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Can I Leave a Suicidal Cheater?

Hi Chump Lady,

My situation is one you’ve read a thousand times or more, but luckily I’m unmarried without kids. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year now. Three months into our relationship, I found out he had a secret girlfriend in Germany. I showed him grace and forgave him (classic mistake) and allowed him a second chance, believing his BS explanations as to why he’s actually not a terrible person. I believed him when he stared into my eyes and told me he loved me and that we would be honest with one another from that moment forward. Little did I know he continued to disrespect me by exchanging nude photos on Snapchat with an ex from high school just two weeks later, and was gaslighting me about it for 9 months.

Fast forward through a year of me being completely disoriented and just damn confused, in denial and unwilling to accept he just sucks, making every excuse under the sun for his abuse, alcoholism, womanizing, etc. to now. COVID and some other poor choices under pressure led me to agree to live with him, once again chasing that hopium that things would change. It was a bad idea, to the surprise of no one.

Before I get into the current situation, I want to say I KNOW I DID THIS TO MYSELF. I know so much more now, and I’m grateful for these hard-learned lessons because I have learned how to love myself and what boundaries are and those lessons are priceless. This is not the issue at hand.

The current issue is now I want to leave, I’ve wised up finally and realize this relationship has nothing to offer me. He has changed, but it’s too late for me. I want to move out, but he has confided in me that he is suicidal. He is seeing a therapist (at my nagging) and had his first session last week. I encouraged him to open up about it to the therapist at his next session. I think he is genuine in his suicidal ideations, I don’t suspect it is an attempt to manipulate me. But also, I have come to realize I am a bit trusting and I guess I just don’t want to believe someone would do something so terrible as to manipulate via contemplating suicide. How do I even determine what is true?

I don’t know what to do. I understand that he isn’t my responsibility, yet why am I hesitant to leave someone who has treated me so poorly in their time of need? How do I leave something like this ethically, with kindness? Do I notify his dad who lives near by so he can check in on him? Do I wait a few months until he’s further into therapy? Am I not allowed to leave someone when they’re suicidal?

I’m very anxious. I don’t want to be with him, but I don’t want him to die.

Thank you,

Held Hostage

Dear Held Hostage,

Your name says it all. This is a classic abuser move — threaten suicide when your chump tries to leave. You can read that link there from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It’s a threat. Ostensibly he’s threatening himself (DARVO, he’s the real victim here), but it’s also an implied threat to you — he’ll resort to violence if he doesn’t get his way.

Abusers threaten suicide as a form of control, a way to punish you, and try to make you feel responsible for him.

Of course you are not a doctor, and you can’t tell if he’s seriously having a mental health crisis, or is an abusive fuckwit, or both.

My advice to chumps in this situation is to take all suicide threats seriously. Call 911 and have them committed for an involuntary 48-hour psych evaluation. If they meant it, they’ll get the help they need, if they didn’t, they won’t pull that shit again.

I’m grateful for these hard-learned lessons because I have learned how to love myself and what boundaries are and those lessons are priceless. This is not the issue at hand.

Oh no, it’s totally the issue at hand. The woman who loves herself is the woman who leaves this creep. The woman who knows what boundaries are knows she is NOT responsible for him or his piss-poor choices, his moods, his whims, his German girlfriend, his high school girlfriend, or what socks he chooses to wear this morning.

The Issue At Hand is YOU MATTER. Act like it, and get far, far away from this guy. Live to see another priceless lesson. Not to scare you further, but we have a long-time CN member, Tessie, whose ex killed himself. He also shot and killed their 12-year-old son.

Volatile people who make threats are not partners, or roommates. They’re in-patients. Or under arrest.

Take your personal safety seriously and get OUT. Don’t tell him, just do it.

He is seeing a therapist (at my nagging) and had his first session last week.

You had to nag him to see a therapist? That’s you taking responsibility for him. That’s you investing in him. That’s you doing the work that HE should be doing. That’s a chump who hasn’t learned her lesson.

I encouraged him to open up about it to the therapist at his next session.

You can’t control him. You can only control you. What he says to therapist, or if he goes to therapists is on him.

I think he is genuine in his suicidal ideations, I don’t suspect it is an attempt to manipulate me. But also, I have come to realize I am a bit trusting and I guess I just don’t want to believe someone would do something so terrible as to manipulate via contemplating suicide.

Well, he’s the same guy who manipulated you with a secret girlfriend in Germany. And the double life on Snapchat. And the nude photo swaps. I think it’s fair to say, Hostage, that there’s a LOT you don’t know about him. But what you DO know is 100% pure USDA-grade manipulative asshole. So yeah, absolutely he would do something so terrible. Terrible is his basic operating system.

I don’t know what to do.

You do know what to do. You just don’t want to do it. You have to kick him to the curb and focus on yourself and do the hard work of why this fuckwit ever had any power over you.

I understand that he isn’t my responsibility, yet why am I hesitant to leave someone who has treated me so poorly in their time of need?

That’s a skein worth untangling. Why do you feel invested in someone so utterly unworthy of you? You owe him NOTHING. Seriously — NOTHING. Lay that burden DOWN.

How do I leave something like this ethically, with kindness?

Did he treat you ethically with kindness when he cheated on you? Gaslighted you?

Right, I get it. You want to be the better person. (A better person he will just devalue as much as a lousy or mediocre person.) Okay, the ETHICAL thing to do is LEAVE HIM. Because only by levying meaningful consequences will he have the opportunity to change and get help. Losing awesome you is a consequence of his ABUSE. He needs to learn that his actions have repercussions. Denying him that keeps him comfy in his entitlement and self-destruction.

Do I notify his dad who lives near by so he can check in on him?

No. He’s an adult. He can call his own father. You are NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIM.

Do I wait a few months until he’s further into therapy?

NO. Put down the hopium pipe!

Am I not allowed to leave someone when they’re suicidal?

YES. Do it. DO IT NOW.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Don’t tell him. Just do it. Those words could save your life. Better yet, get far far away so he can’t find you.

    • Leave very carefully immediately.
      You cannot tell him when you leave.
      You cannot tell him where you went.
      You most likely have to walk away from clothing, furniture and any other possessions. This is a tough one. You can’t call movers or pack suitcases. You have to leave fast and quietly.
      If you can move a few things to a trusted friend (laptop, checks, jewelry) do so but only if he doesn’t suspect.
      Read what CL wrote about Tessie VERY carefully. A very smart woman who didn’t see what was coming. Her husband, her child’s father, killed him and then himself. You have no idea what people you think you know are really capable of.
      Save yourself and start working in the only person that matters – YOU.

      • Listen to Rebecca’s advice. If he’s genuinely suicidal, this means he may be violent towards himself–but it also means he could turn this violence on you. As CL says, he is manipulative and you do not truly know what he could do. Even if you don’t leave him today, get your escape plan ready and make tangible progress toward your exit. Your time, peace of mind, and life are precious.

        • If he is truly suicidal, it won’t matter if you stay or go. If he’s hell-bent on killing himself, there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Leaving at least doesn’t give him the chance to take you with him.

      • You can leave quickly and quietly during COVID – I did. Not married, no kids, living together just under 2 years, together for 3. I left him like I would leave any abuser, without telling him my plans. You CAN make arrangements for movers and find a new apartment during COVID – I just did it.
        He does not need to be a part of your plans, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Because HE IS AN ABUSER and you need to leave him like you would leave any abuser – quietly and without notice.
        Did he give you notice of the other women he is having a relationship with????? Did he give you notice that you cannot trust a word that comes out of his mouth???? No, he did not. CL and CN are right, you DO NOT OWE HIM ANYTHING. Also – he will never, ever, ever, ever, never, never, never stop his shitty behavior.
        You don’t need to leave anything behind, just make the arrangements and get it done. POOF! like magic.

      • I’ve been on CL for a long time now, probably 5 or 6 years. From my understanding, Tessie DID figure out her ex was dangerous, but was forced by family court to let her ex have access to their children. The family court did not agree with Tessie that her ex posed a danger to himself and others.
        This doesn’t really matter for the discussion at hand, but I thought it might matter to Tessie if she reads this.

        • Thanks, Boudicca, it does matter. The fact that he was dangerous wasn’t hard to figure out when he looked me straight in the eye and said, “When I feel depressed, I feel like getting a gun and killing you and the kids and then killing myself.”

          Family court didn’t believe me. That enabled cheater ex to kidnap my 14 year old son, tie him up and strangle him, dump his body in a neighboring state, and then drive to yet another state where he and his buddy each shot themselves. It was all pre-planned and thought out.

          People who commit murder don’t walk around with it tattooed across their forehead, unfortunately. I didn’t understand he pathology of a malignant narcissist at the time, and had no idea that they have no conscience. I didn’t understand what he was capable of.

          There is a fine line between suicide and homicide. As chumps, we can’t understand how they can be that way because we could never be what they are and live with ourselves. They use our inate compassion against us to abuse us simply because they can. They aren’t hurt or broken or sad. On the contrary, they revel in the sense of power that lying to and abusing another person gives them.

          The only way to get away from the evil toxicity of the cheater is to kick them to the curb by quietly, stealthily, and with care, getting our ducks in a row, and getting the hell out of Dodge.

          This guy is not your friend and doesn’t give a damn about you. You deserve so much better.

          • My brother shot his wife and killed himself 5 years ago when she tried to leave him. I learned that if someone is suicidal, they are also homicidal. Thanks for sharing your story ❤️❤️❤️

          • So sorry Tessie. That’s just so indescribably awful. Hugs for you I hope you can find some meh and peace.

          • I’m so sorry for your loss
            You are right- unless people Know what a malignant narcissist Is capable of, unless they start taking threats seriously ( suicide is just one step Away from a homicide … when you have nothing else to loose, being a narcissist and feeling entitled- it’s easy to cross the line)
            We will be seeing such a tragic outcomes
            Hugs to all of you

          • I cannot begin to imagine what you have been through. My mind won’t let me go there. Your loss is something no one should ever have to face, the whole thing is so far outside of ”things that can sometimes happen in a normal world” that it’s just horrific.

            My deepest ongoing condolences at the trauma and horror you have been put through.

          • Thanks so much for writing on here Tessie. I am so so sorry for what you have been through. Words cannot do justice. Sending you so many hugs and love. It means everything to hear you weigh in on this today. I recently left an abuser and I would have had NO idea that he was abusive except that I told him I was leaving (I told him I needed a break to clear my head – that was unacceptable and he flew off the handle – even though he would give me hours to month long silent treatments without warning). I ALWAYS question what is ethical and kind and the “right way” and these narcissists/ abusers/ manipulators/ assholes (whatever word works for you) do not. They are wired in a way we can’t understand.

  • “I want to move out, but he has confided in me that he is suicidal.”

    Call 911. Do not pass go. Do not piss around. Do not try and fix what you didn’t break anyway.

    If he’s faking it to get you to stick around, then he’s an abusive dirtbag. If he’s serious, then he will be where he needs to be for at least a few hours if not 3 days.

    This is classic manipulation and it plays on your empathy. Do not let him jerk you around like this because it will get worse.

    Despite COVID, find a new place to live and GET AWAY FROM HIM.

    • As a former criminal defense attorney, I’m unfortunately familiar with violence inside families that starts out with threats of self harm, that lead to that person harming others.

      And In our Divorce Care group we talked about anger and a guy named “Ralph” talked to the angrier men in the group. He suggested ways to handle it b/c “anger can take you to a dark place fast.”

      I personally observed Ralph lovingly interacting with his children including his profoundly disabled son. He wanted to reconcile with his wife and he was not a cheater.

      I admired how Ralph had learned to cope with tough emotions and the wise advice he gave to all of us who were facing anger unlike anything we’d known before.

      2 weeks later Ralph learned that his ex wife was dating someone seriously enough to want her new boyfriend to move in with her.

      Within a minute of hearing this news from her in person, Ralph went from happily playing with his kids in the front yard, to stabbing his wife once in the chest with a kitchen knife, (fatally) and driving back to his own place where he then shot himelf in the head. This all took place in less than 2 minutes.

      Murder suicide…OH and the kids saw their mom stumble into the front yard where she died…

      I say all this^^ to remind you how close suicide and homicide are to each other both psychologically and literally. It’s the taking of a life.

      ANYONE who threatens to take their own life is also more likely to harm others, than someone who does not.

      And anyone who threatens suicide and attaches an expectation of YOU while saying this, – is periolously close to threatening to kill YOU.

      IF he’s seriously considering suicide, he’s very likely willing to commit homicide.

      And if he’s lying about his suicidal ideation, he’s a manipulative prick.

      Get the hell out of there and don’t look back. RUN.

      • So true. They say the words and what they are often REALLY saying is “I am going to kill YOU”.

        Get out!

        IMO, therapy simply makes them more manipulative and cunning. The goal isn’t to improve themselves, it is to win at all costs.

        If they meant otherwise there would be significantly fewer murders followed by suicides.


      • Thank you for this story, Doctor’s Wife.

        I left Chump Nation FB because when I shared a similar story from my personal
        life, someone got in my face in the comments that “cheating doesn’t cause murder” and was criticizing me as being irresponsible for suggesting such. Cheaters are juggling nitro-glycerin and no one should be shocked when it results in homicide and suicide.

        I feel the opposite of my critic. I feel it’s irresponsible NOT to acknowledge this very real and deadly scenario.

        Sadly I think Tessie would agree.

      • I agree. When I was in my 20s, I broke up with my, then, cheater boyfriend. He tried to throw me out a 3 story window. I was fortunate, I’m mean as hell, and I happened to have some heavy Motorola radio batteries (we were military) charging in the window ledge. I had to grab them and beat him in the head until he bled everywhere before he stopped choking me and dropped me. In 2 years of dating him he’d NEVER put hands on me. I never saw it coming. Errr, I did. He threatened to harm himself if I left him. I felt sorry for him, but I still grabbed my stuff to leave. Please get out. Will every cheater try to hurt you when you finally decide you’re done? No. But it isn’t worth the risk either. I got lucky. There are hundreds of women every day in the obituaries that don’t get as lucky as I did.

      • This is sound advice. Yes, clearly it is an extreme example… but not *that* extreme. Run now, while there is no one else involved and no legal ties. Have him committed if you can to buy yourself time.

        • I did this—committed currently. Trying to find assistance while he’s away. But there’s legal ties so I know I don’t have a lot of time but at least that helped a little bit.

  • Mine did the same thing when I found out about his affair. Walked through a front room window out onto the roof like he was going to jump. I calmly walked over and shut the window. A few minutes later he was back inside. It was all a test, just to get sympathy and I didn’t fall for that one, but I fell for plenty others and stayed another 10 years with a cheating abuser.

    CL is right, you are not responsible for him. He’s still manipulating you. Get out and go no contact. Be thankful you didn’t marry this person or have kids with him.

    • OK, I’m rolling on the floor laughing at you shutting the window on him. Boss move! Extremely well done to be that quick thinking in the moment.

    • ChumpToTheMax,
      Thank you for that amazing, comical and heartbreaking short story in the form of a Chumplady comment. Reading it left me feeling something akin to emotional whiplash. My laughter suddenly caught in my throat and turned into this weird gasp-y sound when I got to the last line of that first paragraph. I suspect you may be the secret love child of Raymond Carver and Lorrie Moore. You need to devote the rest of your life to writing. Short stories, and novels too if you feel like it. But mainly short stories. Maybe an essay or two from time to time; and of course screenplays for money, if you need it.
      Believe me when I say to you: you are a born storyteller. You are morally obligated to spend the rest of your life writing. Writing, eating and sleeping. Quit your day job. Open your Word Processing program now Chop Chop

  • When I divorced mine, she began the suicide threats. I took them seriously. I even called 911 one night and two meathead cops showed up, took my ID, and pushed me into another room. Cuz, you know, males are always the problem. I got chalked up for a domestic disturbance call.

    Even post-divorce, even through her new marriage, the suicide threats continued. I’ve learned to punt – let her dad know, let the guardian ad litem know, let someone else deal with it. She’s stopped making those threats to me now that she knows I don’t participate.

    Get off the merry go round. It’s the best decision I ever made.

  • When all else fails, narcissists will pull the pity card. Get out and leave his pathetic cowardly ass. In no time he will find someone else’s strings to pull and you will be free.

    • And if he does manage to kill himself (trust me, he’s way to cowardly to do so) keep in mind he was never supposed to be your problem. You signed up for a decent relationship with a resonable adult, so you thought, not a hostage situation with a manipulator. These people NEVER take responsibility for themselves.

    • Between the discovery and the divorce, while my ex was still living in the house, I came home after dark one night to find mine way out on the edge of our yard in some trees, laid out like he’d committed suicide. I stood at a distance for about ten minutes watching by moonlight for any sign of movement, afraid of what I’d find if I walked on over there, when he called out to me, “What is your problem?” He knew what I thought he’d done.

      He went on to wax eloquently about how no one understood how much pain he was in.

  • Would a truely suicidal person have the wherewithal to send nudes on snapchat??? Keep a secret girlfriend?

    I can just see the following scene. Hostage walks in and fuckwit thinks: ooops, now I better get suicidal. One more button on CL’s manipulation machine for cheaters to flip: charm, self pity, rage and …. fake suicidal behavior

    Hostage, get out and take care of yourself!

    • I have been very outspoken about my depression and suicidality. It has been a constant struggle since I found out about my ex’s affair.
      That was over 9 years ago.
      I fought hard for a great divorce settlement, had a very demanding job that I excelled at and was the sane parent to my children.
      One can suffer from suicidality and idealization and still manage to do everyday things.
      I never had a secret relationship or send nude photos but my point is that suicidal people don’t always have big signs on their heads. Instead, they are often very good at hiding it if and when they want to.

      • Rebecca–

        I’m so sorry you endured that horror and still have to live with the fallout.

        The violent workplace stalker I prosecuted when I was young and single got his flying monkeys to pass on his suicide threats to me from his jail cell. I reported it to the police who then threatened the flying monkeys with arrest for witness tampering. The head of the terrorism unit went to the stalker’s cell to tell him off and personally arrange a rather humiliating suicide watch. The cops recognized the manipulation. I was lucky as hell. Most victims don’t get that kind of support.

        The flying monkeys then tried to launch a campaign to get me fired and divide my support system at work. I realized they were trying to drive me to absolute despair and nearly succeeded.

        In the civil trial, the stalker reversed the onus for these suicide threats to try to paint me as “nuts” and not credible (despite the fact I’d never threatened suicide). He relied on the ruling that the criminal case could not be mentioned during the civil proceeding and so his jail cell suicide threats could not be brought up. Fortunately other audio recorded threats by the stalker were ruled admissible and the jury didn’t buy the stalker’s attempts to malign me or cast doubts on my sanity. He lost the trial.

        That was a big lesson in how abusers operate. I think the psycho in this case obviously *wanted* me to lose the will to live. Knowing this helped ward this off, even as my career suffered terribly. Thank God I wasn’t tempted to “save” that monster even if this was used to cast me as heartless.

        It later occurred to me that it would have been quite normal for someone in my situation to have those thoughts even if just in passing and how grossly unfair it was if these could be used against the victim.

        I read that suicidal ideation is common among emotional and sexual abuse survivors and domestic violence victims but that victims trying to escape have to exceedingly cautious who they tell. Ugh. The vast majority are reportedly determined to never act on these thoughts and learn to hide them lest it be used against them by abusers to wrest custody or destroy the victim’s reputation and credibility.

        It gives a little perspective to learn that that’s how abusers generally respond when the shoe is on the other foot and their victims may be having ideation: the abuser uses this information (or invent it) to deepen the trap and the damage.

        I suspect this kind of sadism might be a sign that cheating and other forms of abuse are largely transference and reenactment. The abuser compulsively tries to transfer their own self destructive despair onto others as if making other people experience the betrayal, terror and injury the abuser felt in their (predictably) fucked up childhood might relieve the abuser of those feelings. It’s like engineering a weird stand-in for empathy–making others suffer in the abuser’s place, “feel” the abuser’s repressed emotions

        Better to “return to sender” by stepping out of the loop and getting to safety. If an abuser does end up killing themselves, the takeaway is that this was the fate they intended for their victim. It could help for victims to recognize that these feelings were intentionally (if unconsciously) “implanted” in them through a systematic process.

      • I’m so very sorry for your struggle Rebecca. And I think the point you’re trying to make is for people like me, who may not take the suicidal threats seriously, those made by the liar cheater, that they should be more compassionate. You are correct, but I think we need to let others, those that are trained to deal with suicide, take over. I’m not trained in the least. I think in the case of Held Hostage, I’d leave as fast as possible, and then I’d make a call to 911 to state why I left, i.e., fear of not knowing the correct decision in a case like this, and just state the facts as I know them without any conjecture.

      • Thanks, Rebecca – yes, depression and suicidal thoughts are SERIOUS and strong people are able to manage successful lives. This is even more reason why I get SO MAD when people pretend they are suicidal just to get attention.

        • Ok, I’m going to jump in. If you see above post from me, I had a cheater who made suicidal threats. When I grabbed my things to leave anyway, he grabbed me by my throat and dragged me to the third floor window to throw me out choking me the whole way. Personally, IDGAF if someone is suicidal if they’re also possibly a threat to my life. I have compassion for suicidal victims only. I figure if a monster commits suicide, then good riddance. Harsh, yes, but I’d much rather have never gone through that DV trauma and later heard he’d committed suicide. Better him than me. If your abusive cheater is threatening suicide, he or she could be dangerous. What he chooses to do to himself or herself isn’t anyone else’s burden. IJS.

          • Sugar Plum–

            I felt the same. Better him than me. The circumstance were different, I had no emotional attachment (just surprise that “the funny guy” from work was a psycho). But I’m typically a bleeding heart so it took a lot to push me to be that cold.

            I’m so glad your training kicked in and you managed to ward off that attack. It’s a horrible shock that someone who was never previously violent could switch like that. It does fit my impression that there’s an essence of violence at the root of cheating. Thank you for sharing and stay safe.

  • Personally, I would notify the father who lives nearby once I was safely out of the household. And I would consider that my last effort for the relationship. Otherwise, I agree with all of CHumpladys appraisal.

    Exhale drew me back into the loop of the pick me dance with a suicide threat and I suffered for so much longer because of that. I wish I’d called an ambulance/one of his family members/ but I remember feeling panicked for him at the time and didn’t know what the options were. I needed to handball it to someone else to feel I’d done my due diligence and then let it go.

    Leave him. He isn’t a good person. Levy the consequences and maybe it will have some impact down the track.

  • My XH threatened suicide during the separation. I think he sincerely believed what he was saying, but it still came from a place of trying to control the relationship dynamic. My doctor said to me, you are the worst possible person to help him. I think the LW should understand that everything she might do to try to help this guy will have the result of making the suicide threats effective within the relationship dynamic. This will perversely incentivise the ex to use them.

    In the end I told his GP, his family, any friends I could think of. My XH hated that, which made it clear that those threats were only sincere when he said them to me. He had an expectation of family secrets.

    The most ethical thing the LW can do is pass this problem on to people who can actually help him, and be very clear that as the ex partner it’s not possible for her to do that.

    LW: you are the worst possible person to try to help him

  • The suicide threat is so common. I love the advice of calling 911. I’m sure you’re afraid he’ll hate you for it. Once you leave and his begging and pleading don’t work, he will hate you anyway. You can’t avoid it. Prepare for it. Leave now and go no contact. It’s the only way. It’s the hard learned lesson we all learned. We all hoped our abuser would be the different one. None of them are.

      • I agree.

        Also, knowing these cheaters are masters of projection, when one threatens suicide, that sets alarm bells off for me and makes me wonder if in fact they mean to kill the chump.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with CL.

    My ex’s two (TWO!) brothers committed suicide, so I was always vigilant to a fault. I spent the better part of at 35-year marriage walking on eggshells because I was worried he would commit suicide, too.. That he acted depressed most of the time only fed my fear. He alluded to suicide when he wanted to manipulate me. I fell for it EVERY TIME.

    I wish I’d had CL’s advice when I was young. Run from this guy! You are not responsible for him.

    I know it’s easier said then done. Held Hostage, I wish you courage and a better life with someone who doesn’t pull this kind of crap on you. Remember, you can’t control him. You’re not responsible for him. You deserve better.

  • My father (who was also a cheater) was suicidal, and twice a year when I was growing up he would threaten to kill himself. (He did, in fact, kill himself, at age 72). My first ex-husband once threatened to do the same when I said I was leaving him; he took a pistol out to the porch and sat there with it, until I marched out and demanded he hand it over (he did). So I know suicide threats, and I am intimately familiar with the psychology of those who make them. I learned that although one consequence of suicide is guilt–everyone left behind feels it–the only person responsible for a death by suicide is the person who pulls the trigger.

    Do yourself a favor. Get out. Today. You’re not married, so there’s no legal process to prolong the agony. There are no children, so once you’re gone you’re gone. And the sooner you’re gone, the better. After you leave you can work with a therapist to examine all those questions currently swirling around your head, as well as the more important ones of why you were willing to stay with him, and why you moved in with him. But first things first: get out. His life is his responsbility. Your responsibility is yours.

    • Adelante, I’m so sorry your father committed suicide and that you grew up with those threats. That’s awful And then you had to deal with the suicidal threats from your ex. It’s too much.

      Glad you’re free! I wish you well.

  • STBX didn’t threaten suicide, but he did say that I would be better off if he were dead. Chumpy me said “No! Don’t say that!” These assholes will stop at nothing to get sympathy and turn the focus off of your pain and what they did and flip out around so they’re the victim. Unreal.

    • I remember my last desperate attempt to get the XAss to understand just how bad a situation our marriage was in and how depressed and helpless I was feeling. I mentioned that I had started to contemplate ending everything and I felt that I needed help.

      His response? “Well, I’m feeling suicidal too!”

      Did I mention he is a health care provider? Yup, to him everything is a contest. I felt bad? Well, not as bad as he does! His bad feelings are so much more important, valid, and real than my bad feelings, which are just all made up anyway.

      That was the conversation that really put it home to me that he had absolutely no concern about my well being in any way. And I started to worry about retributions coming from him that would be more than just emotional, financial and social.

      • Skunkcabbage–

        That’s familiar- the abuser constantly competing for “victim” designation with their own victim. You can almost hear the twisted circus music soundtrack playing behind these psycho scenes.

      • “…everything is a contest.” Yes! My ex couldn’t beat me at Scrabble, so he wouldn’t play that game anymore. Instead, he liked playing Trivial Pursuit which I never once won in the 9 years we were together. He had to win. Always.

  • My daughter dealt with this with an ex boyfriend that she had recently broken up with. He was abusive and at best had narcissistic tendencies at worst he was a sociopath. He sent he a suicide note in the form of a video to her by way of text at 3 am and then did not respond to any of her attempts to communicate with him. She was away at school and he was at living at home with his parents. She was panicked – she believed he was serious. She called me, she was contemplating driving an hour to rescue him. I talked her into calling his mom – she left several frantic messages. The mom never did answer the phone. Mom responded to my daughter’s genuine concern by text that could only be described as a screed. Why did she wake her up for nothing, fuck-witt was fast asleep in his room, he was certainly not suicidal and why did my daughter over react in such a drama filled way!? Honestly, he did accomplish his goal with that stunt – he got a boatload of kibbles from my daughter in her attempt to “‘save” him (she and I both did not get any sleep for the rest of the night) and he got a bonus kibble high from his mother’s abusive response to my daughter. In the morning she contacted ex one last time before blocking him on everything, she calmly explained that if he ever tried to manipulate her like that again she would call the police and share his suicide threat so that they could deal with it – she explained how it would result in a 72 hour hold in a local hospital. My advice is listen to CL – trust that this is just another manipulation, trust that he sucks and leave without telling him when he is out to limit any drama. Once you are safely moved out ghost him – NC is the only way to deal with these types. Save your empathy, time and kindness for someone who really needs all of those things right now – you! Hugs….

    • That was his mother’s reaction? Well, that says a lot.

      A more reasonable parent would have inquired why the alarm took place and then questioned her son about why he would send such a frightening message. What you and your daughter told him should have been done by his own mother.

      She should have been grateful that your daughter was such a concerned and thoughtful friend to her son in what could have been a very real situation. Instead, she reacted with annoyance.

      Well, we know what part of the ex’s FOO issues entail…thank God your daughter is rid of that.

  • Mine did this. He said it during a fight and then left. I presumed he was going to do it immediately. I called a contact number. I was on the phone still giving detailed information when he returned. I hung up when he walked inside. He asked who I was talking to and I told him. He never said it again. He switched to something else that I didn’t recognize. It was equally controlling and harmful. I stayed for years of torture.

    Save yourself. Get out. You have nothing there to keep you there. You have invested your time, your life, and your feelings. He sucks. Trust me, he will continue to suck and hurt you.

  • Suicide is often used, when you find out.
    If they had a conscience they wouldn’t have cheated or used emotional blackmail.
    They could have stopped, but they weren’t found out where they.
    Its more crap the chump has to deal with.

  • You must take care of you first, period!

    You are not in a healthy situation. The person you are with is unstable in many ways.

    You have him connected with a counsellor, a professional who has the skills with this situation. That’s good.

    Leave. Inform his closest family and close friends of his “issues”. Inform his doctor and counsellor of any information you have that might be helpful for them to know. Now you have left him with a support system that he needs to turn to. You CANNOT be it. Make it very clear to him that you are not the person to help him and that he is not to contact you under any circumstance. Inform him of who he is to turn to now. You likely can enlist the assistance of his counsellor in having this meeting as a third party to navigate the conversation.

    I am a high school Guidance Counsellor. Not a professional therapist, but I am front line when many students express thoughts of suicide. Some students will gravitate towards a particular staff member, but once we learn of the student’s struggle, we must redirect to parents and a therapeutic professional. Students will resist because they have grown attached to a particular person, but it is not a healthy or beneficial attachment.

    If your STBX continues to hoover you, claiming he “needs” you or will “hurt” himself without you, DO NOT allow him to loop you back in. You will be of no help to him by allowing him to perpetuate ineffective coping strategies. He needs to be directed to professionals who know that they are doing.

    As CL stated, if it’s real, he will have access to the help he needs. If this is manipulation, you have called his bluff and shut it down. Either way is a win for your freedom. He is not your problem to fix.

  • My X threatened suicide twice and I fell for it each time – cancelled my plans, prioritized him and did everything I could to help him. I fell so hard for it because my propensity to project my values onto him. I knew if I had done the things he did I would be feel so guilty for the hurt I caused and the family I destroyed. I would have been suicidal! But narcs are not us and it’s not helpful to project our values onto them. He was just having his fun playing his manipulative game of life. It was a last ditch effort to win me back; when he saw that wouldn’t work he skipped merrily off. He’s now remarried and collecting alimony from me still. These people do not care in the least about the damage they’ve inflicted. They DO NOT CARE.

  • Dear “Hostage”:

    Step #1:
    Call 911, report that your boyfriend has been threatening suicide, and request that they take him to the nearest medical facility so he can be observed on a 72-hour hold.

    Step #2:
    While he’s gone, collect all of your possessions and get the hell out of there. And whatever you do, don’t leave him a sweet note explaining why you decided to leave, or how you wish him well in his therapy. Just leave! When he sees that all your things are missing, he’ll get the message.

    Step #3:
    Lay down some of those healthy boundaries you’re talking about. Don’t leave a forwarding address. Delete him from all social media. Block him so he can’t call, text or email you. Change your phone number if necessary. If he shows up at your new front door, call the police. Decisively take action.

    Step #4:
    Put yourself in therapy. Dig deep and find out why you ever believed you were in a healthy, grown-up relationship with this manipulative asshole, and what steps can you take in the future to avoid being suckered in like this again.

    • Oh wow Held Hostage, you need to take care of YOURSELF first. And quickly.

      A safe person to first tell the suicide threat to might be your boyfriend’s therapist & have their office treat it as the EMERGENCY it is. Even if your boyfriend stops going to see the therapist, for example, this suicidal ideation can happen with people who have Cluster B personality disorders, they will almost never willingly go to a therapist, they only go when it’s court-ordered or the people around them they want to keep around them force them to go to therapy (sounds familiar, right?).

      If you tell his therapist what your boyfriend told you regarding suicide, his therapist ethically has to act on the knowledge of his suicide threat to you and she/he? (sorry the therapist’s gender is unclear from your letter) knows better how to handle this than you. Therapists are professionally trained in how to handle situations like this (you aren’t), they have peers & access to a help network that have the best chances of helping your boyfriend immediately & beyond (you don’t), plus they are more emotionally & psychologically detached from this situation than you currently are Held Hostage which makes it VERY DANGEROUS for you. And the boyfriend’s therapist can be the ‘bad guy’ who calls 911 and/or starts an involuntary psychiatric hold & evaluation process, chances are the therapist can get this done faster than you can Held Hostage plus if stuff gets worse for boyfriend, a licensed competent professional is going to be seen as an expert & a court is more likely to enforce what the expert recommends than you could try to convince a court or other authority to do on your own.

      You can also call a suicide hotline to get advice from them on how to protect YOURSELF (not just get the boyfriend help). And also outreach to a domestic violence hotline for you wouldn’t go amiss because as several other posters have said, the boyfriend’s instinct to self-harm can be redirected to others including YOURSELF.

      More importantly you cannot predict WHEN your boyfriend’s talk & thoughts could turn to ACTION, when the less apparent to others verbal, emotional & psychological (& possibly also financial) abuse he has employed against you could turn physical & deadly. So you need to be quickly & carefully taking action NOW.

      In addition to the therapy MyRedSandals & others have recommended, let me suggest a couple of books I’ve found useful:

      Bill Eddy, “5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying & Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other High-Conflict Personalities”

      What I loved most about Eddy’s book (he also has a website is besides having specific education in 2 out of 3 areas I have also studied (law & mediation/alternative dispute resolution), his third area of expertise is as a licensed clinical social worker so he could speak to me about the psychology/psychiatry I was not educated in in a way I really ‘got it’ & this book has majorly & quickly improved my life. The Eddy book I am recommending isn’t just one for people romantically or sexually involved with a high conflict person or HCP as Eddy calls them) but for relatives, friends, bosses, coworkers, neighbors etc. The best part of this book is it explains a HCP’s issues but keeps the focus on how EVERYONE AROUND a HCP feels, reacts, etc. plus gives you specific strategies of what to do in these various situations. So many other books just focus on the HCP/disordered person, others are (to my mind wrongly) considered only secondary. This matters because at some point for your own healing Held Hostage, your focus has to shift back to you. The bonus is you can share this Eddy book with other people you still want in your life so they to can finally ‘get’ what you have been going through & they won’t accidentally or ignorantly hurt you more (you can read plenty on this site about what families & friends can ignorantly do to a person injured by an intimate betrayal, and it is awful to see the pain posters have endured at the hands of others besides the liar/cheater/betrayer).

      “Cheating in A Nutshell” by Wayne & Tamara Mitchell I got multiple recommendations for this book here on CL’s website & in just 2 weeks, I’ve reread it completely 3 times (and am on a fourth reading of it). It’s very quick & easy to read, it combines the 20+ years & thousands of letters these advice columnists (their website is, have seen on cheating & betrayal with a lot of up-to-date science & practicality including some less discussed topics like if & when 3rd parties should tell on a liar/cheater/betrayer.

      This last one will be helpful now & in the future, it is older & isn’t as gender inclusive, but I’m assuming you’re a cis-heterosexual woman Held Hostage so I think this book may also help you.

      Sandra L. Brown, M.A. “How To Spot A Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved”
      Brown (whose website is at used to be a psychotherapist who specialized in patients with psychopathology, in essence the most dangerous of dangerous men. Her book is really excellent in addressing who is a ‘dangerous’ man (there are 8 types: the permanent clinger, the parental seeker, the emotionally unavailable man, the man with the hidden life, the mentally ill man, the addict, the abusive or violent man, and the emotional predator), how to spot them & how if you are going to seek relationship again (you don’t have to, but if you are going to might as well know better in order) to choose better in the future. I think Held Hostage you are dealing with what Brown would call a “Combo Pack” guy when it comes to your boyfriend, namely that he fits more than 1 of her 8 categories which just makes the boyfriend MORE DANGEROUS to you & others. The book has plenty of very specific examples of red flags you need to be looking out for, other women’s horror stories as examples of the types to study & starts to address where you may be making bad choices & how to stop doing that & make better choices in the future.

      I hope this helps a fellow single no kids person who also recently dealt with a “Combo Pack” guy (though thankfully I never moved in with him, bad enough this can also happen virtually at a physical distance thanks to online dating & technology).

      Keep us posted please Held Hostage, it’s time to get you free & safe again!

  • I ended up marrying my first husband because he tried to kill himself when I broke up with him. It was nearly 50 years ago. Counseling and therapy and Oprah and Dr. Phil were not even on the horizon. I was in college and just said to myself, “If I leave and he kills himself, it’s my fault.” Then two years later we we were married and he tried to strangle me.

    Get out. Now. And instead of trying to fix the abusive cheater, get into therapy yourself. You need to work on your decision-making apparatus. Codependency is not just about not having boundaries. It’s about avoiding working on your own problems, thinking and life by fixing other people.

  • The chilling thing I eventually realized is that many people who view their lives as disposable also view yours as disposable. They view life in general as disposable. Once you start viewing murder, even if it’s self-murder, as a problem solving method, you become very dangerous.

    I realize that many of us have felt suicidal at some point, and I don’t mean this as a blanket statement. But in my experience, the many friends and boyfriends that I have worked hard to make whole have turned around and tried to break me.

  • Run.

    The situation of an abuser threatening suicide is so different than a trusted, innocent friend confiding suicidal ideation. Presumably the latter doesn’t have a history of turning aggression outward but abusers most definitely do. Cheating is abuse. Abusers frequently threaten suicide and the risk is that momentum can shift into violence towards you. Any veteran cop will understand this.

    CL and CN are right– treat this guy the same as a batterer threatening suicide. Report the threats to police and then bolt, pulling up the ladder behind you to protect yourself.

    Most likely the threats are just related to cake withdrawal and the big anticlimax is that he’ll be alive and still full of shit in years to come. I know the cheater-abuser I dated in college still is despite his threats to throw himself out a fifth story window if I left him. Nah. These creeps are mostly like cockroaches and would survive nuclear armageddon. And they can make your life and other people’s lives so miserable that you may eventually even wish they had followed through.

    Be particularly wary if he’s put on psychotropic drugs (like SSRI antidepressants) that carry black box warnings for suicide and violence. About 8% of people who take them can reportedly become psychotic overnight. I’ve seen the reaction up close. It apparently has something to do with genetic drug sensitivity and suspension of REM sleep paralysis. It can happen to people with no history of aggression or serious (or any) mental illness but is a higher risk with those who do. Some may even use the known clinical risk as a cover story to get away with violence towards others.

    Be safe.

    • “and then bolt, pulling up the ladder behind you to protect yourself.”


  • Hostage, RUN RUN RUN!!!!!

    Do not say a word, grab essentials, move very far away — your life is in danger.

    Get help from a trauma therapist or life coach who can help you change. These thoughts and your actions are the result of abuse you suffered and I suspect it goes way back to early childhood.

    We are NEVER responsible for what anyone else thinks, says, or does. If he succeeds in killing himself that is 100% on him. You are not responsible for his cheating —not responsible for him PERIOD.

  • Dear Held Hostage–

    Bless you for being a concerned human being BUT also know that you are also very chumpy. Chumps go all in on relationships, and while that is a good thing, it is also a thing that leads to boundary confusion.

    Relationships take 2 people working as partners. A relationship isn’t like a group project where one kid gets dumped with all the work while the others goof off. You need to recognize that BOTH of you have to be all in. He’s already demonstrated to you multiple times that he is nowhere near committed to you. Instead, you are of use to him. You make his life easier for him, and that makes you a kind of Girlfriend Appliance. You’re there, you perform useful functions, but he has the same relationship with you that you would have with your refrigerator: you like having it around and hate it when it breaks (inconvenient and expensive), but otherwise are not emotionally invested in it.

    My advise to you is to get out, but line up your ducks. You are sitting on a time bomb, so you do need to act fast. First, you are living with him. If it’s his name on the lease, you can easily move out. If both of you are on the lease, then check to see the penalties for breaking your lease. If your lease will be up soon, time your leaving with the expiration of the lease.

    Start packing up your stuff to move it into storage. Your goal is to let him know just before your new lease starts that you are moving. Then leave. If he threatens suicide, then you pick up the phone and call 911. Let them know your boyfriend has threatened suicide. They can come, assess the situation, and deal with him appropriately. Regardless, you leave. You do not provide a forwarding address because you will have already notified all the companies you do business with to send bills and statements to your new address.

    Then go 100% No Contact. Get therapy. You need to recognize in your heart that he sucks, and you also need to work on your boundaries and being okay with enforcing them. You deserve someone who commits as much as you do.

    • I should clarify that if your name isn’t on the lease, just move as soon as you have a new apartment. Change your address and get a different cell phone number or block him on your cell. You’re not married, you have no property in common, and there are no children. If you can make a clean break, do it.

      If it’s a joint lease, you’ll need to look into how you can remove your name from the lease or how easy it is to break a lease in your area. In my state, all joint leases are all written such that lessees are “jointly and separately liable” for the rent, which means that if you skedaddle, he will end up paying the rent BUT he can go after you in small claims court and win. This is what I and some housemates did when we had a housemate take off without paying her rent.

      Still, it’s better to be out of there. Your own mental health depends on it, and possibly your own physical well-being. Threats of suicide are, at the least, emotionally manipulative and abusive. At the worst, they are warnings that the other person is capable of great violence.

      • For info about getting out of a lease when leaving an abusive partner (and YES the cheating and manipulation are abuse! PLUS the suicide threats are a BIG danger warning sign), contact a local Domestic Violence service.

        Here in Canada, in most jurisdictions, a lease can be broken with NO penalties when there is domestic violence or good reason to fear that.

    • I don’t think its safe to announce intention to leave. It’s safer to just bolt. Many states allow victims of domestic threats or violence to terminate a lease by writing a letter to the landlord explaining the circumstance (this can be AFTER leaving) and including references to relevant evidence like police reports. Calling 911 to report the suicide threats would help substantiate this.

      Google “breaking lease due to domestic violence.
      + state.”

      • Another good reason for Held Hostage to report the boyfriend to his therapist, the therapist can be further documentation of boyfriend being suicidal/abusive/dangerous & bolster Held Hostage’s ability to successfully break a lease she signed. Good thinking Hell of A Chump!

        • If only police would inform survivors of resources available to victims under threat and relevant protective statutes. Victim-witness programs can even fund a survivor in certain circumstances having to relocate, may pay for therapy, job training, etc. But usually it’s necessary to google this stuff or get the info from domestic violence advocacy networks. The police paper trail is the first step.

          • I’d like info on those services if you know of any. I’m in a bit of crisis rn with my spouse. Acting very erratic and saying and doing scary things. I have no real money or resources. Ty if you know of anything at all.

            • You can call your local police office and report “scary things.” They will probably tell you to go to the local courthouse and get a protection from abuse order. Please don’t second guess this (I did when I went through it). Someone there will walk you through it. It’s free. He will have to leave and you’ll both have to maintain no contact. If he’s threatening self harm, cops or 911 will impose an involuntary pysch evaluation. Please be SAFE. Also read at on domestic abuse.

              • TY, CL. Ok. Sounds good albeit good is just the wrong way to put it. I’m going to email you one detail that’s crucial why I haven’t done anything. If you know of anyone that’s been in my situation, or know where I could turn, I’d be grateful. I can’t post here for privacy reasons. If you reply, TYSM. If not, I understand that too. <3

  • My ex/former Mr. Nice Guy threatened suicide for a few months after D-Day, then ran off in his vehicle with alcohol, knives and rope (police ended up arresting him for DUI in another region). For reasons that were never explained to any of us, LE that arrested him but did not send him for a mental health evaluation, so his enabler parents raced to rescue their son from yet another of his cowardly, self created dramas.

    When cheaters threaten suicide after their lies and manipulations are exposed, likely it’s a tool of ego feed and controlling the dynamic (as usual, they’re the center of attention), but what’s important is that you’re dealing with an cruel, unstable individual who is not emotionally or physically safe for you to be around. Being free of all of the anxiety and drama that cheaters thrive upon is a great feeling.

  • Leave, but don’t let him in on your exit. I seriously doubt this guy would ever harm himself but if he threatens suicide just call the authorities. Let them deal with this jerk. Change your number, keep your new address under wraps and block this guy. He had a secret girlfriend, when found out he looked you in the eye and made heartfelt promises only to immediately swap nude photos with an old flame. This is what you know…can only imagine what you haven’t discovered. These creeps tend to stay very occupied pursuing other women. Yeah he’s in therapy but therapy never works on these defects. Their wiring is very different and all the psychological help in the world will not change this guy.

  • I heard this threat several times and should have told him to go ahead the first time but honestly I thought he was going to shoot me when he grabbed the gun. This was the first full fledged rage towards me. He eventually put it to his head while I pleaded for him to put it away and we could work through whatever his issues were concerning me. Next he raped me. A lot happened between those years before I finally left. It’s like everything happened but it was also silenced, never acknowledged, and times he even wanted to hug it out afterwards. I didn’t know what was what for 33 yrs.
    With every cell in my body, I knew if he threatened that again, I would call and have him committed. I also knew I would not live if I did that. He would lose his image, his guns, then try to portray me as the crazy one. If I lived it would not be peacefully. I’m still afraid of him but more afraid of who he would get to harm me since he has plenty of money.
    I worked with the women’s shelter and got me and the kids out safely in the middle of the night when he was out of town. That was in 14. We are currently scheduled for court in a few months because he’s claiming broke( see above he’s wealthy) Some of them never quit but my therapist said I’m at my safest because he does have me in court and he’d be the first suspect. I also created a notarized evidentiary abuse affidavit with all the information needed in case I went missing. It would be extremely risky to count on threats as simply manipulation.

    • Informal – I am so glad you got out of this – thank you for sharing this.

  • I’m not a doctor or therapist, but my guess is if he didn’t value the relationship enough not to jeopardize it by cheating, then he is really not considering losing his life over it. I mean, the actions he would have had to take to protect his relationship with Hostage (not send nudes, not have a German girlfriend) were a lot easier to do than ending his own life (which he seems to value above everything else).

    I think he is manipulating Hostage.

  • I am constantly amazed at how they all play by the same script. While mine did not make an overt suicide threat, I distinctly remember asking him at one point, “How can you live with yourself knowing what you are doing to us, to me, to the kids?” His response? “Be careful what you say. I don’t know if I can.” Without actually making an overt threat, he sent me a very clear message that had the desired effect of keeping me in limbo for another 9 months before I finally filed. What a piece of shit.

  • Leave without telling him. Call his father or other next of kin once you are away, and let them know about his suicide talk. Don’t give them any details about anything. Just say he has been talking about suicide of late. If they ask why you left say that you will get into that with them at another time.

    • Why should she call his father? Did he call his father when he cheated on her and was exchanging naked pictures?

      Also, nobody’s pointed out that he’s in therapy if he’s really suicidal the therapist will alert authorities. They have to, if a person is a danger to him/herself and/ or others.

      • It would be the humane thing to do. In case he really is suicidal.

        And people don’t always tell their therapists that they are suicidal, because they know it means the therapist is obliged to put them in a psych ward. Or at least they are in Canada.

        I have no sympathy for a cheater, but some things are done as one human to another.

        I don’t want her to bear an extra burden if the fool does top himself.

  • According to my therapist, if someone really wants to kill themselves, they are going to do it and there’s nothing anyone, including a trained therapist can do about it. It would not be your fault if you tried to harm himself.

    Please note that when people are suicidal, they still have self-preservation, so if they protect themselves, their rage has to go somewhere, most likely to the person nearest to them, which might be you. This is why it’s so important to call 911 if somebody threatens to kill themselves.

    It would behoove you to seek some therapy and figure out where your hero/savior complex comes from. It maybe your ego telling you you’re the only one that can save him. There is always plenty of help elsewhere if he’s truly in distress. But from what you described, it sounds like your boyfriend is being manipulative. Depressed, suicidal people usually don’t have the energy for any relationships let alone multiple girlfriends on multiple continents.

    Please take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.

  • If a cheater threatens suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline. (Let them deal with him, take him to the hospital for observation for awhile, they will call the authorites, etc.)

  • Leave.

    My “limerent” STBXW merely had an EA and was so so so sorry when caught, then later threatened suicide when served with papers and told to get out.

    Cheaters suck. Limerent cheaters suck still more – maybe.

    “He was a LO – you always meant more to me!”

    “We can work this out and be STRONGER than ever!”

    I haven’t spoken a word to her since the day the papers were served. I did pick up the phone and dial 911 and made certain she heard me speaking with dispatch. She left. Lawyers arranged for her to come get her crap.

    Hostage – say nothing to him. Move out while he is elsewhere. Make it fast and block him from your life.

    Peace follows soon afterward.

  • Well I got a kind of a different angle with cheater threatening suicide. He said he almost killed himself while in another country because whore said they couldn’t go on unless he told me about her, so she stopped contact with him. He then explained it was ok because they worked it out and again mentioned he feels like killing himself if he thinks things will end with her. “The only thing I fear is that this will end”. So dumbass me is so shocked he of all people is talking about suicide and so I’m desperately trying to be a comfort to him while in my head all I’m hearing is this primal scream. Fun times.

  • I will add that toward the end of the marriage, I took out a gun and began writing my random thoughts. He threatens so how difficult could it be?
    I was snotty mess on the floor with my dogs while the kids were at a friends. I pulled the trigger and shot through the kitchen cabinet. It was that easy. It was also my epiphany. If he was going to commit suicide then wouldn’t he just do it. I wasn’t going to jump around with a gun and threaten to do it. I was just going to end it. I realized I wanted to end the pain of the marriage not my life. I would not want to leave my kids to him and his family.

    He used to go through my things when I wasn’t home and he found that note inside the gun case. The word selfish was on it pertaining to that I felt selfish doing this but he read it as I was calling him selfish and was furious. Crazy! I still have that note. I stayed four more years. Probably a couple of months before we left he noticed the cabinet and asked me what happened. I just said I did it. That’s the only time I’ve seen him speechless. No clue what was going on in his head. I was thinking he may have thought I was going to shoot him. That cracks me up. I’m also sure he showed everyone and came up with a great explanation of his crazy wife after we left. It was so painful then but at least I can laugh at his stupid reaction.

  • The heart of my chumpdom was an overactive sense of obligation. I see that with Hostage. She can’t save herself because her Obligation button has been pushed. She is obligated to stop suicide, which helps her forget herself. I pray for her (she shows good sense asking for help here).

  • I got the suicide threat. It was a month after the last D Day (there were many over 7 years). The night after I’d found out he’d continued to see OW1 from D Day 1 (DDay 1 had 2 OWs, I found out he’d tried continuing to see OW2 about a month after that D Day but assumed that drama meant he wouldn’t try it with OW1). Anyway, I got pregnant after DDay 1 and we got married a year later with our two beautiful kids a big part of that ceremony, he cried the whole way through). 5 years later after I finally left him I found out that that relationship went for 5 years, it was at about year 4 we got married, and I lost it at him. I worked out why he cried all the way through wedding (she dumped him the week before, probably grew a conscience) but it continued for another year until the next victim showed up (he’s still with her, they share guys he picks up on the internet “for her”). And I told him all of this which is when he got suicidal.

    Best thing I did was get his parents involved (it was an 8 hour ordeal). Worst thing I did was not get the cops involved (his car was loaded with the meth it turns out he was selling and he was loaded with the meth he was meant to be selling, but only found that out 6 months later when his latest victim connected dots about OW3 (that picks up dudes with him, still).

    Honestly, it’s the biggest con in the book. Total DARVO. Run Hostage Run!

  • I’m dealing with this now. After DDay, I was as scared and left the apt to the hall. He texted saying he was suicidal. I said we need to call 911 and get immediate help. He refused and said he needed to go to work instead. I said ok then you’re not suicidal then, are you sure? Yes he was sure. I left for a while and he claimed to be all better and to forever work on himself and his lying and cheating. Months later after many comments about getting life insurance on me “in case something happens to me”, I realized the suicide threat was really a threat against my own safety. Then he told our kid he was suicidal. That shook my bc my care team said he was implying a threat to both of us.

    I found multiple more instances of him still reaching out to women and said I’d go to a shelter. His therapist told him he should leave instead this time bc this was his doing/predicament, not my choices.

    He did so. But he told us for years he has a gun. Now he says he doesn’t and it was a joke. There is something in this house that is a gun case but I have no idea if it’s empty as he claims. He insists on coming over every day almost but I’m terrified for my safety and my kids now. I won’t let him come over and he’s angry. He keeps saying he needs to “find things”. I’m being told to change my locks now and get restraining order but I’m scared it will send him over the edge. He now has multiple appointments w his therapist in my neighborhood each week. So I’m scared of that too. His antidepressant has been ramped up big time which concerns me.

    I’m not sure if I should tell his therapist and psychiatrist what’s going on bc I’m sure he’s maligned me to all of them. I’m sure of that. It’s frightening and I do take his threats seriously—harming me and my kid though. Not to himself. Especially the life insurance comments about me. And now pressuring me to join our retirement accounts! It all looks bad. Really bad.

    • Can you have local law enforcement come check the ‘gun case’ & if there’s any weapon(s) there, have them take it/(them) away? Or at least put gun locks on any guns they find (gun locks are recommended for each gun in a house where children live anyway, that’s a prudent thing to do for a responsible gun owner).

      If there are hidden weapons in the house, that’s dangerous. Law enforcement can handle that best.

      Personally I’d tell the therapist & psychiatrist, if they hear he’s made threats on his own life or others, they have a duty to act. If there’s a way to tell them without harm to you, please do so.

    • Wow, your situation is scary dangerous. These are all extreme control moves, the gun case, talk of insurance, history of suicide threats, the coming over daily are soo red flags. Take the gun case to police and tell them he’s said he’s suicidal and acting unstable. Visitation must be done via exchanging kids at a neutral and public location, such as outside the school.

      Then quickly go to the lawyer and finalize the divorce, sell house and move. He’s lining up his ducks while keeping you in a state of confusion and stress. Protect yourself. Change locks. Keep your finances separate. You have no business talking to his therapist no matter what. He’s not your problem. Trust that he sucks.

      • My ex started threatening suicide, but after a couple times I called his bluff and would say things like, ‘just pick a method that’s not too messy and do it when I’m not at home’ …then one day he ‘jokingly’ held a knife to my neck and said, ‘you know I could kill you’ and laughed. It was after 1 yr of marriage.

        I googled something like ‘husband threatening suicide’ and the results were countless news stories of homicide and murder-suicide, each one the perp had threatened suicide.

        I moved far far away and annulled it and went NC. he finally stopped sending me tearful suicidal texts after 3.5 yrs of no reply.

        I moved

      • I can’t leave my house forever. But maybe temporarily. I’ve been told to get a restraining order. Yes all the comments are very very scary. I’m in a state of hyper vigilance now. But I can’t move.

        I’m doing everything else you mentioned though. Ty for your reply.

    • Can you move or stay someplace that he doesn’t know about even temporarily? Whether or not he should have been the one to leave, it doesn’t matter when he’s showing signs like this. I would think about abandoning ship in the name of safety if you can.

      • I’m thinking of this seriously now. I do go to work some days but maybe I could get around that.

    • “There is something in this house that is a gun case but I have no idea if it’s empty as he claims.”

      Get a locksmith, get it open and if there is a weapon in there, find out if it is registered/turn it over to the police for safekeeping.

    • You need to tell his pdoc and therapist ALL OF THIS.

      “And now pressuring me to join our retirement accounts! It all looks bad. Really bad.”

      Not bad. Terrifying. He is a man with a plan and it will cost your life. And your kid’s life.

      • Yes, I think you’re right. I’m just scared to do anything at all, go anywhere. But I know I must. I told one of his counselors and they blew me off saying he never said he was suicidal so… That scared me too. No one is taking this seriously despite all the red flags. Maybe he’s convinced everyone I’m lying. I wouldn’t doubt that. I’ll reach back out to his counselor. It’s all so frightening and disorienting. All bc I found out about his affairs??? Why would he even care if I did? They seem to delight in our newfound knowledge and misery. I guess he just wants revenge and money now. He’s never been violent before so this is all new. But my therapist is gravely gravely concerned about me and my safety based on those comments. At least he is taking me seriously. I’m a wreck. Cheating is one thing of terrible deeds but threatening your life is another. Or maybe they sometimes go hand in hand I’m now learning.

        • “I told one of his counselors and they blew me off saying he never said he was suicidal so…”

          Okay – in light of that information – talk to YOUR counselor and leave his out of it. The problem is that if they are not taking this seriously, they are idiots and they will share your concerns with him. Which can make him go off. His pdoc may be a better ally but you should confer with your counselor about it. Clearly your husband’s therapist is an idiot.

          YOUR counselor is YOUR advocate.

          Is the lease/rent/home in your name? Is there any way you can contact a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence and figure out if you can legally change the locks (eventually). Right now, it sounds to me that you need an exit plan made with your counselor and an attorney.

          At the very least, you need to take your child, the important documents (birth certificates, taxes, passports) and items you treasure and get out. You can get an emergency restraining order pretty easily if you apply for one. That won’t protect you if he kicks in the door or comes through a window though. So I understand your reluctance to get one.

          You’re in a scary situation. Do not talk yourself into believing otherwise.

          • Yes. I now know I am. The gun that was here is now gone. I guess he has it. So I’m more concerned than ever. (I honestly cannot believe this is happening. And happening to me.)

            The mortgage is in my name. I guess I should change lock. Ty for caring. It means so much.

            • In your name alone? Then you can SELL and move out and away if you are willing to do so.

              Put all your stuff into storage. Get a new domicile with only the basics (an efficiency if that is prudent, or a 1 bedroom apartment). Have your mail forwarded to you at work when you fill out a change of address form.

              He’s armed. He knows where you live. If you aren’t going to leave the home (change the locks first and tell the neighbors he has moved out), then at least change the locks and get a security system. Get that divorce started post-haste.

  • My ex has also made such threats. They’ve never gotten specific, but if they do, I’ll call the cops or the prevention hotline or whatever on her. That’s the limit of what I think a decent person should do.

  • My narc brother pulled the suicide line on my mother bc she wouldn’t give him $70,000. She called the cops. He was taken to hospital but he did it again from overseas & she called the embassy who got him on a flight & into a psych ward. He’s never done it again.
    My fuckwit did something similar to gain sympathy after he was caught. Said he was suddenly having flashbacks to ‘sexual abuse’ from childhood that he’d ‘forgotten’. I was super worried about him as he eluded to being suicidal. Months later I read his journal. The abuse never happened. And the fuckwit knew that I had a history of child SA as well as suicide attempts. They will stop at nothing to get their kibbles.

  • I got something similar from my last boyfriend when I broke up with him – he said he was going to start cutting himself again. The thing that still stands out to me even now was the half hearted way he said it, like he *knew* I wouldn’t fall for it but said it anyway. And indeed, he hadn’t got any visible fresh cuts when I saw him again, having gone ahead with the break up (we met at an art club, I still went for a while afterwards but not for reasons to do with him).
    However, I definitely took longer to break up with him than I might have because he’d already told me that he’d been suicidal and self harmed over his previous break up. I knew it wouldn’t be my fault if he did anything but still felt responsible for him somehow, in spite of not actually loving him.
    Knowing what I do now, I do think, deep down at least, that he was an abuser – he didn’t do much that scared or hurt me, specifically, but my gut was definitely telling me to get out for 3/4 the time I was with him.

    • well he threatened to harm himself at the mere notion that you might protect yourself, so that’s pretty hurtful. Glad you got out.

      • Thank you, NotANiceChump. I will admit I still mourned for what could have been, but the more I think about the little things I didn’t like, I’m glad I left as well.

  • The fact that you’re even contemplating the morality of leaving him is an indicator of how far gaslit you have been. When the facts are laid out in order, there is no question that leaving ASAP is the only option. Call his dad, don’t call his dad, call 911, don’t call 911…whatever. Just leave immediately with no warning or notice to him and never look back.

  • Last October my husband shot himself in the chest. We were separated but living in the same house. One year prior he threatened to shoot himself and I contacted his daughter; his children tried to help. We both went to counseling. He continued to lie and cheat. He had sex with multiple women before, during and after our marriage. No amount of intervention made any difference. My current therapist told me that if a person is going to commit suicide there is very little others can do to stop it. In my now ex-husbands case it was both manipulation and a true desire to commit suicide. Either way, he is a broken, mentally ill person and his therapy or recovery has nothing to do with me.

    Get out. Now. Don’t ponder the decision.

    When Sex Addiction Turns Deadly- Kate

    • I’m so sorry you had to go through this, Kate, how awful!

      Your therapist is absolutely right. I’m a clinical psychologist, and I’ve worked with a lot of people with suicidal ideation, suicide attempts etc. Therapists, psychiatrists, hospitals, support networks CAN help, if the person at least partly still wants to live, if they want the suffering to end, not really their life, and if they are not too impulsive (or drinking too much, as it increases impulsivity). But NO ONE can help or save someone who is truly decided to kill themselves, or who follows that impulse when it hits.

  • This takes me back about 25 years to when I left my children’s father. He called me on the phone, told me he was going to kill himself and shot his gun. He’s still alive, but he’s currently in county jail accused of rape. I don’t think he committed rape, but he has surrounded himself with some pretty crazy people. I’m so glad I got away from his crazy, so sad my adult children are so worried about him. He definitely knows how to play the victim and my sons kind of buy into it. I could write a book, but no one would believe it

  • When I found out about my stbx’s first affair (well-the first one that I found out about, but probably not HIS first affair) he was out of town on business for a few months and told me that he had been on the phone all day with the Suicide Hotline.

    I told him I didn’t care.

    Looking back-I doubt that he was even on the phone with the SH for even 1 minute.

    I gave him a second chance-and he cheated on me again.

    They lie and they manipulate. That’s what cheaters do BEST.

  • Can you leave a suicidal cheater? You can leave anybody, whether they are suicidal or not, whether they cheated on you or not, for any reason and you do not need to defend your actions with anything more than “It wasn’t working out”. The fact that you are asking strangers on the Internet for advice tells me the gaslighting has gotten really bad.

    My Nitwit threatened suicide on numerous occasions. Not once did he actually attempt it, though he could have many times when I was at work. You know what stopped his suicide talk? I observed him one night when he thought I couldn’t see his face. Despite his words, his expression was not that of a suicidal man. It was that of an expectant man, waiting for the usual reaction of his faithful chump. After that night whenever he talked of suicide I would just look him in the eye and say, “You and I both know that’s not going to happen.” He stopped soon afterwards.

    The one exception to this was as I was getting ready for work one morning. Naturally Nitwit couldn’t stand the fact that I was going to leave him by himself for hours on end, so he proclaimed a desire to walk out our front door and not stop until he died. The early morning air was quite chilly and he was not dressed warmly, so I physically blocked the door with my body and called 911. His reaction? “Great, now I’ll never be an astronaut! Thanks for ruining my career!”. It struck me as an odd thing for a suicidal man to say. Wouldn’t a truly suicidal person have given up all hope of a career? Anyway, once he heard the cops were coming suddenly he didn’t feel suicidal any more and toddled off to bed without another word. I canceled the 911 call and still made it to work on time.

    Today would have been our third wedding anniversary and I just moved out a few days ago. The last week I lived with him the lovebombing ratcheted up to a level I haven’t seen since before we were married. He was so polite and charming to my dad and brother when they came by to help me move. Knowing what I know about him now, it was just plain creepy. He says the OW broke up with him but I don’t believe him. I made sure he doesn’t know my current address and I will be so relieved when the divorce finally goes through. Better safe than sorry LW.

  • I am a psychiatrist and I get a sinking in my stomach when I hear of patients threatening suicide to the ex-partner over recent breakups. If at all possible (when I have the permission of the patient) I speak to the other partner alone to reassure them that mental health services can provide the support needed, so they shouldn’t be on 24hr call or considering getting back with them though guilt or fear. And to call the ambulance if any suicidal calls or texts come through. As Chumplady says, if it’s genuine they’ll get the help they need.

  • Dear Held Hostage, You mentioned that you feel confused. Years and years ago, someone told me that when I feel confused in a relationship, then ‘someone is CONning you, and you are FUSED into it.’ That was one of the most helpful pieces of advice I have ever gotten in my life.

  • Wise words from the therapist who ran in friends and family meeting when my mom was going through addiction recovery services:

    We want our addicts (in this case, your suicidal boyfriend) to take care of themselves. We want them to get sober, go to meetings, call their sponsor, meditate, deal with their sh— -. And more often than not, the best way to do this is to show them what that looks like. We have to take care of ourselves.

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