Separated After 8 Years Of Marriage And A Broken Finger

Falling in love with my husband was like a dream. He was so sweet, charming, romantic, caring and loyal. Looking back now (hindsight is 20/20 of course) there were plenty of warning signs. But, I was in love, and knew he was the one.
Things started going really bad about two years into our marriage. His father passed, and I believe this was the trigger for everything. He started developing relationships with women. Emotional affairs I've heard someone call it. He would call them, text them, go to their houses etc. When I told him how this made me feel, he told me I was jealous, and that he needed friends. I felt petty and stupid, but knew deep down these relationships were inappropriate. No woman should put up with that. Drugs, drinking and watching Internet **** also increased. He also played online mmo games for hours on end. I also started to notice he would "hate" someone for no reason. He also idolized people who showed him kindness. It was always hate or complete adoration, nothing in between. The rages and threats also became much worse. His big passion was to wish horrible deaths on people. He would say the most vile, disturbing things and call people names so disgusting I can't even repeat them. The road rage also became intolerable. He would not let people merge or get in front of him and if they did, he would play chicken with them, weaving in and out of traffic. I would scream and beg him to stop. One time we were on a two way road and he was trying to pass a truck, it was so scary and awful, after several unsafe attempts to pass, I became hysterical. I thought we were going to die. There was a suicide attempt with pills. I took him to the emergency room and they gave him charcoal. Thank goodness he didn't take enough to do any harm. Then, when he came to, he was furious at me for taking him to the hospital. I guess he didn't want to admit how sick he was.
He finally got diagnosed with BPD and he started taking medication. It was a relief in a way, a name to the monster that was making my life miserable. I educated myself, went to conferences meant for psychologists and was determined to do what I could to help him. For a while, he was back to the man I fell in love with. We laughed again and he was much calmer. I thought we could have a baby and move on. Fate then stepped in and we had trouble conceiving. He was smoking pot everyday (one of the signs I chose to ignore when I fell for him). The Dr told him if he stopped, we could probably get pregnant since we found out his ***** weren't swimming that well - a common side effect of pot. He told me he would stop. He did, for about 2 months. His ***** got a little better, but he started smoking again and hiding it. He also stopped taking his medication regularly. He started to lie to my face. But I knew, as women always do, what was going on.
I started to seriously think about divorce at this time. I was 35 and so sad my husband didn't seem to want a family as much as I did and that he didn't seem to want to work on himself. He would say he did, but we all know actions do the real talking.
Then, life handed me something unexpected: cancer. I was young, and it was shocking. But I was very lucky, it was caught very early and I would be ok.
In one year, I had three surgeries and did some chemo to be sure we got it. Then, my father died. It was a rough year but going through dark times gave me a new appreciation for life and also made me more aware. I found an amazing therapist, I began meditating to help with the stress, praying and using creative visualization. I felt I was growing, evolving. I felt lighter and just craved lightness in my life.
The stress of my illness triggered the bpd symptoms again in him. At times he was very sweet and caring, but then would fly into rages. One time after surgery, he came to visit me in the hospital and he was furious. He had gotten a speeding ticket (shocking) on his way to the hospital. I told him just to pay it and it was ok. He would not let it go and started to yell and rage in my hospital room. A nurse looked in the room and I felt complete shame and embarrassment. I made him leave the room immediately.
I started to pray and meditate on my healing and also for peace every day. For me, meditation saved my life. It helped me be calm and to be open to what was going on. I started to think about my life and what I wanted. I knew I wanted to be happy and not let little things bother me. But it's very hard when the person you live with, has mood swings that range from manic silliness to unrelenting rage.
Four weeks after my last surgery the proverbial straw broke the camel's back. I was back to work for a day or two, proud that I was doing so well. He came home in a rage like no other. He had gotten a parking ticket. A PARKING TICKET. He was inconsolable. He was screaming, slamming things, cursing up a storm. He was screaming so loud, I knew all the neighbors could hear and I asked him to stop screaming. That only made it worse. The dog came to me, cowering, as she always did when he was in this state, and I knew we had to get out of the house. I got up, put my shoes on and went for the leash. Then his anger started towards me. "Leave, go ahead," "you never take my side" " you never believe me," blah blah. He blocked the door, stopping me from leaving. He did this every time he went into a rage. he never wanted me to leave the room, even though my therapist told me I should when he became enraged. we had talked about it too, when he was calm and he would agree. but just like The Hulk, he didn't remember anything when he was raging. He finally opened the door and as I was walking out, he slammed the door behind me. My fingers were between the door and the door jam as the slamming solid door bounced off my fingers with a force so strong, I heard a thud and a pop at the same time. The pain was excruciating. The skin on my fingers were scraped off and my fingers instantly started to swell. My middle finger was broken. I felt I just got the sign I was looking for to leave him.

Fast forward 5 months. I live 350 miles away from him, just me and my dog. I have a new job and a new apartment. I'm not officially divorced, I just told him I needed time away from him. After finger-gate, he went to his doctor, and was newly diagnosed as bipolar and bpd. He is back on his medication. We talk weekly, he seems calm. He's still smoking pot everyday, he says it helps him, even though the doctor told him not to. At this point,I'm just waiting until I am strong and sure so I can ask for a divorce. It's so sad really. This is the man I wanted to grow old with and make babies with. I also want to say I am not perfect. I didn't behave well or fairly to him a lot of time either. I think I just became too exhausted and burnt out. I feel like a failure. But I know I can't fix him and it takes two people totally committed for marriage to work. I think if he started to take real responsibility to do everything he could do to fight this illness (intense therapy, continued meds, no more pot etc ) we wouldn't be apart. I have a lot of resentment he didn't fight harder for his health and us. Now this is time to take care of me, which is very hard for a codependent person like me. I go to therapy, meditate and pray. I pray for clarity and strength, and of course happiness. I don't know what will happen, but I made the decision to never be screamed at again. Life is too short.
An Ep User An EP User
7 Responses Jan 13, 2013

Thank you for sharing your story. I have had some similar experiences with my bf who I think has BPD. I understand the rages, I understand the pain, and I understand mourning for the man you thought you had chosen as your life partner. I'm still in the I-want-to-learn-all-I-can-and-help-him phase and I have to admit that it's disheartening to realize that that's often not enough to make the relationship and happy and healthy one. You're strength is inspiring and I wish you all the best.

LG76 when my husband was first diagnosed I went to a Physician conference for BPD. I met a mother there who was trying to learn about the disorder because her daughter had it. She asked me if I had a child with it, and I told her it was my husband. The expression on her face took me back a moment. All she said was, "wow." I know what she was thinking was along the lines of :" if someone didn't have to put up with this, why would they?! She must be nuts!" That was seven years ago. I learned as much as I could and I think it's important for you to understand it. But I wished someone had asked me then, why isn't he trying to find what he could about HIS disorder? He didn't read one book, one article, not even a sentence. He did however go to therapy off and on and just recently started taking medication regularly ( he is also bipolar). So, my advice is learn all you can but also encourage him to do the same thing. Another great resource, support group, is an online community through Yahoo! Groups called WTO Transition. You can get there via It helps to read others stories in real time as they are dealing with it. As I am going through my transition, my therapist always tells me to just keep taking in information. The more information we gather the clearer our path will be. Also start a journal. I haven't been great at this, but the things I did write down its good to go back and read. We tend to start remembering only the good. Be strong!!! Get support and don't isolate yourself - that's very important.

Thank you. I have been lurking on and reading the book, "Stop Walking on Eggshells". I actually have an older sister who was diagnosed as bipolar and mom began the reading the book regarding that and recommended it to me. But when I started reading I found I could related so much more to the stories of those in intimate/romantic relationships with a BP. My sister is obviously ill....a low-functioning BPD. My bf on the other hand appears to be of the high-functioning type, or what they call "invisible" because they appear perfectly normal to everyone but those very, very close to them. From what I've read, these types of people rarely, if ever, hold themselves accountable for their actions. In their mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with's you, you're the crazy one. This thinking is typical and explains why your husband, and my bf, will never admit they could have a mental disorder and need treatment. I think one of the hardest things for me to accept is knowing that he doesn't have the capacity to ever understand how he has impacted my life in such a negative manner. He will never understand my pain or how he changed me as a person...he will never empathize or validate my feelings....He will never "get" it. For some reason I have always had this need for him to realize how badly his words and actions have scarred my soul...even to this day. To know that some of the most life changing and traumatic moments of my life are minimized to trivial, normal fights in his his "reality"'s hard....
Right now I'm just learning and understanding how my own actions add to the dysfunction and work on changing those. I'm also starting to see his "coping mechanisms" more clearly and recognize the pattern which helps me keep my head and not let my emotions into the drivers seat when he's acting out.
Thank you again for sharing and for the support.....*love and hugs* xoxo

So how's it going?

Yes, it's so upsetting and confusing. I highly recommend a therapist. I am seeing one and it has helped. My therapist has recommended several books which I am reading, "Codependent No More" and "The Language of Letting Go." I realize I am codependent, and that's something I can change. We can't change others. I waffle every day pretty much on how I feel. Today I got a card from him that said " I Love You." It tore me up. But, I need to think about how unhappy I was living with him sometimes. I know the disease is not his fault, but he is also not making nature choices, and not really realizing how much work he needs to do. Lobster777, you have kids so you need to think about them as well and I know that makes it harder. I always think this: if a friend was in my shoes, I probably would tell her she deserved better. Well maybe we need to be our own best friend. Start reading and asking for guidance, I think we will get our answers.

I just read your story and mine is so similar. I married the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The almost three years later his stepmother in law dies. 4 months later he told me he cheated on me. Then it started the suicide threats, the outbursts of anger then crying at the snap of a finger. I tried to make it work, he couldn't commit to me. I too moved about 500 miles away from him. Separated but still married. I was doing so well until he recently told me he wanted me back. I know I cannot go back to him because I need to make myself happy and going back to him I do not think will make me happy. But at the same time I can still see him in my life. It makes me mad that he has come back around to tell me everything I wanted to hear. I am so sorry you are going through this too. I never wish this on anyone.

Well, you can tell him he's welcome to come see you on YOUR terms. If you're better off without him, then stick with it. I am in a similar confusing situation and we have kids, which makes it harder.

Glad you saw my response. I don't know how much is in their control....I have read that it's in their control, and I've read that it's really not, because it's a mental illness. So who knows? I think there are various degrees of it, and I think some of these folks ARE capable of love and empathy. I am setting aside time each day to figure out if I'm doing the right thing with the divorce. What helps is to remind myself how bad things got - read a journal, etc. Because it is so easy to be sucked back in. I told him I love him and always will. That's not a lie. I wouldn't even mind spending time with him, but it may only confuse the situation. Ack, I never wanted divorce. I hope you are able to get clarity with your situation and maybe now he'll really get the right help and stick with it since you're gone. Maybe you will go back to him, maybe you won't, but right now you are in the driver's seat. It's funny...I got so used to tailoring all my actions to not make him mad that it's a relief not to do that anymore, and now I'm not sure I can ever go back to that.

I think you and I should talk. ;) I actually did push my BPD husband to have kids and now we have two and we are separated and I have to worry about his negative influence on them. In a way you might be lucky. I will have to deal with my husband forever, unfortunately. And yes I still love him but after an incident like yours, it's time to get away. I also believe I may be codependent and I have my flaws...but everyone does! You are not to blame. I went through mixed emotions when I got away from my husband, who can be SO incredibly sweet. He was my first real love. I am about to file for divorce. The fact that your husband still smokes so much pot is a warning sign, even though he's getting therapy. And how long can the therapy really last? Now's the time for you to start breathing again. I like "Finger-gate" by the way. Try not to second guess what you could have or should have done, because it's hard to change men with these symptoms....if you had tried to stick it out, it might have gone on a little longer but could have ended in a much worse way. Maybe the dog would have been hurt. That's what I know about my own relationship; it could have fallen apart later when the kids were older, and been even worse. But now I have to fear that he will mistreat our kids while they are in his care. It is so early in the divorce and who knows what can happen. Lawyers have told me that if he only asks for a little parenting time, then I'm lucky and should take it rather than try to prove any type of psychological condition in court. I am just hoping he'll stay rational when he has the kids.

Lobster777, thank you for your reply and support. This was the first time I opened up online and it felt good to get it out of the shadows. It makes me feel stronger hearing your story. I hope you are doing better and it seems like you are making the right choice for your kids. It's a hard road to go down but we can do it. You sound like a strong person who wants a better life, something you deserve, and me too for that matter! Keep me posted when you actually file for divorce. I support you 1000%. As far as your husband being negative around the kids, I hope he is getting treatment and help so his behaviors are not as detrimental to the kids. I am always caught with wondering how much is in their control and how much is illness?

Yes, all this is so true. The wake up call is such a relief.