Mental Illness and Marriage

Updated on September 18, 2014
M.M. asks from Berkeley, CA
7 answers

Dear Mamas,

I don't have a specific question at this time. I would like just to share an update with those who took time to advise me last time. Six months ago, my husband of 19 years suddenly wanted to divorce. We had been happy and never fought. At first I thought it was midlife crisis, but progressively more signs of mental illness showed. We have been consulting a psychologist and she believes he has bipolar disorder. My husband had a history of depression and anxiety but it has never affected our relationship in a significant way. I never had a slight doubt about our love for each other.
The last 6 months have been the darkest time in my life. My husband quit his job and accepted another one oversea. We settled with a legal separation and my lawyer helped me to secure a financial restraining order, which prevents my husband to touch our assets as I am not sure how stable his conditions would be. After protesting for a while, he accepted this decision.
I love my husband with an unconditional love. My vows “in good health and in sickness” are still the same, but he doesn’t want to hear any of that and I don’t have a choice but let him go. It breaks my heart to see him destroy everything we have held dear all these years: our marriage, our love, our family. As my husband’s conditions are not too severe, he is still functioning, and he is actually very productive as described with bipolar patients in the manic phase. Our kids know a little bit about the illness and probably guessed about our relationship but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them about the separation. I try to maintain a normal life for them.
An important thing I would like to share with anyone who goes through any kind of hardship: get all the support you can find. I am grateful and feel lucky as I got so much support from my family, my work place (yes, my close co-workers know), my friends and the professionals. I chose to open up to the people I trust and asked for help, and I got it. It turned out that they all somehow have someone in the family who suffers from mental illness. We should not feel alone and ashamed, that’s the lesson I have learned and would like to pass along.
I hope the next update would be happier but I am bracing myself for everything.

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answers from Danville on

I send you (and your kiddos) healing thoughts and prayers.

Sometimes there is no way 'over', 'under' or 'around' an obstacle. One has to 'march through'.

I am glad you have good support...


13 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sending you hugs, and thanks for reaching out with your story and reminder. Mental health issues are everywhere, you're so right about that. I, too, am very likely losing my marriage to my husband's mental health issues. We've known about his problems since pretty early on in our marriage (by the end of year 3, we're approaching the end of year 11) and I've been trying so, so hard to hold things together and ride this out but he just doesn't want to try to fix things or himself anymore. Because we're still living together and haven't really come to an agreement on what's going to happen - neither one of us is ready to call "time of death" on this yet - we haven't told many people. However, I do end up sharing some of our struggles with friends whose marriages are reaching the end point and time and time again, we end up sharing stories of the destruction and aftermath of untreated depression and/or bi-polar.

I wish you peace, healing, and stability as you move forward and find your new normal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It won't be easy but you will eventually find a new normal.
At 14 and 17, I'd bet your kids know more than you think they do.
Keep communications open with them an let them know none of this is their fault (kids sometimes jump to this conclusion when divorce happens).
I'm glad you have an excellent network to support you through this.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

You are awesome! I would hope I could handle a difficult phase/situation with your dignity and grace. Your kindness and strength shine through your post. I wish for you continued kindness, love and patience. You rock, I mean really.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Sending you big hugs and strength. This was a hard decision but you made it. Know that you will be alright in the long run. Know that there are people out there that will help you at every turn and not look down on you for what you have done.

I have faith in you. You took the first step to do what was needed and you are taking more. Do keep us updated as we do like to hear what goes on in the journey of life.

the other S.

PS Another big hug to you!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I am very proud of you. I can imagine this has taken a lot of strength to make these difficult decisions.

Never regret these choices, keep in mind you are doing your best.
I like that now your children have clear understanding of what has been going on and that mom and dad were able to make the tough choices.

Make sure to ask for help when you need it and take care of yourself.
I am sending you sound great.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on


Best to you as you and your family work though your husband's condition and its effects on him, you, your marriage and family. You might find NAMI a helpful resource, if youaren't already aware of it.

F. B.

2 moms found this helpful
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