Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Divorce from OCD suffering ex-husband has left me severly depressed

Dark flower, needs life,

Aoa

I recently got divorced and feeling really depresssed all the time,cant concentrate in anything...Is divorce written in one's fate or is just because of ur own faults...i dont know

My Ex husband had OCD(obsessive compulsive disorder).was afraid of getting contaminated by germs,he was afraid of madcow disease,so beef,mutton n organ meat was not allowed to eat,i was not aware of his condition before marriage,so it was abig shock for me,i had so many restrictions by him,that whenver we come back home from anywhere..first take a shower,dont touch anything,i was not allowed to open my own cupboards when i was at home,was not allowed to touch anything,he use to take 3hrs in the shower,use 1 soap a day tht means 40soaps in a month,in btw he use to spray the shower area with disinfectant...when we use to do groceries we had so many restrictions tht dont touch this or tht...could not buy any UK product becoz madcow disease was first in UK...had rules for everything...even when we are in the car,i was not allowed to touch anything n not even him..staying like tht was very difficult and thts y at times i use to get frustrated n use to argue n fight...if he wanted me to understand his situation he shd ve also understand my situation tht what m feeling after all these restrictions...

I came to visit my family for 2 months n brought gifts for his family members here in pakistan,leaving an impression tht i will come back n left all stuff there...but when i came here,he deleted all our pics together...acting weird,not talking to me,n suddenly decided to give me a divorce...its a big shock for me...coz living a life like tht was dificult for me but still i wanted to give him every fair chance and wanted to maintain this relationshp though my family was completely against of it...

y was it so easy for him to leave me like this,because he coudnt take my frustrations which was due to him,,,when i wanted to give him every fair chance then y he coudnt give..

M in severe depression,dont know what to do...sometimes m blaming myself for everything but y couldnt he just discuss it with me....i dont knw why this happened and is it for my good...m extremely lost

Rub28


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18 Responses »

  1. well read this article http://www.islamopediaonline.org/fatwa/dr-rajab-abu-mleeh-islam-online-rules-invalidity-pronouncement-divorce-person-diagnosed-obsess
    firstly there r chances he did it unintentionally due to his disease,
    your husband is not a bad person. but yes he is an extreme case. your frustration etc made him feel more guilty which is why he probably didnt want u to remain in his hell on earth. whatever you do dont hate that man. Allah would judge him separately from normal people. may he recover. and dont be upset. because maybe he gave it intentionally as well cz he wanted to free you

  2. I have been married now 24 years. Wife is 62 and I am 60. I did not know about OCD and germ phobia when we first married. Looking back I clearly see her behavior and action that are much worse today. Wife is talented, graduated from Christian college with degree in theology. Use to sing in choir with girlfriend. Use to hug nephews and family. Use to teach piano to kids. For whatever reasons the past 4 years many changes have occurred. She understands she has a mental problem, and she and I understand that it is called OCD and germ phobia from that OCD. She can talk about it. The past four years we do not go to church together. Our after church lunches no longer exist. We do not have any physical contact as husband and wife. I do manage to give her a friendly peck on the check saying hello honey I love you how was your day. Most of the time she pushes me away when I try. She is isolated from every one including family. Does not attend any family events. Her sisters have to call me asking if she is OK, she does not talk with them on the telephone or call them back. They use to talk every day! We don't hold hands and go for walks. We don't hug. She no longer leaves the house, has not gone outside now for 9 months. I do all the shopping. I work full time. I take care everything in our lives except she does cook me dinner, but that is all. We sleep in separate beds in different rooms. We no longer go out anywhere and no vacations together. She will not go to dentist and has not for past 3 years. She has not seen her Primary Care now for 2 years and refused to go for annual checkup. She no longer talks with her sister whom she spoke with daily for many many years. I cannot turn on house air conditioner or fans because of germs spreading, so house often gets almost 100 degrees on hot summer days. I can write 10 pages more but will stop here. Just friendly note to you.

    We spoke about the issue 3 years back. I told her what she wanted from me and our relationship. She thought this was my divorce speech. I told her no, I love you, care for you, want to see you living a happy life. She has a very kind and caring heart except when she is angry and out of control . I told her I only want to help her through the hard time. Since she refused therapy or medication we can only wait out the future. She prays to God she will get better. I told her God graced special people like doctors to fix broken arms, stomach aches and OCD problems. I told her she doesn't have mental problem but some chemical imbalance inside her system that causes mental issues like OCD. A cast help broken arm mend, antibiotics are needed to help infection, and medication and therapy can help fix OCD. She still wants the prayer route. I also told her I needed some affection on our relationship, she says she does not need it for me to do what I want, whatever that means. I said, NO I need small affection from you. Just now and then come hold my hand or kiss me on check. Since first married she never approached me with affection, so I don't expect much. She does show her affection by cooking dinner for me and bringing me small fruit dishes etc. from time to time. I go with it. Again, I could go on 10 pages here.

    Tips for you:
    1. This was never your problem and you could never do anything to help him.
    2. When you felt things were bad or difficult, multiply it time 1000x that is how he felt.
    3. When you feel like helping him over hard days, its because you are a very very nice person. Realize you are a very very nice person, good person. Just living a week with a person with OCD can be overwhelming experience, degrading to you, and painful to you. Everything you do will probably be done wrong and against what he expects. Remember, nothing here is your fault.
    4. Make your life beautiful for the beautiful person you are guilt free 100%. It's hard but do it. Re-marry, make friends, be involved with helping others, support family, etc. What do you expect and want out of your life, try to make it happen, Guilt Free.
    5. Like me there are many things I do not have control over, its ok, I'm ok,
    6. Keep it simple don't over think. Just be you and manage your life to the fullest.
    7. I live day by day not knowing how our lives will change the next day. It's ok, every one has problems. I am no different.
    8. Keep in touch with me if you like. My name is Ron. Take care, and God Bless.

    • I been married 13 yrs and not knowing how bad my husband OCD ,,,one day I expressed my feelings that I am empty,unhappy ,we need something to do,,then didn't realized his OCD increase,panic attack,unable to sleep,unable to eat,it hurts me seeing him declining and worse scenario increase paranoia,,,I am a psyche nurse and tried to be supportive but he refused help,refused counseling or medication,,he just want closure and assurance that I'm not gonna take our daughter away from him so he wants black and white,I don't want to divorce I thought I could go help him for me and him attending behavioral therapy but he said it's good for him to have closure and he can start his direction ,,So painful,,,my heart is torn into pieces...I kept praying to God help me and him to strengthen our individual lives now...now I signed our divorce papers as he asked to give him security that it's only just papers,And I'll not take our daughter away from HIM...

  3. I feel very sad reading this post because it hits very close to my heart. I understand how horrible it is to go through OCD. I have had symptoms similar to this a couple of years after a close friend of mine had died from cancer at age 13. I was also 13 back then and this was the first time I have seen someone close to me die at such a young age and after that I have been obsessed with my health. I had something called hypochondria and would imagine symptoms that would feel real to the point that I had to be sent to the hospital several times and each time it would come out to be anxiety attacks. I could swear that the pain, swelling, headaches, shortness of breath were all real.

    I didn't even know I had a problem till I went to a psychologist and took some medication after years of therapy. The medication did wonders in treating my OCD. I feel as if it is 95% gone. The only problem was that it is difficult to get out of medication because you get withdrawal symptoms and while you take the medicine you lose your ability to feel emotions intensely but I feel that if I hadn't took the medication I would be suffering so much. Allah has blessed me to figure out from the beginning that I had a problem but it was so subtle that all this time I thought I was normal but now I see how difficult it was for my parents who would have to be beside me while I was in the hospital and how distressed I was making up diseases in my head and staying away from those who I love in fear of spreading the diseases.

    I feel very sad in your divorce sister but your husband was not at all ready for a marriage. It is not your fault and the only thing you can do is move on with your life. It is not your job to convince him of his illness, it is not your job to make him change. He needs to understand this on his own by his own family, you can only let his family know that he needs medical help. Just keep living your life and look for suitable brothers to marry. Divorce is not the end of your life, it is a beginning of a new life. May the next man you marry, inshAllah, will have the peace of mind that you want and you will have a peace of mind as well. May Allah make this a reality for you.

  4. Sister,

    My sister suffers from OCD. I started seeing weird things when we were in high school. It started out with little things like not being able to turn off a faucet with her hands and to date it is full blown. No one in my family can even go to her home as she will not let anyone in. Fear of germs and so forth. She herself knows her behaviour is not normal however she has never sought out any type of treatment or help.

    Never blame yourself for the divorce. To be honest sister, I think he did you a favor by letting you go. I do not say that to be cruel in any way at all. I think he wanted to spare you the suffering you were experiencing for having to live in a way that is far from the norm. From what I have seen from my very own sister is that the condition itself gets worse as time goes on. I am not saying that statistically it is true, just that in my sisters case...that is what I have witnessed.

    God willing in time you will heal from all of the pain and suffering that you have had to go through in your marriage. Please pray for this brother and don't hate him or wish him harm. OCD is an ugly and debilitating illness and the fact that he did let you go, shows he cared for you very much. He cared for you so much that he could see that he was not able to give you the life you so deserve. May Allah bless you and give you peace as you find your way forward to a happier place in your life.

    Salam

    • Salam Najah,
      It made me sad to read of your sister. It is true that OCD gets worse over time if it is not treated. I emphasize the second part (if it is not treated) because OCD is treatable in many cases. With treatment, many people with OCD can live a normal life, or at least a vastly improved one. The difficulty, of course, is convincing the sufferer that treatment is needed. I think it is especially hard once the person has reached adulthood and is living independently. This is actually why I wanted to comment on your post. Many cases of OCD become apparent in the teenage years, a time when parents still have some authority over their children. If there are any parents here who see signs of OCD in their children or teens, please do not wait to see a doctor. OCD is not something that just goes away, and your child will need help managing the illness. Once your child leaves home, you may lose the opportunity to have that level of involvement in his or her life. Najah, although your sister is older now, you may wish to broach the topic of treatment with her. She can get well, by Allah's will. It is unlikely that she will ask for help, so you have to be the one to encourage her. Depending on how severe the case is, involuntary commitment may also be an option.

      • Salam A,

        Sad to say, my sister although knowing that she in fact suffers from OCD...has never sought out help for it (to my knowledge). She is divorced and has a nine year old daughter. My biggest fear is for that of her daughter living in a home of someone whom I deem to not be a healthy person in the state that she is in. I live in another state and do not see my sister often however my mother tells me that when my sister arrives to her home with her daughter, my sister must carry her to the bathroom and bathe her. Her daughter is not clean in her eyes and therefore cannot even enter her own home. Don't get me wrong, my sister is an amazing parent and has her daughter involved in any extracurricular activity that exists however, I am disturbed at her behavior when I hear of things such as this. Is she going to carry her daughter into the house at the age of 16? At some point, she will have to address it. From the little I know, she doesn't see it as a problem (in her eyes) and she is willing to live the way she does as she does not feel it affects anyone around her. The time will come when her very own daughter is going to question her behavior and maybe then she will seek some help. Allah hu alem.

        Salam

        • Salam Najah,
          I completely understand what you are talking about. People with OCD can be amazing human beings (smart, compassionate, religious, good parents, etc.), but this type of behavior is detrimental to relationships, and I imagine your sister's rituals are very traumatizing for your niece. In a case like this, I really recommend that you, your mother, or someone in the family do an intervention. Although it is probably very uncomfortable to consider having your sister involuntarily hospitalized or treated, it might be necessary if she does not seek treatment on her own. Your sister is not a bad person, and it is not her "fault," but what she is doing is a form of child abuse because the level of stress your niece undoubtedly experiences is not like that of a spouse (who can leave) or other adult. She is powerless to protect herself. I realize you did not ask for advice and apologize if I have overstepped my bounds. As it happens, someone I care for deeply also suffers from OCD, so I am sort of passionate about the topic. The person I know was very deep into their rituals but has been helped by medication. I would say the person is now 80 to 90 percent better (depending on the day).

          • Salam sister A,
            iam amazed at how little i knew of this disorder. Thanx for sharing this information and sister Najah im sorry about ur sis. i hope she gets the required help on time and i really hope ur little niece does not have to suffer anymore.

            My friend is kind of perfectionist when it comes to arranging her stuff so we believed she had OCD. Reading about the poster's husband and ur sister's case, i highly doubt if my friend has it at all unless there is a mild form of this disorder.. but that faucet thing is my case as well. i have to wash the tap with soap and then again wash my hands with more soap and then close it.. im a bit worried now. i hope it stops at that. : /

            May Allah protect us. Aameen.

          • Salaams,

            Sister Apple Green, there is something called "Obsessive/Compulsive Personality Disorder" which has some of the similarities of OCD but not to the same severity. (Mind you, this is according to DSM-IV, which was recently revised to another version -DSM V- which has a lot of changes so this may no longer be included...haven't checked yet). A lot of "perfectionistic" type people might fit the personality disorder but don't have enough symptoms to meet OCD.

            In a nutshell, people with true OCD MUST spend an hour or more a day doing the rituals (compulsions) in order to lessen the obsessive thoughts they are having (ie: things are too germy). It MUST seriously impacts their life to where they cannot work, go to school, or carry on relationships like normal people.

            People with the personality disorder have traits such as rigidness, stubborness, perfectionism, preoccupation with rules and rule keeping, are inflexible, moralistic, and extremely devoted to order. Their houses may be pristine, but they drive friends away because they often try to impose their "rules" on others, However, the extent of their lifestyle doesn't generally prevent them from working, going to school, or having relationships with others. There is a list of eight qualities associated with OCPD, and someone must have at least half of them to qualify for diagnosis.

            -Amy
            IslamicAnswers.com Editor

          • Sister A,

            Thank you for your kind advice and no...you have not overstepped your bounds at all. God willing I visit my sister soon and I will tread carefully on the topic. She is very guarded shall we say and puts the walls up whenever you try to talk to her about anything in regards to her life. I guess I could just inquire if she has ever talked to anyone about her OCD and see where we go with that. Allah hu alem.

            Salam

  5. Salaams,

    The others have given great and accurate advice. I just want to reassure you that what happened is not at all your fault. There is no way you could've helped him or changed the dynamic being caused by his mental illness. You didn't ask for the divorce, you didn't deride him for being sick, and in the end I personally suspect that he might've felt that living with a spouse (not you personally, but anyone) was just too much of a threat to the sterile environment he felt he needed to have. You didn't fail, you did the best you could with a very serious and difficult to manage mental illness.

    In shaa Allah you will find peace in moving on with your life and perhaps meet a brother who is free from such a disease who can make you as happy as you'll make him.

    -Amy
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  6. As-salamu Alaykum, Sister,

    My heart goes out to you. OCD is a very difficult condition to deal with, and the families of the person with OCD often suffer a great deal. My belief is that neither you nor your husband is at fault here. OCD is the culprit, and you should keep this in mind as you try to make sense of the whole situation. As you undoubtedly know, logic does not work with people who are suffering from severe OCD. No matter what you say or do, it is unlikely that you would be able to change your husband's mind through logic and rational conversation. Since he is afraid of germs and contamination, I wonder if he felt you were contaminated when you returned from Pakistan and thus felt he could no longer live with you.

    My first question would be:

    Did your husband ever receive treatment for his OCD?

    It can be really hard to get people with OCD to visit a doctor, but it is very necessary. There are numerous medications that can help. Ideally, when the medicine starts working, you would then be able to get him to try CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) with a qualified therapist as well. A combination of medication and CBT can make a huge difference for people with OCD. Since you are in the UK, please check out this website if you haven't already:

    http://www.ocduk.org/

    In addition to the wealth of information on OCD, this website includes a discussion forum, and you will Insha'Allah find people who can help guide you on how to deal with this situation.

    One of the things you will learn as you read is that one of the worst things a spouse or family member can do is to indulge the OCD-sufferer, offering him reassurance and making accommodations like changing the way they shower and clean the home. For example, when he has fears about disease and germs, it would be wrong to tell him not to worry. For some reason, this type of reassurance makes the person panic even more and fall deeper into his rituals. I feel your situation is especially difficult as a wife as your natural role and desire is to be supportive and reassuring, and to make the accommodations your husband demands of you. It is probably very hard to put your foot down, especially if you are accused of being belligerent and non-supportive. Since you are no longer married, I don't know how much desire you currently have to help him get well, but perhaps you could involve a trusted family member or friend of his who can be strong with him and insist that he seek treatment. If he seeks treatment and starts to get better, you may find that he is open to reconciliation. He is obviously very fortunate to have had you as his wife and does not realize how much you have struggled with his condition. Again, though, you must realize that you are not at fault (and neither is he). OCD is a terrible illness that takes over the person's mind until he is no longer rational. If he is not willing to seek treatment and therapy, I would suggest that you seek out therapy for yourself so that you can talk with someone who understands the condition and can advise you on the perspective you should adopt.

    • This is a very good answer.

      I read above that the husband didn't disclose that he is OCD, but a person with OCD might not even know that this is something to disclose. The mind is such a strange thing with OCD because it sends certain thoughts into a loop. A person who just checked their alarm clock may go and check it again several times even though logically it makes no sense, but the brain keeps sending signals to do this. So in terms of an obsession with cleaning - it is really a loop that the brain is stuck in--the best solution is treatment.

      Usually when you do reassure an OCD person by saying "It is ok, don't worry." they probably panic and react negatively with an outburst because they feel that you are belittling their feelings or not taking them seriously. Control of their environment is very important and it can be a result of loss of control from some other experience in their life. The last thing you want to do is tell them there is no need to worry.

      To the OP, sister, do not blame yourself. Even though it sounds silly, do not take this personally because there is much more going on here that was beyond your control. Even your ex-huband's brain wasn't in his control with the OCD thoughts. Please forgive him, forgive yourself, and move forward in your life. May Allah bless you with betters days and bring peace and endless joy into your life, Ameen!

  7. Rub28,
    I m not sure, what to tell here. But I appreciate fair chance to your ex hsbnd to make your relationship sucessful.
    First wrong thing your ex did was - he didnt disclose his OcD before marrying you.
    So the way you describe the condition I feel that something really bad happened to you and feel sorry for you. But the thing you said , can't he understand your feelings and adjust little bit ? Dear He is suffereing from desease he actually dont want you to take so many precautions , it was his desease that was doing that and putting lot of restriction on you.

    So He decided to give you divorce might be because he realized waht pain you may be experiencing due to his lot of restrictions. So may be !!

    So - for you being practical only suggestion I have is to foget the past and move on. Forget whatever had happened.

    For him I'l pray to Allah - for his well being and if he seeks some medical attention then it will be good for him

  8. Rub28
    with the way u have described him, to me he sounds like he needed clinical help. people who suffer to this extent r not only torturing others with their behaviour but also suffer themselves. i wonder if he ever met a psychiatrist or did he even realize that he wasnt normal.. although it is unfortunate that u had to deal with all of this but im also glad that u r out of it without much struggle to break free. i understand that u feel like a failure coz u must have put up with a lot of nonsense to save ur marriage and it ending like this has hurt u immensely. in sha Allah u will move on sooner in life but im wondering if he is still living with his madness coz those who suffer know what kind of hell they go through each day. i hope he really gets help on time.

    i assume that u are still young and since this divorce has not much to weigh down on ur shoulders, just pray to Allah to replace ur loss with a better companion soon. Ameen.

  9. Hi Rub28,

    You have got divorce, then just stop about those past things, you can't change the pasted time or situations, because past is past,

    Hey Rub28 its time to come from this situation, and i'd like to give some suggestion to come out from stress or depression, just start to write you life story right from your child hood to till date, if you start this thing then you start thinking about your childhood and thinking what happen, when it happen, how it happen, your brain will be busy in this thing to write down on paper or computer and then you will be divert by current depression, also note that don't stop unless completion of 3-4 pages,
    after that you practice this daily for a several days not more than 15-20 days, and also mind it that after completion of 3-4 pages you must think, plan and have a very good concentration about your further life to how to make it colorful,

    smile in a frequently, i know that you will smile while you writing the ease,

    Perhaps i m thinking that you will definitely do some thing good to be happy for your rest of life,

    on wards you must think 1000 times before you decide anything,

    I hope for your best, better and great life ahead, hope this will help you, if this works then please let me know as there some posts which are having more problems, so that i can help them from losing their life, and also let you know this advice given my friends who have failed in love and were in big depression, and they have cope up the situation by doing such things in different way,

    just thank god and be happy,

    May Allah Bless you,
    Gopi

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