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PleaseNo: Grieving a marriage shattered by sertraline

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PleaseNo

Hello, I’m new and I’m drowning. My husband of nearly 20 years told me a month ago that his love for me has faded away and he wants to separate (still loves and respects me but doesn’t love me ‘like that’). It was a huge huge shock. I didn’t see it coming (and neither did any of our friends or our 2 beautiful daughters, 18 and 20). I feel shattered into a million pieces and more heartbroken than I thought it was possible to be. I’ve thought of nothing else for the past month. 

 

He’s been on 100mg Sertraline for general anxiety for about 3 years and it was only after he told me that I went looking for answers and discovered the insidious relationship/attachment destroying nature of SSRIs. I’m now clinging to this as it ticks all the boxes for being the major cause of his loss of feelings. He definitely suffered from the sexual side effects (loss of desire/libido, inability to ejaculate) and it was this that both started my search and lead me down the rabbit hole of discovery about the other effects, and also convinced him that it was worth considering and tapering to see if that made a difference to his feelings. He’s not convinced it will. But he’s not convinced it won’t either (as evidenced by his easy willingness to taper). 

 

I showed him him all the evidence and he’s agreed to taper off the medication. Unfortunately before we found the detailed information on this site about tapering very very slowly (and the reasons why this is so important) he self-tapered from 100 to 75mg about 3 weeks ago. He says he hasn’t had any WD symptoms so far but also doesn’t feel any different. 

 

Our situation is complicated because a week or two before he told me he wanted out he met another woman. So far he tells me this is just an emotional connection because they’ve agreed they can’t ‘do anything’ until he’s sorted his marriage out. Even though he’s agreed to taper and see if that makes a difference to his feelings for me, he refuses to stop talking to and seeing her on the weekends he comes ‘home’ (he works and stays 3 hours away during the week and is usually ‘home’ most weekends). This is very odd behaviour and especially odd for him. He genuinely doesn’t see anything inappropriate about seeing her because in his mind ‘we’re separated’... even though our finances are still combined, his toothbrush is still in our bathroom, his clothes are still in our wardrobe etc etc and he has still slept in our bed when he returns. This is incredibly out of character for him and another reason I think the medication is effecting his ability to think rationally. 

 

So, I am here to seek support. I feel like I’m in a small boat in huge seas and my only course of action is to batten down the hatches and ride out this storm. It is truly truly terrifying. But I truly love this man. We have a GOOD marriage and I know he loves me (he still says so). I just want my husband and my marriage and my life back. Not sure that’s possible. And I know it will be different. But I must fight for it. No other option for me. 

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PleaseNo

Very horrible weekend. He was home very briefly. He’s just so matter of fact about it all. Who acts like that when their 20 year marriage is over (in his mind)?! He says he doesn’t believe it’s the medication but I know he has doubts because he’s tapering off of it. I’m often very scared that he’s right and he is just one of those people that had fallen out of love with their spouse. He’s not out of control and doing the terrible things that some people have done, but he is behaving very oddly and has little to no emotion about it which is just not him. It’s very hard to deal with and I flip flop from clinging to thinking he’ll come back to himself if he can get off the drug, to thinking it’s just over and I need to try to move forward in this new unwanted single life he’s thrust so unceremoniously upon me. 

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DrugfreeProf

PleaseNo, I'm so sorry you are going through this.  It is a very familiar story.  Just one more way that big $Pharma$ is destroying lives as they keep on pushing the indiscriminate prescribing of these useless chemicals. It is abhorrent: big Pharma destroying families, one at a time.

I assure you, this is not your fault and it is not about anything having to do with your worth and desirability as a woman and a wife. It is the drugs talking. 

I am myself a marriage counselor, and due to my experiences, both personal and with my clients, with AD withdrawal, I now always check to see if a couple who sees me for therapy has either partner on an AD or other psychoactive drug.

Psychoactive drugs played a role in destroying my marriage as well, although the marriage was already in bad shape when my ex started on Prozac and Ritalin, so I can't blame the breakdown entirely on the pharmaceutical industry. However, once he was on the drugs,  he turned into a monster--an abusive, dishonest, aggressive, menacing person. (Imagine the effects on my four young kids.)   Pre-drugs, at least in his younger years, he was a basically sincere and gentle person. After drugs, just the opposite. No matter how much I tried to point out to him how strangely and terribly he was behaving, no matter how much I begged and pleaded with him to get off the drugs, tried to get other people to intervene (with no good results) and even tried to tell his psychiatrist how the drugs were affecting him, and us (the psychiatrist completely ignored me),  and no matter how badly his life circumstances became, he proclaimed that, on the drugs, he was "better than ever!"  In any event, the marriage ended a couple of years after that. After we separated, he got off the meds---I'm not sure when--but it took him YEARS to return to some semblance of his normal self.  Really, it was after his SECOND wife divorced him (around 10 years later) and my oldest daughter died of suicide that he reverted back to being a decent person who resembled his pre-drug self.

BUT BUT BUT that is just one person, and every case of antidepressant-induced symptoms is different. It is very possible that your hubby will, once he is off the meds and perhaps even before, if he does a slow, careful taper.  I would encourage you take the opportunity, while he is unreachable, to work on keeping yourself healthy, sane, and calm. There is only so much you can do to influence him. 

This is an excellent place to get support. Whatever happens, you will be ok. If the worst happens and the marriage ends, well, you will be able to get through it. I know; I've been there.

DFP

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PleaseNo

Thank you DFP. I'm trying to look after myself but it's very hard some days. I really do appreciate the support. Going to see a psychologist on Monday. Hope she can give me some more tools.

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Mermaid17
On 10/11/2018 at 6:47 PM, PleaseNo said:

Thank you DFP. I'm trying to look after myself but it's very hard some days. I really do appreciate the support. Going to see a psychologist on Monday. Hope she can give me some more tools.

PleaseNo I know you posted this a while ago but I wanted to tell you I'm praying for you. You must have a very strong marriage, because he has yet to blame you for everything terrible he now perceives due to the distortions caused by the meds. There is hope. Believe in your love, and plant seeds in his sick brain with information from this group, etc. If you post an update I'll have a better understanding of where things are with you guys. My husband left me 2.5 years ago, within weeks of the birth of our third baby . . . He has reduced to a very low dose and I can see his person returning, but it's been slow going. He has filed for divorce. Still, I believe loves perseveres. Big hugs to you. 

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PleaseNo

Hi Mermaid. Thank you for thinking of me. My husband DID actually blame me for everything. Well, at least at first (and he likely still does but we don't talk about it, or indeed anything that isn't logistical, anymore). He is now very much with the OW (I think he pretty much lives at her house and has started introducing her to family, including our daughters). It's been 5 months which seems both forever and a very very short time. I am still shattered and just get through each day by taking an hour at a time. He still acts oddly (list too long to get into) and I don't think his life is all rosy but he continues to forge ahead with the new life he thinks he wants to have (because the old one with me was apparently so boring and horrible etc).

 

I'm not sure where he is at with his medication. Last time we spoke about it he had reduced to 25mg I think (that was end of last year). When we last spoke about ti he said he wasn't having any WD symptoms but also wasn't feeling any different. I know last month he had a big problem with mouth ulcers/oral thrush which he took A/Bs for that then (apparently) gave him colitis (which he then needed other A/Bs to help resolve. I know this made him pretty sick for quite a few weeks. I know he's had a very sore neck and said it was making his work hard to do. I know that he's lost the new job he took in Nov last year (that meant he could move back to our town) because he used the work vehicle for personal use (he told me this just last night). He's apparently already got a new job (I hope so because our finances are still combined).

 

I only know these snippets of things through family and my kids and from when we occasionally talk. I've told him that it's too hard for me to be 'just friends' right now as it just upsets me too much to see him when he's with someone else. 

 

I've been reading a lot about mid-life crisis and on several support forums. I really think that many of the people on this forum that have spouses that have left/marriages that are in trouble because of strange, out of character behaviour that they are attributing to ADs, might actually be dealing with MLC. MLC is all about covert depression. I think it's likely that the ADs mess with people's brains and cause/exacerbate this covert depression.

 

Whether it is or isn't about the medication/MLC I know that I have a long wait to see if my husband can come out of this fog that I think he's in. Right now he thinks this OW that he's with and the new life that he's leading is the answer to him being happy. He keeps searching for new things to give him that high, to make him feel something. Until he realises that happiness is an internal thing, not something you can get from external pleasures, he's lost to me. And this is so incredibly devastating. I feel broken. But I know I have to move forward and be strong and work on myself and creating a good life for myself without him. If he ever does get through this he'll need me to be strong. They say they come back broken. We will see I guess. Baby steps.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reworded obscenity

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