Wife has left with little to no explaination
I am in a situation I thought I would never be, my wife has left our home we built last year. We had been together for 12 years, married for 5. For the last year or so things have been different between us, because of the stress of building the house and taking on more responsibility at work we have been pushing each other away. I know that this is not a healthy thing to do but it's how we were managing to cope with the pressure of life. I had noticed her over last 2 months no longer wanting to talk to me about how she feels, finally one day I almost had to yell at her to get her to say something. She did. She told me she wanted to move out, she feels empty, she feels trapped and she feels like she can't be the wife she used to be. I understand why she needs to do this and why she feels like she needs to deal with it away from our home but now nothing is changing. She comes back every week to visit and "talk" but there is nothing new to talk about, she still feels the same. She hasn't had counselling, she hasn't touched any of the books I've given her that have helped me see what was wrong with our relationship and communication. It's like she is stuck in a void of unhappiness and I don't know how to help her. She was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder towards the end of last year and had been seeing someone but stopped after a few sessions. She doesn't seem to care how I feel or how leaving has hurt our relationship further. It's like my needs, my feelings and her respect for me have been forgotten. The more I push for her to seek help and to talk to me the further she pushes away. I know this is a big reason she withdrew from me while at home, so this is behaviour I need to stop. I've told her I am backing away until she wants to help herself. I keep myself busy working on problems I brought to the marriage for when she returns or for when I need to move on. I'm not naïve, I know she may never come back and accept that life is happier without me, but at the moment I can't bare to watch her hurting like this. She has been my best friend for over a decade, we met in high school, and now she seems like a stranger. If there is anything you can suggest to me to help support her or myself that would be great. Interested to hear what others in similar situations have to say. Learning to be alone has been the hardest part and I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have this forum as a resource.
Thank you all.
Hi Forgotten Husband
Welcome to Beyond Blue forums. It's good you've found your way here. People are friendly, caring, supportive and have experience with mental health issues.
I understand because you care so much for your wife you want to help and support her as much as you can. If she is not responding to your reaching out then I'm not sure what else you can do. Anxiety is difficult to manage and live with, but it can be done. I have PTSD, anxiety and depression. I have ups and downs. More ups these days and have learnt how to manage the downs so I don't go into depression so easily now.
If she has only recently been diagnosed with anxiety, then she may be trying to come to terms with it. She'll be experiencing a lot of different emotions, feelings and physical symptoms which could be extremely confusing for her. Maybe give her time and hopefully she will seek the support from a counsellor. In the meantime, I think you have to make you and your children a priority. You are number one.
It does sound like you and she are both hurting very much. Relationship break ups are never easy. Especially when you still care for the other person very much. You are obviously working at improving and remaking the marriage. Besides the books you gave your wife, have you spoken to anyone? I'm not a counsellor so wouldn't want to provide any advice about what you should or shouldn't do. But there are a lot of good support services out there who deal with this type of situation all the time. Have a think about contacting one of the following -
- Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue Support Services 1300 224 636
Be kind to yourself.
Let us know how you get on.
I'm sorry you are in this situation. It seems like you are doing everything you can to be understanding and to help your wife through whatever she is going through now, good for you. It's good that you've suggested books, counselling etc. but ultimately using those resources is a decision she will have to make on her own. Perhaps the counsellor she first saw wasn't a good fit for her and she could try another. Or perhaps she wasn't ready to get to the bottom of what was causing her anxiety. Facing personal truths can be so difficult. It takes a lot of time and perhaps several different counsellors before you find the one you click with.
You didn't mention if you have children? Assuming you don't is this something you've talked about/agree about? It sounds like you both need to sit down and discuss what your goals are, where you see your life going. Perhaps building the house, the permanency of it, made her see her life in a different way and she started to question if she wants the same life she did when she first met you. You say you were both 'pushing each other away' the past year or so. When a woman feels shut out by a man it can be very hard for her to trust him to open up again, and perhaps she is having some trust issues with you (as you might be with her). She needs to know you won't judge her for whatever she has to tell you. It might have something to do with your relationship, it might be about something else entirely and she's afraid of your reaction.
I'm no expert but I have been through many periods of feeling pushed away in my relationship and a long bout of this 'emptiness' you mention, so I thought I'd give you some things to consider as to what might be causing it. I kept some personal traumas from my husband for years, I buried my needs for the sake of his, I had confidence issues. He had no idea about any of it bc I was watching and waiting to know if I could trust him with it all. Maybe it's something like that. The most important thing is to ask her specific questions as a jumping off point to hopefully work out what is going on inside her.
I don't know if this helps, but I think there is hope as long as you keep talking.
Thanks for the responses Pam and GW, I really appreciate your help.
I think you have both identified some important things that I haven't considered. The first one is it takes time to deal with anxiety and depression that we are both feeling and maybe we haven't given each other enough, its only been a month and during that we have had pretty regular contact. I will definitely be seeing someone myself as I find the further away she gets from me emotionally and physically the more I struggle with the anxious feeling of being out of control and alone. I know that I am 100% in control of how I act towards her and respond to her but she does not seem to care how kind, loving or accepting I am being towards our, she still shows me very little vulnerability.
We don't have children and we were trying up until she developed the anxiety, perhaps part of her anxiety exists because we weren't successful in getting pregnant. I definitely think that building the house has also been a contributor to her feeling more trapped in our relationship, but does this feel more permanent that getting married or sharing everything already? These are all things I just wish she would tell me.
I guess all I can do is be here for her and wait.
Thank you for getting back to us. It's good to hear from you again.
I know there are a couple of other people on the forums who talk about writing down those things they cannot say to another person. Whether it be their partner or pscyh. Have a think about this as a suggestion for your wife.
You think that since building the house your wife has felt trapped. What do you think would be the cause of that?
Also, if she is feeling trapped, then maybe think about how you might contribute to that. Does she have friends she spends time with, without you? Or does she have interests, hobbies, sports? I guess the same goes for you too. What are your interests, hobbies, sports? Do you do things separately or always together?
Hope some of this helps.