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Marriage meltdown after 25 years and so many hurdles, how to cope!?!

Community Member

I’ve been married for 25 years so there’s no way to condense all that into a brief bio.

I’m currently seeing a psychologist and a peer worker at a government Mental Health Hub as well as a drug/alcohol counsellor at another community centre.

These sessions are generally once a week which sounds like a lot of support, but I still feel like I’m lacking something and am grasping at straws hoping for a quick fix which I know isn’t possible. I’m posting this in the hope that I will find someone in a similar situation that I can chat to.

My marriage has been fraught with many issues including an emigration I wasn’t happy with and numerous moves since then. In the process I became very dependant on alcohol. Yes, a very unhealthy stress relief option but so be it.

We have now built a new house in the country and a week after moving in I got a letter from my husband’s lawyer placing our separation date on record since you need 12 months of separation before you can get divorced in Australia.

I’ve been like an ostrich since then, in complete denial even 2 months after the fact.

I have never ever, in all this time suspected that he would have an affair but the sudden determination and urgency at ending our marriage got me rethinking that. Since yesterday I have 2 very compelling reasons to believe that there is in fact a third person in this marriage.

He denied it, of course and in a weak moment said “we are legally separated, I can do whatever I want” which was pretty telling.

I am so very alone, I have no idea where to go from here! I know acceptance is the next logical step but I can’t find a way to get there.

Our kids are mostly grown up and will mostly be fine without us. Yes, there’s a bit of “empty nest syndrome” there but there’s also a feeling that no-one needs me and they’d all be better off if I just wasn’t here anymore. Sure, they’d be sad for a while, especially my mum, but ultimately that’s the best situation I can picture right now.

I have called Lifeline once before and they were more helpful than I expected them to be. What’s ultimately keeping me from doing anything stupid though is

  1. The thought that someone I love will have to find me after the fact and deal with all of that
  2. The extreme pain it would cause my mum and, to a lesser extent other family members
  3. The pressure of having to write letters to my kids and other family members explaining why I did what I did and attempt to absolve them of any guilt
1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hi there New Member,


Thank you for sharing your story here. It’s not easy and can take a lot of courage.


A separation after many years of marriage brings a range of complex feelings - shock, denial, betrayal, fear, you name it. I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with that right now.


It’s great you are seeing a counsellor, a psychologist and a peer worker. How do you find the sessions help you? It sounds as though you don’t feel as supported as you’d like.


My story is a little different, but there are similarities. I joined a religious community when I was 23, and lived there for almost a decade before I left, very unwell with anorexia. It was after I left that I realised I had been traumatised by my experiences there. I had excused a lot of behaviours because I was the new person and the one who needed to change to be “like them”. When I left, I lost the identity I had formed. Everything I did, ate, said, etc. was dictated by the life. I still had a family, and went back to live with them, but I had no job and no real idea of my purpose. I was also super unwell, so didn’t really care about my life very much. So I can relate to some of the feelings you have expressed here.


I know what it’s like to be in denial, especially if what happened has come as a shock. Which, given you just built a home together, it sounds like it did. Regarding his infidelity and his views around that, actually he can’t do whatever he wants. He’s still married to you at the end of the day. He may be able to date, but he’s limited. And actually, he owes it to you to talk to you about that.


Acceptance is the next logical step, perhaps. But you’re grieving, and grief doesn’t follow a logical pattern. You might feel accepting one day, then get angry or be in denial the next. It’s not linear. 

I wonder if there might be a support group you could join in your area that connects people going through separations? Relationships Australia may have some resources you could try out. They also have a counselling service if you think that could help you. 

Thoughts of death and ending life - I’ve been there, especially after I left and while I was so unwell. I’m glad you have strong reasons identified for not resorting to that. Do you often get feelings or thoughts about ending your life or that it would be better if you’re not around? 


I hope this helped even just a little. Feel free to reach out anytime.