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8 Months ago my wife (36F) of 15 years told me (38M) she wanted to leave but now she doesn't know what she wants. What do I do?


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Hi everyone, I'm new here and I'm hoping someone might have some advice on what I can do because I just don't know what to do for the best.

8 Months ago my wife of 15 years told me she wanted to leave and get a divorce. We've got three kids together and lockdown had taken its toll on both of us. She'd been feeling really down for a while so I suggested that she had a break from everything and spent a bit of time with her parents, a week later she came back and told me she wanted to leave me. She has suffered from depression for a while and had come to the conclusion that I was the root cause of it all.

Our relationship had been a bit stressful for a few years, I've always worked full time and she's been a full time mum and that has always caused a bit of tension between us even though it was a decision we both agreed on. But now that the kids are getting older she decided that she wanted to go back to university and become a teacher, so that was the plan. We had our issues like any marriage but nothing that I didn't think was normal, so this whole thing completely took me by surprise.

She didn't want to stay and try to work it out and that night she left.

She moved in with her parents but that didn't last long and after a big argument with her mum and dad she was back home within a week. So she moved into our old bedroom and I moved into the office and turned that into my bedroom. Because of financial issues she cant move out and get her own place so we've been living together like this ever since.

We've always been really good friends and we still get on. She still wants to spend time together in the evening, we talk everyday, laugh and joke together, we'll share a bottle of wine, watch TV together and go to the shops etc. We're basically living as a married couple that just sleeps in separate bedrooms.

I've spoken to her about our relationship a few times and I've asked her to stay with me and to try to work on our issues. She'll always say she'll think about it but can never come to a decision. She can't make up her mind, she says she still loves me but doesn't know if she still wants to be with me. But I can't live like this forever, it's slowly driving me crazy.

At what point do I throw in the towel and say enough is enough.

Do I wait for her to make up her mind on whether she will stay with me or not, or do I try to move on? I still love her but am I fighting a losing battle trying to get someone that doesn't want to be with me anymore to stay?

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2 minutes ago, sadsan said:

She has suffered from depression for a while and had come to the conclusion that I was the root cause of it all.

The fact of the matter is that she doesn't know what she wants. And it is likely her depression talking.

It is vital that she sees her physician and gets a referral for treatment. 

In her present mental state it is not surprising either that this happened:

4 minutes ago, sadsan said:

She moved in with her parents but that didn't last long and after a big argument with her mum and dad she was back home within a week

 

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What exactly is the issue that is making her want to move out and get divorced?

Agree that living like roommates in a stand-off about divorce is nonsense.

You seem to gloss over/be oblivious to what the real issues are, perhaps they could be addressed in marriage therapy?

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It seems somewhat hypocritical of her to tell you that she doesn't want you anymore and doesn't want the marriage, moves out to her parents, but then moves back in when she can't get on with them.

Kind of seems like she's using you at this point.

I realize you still love her and still want to work things out, but you shouldn't allow yourself to be used, either.

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1 minute ago, Wiseman2 said:

What exactly is the issue that is making her want to move out and get divorced?

Agree that living like roommates in a stand-off about divorce is nonsense.

You seem to gloss over/be oblivious to what the real issues are, perhaps they could be addressed in marriage therapy?

She said that she felt trapped and controlled, she said that it wasn't anything specific just a general feeling. 

I said that I'd be more than happy to look into marriage therapy but she felt like it won't make a difference and that I would say all the right things in the sessions and nothing would change.

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4 minutes ago, sadsan said:

She moved in with her parents but that didn't last long and after a big argument with her mum and dad she was back home within a week. So she moved into our old bedroom and I moved into the office and turned that into my bedroom. Because of financial issues she cant move out and get her own place so we've been living together like this ever since.

 

Oh she knows what she wants its just that due to financial status its more convinient that she stays with you. It was either you(who even gave her the bedroom) or the parents she cant live with.

If she doesnt want to either mend things out by talking with you or go to marriage counseling to fix things, there is very little you can do here. You cant live in "status quo" forever and if you cant resolve that, then divorcing and each heading your own way is the best way for both.

Also, what do you mean "she came to conclusion that you were the root of her depression"? Does she see the psychiatrist about that or is she self- diagnosed?

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1 minute ago, Kwothe28 said:

Oh she knows what she wants its just that due to financial status its more convinient that she stays with you. It was either you(who even gave her the bedroom) or the parents she cant live with.

If she doesnt want to either mend things out by talking with you or go to marriage counseling to fix things, there is very little you can do here. You cant live in "status quo" forever and if you cant resolve that, then divorcing and each heading your own way is the best way for both.

Also, what do you mean "she came to conclusion that you were the root of her depression"? Does she see the psychiatrist about that or is she self- diagnosed?

Self diagnosed. We've spoken about her depression a lot over the years and we've talked about her going to the doctors or therapy and she always agreed that it would be a good idea but its not something she's ever explored any further.

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It's not a healthy situation.

She wants all the comforts of a marriage (place to stay, support, someone to hang out with, etc.).

But none of the commitment and keeps you at an arms length.

She's also blaming all her depression, on you.

I'm not sure why you keep taking that kind of treatment.

I know, you still love her, but it's definitely not healthy to be used and tossed whenever she pleases and to keep you in limbo like this.

She either wants to work on the marriage, or doesn't and then you both can move forward with the divorce.

But to keep you on the fence like this, is slightly cruel, and yes, she is using you.

She doesn't actually want you, but will take what she can get for now being as there is no other option.

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@SherrySherYou're 100% correct it's not a healthy situation at all. 

We keep going around in circles, I try to back away from her and give myself some distance to start again but I slowly get pulled back in. We start talking all the time and hanging out. At some point I get my hopes up that maybe she's changed her mind so I talk to her about our relationship and I get the same answer, that she doesn't know and the cycle starts again. 

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40 minutes ago, sadsan said:

she always agreed that it (therapy) would be a good idea but its not something she's ever explored any further.

 

45 minutes ago, sadsan said:

She said that she felt trapped and controlled, she said that it wasn't anything specific just a general feeling. 

I still say she doesn't KNOW what she wants! 

It is time to be firm with her.  Make the appointment with the counsellor, and get on with it. 

At the moment she is behaving like a spoilt child. Maybe her parents told her a few home truths and that is why she had the row with them!

Edited by LaHermes
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4 minutes ago, sadsan said:

@SherrySherYou're 100% correct it's not a healthy situation at all. 

We keep going around in circles, I try to back away from her and give myself some distance to start again but I slowly get pulled back in. We start talking all the time and hanging out. At some point I get my hopes up that maybe she's changed her mind so I talk to her about our relationship and I get the same answer, that she doesn't know and the cycle starts again. 

Meanwhile, you're suffering it out....it's not fair.

At some point you're going to have to sit down with her and let her know it's confusing you and you want to know if you're going to try to work on your marriage or get used to the idea that things are only temporary until she finds somewhere else to live.

But to keep you in limbo is not right. 

It sounds like you've been going round like this for a while now. That would make anyone stressed and confused.

How long have you two been living this way?

 

Edited by SherrySher
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26 minutes ago, sadsan said:

Self diagnosed. We've spoken about her depression a lot over the years and we've talked about her going to the doctors or therapy and she always agreed that it would be a good idea but its not something she's ever explored any further.

If she has depression, that is something to be explored with somebody who can diagnose and treat it like the doctors. Not self-diagnose it and blame it on you. Urge her to seek help with that. And not to keep you aside for convenience and try to work things out if she even wants that.

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2 minutes ago, SherrySher said:

Meanwhile, you're suffering it out....it's not fair.

At some point you're going to have to sit down with her and let her know it's confusing you and you want to know if you're going to try to work on your marriage or get used to the idea that things are only temporary until she finds somewhere else to live.

But to keep you in limbo is not right. 

It sounds like you've been going round like this for a while now. That would make anyone stressed and confused.

How long have you two been living this way?

 

8 months, her plan was to find a house to rent locally but that turned out to be a lot harder then she was expecting.

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17 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

If she has depression, that is something to be explored with somebody who can diagnose and treat it like the doctors. Not self-diagnose it and blame it on you. Urge her to seek help with that. And not to keep you aside for convenience and try to work things out if she even wants that.

Exactly!

If she really has depression, she needs to go to a professional and get a diagnosis. Who knows, she might think it's depression but it's something else (vitamins deficiency or other health problems). People who self-diagnoze can't be taken so seriously. At this point, she's using it as an excuse for everything.

And, as others said: it's not fair to you.

It's either couples therapy or you need to part ways. At this time, she's using you and this needs to stop.

But, what do you want? Do you want therapy?

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12 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

 

I still say she doesn't KNOW what she wants! 

It is time to be firm with her.  Make the appointment with the counsellor, and get on with it. 

At the moment she is behaving like a spoilt child. Maybe her parents told her a few home truths and that is why she had the row with them!

I spoke to a counsellor in that first week, I booked myself an appointment to have a chat to see what I should be doing, I don't know how to deal with someone with depression. When I told her that I'd spoken to a counsellor about us and what they said she didn't take it very well at all. She viewed it as me trying to control her and wouldn't listen when I said that it was more about me then it was her. 

This whole thing has really taken it's toll on me and I've ended up going to therapy for myself and I'm currently taking Sertraline to help with anxiety. 

We've spoken about therapy a lot but she just doesn't seem to want to make that first step and I feel like I cant force her to do it because she'll view it as me being controlling again.

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22 minutes ago, sadsan said:

8 months, her plan was to find a house to rent locally but that turned out to be a lot harder then she was expecting.

Yikes!

That's a heck of a long time!

You really do need to sit down with her and start making decisions here.

If she is depressed as she says she is, makes sense for her to get treatment, now!

As for the living situation, she needs to step up and stop using you.

She either wants a husband, or you both can mutually decide to start divorce proceedings along with her finding an apartment.

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3 minutes ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

Exactly!

If she really has depression, she needs to go to a professional and get a diagnosis. Who knows, she might think it's depression but it's something else (vitamins deficiency or other health problems). People who self-diagnoze can't be taken so seriously. At this point, she's using it as an excuse for everything.

And, as others said: it's not fair to you.

It's either couples therapy or you need to part ways. At this time, she's using you and this needs to stop.

But, what do you want? Do you want therapy?

I want her to be well and feel some sort of contentment with her life. I hope that includes me but at the same time I'm slowly starting to feel like I can't just wait around for her to make up her mind. 

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Ok. So she doesn't want therapy. She won't go and get diagnosed for her mental health. She doesn't want to work on your marriage.

It's time for a real talk. She needs to know what she wants and if she can't make up her mind, then she doesn't want you enough- it's that simple.

Edited by DarkCh0c0
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5 minutes ago, sadsan said:

I spoke to a counsellor in that first week, I booked myself an appointment to have a chat to see what I should be doing, I don't know how to deal with someone with depression. When I told her that I'd spoken to a counsellor about us and what they said she didn't take it very well at all. She viewed it as me trying to control her and wouldn't listen when I said that it was more about me then it was her. 

This whole thing has really taken it's toll on me and I've ended up going to therapy for myself and I'm currently taking Sertraline to help with anxiety. 

We've spoken about therapy a lot but she just doesn't seem to want to make that first step and I feel like I cant force her to do it because she'll view it as me being controlling again.

You're allowed to make your own decisions on how you deal with things.

She is still in the house, refuses to give you answers, keeps on saying she has depression but refuses treatment.

It's ridiculous!

If you went to a therapist for help...good on you!! God knows anyone else would if forced into this situation.

If she was unwilling to hear what the therapist said, and again tried to accuse you of controlling her, it says a lot about her, and not you.

She does not want to be confronted, but rather, she prefers to use you, blame you and have no one say anything about it.

That's not okay. It needs to stop.

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8 minutes ago, SherrySher said:

You're allowed to make your own decisions on how you deal with things.

She is still in the house, refuses to give you answers, keeps on saying she has depression but refuses treatment.

It's ridiculous!

If you went to a therapist for help...good on you!! God knows anyone else would if forced into this situation.

If she was unwilling to hear what the therapist said, and again tried to accuse you of controlling her, it says a lot about her, and not you.

She does not want to be confronted, but rather, she prefers to use you, blame you and have no one say anything about it.

That's not okay. It needs to stop.

I keep getting this existential dread that its all over and that kills me and I don't really even know why. 

I think I know deep down that it is over but there's still apart of me that hopes we can fix it.

But I definitely don't want to spend my life with someone that's unsure if they even want to be with me or not.

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16 minutes ago, sadsan said:

I keep getting this existential dread that its all over and that kills me and I don't really even know why. 

I think I know deep down that it is over but there's still apart of me that hopes we can fix it.

But I definitely don't want to spend my life with someone that's unsure if they even want to be with me or not.

I think every single person who has had a break up, or is on the verge of a break up (particularly if it's a marriage), suffers the existential dread, plus mourning.

At this point you have to choose your hard...is it harder to remain in the situation, or harder to start divorce proceedings and her moving out?

It comes down to what which one you'd rather deal with right now, and how long you will allow it to go on if you don't confront her.

Edited by SherrySher
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16 minutes ago, sadsan said:

@SherrySherthat's a perfect way to put it, either way its going to suck so pick the solution that works out slightly less sucky  

I know, and I am so sorry.

I wished there was a good choice here, but sometimes there just isn't.

No one wants to lose a marriage and a partner. It is heartbreaking and will shake your world up.

It's not easy to cope with and takes a very long time to heal from.

Many of us on this forum have gone through a divorce at some point, which is why we know how difficult it is.

You're not alone, and whatever decision you make, you can keep writing here and will have support either way.

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