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Beth, hope everything is going better for you today. Life continues and will be good again.
I went out to the new restaurant on Saturday with friends. This is the steakhouse that my wife didn't want to go to. The restaurant was great. It sits at the top of a hill overlooking a lake in the area. We sat down, looked out, and the full moon was rising. It was a great moment. We had a great meal and talked for hours.
I realized that life can still have great moments.
John Me 56 W 46 D7 First Second Third last
Carlos, JWM and Tawnya - thank you for checking on me. Sorry I have not been around, as you will see below (though I would not blame you for not reading the whole long post) I have had a bit on my mind these last two days.
I think I may have experienced a small breakthrough with H. I think it is a small step in the right direction.
Yesterday, on the advice of my DB coach, I sent H a "letter of release" by email. It was essentially a note identifying the things I think I did to contribute to the current state of our R, acknowledging how those things must have made H feel and telling him I am sorry. I sent it with no expectations.
24 hours later, H emailed me. It is the most open he has been with me about his own emotions for 16 months. It was a note of five paragraphs - a lot given my H. In the first paragraph, he stated that while he had felt and thought the things I indentified, since he has been living alone,with no one else around to blame (his words) he now realizes that he is not an easy man to live with. He said he did not want me centering all the guilt on myself.
The remainder of the note was H telling me that he is getting worse and worse. He recognizes that he is unhappy and that he does not see an end to it nor does he know what to do. He also said he knows now the cause is mostly the wrong career. Indicated a strong aversion to therapy but based on a misconception of what it is. Said he does not think it is good to see him these days because he has nothing to say. Knows he has to keep up the horrible work hours for a while but then says maybe January will bring good things.
I was stunned. I took it all in but knew I had to respond. I could feel it in my gut. I wrote to him telling him that I sense how much he is struggling and thanked him for sharing with me what must have been very difficult for him to say. I responded that I understood his feelings about not seeing him, but that I have no expectations of him and he need not have anything to say to me. That I care about him as a friend and think he could use a good friend right about now. I told him I was concerned for his well-being (all very bad DBing, I know, but my gut said do it). I asked him if it was okay for me to ask him to meet me for a walk in the woods or a coffee.
His response, while not specifically addressing all that I said, indicated it was fine for me to ask and that he will call me when he returns to town.
What I took away from this is that sometines I have to read between the lines. By this, I mean use what I know about H as a person to guide me. When he said he thought it was not a good idea to see him, that he had nothing to say, it occurred to me that he was thinking I would want to see him because I want something from him. That I want him to tell me what he will do about his problems. As soon as I assured him that I had no expectations, that he could say nothing at all, he responded that he would see me.
I tried this tack a few months ago. Shortly after he left, I wrote to him, asking him to let me support him as a friend and be there for him. He thanked me but declined, saying it was something he had to handle on his own, without me. Now, after an email full of my saying I am worried about him and asking him to let me support him as a friend, he has said yes to meeting me. I think this is a good sign. He could easily have insisted that it was not a good time to see him, as he stated in his earlier email, but he did not. I also think it is a step in the right direction that he no longer blames me alone for the state of our R and has identified his career as a major factor.
My goal now is to be a good friend to him. To reach out to him on a regular basis for walks. (I will reach out because the depressed person will not do it). I know he likes nature and I have read that men do better talking if they are active at the same time. I think he may have finally opened the door just a crack to let in a friend. So I will be that friend.
Just wanted to share the events of the last couple days.
Beth I think you did great. This is definitely moving the right direction. Just take it slow. Like you said, be there for him as a friend, be supportive and don't try to fix anythings. It looks like he just needs someone to listen/vent. Don't we all do? Remember all those PMA that you have saved up for both of you, it is time to use them, slowly but steady. Please continue to give him space and time and try not to over analyze everything because he is still confused. At the end, he will be the ONLY one can truely fix himself. As long as you are ready with your helping hands, you two will be just fine.
Keep up the good work.
Me:33 STBXW:38 S:3 It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you fight the fight....!!
NW626 and Tawnya - thank you both for reading my epic post. And thank you both for your thoughts. I am feeling very grounded and recognize that this is only a small babystep. I am being very careful not to get overexcited about it.
NW626 - great reminders! I cannot fix him, I can only support him. It looks to me like he has started to identify some of his problems on his own. So, hopefully, he will eventually take steps to address them. I will be here if he needs me.
In the meantime, I will be a supportive friend. And you are right about needing enough PMA for both of us. I will have another coaching session before we meet so I will be as prepared as possible to handle things the right way for me and for him.
While it's very painful for him, I think it's so important that he told you he's identifying some of his own problems. Good to trust your gut - as it seems like it took you in the right direction - being a supportive friend can be so hard - but it seems to be something her needs but just doesn't know how to ask it of you.
...on a cautionary note...I once had a similar conversation with me wife...and it seemed like we had talked about a lot of things that really needed to be addressed...only to have her turn that conversation on its head a couple days later - and use it as proof that I don't believe in her...my mistake was that I did too much talking...and should have listened more...it seems like you're listening so well - and are sensitive to what you hear him asking of you - even if he can't say it outright.
Were you able to get out for another run today?
Has he said anything about the suicide at his firm?
JWM - thanks, I feel like I handled things pretty well. Just have to keep my feet on the ground and use my head rather than my heart.
I meant to tell you that I am so glad you went to the new place with friends and had a good time. You reminded me of the importance of staying in the present. You clearly did a good job of that and in doing so allowed yourself to have a good time.
Carlos - thank you for sharing your story with me. If you cannot tell from my posts, I am a big talker. SO I will have to do a lot of listening, once H is ready. I have already noted from his email that he currently has nothing to say. I do think from the context that he meant nothing to tell me about us (which I validated by telling him I had no desire to discuss the R) but I will let him set the tone. I have a book on how to communicate with depressed people and it suggests asking them whether they would like to talk about their feelings/thoughts, whether they prefer to be asked questions or whether they just would like to be together in silence. I will give him the choice and respect his answer.
I have been giving it some thought. We used to go bird-watching on our hikes. I think I will bring along binoculars so we can have a good reason to be silent. He usually will open up if given enough time and quiet from me.
He has not mentioned the suicide. What are your thoughts on this? I had not planned on mentioning anything depression-related to him unless he brings it up.
oops - the run. No, I have problems this time of year due to lack of daylight. We have a surprisingly high number of perverts/flashers plaguing female runners and I am afraid to run alone at night. Soon, it should be getting light out early enough for me to run before work.
Just a quick drop by to say that I was happy to read your post. It's wonderful that you are finding ways to connect with your h in ways that are healthy and positive for both of you. You're doing great!