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Relationships

Mental health, another woman - help

12 replies

muppetface1 · 25/01/2023 13:53

I reallly need some thoughts about this, I have no-one to talk to.
During the summer my long-term partner started changing. All the little signs that you just know something isn't right. Became withdrawn and just became very negative about alot of things. He wouldn't talk to me and I knew something was very wrong, so I checked his internet history and it was full of search terms such as crushes, unrequited love, out of love with partner etc. That wasn't the only thing though, he'd also been looking at suicide on there. This was a hell of a shock for me, I'm not one for secrets so I asked him gently about it all. He admitted he was very down, we got him help from the GP and he's on strong anti-depressants. During the early days of the drugs he actually tried to hang himself twice, but stopped himself. He's been assessed by the mental health team, who categorised him as low-risk (between attempt one and two, so that wasn't reassuring).
Anyway the other part of this was that he admitted he had been messaging a former work colleague, a much younger woman than me and it transpired he had developed feelings for her. As far as I can make out, this is entirely un-reciprocated, she has never replied, but he is utterly obsessed with her. He's written her letters he's never sent and sent her a drunk message telling her he cares about her. He thinks she is exciting, cool and she is into similar things.
It's months on now and it's been a constant drip-feed of information from him. Just when I think we've turned a corner, he's back messaging her (again with no replies from her). Because of his mental health, I feel like I can't push him too far, he's very fragile. I love him, he says he loves me too, but why is he doing this? I'm utterly broken by it all. The suicidal thoughts, the intention, and this other woman obsession. He has now said he will not message her again, but he's said that before. There is definitely not anything actually going on between them.
Every day is a constant worry, I'm terrified everytime I leave him alone that he's going to try to do something to himself again. I have asked him time and time again, and told him very gently that if he isn't happy with me he doesn't have to stay in our relationship. I think the depression has partly come from guilt about this woman and just general disillusionment with work and family life. I admit we don't get a lot of quality time together, but we are putting the effort in now. He puts it down to mid-life crisis, but is that a cliche?
How do we move on with this? Any advice is very welcome. It's all so hard, I'm so badly hurt, but I want to help him. I don't want to give up on him. I'm seriously tempted to message this other woman to ask her to just block him or something, but I know that's probably not a good idea!

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supercali77 · 25/01/2023 14:30

bless you, you're a kind and loving partner and you've given more than many of us would to help this man through his mental health issues. I read a description once about helping someone with MH problems and when to step back... you're in a boat with someone and they fall into the water, when you go to pull them back into the boat, they start pulling you into the water with them. At some point you have to decide if you're both going under, or just them. The healthy choice is to choose yourself. You cant save someone who isn't willing to take the hand offered and get themselves back on dry land. What he's doing is harassment bordering on virtual stalking. It's wrong. If it were me, I'd say its a condition of staying that he never message her again. I'd have to leave if he ever crossed that line again.

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Givinguponthissituation · 25/01/2023 14:35

He seems to be experiencing limerance. Often borne out of attachment problems and childhood trauma. Not that it’s an excuse for you to continue with the relationship.

if you were to leave and cut contact there is a high chance he’d transfer the limerance on to you.

but, save yourself OP

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TheLastDreamOfTheOak · 25/01/2023 14:43

I think you have been supportive and strong and brave for a long time. But it Might be time to begin to televise that you can't fix him and by continuing to try and do so you are hurting yourself. As sad and scary as it feels it's time for self preservation now op. I think you need to leave. Or ask him to leave. Until he is either better or can properly commit to not messaging this woman. (Additionally what on earth must she think? He's in danger of his behaviour being classed as harassment surely?)

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BunchHarman · 25/01/2023 14:54

You’re much kinder than I would have been. I think it’s time to unburden yourself of responsibility for his wellbeing, only he is responsible. It’s time to free yourself of this misery and leave.

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QueefQueen80s · 25/01/2023 14:55

Bin him! He's a disgusting sleaze.

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5128gap · 25/01/2023 15:04

If you can, get him to delete this woman on all channels, so he can't be tempted to contact her. He sounds very unwell, and there is a possibility this could escalate into behaviour that would be extremely intimidating for her, and could even criminalise him. Obviously that's not your responsibility, but it might help with some harm limitation while he gets help with his illness, and could be a huge favour to her.

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Deerlander · 25/01/2023 21:58

I'm afraid the two don't mix for me, his enthusiasm for her, chasing, hoping, declaring his feelings for her along side his depression and wanting life to end.

It seems to me he would very much like life to go on, but with her.

He is disrespecting you greatly and if he's so deluded or ill as to not notice or care then I'm afraid I'd have to go.

You have spent enough time listening to his wants and needs, start thinking about your own now.

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category12 · 25/01/2023 22:10

I'd be alarmed that he's actually harassing this woman and might get a visit from the police at this rate, if he keeps on messaging her like that. Do not put it on her to block him etc, this is entirely his issue. She may have been advised not to block him in case he escalated his behaviour - she might find it easier to ignore than to wonder if he'll try to find another way to contact her.

Is he getting any other help than the medication? If he's on the waiting list for counselling or therapy, I'd look to go private if you can possibly afford it.

Be careful about your own well-being in all this - it's all very well supporting him, but it can't be doing your self esteem any good. Do not put "saving" him ahead of everything else. Your children and you matter too - everything taking a backseat to his crisis isn't necessarily the right thing.

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Ghostbuster2639 · 25/01/2023 22:13

It is one thing to support someone with MH problems, and it is quite another thing to support someone with MH problems who is obsessed with another woman.

Is he so unwell he doesn’t realise what he’s saying? Has he no regard at all for your feelings by going on like this about her?

Sorry op, this is awful. I’d be gone.

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Cackawhookie · 25/01/2023 22:24

supercali77 · 25/01/2023 14:30

bless you, you're a kind and loving partner and you've given more than many of us would to help this man through his mental health issues. I read a description once about helping someone with MH problems and when to step back... you're in a boat with someone and they fall into the water, when you go to pull them back into the boat, they start pulling you into the water with them. At some point you have to decide if you're both going under, or just them. The healthy choice is to choose yourself. You cant save someone who isn't willing to take the hand offered and get themselves back on dry land. What he's doing is harassment bordering on virtual stalking. It's wrong. If it were me, I'd say its a condition of staying that he never message her again. I'd have to leave if he ever crossed that line again.

Brilliant advice

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Fentylipgloss · 25/01/2023 22:32

I have severe MH issues and BPD (which comes with attachment/abandonment/rejection problems), however, 'cheating' or whatever you want to call it is wrong. No matter how f'd up I am, no matter how depressed, triggered, anxious, scared - I never contemplated cheating on my ex partner.

Problem is, it's how you broach the subject without him feeling 'attacked' or somehow making it to be your fault or that you're making it out to be more than it is.

I don't think for a second this kind of behaviour is acceptable. He says he loves you, but love doesn't chat or obsess over other people.

You need to address is, make you feelings perfectly clear and not feel guilty if he's reacting, 'cause like I said, I don't think much of this is MH related.

Look after yourself.

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muppetface1 · 26/01/2023 09:45

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts, so thank you so much for reading this.
I tried to talk to him last night, he is rubbish about talking about feelings. He has blocked her, so at least that's one thing.

I've told him that he needs to go back to therapy. That's the only thing that can help him. There is something deep inside him that isn't right and I can tell from all this that he is just not himself. It's not just about the woman, he has said himself that that is a fantasy.
He has had issues with his mental health before we got together. I'm not making excuses for his behavior, but until this happens to you, you have no idea how to deal with it. If his therapy helps, I think it might be an idea for us to try couples counselling.
We have a child and 20 years of history together. I can't and don't want to walk away without trying all I can.
I will though, focus on myself and put him in the background for a change. I have put myself on the backburner with my career and have lost my friends. I will now get myself back out there to try and create more positives in my own life. Where to start though? Deep breath.

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