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Partner self harming during breakup

Community Member

My partner of 3 years and I are separating. I initiated this after there has been multiple occasions where he has sexted other women.
now he knows I’m serious about ending it he has become so distressed to the point of attempting twice and needing mental health admissions. He’s adamant he can’t get better if we are not together but I know it’s not the right thing for me. I have never seen him so broken and I feel such guilt.
he will agree to go to hospital but then get angry and try to get out of the car when he needs admission.

He is also having financial issues with his business and kids - I’ve said he can stay until he gets some things sorted but he agrees and then speaks and acts as though we’re not ending

i just don’t know how to manage this but I do have an appointment for counselling

11 Replies 11

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi worriednow17,

I am very concerned that your partner is using self-harm as a way of emotionally blackmailing you into getting back together. That is never something that should be placed on your shoulders and it shows a distinct lack of care towards the burden this places on you and comes across as highly manipulative. You have every reason to want to leave a partner who has been sexting other women behind your back and there are a number of red flags here about his behavior. If he has been admitted numerous times, I am assuming that he is under the care of a psychologist? If so, are you able to reach out to them and ask for their professional advice? Alternatively there is always the beyond blue helpline, which is available 24/7. You have done nothing to feel guilty about, you have been put in a position that is not of your doing, and you deserve better than the way you have been treated.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Worriednow17~

I'd like to join Juliet_84 in welcoming you here to the Forum . You are certainly doing the right thing - even if difficult - to come here and seek other people's perspectives. I know myself I'm often too close to something to have the best judgment.

I guess I'd pretty much agree with what Juliet_84 has said.

You certainly have good reason to break things off, and not just because of the texting - though that in itself can be enough.

The other reasons relate to how he is treating and emotionally blackmailing you into his staying. A partner has to be an adult, someone you can rely upon, someone who has your best interest at heart. Sadly this is not the case here.

In fact his behavior is causing you a great deal of distress, and I'm sure he knows that . You are being pretty generous and caring in saying he can stay for a while, however as you would know the risk is that it will become permanent - as he is already assuming. I doubt he has any motivation from what you have said to try to resolve his financial issues, so at what point do you say enough is enough?

I'm afraid that given the situation most caring people would feel guilt - even though undeserved. This is magnified by his self harm, threats and behaviour and treatment refusal. The guilt s however misplaced, unless you want him to remain, and I take it you do not, there is nothing to do but try to see though it, that you did not make the situation and are simply being taken advantage of.

Very hard for a caring person such as yourself to do, perhaps if you can see it as being controlled that might help.

Seeing a councilor is an excellent idea, hopefully one who has seen this situation many times before. You are going though a period of very high stress and need all the support you can get to help you cope.

May I ask if you have anyone, family or friend perhaps, you can talk with and have them listen and care? Trying to deal with all this by yourself is very hard.

Please let us know how you get on


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Worriednow17,

Im really sorry this happening.

For your partner to behave this way is very concerning I understand that you have told your partner that you want to end the relationship.

I believe that before you had said this your partner may have already been dealing with mental health conditions.

Sometimes when we are experiencing some kind of mental health condition we aren’t our usual self inside ourselves.

When we are experiencing anxiety we can feel very distressed within ourselves, anxiety can bring on a lot of horrible intrusive thoughts and everything seems out of control.

I suggested that you just show your partner some understanding at this moment and try to encourage your partner to see a health professional ASAP, a good place to start is your partners gp they could do a mental health plan together this will enable them to see a psychologist.

I understand that what your partner did wasn’t the right thing to do by you and I understand if you want to go your separate ways.

I can see that you do care for your partner and understand your worries.

Thanks for your reply - they are all so helpful. I haven’t really shared much with anyone except my teenage daughters although they don’t know all the details.

Thanks Petal22 I have arranged an initial counselling session for him and I have certainly acknowledge with him that I know how he has been behaving is also out of character. He can be reactive but it’s definitely worse at this time.

Thanks Juliet_84 I think my main reason for coming here is to help with being sure I’m making the right decision but I am a big believer in gut instinct . I know if I stay his behaviour would change straight away but there would also be the expectation things are back to normal . Sadly for me the trust just isn’t there anymore

Hi worriednow17,

Of course, it can be hard to get some much needed perspective when you are in the middle of the situation. It can especially be difficult if you are being made to feel as though you are somehow responsible for someone else’s actions. At the end of the day, your partner has made all of the decisions that have led him to this place, and you are right to assume that he will more than likely return to his ways once the immediate threat of you leaving is over. His refusal to see a medical profession regarding his fairly severe mental health issues is further evidence of this. If someone was serious about “winning” their partner back I would at the very least expect them to get help for their mental health and show that they are on a path to recovery. Instead he has chosen to threaten self-harm as a means of getting you to stay. That in itself shows a blatant disregard for how you are feeling in all of this. We’re here for you xx

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Worriednow, you have every reason to separate from your partner from what you've told us, no one appreciates then texting other people and in this case, girls, because you never know where you stand with him and who is more important, them or you, but trust has gone.

If he wants to get better then he can't expect it to happen if you stay together because the temptation may always be there, especially when you don't know and by staying ' he can stay until he gets some things sorted', well how long is a piece of string and wwill it ever improve, so he shouldn't be using this to stay with you.

You needed feel guilty, he has brought this on by himself and until he seeks counselling by himself no one would know his next step because there may be another problem, as he says, just to stay with you.

You have no responsibility to him because you are never sure what he may do next and without you knowing.

I can't tell you what to do, but can I suggest that you end this relationship, he seems to have many strings trying to keep you together.

Best wishes.


Thanks Geoff I have to say it’s really wearing me down. He’s very persistent with his remorse which I do think is genuine and he really is a broken man atm so I can’t help but feel I’m being punitive and the original reasons for leaving are minimal compared to what is happening. Hoping the counselling session will help with my clarity