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Mid-life Crisis ending 30 year relationship - do I give up?

Community Member

I guess I'm here because I'm looking for a reality check and some shared experience to stop my brain spinning.

Mid last year my husband told me he was unhappy and left. He asked for 6 months to try living away - we have been together for 30 years (we're in our mid -40s). Together, we have two challenging teens (ASD & ADHD), our daughter has also been severely ill and hospitalised in ICU twice. My husband has a complex family background and most certainly has abandonment issues, his mum passed 7 years ago. This was the trigger for a change in his behaviour - he stopped enjoying life, drank more, slept less, paid less attention to the kids and generally disengaged with all of us. I have been juggling family life for years in the hope that he would 'wake up'.

He has never dealt with the trauma of his past, finds it super hard to talk about his feelings or emotions. 

Now, he's told me it's over for good. He wants me to sell our house so he can start a new life. He's also had a girlfriend for nearly 6 months. I still have to see him every time we 'swap' the kids over. But... aside from this he has pretty much totally cut me out of his life. He cannot tell me why he left, he can't explain, he simply says he is not depressed and does not want to continue.  When we do actually see each other it's as though nothing is different, he's friendly, smiley and jokes with me.  He wrote to me late last year to tell me I was an amazing wife and mother yet, he didn't want to be with me.  I'm am struggling every day with the loss of my best friend and partner in life.

I am beyond confused, hurt and devastated. I'm seeing a psych. I'm taking anti-depressants. I'm trying to immerse myself in positive wellbeing actions. BUT I'm grieving, confused and worried that I'm holding onto false hope that he will realise he's having a mental health breakdown and will want to repair at some point. The man I see at the moment is not my husband, it's like he's a had a total personality transplant.  I feel like I'm sinking in quick sand - his leaving was so unexpected I'm in disbelief, I can't head out and date anyone because it feels like going against my integrity but I've been stuck in a sad, dark holding pattern for nearly a year, I'm not sleeping properly, I wake up angry or sad, I dream about him and our family life, almost everything in life reminds me of him. 

I don't know how to be, whether to give up on our marriage or not.... 

2 Replies 2

Community Champion
Community Champion

hello and welcome,


I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot of challenges all at once, and it is understandable that you are feeling confused, hurt, and devastated. You are taking positive steps to take care of your mental health, which is commendable, and I hope that you are getting the support you need from your therapist and loved ones.


It sounds like you are at a bit of a cross-road and unsure of what direction ro head. I am not sure if your head and heart are telling you different things?


It's okay to take time to grieve and process your emotions. It's okay to seek out support from trusted friends or family members. Your feelings are valid and it's important to acknowledge them.


It's normal to feel conflicted and unsure about what to do in a situation like this. It sounds like your husband has made it clear that he wants to move on, but it's understandable that you might still hold on to the hope that he will come back. However, it's important to also consider your own needs and what is best for you and your children.


Regarding your husband, and I am writing this as a male also ... getting men to admit they have a problem and do something about it are 2 hurdles. It would be nice if he could see a problem and act on it. I do wonder if you have spoken with your partner about the effect this is having on you? (just thinking out loud)


Please take care of yourself and remember that you are not alone.



Hi Smallwolf,
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I have tried to raise his mental health with him however, he went for psych help for three sessions, she told him he was fine and that I was most likely gaslighting him. That said, our mediator (who is assisting us with splitting the finances) asked me if he'd been for help, as a psychologist in her previous role she said that she could see he had separated his feelings and was behaving very detached. She also started our first group session by saying she'd done her job for years, worked in family psychology for years and she was really really unclear why we were separating. Which leads me to think he's perhaps said confusing unclear stuff to her too during his solo session.

He has minimal peer support, non of his coworkers have been parents through his career - this coupled with his own childhood has made it really difficult for him to set parenting boundaries. I don't think he's discussed his feelings with anyone really. A close mutual friend told me that hed spoken to my husband to say our son wasn't coping very well and my husband has since ditched this friend.
It's all incredibly hard, I can see he is destroying our family, our financial security and I feel robbed of my life.
Other than putting one foot forward each and every day, trying to be the very best support I can be to my kids I'm beginning to think there is nothing else I can do to shift the situation with our relationship. 

It's just so very utterly sad.
Thanks again,