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Need guidance on how to approach soon to be ex husband, his depression, and anxiety

Community Member

Hi, everyone! First time post and looking for advice on my situation.

Brief summary:

Together 16 years, 13 married. Have a 14 yo son. He works as a prison guard, high stress environment. Both he and I have come from a messed up family background involving alcohol, dumb fathers, etc.

Marriage wasn't doing well the past few years. I tended to take leadership role and he left a lot up to me to decide. Partially because he didn't really care about the decision and partially because he wanted to keep me happy. In the process, I believe he felt emasculated. Because I ended up resenting him and holding a grudge for feeling like he never heard me or listened to me, our sex life suffered and we grew apart.

He declared he wanted a divorce over a month ago but we haven't yet filed paperwork. Due to a fight on Friday, he insists on meeting the paralegal and getting process started this upcoming week.

In the meantime, we've gone through a whirlwind of emotions. We've gone from cuddling, affectionate, and being sexually intimate to no touching, uncomfortable talks, and kind of tiptoeing around one another.

I signed up for a Marriage Max/Fitness program that has helped me to understand and cope with our issues tremendously and I am still employing the techniques, such as touch and talk charges (basically making physical contact such touching the shoulder or a hug). I don't want to divorce and would ultimately like to work it out with the program's guidance.

The problem is he is also coping with depression and anxiety. He has probably had some form of depression for the past 3-4 years but never went to the doctor, despite my urging him to go. His anxiety kicks in when he's not actively engaged in an activity. Just sitting down triggers it. He also admitted to not being able to handle any disappointment. For example, he was working on building a model robot and snapped a piece. That caused him to become anxious and triggered a mild attack.

He is also paranoid that I'm going to harm him in some way. Most recently, I had stepped out of the house briefly and my best friend visited me as a surprise. He admitted to her that he thought I had hired a hitman to kill him.

Worst of all is he attributes all his sadness/pain to me. While I know our marriage have played a big role, he has had long standing issues he never bothered to address and now that we're going to divorce, I have become the scapegoat.

I'm seeking any kind of advice that can help me deal with him effectively.

1 Reply 1

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Binary 010101

Welcome to Beyond Blue forums.

Life is sounding very difficult for you at the moment. The prospects of a divorce aren't good are they?

I'm not a health professional or counsellor so really can't provide advice though I can offer my support to you. Generally I do this by asking questions. However, there is no pressure for you to answer anything you don't want to.

The support I give is usually through sharing my experiences or experiences of others that I know of.

It really sounds like you want to reconcile your marriage. Good on you. I hope everything works out the way you want.

From everything you have said, it really is important that your hubby sees someone. I'm not sure how you are going to get him to do that. To me it sounds like, he doesn't want you to exert any form of pressure, and if you do, then he'll go down the divorce path. What do you think?

Okay, when my hubby was going through a really bad patch of anxiety and depression, I said enough is enough. That I would leave if he didn't do something. It took a couple of months, but he finally did. It appears to be the reverse in your case.

Is he willing to go to counselling that involves both of you? For example,

  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

This organisation deals with partners all the time. So maybe you could give them ago?

The work he does must cause a lot of anxiety and stress. I'm surprised that the organisation he works for doesn't have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that he can access. In fact, you might be eligible to access the program if you wanted to.

If you are wanting to make things work, then maybe do a little research on PTSD, anxiety and depression. There is a lot of resources available on the Beyond Blue website. Go to their search field on the home page and do a search for things you want to find out about. I'm suggesting this because it may provide ways about how to start and maintain conversations with your hubby. Also, it might give you some understanding of his situation.

We're here if you want to talk some more.

Kind regards