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Separation - what to do?

(36 Posts)
Yesbutno Fri 12-Jul-19 15:20:04

DH is depressed.  He has just started AD’s and has also just gone on to a DMP and says he feels incredibly guilty that he hasn’t been able to provide for us the way he should have (he has fucked up financially several times over the years) and that I would be better off without him, he doesn’t feel like he can be in a relationship until he knows for sure what he wants.  He wants to move to his mum’s for a while to get space.
I have (ashamed to say) looked through his phone and can find no evidence of another woman, although who knows? He's still affectionate, clingy sometimes even, says he loves me and is not thinking beyond getting immediate space, but keeps saying we will be better off and he needs to do this – we have teen DCs…he hasn't told them yet.
Of course I love him but I am also incredibly angry that he gets to check out of family life, go and live with his mum who will do everything for him and I will be left with all the house/pet/kid stuff. He seems to think things won’t be any different but we just won’t be living together and wants us to be in regular contact etc.  Part of me thinks no way – if you don’t know if you want me as your wife no way are you getting me as your friend!  He can’t have his cake and eat it!  And if there is someone else waiting in the wings, I’d feel such a fool.  But if he really is in a bad place mentally, I do love him and want him to work it out and come back.  He says he loves me and isn’t even contemplating divorce.
The problem is I read too many threads on here where there is another woman and the “script”, and I want to protect myself emotionally by building a barrier and going NC rather than risk hurt and humiliation.  I have cut off so many people in my life rather than risk getting hurt…so am I doing that here?  He thinks we can still be in contact, he will come over etc, but my instinctive response is he is not not having it all his own way, there is no need for contact (DC’s are old enough to contact him directly) and all that if someone leaves the door ajar, shut it for them stuff!  I am so confused…have I got warped reasoning here?  Should I be more understanding? He is planning on going next weekend…how do I play this? Thanks!

Yesbutno Fri 12-Jul-19 22:08:23


Pessismistic Fri 12-Jul-19 22:15:54

Sorry your going through this if he needs space I would say yes on the basis he comes to see you & dc each night and if he’s reluctant then be wary about ow but on the other hand if he’s not coping you would not want him to give up completely because he’s had enough maybe suggest counselling does he know why he’s depressed?

MostlyHappyMummy Fri 12-Jul-19 22:18:47

I think your reasoning is spot on. He sounds incredibly selfish.

beenwhereyouare Fri 12-Jul-19 22:32:11

According to my therapist, temporary separations usually drive a bigger wedge between people. Something like 80% of US couples end up divorcing. Out of the rest, about 14% stay married but permanently separated. Only 6% successfully reunite. In a non-abusive, non-cheating relationship, she encourages patients to work on small ways to reconnect from within a marriage, rather than either of them leaving.

If a couple does separate, there needs to be a set of rules in place. Finances, how long until they reevaluate, who will live where, what kind of contact between each other and the children, whether or not dating and sex are on the table (either between the couple, or with others), and what it would take to reconcile. I'd probably add therapy for him as a requirement.

Whether he leaves or not, counseling might be really helpful for you. Since starting therapy I'm building my self-esteem and learning to turn some of my attention back to myself, so that I'm not tied up in knots all the time. I'm learning to interact differently, which puts less pressure on my husband (PTSD and bipolar) and has (very) slowly improved communication between us. It can be a frequent struggle, but at least I'm getting some tools to help me deal with our situation. No matter what the outcome, therapy is a positive step for me.

I hope things improve!

Yesbutno Sat 13-Jul-19 09:12:38

He's depressed mainly because he's screwed up financially and is on a DMP.

It's not practical for him to see us every night - he won't have a car, his mum lives 20 minutes away and doesn't get home until 7pm. He may as well stay here!

I don't feel like I need counselling I just need to know how to react to the situation. Last night he said if I wasn't intending to have contact with him then that would be the end of our marriage- wasn't saying it as a threat btw but just how could it continue if I won't speak to him. He wants regular contact. I just don't want to feel like a fool waiting around and I suppose I want to punish him (don't want me as a wife, don't get anything) but I'm probably cutting my nose off to spite my face! I keep going round in circles- one minute I think this could work and we'll rediscover our love and the other I think hmmm is he trying to see if something (someone) else is better.

MrBlueSkype Sat 13-Jul-19 10:47:58

I don't understand his reasoning for wanting his own space. Surely if he is feeling ashamed, he should be there to build up relationships again. What is he hoping to achieve by running away? Has he proposed a timescale?

I feel sorry for you, it would feel like I was being abandoned if it was me. If he is depressed then he is ill, but surely only your immediate family can help you get better?

No advice I'm afraid, but a few things to mull over maybe?

beenwhereyouare Sat 13-Jul-19 16:04:15

I'm sorry if you were offended in any way by my post. I'm going through similar; he'll say he wants to leave & in a few hours has changed his mind. Doesn't say sorry or even mention it again, just resumes being affectionate, tinkering with his car, etc. as though it never happened. It stems from very serious MH illness (he's on permanent disability) but it's so hard for me to deal with thinking that he wants to just walk away from everything and leave me to pick up the pieces. I was becoming such a sad, angry, and bitter person. I cried the entire first counseling session.

You want advice about how to handle things, which is why I was sharing the information on separation.

Setting up guidelines means you don't have to accept his terms. You can decide on the terms, including how often or in what situation you'll discuss the relationship or moving forward. He doesn't just get to make all the decisions, not if he really wants to work on things. With a timeframe and rules in place, you'll feel more in control of the situation.

I shared all the information about the failure rate for trial separations and the rules. In fact, the last time he dropped the leaving bomb I gave him a suitcase and very calmly started discussing medication, his doctor appointments, finances, and how long it would be before we talked about whether to make it permanent. I told him that if he wanted to spend time with anyone else that I would be allowed to do the same, and that would be a deal breaker for me.

I was dying inside, but I managed to say all that without crying or angry words. I took back some of my power that day. And didn't just let it go when he changed his mind and tried to behave as though everything was normal.

i now know I have some control over things. He now knows that I researched the legalities and have a plan ready if he leaves. I'm not calling his bluff. I'm prepared if it comes to that.

By sharing the statistics he has to take ownership of the fact that leaving would all but guarantee things were over.
And I'm getting strong enough to deal with that.

He now knows that by staying he's agreeing to work on things here. If he leaves it will be a clear sign to me that it's over. Any "space" he needs will have to take place here, and I have a right to think things through as well. I made it clear he's not the only one who wants to run away sometimes.

Working on things looks different now. Instead of focusing on everything that's wrong, we're discussing things that we like about our marriage. The plan is to strengthen those, and choose one thing at a time to do differently. It's not easy, but it's progress.

I was really just trying to share some of the things that have gotten me through the last few months.

Truly, I hope things get better for you all, no matter what you decide.


Yesbutno Sat 13-Jul-19 17:42:32

beenwhereyouare I wasn't offended at all and I can resonate with a lot of what you've said. I saw another post where you gave those separation figures and actually showed them to him a few days ago. He said ideally he wants us to get back together and wants to do all the stuff listed to see if we can. He can't give a timeframe though! He said contact levels are up to me, he wants to be in touch by text and meet up. He'll probably come over regularly to pick up DCs and see pets as well as do our huge garden (his passion). He was going to go, then I basically told him if he did it was over, so he wasn't, then a few nights ago he kept saying he couldn't think straight, needed space etc so I said ok go and have your bloody space, as much as you want! In my mind thinking I'm not going to hold you here if you're already checked out or thinking about someone else. I still don't know about that but like I said, I read too much on here!

Your post was helpful and I'm sorry you're going through this too but sounds like things are improving?

beenwhereyouare Sat 13-Jul-19 19:55:10

i'm glad it helped. I wish I'd known this years ago. I wish I'd made my mental health a priority years ago.

As for our situation, it's improved somewhat. The bipolar and PTSD will always be a part of who he is, and a part of our family as well.

Thus the counseling for me; so that I can be strong enough for whatever lies ahead.

I sincerely hope your husband figures it out soon. And that you retain your strength in the meantime. It doesn't sound like he wants to stay gone, but if he does, you'll handle it. And if he wants to return, remember that it's your decision if you want to let him.

God bless! 💙

Oldstyle Sat 13-Jul-19 20:08:03

Every situation is different of course but my partner asked for some 'space' during a lengthy bout of depression and I think it really helped him. Depression takes away energy and empathy - there's no room for other people. I didn't take it personally although that didn't stop me being upset. We were in occasional contact during the month or so that it took him to see things more clearly / feel that a relationship was possible but didn't have any kids together so that aspect was easier I guess. We went on to have several decades of blissful togetherness.
Hope you find a way through this if that's what you both want.

Yesbutno Sun 14-Jul-19 01:26:21

Thank you Oldstyle - glad it was positive for you and you sound a lot calmer and wiser than me! So we talked more tonight, I got angry again and asked why. He said he doesn't know and he gets he's selfish but feels like we've faced so much the last year or so he needs a break. Cue more anger - he gets to check out whilst I hold down the house, family etc! He's agreed to no longer than 3 months and said in that time I'll probably realise I'm too good for him and won't want him back anyway! Swears he's not interested in anyone else just needs time alone to think but with regular contact and addressing our issues. He won't do counselling though.

Weenurse Sun 14-Jul-19 01:38:17

He won’t do counseling so he is not interested in the marriage. If he wanted to save things he would do what you wanted.
He sounds depressed and like he wants to be looked after- hence going home to Mum.
She won’t make him parent and pull his weight around the house.
I suggest setting up a calander with chores and parenting things you want him to do placed on it, so it is not all left to you.

Yesbutno Sun 14-Jul-19 08:44:52

He would never do counselling no matter what the circumstances- I've always known that about him but thought it worth suggesting. He will be doing chores - we have a huge garden which he'll do every other weekend and normally does a lot of ferrying DCs around which he is happy to do however we only have one car and I'm reluctant for him to have it as I don't have anyone else to rely on whereas he has his mum and stepdad who can give him a lift if needed (he said he'll just use public transport not rely on them) but he can use our car to take DCs out. If I ask him to do stuff he will.

beenwhereyouare Sun 14-Jul-19 16:42:33

Yesbut, you're doing a great job. From what you've said about him, displaying a little anger might be good for him. He says he knows he's being selfish but I don't think deep down he really gets how hard this is on the rest of you.

I'll add that never in a million years would I have believed my husband would see anyone for counseling. He hit bottom first and took the suggestion from his GP. He'd been approached by his supervisor about checking himself in for help as well. His agreement to getting help was the only reason I stayed at that point.

If I come right out and say something like that, he fights the idea. I have to plant the thought and after he thinks about something a few days he may bring it up again and be open to discussion. In that case, I told him I couldn't continue that way. He asked if I was saying I'd leave him. I told him I didn't know what that meant but that things couldn't continue like that. That i just knew if nothing changed I couldn't go on.

I think he heard me that time. What he called a bad mood or depression turned out to be bipolar 1, and eventually the PTSD and the cause of it came to light as well.

From what you've said, your DH is definitely depressed at the very least. Which is why he thinks being away will make him feel better. He won't realize that he's actually trying to get away from the guilt of hurting all of you. He may have convinced himself that you'll be better off without him as a way to alleviate those guilty feelings. I doubt that leaving will be effective for long. After all, he's taking the problem, his depression, with him.

Maybe you should just say that seeing a therapist would be a sign he's committed to making things in your marriage better. To making himself feel better at the very least. And not bring it up again until a week or so has gone by. Something along the lines of "Have you thought any more about counseling?" as if it's a given that he'd be considering it. And if no, something like "let me know when you decide. I can give you a ride or even help set things up."

Whether or not he does, you now have a timeframe. Things will probably progress and you'll be able to discuss more.

You're the strong one right now. That's not fair but it's good that you can be. He does need to know how hard it is from time to time but not so much that he avoids home altogether.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. The sooner he gets treatment the less severe his illness will be in the future. Good luck! 💙💙💙

Yesbutno Sun 14-Jul-19 21:22:57

Thank you. His take on counselling/therapy is he won't talk to a stranger about stuff, however if I ever send him links to read he does take them on board so it's not that he's closed off to having help but just not talking to a stranger. I'm amazed he's taking the ADs, he resisted for ages and they are making him feel sick atm but it's progress that he's committed to taking them - like you that's because I gave him a kind of ultimatum.

I'm feeling okay today. Been listing all the things I want to binge watch and want to get back into my exercise and healthy eating as that has slipped over the last few months, I'm determined to make the most of some me time.

I'm convinced this is more permanent than he's letting on or that there's someone else and if so and he's not being truthful I'll completely cut him off and he knows I will, as I've done it to pretty much everyone else!

beenwhereyouare Mon 15-Jul-19 01:36:36

I sincerely hope not. I've had those same fears at times, although never any evidence of anyone else. Whatever's happening with your DH, it's some form of escape.

Keep an eye on the reaction to the meds. After 15 years on AD's my DH was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. Which anti-depressants are notoriously bad for. They go beyond making someone less depressed and can trigger manic episodes. (You've mentioned financial losses, which is what made me wonder if your DH is possibly bipolar.)

I'm giving you a link if you want to read it; you may see something that fits.

What you've said made me think of Bipolar II or cyclothymia. The medication for those, especially mood stabilizers, work to control extremes of highs or lows. And most don't cause nausea or excessive drowsiness.

Yesbutno Mon 15-Jul-19 21:29:50

Thanks for the link. I don't think he's bipolar but was food for thought as you never know.

He's away for a couple of days with work and hasn't contacted me! However my MIL texted to see if I was ok, said they are not happy with what he's doing but feel they should open their house to him as she's worried about suicide rates etc in men. However when I mentioned my distrust she said if they find out he's got someone else them taking him in is not unconditional and he'll be out! She wanted me to know they'll support me and the DCs no matter what so that was lovely to hear.

He's telling the DCs on Friday and going on Saturday I think.

beenwhereyouare Mon 15-Jul-19 23:54:12

I'm so sorry. Not that I think he won't come home, but for the uncertainty and additional responsibilities you're having to take on.

He was right about one thing. You may find you don't want him back. And it's entirely possible the DC may be more content. That's the risk he's taking.

Mine left when our kids were 6 & 8. He was gone overnight and walked back into the kitchen early the next morning. He and his brother, bringing all his clothes back in. Not a word to any of us. Me standing there with my mouth open. The DC were at the island eating oatmeal.

Then the youngest turned to the oldest and said "You told me we were getting a new daddy!" 😂
There was no other man, just 2 children who'd seen and heard too much. I should have stuck to my guns back then. Hindsight and all that.

Although the kids and I still laugh about it 30 years later, he's never thought it was funny. grin,

You've got this! flowers

Yesbutno Tue 16-Jul-19 05:48:53

Oh no that's a funny story 30 years later but just shows how long it's been going on and how much crap you've been through!

snitzelvoncrumb Tue 16-Jul-19 06:13:39

Op O hope you are ok. I would just take every day as it comes. Can he have the kids with him on occasion to give you a break? Give him his time, but don't just sit around waiting for him to work out what he wants, find something you want to do and take care of yourself too.

category12 Tue 16-Jul-19 06:16:01

You shouldn't agree to three months. A month tops.

Why should you put your life on hold that long for someone so resistant to helping himself?

And the confusion and anxiety it's going to cause your dc, however well it's explained to them.

And having to explain it to other people.


Yesbutno Tue 16-Jul-19 06:44:33

The DCs are teens and as such I don't really need a break from them as they spend most of their time in their rooms anyway/out with friends and are old enough to be left but he does want to see them as do their grandparents. I think they'll be upset but in reality they're not as close to him as they once were, lately he's on their cases a lot so they might be relieved. Teens - everyone knows how they can be and he isn't coping too well with them and takes their moods etc personally. His thoughts vary between thinking they won't give a damn to believing he'll have a better relationship with them if they spend quality time!

I hear you re length of break. I suggested 3 months as I thought 6 was too much and wanted something rather than his vagueness. Maybe I should have said a month, I don't know.

It's shit I know. Thanks for posting though, have nobody irl to talk to!

Weenurse Tue 16-Jul-19 09:02:12

💐 not much else I can offer, good luck

Yesbutno Tue 16-Jul-19 15:29:11

Thanks smile

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