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Husband is in an emotionally abusive friendship he feels he can't leave. Help.


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My husband had a breakdown after developing depression back in October 2018. It took its toll on our marriage, we were arguing more and one day he just crumbled. Since then, whilst myself and his family have been running around sorting out appointments with mental health professionals and different doctors etc., he has been living with this woman who at the time, played the 'supportive friend'.

Over the course of 4 months, it has come to light that this friend is actually an incredibly toxic person. She has been a factor in my husband losing his job. He nearly moved back home before Christmas, when asked what was stopping him, he responded "I ran it by her" - apparently she had done everything she could to prevent him from coming back.

On NYE, she lost her temper with him, made him delete me on all forms of social media and hit him when he broke down. When his parents found out about this, they decided he needed to be away from this girl and with his family and went to the extent of removing her from his contacts. Unfortunately, this didn't last and he ended up back there - she now uses this incident as a weapon against his family by saying it was basically "kidnap" and that they are mentally manipulative and trying to control him - also says the same things about his friends. All we really want is for him to come back home and work on getting himself better again.

Her and her mother also called the police on myself and my husband's mum when we came to get him (this was following a phone conversation where he was sobbing and wandering around the neighbourhood). The police that came clearly felt uneasy with leaving him there - they spent over an hour talking to him but he inevitably went back (escorted by the police) - when they returned to us (husband's friends and family) they seemed genuinely sad and apologetic that they couldn't do more.

We are currently attending marriage counselling once a week and she has no idea. My husband admitted to me today that he is incredibly scared of me leaving him and is petrified of losing absolutely everything. But he is terrified of letting her know we speak. He's also admitted that he's turned off all notification settings on his phone as he is scared of her reaction if he receives a message - apparently she would give him the third degree and would demand who it was and what was going on.


Unfortunately, despite all of this, my partner also values their friendship. It's almost like he can't see it clearly for what it is - he sees things that are happening as "red flags" when they seem a hell of a lot worse than that!


It is incredibly heartbreaking to watch someone you love so dearly in a situation where they feel so stuck. It's like he has been brainwashed.


TLDR: My husband isn't very well and has been staying with woman who started off as a friend. This girl has planted it in his head that everyone is against him and the only person he needs is her. She has stopped him from coming home and has lost her temper on numerous occasions because she has found out we (my husband and I) were in communication. She has hit him before also. It has reached the point where he won't have message notifications to his phone because he's scared of her reaction. He's told me he's terrified of me leaving him and losing everything.

Unfortunately, he is also scared of losing this person's friendship. It's a very confusing situation and he feels incredibly trapped.


So my question is: If you were in my/my husband's situation. What would you do?


Also, honest opinions about the situation would be more than appreciated. He has been after some honest outside opinions of the situation.

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well.. you have to undrestand that your husband is an abuse victim with this woman. So you can't just answer "what would you do" because unless one is an abuse victim they can't answer correctly.

what's going on is your husband is terrified of her and thus can't leave - almost like an outter body experience. h eknows he should leave, but he's too terrified to.


the best way to get him out of there is to just let him know he's loved and that he's not alone.. and that he has nay help he ever needs whenever he needs - unconditionally.

you need to do your best not to fuel or give the abusive friend any fuel to use and twist to her agenda to convince your husband more that she's right.

so don' address her or fight with her - just keep it directly with him and letting him hear an alternative narrative that will eventually break thru and hit his "logic" side which he can't deny (it may take time.. it will take a lot of dedication to get there).


If at any point you sense that he may be in any danger then I would contact the authorities and let them know you feel your husband is being held against his will and in danger with this woman. You will need to provide proof. That he is "not allowed" to come home to his family and wife for extended periods of time because this "friend" won't allow him to (if you can prove that) would be powerful information and evidence to give the authorities justification to act.


Good luck.

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I agree with the above advice.

It sounds like you are doing everything you can.

Unfortunately he is an adult and there hasn't been any crime committed.


Just continue to either support him the best you can and hope he eventually finds his way.


It seems likely an awfully tough spot to be in.

I wish I had better advice.


good luck

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It all sounds weird. He had a chance to get away from her with police escort yet he went back even though he's secretly going to you to help him get away from her? Makes no sense.


What has his therapist(s) said about him being with her? He sounds like he's being pulled in two direction... in one direction by her and another by you and his family. Where does he really want to be is what you should ask him and if its not with you then wash your hands of him and file for divorce. If he doesn't come with you willingly then what is left to do?

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Are you legally separated? Why is he living with her? Is he getting help for his mental health? Unfortunately, he is with his new lover and you can not kidnap him, regardless of what you think is best. You need to consult an attorney regarding legal separation/divorce and what your options are. Stop trying to rescue him. Unless he is legally incompetent and you are his guardian he can leave you to live with his new lover/friend. You need to get divorced. What you are doing to him is as toxic as what she is doing. He is not your property that you go fetch from her place.

he has been living with this woman.


Her and her mother also called the police on myself and my husband's mum when we came to get him .

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Honestly, if your husband is living with a woman who is not his relative, he is cheating on you whether he is bonking her or not. I don't know if you want to see it that way or not -- but i would take aggressive action and tell him that you are filing for divorce if he doesn't come home. He is not a runaway teenager who is 18 so you can't do anything - he is a grown adult and married at that. its one thing if you got him into a residential program or hospital and that's why he is not living with you, or he was unsafe and he stayed with his parents for awhile.....


I understand abuse -- i was in an abusive marriage, but she is not his wife --- he can go to counseling later to sort it out, but you need to take your marriage back -- he either comes back to you or stays with her and is divorced. You need to act aggressively.


I would seek an attorney's advice -- and get ready to file divorce for reasons of abandonment even if you ultimately do not go through with a final divorce.


btw, how did you allow her to get in the middle of you?

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  • 5 months later...

Why is YOUR husband living with another woman? What made that seem like a good idea? And why are you trying to fix your relationship with a man that lives with another woman?


I would tell him that he either comes home and works on the marriage that he currently has, or he stays with the other woman and you file for divorce.

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