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Possibly a marriage breakdown- When to leave ?, When to stay ? How to navigate this situation?

Community Member

Firstly much respect to your organisation for offering an online forum available to individuals who live remote & do not have access to assistance.

Secondly & straight to the point, I think my husband of 22 yrs wants to leave, I am not sure if I am ok with this. Part of me wants this rollercoaster relationship to end, part of me is uncertain of whether to keep working at it. We have 3 beautiful children & still care for each other. Our jobs in the last 3 years have become increasingly demanding/ stressful as we work with disadvantaged youth in crises. We have discussed the possibility of burn out & have made progress to minimise work related stress, making an extra effort to have more quality time at home doing things that interest us & our children. We have also discussed an exit plan from this employment.

Family time feels strained, results in us organising something & him being there but letting everyone know that he would rather be elsewhere, In the last 6 mths somedays I feel sad, like someone has placed an incredibly heavy blanket over me. On these days, I am reluctant to do normal activities. I recognise that this can be the early onset of depression, I have sought medical advice & have been managing it with increased physical activity & peer support. (Though I do not feel comfortable to talk to close friends about the details of our relationship hence why I am here) . Recently our petty arguments have become frequent & I find myself wanting peace just be and gather my thoughts and ground myself but I feel torn between my needs, my children's needs, his needs and work needs. I feel that I am at my limit with his behaviour which includes hurtful name calling,public outbursts and over spending of our shared finances. This situation is incredibly hectic. At times I feel overwhelmed and deeply sad that, someone whom I love very much is intentionally trying to hurt me, acting selfishly, not really being present in our life. When we discuss parting, he says he loves me and wants to grow old together but his actions say otherwise. I feel that I dont have the energy to effectively deal with healing myself & repairing our marital breakdown at the same time. I am confused and seek genuine solutions to improve our current lives. Our children are aware of the tension and growing distance between my husband and I . I am very worried of this fact. The last thing we both want is to cause them distress.

Has anyone navigated this type of situation before ?

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hugs, I am sorry to hear you're both going through this, you sound like an amazing couple who have dedicated your lives to a very worthy cause and a raising family together. I'm sorry that you seem to be shouldering the burdeon of repairing your relationship, and your husband's coping mechanisms are less than ideal. Its so easy to feel let down when that happens.

One thing I can relate to very well about your situation is the way work/life burnout can really take its toll on a relationship. As Individuals, you become prone to unhealthy distractions, substance abuse, detachment from your relationship and worse. Its as if you go into a kind of survival mode, and, like you said, it becomes difficult to work on higher aspects of life and your relationship.

The two of you have been wise enough to address this and form a work exit plan, but perhaps its a little more urgent now and needs more discussion? Perhaps you could look at little steps to address burnout, such as planning a holiday together, some time away from the kids, or anything really. Something more immediate and not so far in the future? You both sound very stressed, even by the little things in life.

Perhaps, also, try to understand what you are going through is normal response to burnout and will take time to resolve. I doubt separation is the answer for you, that will cause yet more stress and grief for both of you.

Community Member
Wow! Lots of soul searching and stress for you you poor thing. I was in a similar job and burned out big time. It’s just not worth the damage to your health. That’s my first suggestion. Obviously being in the job you are you know not to make decisions when you’re possibly depressed. However you without a doubt have some big decisions to make. Especially the one that refers to your husbands sabotaging of the relationship and your name calling. Let me tell you, I have been through the same thing and they both lead to a miserable future . For two reasons. Firstly your children may never forgive you for it. At least that’s what’s happened to me. Secondly, you will regret that your hard earned cash over the years was spent on everything but you, and in the end you will have very little to show for it. I am kicking myself daily that I let me ex do that. Hopefully you are younger than me so you still have time to regain your economic ground. Big decisions like this are best solved in my experience by a good marriage counsellor and a good ear from a gp. Also make more time for you.