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Perpetually Confused

Community Member

Hi everybody,

My wife and I have been together for nearly 20 years, we have young children together.

We have had our ups and downs and at a few points nearly broken up but for one reason or another stayed together.

We were at the point in our lives where our peers were having kids and discussed it. I told her I didn't think we should have them as we really don't have a healthy relationship and she convinced me that "people change out of necessity"

After our first child I was truly happy for a year but things soon went back to the way it was.

The second time around was horrible she suffered from post-natal depression and I didn't know how to help her. I admit I should have been more supportive but I could only do my best at the time and was struggling myself.

Since then we have really just been existing and not living. I know we've been in a toxic relationship where both of us at times have been unfair to the other.

We decided to build a new house to have a fresh start but it has been anything but.

The past 2 years have been the most traumatic times I've been through in my life. I've been depressed, emotional, suicidal and overall just had a gut feeling that something is off.

My wife has been constantly angry, argumentative and completely unreasonable to the point where I just shut down. She picks fights over everything, makes everything an issue, criticises me and puts me down.

I've been suffering crippling anxiety and around 1 year ago realised it was contact with her that caused it. I'm constantly walking on eggshells and everything I do is wrong or never good enough for her.

I met another woman around the same time I had my realisation and we really hit it off. I admit I had an emotional affair without even knowing it and once I realised cut off all communication and I admitted this to my wife.

This put me in an even more severe depression and obviously made our already strained relationship much worse.

My wife has been controlling and abusive much worse than previously whilst playing herself as the innocent victim.

I've been seeing a therapist and have come to realise that my wife has been emotionally abusive controlling through our whole relationship.

The more I think about it the more I realise we're no good for each other and we should have split long ago but now I can't bring myself to do it and I don't want to hurt her.

I think my biggest fear is that she will punish me to the best of her abilities which she has proven to do in the past.

6 Replies 6

Dear GoingRoundInCircles
Welcome to the forums.  We're so grateful that you have reached out to our community tonight, we know that it is not an easy thing to do and you have shown a lot of strength in sharing your story.
We're also sorry to hear of the difficult journey you've been on, and we can hear that things are starting to feel really tough and overwhelming for you at the moment. But please know that this is a safe space for you to talk about your thoughts and feelings, and our kind, non-judgmental community are here to provide you with as much support, advice and conversation as you need.
Leaving a relationship is never easy; we tend to feel comfortable sticking with what feels familiar to us even though it is misery; add to this the time you have invested in the relationship, the children, and all the practicalities around separation there is no wonder as to why you are feeling the way you are right now.  In terms of emotional abuse, it is very common that someone in your situation would be holding so much fear; the intent behind emotional abuse is to instill that uncertainty and fear to prevent you from moving forward.  You might find it helpful to also reach out to 1800 RESPECT in order to understand the impact of domestic abuse and to develop some strategies to navigate the separation when you feel safe to do so.
In addition to the online forums, you can also get in touch about whatever is troubling you, no matter how big or small the issue feels. Our trained mental health professionals will be able to listen and offer you care.

To call us, contact 1300 22 4636
To use webchat, Click Here 

We are available 24/7. All calls and chats are one-on-one with a trained mental health professional and completely confidential.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Warm Regards,

Sophie M

Thank you so much for the kind and caring words. Your response literally has me in tears.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello GoingRoundinCircles, it can be a belief when a couple believe that having children together will mend their relationship, however, this normally doesn't happen and can make it worse, especially if PND is involved.

Two people who have difficulty in communicating with each other should not be enticed into believing that raising a child can rectify their marriage because as the child grows older they develop their own likes and dislikes, which may not suit either parent and then cause problems between everyone involved.

If you had met someone you really clicked with but broke it off and admitted it to your wife, when is already controlling emotional abuse, then your situation is likely to become worse which your children will notice, unfortunately.

Children are much happy in 2 households, rather than unhappy in one house, they adjust quite easily as I've seen a few times.

A mentor can talk to you and your wife and sort out the final arrangements, furniture, finance, house and being able to see your kids 50/50, if you decide to separate, so please get back to us when you can.


Thank you Geoff

I think deep down inside I know this but I still don't feel very clear about it.

When I'm around her I never know what mood she is going to be in which triggers anxiety.

When she is being abusive it is very easy to think of separating to the point where it almost feels like a certainty.

When she's calm I can't help but feel like maybe I'm not putting enough effort in and kind of feel sorry for thinking of leaving.

When I'm not around her and have no contact I feel so clouded and confused, when we have any contact via messaging or phone calls I get major anxiety regardless if the interaction is benign or unpleasant.

I'm not sure if this is normal or guilt or what? I guess my other biggest fear is if I leave will I regret my decision?

Hello GoingRoundInCircles, point taken, and yes it can make you indecisive, however, we can get lost with our thoughts because we try and think of all the good times, rather than what keeps happening.

It's you doing all of this thinking, whereas, even if you do something that you think is right, but your wife doesn't, this could start the abuse and walking on eggshells isn't any way to live.

What would happen if you make a perfect cup of coffee and give it to her, but she disagrees, then your mood is going to change from being content to then changing to be disappointed with verbal comments.

The only way to know how you will feel is by separating, the guilt is not on you, but on how your wife treats you at the drop of a hat, and once you are by yourself the world may open up to you.


Dear GoingRoundInCircle,


hope you are fine. Please read my post. It’s not visible yet as I posted it today. Anyways, your story is very familiar with my household. I am in the same boat except I’m the wife here. The way you described your wife sounds like me. Like you I think of the good times but now I’m running out of the good times. There’s nothing anymore. We are just existing. I do my own thing as my GP has said it’s not the best idea to bring in a baby given how hostile we both are towards each other. I focus on my uni as that’s all I have. Husband drinks his life away with alcohol every night. So I’m just wishing when he’ll go away and leave me alone. I’m trapped and I don’t know how to get out of this stupid meaningless marriage.