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Topic: My spouse is pushing me away.. what can I do?

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. WorriedPartner1
    WorriedPartner1 avatar
    4 posts
    14 August 2021
    My spouse of 5 years suffers with depression. He is currently trying to manage it on his own. A fortnight ago it became so unbearable he was wanting to end his life. He decided he needed space, and wanted to distance himself from his family and myself, in order to sort through his emotions. He didn't speak to me for a week. As he is a regular FIFO worker, it was an opportunity for him to get the space he needed. Communication with me has been lacking, but I have heard from friends that he is answering phone calls. He is battling with his self worth, self esteem and currently questioning our marriage. He feels like he can't love others if he doesn't love himself.

    He has been suffering with depression for a while, however this is very unusual behaviour toward our relationship. He has been withdrawn from regular hobbies. There have been no sudden changes, that I can think of which may have contributed, but I can't know for certain. I know we both make each other very happy. We are always laughing and affectionate toward one another. As we've both been in toxic partnerships before, we are very conscious of how we treat each other, often talking about our emotions. I understand the feelings related to self worth are impacting what he thinks he does or doesn't deserve. I think pushing me away seems like the only thing in his control right now.

    I have been doing everything I can to show my support. I have encouraged him to seek help from services provided by mine sites. Giving him space, alerting his family, letting him know I am here, offering to collect scripts and making an appointment for him to visit a councillor if he wishes to. I have stressed there is no obligation to attend, but the offer is there if he wants to go down that path.

    I am very worried for his safety. He is still refusing to communicate with me beyond a text message every few days. He is due to return home after his regular 2 week swing, only having 1 week of R&R. However I am afraid he will continue to isolate, demanding more space and time, perhaps not even living with me when he returns home. Ultimately, trying to push me away until I finally leave. I have made it clear, I am sticking by him during his journey. He seems to ignore this part.

    Is there any advice on how I can make him feel more supported? How can I show my husband that pushing people away right now may not be the right answer? How long should I wait before reaching out in person if he continues to want space?
  2. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9171 posts
    14 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    Hi, welcome

    In answer to your last question, how long should I wait? The answer is- as long as he has a need for his space. Any shorter and he'll feel under pressure and emotional stress is tough for him to tolerate atm.

    A few things- ideally, FIFO or shift work is not good for anyone with any mental illness. As as former shift worker I can attest to that fact. It can make you moody and intolerant.

    How do you know he has depression? You don't mention a diagnosis. Therefore, he could be going through an advanced stage of planning separation for example and his symptoms show as depression.

    So my advice is to make an appointment with your GP for when he returns. Inform him upon his return of the appointment and he has the option of attending. If he refuses- attend aline and discuss the problem. After all you need such attention also.

    Reinforcing your love for him without any pressure from you is important at this time. It's tempting to voice your dissatisfaction and it's understandable...but not when he is at work.

    TonyWK

    2 people found this helpful
  3. WorriedPartner1
    WorriedPartner1 avatar
    4 posts
    14 August 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK,

    Thank you so much for your advice.

    Sorry, I should have mentioned my husband has been diagnosed with depression by his GP. He’s been given a MHCP however has not taken the next step to book an appointment or speak with a therapist just yet. He has been trying to battle it alone.
    However in all of the time that I have known him (8+ years), it has never affected him this much. He’s always found some kind of coping mechanism - no matter how small, to help him get through. He doesn’t appear too interested in taking any medications to help either at this stage.

    I am feeling rather hopeless at the moment. As I can’t even seem to get a response from him most days, these last couple of weeks while he’s been away.

    I am wanting to reassure him that I am here for support. But I am torn between giving him too much time that he questions my commitment and support to helping him get better. And not enough time, that I end up making the situation and him feel even worse, when he is not ready.

  4. Learn to Fly
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    140 posts
    14 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    Hi WorriedPartner1,

    I agree with what White Knight said.

    Considering what you have shared with us it seems like you have been putting a lot of effort in trying to help your husband, reaching out to him continuously, assuring him of your love and readiness to support through this difficult times. You have been informing his family, checking with friends all to ensure he was safe and doing “sort of ok” when not talking to you. I really, really feel for you as this must be also very difficult on you: watching your loved one going through such painful times, doing so much for him and meeting silence in return.
    Again, I agree with White Knight and would encourage you to make an appointment to see a GP. Your husband doesn’t seem to be coping well, however, it’s up to him of course if he agrees to attend the visit. In all of this, you have to remember about and look after yourself too. It can be very, very difficult to do your absolute best to try to help the loved one and then to hear that he wants to distance himself. You show huge amounts of empathy and understanding but you have to look after yourself too.

    Let ya know how you go.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. The Bro
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    145 posts
    17 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    HI there Worried Partner1 and congratulations on a beautifully worded and thoughtful post.

    Like White Knight and Learn to Fly, who have both made excellent points, I really feel for you and the emotional battle you are fighting so very well.

    Just a few suggestions that I hope will help your thoughts:

    1. Please look after yourself. You have done a massive amount of work on this situation with empathy and understanding.

    2. Try not to feel hopeless but regard this as a test, maybe an opportunity to look back on later and reflect what you may have learnt. They say that adversity strengthens us, but the journey can be rotten at the time.

    3. After telling him that you love him and value your relationship, is it time to tell him how his behaviour has impacted you? Be very clear and caring, not judgemental or critical, as you don't want to inflame the situation. But if he understands that you are his 'Rock' and he is hurting you, it may have a positive effect on his thought process.

    4. Now this is a tough one. I also wonder when it might be time to ask him if he wants the relationship to continue? He may think he is dropping hints about how he feels but, maybe some closure needs to be applies to this?

    I was in a four year relationship which became one sided with the 'love' coming from me. I could sense things were not quite right yet my partner (who was very beautiful) ensured me she was happy. I got pretty miserable and decided to being things to a head and suggested it might be better for her if she moved out. To my surprise she readily agreed - but then asked if she could leave her piano in my house so she could visit and play it. A week later guess what, she started a renewed a relationship with an old flame! So of course the piano had to go and I felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders and emotions.

    A couple of years later we met at a party and she admitted she had not been happy for a year or more in our relationship.

    The point is, sometimes it is better to go with your instincts, look after you own well being, stop being a bathmat and stand on your principles.

    Only you can judge how you feel about doing this as you appear to love your partner and the care you are showing is amazing.

    All the very best, hope this helps a little!

    Love to hear back from you. The Bro.

    3 people found this helpful
  6. WorriedPartner1
    WorriedPartner1 avatar
    4 posts
    17 August 2021 in reply to The Bro
    Hi Learn to Fly and The Bro.

    I'd like to thank you both for your advice.

    Sorry to hear it didn't quite work out with an ex, The Bro. But it sounds like the separation gave you a lot of clarity and has unburdened you both emotionally. It sounds like you were both ready to let go of the relationship and move forward.

    I worry for my husband, as I cant imagine what he must be going through. But am grateful he is at least making contact with others, to alert them that he is okay. He is due to return this week, but its been a good week since we've been in contact - by this I mean a week since he's actively responded to one of my text messages. I am still not sure how long I should wait before seeing him in person.

    I think it might be time to alert my husband, of the anxiety the situation is causing me. I have noticed these last couple of weeks I have been extremely anxious, more anxious than usual, worried and unable to think of anything else. Sad my marriage could be potentially ending and I am not even sure why. Regular daily tasks I would normally do with a breeze have since become harder, getting myself up and dressed, driving myself to work, even doing the grocery shopping.

    I am unsure if telling him will positively affect his thought process. I worry if he knew how I felt and what I have been going through these last couple of weeks, he would continue to blame himself and uses phrases such as "See, she's better off without me" or "All I do is hurt people" in his thought process. I really do not want to say anything which may push him away farther unintentionally...

    Which leaves me in a bit of a tough position, this is such a difficult situation to navigate. I really do not want to lose my husband to this illness, or my marriage.
  7. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    15102 posts
    18 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    Hello WorriedPartner, I feel as though I'm just chipping in here as much has been said over the last few days, but there are options the spouse/partner can feel when their loved one becomes depressed, feel that it maybe their problem why they have become like this, but you can't automatically believe this, every situation is different, and FIFO jobs are distressing for the family, simply because the two of you may be having a lovely time together, but then suddenly they need to FIFO, so it may seem as though it's all lost.

    This affects both of you, but probably the person who has to leave, they leave their surroundings and the environment is completely different, whereas the person at home may have friends and the support they need to hold them up.

    It's not unusual for a depressed person to leave home, only because they don't want questions asked to them all the time, because they have no answers and want to be free from this, it doesn't mean that he doesn't love you, but he is unable to say it, that's what this illness does.

    There is a chance while he's away that he may want to talk with you, at a low point, try and let him talk otherwise if he's unable to then he may close up.

    The trouble with being away is that he may tend to not seek any help, this doesn't always happen, just be mindful and aware that sometimes if you make an appointment for him may help, but not all the time.

    It would be good for you to get the help you need, you can't weather this by yourself, you need to discuss this situation.

    Hope you can stay with us.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  8. The Bro
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    The Bro avatar
    145 posts
    18 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    Hi Worriedpartner1 and thanks for responding.

    It is a very tough situation and I fully understand you feeling anxious about it.

    It is probably dominating your thoughts every day.

    From some of your comments it appears you are slowly working things through in your mind and getting more ready with passing time, to front the situation.

    It is probably a very good idea to let him know how things are affecting you. It's very tricky and requires an 'egg shell' approach, but I can sense you are building strength and preparing for this. Surely he will soon understand that professional advice and counsel might improve things and I can see you are working on that too.

    Dig into your inner strength and all the very best with progress on this difficult situation.

    Bye for now, The Bro

    1 person found this helpful
  9. WorriedPartner1
    WorriedPartner1 avatar
    4 posts
    21 August 2021 in reply to The Bro

    For those playing along at home, I just wanted to let you know I made contact with my husband. We met one evening, and I just wanted to hear how he was going and understand a little better if there was anything I could do. Listening was what I wanted to do, and listen I did.

    Unfortunately, our marriage ended there that night. However, it was unlike any break up I had been through. There was so much love, heart break and tears in the one room from the both of us. We held each other for a while and didn’t want to let go. We’ve always felt a pull towards one another. I could tell it was breaking both our hearts to have to let go. We agreed it almost felt like we were both unsure this was the right decision.

    I am learning to understand that his love for me hasn’t disappeared, it is still very much there and in abundance. But the guilt he feels from the depression, is crushing him and he needs the time and space to focus on himself, discover who he really is, and to learn to love himself. Before he can love and support someone else. At the end of the day, despite how broken hearted I’m feeling, I just want him to be happy. Happy with life and happy with himself.

    Unfortunately, being stuck in the middle has affected my mental health, and I couldn’t bare to be kept in the middle much longer. In the hope he may or may not want to continue the marriage. It’s an anxious place to be waiting in, one waiting room you don’t want to be stuck in forever.

    I hope that one day our paths may cross again, once he’s learnt to discover and love himself again. Once he feels like himself again. There was a universal pull when we first met all those years ago, and I do hope that it’s strength never fades.

    1 person found this helpful
  10. The Bro
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    145 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to WorriedPartner1

    Wow Worriedpartner1 that post is SOOO powerful!

    Really appreciate you letting us know that you have reached resolution.

    It seems both of you think that to go you own way is the best thing to do. In the near future there will most likely be some empty moment and moments of regret running around in your mind so please try and give things some time to settle down as you move on to the next stage of you life.

    Please stay in touch with the forum if things arise you want to discuss.

    All the very best and sending you and your husband positive thoughts.

    The Bro

    1 person found this helpful

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