Mom Urged To Divorce Husband of 13 Years for Shocking Behavior

A woman has received emotional support online after sharing that her husband has been detaching from her and their children.

The mother of two revealed on Mumsnet that her husband has completely withdrawn from family life, choosing to prioritize attending the gym and socializing with friends over spending time with his children and helping with housework.

The woman aired her heartbreak and pain on the social media platform to gain additional perspectives on whether she should initiate a separation or give her husband a deadline by which he must change his behavior.

While she claims that her husband exhibits signs of depression, the woman wrote that he has refused to speak with a doctor or therapist about his mental health and that he has targeted her with verbal abuse and gaslighting instead.

A stock image of a man and woman arguing at home. A woman had shared on Mumsnet that her husband has completely withdrawn from family life. Getty Images

According to the National Library of Medicine, up to 80 percent of adults may experience emotional abuse during their lifetimes. Gaslighting is an emotionally abusive manipulation tactic where a person or group causes an individual to question their own reality, and as a result their sanity. Common symptoms of being gaslit include feeling confusion and anxiety.

The heartbroken woman wrote on Mumsnet: "I'm confused about what's the best thing to do, and I'd like the sanity of strangers to help.

"My [husband] started to withdraw from family life 17 months ago…He actively avoids us [spending] hours at the gym or on his phone. He doesn't eat with us, but will come in mid-meal leaving the boys asking why dad isn't eating with us," she continued.

The woman added that she's the breadwinner in the family and that she also takes on all the childcare and housework, while her husband frequently refuses to look after their sons.

The post was uploaded under the woman's social media username @WhereAreYouKeir on January 11. It has since had more 488 replies, with the majority of commentors sympathizing with the woman and slamming her husband.

"Every time I bring something up, he says he wants to leave and that I'm a nightmare," the woman wrote.

"He shouts, raises his voice, slams plates and can go days without speaking with us. He has refused therapy and his parents say that I [am the one] who needs therapy," she added.

The woman shared that her husband maintains a pleasant and charming demeanor with people outside his household.

How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Emotionally Abusive?

Holly Keller is a therapist at Whitecap Counselling. Keller told Newsweek that the husband could benefit from therapy and that this could save his marriage—but that for a chance of success this would need to be his choice.

"It's concerning that he's shutting down in response to his wife expressing her concerns. Not only is he shutting down, but he's also expressing contempt for her by shifting the blame back to her with his statements," said Keller.

"This is a form of gaslighting because he is making her feel crazy for bringing to light issues with his behavior," she added.

Keller argues that the in-laws' dislike of the wife could signal that the husband has been spinning the narrative in his favor, and that he's excused and justified his inability to take on the responsibilities that come with being a husband and father.

"These behaviors are all red flags that may indicate the presence of narcissism and, at the very least, emotional immaturity, rather than symptoms of depression," Keller said.

The therapist told Newsweek that the wife is well within her rights to walk if she sees fit, and advised that while divorces can be difficult for children it can be more detrimental to raise them within the bounds of a toxic marriage. The latter could damage a child's perception of what behaviors are acceptable in a relationship.

Keller argues that the husband's dismissal of his wife's concerns suggests that he has zero intention of addressing his behavior, or even of considering and validating her reality.

Dr. Carole Lieberman is a forensic psychiatrist based in New York. She questions the husband's faithfulness, arguing that it's likely he is feeling uncomfortable about his high-achieving, multitasking wife.

"When a woman is the breadwinner, it makes the man feels emasculated and depressed," Lieberman told Newsweek. "Typically, what happens is that the husband starts having affairs so that he can reclaim his masculinity.

"Clues in this case include his spending so much time at the gym, being on his phone and spending time with his 'friends.'"

Lieberman argues that when a woman takes on the traditional male role of being the breadwinner, many men begin to see them as being controlling instead of appreciating the hard work that they do.

The psychiatrist also believes that the husband hasn't asked for a divorce just yet, because he's enjoying the "cushy carefree existence" his wife provides.

"If he meets a woman he likes better, such as one who pretends she won't put demands on him, or for whom he's ready to start being the 'man of the house,' he'll leave his wife in a heartbeat," Leiberman said.

The psychiatrist argues that therapy would have been successful in this case if the husband wanted to change the status quo. Since he does not, she advises that the wife uncover whether he's irredeemably fallen out of love with her or if another factor is crushing his ego, like a failed ambition.

"The wife should suggest a trial separation. Give him a chance to see what his life would be like without her," Dr. Leiberman added.

She suggests that if the husband chooses to return to his wife, with healthy intentions and a commitment to working on his behavior, then the pair should create a more balanced dynamic.

What Do The Comments Say?

Plenty of support has poured in for the wife in the comments section of the post.

"I would take steps to remove myself and my children from this situation. It doesn't sound as if he loves you or his family," one user wrote.

"Just leave. Seriously, this is damaging your children," another added.

A different user wrote: "Honestly, you can give him a deadline or you can just leave now. The end result will be the same. He won't change because he won't accept he's doing anything wrong. You can only change how you respond to it by refusing to allow your sons to grow up thinking it's acceptable for a man to stonewall his wife."

Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.