Hitting my lowest point and I need help

My wife told me she wants to break up. She wants me to move out of the house, because due to PTSD from her childhood, someone being around who she disappointed or hurt is a trigger for her. I told her I love her and I want to fix the ways I had failed as a husband, the ways I had failed to contribute enough to help her. I am trying my best but she says that the turnaround on my part has been too sudden, and it has given her emotional whiplash. She is angry that I wasn’t doing these things sooner. But the truth is, I think she is very angry at me and just wants me gone. I wish I was gone. I have been trying so hard. I originally tried to gently tell her I didn’t want to move out because of the effect it would have on the kids. I wanted to try to work with her. To save us.

She has agreed to go to therapy with me but I am just so overwhelmed with sadness. She says she can barely bear to be in the house with me because I am triggering her, and that it is bleeding over into how she treats the kids. I don’t know what to do. I’m not okay. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m sorry if this is impossible to read or understand. I’m so sad.

It may be that some time separated helps both of you heal. Don’t look at this as exclusively of your creation. She had/has a responsibility to communicate unhappiness to you before and it sounds like she didn’t do that. The only way forward for the two of you will involve you both realizing and admitting the roles you played to get you where you are. My suggestion is to get some distance, get therapy together and separately each, and to make a long term commitment to trying to work through it. There’s nothing fun about it and it may be too late to make amends, but you can have a happy and good life either way as long as you keep your head up, try to retain self-confidence, and focus on the future while coming to terms with the mistakes of the past. You have my sympathy. I went through a similar situation years ago. It takes a long time to heal.

Kids are resilient. If you treat them with love, the love they return is pretty damn unconditional. They will love you for you, and that is totally separate from your wife. They can also thrive with separate parents.

Your wife is a part of you, sure, but not the majority part. The part that is tied with her can heal from the wounds of any separation and life can be sweet again.

Not sure if you are thinking of hurting yourself, but you wrote “I wish I was gone”. That’s just the wounded part talking. Don’t let it take the rest of you with it. It would be like taking out your whole arm if just your finger was hurt. Please do talk to a counselor, or emergency phone line if you do have thoughts like that.

Remember, how you feel dictates how you perceive and relate to everything. The entire universe can completely change overnight for the better, and this miracle happens to millions of people who take steps to improve things.

I applaud you for recognizing where you weren’t doing so well and turning things around. That’s not easy and deserves credit. I realize I’m only getting one side here, but it sounds like only one of you is making an effort just now. Hopefully some counseling will help.

I’m sorry you’re in this situation, it sounds like heavy stuff.

Not knowing you, my advice would be to not let the depression get too bad. Even if the worst thing that could happen happens – the end of your marriage – and I don’t say this flippantly or without empathy, but life will go on and could actually be better than what it is now. I know that’s hard to see when you’re in a dark place and the walls feel like they’re closing in, when you strongly want to save your marriage, which is a good thing, but keep looking for small, positive things. You can’t predict or even control the decisions your wife makes, you can just try your best to be a good husband and a good father, but keep in mind even if she ultimately decides to end your marriage, however heartbreaking that may be to you, it’s something millions of people have gone through. Hard as it might seem, you can get through it too.

That said, her willingness to try therapy with you is a good step. Keep in mind that if the two of you don’t gel with the first therapist, be willing to try another one, one that’s recommended to you.

My wife and I went through a really rough patch in 1995, she was 25 and had suppressed tons of childhood abuse and it came roaring out over just a few months and suddenly she hated men, wanted nothing to do with me, gave me looks of such disgust and outright loathing that I’ll never forget them, and we ended separating for around 8 months. Even when we got back together it took a few years before things were good again between us. Every relationship, every dynamic, is obviously different, but what you’re describing with your wife sounded familiar to how my wife would react to my presence at the time of her crisis/breakdown. I won’t skirt it, it was a tough time for me, I struggle with dysthymia as it is and that period saw me sink into some very bad depression. There were weeks where I was convinced the marriage was over, though I desperately wanted to save it. But I gave her the space she wanted for months, she went to counseling, I worked on improving in some areas as a partner during that time, and we got through it.

I wish you the best of luck, Mark. Feel free to PM me if you need someone to talk to.

Hey brother, we’re here for you. I went through this about a year ago. Shit, I’m still going through it. For a couple months I walked around in a fog and felt like I was observing my own crappy life from a distance, like completely disassociated. If the worst comes and you do divorce, you can get past this and be happy again.

Remember these things. Your kids love you, and they need you. You are the master of your own destiny, and if there are days you feel like you can’t do it for you, do it for your kids. You’ll be the best father to them, and the best husband to your wife if you guys keep it together, when you’re happy with yourself.

One thing I learned once I was divorced and living alone again was how much I’d neglected the other people in my life once we had kids. I let those relationships stagnate. Everyone needs friends and a support system around them, so make sure you have that too. And you always have us!

Stay strong!

Have a digital long-distance hug brother. You’re alright. It’s gonna be alright. Keep the faith.

We’re here if you need us, but like the people upthread say, real-life counseling is far better than anything we internet people can offer.

I don’t have a job, or a real career. I don’t have any real life friends. My family is hundreds of miles away. I know I let my depression get the better of me, and the result was a huge burden on her. I am so, so deeply sorry for that. I’m trying to fix what I did. But I am just heartbroken. I love my wife, and I love my children. I ruined everything.

Not just you. Your wife, (former) friends and family have had their parts to play as well. And depression is something that happens to you. Not all the onus lies on you. You can not and should not blame yourself for not being able to lift a thousand pound boulder by yourself.

I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I think getting solo therapy is an important step towards righting things (obviously in addition to the couples therapy). I also suggest getting a support network locally (I’m sure your therapist will have some suggestions on that). It’s tough to go through all of that in the first place, but doing it with lo support will make it much more difficult.

First off just a few more digital hugs. Know it can and will get better.

My first marriage ended somewhat similarly and some sort of therapy will work wonders. For all of you. No matter what the eventual outcome. I too had few close friends so just touching base here occasionally helped. Do what you gotta do to find some sort of happiness within yourself and like others have said don’t blame yourself for depression. It’s a very real and dangerous thing. And don’t blame yourself for all your marriages ills.

It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction with therapy both for yourself and for the marriage. But at the moment any sort of happy ending seems so far away that just doing your best to get help probably doesn’t seem like it’s enough. It is. It’s a process. Trust it and trust yourself and you will get to a point where you see personal progress. Hopefully progress in the marriage too, but that’s more complicated due to another person being involved. If she has some sort of trauma in her past that will be something she has to confront and work on herself. Take care of you and you can better help take care of the others.

Sorry, started rambling. Peace and hugs and love to you.

@Mark_L, I second what schurem is saying here.

I do think counseling is a good idea for both yourself and as a couple, if she’s willing. Depression is an illness. You can fight through it and get help for it, but it’s going to impact you in ways that are beyond your control. We don’t judge people who are in bed with the flu but we tend to do the same to people who suffer from depression or other mental issues. Recognizing it’s a problem and realizing the effect it’s having on your loved ones is super important but do your best to channel that into seeking help and trying to get better, don’t turn it inwards and beat yourself up about it.

Aside from recommending expert counseling and help, I can’t help too much myself but I can sympathize. I went through a divorce a few years ago that sounds similar in some ways (ex suddenly wanted out, didn’t communicate about issues she was having with the relationship until it got to a very toxic point for her, etc) so I can relate a little. I can tell you that regardless of what happens, you can and will get through it. Millions and millions of husbands and fathers have been exactly where you are right now. It’s awful but regardless of the end result you will come out the other side. That pit of despair you likely feel you’re in, that’s a temporary thing, not a permanent one.

I am seeing a therapist, I had my first session with her last week.

I don’t have a job or a career, as I said, and I don’t have friends. She wants me to move out, but I don’t have money to do so and can’t take the thousands from my parents that it would take. So if I left, it would have to be home to Buffalo, hundreds and hundreds of miles away. I am looking for a job every day, while trying to upkeep the house and taking full responsibility over all the tasks involving the kids.

I am so sorry my presence hurts her. I have offered- and I started doing this last night- to sleep on the couch downstairs so that she has space in her bedroom, so she can think of it as a safe place. I love her very much and want to work this out, especially for our children. We have had so many wonderful times together. I am so, so sorry for how I let my depression stop me from giving her the help she needed.

She told me that she was angry that I hadn’t left, that I was refusing her that. I told her that once I leave, it will affect our kids irrevocably, no matter whether I live nearby or not, and I wanted to try to help her in any other possible way I could, and I wanted her to give therapy a chance. She then said that maybe she should get her own place, but I told her that it would have the same effect I am trying to avoid. I’m not angry, I’m just so shaken up and sad. I’ve kept a tough face on for the kids, but I am falling to pieces inside.

That’s not true Mark. We are your friends :) We’re not just digital acquaintances, but real life people who have counted you as a friend as well.

Sorry to hear this man.

Could you euclidate on this a bit, if its not too sensitive or fresh? On the surface, without trying to judge, it sounds manipulative.

Unless you meant dissapointed HER, not that SHE disappointed. What does “triggered” mean?

You don’t want to go to your parents, but maybe that would be for the best.

There’s a lot going on here but you’re going to need to find a job somehow one way or the other and you’re not going to be able to support yourself on your own, so going home makes the most sense. Will she move the kids out anyway if you don’t? Are you just afraid of leaving? It sounds like much of this breakdown has been due to your depression and that disease making you dependent upon her.

It’s going to be a long and unpleasant walk but unpleasant isn’t the end. Change isn’t the end. You’ll have to face some unpleasant times… both about your relationships and about yourself, but you’ll become a better person on the other side, someone who “made it” and can hold your head up high. But your going to have to work hard to get there. It might involve going back to school or swinging a hammer or driving trucks at 4am - but you can get there.

But right now i would respect her wishes and go to your parents. That’s a scary step - maybe it will never go back to being the same. It probably won’t. You’ll remember that drive for a long time, but remember it’s just one square on the tapestry of life.

Take care friend.

I don’t have a lot to add in terms of your relationship, but I hope you know you are important to a lot of people, all the time, even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes… even if they can’t or don’t know how to tell you when you really need to hear it.

I sent her a message confirming that my therapist, who I have seen one time alone, would see us as a couple tomorrow. She had agreed to this previously. I waited an hour, she saw the message but there was no response. I pinged her again, just to check in. Nothing. Two hours, now. I am so emotionally drained and beaten. I feel hopeless.

Well, you can’t dictate or force what she’s going to do. You can control how you react & what you do, however. So I’d suggest making sure that you go to therapy & perhaps more often. Important to try to stay positive about what you can control!


She just got back to me and said she can’t go because she decided she can’t change a meeting she had. So I’m just going to go myself. Lord knows I need it.