My husband wants a divorce after I was diagnosed with severe depression

He said he would try and he never did. It's been nine months, and this is making me worse. Today, he said I have to respect whatever decision he makes. Is that true? Am I supposed to respect the decision to leave because he can't handle what I'm going through and leaves me here crying and worried every night? He's constantly changing his mind on if he wants to work it out.

Nat Roman
Nat Roman
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc RP

Wow that is tough. There is nothing worse than fearing abandonment when you are already struggling with depression. It sounds like you are still wanting to work through whatever challenges you and your husband are having but your husband may not be on the same page. I would encourage you and your husband to seek professional support if you haven't already. While depression can put real strains on a relationship, relationship problems can lead to or contribute to depression and there may be some real benefits to both of you in doing some couple therapy. With that being said - if your husband is not willing to do therapy or is clear that he wants the relationship to end, then I can't see what choice you have but to "respect his decision" as you mentioned. This doesn't mean that you have to feel okay with the decision - as I'm sure you wouldn't - but ultimately loving one another and staying in committed relationships is a choice that we each have to make. If he is wanting to leave - this could make things a lot tougher for you. I would encourage you to seek professional support for yourself and reach out to lots of friends and family. You do not need to face depression alone - nor should you have to. We all need support at tough times like these. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

I'm sorry for the hurt you're feeling from your husband's decision.

Keep in mind that if one partner does not want to be in a relationship and remains in it, then both people will be unhappy, dissatisfied and feel stressed.

Imagine being in a relationship that you'd rather leave.

All the negative feelings and resentment of being with someone whom you'd rather be without, would not leave very much energy to satisfy your partner.

I'm glad you realize that you feel depressed.

Depression is a mood that can change once you understand what is causing it.

Depression is an area that very often therapists help their patients understand, and emotionally support and encourage them during the course this takes.

For now, concentrate on decreasing the tension in your life.  Your husband's indecision may very well be adding to your stress.

Only he can make up his own mind.

As hard as this may be, all you really can do is take care of how you feel so that you will feel better.

From what you write, your husband is too unsure to offer you the love and care you'd like from him.

Learning to love oneself is always worthwhile.   At this stage in your marriage, now sounds like an ideal opportunity for you to teach yourself self-love.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Nicole Stone
Nicole Stone
Anxiety, relationship crisis, and the separation/divorce experience.

The fact that you mention that he is "constantly changing his mind on if he wants to work it out," suggests that Discernment Counseling might be a really good fit for you both. Discernment counseling is a protocol for partners where one or both aren't certain they want to remain in the relationship. It's a brief (1-5 sessions) and intentionally focused on helping partners talk through (primarily individually) their reasons for and against staying in the relationship - as well as confront their own contributions that lead to the relationship crisis. It's aimed at helping the couple reach a clear understanding of which path they are going to take, not asking anyone to change just yet, so it can be a lot less intimidating and more to the point than couples therapy.  You can look to find a local therapist providing this service here

That said, I agree with other respondents that if he is deciding to leave, seeking out support for yourself would be incredibly helpful. You may need to accept his decision, but you can certainly feel whatever emotions you have.  You are allowed to feel exactly how you feel, and it's likely you'll be sad, or angry or hurt or disappointed or scared, or any combination of any/all of those. Having someone there who can validate those emotions and help you to process the grief that naturally comes with the end of a relationship can be a huge help in finding a place of healing and regaining a sense of self, a sense of hope. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor

Although the marriage vows say in sickness and health, each person has the right to choose to stay or to leave, depending on their ability to cope and handle marriage challenges.  I know is hard not to focus on him and his choice, but the more you put the focus of attention on him the least support you will receive. Focus on increasing self-care activities and building a support system around you.  A therapist can help you to work with depression symptoms, build up your self-esteem, and developing coping skills.  Also, invite him to a therapy session so he can clarify any questions and concerns regarding your diagnosis.

If you would like to engage in therapy, I am licensed in Texas and Puerto Rico, you can contact me at 787-466-5478.

Mi esposo quiere divorciarse después que fui diagnosticada con depresión severa.

El dijo que intentaría y nunca lo hizo.  Has pasado nueve meses, y esto me está haciendo sentir peor.   Hoy, el dijo que yo debo respetar la decisión que el tome.   ¿Es eso cierto? ¿SE supone que respete la decisión de irse porque él no puede manejar lo que yo estoy pasando y me deja llorando y preocupada cada noche?  El cambia de opinión todo el tiempo.

A pesar de que los votos matrimoniales dicen en la salud y la enfermedad, cada persona tiene el derecho de decidir si se queda o se va, dependiendo en su habilidad de lidiar los retos del matrimonio.  Entiendo que es difícil evitar enfocarte en él y sus decisiones, pero mientras más enfocas tu atención en el, más vas a resentir la falta de apoyo.  Enfócate en aumentar el cuidado personal y en desarrollar tu sistema de apoyo.  Un terapista te puede ayudar a trabajar con los síntomas de depresión, mejorar tu autoestima y desarrollar mecanismos de defensa.  También puedes invitar a tu esposo a terapia para hablar sobre tu diagnosis y que aclare dudas sobre los síntomas y expectativas.

Si te gustaría recibir terapia, soy Consejera Profesional Licenciada en Texas y en Puerto Rico, llama al 787-466-5478.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. La información provista es para propósito general basado en información mínima, no constituye aviso medico. Esta información tampoco constituye una comunicación directa con un consejero o terapista y no crea una relación entre cliente y terapeuta o desarrolla ningún privilegio. Si tiene pensamientos suicidas o está en crisis puede llamar al 911 o visitar su sala de emergencias mas cercana.
Lovener Wightman
Lovener Wightman
NYC Counseling
When you are at your lowest, you have an opportunity to learn not just about the people around you and who you can depend on, but also, so much about yourself and why you have come to the place that you have. Take this time to do some introspection and learn yourself. It will give you the power to recover from whatever it is that has broken you. We'd love to talk with you. Please contact us sometime.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

If your husband is changing his mind about whether or not he wants to stay in the relationship, I wonder if you both might benefit from seeing a therapist who specializes in couples. In my training working with couples, partners come into counseling with one of three goals in mind: strengthening the relationship, getting a divorce, or making a decision. The decision could be whether or not stay together or it could be any number of other things, such as what state to live in.

When you ask whether you have to respect whatever decision he makes, respecting his decision does not mean that you have to agree with what he decides. While you do not have the power to change his decision, he also does not have the power to change yours or how you feel about it. Having said that, if he is changing his mind a lot, chances are that the only decision he has made is that he needs to make a decision. Weighing the options of an important decision (any type of important decision) can be anxiety-producing its own right.

The fact that you said you were diagnosed with severe depression leads me to believe that you are already seeing a therapist. Perhaps he or she can assist you in navigating through this. I'm wondering how you feel when you are around your husband. I'm not sure whether you are saying that having him there is a source of comfort for you or that it leads you to feel more sad. Maybe it is a little bit of both.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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