My wife and I have been separated for nine months, moving toward a divorce. We were a good couple for five years, married for two.
We rarely had conflicts or fights. Now I’m desperate.
It started when we were planning having kids. We were concerned about medication that she’s taken since a teenager, so she got off them.
In exchange, she got into depression (we didn’t know this at the time). After a couple months, I felt sadness from not being able to help her, and my own depression started.
I’d never before been exposed to depression or had it.
A few months later, she had to get back on her medications, I was still depressed and we were quickly growing apart, largely because of me.
My depression worsened. After a month in a very deep depressive state, I told her that I didn’t think we were a good couple and we had to split up.
She initially opposed this, so we agreed to a trial separation within our own home.
Having space started to make me feel clearer and I hesitate about divorcing. Conversely, after a weekend away with her friends, she came back more agreeable to carry forward toward divorce.
A month later, she left the house. I said I wanted to try staying together, counselling, whatever. But she’d made up her mind.
It’s been six months since the last time I talked to her.
I’ve been getting therapy to help me through this. When I described my symptoms, I was told I most likely had clinical depression and should have been on medications.
My greatest fear: I lost a loved one due to depression.
Since she left, I’ve been respecting her space as she's requested. I’ve made repeated pleas to try figuring this out, give us a chance, but she hasn’t responded.
I’ve asked her to give me closure if she’s made up her mind, and I haven't got that, either.
Am I dumb for holding onto hope until the day she files for divorce? We’ve always respected each other. I keep thinking that maybe silence means there's still a chance…
This is not just your personal story, though I understand your desperation and will answer your questions.
But first, I want to stress that the difficulties and downturn in countless relationships come from misunderstanding depression.
It is not just a bad mood, or purposeful distancing, or lazy disinterest, or any of the other wrong assumptions people make.
Depression is a common mental health problem, a real illness that can be triggered by trauma, loss, extreme stress, deep self-doubts, changes in medication, and more.
People should always check with a doctor instead of self-medicating, or giving up prescribed treatments without consultation.
Most important, depression is treatable, which is why people need the support of loved ones and, often, of professional therapy as well, to recover their sense of well-being.
Now, back to your story: Your wife changed her meds, got depressed, you felt helpless. From there, you both reacted instead of seeking help.
You two missed finding out anything about how to take care of yourselves and of each other, when you both needed it most.
Now you’re at an impasse that should be reconsidered.
There’s still hope, since there’s still been no effort as a couple to understand what happened and see if your original attraction and connection can be regained.
If not, move on, knowing better for the future.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother’s reaction to her 13-year-old daughter’s cell phone misuse (Feb.6):
Reader – “Her mother could say to her daughter "What do you think would happen if you simply tell your friend her texts make you uncomfortable and to please stop sending them."
“That leads the girl down the right path to handling confrontations.
“If the girl would like to resolve the issue between the “friend” and another girl, maybe "why don't we get together at my house and talk this out" (when a parent’s available).
“Thirteen is a lot "older" than previously. This could be a very good "life lesson" on how to handle future issues. We can't keep solving our children’s problems but we can teach them how to properly react to such antics.
“Taking the phone away isn’t the answer. Blocking the texts will only widen the scope of her friend’s anger to include this daughter. They need to learn how to "problem solve."
Tip of the day:
Avoid letting depression take control of your life by seeing a doctor or mental health clinic, soon.