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I met my husband over 10 years ago, and now we've been married for almost 5. He suffers from depression and is struggling. We are in therapy now. Every time he feels like the world is coming to an end and things aren't improving, he gets desperate and makes an all or nothing choice which hurts me. The first time, he had an emotional affair with another woman while I was 6 months pregnant. The second time, he asked for a separation. The third time, which was yesterday, he said he thought he wanted a divorce in therapy, but wasn't sure. He thought he had made this decision last week, but didn't have a chance to tell me. All these things have occurred over a 3 to 4 year period. Every time, he takes it back, we reconcile (though none of his problems are truly resolved), and we go on our hunky dory way until it happens again and I start to make plans, and hope, and be happy, but I can never really relax or feel safe. The anticipation of the "cycle" happening again feels like a big weight around my neck. The first time, I cried everyday for 8 months. The second time, I cried for a month, but learned to accept things (we were separated for about 3 months). Yesterday, I was pissed off for a few hours, cried for about 20 minutes, and then crunched the numbers for my new budget as a single mother before he called me on the phone and said he couldn't leave me. So now what? I love him. I have hope for us, but maybe I'm fooling myself. I know he has to treat his depression and take care of some his own problems before he can meet my needs, and that I have to think about myself, but the decision is not so easy to make. Do I call it quits for the sake of tough love? Maybe he needs to see that it's not the marriage that traps him. It's the depression. If there is no marriage and things don't get better for him, maybe he'll finally see that, and if it does get better for him, then at least he'll be happy.

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we reconcile (though none of his problems are truly resolved), and we go on our hunky dory way until it happens again and I start to make plans, and hope, and be happy, but I can never really relax or feel safe

Is your phrase 'hunky dory' ironic? I don't see how you can 'start to make plans, hope and be happy' when as you say, nothing has been resolved.


This is a big question, but what do you mean when you say you love him? What options have been explored in therapy? Has your therapist helped you to begin to look at why you see this as about HIM getting what he wants, rather than you? (You hint at this as though it's quite a new idea for you).


How is it ever hunky dory, this turbulent, painful, chaotic relationship? When are you at peace? How is your child affected?


I think it is probably near enough time to call it quits - but NOT with the hidden agenda of it miraculously making him want to be with you. Look at it objectively. Every time you have taken steps to begin to cope as a sinle parent, he has come back and overturned your world again.


Enough is enough sometimes. You 'love' him. What is it you love - the drama? (Does this reflect what you saw as a child?) His presence in your life? (Is it the presence it was before the depression?) Feeling useful, needed...?


You and your child need to be happy and safe. If you don't take steps to give your child an emotionally safe place, you risk this damaging the next generation.


In answer to your question, the time to call it quits is when, despite the understandable misgivings and fears and doubts and regrets, you KNOW that your life will be better without all the drama and torment of a dysfunctional relationship.

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It sounds like you need a break. Maybe this time it should be YOU telling HIM you want to separate. That has a funny way of making people see the light sometimes.


This could be a depression thing, or it could be that he's never had to learn to be responsible enough to engage himself objectively, and to make himself responsible for his own level of happiness.


Living like this must be exhausting for you. I'm sorry you're going through this.

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