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Topic: How can I support my husband when we separate?

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. AdalineO
    AdalineO avatar
    3 posts
    1 February 2019

    Hello. I have been married to my husband for nearly 12 years. He has been mentally ill for much of that time and I have supported him through a number of breakdowns, depression, anxiety and PTSD. He is also co-dependent. He is treated with medication and attends sporadic counselling. He is a very good man who I love very much. However I do feel that our marriage has become one where he needs me, rather than wants me. I feel more like his mother than his wife. There is little to no intimacy in our relationship.

    Last year I discovered he had been spending huge sums of money from our business and has financially decimated us. This is not the first time he has used money to self-sabotage. Additionally he had spent thousands on my personal credit card which I am now paying off. The scale of the deception has led me to a very dark place. I now monitor all our money closely. He has asked that I keep our money in a separate account that he cannot access, and give him what he needs when he needs it. I am deeply unhappy about this as it feels abusive. I do not want to have control over him in any way.

    We have discussed this in marriage counselling and for now agreed this is the only way to ensure we have money to pay the bills. If there is money available he will spend it.

    Until this week I was committed to working on our marriage. Then two final demand letters arrived. He had taken out a zipmoney loan last year and had not been paying for it. Also, another business related loan he took out had not been paid and he owes $9k. He is stopped seeing his counsellor and I have to push him every time to make appointments and attend. I know his illness makes ‘simple’ acts like booking appointments seem like the impossible task.

    I feel that at this point I have to protect myself . I am so exhausted mentally and physically. I cannot see that his behaviour will ever change. I am nearly 40 and I’m terrified of being in this same situation in 10 years time.

    I am going to ask him for a separation in a few weeks. I first want to ensure he has support around him. Due to his mental health issues I am very worried about his reaction.

    I would so appreciate any helpful suggestions about how I can provide good support. Thank you in advance.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2681 posts
    1 February 2019 in reply to AdalineO

    Hi Adaline and welcome to Beyond Blue

    Thank you for sharing your story and being so thoughtful for your husband's mental condition.

    To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what mechanisms you can put in place to ensure things are okay for him. Maybe there are others in the forum community who can share their experiences with you. My thoughts are I would possibly:

    Make sure there is a list of contacts available for him to phone or to have online chats with, e.g.

    • Lifeline 13 11 14 or chat online www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Online-Services/crisis-chat
    • Beyond Blue Support Services 1300 224 636 or chat on line 3pm-12pm 24/7 www.online.beyondblue.org.au
    • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (or if he is in danger of hurting himself to go to emergency services 000)

    Maybe set up a regular time to have contact with him to see how he's going. My thoughts are though, he sounds a little strong willed and may try to manipulate you. Are there Mental Health Carers in your community that could visit him?

    Try to talk to him about getting back to his psychologist. Though again, he'll only do this if he wants to. There is going to be no way you can make him do it.

    I also think you might need to do something for yourself, e.g. talk to someone about your experiences and what you're doing. Sometimes having a psychologist (someone removed from the relationship) may help you to see things in a different perspective.

    Not sure if any of these things have helped Adaline. Keep reaching out though. I'm sure others will add their ideas here for you. Alternatively, feel free to browse the forums and threads and to join discussion that relate to your situation.

    Kind regards


    2 people found this helpful
  3. AdalineO
    AdalineO avatar
    3 posts
    1 February 2019 in reply to PamelaR

    Thank you so much, Pamela, for your thoughtful reply. I will absolutely be seeking mental health support for myself.

    His parents live overseas and siblings interstate. I am wondering if having them here immediately after I tell him is a good idea.

    I don’t want him to feel ambushed but I am also very worried that he may hurt himself. I will need them to support him. I am fortunate to have plenty of people around me and as the person leaving, have had time to consider my options and next steps.

    His parents are aware of the destructive behaviour and his health problems, and have the means to travel here at short notice.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

  4. Purple People Eater
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Purple People Eater avatar
    36 posts
    8 February 2019 in reply to AdalineO

    Hi Adaline

    I considered leaving my husband too. (Fortunately things have improved.) One of the things that stopped me is he really didn't have any support other than me and my parents. His parents and closest friends live overseas where he's from and he's an only child.

    So, yes, having his family nearby would be helpful. Does he work? Can he go back with them if he's not coping?

    I knew another carer who moved her spouse into a nearby unit and continued to support him that way. It was exhausting for her though.

  5. AdalineO
    AdalineO avatar
    3 posts
    19 February 2019 in reply to Purple People Eater

    Hi PPE,

    He does work part time. He would be able to go back to his family - they are very supportive of him.

    I do not want to be in a position where I am responsible for his care any more. I love him, but I have to also care for myself. Just writing that feels horrible.

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Purple People Eater
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Purple People Eater avatar
    36 posts
    19 February 2019 in reply to AdalineO

    Hi AdalineO

    In fact, we have to prioritise our self-care even more than our care for others. Because if we fall apart, we can't take care of anyone, even ourselves.


    2 people found this helpful

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