Wife suddenly ended our marriage and has left our home

My wife has schizoaffective disorder. We have been married since 2021, and we had been living here in the UK since then.

We have been getting ready to apply for her visa extension. On Monday 17th June we had a meeting with the solicitor where we were preparing the final documents and my wife was pushing the solicitor to get it completed as soon as possible, and asking her to provide a letter assuring her new employer that it would be in place well in time before the expiry of her current visa in August. Having spoken to the solicitor afterwards she had no doubt in her mind that my wife was entirely minded to going ahead with the application.

That week she had got covid for the first time. She seemed to become increasingly morose as the week went on, and by Thursday and Friday she looked pretty emotionless and blank. On the Friday in nipped home from where I work over the road to be handed a note from my wife telling me that she was leaving me, that I had been a great help to our mental health, but now I was causing “turbulence and disturbance” and that she would be moving out of the house.

I was devastated, I left our home for about and hour, and when I came back she was gone. She would not let me know where she was in messages. When she came back six hours later, she said she “did not feel normal” and that she needed to call the crisis team. She also mentioned the subject of her erotomania. We spoke for some time, but she did seem in a strange mood. We were unable to get a response from them until the morning, by which time she had taken off again at 7.15am, returning and leave from 9.30am to 10.30pm. The crisis team arranged to meet her the next day to assess her, but my understanding was she left and they just kept in touch.

She was out until late again that day and did not come back until 10.30pm again. I left a note on the door asking if we could talk at some point, and we arranged to meet that evening, although she did not want to meet in our home. I had seen she had removed her tooth brush from the bathroom. When I spoke to her she was flat, very much “that other person” my wife becomes when she is unwell. She was struggling to understand my upset and flat refusing to consider marriage counselling or any other options. She was short and not engaged on anything. She left and has not slept at our home since then.

We arranged to speak again on the following Friday. First of all she kept me waiting, and then when she arrived, she was displaying signs of paranoia and illness. She was very short with me, would not engage me in the eye, and she did not seem to understand my upset. At one point when I said I was very upset she said “how can you be upset? Look, you’ve put your nice jeans on, and nice t-shirt, and you’ve shaved and got your nice hat on!” She also asked me why I bit my lip at one point. She really seemed to be showing signs of illness.

By the weekend she had removed nearly all of her possessions from our home, including pot plants. Although she won’t tell me where she is I have an idea of where she is staying, and it is with a couple we know. The male we have previously discussed as being very controlling and manipulative. Only just recently my wife mentioned she thought he was a hypocrite and “a bit too much”.

I am still not sure what has happened. She did have covid that week, and I am wondering if that triggered symptoms. It could be her genuine intention to leave, but on the Monday she was absolutely 100% trying to get the visa done. She did ask for the crisis team on Friday and she was displaying symptoms.

However, she still seems resolute a week down the line. Her reasons were so vague, but she finally cited an argument we had 10 days before she gave me the letter. It was not a great argument, but I would not have expected it to end a marriage. She has said I shout at her a lot, which is a perception she has when she is generally well, but does not match up with reality some of the time, and others have pointed out to her that I am sometimes not shouting when she is saying that I am. We had that meeting on the 17th that she seemed absolutely all for the visa.

I just don’t know what to thing. Did I mess this up? Is she unwell? Is she unwell but forming convictions that will last if she does get well? Why is she starting her new job today if she only had a visa that is valid until next month? Why won’t she engage with me at all? Yesterday she told me that we will never have casual conversations again. We had such a loving and close relationship. There were ups and downs, and as much as she did not want to put them down to the illness, they were often clearly linked to things such as her erotomania. I really struggled to get help with the mood aspects of her illness.

I just feel like, although there are a range of symptoms that match up with her illness and might have enabled this, she really has left and she really won’t be coming back, even if she gets better. I’ve tried to alert every service I can, including her hospital where she is an outpatient and the social services mental health care service, and I think I have just done everything I can now.

It has been such an unimaginable grief to carry, especially with the worry of not know where she is or if she is really safe. It feels like the person I was so close to has just switched off and now there is “that person” in her place. Yesterday she told me she thought we would never have a casual conversation again. She has not had a major episode for three years, and has never had one when on her current effective medication. I am wondering if the covid increased some inflammation or something and it is giving her an episode which is going under the radar with the professionals and being stopped from going full blown by the medication. I just can’t make sense of it. It is all so sudden. I am giving up hope that she will come back, it is just the not knowing whether it is real or the illness that makes it so difficult. We were so close and had been through so much together.

Has anybody been through this? The hospital tell me they see this happen sometimes, and usually the person comes back after a few months, but we don’t have a few months. I vowed to look after my wife in sickness and in health, so I feel like I have to try everything I can, but I am guessing now the best thing I can do is just wait. She has never had an episode that has not gone full blown psychosis before, so I just don’t know what to think about the prospects of her reaching a stage where clarity is coming back to me. Is it bad that I am almost hoping her symptoms get worse? I just want her well and back at home, but I have very little hope that will happen.

I have been so desperate I have needed crisis support myself, and I have a parade of appointments and calls from people checking in on me. It is all so sad. Am I just a jilted lover after all we have been through?

EDIT: I should just add that it seems like it is only me that she is displaying symptoms with. Everybody else says she seems to be acting normal. I know it is often the closest that get these things focused on them, or maybe I am more attuned to it, and so often people don’t know she has an illness until she is completely manic, but maybe it is just me.

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Welcome, I’m glad you found the forum. I am so sorry, what a critical time for an episode, unfortunately, the stress of critical times can often bring on episodes. Episodes can occur without full blown psychosis. The bipolar “part” of schizoaffective could have her cycling up and down and she may or may not reach a peak of straight psychosis.

Erotomania throws another curve at the situation, you are doing well that you are realizing you need crisis support. I would say that you are not a jilted lover and that the support team there is correct in saying that she will most likely return to you in time.

Our close friend whose wife lives with - well you pick the diagnosis, its been schizoaffective, bipolar, depressive disorder and most recently, borderline personality disorder. Most of the people in the community here are clueless. They just see the acts of normalcy, the rest is well hidden - until it isn’t.

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Thank you @hope. I really do hope it is a symptom, but I think it might stick, as I think she had been encouraged by those around her, including the people she is staying with. They probably do not understand the nature of her illness or how severe it has been in the past. When I met her she was barely making a few weeks without being admitted to hospital. I think she was admitted maybe 8 times in the first year that I knew her. Since then she has had two admissions and is stable more of the time. People that meet her now might hear her be paranoid about me and think I am controlling, or an abuser, or whatever she is saying to make it so that none of our friends are speaking to me. They do not understand that what it takes to support people through these things, and they do not understand what it is like to be on the lookout for symptoms, and to support good health and rest in someone suffering from conditions. But if it is illness and it gets better, there will be a layer of people discouraging her from returning based on her paranoia, and maybe themselves being overly controlling. The number of times my wife has asked me to make a decision for her and I thought “can’t you do this for your self?”, or has said “Is it ok if I…?” and I’ve said “do whatever you want”.

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I see your point, the clueless (and possibly controlling) people around her will be supporting the delusions about you and she will most likely be relying on them for decision making.

You have evidence that your relationship has been good for her. Our family members lives are so unfortunate, they end up throwing away good things and good people because they can’t see either.

My son had this postcard of a Banksy work.

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Hi ,
This is such a painful scenario when the illness seems to take our loved ones away from us over and over again.
Im truly sorry your feeling that loss and grief right now.
I just had a bad spell of that intense grief recently over the limited communication Im having with my loved one as of late . :flushed:
Im not sure what more you could be doing right now .sounds like you are already doing all the things.
Getting support for yourself
Being in contact with the crisis team .
You know where and when to take your wife in case of Mental health crisis.
Try to remember we can only control our own actions and how we respond.
I have to remind myself of this often because I want to fix everything and It’s very hard for me to accept when I cant.
Again I think you have done a good job so far doing all the things in your control to Help.
I remember the 1st time I had covid it came with intense brain fog for me more then any other symptom it was actually very scary to the point I didn’t even trust myself to drive it took several months to end.
It does make me wonder if this was triggering for her.

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That is the thing, I know when to get help for my wife, others will not. I am still not sure if she is well or sick, but what I know is that she was clearly showing symptoms when I saw her last week. She has never had a full episode whilst on this medication, so she might be getting by. It is just that for her to do this to me in such a cruel and sudden way, she must surely be unwell. She generally does go up and down in how she feels about me. You only have to catch her on the low spell and she will probably tell people terrible things about me. A week later she would adore me again. But now she is actually moved out. It is just so upsetting. People with these conditions are encouraged to not make hasty decisions or grand plans, and I am sure outsiders encouraged her to do it.

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this is hard ,I forgot to ask are there any family or friends who also know her diagnosis

She has recently “come out” about her illness to her friends, a lot of whom she has met recently but, I don’t really think they understand what it means, how sick she has been in the past, or that she has had quite high demands on me at home. Her family are mostly in America and they are very aware of her illness. When I met her she always in and out of hospital. I have taken really good care of her in the UK, and she has not ended up in hospital yet, but she does seem to think that she is cured just by taking her medicine. She doesn’t seem to be aware of her mood cycles on the demands she places on me to support her with them, or how they affect me in general. The new friends around could easily look at her and think I was using the illness to control her, when it is probably the reverse. I just have so much time now she is not here, but all I want to do is spend it with her.

I think I have to accept that she will not be coming back even if this is the illness.

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Hello.

In sorry for what you’re going through. I have a boyfriend we have been 6 years together now…5 we lived together and since one year he left and we have a long distance relationship…

Before this he left me behind several times there is a thread about my story you can read.

This time he left me to go back to his country to get his sz pension he also got a social housing. He promised me he would have come back, but now he’s so afraid to lose his pension again that he doesn’t want to leave…or actually he wants but he won’t. I also helped him financially when he was homeless trying to get back this pension and now just because sometimes i show my sadness for the situation or i was a bit disappointed (but I didn’t say stuff like he could not go) he was going to see a friend ( but to me he says that I’m too far away, too expensive, that coming here it’s not a vacation) in another city he threats the relationship saying is unhealthy. I don’t know what to do anymore I feel abandoned and mistreated and I feel a burden because I live in another country and I tried to go to his but I don’t manage and he doesn’t help at all. I feel my value is less than a pension and I feel like an idiot. Sometimes he says he will come back anyway, sometimes says that he won’t and talks about ending the relationship. I tried to find all the reasons in his illness but I’m starting to feel like it’s just a matter of money. I’m sorry you’re suffering a lot, I’m suffering too we are not married but I love this man I gave a lot to the relationship… But I’m starting to feel I’m the only one to cares for it. He seems to live quite fine without me and I think he’s starting to wish to have someone close to him again but even if there is me since I’m far away i suppose I’m a problem. I don’t know what to think anymore I’m suffering. All of this to say that although the illness plays a part in this it doesn’t mean they don’t think…for ky bf priority is the money, maybe your wife just wanted to leave as also a wife without sz would have do. She promised too to take care of you when you married and yet she abandoned you without explanation. … I don’t know what to say I wish I had the answers, but I feel you and I’m sorry. My impression about my bf is that he doesn’t care much about me and he’s ready to give up the relationship at any moment and that money count more than anything and I don’t think this behavior is related to sz, it seems too practical to be.

At first I wasn’t inclined to write this reply but I reconsidered since there is so many similarities between your situation and mine. My wife who I married way back in 2007 had an absolutely devastating relapse in late 2001. She was quietly watching TV when she suddenly got up and left the house. Since then I have hardly seen her and even less heard from her. This was the fourth relapse she’s had over our 17 years together. She was diagnosed Schizoaffective already in 1995 so I was kind of prepared though not to this terrible extent.

Just wanted you to know that this kind of strange behaviour is not uncommon with the diagnose, and keep in mind that you’re not alone.

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I am so sorry for the situation you are in. I think so many of us are such caring and kind people, and the people we lavish all of our care on are just prone to walking away like we are nobody. I genuinely think I just have to be less kind and caring in the future.

Thank you for your post. I saw it earlier in the week and I have been thinking about it a lot. I do not want to be kept dangling by my wife. It is her prerogative to leave, but the way she has done it has been cruel, and she has now completely cut me off. I have a fair idea that she is telling people terrible untrue things about me. She does think she is cured of her illness, and I think she has got it into her head (probably assisted by others around her) that me support her staying well is actually me controlling her. It is not normal to just alienate from your husband in a matter of days, and then take off.

I was stopped by my doctor a couple of weeks ago he spoke to me for about an hour about the situation. He basically said to me that I knew better than anyone that I should trust my opinion on her state of mind. He told me I am going to have to wait it out, that she is probably not even thinking about her visa, and we will see what happens. He also set me up for an appointment with the local chaplain, which I appreciated as even though I am not religious I wanted to talk to someone who I was confident respected the institution of marriage. She was really good, and at one point she said to me I should consider if I was being emotional abused in my relationship, which is a roundabout way of her saying she thinks I was being emotionally abused.

She made pains to say it is the illness affecting my wife causing the abuse, but even just leaving the way she did is cruel and emotionally abusive. To just treat me like I am a nobody, and making me feel like I have done something wrong, not being prepared to discuss it, yet she has clearly been discussing it with other people, and to just withdraw, that is emotionally abusive. To try and comfort her and talk to her and listen to her for hours and hours day after day about every little thing that is troubling her, and then to ask if we can put the problem to bed for the night, and then be told that I am dismissing it, that I never want to discuss ]anything, that I don’t care and I don’t want her to have any joy in her life, that is emotional abuse. That isn’t being respectful of my time and space. I should not be having to deal with every thing that affects or troubles her as a crisis, and then be tired, exhausted, having to put my wife ahead of everything else under threat of being told I don’t care about her if I don’t immediately attend to her. I have not let myself be myself for a long time. I am being accused of being controlling, when I have had no control over anything in my life for years now.

All the people that know what I have done, they know that this is wrong. They know the support she needs. They know how much I have given her. They know the sacrifices I have made. I was working, I was cleaning, and doing all the cooking and laundry. I always dropped everything, including my job when she needed help. She would not let me walk away from a situation, she would say I was shouting and yet would shout at me, and I got to the point where I was bruising myself, and had no way to let anything out. And I told her I needed to get help because I could not cope, and she still would only talk about herself, yet she would say “it is always about you”.

She was not obliged to stay with me, but to go like this, to treat like I have done something wrong, it is so cruel. I gave my vow I supported her at her absolutely lowest points, and when it came down to it, she drove me into the ground, looked at me and said “I don’t want to be here any more, but I am going to say that you are a bad person to justify me leaving”.

She is not going to come back. I know I have done nearly everything I can for her. She is now on her own by her own choice. What she has done is the worst thing anyone has ever done to me. I am sorry to say this, but “that other person” that she becomes has won. My beautiful, fragile, genius wife, who I laughed and joked with and I was so close to, I have lost her. The person that has taken her place, she is a callous, horrible person that makes me miserable, and feels entitled to crush me with horrible comments, and then just cut me off, and tell people I am a bad person. She looks at me like I am nobody. Every kind, generous and compassionate thing I have done for her, is just a dead weight around her neck that she wants to jettison. She does not care anything about me, she just things about herself, which frankly is part of the reason she has a problem, and will take the word of any casual acquaintance ahead of anything that I, the person that has devoted himself to her, says or does. Everything I am doing or I have done in the past.

I know I keep going back to this, but how many would just be happy for their partner to quit their job, and then basically just sit around the house doing nothing for the household for 5 months, whilst the worker is running around doing nearly all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry and paying all the bills? To give someone the time and space to heal and not put any pressure on them is a big thing.

Why do we do it? Why do we go through all of this heartache, all of this grief? I know why, because in the good times, it can be good. We see our partners through the frosted glass, and then every now and then the door opens and we see them properly, and it is clear. And then they teeter, and they are cruel to you, and they get angry, and they don’t understand, and do and say things that just hurt you so much. These poor people are robbed of all those people around that just want to love and care for them.

Why do we feel this heartache? Why do we let ourselves get so close? They has to be something so special about us. It is such a special type of love, to love someone in spite of their illness, and by choice. I hate my wife’s illness. I just wish it was never there. It has been such a relief to not have to deal with the low level symptoms mood issues she had. I just wish she was happy. I just wish she could not fuss over everything or be so harsh towards me. I wish would not judge me on my state when I’ve been run into the ground supporting her for hours and hour. And I wish she had just looked after me a bit more.

I will fineread and reply to you when I find the time next weekend. Just to let you know, I’ve already seen more similarities.

man. 15. jul. 2024, 02:40 skrev LowProfiler via Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum <notifications@family-sch.discoursemail.com>:

The more I read your story the more I see parts of mine. Even if my relationship is still ongoing at the moment i doubt it will end up well.

You asked so many questions, but for me the question is only one, which behaviours are caused by the illness and which ones are part of the personality and would be there even without the illness?

There are many people out there that are abusive or manupulators, liars, traitors and so on and they don’t have sz.

I had a bf before this one ( i had others in the middle but this one and the current one lasted longer) we have been together 10 years. He didn’t have sz that I’m aware of. At some point he started to become abusive ( i think because he wasn’t in love anymore and didn’t know how to get out of the relationship) and in the end he left to go visit his family as usual and never came back and was telling lies to people to justify his actions toward the relationship. I have been with him all the time with all his issues at university and in live and in the end he was only thankful to his dad.

Why did I say this? Because it’s true that we are with people that have a mental disease and I could see that, but I think that we also blame the illness too much thinking that without the illness they wouldn’t have left us. Are we really sure?

Your wife and my bf are not only puppets moved by the strings of the illness, she is also a person that can think. These people can vote, can work if they want, they can drive, they can have a family and raise children…there is no law saying they are uncapable of that and that they can’t.

I know we give a lot of love and we often receive bad treatments in exchange, but please don’t blame yourself too much or think that without the illness everything would have worked, because you don’t know. What you know is that you gave your best in this marriage. I wish I had a husband like you at this point, that takes care of me and doesn’t leave my side. Don’t stop being nice, because it’s a quality. But don’t forget to protect yourself also, and this is a lesson for me too.

If your wife left you it’s her loss. It seems she didn’t leave you while on a psychotic attack, so maybe she just wanted to leave like normal people do.

You need to understand that what you received is not a good tratment and you didn’t deserve it, that you are good and caring and that your wife is not only her illness.

I’m telling you this because i thought a lot during these year to the actions and words I received from my bf and I see that he doesn’t behave the same with other people or in other circumstances when he’s the one responsible or when he cares/respect what he has at the moment.

Take his mother for example…last summer she helped a bit then she refused to help more or even host him. Now they are all visiting placese dining in restaurants going to the movies…while I was the one that was there every minute of this terrible moment when he decided to leave me here without any consideration of my feelings to keep some kind of subsidy and transform it back in his sz pension. I was there every minute supporting him financially as I could and emotionally while he was saying he wanted to die while waiting for this pension. But also before I was with him, all the years we have spent together…i was the one supporting him in his problems and being close to him while I was having troubles too.
Can you imagine how I feel now that time together as been taken from me to be with his mom ( yes ok it’s his mom, but also in the previous years they had a bad relationship so I don’t really get it). Or the friend I talked about .yes in the past she hosted him but not last summer. She never went to visit him, while I did and I also spent money to rent a place to stay because he cannot host me in the social housing…and now because I showed a little sign of disappointment I am the one that can be abandoned easily.

Some months ago before I visited him for the second time i couldn’t help to cry over the phone because I was missing him and I was told that I’m selfish because I know he needs to stay there ( doctors and medication are also here, the difference is that here there isn’t a pension) and also threatened to end the relationship.
Was I being selfish? I don’t think so, in a way yes, but only because I wanted us to be together, love sometimes is a bit selfish because we love but we also want love.

Also while he was with me he was helping me a bit, but at some point he stopped doing anything I was doing everything he was always mad until he left. Now he helps the mom cutting the grass or painting doors if a house where he doesn’t even live…

Is this sz? I don’t think so. I don’t get it, am I the problem here maybe?

Maybe they are happier without us and we should let them go.

I don’t know if this helps but I just wanted to give a different pov.

Be strong.

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I think we just tend to get dragged inch by inch into these situations where we tolerate things because of the illness, and they start to think they are hard done by even when they are well. I am pretty sure my wife was at least a bit unwell when she left. She was acting unwell, and the more I think about it, she has been saying paranoid things about other people (including some of the people that I am sure have encouraged this decision) for some time. I think I really just have had enough. I do not want to be in a position where you are where my wife is calling me from another country, or she thinks I am just sitting here waiting for her to come back. She has to understand that I can not be expected to tolerate this, and when she acts like we are ending our marriage, there is a consequence. Two weeks have gone since I had any communications with her. Life is too short to wait around for people who have had everything from me, and yet act like they resent me for it.

I have to stop making allowances for the illness. She is not prepared to recognise that her illness goes beyond the outright displays of mania and delusions, which she largely had under control. She had broken me down with the burdens she placed on me, and when I asked for help, she just acted selfishly and said either I was trying to make everything about me, or I was going on about the illness. Well this might be the illness at the root of this. I do not think my wife would ever have done this if she was well, or at least she would not have done this in this way. But I am not prepared to be on the end of such cruel and mean acts of abandonment. She has turned on a sixpence to tell me that it is “her wish to separate”. She did not discuss it, and she treated me like I have been doing something wrong by supporting her and caring for her in every way.

I will not be treated like this. I think in the last few days I’ve started to worry less about “What if she doesn’t come back?” and more about “What if she does come back?” The truth is, how can you come back from such a spiteful betrayal like this? Am I going have to children with this woman? What, so she might disappear with my kids one day? Am I going to live with that fear? If she turns up and wants to come back, of course I will still consider it. More and more though, I think I just want to get divorced and stop being punished for taking on this huge burden which I did because I wanted to support the woman that I loved so dearly. This person that is treating me like a stranger, she can look after herself from now on. I am not going to carry on feeling this pain. I have done more for her than anyone. I do not deserve to be cast off, and I do not want to be made miserable. She can feel hard done by all she wants. She can be selfish, and she can wipe out of her mind everything we had. Let her do it. I can do no more. I will not be treated like this. I am not going to pine for this woman that is treating me like a nobody. What we had is done and finished. She was just not willing to accept that I could not be expect to solve every problem, and there were limits to my emotional stamina, and did not respect my rest and peace. In the end she was not working, I was completely supporting her, she only cooked and cleaned when she felt like it, and she still demanded that I supported her emotionally at all hours. Let her feel hard done by. I have to let her go. She does not understand what she had with me. I was the bridge to her gaining health and composure, and we forge a real and genuine marriage in adversity, standing more tests than most do in a lifetime. But now she thinks she doesn’t need me, that she is cured, and she is rewriting my care and support as abusive control. This is the woman that complained when I forgot to text her to not forget to finish work, because she could never keep track of time. No, no more for me. I have done more than anyone could expect, and nobody except those who actually know understand what I have done for her. She doesn’t owe me anything, but had no right to leave me, to abandon me like this, in this way, and to speak badly about me. I will not suffer this pain forever.

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