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Man's wife leaves him over 'personality change.' He learns it was a brain tumor. + Part 1

Man's wife leaves him over 'personality change.' He learns it was a brain tumor. + Part 1


"My (32M) ex-wife (33F) divorced me after a personality change. I found out I have a brain tumor. How do I move forward?​​​​"

My (32M) ex-wife (33F) divorced me in 2022. I was devastated, but I couldn't blame her. We had been together for about 6 years and, for a while, we had an incredible relationship.

We had a memorable engagement in Belize (a long story involving bats, getting stranded at the Mayan ruins where I proposed to her, and being rescued by a passing British military exercise... but that's a whole other story).

I won't wax poetic about it, but suffice to say it's the happiest I've ever been. And I think I made her very happy, too. She was my best friend and we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together. I was extremely close to her whole family as well. I was her brother's best man at his wedding.

But then the troubles started. My mental health took a steep decline. My behaviour was extremely erratic and bizarre - when we were in public I often thought I was being followed. One time I became convinced listening devices had been implanted in our home.

I thought the police, or government agencies, were after me and monitoring my devices. My wife finally dragged me to the emergency room after one of these incidents.

I ended up getting diagnosed as having a psychotic break, with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. My wife stood by me through it all. But even on treatment, I continued my strange behaviour and thought patterns. There was lying and substance abuse.

Previously, I'd only ever drank socially and occasionally smoked weed. It was all very out of character for me - I'd always been a very stable person. But I seemed to be spiraling. One day my wife had enough, and told me she wanted a divorce. She'd caught me lying about subtstance use.

For a while I maintained contact with her brother, who tried to support us both through it. But eventually he cut me off too. In the year following the divorce I tried emailing and texting my wife and her brother but eventually I got the hint.

Mutual friends dropped me too. I couldn't blame anybody. I think additional lies and misbehaviors had come to light so I was a pariah. I sank pretty low, lost multiple jobs, and barely scraped by.

Fast forward to now. I'm still struggling, but I've managed to hold a good, well-paying job, and even bought a few properties. I got a new little pup named Archie, who keeps me going when times get tough. I've kept at therapy and it's definitely helped.

But recently while traveling I suddenly collapsed. I went to the hospital and when the doctor heard my history he immediately ordered an MRI. The look on his face and his whole demeanor spooked me, like he suspected something that he didn't want to tell me, but he insisted on just "waiting to see" and not speculating.

Lo and behold, I have a brain tumor. The funny thing is, when I found out, I was... relieved? Finally it all made sense. Apparently it's not unheard of for such a thing to be misdiagnosed as bipolar.

The doctors say it's probably been growing slowly for a long time, and explains my strange and out of character behaviour. Thankfully they think it's treatable and with surgery, I stand to make a good recovery.

So how do I move forward with this? I want to try to reach out to my ex wife and her brother. But maybe they've moved on with their lives, and I shouldn't try to reinsert myself. I've done enough damage as it is.

They don't seem to want to have any contact with me. But I also feel like they should know. They may have blocked my number and email, but I do still gave some mutual friends I could reach out through.

For all I know, my wife is in another relationship and I shouldn't reopen those wounds. But if the roles were reversed, I'd want her to let me know. So how should I move forward here? What, if anything, should I say?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


If I were your ex, I would want to know. It doesn’t mean that she’ll want to have any kind of relationship with you, but on the off chance she still has feelings, that information would allow me to make some important decisions moving forward.

The OP responded here:


I admit, I do fantasize about us getting back together, but I guess I should go into this with zero expectations. I just miss her a lot.


Tell her. My friend's mom had her and then had her two brothers like 10 years later. My friend used to talk about how different her mom was when she was growing up and how sad she was her brothers never got the mom she got.

Well it got bad when something happened at school one day, she was a teacher, and basically retired for medical reasons. After that they found a tumor like yours. She had the surgery to remove it... And after she recovered, she was her old self. Her personality had completely changed because of the brain tumor.

I wish you well. As someone that blew up her life for no goddamn reason, I can relate to you. You have a chance to at least explain why you were like that. I have no excuse. Good luck.


I think they should know. But you should not have any expectations. A lot of water under the bridge. All of you were victimized by that tumour.

The OP again responded:


They might have blocked my number and email, but I do have some mutual friends who I could ask to deliver a message maybe. I don't want to cross any boundaries though. I guess I could try to relay a message and if they don't respond, it's just time to move on.


One thing at a time. Get the surgery. Get recovered. I don't thin there's a need to say "hey, my personality changed because of this tumor!" especially before you even get the surgery.

Stay focused on your health and the recovery. If y'all are still talking at all, I don't think it's unreasonable to drop a line and just say MDs found a benign tumor, going in for an operation, should make a full recovery. Just wanted to let you know.

Just manage expectations because it sounds like you kind of want her to realize that it was the brain tumor all along and maybe she jumped the gun with divorce and you're going to be your old self after surgery. Honestly, you have no idea if that is true yet.

So temper that, let her know about the surgery, if that's the relationship y'all have, and don't expect much if any reply more than her hoping it goes well and wishing you a full recovery. Get recovered and move forward.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Link to part 2 of the story for the update.

Sources: Reddit
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