Depressed Men Behaving Badly Can Stop

Frowning Man in Dark Glasses

There’s a story on this site that never, unfortunately, gets old. It’s about depressed men breaking up their relationships as a misguided way to get well and find fulfillment. The psychotherapist, David Wexler, has good ideas about how men can change the experience of their closest relationships without leaving.

He looks at the problems of men in crisis from a broader perspective than that of depression, but his thoughts are also helpful when mood disorder is the cause of crisis.

When Good Men Behave Badly is directed to men running off the tracks as a result of midlife crisis. It’s a companion piece to his Is He Depressed or What?, which is aimed at women trying to live with depressed men. (I discussed his ideas about male depression in a recent newsletter.)

He paints an interesting portrait of the “unconscious man,” one who is focused solely on what is missing from his life and what he does not get from his partner. He can think only of what his life should be, not what it is – what he wants, not what he has.

In contrast, the conscious man is able to look at his life without illusions. He can accept it for what it is, with all its good things and all its limitations. Instead of being consumed with urges to turn his life upside down to get what he wants, he is attentive to experience as he lives it.

Wexler’s book is intended to serve as a guide to help men move from crisis into a more conscious awareness of who they are and the lives they lead. The crisis Wexler describes can be triggered in various ways.

  • The Dream Unfulfilled. Perhaps a man has been living with a dream about what he will be or the kind of life he wants. He might wake up one day and realize that he will never achieve that dream and has to settle for what he has. No longer able to focus on the promise of the dream, he might now think only about the ways his life falls short of what he had hoped for.

  • Crisis of Meaning. Perhaps he was able to have the career, the marriage, the family he always wanted but suddenly feels none of it has any meaning. It no longer feels worthwhile. There must be something more.

  • Regaining Vitality. He may be afraid of growing old, in the sense of losing his potential to grow and fulfill his ambitions. He may panic about losing the vitality that makes him feel alive. He wants to rejuvenate his life, to feel young again.

However he perceives the course of his life, he takes the frustration or sense of loss at face value and comes to think in absolute terms. His present life and especially his partner will never meet his needs. He must have someone new who really understands, who responds in just the way he wants, who shares his likes and dislikes. If nothing turns him off that path, he can cause irrevocable damage to the present relationship, either through an affair, public humiliation of his partner, rage or violence.

If he can stop before reaching that point, there are several methods that can bring about a basic change of attitude. I found that Wexler’s ideas closely matched the experience I went through with my wife. The end result can be a basic change in the relationship. For us, it was like falling in love all over again. That is exactly the outcome that seems unimaginable to a man in the midst of this kind of crisis.

Feeling the need to change or revitalize your life is not necessarily a bad thing. Wexler respects the drive to make life more coherent and meaningful but puts the emphasis on making choices when self-aware rather than when feeling driven by irresistible urges.

Those urges, he points out, are temporary states that will pass if you can hold off from action when they are at their most intense. Part of preparing yourself to deal with powerful moments of need is knowing ahead of time that you do have the ability to choose to act or not when those urges feel overwhelming.

If you need relief from the confusion of inner pain, then a decision not to act, as Wexler says, can be a bold, informed choice.

He talks about taking responsibility for your moods as one of the crucial steps in gaining more insight into what you are going through. In his view, moods are not feelings but the rigid states of mind you enter when you are ignoring emotions. Acknowledging and expressing feelings of hurt or need as they arise is the important step that many men miss.

I often felt a need to feel validated by my partner by having her recognize and respond to my feelings without my having to say anything about them. That desire arose from a legacy of shame and broken self-esteem, I’m sure, but I seem to share that desire with many men, according to Wexler.

In this strange state of mind, a woman’s reaching out to take care of your needs without your having to say anything is a way of demonstrating love. You feel that your emotional needs are being taken care of. It sounds strange and childish, but I believe a similar dynamic underlies the sudden estrangement that partners of depressed men describe.

The men never said anything was wrong, but silently they were compiling a record of unmet needs, a sort of emotional score-card, and their partners failed the test. The men felt misunderstood, rejected, unloved and believed that the relationship could never change. The first thing their partners may have noticed was anger, blame and withdrawal that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Wexler, as a psychotherapist, wants his male clients to face the reality that no wife or partner would ever be able to satisfy all their needs. He tries to get them to think realistically about what they are imagining. When this works, it is a relief to his clients to realize that their partners don’t have to be everything for them. That would be an impossible burden on any woman and would mean she would have no life or needs of her own.

Shifting attention to the realities of the present takes away the inner pressure to compensate for a sense of shame or inadequacy by holding onto a dream of perfection. If you can stop focusing on what you imagine your life could be and look at what you have, then it is possible to take some of the power out of the fantasy.

I have felt that shift from fantasy to reality, and the relief that it brings. Wexler is one of the few writers who has tried to account for the sudden change that follows. The need to fulfill an unquenchable longing and the bitter disappointment at not being able to do so disappear. In their place is a sense of rediscovery of your partner – a shared feeling that leads to a renewed intimacy.

The very thing that seemed so impossible – that you could find fulfillment in your existing relationship – is actually happening.

You have a completely different experience of being with your partner. Frustration and angry silence are replaced with responsiveness and the ability to talk through whatever problem has come between you. Everything is not perfect – you are no longer expecting perfection. Instead, the relationship feels real and present emotionally.

Wexler puts it this way: “…as Buddhists know, pain stems from the gap between expectations and reality. … [When] the expectations genuinely change, the opportunity for freedom from pain appears.”

As he summarizes the process: The pathway out of crisis leads to authenticity and intimacy.

38 Responses to “Depressed Men Behaving Badly Can Stop”

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  1. Maribel says:

    My husband is going through depression, he has a lot of symptoms! He’s now living with his mother, he says he doesn’t ha e the same feelings for me, that he isn’t happy, told his mother he hasn’t been happy for 10 years! I’m so hurt , never saw any clues that he wasn’t happy! Now he’s just with women, it’s been 2 1/2 months that we have been separated!
    He still wants to come home and used me for sex, because he says we have great sex, but he doesn’t wan to come home! At his moms home he goes to work and comes and just shot himself in the room. We have ven married for 22 years but have been together for 26 years! Does this depression goes away and every be back to normal?

  2. Rachel says:

    Hello, I am sure that my story is by no means dissimilar to those already mentioned, I just feel so lost and felt that by expressing it on here, there may be someone out there who would understand my heartbreak.
    Until recently, I had been with my partner for 6 and a half years. For the first 4 and a half years, it was an amazing relationship, he is my soulmate and we just fit in every way. I felt I had finally found the one. We never argued and had so much fun, the same interests and I thought we were really strong. Two years ago we bought a house together and from then on, things started to change. After being in the house for only a few months I noticed that he started to distance himself from me and changed his attitude. To cut a long story short, I came home early to find him talking to another woman on the phone. He lied at the time but later that evening I discovered it was definitely another woman. I confronted him and after this incident he became very depressed. His mother suffers from severe depression and I think that this scared him because he did not want to suffer like her so he acknowledged the problem and went on medication and saw a counsellor once a week. He got much better and things with our relationship got back on track.
    As an aside, you should know that he has experienced some trauma in his life and never talks about it. He has an amazing ability to switch off his emotions and put the hurtful situation in a box and lock it away. An example of this was when I first met him, a very close and young member of his family died in a freak accident to which he was at the hospital when they turned off the life support. He is a very good actor with a local amateur dramatic society (that is how we met) and the next day, he arrived at the rehearsal laughing and joking as if nothing had happened. This is not the only issue he has had to deal with in his life and he has never talked or dealt with any of them. I know that this is part of the problem.
    Fast forward now to April this year and he was having a hard time at work and likes to be the best in his field and does not take criticism well. I won’t bore you with the details but due to a takeover in his company and some terrible managers, he felt forced to leave a job that he loved and I know this hit him hard. I started to sense that he was distancing himself again and I noticed that he was getting close to a woman that we both knew. I could feel the situation happening again. He seems to need the attention of new woman to help him escape. I addressed it and asked how he was feeling and he admitted he had started taking his pills again. However, things got worse and he pushed me away saying that I deserved better and he didn’t like hurting me when he was like this and if we stayed together it would only happen again. I was trying to remain supportive but he started to get very cruel telling me things that he didn’t like in the relationship, things I was completely unaware of. He told me 5 weeks ago that he didn’t want to be with me anymore, that he loved me but was no longer in love with me. He has left our home and returned to his mum’s and has started seeing this woman. I have hardly heard from him at all, only when something needs to be discussed about the house. I truly feel that if we didn’t have that to sort out that I would never have heard from him again. He told me he has emotionally detached himself from me and that’s what he does.
    I feel completely heartbroken, I cannot believe that someone who used to be so loving and caring and told me only a week before he left that he loved me could switch off from me as if I never existed and move on so easily with someone else as if 6 and a half years never happened. The last time we did speak, he kept contradicting himself saying one minute he was depressed and then saying he wasn’t. He said he is only taking his medication now and again, not regularly and was extremely cold towards me. I fear that he is not around the right people to get the support he needs and I know very few people know he has depression. He always puts on a fun and happy persona in front of everyone. I fear he will never address it and see what he is throwing away. I feel I have lost him forever and it seems so unfair.

    • Dawn says:

      I’m sorry for your pain. I have been there. My best advice to you is to take care of yourself. For my situation ‘he’ simply wasn’t the person anymore that I was grieving. And he just wasn’t going to come back to me the way he was before all of this started. So all we can do, is move forward and be as gentle on ourselves as we tried to be on them. It’s just too difficult (for me anyway) to have continued to put myself forward for more rejection. I wish you the best.

  3. Rosi says:

    Hi, all. I notice many of these posts are older, but I’m hoping some of you are still active on here. I’ve been reading all of your stories for days hoping to find some insight, some hope.
    About 3 years ago, I went through a terrible break up. My fiancé left me unexpectedly, after 4 years together, and 7 months before our wedding. He immediately started a new life with a coworker and cut me out completely, aside from asking for the ring back. It took me a couple years to get over that experience, during which I solely focused on myself and didn’t get into any relationships. I was medicated for depression, and in therapy during that time.
    Fast forward to February 2014. I was set up by a friend to meet a guy she thought I’d hit it off with. I’d never gone on a set up before, it went well, but nothing came from it at the time. I don’t think I was ready yet.
    February 2015- the same guy contacted me via social media. We texted nonstop for a week, then we went out on a date. We were A LOT alike and got into a serious relationship. He told me pretty early on that he had depression. He had just come off his meds when we started dating. He told me his biggest fear was ending up like his father and ruining relationships. He brought up the word “bipolar” many times. Things were going really well for us, we got along great, intamacy was never an issue. His parents got divorced over the summer, though he kept telling me it wasn’t a surprise and he wasn’t upset.
    In September, we had our first conversation about his depression getting worse. He started crying and saying how unhappy he had been for weeks. How he felt that we weren’t connecting or going in the right direction. How he was stressed at work and with his band. He decided to go back on meds, but didn’t actually do so for a few weeks.
    Things seemed to get better after we had that very open talk. We started spending even more time together. But slowly, I felt him seeming to be more detached. From everything. He quit his band. He wasn’t going to his weekly poker as often. He would pretty regularly say he was feeling really down or anxious, and would ask to be left alone to lay in bed by himself for the night. I was always understanding, always gave him his space, id even drop care packages off for him in an attempt to help. He went off his medication and started a new one during that month.
    On Black Friday, we woke up and he started crying. He said he’s been unhappy for months. He said he feels like he can’t connect to anything. He said how at thanksgiving he felt so angry, that he went to hide in the bathroom. He said that he didn’t even acknowledge his grandmother until she was saying goodbye “and I love my grandmother”. The conversation ended with him saying he needed a break for a week to “get perspective”. I was devastated. He texted me the next day and said he was “sorry this situation came up” and he wished I was at the wedding with him. The following day, he texted me and said he was a mess. That he drank far too much, that he was having the hardest day he’d had in 3 years, that he couldn’t even leave his house. He said he forced himself to go to the grocery store, and nearly had to leave from panic.
    He texted me every day during this break. I never initiated the contact. He was miserable the whole week, saying things like “I have normal moments, but they are few and far between” “I don’t know what I need or want, but I don’t want to feel like we’re never going to talk again”. I tried to point out that the break seemed to be making his depression worse, but he didn’t acknowledge it.
    He asked me to dinner that Friday, we went, we didn’t discuss anything heavy, but had a good time. He texted me that night and said he’d had a good time. He also told me he’d stopped taking his meds altogether because of the “devastating side effects”. We went to a party together the next night, which was kind of awkward because we hadn’t established any thing about where we stood. He got in a big fight with his brothers GF and was so ashamed, we left. I dropped him off at home and he asked if I was okay not spending the night. We hugged and he kissed me on the face.
    Sunday, he texted me saying he was concerned. We established our boundaries then. We decided we wanted to get back together slowly, but not ignore what had happened that week. He said it was exactly what he wanted too, that he felt better about us, that he wanted to see me that week. Monday started normal, then he stopped talking. Hours later, I get a text saying that it isn’t working for him. He doesn’t feel like our connection is leading him through his depression. That he doesn’t feel capable of fixing it at this point. The convo went on (all through text), he said he doesn’t know what else to do, that he knows how hard I try to help and he wished it made more of an impact on his moods, that he has been dropping things in his life (his band, limited drinking, etc) to pinpoint what’s causing his depression and stress, and that I’m the only thing left that it could be. I tried to tell him that’s because it’s not an outside source causing it, but he wasn’t hearing me. He kept saying he wishes he felt differently, that it’s so hard for him to connect sometimes that he goes into zombie mode when we’re together and gets exhausted.
    The next night, he took our relationship status off Facebook, without saying anything to me. I got a text from a mutual friend saying he told her he’s “not really okay” and “we’re splitting up”. We went no contact for 2 full days, he didn’t show up to the event we were supposed to go to Friday night (I’m assuming didn’t want to answer questions about where I was), but our mutual friend (his coworker) told me that he had stopped by to ask if she’d talked to me.

    Last night, I was at a bar that I was sure he wouldn’t be at. I was wrong. I saw all his friends walking in, then I saw him. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around. He couldn’t even come in the room. His friends were hugging me, one gave me his phone number in case I want to talk. I ended up leaving because it was so uncomfortable. His face looked so devastated. Pure panic and sadness.
    This morning, he texted me apologizing for his behavior last night, saying he should have talked to me. I haven’t responded.

    My mind has been racing all week. I’m just SO confused. I also know that he talks to no one about this stuff, I’m the only person that knows about his depression. I know in my heart it’s not me, I know it’s his depression, but it’s so hard to watch him self destruct like this. To have him throw everything away in an attempt to get rid of this imbalance in his head.

    I guess, I’d just love some insight. I keep hoping he’ll realize what he’s doing. It all just feels so wrong in my heart. A week ago, he couldn’t bare not talking to me, but now he can? I feel like I’m on a roller coaster and I don’t know what the next turn will be.

    • Evan says:

      You need to get the support you need.

      Then offer what support you can to the one you love. If you can encourage them to get support from people and drugs. They need a sense of control and stability.

      I guess you know this already, Evan.

    • Faith says:

      I am so sorry about this Rosi. How are things now? Did you manage to get through to him?

  4. Mary says:

    I love the article and most, if not all symptoms are just going on with my husband. In the very beginning, about 15 months ago I told I assume he is in a midlife crisis. We also had a huge breakup with our 18 year old daughter about 7 month before he dropped the bomb on me (over the phone from a fishing trip in Florida) that he deeply cares for me, but is no longer “in love” with me.

    Since ver then we are in a hug turmoil. At times it seems he is getting much better, making future plans, etc and the last progress was huge but then I found that he lied about a watch he supposedly found but in really purchased. When questioning him why he lied and made up a whole story about it, he confessed he did not want to deal with me getting possibly upset because we were low on money that time. I told him the sad thing about it is that you obviously think I’m a real bitch and would not have agreed with you having that watch.

    This was about 3 weeks ago and a follow up talk when I asked him (again) to work on our marriage with me he declined and said he doe snot want to be with me anlonger, not in our new home in VA, would rather move back to his old hometown where we lived for 12 years- and overall is acting like he is living in the past – and then again making plans on how to renovate the house here, even to the point when I mentioned I would like new flooring in the family room that he looked up how to tile floors.

    I’m not sure, is he really done with me, or is it a MLC. I know he is low on Testosterone and I assume he has an adrenalin/thyroid issue – which all often comes together. I shared an article about that with him and he told me he would try that suggested hormone protocol – just to never do anything.

    I’m a a loss

  5. me says:

    Wow here’s my update. Today I made contact with my used to be boyfriends coworker. I was asking for her help if she had insight into his not being well. My ex boyfriend said she seen him sad and breaking down. I told her that. She didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. She said he’s great. So I guess it was a horrible lie and he played a dirty mind game on me for seven months. Vert dangerous to play mind games. I found out from her they’ve been together six months while I was with him. Wow I am so sad and shocked. She found out we were together all that time and that he said he thinks he’s still in love with me. He called me and said I hope you’re happy she wants to leave me and he is trying to hold on to what he’s got. Sorry really! I just found out and what he wants my sympathy! He is truly sick. He knows he did wrong to me but doesn’t like confrontation so he found it easier to cheat. Well at least I now know I don’t want the scumbag back. He fit the depression articles so much but when I looked up all his symptoms, pathological liar, msnipulative, no conscience, uncompassionate, shallow, lacking emotions, I found out he actually sadly fits a sociopath and I spent eleven years with him. Caught him in a lot of lies throughout but the last seven months everyday. It’s really sad. I’m really sad that he just walked away from us instead of trying to fix us. He said he is in love with her. But he was just in love with me the month before hooking up with her. I am beyond confused and so heartbroken. He has been cruel, cold and cold-hearted the entire last eight months. He thought it would all be alright and we’d be friends. Not a chance in hell! Not ever! That damage is beyond repair. I don’t even know how to help myself at this point.

  6. Me says:

    This is great information. Everything in this article and depressed partner articles fit my problem exactly, so exact. I don’t think the author of the article is patronizing as some might think. I think he explains it well that in a sense maybe the depressed person jumps to what seems easiest without really seeing what is happening, where the problem is actually coming from. Sure some people will still find it necessary to move on, especially someone who has sought out help and figured their self out and that’s fine, but I think most people just can’t see what is real because they are very caught up in themselves due to the depression. We all want more in life. We all want it our way. We all want excitement and change, something fresh and new, someone who deeply cares about us, someone very in love with us who is always there for us but no one should ever hurt their loved one or be cruel because they believe they need something more. Depression is no excuse for bad behavoir to a loved one. No excuse!, Ever! It takes a lot for any person depressed or not to look deep inside themselves and admit their own problems. It’s hard to face yourself!, and fear is sometimes the force behind what drives us to have unexceptable behavior. I am really glad I came across these articles in search of freedom from the pain I am feeling. I hang onto hope as it is my driving force to get up another day. I have lost a child and years later still cannot accept or deal with her being gone. With no belief in the afterlife I hang onto hope I am wrong and I really will be with her again. But that hope is what gets me up again today. I am forever grieving her and now I am grieving the lose of my partner who is still alive. He is here but out of my reach. Quite a different grief but he is here, visible to me and he is not here. It is painful to lose a loved one and for me I again hang onto hope that he will get better and we will be together again or that I can be okay and let go and become happy without him. Thank you for your really great articles. They have made me feel better even if only for today! And that is a great feeling.

  7. Dominic says:

    Sometimes depressed men seek treatment and make the fully self-aware choice that their dysfunctional marriage is not worth continuing. I understand not acting on impulse, but the patronizing tone of the author and Mr. Wexler implies that men seeking a change are misguided and the poor wives are victims. Perpetuating such a trope is a disservice to the men and women who seek treatment and discover a new path is appropriate. For me, at least, it is not about a new “fantasy” woman or abandoning responsibility. It is instead finally seeing the truth that I denied for so long because I feared hurting my wife.

    • j says:

      I get that Dominic that some people could well be in the wrong relationship for sometime and fearful of hurting their wives.

      How would someone explain my husbands new life, left his family for another woman who has got him hooked on alcohol is dragging him down with regular admissions to hospital for alcohol abuse. If he thought his life was crap with his family his new life is a death wish!

      • Dominic says:

        J, I would not presume to explain the choice your husband made and I feel compassion for you that he left you in such a manner. My comment was not intended to diminish the hurtful or abusive actions that men take when they are acting impulsively, fueled and justified by their depression. Rather, I only shared my experience, which after over a year of therapy and seeking to be more honest and open, was a feeling of being dismissed. The attitude of family and my wife was that I was depressed, therefore not of sound mind to express legitimate feelings. I felt like if I had instead exploded in anger at my family, that response would have been considered rational, my wife could then “throw me out” because I was being “abusive.” But calmly suggesting the relationship was a shell and that we hadn’t connected in many years was not within the spectrum of “acceptable male responses.” It did get us to a marriage counselor, but my wife lost interest after 4 sessions because the counselor wasn’t “helping.” (i.e., fixing me)

  8. Well put. I think you’ve caught wonderfully the trouble of attempting to manage disgrace and the requirement for self-acknowledgment. Defeating the latency – yes, the solace – of inaction is so difficult, however that is the way to feeling like you have your very own existence again picking.

    Much appreciated such a great amount for your rem

  9. Nicole says:

    Hi, all. I notice many of these posts are older, but I’m hoping some of you are still active on here. I’ve been reading all of your stories for days hoping to find some insight, some hope.
    About 3 years ago, I went through a terrible break up. My fiancé left me unexpectedly, after 4 years together, and 7 months before our wedding. He immediately started a new life with a coworker and cut me out completely, aside from asking for the ring back. It took me a couple years to get over that experience, during which I solely focused on myself and didn’t get into any relationships. I was medicated for depression, and in therapy during that time.
    Fast forward to February 2014. I was set up by a friend to meet a guy she thought I’d hit it off with. I’d never gone on a set up before, it went well, but nothing came from it at the time. I don’t think I was ready yet.
    February 2015- the same guy contacted me via social media. We texted nonstop for a week, then we went out on a date. We were A LOT alike and got into a serious relationship. He told me pretty early on that he had depression. He had just come off his meds when we started dating. He told me his biggest fear was ending up like his father and ruining relationships. He brought up the word “bipolar” many times. Things were going really well for us, we got along great, intamacy was never an issue. His parents got divorced over the summer, though he kept telling me it wasn’t a surprise and he wasn’t upset.
    In September, we had our first conversation about his depression getting worse. He started crying and saying how unhappy he had been for weeks. How he felt that we weren’t connecting or going in the right direction. How he was stressed at work and with his band. He decided to go back on meds, but didn’t actually do so for a few weeks.
    Things seemed to get better after we had that very open talk. We started spending even more time together. But slowly, I felt him seeming to be more detached. From everything. He quit his band. He wasn’t going to his weekly poker as often. He would pretty regularly say he was feeling really down or anxious, and would ask to be left alone to lay in bed by himself for the night. I was always understanding, always gave him his space, id even drop care packages off for him in an attempt to help. He went off his medication and started a new one during that month.
    On Black Friday, we woke up and he started crying. He said he’s been unhappy for months. He said he feels like he can’t connect to anything. He said how at thanksgiving he felt so angry, that he went to hide in the bathroom. He said that he didn’t even acknowledge his grandmother until she was saying goodbye “and I love my grandmother”. The conversation ended with him saying he needed a break for a week to “get perspective”. I was devastated. He texted me the next day and said he was “sorry this situation came up” and he wished I was at the wedding with him. The following day, he texted me and said he was a mess. That he drank far too much, that he was having the hardest day he’d had in 3 years, that he couldn’t even leave his house. He said he forced himself to go to the grocery store, and nearly had to leave from panic.
    He texted me every day during this break. I never initiated the contact. He was miserable the whole week, saying things like “I have normal moments, but they are few and far between” “I don’t know what I need or want, but I don’t want to feel like we’re never going to talk again”. I tried to point out that the break seemed to be making his depression worse, but he didn’t acknowledge it.
    He asked me to dinner that Friday, we went, we didn’t discuss anything heavy, but had a good time. He texted me that night and said he’d had a good time. He also told me he’d stopped taking his meds altogether because of the “devastating side effects”. We went to a party together the next night, which was kind of awkward because we hadn’t established any thing about where we stood. He got in a big fight with his brothers GF and was so ashamed, we left. I dropped him off at home and he asked if I was okay not spending the night. We hugged and he kissed me on the face.
    Sunday, he texted me saying he was concerned. We established our boundaries then. We decided we wanted to get back together slowly, but not ignore what had happened that week. He said it was exactly what he wanted too, that he felt better about us, that he wanted to see me that week. Monday started normal, then he stopped talking. Hours later, I get a text saying that it isn’t working for him. He doesn’t feel like our connection is leading him through his depression. That he doesn’t feel capable of fixing it at this point. The convo went on (all through text), he said he doesn’t know what else to do, that he knows how hard I try to help and he wished it made more of an impact on his moods, that he has been dropping things in his life (his band, limited drinking, etc) to pinpoint what’s causing his depression and stress, and that I’m the only thing left that it could be. I tried to tell him that’s because it’s not an outside source causing it, but he wasn’t hearing me. He kept saying he wishes he felt differently, that it’s so hard for him to connect sometimes that he goes into zombie mode when we’re together and gets exhausted.
    The next night, he took our relationship status off Facebook, without saying anything to me. I got a text from a mutual friend saying he told her he’s “not really okay” and “we’re splitting up”. We went no contact for 2 full days, he didn’t show up to the event we were supposed to go to Friday night (I’m assuming didn’t want to answer questions about where I was), but our mutual friend (his coworker) told me that he had stopped by to ask if she’d talked to me.

    Last night, I was at a bar that I was sure he wouldn’t be at. I was wrong. I saw all his friends walking in, then I saw him. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around. He couldn’t even come in the room. His friends were hugging me, one gave me his phone number in case I want to talk. I ended up leaving because it was so uncomfortable. His face looked so devastated. Pure panic and sadness.
    This morning, he texted me apologizing for his behavior last night, saying he should have talked to me. I haven’t responded.

    My mind has been racing all week. I’m just SO confused. I also know that he talks to no one about this stuff, I’m the only person that knows about his depression. I know in my heart it’s not me, I know it’s his depression, but it’s so hard to watch him self destruct like this. To have him throw everything away in an attempt to get rid of this imbalance in his head.

    I guess, I’d just love some insight. I keep hoping he’ll realize what he’s doing. It all just feels so wrong in my heart. A week ago, he couldn’t bare not talking to me, but now he can? I feel like I’m on a roller coaster and I don’t know what the next turn will be.

  10. Erica says:

    My boyfriend of 2 years started spending more time with his friends. At first I just chalked it up to being football season, however, even during the week he was spending less time with me. I noticed that he was starting to drink more. I would try to make plans with him, like fishing cause I know it’s his favorite hobby, but I would always get a “maybe” only to find out that he decided to drink with his friends instead of spending time with me. I was becoming insecure thinking he was going to leave me & upset that he was choosing alcohol over spending time with me. Many of times I was in tears telling him how iv felt unimportant. He would never respond. He would just end up walking away. He ended up breaking up with me (via text) and said “I’m depressed”. I was hurt & shocked that he wouldn’t have told me. I feel it would have explained a lot & my response would have been caring & supportive. I wouldn’t have taken his behavior so personal. Less than a week after the break up I was in a pretty severe accident were I was admitted info the trauma unit. I reached out to him multiple times while in the hospital and received no response. After my surgery & release I saw pictures of him on Facebook of him drinking, acting like a fool & hanging out with women that I did not know. I’m really struggling with knowing if he is really depressed or if he’s just using that as an excuse to be a jerk. I am trying to be supportive & understanding, even just as a friend. I care for him & want him to Be happy, but I also do not want to play the fool. His behavior has changed. He doesn’t seem happy. He’s normally very positive, supportive, but he’s just gone. He’s resorting to ignoring & acting like I do not exist. When I questioned him about his behavior during my hospital stay he said “I don’t know, I have no explanation ”

    Is this normal for depression in men?

    • Erica says:

      Additional information; I’m 36 years old & hes 37. do depressed men generally display this type of behavior? Turn to partying & getting attention from other women. I feel like I no longer know this man.

  11. Cal55 says:

    I thought when my husband and I married in early 1981 that It was going to be a life spent talking everything through, in or wants needs, and life within a community, His first three and a half years. were basically him being underwater and out of touch, His saying for it was hide with pride with the silent service.
    The problems started when he discharged and came home he was coming home with 9 years seniority on his UAW big three automotive position he was on military leave from. I did not understand how seniority worked at the time, I had always dealt with situations when I worked In Manhattan that things like vacations, holiday work . weekend work was always assigned on an as need basis, Also the shift was assigned as needed as well as the job. My husband I was told before he came home had the capability to disrupt many lives with his seniority. So I was asked to help keep him from using it for two years after his return by his father and others.
    They even suggested how I do it. Deny him sex. So within three days I laid down the condi8tions to continue our marriage in two years if he did not use his seniority rights for his wants and kept the peace. That three day period after he returned I had seen him and his father get into it bad enough were the second day he was back he had pined his father to the ceiling in his own living room about his right to see me that second day home. My mother came into the room I was in begging me to help keep my husband from killing his father. The third day back I was telling him that he could not bump a girl with six months seniority off days and take her shift because it would devastate her social life. That’s the day I promised that if he could just keep the peace for two years we could continue with our marriage. He stormed out of his fathers house yelling at me I was a mercenary b****, He stayed on his shift that he hated with the union chaplin, his mother, his union president all telling him the need was real he just stay where he was put but he was determined after two years I was keeping my promise. To years latter We had made plans to have the honey moon we never had on a group trip to Rome. I was again approached and begged to get my husband to back off taking the vacation slot he was able to take. But the same girl from two years before wanted to go with her parents and fiancé in the group. So I again went hat in hand and told my husband we could figure out something for after I returned from Rome. He made the Girls mother and father pay him for his ticket and reservation and took 2 thirds of the money back that I was taking telling me I was going as a single therefore he did not have to pay for more than one. He also informed us all this was the last time he was backing down. He printed off a Contract for me to sign about when I returned I would be a willing participant and Bed partner in the trip he decided on after my return, He even when his father told him to get our luggage to check in dumped it in the road and took off with his middle finger raised at us, Everyone felt it was a very petty thing to do just because we asked him to back off this trip. The subject of his making me swear on a bible and sign a contract of what he was going to do when we returned came up and we talked of when the best vacation time my husband could take was from January second To February 14. We were thinking there was no possible way he could object to that time. We found out his objection to that time frame when we flew in at 7:30 on Saturday Morning two weeks latter He was Loaded with our luggage almost before we cleared customs I said what was his hurry he did not have to be at work until three that after noon and we could show our photos and I could give him the boots I bought as a peace offering when he said we were going to be half way through Kansas at three His seabag was packed in the back and we were leaving for Yosemite I felt like he slapped me in the face, I told him what we had decided In Rome about a mid winter vacation. He said here was a reason those weeks were clear all the time. He said would I leave enough after Christmas to fly someplace nice, I thought about it and said We could take a road trip then, He said no thanks he did not want to iuce skate across country. His father said well then just stay home and rest. I though he was going to put him out on the side of the road. I just wanted a discussion about this. He said what did I swear to< and suddenly I felt like a gun was at my head. I said No He was not doing this by bumping some other soul with less time off their vacation slots I told him he could just wait until we could think of something for the period we wanted him to take and start marital relations then, just to make sure he was compliant with all wishes. He left The Interstate and stopped at the bus station, Pulled a manila envelope out and signed four sheets of paper and put them back. They were filings for divorce, Said her was tired of everyone making him do as we pleased and the sexual blackmail I was pulling. He handed me a letter to my mother telling her he was returning me to the shelf in the same condition received. Six years before. His father started to advance telling him he was going to get his block knocked off for being a jerk. My husbands brother saw the stance my husband went into stopped his father from taking that swing, he told his father he would have been dead before he hit the floor in the combat stance my husband went to. I could Not believe that my husband would be so angry about the way things had happened he wanted to be shed of me, He made up the cash I had to 1000 and had cleaned the savings out giving me a 12000.00 cashiers check and a bus ticket. Thirty three years latter My husbands petition for divorce was declared moot in 1989 because I an bi polar, And my mother refused the guardianship. We managed to keep my husband from getting in anyones way until 2001, When he decided he wanted a job bid and was not letting me, his father or even the local union have a say, he had the National decide. Four men were badly hurt the night before the bid was coming down, he turned our front porch into a blood bath at 4 am. They gave him two options he gave them one get out of his face or die. He says they chose the second option the second they laid hands on him. I had promised a normilization of our marriage and to stand with him about the vacation he had never had, earlier on that summer he had six days off for recovery from a tumor removed off his brain stem. He did not consider that as a day off in the least. I was without any means to gain his cooperation and after the beating he gave those four men his father and others felt they had the right to force him by use of weapons to work. I don't think I have not had a day where he has had anything to say to me other than I was a useless wife and tramp. Then MRSA in his spine and he started telling us we stole three decades of his life. I saw him put his father on the floor one night with a bedpan to the face over this years vacation that was in 2012. When he came home from rehab without telling us he was not confined to a wheel chair in 2013 It was another trap. I was supposed to go to a political fund raiser with my husbands mother , father and his fathers best friend, He came through the door telling me that he was the only one I was going to be with that night. I tried begging pleading and handing him a 100.00 to meet any where he chose after the even then he tore every stich I was wearing off, I was in terror of him at this point. I said he Was not treated fair or right I knew this but what he was planning was rape, he said good and after he finished he handed me the phone and told me to dial 911 and not clean up for the investigations.
    I felt that time it was a trap again and I was right. His father tried every way he could to get my husband to stay home this year and ended up with his neck broken for it. The one time I offered any compromise I knew it was useless I said I would talk myself blue this time to let him go to Hawaii in 2018, He did not have to hammer everyone in the face with this time. He does not talk at all now just reacts. He won't try and get along with me or my friends, and his father his so scared of him now he just crys every time my husband stomps on somebody that stomped on his rights.
    I guess by experience I can say we sometimes have to lay in the bed we make.

  12. Dmg says:

    Well here’s a midlide story for you. My husband went though a midlife crisis a couple of years ago. It has caused so much hurt that I’m not sure we can ever recover. We had a normal marriage for 16 years..he was late 40’s..had been though a lot of deaths and illnesses in his family including the death if his mom..sister..niece…brother in law..my niece..a lot of deaths in a short time. He got depressed as I did it was a tremendous am t of losses. He got depressed..and we both pulled away. During this time my descent quite humble husband had a affair with a young drugged up woman who he had to pay for ger attention. It was sexual in nature..but the sexual encounters were out in the woods after he got of work. .little quickies.most of where ger giving bj..well as all things..I busted him. I left..he completely feel apart..he ended the affair immediately. .and seems to have changed back to my normal husband. Of course the hurt and damage ge did to me..our marriage wasn’t just let go at all..in fact 19 months later I’ve put him though hell..Ive keft him several times..I got seriously sick..I think I had a nervous break down..I even had a affair of my own..I told him about it..I’ve tried to hurt him. Everyway I could. But he has for 19 months been strong..and has begged for forgiveness…he seems better now than he ever has been but how do I believe in him again? How do I forgive? Is he just back from what ever hell he was in??

  13. osama says:

    hi ,im 19 years old , for a year i don’t no what i call my situation ,(a tention ,depression ,guilty,).i when siting alone just fell helpless ,cuz i don’t find a way to make my life good, all my thinking is that im a looser i cant achieve anything anymore in my life ,,,,,,when i was in college i did my best to get a position ,and not only this i was sure to get that ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but i failed my college ,i just dont find the reson for my faliour ,,then tried to sucide twice but that did’nt workd ,now for a year im lying to my parrents about my results ,and doing nothing cuz i know that i am a looser.this is not a story its true ,plz help me tell me where i go

  14. Lyle says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. Too often, as I contemplate my depression, I forget to consider my wife. I look forward to reading more of what you shared here.

  15. crazybee says:

    I started dating this guy abou a year ago. Things were going well and he has two highly angered and irritated parents. Being the only son, he carries a tonne of weight on his shoulders. It started with how “depressed” and ” self inflicted” his parents are with their constant rumblings and complaint of the country, people and space they are in. His dad would drink a lot and his mom hated it to the core. I enjoyed drinking and we both have a lot in common as he likes to drink too. Initially, he would be angered after drinking. This happened the night he first introduced me to his dad. He exploded and started lamenting his dad for bad decisions in making him return home and working in a company and division he hated most. He broke a bottle and cut his hands on it. I was nursing him and felt good to be able to care for someone. He locked his dad out and refused his dad in communication by all means. Then on another occassion we had a couple of drinks and he started driving recklessly speeding beyond limit only to halt the car and curse the country and the nation. At that time, I was thinking perhaps its stress and he’ll be fine. Fast forward 5 months, his dad beats him . He moved out one morning atfer various discussions and he mustered the courage to walk. He moved in with me and we had a very good time enjoying each other’s company. We began dating. I alwasys found it weird that he never added me onto his facebook and have demanded for it on a number of occassions. He would normally decline. His drinking increased and over the months of being unhappy in current role, he tried applying for various other roles and had dreams of being a radio dj. His plans did not materialize and he took to drinking even more and his drinking became worst over time. He befriended a few new mates in the residence area and started hanging out with them a lot. They were drinking and he drank more . Time and again I begged his mate not to drink with him and him not to drink. My pleas were not listened to. Fast forward to months later. He keeps telling me he wants to move out and to live on his own. I tried disuading him from doing so as I really loved him. Come his birthday, his car broke down. His borrowed car from his dad broke down too. He got drenched trying to tow the cars and finally on his birthday eve, I texted him sharing wanting to talk. I actually remembered his birthday though he thought I did not. He came home at 230am screaming and crying that the “pups” ( his soft toys) had died. No matter what I did or said, he would not stop. The rages continued and finally he started throwing and kicking things all over. He shoved a bottle onto my chest and removed a knife requesting I stab him with it. I did not. Called the cops and he has since been unable to forgive me. I retracted my police statement in time and he did not land in jail. How do I know if it’s not a drunk or bad behaviour vs. depression?

  16. Concernedforhim says:

    We have been together for 2 years, out of no where he broke it off about a month ago, at first saying he couldn’t be in this relationship and work the way that he needs to work in order to be a success…this didn’t make any sense to me as I’ve always supported him in his career (even putting my own on the back burner) but then after I pressed for more information he turned nasty and basically blamed it all on me. since then he has started smoking again (after having not smoked for about 10 years), he gets drunk everyday and has spent all his money. Last night he came back to our home, which up until now he has stayed away from or only come back very late at night to sleep or briefly during the day to get some things. When he came back last night he started talking to me quite normally (asking how work was etc) however when I asked him he started saying how this city is slowly killing him, he doesn’t like his job, he doesn’t like how his company is changing, he doesn’t know how much longer he is going to be there and maybe he will take a couple of interviews at other companies (this happened before a few years ago before we met, he didn’t like how the company was changing so he left to work for a small independent company, but when he was there he didn’t like it and ended up going back to his old job)
    He was complaining that he smokes 20 cigarettes a day so that is costing him £70 a week, and that he drinks everyday and that is costing him lots of money too. (No one is forcing him to do these things)
    I know he has started seeing someone else, I’m not sure how serious this is (especially if he still stays at our home, and says that he is staying in hotels a lot when he isn’t here, why not stay with her?) I couldn’t understand this conversation we had, was he looking for sympathy? Does he want me to tell him what an idiot he is being? I mostly just kept quiet and listened, he soon fell asleep on the sofa (where I left him) he looked exhausted, has lost a lot of weight so clearly isn’t eating or taking care of himself…I’m so concerned for him but I don’t know how I can help…if I can at all…

  17. soyma says:

    Hi my husband is 36 and i am 33,we have two kids.All we came to forien,in recent past he is very depressive and thinks always about money as he had not saved any thing till now,and worrying about to look after all the family,parents..etc.we are from poor family,my self is not so literate and my husband has a moderate only.In recent past in the work environment the managers probed to fall his moods,Now i did not understand that always he says that he is immature,it goes even more sick to him.ideally he is not talking anything in home or outside and become very calm.how can i re-gain him,kindly help me.

  18. JM says:

    Hi, my husband has been suffering a depressive episode for 8 months, he takes medication and had counselling when diagnosed.. We both feel he is not recovering as still experiencing the anger, extreme fatigue, hopelessness, negative feelings and so on.He is 29 and I am 39, we have been married 18 months but together 11 years. He has a female best friend she is also married and suffering with depression.. he shares everything with this woman – he tells her her loves her many times a day (via social network), how she has ‘saved him’, he misses her, she is beautiful and amazing. He has a photo of her in his wallet and has bought her special gifts for Xmas and birthday.They talk/text every day and see eachother once a week. I have known about this for about 4 months. After a few discussions/rows about her, requests from me to tone it down, take photo out of wallet, have a bit more respect for my feelings etc resulting in threats from my husband to leave if I ‘gave him any more s***’ I have avoided the subject. When a good friend recently said was I aware of that my husband was telling another woman he loves her etc.. I feel I have got to speak up and let my husband know this is unacceptable. I love him and have offered my support throughout this whole time, he told me his depression was my fault, I am too controlling, treat him like a child, do this and that wrong etc – I know that is not true and it is not my fault – I also know it is not his fault. I do feel, however, that we have both used his depression as an excuse for his bad behavior. I do not believe his depression is making him tell another woman he loves her when he claims he not to be able to feel anything for me. Is it time for him to face the music? I feel I will be pushing him away, I am sure he will leave and pick his friendship with her over me if I make him choose. I so want our marriage to work, I can live with his depression and would like him to be able to come to me for support – to see our relationship as fulfiilling, like John says in this article. At the moment, I am struggling to be supportive as I feel that ‘someone else’ always beats me to it with exactly the right words of comfort!!

    • K says:

      Hi JM, I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. You say that the other woman is married; does her husband know what’s going on? Have you thought about speaking to him? I feel maybe it’s time to get tough with him!

      All the best, K

  19. Galen says:

    I am a 59 year old male blessed with a wonderful marriage but have seen several depressed male friends bail out of relationships that might have been saved. Shame is a particularly potent ingredient in male depression and it is very tempting to attribute one’s condition to outside factors. Close relationships tend to deteriorate under the impact of depression and the affirming lure of another woman hard to resist.

    The alternative to shame is a “this is who I am” self-acceptance and it is a relief of sorts to no longer put energy into trying to appear normal. It took me many years to understand that my most effective antidotes to depression lie within myself. This was not initially so happy a realization since it requires me to mobalize resources and take action when I would rather sit in a big, soft chair and contemplate my misfortune. This can feel soothing in the short term but over time it feeds and reinforces the depression and its voice at my ear- “Give it up.”

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Galen –

      Well put. I think you’ve captured beautifully the difficulty of trying to deal with shame and the need for self-acceptance. Overcoming the inertia – yes, the comfort – of inaction is so hard, but that is the key to feeling like you have a life again of your own choosing.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      John

  20. Rebecca says:

    I have been with my husband for almost 8 years now, although only married for soon to be 3 years. We have had issues throughout our entire relationship, such as me feeling insecure, jealous, needing to plan things and be in control, etc. We have fought often about these things and I have always said that I would work on them, but have not done it quite to the extent that he would like. He always feels as though we are having the same fight repeatedly, and nothing is being addressed.

    He has always been kind of a withdrawn person, and a deep thinker, who seems to be in his own head a lot of the time, always thinking about new ideas or theories that he would like to write about or explore. He doesn’t have a lot of close friends and the ones that we do hang out with more often are my friends. He isn’t very emotionally connected to his family either.

    He is 32 and in his last year of college. It took him a long time to decide what he wanted to do with his life and to get through school, and he’s still not even sure how he wants to use his English degree. I received my MSW 4 years ago, and am kind of waiting for him to finish school so that we can get going on the next chapter of our lives.

    Well, in the last 6-8 months, he has become increasingly withdrawn and isolated and unhappy. It wasn’t too apparent for a while, I attributed it to his going to school full-time and working full-time with difficult work hours, and not having time for homework, sleep or relaxation. He would sometimes tell me that he was overwhelmed, tired, and angry with his classmates for being young and immature or co-workers for not doing a good job. I would also ask him to do things with me sometimes on the weekends, to socialize with friends or go out on dates, when he was needing to do homework; he would often do it because he knew it made me happy or he needed a break, but ask me for time and support later on to get his work done. I thought I was doing just that, by leaving him alone at other times, or trying to talk to him about how his frustrations with school and work. But he just kept seeming more upset. Finally, about 4 months ago, he told me that he had started connecting with a young girl from work, a 20 year old whom he knew had a crush on him, because she was the first person to really ask him how he was doing and to say that he looked upset. He had started talking to her a lot and opening up to her about his frustrations with school and work, never talking about us or our marriage issues, and that he was starting to get confusing feelings about her. He couldn’t understand how he could feel so supported by her, and so un-supported by me, his wife, and he was beginning to be confused about his love for me, and that maybe he loved her. Because he thought it was going to go to an inappropriate place, he told me about her. Well, I freaked out, thinking that he had stopped loving me for a bit. We talked it through and came to the conclusion that he did still love me, he just needed me to be more supportive and understanding of him. He stopped talking to her as much for a bit, but I was still wary of their close working relationship, and expressed my concerns to him several times. We would fight about her often. They then started reconnecting and being friends again, and we fought some more about her. He kept telling me that he was keeping the boundaries of friendship in place, but that she was the only one who understood him and he had no friends and needed to be supported by her. He would also cry a lot during this time, telling me that he felt like dying and that he had no support system and that I had really hurt him by not supporting and understanding him. Every time we would fight about her I think it would push him further and further down into despair. He was acknowledging that he was in pain, but was trying to determine if it was due to his difficult semester or maybe his unaddressed past family issues. But during this time he was still loving and caring of me, and we were still doing well in our relationship.

    Well, 2 weeks ago he woke up in the morning and told me that he finally made the connection that all the pain and hurt he was feeling was due to me and our relationship, and that he didn’t think he could be in it any longer. He said he realized that I had “subtly coerced” him into living a life and being a person, over the past 8 years, that he doesn’t want to live or be. He said that I neglected our relationship, ignored him and took advantage of his feelings, by not addressing the issues we had. He also believes I drove away all his friends and support system and now he is trying to build that back up, starting with this girl, whom he has been spending a lot of time outside of work with and texting all the time, in the last 2 weeks. He still says they are just friends, but I’m afraid it has formed into an emotional affair. He says he doesn’t know who he wants to be or what type of life he wants to lead, but that he knows that it is not the one that we have been creating. He has been willing to start couples counseling, and we both just started individual therapy, but he says it’s too late and the only reasons I’m doing it now is because he said he wants us to end. He is blaming all of his pain and anguish on me, and is so hurtful in the way that he talks to me and about our relationship, saying that the last 8 years have had their good times, but that it wasn’t really him experiencing them. He just seems so angry and resentful toward me, and won’t really look at me and hasn’t touched me in 2 weeks, not even a hug. He doesn’t want to talk to me or do things with me, so the only times we talk are when I bring up our relationship and try to reason with him, which just ends with me crying and him sitting there blankly.

    I guess my questions are- while I acknowledge that I could have been more supportive and less demanding, etc. and worked on my issues throughout our relationship, is this a normal response to just being fed up with it and not seeing that it will work out? I keep talking to friends and family (which he has yet to do) and we are all just so confused because this is definitely not like him. While I understand what depression looks like, I don’t want to presume that that’s what’s happening here, because then I think I’ll get my hopes up that he’ll get treatment and our relationship will be able to be saved, with a lot of work. If it’s not that, then I will have to see that maybe it’s just that I drove him to feeling like there is nothing good in our relationship and that we made a bad choice in getting married and we’ll end up divorced. Which is devastating to think about, since I still love him so much and know that things can turn around, with work on both of our parts. However, in reading through a lot of these blog posts, our situation sounds similar to the feelings that you and others were experiencing when in the midst of depression and only seeing leaving as the way to get your life back on track. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Rebecca

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Rebecca –

      I’m sorry this is such a hard time for you. It is always difficult to sort out what’s happening in a relationship where things have been rough for a while. Your husband could be depressed, but that’s a judgment that a therapist or psychiatrist would have to make based on a full evaluation. He shows all the signs that I had for many years – it sounds like he feels lost, without a purpose he feels sure of, unable to make friends, isolating himself, feeling a lot of anger and blaming others for his own pain, showing blunted feelings or depressed mood. It is very common for depressed men to mistake their inability to feel for a lack of love in their relationship. But even if it is depression, he has to recognize that the pain is internal – it’s not caused by you and won’t magically go away through a new relationship. If it’s not a diagnosable case of depression, he still has to recognize a set of problems that he needs to work on, and hopefully he could do that in therapy. In any case, what he does about his unhappiness isn’t something you can control. I would hope you wouldn’t blame yourself for not having handled the relationship well – it sounds like you’ve been trying very hard to look at problems of your own, in the relationship and in him and have a fairly balanced view of what’s been happening. If it’s any comfort, you should know that most couples have “irreconcilable differences” and argue about the same things over and over again. Many still do well together, however, because they wind up listening to each other and learn how to repair the hurt feelings. But to do that, they need to turn to each other, rather than blame and turn away. He has to be willing to work with you. Until that happens, I hope you can take care of your own needs through your supportive friends and individual therapy.

      John

  21. lookingforanswers says:

    This sort of sums up what’s going on with my husband who, at only 35 – and quite a few years younger than me – suddenly walked out 4 months ago. No explanation, no discussion. He was playing up for some time, staying out ’til very late, becoming angrier with me at every turn (even smashed the TV screen one day in a fit of pique), threatening to leave, being irresponsible and selfish, etc. Soon after, he began dating. But, since leaving, he’s been living in a small room in a house of 13 people, paying unafordable rent. Recently, he’s had to move further away from work to a cheaper room in another houseshare. I know he’s not happy with this lifestyle. His choice, though. He gave up hearth and home in search of “freedom”. But, instead, he’s broke, always overdrawn and still in a job he doesn’t like. And now he lives like a student in digs. He’s 35, for goodness sake! Who knows if the relationship he’s in will last. No money, no fun. Again, his choice.

  22. NeedsAnonimity says:

    Hi John,

    This describes my husband throughout our marriage. Most recently, though, what he longs for are body parts that were taken from me surgically. Any advice for him on how to get past his grief over the loss?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, NeedsAnonymity –

      I have to say that when I had some cancerous parts removed surgically, my wife was glad to have me alive, whatever I might be missing. Given his history, depression can be part of the grief he is feeling at this loss, and he should work on it with a therapist. Perhaps you could see a therapist together if it comes between you as a couple. Hundreds of thousands of couples have faced this problem.

      My best to you —

      John

  23. Evan says:

    Here’s my take. Persons make meaning, or, ‘awareness can be curative of itself’. (Although the “awareness” referred to is more than cerebral.)

  24. Hello John. Grateful as always for the priceless articles …

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