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Topic: Living with a depressed partner for 10 years

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Miacat
    Miacat avatar
    2 posts
    15 October 2014

    Hi, I am new to this community and am so glad I have found you all.

    I guess my situation is similar to a lot of yours and I'm hoping to get some advice and perspective.

    I have been married to my husband for 10 years and we have a 5 year old son.

    My partner began showing signs of depression during our engagement, after discussing this with him he told me that he had suffered from depression on and off for the past few years and it always passed with time and it was nothing to worry about. I guess because I was young (23) and didn't have any life experience I let it slide.

    Seemingly he did get better quickly and we went on to marry.

    For the first few years we coasted along, he had a few moments here and there where he was depressed but nothing over the top.

    5 years ago when we had our son, life was great. I had a good job, he had a good job and we had our new son.

    Slowly over the last 5 years he has been slipping into deeper and darker episodes. We saw our family doctor who prescribed him anti depressants. This worked for a while until he started to have other things go wrong in his life. All of a sudden, he couldn't see the good in anything, he hated his job, hated where we lived, hated his family and also hated that I was so happy in my job. I know hate sounds strong, but these were his words not mine.

    I am a very stable person and managed to keep everything coasting along ok. He drifted from job to job, always finding something or someone he hated there, and left. More often than not this left us in a bad financial position but we managed.

    Last August he came home from work and said he needed a break from work and wanted to leave and take some time off to regroup and retrain and work on his issues. We reworked our budget and found a way.

    Now 14 months down the track he is worse than ever. He signed up for a TAFE course, went to one class and never went back, he refuses to see a doctor or seek help of any sort. He spends his days on the lounge watching movies and I have to come home after working 10+ hours to a house with dishes in the sink, a unfed/unbathed child, dinner not started and the house looking like a bomb has hit it. He is aggressive but not violent.

    I don't know how long I can keep this up. Please help me. I feel deep down that I want to leave him, I am able to support myself and son easily, but don't want him to feel abandoned. He has no job and nowhere to go.

    I am not happy, and surely I deserve to be?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    8248 posts
    15 October 2014 in reply to Miacat

    Hi Miacat, welcome to Beyond Blue forums,

    Yes, everyone deserves to be happy...as happy as possible. 

    It is simply not sufficient for your husband to not attend his GP (hopefully with you) to seek medical assessment and any further treatment. This is where I'd draw the line if I was you. He has admitted he has depression and he has insight, some dont and the problem is worse. However with him having full insight and not being a responsible partner he is placing all the burden on you. Not good enough and displays lack of respect..

    With medication and therapy visits and all the other requirements that many of us respond to (knowing it is our responsibility) he is likely to be a better person and a better hubby. It was just last week that programs on ABC on "Mental as" showed the improvement in hospital admiitted sufferers to medication. And boy, what an improvement it was. discharged after 6 weeks one lady named Sandra, made a remarkable improvement.

    Effectively your husband has agreed to be the house husband. that requires certain specific daily tasks that he should complete prior to you returning home. After all, he has all day.

    It's your call. Some ideas. Consider a calm ultimatum. Minimum level of input, tasks done etc, proper care of the young one and lift his game. Or there's the shock way- tell him you are leaving as soon as a place is found. Be firm, decisive and deliberate. Then in your mind only- he has one chance to lift and you can remain to see how it goes. All he has to do is visit his GP and follow up with treatment. Why not? Possibly pride, you know him well, but many dont get treatment and as someone that swears by the treatment I followed, I cant for the life of my get why some dont pursue it.

    I feel for you. I had a very lazy first wife. Like you after 12 hours of shift work returning home to get the kids off to school as she slept on and doing all the house work before I collapsed in a heap. Not fair. And no appreciation to boot. I moved on and endured the pain of losing my full time fatherhood, my children lost their full time dad....the chain of harmony was broken and unfixable.

    Take care. hope you are ok. We are here if you need to chat. Be strong and seek happiness regardless.


  3. Paul M
    Paul M avatar
    4 posts
    20 October 2014 in reply to Miacat

    I struggle with that same thought 'I am not happy and surely I deserve to be'. My wife's depression and anxiety turned into alcohol abuse which has made my life a living hell. I'm married with three kids but for the last 18 months I've been a single parent with 4 kids.

    My wife is not working as childcare was too difficult - my middle child has his own mental health issues. I regularly get home from work and have to cook dinner, sort washing, help kids with homework etc.  And my wife tells me she's exhausted from her day and she has tried as hard as she can. 

    I have spent the last two years trying to decide if its better for me and my kids to stay or go. Staying means my kids are exposed to more depressive actions while leaving means trying to be a single working parent when I can't get childcare. Feels like a no win situation. 

    I'm not prepared to walk away from my kids and leave them with a mother who may or may not be drunk when they get home from school. So I had a decision to make.

    As partners of people with depression we tend to settle into the 'new normal'. We know we will have to put in the extra effort just to keep things going and we just keep doing it. I think at some point we might realize that if things stay the same our lives are effectively over and its now or never.

    Three days ago I kicked my wife out. I had previously asked her to write out a declaration that if she got drunk again at home before kids came home from school she would move out.  Depression as an excuse for drunkenness is not something I'm prepared to take any longer. My future is very uncertain but I finally feel I have taken a decision in the best interests of me and my kids.

    Will let you know how it goes. 


    2 people found this helpful
  4. 1966
    1966 avatar
    1 posts
    19 December 2019 in reply to Paul M

    It is so hard... I am usually the strong one in our family, keeping my depressed drunk husband's head above water, trying to build him up everyday to see the bright side of life, I'm tired, its been easy 10-15 years watching him spiral and it is only the love I feel for him that keeps me going. Today I felt myself break... cant seem to stop crying, not like me at all.

    I feel for everyone, who has watched thier loved ones disapear into hopeless despair, as I know how hard it can be. Sending love to all xxx

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