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 trying to help his Wife

Community Member


I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but I'll start anyway.

I believe my wife is starting to suffer from depression, she has a history of it when she was younger and plus her family has too. For the past week she hasnt gone to work and has not stopped watching Netflix until she literally falls asleep. Now this is a woman who is career minded and loves her job and she's damn good at it! But recently she's has been stressed out by trying to achieve a promotion to climb the ladder and her workload has been extreme. I've seen how hard she's worked and how much her employers have taken her for granted.

We have also been recovering financially from our wedding last year and it has been tough money wise but we all work together to make things work but also the stress of childcare on us has been massive with those costs. Plus our two year old son is he energizer bunny!

I dont know what to do. She's refusing to talk to anyone at home, I thought if I waited a week and then approached her to ask what's happening she might open up but she explodes and tells me that she just wants to be left alone. She's ignoring our son who wants nothing more to be with his mum but all she is does is sit and watch to show after to show. I think this is how she is escaping what's happening but I'm scared she going loose everything if this continues.

I love her a lot and I just want to help her. If that means we have to see someone for her to talk to then I'm onboard with that but I think she knows something is wrong but doesn't want to face it. I'll do whatever she wants me to do to help but I don't how to help her if she's refusing to talk.

what can I do to help? Am I doing the wrong things or are there steps I can take to help her?



28 Replies 28

Community Member

Hey, there.

This is certainly a tricky situation. It sounds like your wife is under a lot of stress and she's not dealing well. She sounds like a very strong woman, and that may be why she isn't responding well to your attempts at helping her. She may feel that she can deal with it herself, but what you need to try to make clear is that you appreciate how strong she is but even the strongest need help sometimes. You could maybe try and draw her attention away from Netflix to have a heart-to-heart without the distractions. Try using 'I feel' statements, because there's the possibility that she might react negatively to anything that sounds accusatory.

She definitely needs to talk to someone, because it sounds like she's internalising her emotions and closing off to her family. You know that she has a history of depression and it is in her family, so I think that your concerns are correct. I really hope that everything works out for her and your family. Keep us updated on how everything goes.

Thankyou for the advice.

I think your right about her not wanting help. She is very stubborn, always has been haha.I tried talking too her this morning but I may have not picked the right moment as she had adjust started watching it again and she got very annoyed. I told her I feel something isn't right and she can talk to me about anything. She replied she's doesn't want to talk about it yet and to leave her alone.

im still nervous to bring up the idea of seeking help for her. Should I wait a while to ask? I have set up that our son will be with the grandparents tomorrow and was going to try and suggest that me and her go out for lunch somewhere nice and maybe a movie to take her mind of things. Maybe she might open up if we are out of the house and not stuck inside all day?

Community Member

Hi Lachlan

I'm sorry you're in pain at the moment. Your situation reminds me a lot of what I've been through in the past, particularly worrying about what the hell is going on and not being able to do anything about it. Has your wife acted like this before? One thing I'm trying to come to terms with is that you can't fix your partner, only they can. All you can do is be the best husband and father you can be. Saying that, it sounds like you're offering the opportunity to listen to her, but she's not having a bar of it, which obviously drives you nuts because you can't even determine what the problem is.

What else is happening in your life? Do you work full time? Who cooks? Who cleans? What hobbies do you have? What's your relationship with your son like? What's her relationship with him like? Have there been any "critical moments of neglect" in your relationship with your wife? Prior to the last week have you been happy in the relationship? How long have you been together? What's your sex life like? Who's the "leader" of the household? Does you or your wife have any medical issues?

Lots of questions yes, but there might be an answer in there somewhere

For the meantime I'd back of approaching her to talk, she's obviously reacting badly to it. Perhaps just try not saying anything for a while and see what happens - particularly if your plans tomorrow don't go as intended. If she agrees to go somewhere, maybe let her bring up what's going on. Don't pressure her, or offer any advice, just listen. If tomorrow doesn't go as intended, don't react badly - perhaps go out and do something nice for yourself, or catch up with a trusted male friend to air your concerns.

That's really good advise thankyou!

She has moments with our son where she is close to him but then isn't if you get what I'm saying. This week he keeps telling me "mummy gone" and "mummy sleep" when she is downstairs. This kills me as I don't want this to affect him and I don't want it to effect her too. I know she loves him, but to me it looks like she doesn't want to deal with him at the moment which also feels horrible.

As for my relatioship with her, she's the one in charge. I do everything for both of them, they are my life and even though there are times when I feel like I want to say "no it's my turn to relax" I know I have a responsibility to both of them to be the best I can be. This is why I'm lost to what to do as she has always been the one to take charge.

I think I will do my best tomorrow to see if I can get her to come out with me and If i can't and she takes it badly ill back off and give her space. I'm just worried if it does go south I'm just digging a deeper hole for myself and she will justify it not to talk to me at all.

I know it's hard but try to stay calm. Remember you're not in charge of how she is acting or feeling. All you can do is be supportive. If you think she's unwell try and get her to a doctor. Otherwise focus on you and your son. As hard as it sounds. Take your son out, spend as much time with him as possible. Try and foster your relationship with him. Take this time to take charge of doing things just with him if she won't come along. Think of things to do as a family and invite her but if she doesn't come just do stuff with the two of you. Do you have supportive parents? Perhaps you can do things with them. Can they take up some of he childcare responsibilities to free up some cash?

If you have time check out wildmanproject.ca, and Robert Glover's "No More Mr Nice Guy". It sounds like you're doing a lot in your marriage, maybe too much

Whenever you feel able to, approach her. Deep breaths and like Apollo Black said, try to stay calm. It can be daunting, trying to help someone who doesn't seem to want help, but all you can do is give it a go. If it doesn't work today, maybe try another approach in a few days. Good luck to you. (:

She opened up to me a little today. It's wasn't much but it's the first time she acknowledged anything this week. She told me not to worry about her cause she can see how much its affecting me. I replied that I'm worried because I feel something isn't right with her and that I want to help. She told me to give her space as she's trying not to let herself fall into depression.

But I'm confused because what she's doing now isn't her. Wether this is her way of trying not let it get to her or if she's already feeling worse I don't know. I think I'll be patient and supportive and try talking again tomorrow. Maybe I can bring up the idea of talking to someone to help.

It's really good that she was at least a little open to your attempts at finding out what was the matter. That's a good sign, especially since it's the first time she's actually acknowledged you for a while. Perhaps this is her coping strategy - everyone has their own brand - but it's not a healthy one. Maybe, once you are ready to give it another go, you could try and suggest some different coping strategies? Immersing herself in Netflix and basically disconnecting from the world isn't good. In that kind of environment, it's possible that her feelings would just stew and make her ultimately feel worse.

I know that when I was feeling very bad, I would pull away from everyone. This only led to me feeling worse, because I was trapped with only my own negative thoughts and emotions that would swirl continuously and drive me into a deeper sadness. It wasn't healthy.

You could even just sit with her. Sometimes the simple thing of another human presence can be helpful. What is she watching? You could start off a conversation with her about what's going on in the show/movie, create a relaxed atmosphere. People are more likely to express their feelings when they feel comfortable and like they're not being badgered. (:

Made some more progress, we went to see a GP who then has referred us to see someone to talk to which is good, but that's not for another two weeks.

She has sort of been drifting in and out of these mood swings where she is like her old self then she will go back downstairs and sit infront of the tv and demand time for herself. It's was good that she opened up and told me that she doesn't feel right and I'm doing my best to be supportive for her even when she lashes out.

To be honest this is the hardest thing I've ever experienced and I can't even compare to what she's going through but I'm just reminding myself to be there for her no matter what happens a each day.