you're not sleeping/eating, he/she will give you the best advice in those areas.
I was quite distraught for the first few weeks, but I found that getting a bit of sunshine helped, just try and focus on the warmth on your skin. And also, focused slow deep breathing may help you to relax.

I'm up quite late most nights, if you need to chat, I'm here.



Community Member
Hi ShatteredLady, I am so sorry.
I am a male, but wouldn't know what to do if my wife came to me and told me what your husband has told you, and so out of the blue to. You must be devastated, and I feel for greatly. Like you I have been married a long time and if my wife came to me out of the blue, I would feel devastated and hurt deeply. I can only imagine what it must be like for you, especially so out of the blue.

Similar to MMS, my suggestions is to try and do little things for yourself, even if you don't feel like it. I guess i am saying try to spoil yourself a little, at least once a week if possible. Do some womanly things, like have your haircut, or get a hairdresser or friend or family member to dye it, have a massage, get your nails done. Go for coffee with a girlfriend, or family member. Try to go for plenty of short walks, especially in calming places such as the beach, or near water. I know it will be hard to make yourself do these things, but I think it is important to pamper yourself at this time.

Warm hugs to you SLady

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Shattered Lady, I have great empathy for you and feel your pain, because the same happened with me after 25 years, although at the time I was depressed and self medicating with alcohol, so in hindsight I was the one to blame, but she was my first true love and always thought we would be together for life.
We had achieved a great deal together, sure there were ups and downs but I lost the love of my life.
We're still in contact and when we speak talk as if nothing happened, have a laugh, joke together, but now we couldn't live back with eachother.
Love and marriage is complicated, but we never know if someone is beginning to become depressed, maybe not from the marriage but other issues that they are hiding and keeping to themselves, what this will do is make them feel as nobody means much to them any more, because their love has been smothered by this illness, so this will make him want to be by himself.
There maybe clues that you remember where he has been off colour, if so it could be taken as just having a bad day, but it could be more than this.
I'd really like to hear back from you when you want to. Geoff.

Community Member
Thank you all so much for your kind words. It's so hard it's like a part of me had died. He was my fist true love and still is. I honestly feel in my head and heart he won't be returning. I am currently living with my parents that I haven't live with for a very long time. So it's all a bit surreal. It feels like I'm just staying here for a break and I'll be able to go back home soon and it will be all ok. But that is definitely not the case. This will be my home for a long while yet. The house needs to sell and I need to find a job before I can really do anything. At the moment my future feels very daunting and unachievable. It's just a nightmare really. I wish I hated him but that is not the case.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Pretty much same happened to me. To paraphrase John Lennon : Life just" happens" though we've made other plans. Lots of horrible things happen- think war,famine,car crashes,rapes,murders.Loved ones have to live with the consequences. I lost my wonderful sister,who died tragically with her husband in the horror of Black Saturday.'

TIPS: On loosing your best friend - In time, you could be just friends. "M" and I are.Still love and care for each other.

On thinking of your future - DON'T. The old saying " One day at a time" applies here. Just focus on your day. Learn meditate, to quieten your mind - it'll help you find the " inner" you. Turn to nature - sunsets, forest & or beach walks,birds in flight,changing skies. Watch little kids at play. Spend time with your horses ( I had a Thoroughbred Stud ). Get a dog - truly unconditional love, always happy to see you.

Finally, you will come through this and, if you want to, go on to make the world a better place.

Community Member

Dear Shattered lady,

I'm so sorry for your grief and pain, its a terrible shock to go through, and even worse that you had lose some of your animals and worry about their future . I keep a lot of exotic pets too and love horses; they feel like family to me. You've lost not only a husband, but now you have all the worry about their future too. I'd be absolutely devastated being hit with both blows at once.

I have gone through it too, my love of my twenties left me abruptly for a much younger girl when I was in a vulnerable position. I'm glad you have parents to stay with, security is very important at a time like this. Hopefully they are giving you the support you need.

I remember finding it very hard to be angry too, I think empathetic people find anger hard to feel; they are more likely to be understanding and forgiving before angry. But it is a very protective& important emotion, because it counters your loss of self worth. It is the emotion that picks you up tells you that you are valuable, you deserved better treatment and lot more sensitivity than what you were given.

You can be angry at a loved one's behaviour, and still feel love for the man. You spent 21 years with him, he was obviously a good man in many ways and that's why you loved him. But his behaviour in abandoning you with such flimsy reasoning is outrageous, immature, disrespectful and unrealistic. Noone reasonable abandons their wife and leaves animals without protection because they think `butterflies in the stomach' are more important than the 21 years a good woman invested into his marriage.

Noone in a marriage that long feels butterflies. That chemical reaction goes away soon after courtship, and progressively gets replaced with much deeper and stronger emotions that really mean something. It makes me think he's courting another person,which would make him a cheat and abuser of the financial power he had in your relationship. So if you can, try to be angry at his behaviour. Hard to do when you're kicked right down, but just try to find it.

In my books, someone who gives 21 years to marriage, and their time and love to other creatures for no other reason than to see them happy is a very good person. A deeper person who is worth something. What your husband did is shallow and shows a great deal of internal emptiness.

Anyway hugs, Just take one day at a time. You'll be up and down but you will survive this, I promise.

Thank you so much. I shed many tears reading your post. You are such a very kind beautiful person and I appreciate your kind words. Xx

Thank you for saying so , I think the same about you.XX

I hope your family and friends are helping a lot, you really deserve a lot of love and care right now.

Community Member


I feel your pain as i am going through the same thing right now.

My wife of nearly 20years together for 24 wants to seperate. Says she loves me but not in love with me. She wants space.

I am the same as you devastated.

Feel free to be angry at him though. Its naturally and you dont deserve this treatment. I have days where im sad and days im so angry. You should tell him exactly how you are feeling.

I told my wife i feel cheated and i am so angry she is giving up on us.

Its hard isnt it when they give no real reason.

Its good you have people to talk to and make sure you share your feelings and get support.

Have you thought about seeing a counsellor/physcologist yourself to help to cope?