Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Trying to separate (30 years of marriage) but she won't accept the fact

Community Member

I'm kind of lost and because I think I've got a bit of a brain, I'm even more beside myself.


To cut a long story short, I want a divorce, due to a number of issues. This has not been an overnight decision.....

I have been married to a victim narcissist for a number of years, who has mental health and substance abuse issues. It's got to the point that if I don't save myself, I'll go down with her......


anyway, as I'm highly empathetic, she's got away with alot for years, and more so over the past 8, as the alcohol abuse has increased to the point it is now impacting on her physical health (mental health has been shot for years). A counsellor has said, I have been in an emotionally (and financial) abuse relationship for years...no kidding!

I would like to see if anyone has any experience on how to approach a divorce, with this type of situation. The past 3 times I have tried to raise it, she ODs and I take her to ED. I really need to find a way to help her understand it's over and she needs to seek help from the agencies.

She lost her job due to her alcoholism and will be homeless and income-less, if I can sort out a separation. This outcome does concern me. She has no real friends and does not get along with her family.


I am happy to pay her her fair share of our assets, but this will have an impact on her gov. benefits. It won't be enough to but a place of her own, so she'll need to rent and look after herself. Something she has never done, given I have done all the cooking and cleaning, bill paying and raising my three adult daughters.

Any one have any ideas of a pathway forward for me?



4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Qwerty,

Welcome to the forums. I'm sad to hear you've been in an abusive relationship for such a long time. I think it is really good that you are trying to get out of it and live your own life.

I'm not really sure what the solution here is to be completely honest with you. From what I understand, you still care about her and want to make sure she's okay when do you get a divorce. I think that is really kind of you and I really do hope that something can be done.

But I'm also worried because it sounds your care for her is what keeps you in this abusive relationship. I have never been in this situation, but I think that there has to be a limit for how much you can give her. She may be quite unable to look after herself, but she's also an adult and you aren't her carer. I think there should be a point at which enough is enough, and she may need to fend for herself.

But regardless of how the divorce comes about, it sounds like you may need some support yourself. You mention a counsellor - is this someone you speak to regularly, and does this person have any suggestions? You've also mentioned your three adult daughters - even though I was a child when my parents divorced (badly) and I think it's important to keep children out of the ugliness of divorce, the reality is they will still feel the effects and it will be important for the four of you to have a good relationship. Are you close with them now?

I don't know what the right things to do in this case are, but I do know it'll be really important to have good people around you. It'd be nice to keep chatting to you if you find this helpful.


Community Member

Hi QWERTY123456.

High five for reaching out the forum for support in your time of need. Apology in advance if I may seem a bit too direct. Going off your post, there seems to be a lot of issues that you'll find are from both sides of the fence.  We are all humans and we are not perfect in any way, no matter what someone is experiencing. You have stated that you no longer want to put up with your Wife's behavior. Was she always like this, has something changed, are you acknowledging her care needs? Are you mentally stable enough to care for her or anyone who is not mentally healthy? I sense that your Wife is in chronic distress (for some reason unknown) and because she is becoming intoxicated and overdosing backs it up even more. Why is your Wife suffering, do you know exactly? I would imagine that she is doing this because of some sort of severe depression or even experiencing a mental health condition. I think it could be helpful to put yourself in her shoes and feel what she is feeling. I want you to try and be as empathetic as possible (as you say you are) and get to the bottom of the root cause to her life challenges. 

To conclude, there's always a reason why people experience difficulties, try being a bit more open and understanding, take this advise on a positive note.

Be strong, be brave.

thanks for your thoughts.

Community Member
Hi, I understand how you feel and well done for reaching out.

I know you are in a sticky situation and I feel like I can assimilate.

Does your partner suffer from boarderline personality disorder? I am currently in a relationship and in the ten years we have been together I have tried to leave several times but she will not let go. I do love her, I wish things were better for us but as days go on I feel more and more as though we just simply are not compatible anymore. Although my partner has no substance abuse issues, she does experience ptsd from her childhood. She is very intelligent, witty, pretty and persuasive.

Although we are not married, I have tried leaving and in the past she has threatened to hurt herself, blame me for a situation she would be in if I left and turns it all around on me. My partner also has just about no family, very small amount of friends and refuses to recognise that she may have BPD and I'm always the one seeking professional help...

I feel you and hang in there, look after yourself first and foremost.
Is she seeking help for herself at all?