New here but it’s been a long haul


I’ve been supporting my partner whose memories of CSA surfaced about 2.5 years ago. Prior to that he had lots of struggles with depression and anxiety and a binge eating disorder, all of which have worsened now. I also have had struggles with depression since before we met and we are generally good supports to one another and have a very caring relationship. In my work life I also support others having struggles with mental health and substance use.

The last 2.5 years have been extremely challenging. He’s getting care from a psychiatrist, mental health nurse and counsellor but continues to struggle a lot. He spent most of last winter in the hospital. He’s not able to work, and spends a lot of time in bed. He is a funny, loving, creative, smart, caring soul who I love deeply and I miss a lot of parts of him that I don’t get to see as much anymore. I miss being able to count on him doing most of the things he says he’ll do (tasks around the house, etc since I’m working more than full time and he’s at home). I feel overwhelmed and I worry that the rollercoaster we are on will never end.

I have realized that I need support from others in similar situations because although I have some very supportive friends and family members it seems hard for them to *really* get how much the trauma and mental health challenges have really taken over our lives. I do have a counsellor and have lots of tools in my toolkit but it is still really hard.

I desperately want my partner to feel better and I still have hope for that but am also very worried about what our lives will be like if things don’t get better.
Welcome to our community, I am so sorry for want brings you here, but you are not alone. There are many partner and family members here, who just like you are looking to understand and support their partners recovery. Take your time to read the threats on issues of interest. Feel free to ask your question and rest assure we wI’ll do our best to support you, openly and without judgement. Welcome!


If my partner and I lived together, we'd be in the same situation as you. He is unable to work, and depends on a close relative for most things. I am grateful for his relative and am not sure how well I'd cope with someone being that dependent on me. Like you, I am in a "caring profession", and although I enjoy helping people, it takes a lot of emotional energy and I don't always have much to give by the end of the work day, esp because I have my own struggles (PTSD, depression, anxiety, OCD). (which is the main reason I don't have kids).

Living in a situation where it is not an equal partnership, would leave me feeling lonely, and maybe used and resentful after a while. In every partnership there are times when one person does more supporting than the other, and then vice versa...but if it's uni-directional with support flowing only one way for too long, it isn't sustainable imo.

We are good supports to each other emotionally while living apart, but if we were sharing a household, chores, expenses, etc, I think the imbalance in our functioning would rapidly become an issue for me. For instance I love my animals, and having a partner who couldn't look after them or take them to the vet if they became ill, would be frustrating.
Also, a dependent relationship is not a sexy or sexual one (to me), but more like a mother-child relationship. That is a turn off for me. So that piece of the relationship would suffer. Not that sex is the be-all/end-all but it's a healthy and important part of a romantic love relationship.
Maintaining separate residences, separate finances etc means I maintain my independence and boundaries, and this helps protect the romance bit.

I think you are really doing well to cope with the situation as is, and it's understandable you are looking to the future because I think relatively few people would find the situation sustainable for the long term. That's not selfish, or wrong. It's normal and healthy to want all the things life potentially has to offer, and it is deeply personal decision what that is going to look like for you, and what sacrifices you might be willing to make.

It's so hard to predict how long it will take for things to change, if they ever will. My guy has been unable to work, and dependent on his family for over a decade now. He is doing all the right things (therapy, psychiatrist, social workers etc) and works hard at healing every day. But a lot of this process is simply not under our control and PTSD can be far more debilitating than I think most people give it credit for.
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Thank you. Living apart wouldn’t work for us as we’re barely managing financially as it is but I can definitely see how that would be more sustainable. And yeah the dependency/mother-child dynamic being unsexy is real for me. He’s not very up for sexual intimacy anyway so that has become barely part of our relationship for the past couple of years. There’s a lot of humour and day-to-day care and kindness that I’m very attached to and that still feel good and healthy to me. But there’s a ton of loss too - if I knew I would get most of that back eventually I could hang on for a long time I think. But the uncertainty and just ongoing rollercoaster with deep lows is very hard to make a life-plan of. Thanks so much for “getting” it. It’s helpful to hear your perspective.
Trademark, I feel for you, and I am sorry you are in a position you did not ask for. Being torn between the love you have for your partner and the need for an equal partner, is a difficult place to be. For me it was one of the driving focus in my recovery. I’ve been married some thirty years now and was the main bread winner for our family. I was the calming emotional anchor that keeps us solid. My wife was the love compassion and moral compass, that glued us all together. When I had my breakdown, by far the hardest thing was having to let go of that. I had to let go of everything, and focus on trying to stop my pain. I was really bad at it,

I hurt my partner so much back them, two suicide attempts, six weeks weeks in hospital, over sharing, night terrors, punching out in my sleep, it was just as traumatising for her as it was for me, but it is like child birth, if you are the person going though it you don’t remember much of it. It is the carers that remember. my wife, is my soulmate, everything to me, so getting back to being the man she married, the man she needed me to be has always been my goal. I need her to tell me what she needed from me, “I me my husband back the man that protects and anchor us“ It’s been just over five years now and am I ther yet, I think so. Our relationship is different we share roles more, I can show emotions, she has show strengths I did not know she had. But yes there are wounds, our relationship has scares, my suicidal acts, betrayed a trust, and that is taking longer to heal, not in a betrayal sense, but in a, you were going to leave me, how can I trust you wont want to do it again, sense. But we are strong, we are recovering and dare I say it we are happy, it’s different, but we, I believe are happy. I‘ve been back working, for three years, I have changed jobs a couple of times, I have moved to a smaller organisation, less stress. I operate at about 80% of my per breakdown mental capacity, and spend much more time protecting myself from stress than in the past, but I am back to being the main revenue earner and pulling my emotional weight too. My wife is a nurse so a in the caring profession, just like you.

Now to the point, my wife became my anchor, it was her that kept pushing my recovery. BUT, I needed to recover, I wanted to come back, without that all the pushing, pulling, nothing would have helped. It was the fight in me that brought me back. My partner knew this so she, made sure the help I had was the right help, they were helping me to move forward and helped change my T when it wasn’t. As I am sure you realise you con not do this for your partner, it is all down to him. He needs to find his own way, find his own fight. Finding what or who that is is not easy, it come from within.
As you have already suggested you need to look after you and safeguard your future for you and yours. Let’s say he stays where he is now for five years what does that look like for you? My wife and I discussed moving into social housing, cutting back on all our costs and living within our new finances, the thought of this was real to me, losing what we had built was real and was one of the drivers behind my recovery. If your partner still has the fight in him it may be his, if not at least you have a plan for your new future. In the end we did not need our plan but it got real close. Only you know what you need from your relationship and what your redlines are. You don’t have to let him drag you into his hell, that is not to say you need to walk away, just that know where you are, how far you are prepared to go for you partner and have your what if it does not get any better plan. Plan together for surviving with what you have now, if it gets better then great. If not, at least you have plan.

Please take from this post it can get better you can rebuild your life, but you need to discuss your options openly And plan for the worse but hope for the best.


Thanks very much for this. I appreciate hearing about how it is better but different than it was for you, and a bit about how you got there.

I also really appreciate your encouragement to figure out where my line is, and what my/our plan is either way. One of the things I am working on in counselling is figuring out what I want and need for myself. Between the last 2.5 years with my partner and some health issues ongoing for my parents since before that, I’ve somewhat lost touch with my own needs, feelings and dreams. I know from my work and my own mental health experiences that it’s important and necessary to have boundaries and to take care of myself. I’ve done my best to take care of me throughout this experience and I think I’ve done ok at that (I’m still here! And I do what I need to do to get through!) but there are some things to figure out now about the future and how to try to get back to living more fully, not only focusing on getting through these hard times.
When you are just focusing on the now, taking time to work out the future can be difficult to find time for, but it is critical, both for you as a individual and you as a couple / partnership. whilst the temptation is to protect your partner from the realities of the financial impacts of his illness you can’t, you have to talk openly about the realities and plan for the future. What ever that might be.

please Stay safe, ask your questions and thank you for the support and commitment you have show to your partner and us survivors just be being here.