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#2211192 - 01/08/12 06:51 PM Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
Hello, everyone.

This is my first post. I've lurked for quite a while.

My wife first talked about "I think I want to separate for 6 to 12 months" about 5 months ago. I wish I had taken her up on that 6 month deal! I couldn't. It hurt too much. I was so worried about the kids and what they would feel. If I had been able to detach then, I'm pretty sure I'd be well into piecing by now.

Instead, I freaked out, begged, pleaded, cried, stalked, spied, and spun into the worst depression I've ever felt, for months.

I'm committed to a slow and steady DB and keeping my family together. I'm resigned to how this is going to go. Last couple weeks, my wife and I have been warming up. Last few days, she's gotten colder and tried to push my buttons. I've gotten pretty good at disconnecting the buttons and reacting calmly, but yesterday was a day I could have done better.

I'm looking for advice on how I can do this better in general. My long-term goal is a loving marriage, obviously. The big event I'm hoping to come to in the next few months is for her to take an interest in doing things that can improve our relationship instead of being hostile about it. I need to focus better on my short-term goals in getting there.

I'm 34. W is 35. My D from a previous marriage is 15. Our S is 6, D is 3.

I'll post a timeline in a few minutes. Probably more than a few.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

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#2211516 - 01/10/12 12:36 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: AlwaysTrying]
dbmod Offline
Member

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 2155
^
_________________________
dbmod

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#2211522 - 01/10/12 01:09 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: dbmod]
MrBond Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/08
Posts: 10953
Sorry that you find yourself here. The more information you give about your marital history, the better we can help you.
_________________________
M-43 W-40
2D - 9 and 5

Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet a new life.

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#2211569 - 01/10/12 04:40 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: MrBond]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
Thanks, MrBond. I had intended to fill in the story Sunday a few minutes after my first post, but since I'm new here, I wasn't able to add to the thread until a moderator approved it.

Timeline
1998 - W and I met. I was married and had a 2-year-old daughter. I moved out of XW's house about two weeks later. My oldest daughter has never forgiven me for leaving that marriage. I would do things differently if I had them to do over. My future wife was dating my best friend for about 6 months. Shortly after that, W and I were dating for a solid 6 years.
2004 - W and I got married. So in love.
2005 - Our son was born. He didn't sleep for 18 months. It broke me.
2006 - I was unable to work for quite a while. I let a client steal $7,500 from me because I was too depressed to stand up for myself. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Sleep deprivation is a trigger for me. Wife declared bankruptcy to cover the bills.
The depression, the baby stress, and the money stress took a huge toll on the marriage. W had to threaten divorce before I was willing to seek counseling.
2007 - My bipolar symptoms had been stable and well-managed for some time. With the blessing of my psychiatrist, W and I decided to buy a house and have another baby. When one of my contracts ended (I'm often a freelance computer programmer/consultant), I took a full-time job for stability.
2008 - My second daughter was born. Also didn't sleep. At least she ate. But she was allergic to everything and had awful acid reflux. I spent late hours every night shambling my baby girl in laps around my living room or down the street because it was the only thing that calmed her down.
2009 - More sleep deprivation, more depression, more problems at work. I lost the job. Again, it was a big stress on the marriage. I spent two months of the summer of 2009 on unemployment with my kids. It was great. My wife resented me for it. After that, I got a series of lucrative contracts and things felt pretty good.

There are a number of points in here where I can point out what I did to harm my marriage. I've had months to dwell on it. The biggest mistake I was making was keeping my wife out of my affairs because it stressed me out when she got stressed out. She can be an anxious person, and that's putting it lightly. I thought that by not telling her what was going on in my life with my depression or with my money, I could keep everything smooth and enjoy life better.

I can talk about the specific things that I've done wrong and how I have changed my mindset and started acting differently. When I have asked for help in other places, I've beaten myself with my mistakes. I feel now that once my wife got to a certain point, *everything* I ever did was wrong, and I was desperate to find things that I could fix so that she could come back to me.

Now, I'm not sure that is productive. One of the things I found wrong with me is that I suffer from "nice guy" syndrome and needed to grow a backbone, stop being passive-agressive, and stand up for myself.

My wife did tell me that she feels like my soul is shattered into tiny little pieces, and that since I don't have access to my own soul, I had to hold on to hers so tightly I was crushing it. So... that's something I've been working on, as well.

April 2011 - I think my wife was getting the sense that there was something wrong with me, and she was nervous not knowing what was going on with my finances. I got an insufficient funds notice in the mail one day and it really upset her. I told her it was OK, because I had a $10,000 check. That upset her, too, knowing that I'd waited so long to bill that client, when that is what bankrupted us before.

I knew there was something wrong with me. The medications for treating bipolar disorder are all mood dampeners. They take the color out of the world. They make you dumb and forgetful, uninteresting. It's a great deal of fun to be on the edge of mania if you can be lucky enough not to go full maniac and hurt yourself or anyone else. Convincing people who have enjoyed the highs of bipolar disorder to give it up and accept their lives will be better if they take these drugs is not easily done.

I had what I would characterize as a minor case of bipolar disorder. I never did anything terribly dangerous, was never anywhere near psychotic, and I actually benefitted from the occasional 36-hour mania-fueled work day. But I did suffer from occasional depression that made it hard to work.

Anyway, I figured that I could manage my symptoms through a strict sleep schedule and by keeping manic behaviors in check so I didn't risk swinging into depression, and that as I got better at this, I could wean myself off the meds. I knew my wife wouldn't understand and wouldn't support this, so I didn't tell her anything about it. I figured if I could be stable for a few months off the meds, I'd tell her what was going on and.... she couldn't complain because I'd be "OK".

I did this under the care and support of my psychiatrist, though not with her enthusiastic blessing. I never went off my meds or made changes without talking to my doc. For two years I had been trying to will myself even and steady so I could wean off the drugs, but it was never quite good enough and I'd go through periods where I really struggled to stay motivated.

Here in April of 2011, I realized that I had lost and that I needed more drugs not less. I was having a terribly difficult time remaining motivated and productive, and having difficulty concentrating. I told my doc things weren't right, she agreed, and put me on Ritilin. Ritilin worked for a few weeks, then it didn't. It kinda worked for another few weeks on a higher dose, but it eventually made things worse and threw me into a depression. By July, my doc put me on something else (Fanapt) and everything got better. The time in between was lousy, but my communication with my wife was even lousier.

She assumed I was playing with my meds or something, and when she found out that I had been endeavoring to get off the drugs, she was upset. Meanwhile, I wasn't able to work full weeks during this period (I could only concentrate for about 20 hours a week. Computer programming requires concentration.), so I was depleting my bank account and not talking to my wife about that either.

We started seeing a marriage counselor during this period because she was really unhappy. We saw the pain others around us were in because of divorce and we would look into each other's eyes when we laid down at night and say to each other, sincerely, "Let's never get divorced." My wife would tell me how she was so frustrated by what I was doing, but that it was futile because I was never going to change and she wasn't going to divorce me over it.

It shouldn't have been so hard for me to see it coming. We were in marriage counseling and I was not giving my wife what she needed (to know what was going on with my treatment and finances) week after week. I feel dumb writing about it now.


I'm exhausted right now. I want to go to sleep, so I'll rush through the rest.
In early July, in the course of a week, W goes from being all warmth and love to cold and unable to come to bed at night. She's thinking about leaving me but doesn't want to tell me about it. I'm pretty sure she wanted to make her mind up for herself first, then inform me of the decision. I wanted to be part of the decision making process.

She had been texting a male highschool friend of hers like crazy - 3500 texts a month, compared to the 500 or so that passed between W and me. He came to town to visit for a weekend, used the magic words "barely functional" to my wife, and that's when she started talking about leaving me.

I called EA on them. She denies it, but she hesitated enough that I think she knows it is true. She doesn't want to think of herself as cheating, but she let someone else come between us. There was more to that, but I don't get the sense that worrying about her EA with this guy has ever helped our efforts at reconciling.

Around July 7th, she wouldn't come to bed. At three in the morning, I came back to the living room (she had been on her internet message board for hours, just like every night) and said there was something wrong and that I knew it. She had been increasingly secretive and cold and distant. I asked her if she was thinking about leaving me. She said it was something she was thinking about but that she wasn't ready to talk about it yet and I was getting worried prematurely.

But since I asked, yes, she was thinking it would be a good idea if we separated for 6 to 12 months.

I begged, pleaded, cried, etc, etc, etc. For days. Weeks. She hadn't made her mind up and was listening to my plea that we should find a way to work this out before we move to separation. I couldn't believe she would even consider doing that to the kids or to me.

I spied on her. She found out. She demanded that I leave the house and "give her space". I cried the first day that passed that I didn't talk to her. In 13 years, I had talked to her nearly every day. For 13 years, one of us waited up for the other one to come to bed. I didn't know how to sleep alone for a long time. I couldn't eat much. I lost 25 pounds. I could only manage to stay sane enough to work for a few hours out of the day.

I couch surfed at friends houses because I couldn't understand spending the money on an apartment when we ought to be working together to sort our stuff out.

In late August, a few days before our 7th anniversary, I had been out of the house for 4 weeks. W was thinking about our vows and starting to miss me and told her therapist that she was thinking about re-committing to me.

I was going crazy with no place of my own to be. Not knowing my wife's state of mind, I told her I was coming home, no matter what the consequences.

It's so easy to see what I did wrong. I wish I had been on this board back then and had gotten some better advice.

A week later, she filed D.

Given that, there was NO WAY I was moving back out of the house. I thought that if I dragged my feet on the divorce long enough, she'd appreciate the changes that I'd been making and that we'd work things out instead.

She made it clear a couple of times that there might be an alternative to divorce, but that alternative was a legal separation that was functionally the same as divorce, except that I get to keep my health coverage. I wasn't going for it.

I could see that what I was doing wasn't working and that we were coming very close to a point where we were going to be in a bitter custody battle, so I told her that I'd move out if she put the divorce on hold.

That was a little over a month ago. She didn't agree. I moved out anyway, in a bid to earn some good will. She then agreed to put the divorce on hold for 3 (or more) months as long as I'd stay out of the house.

I should qualify. My stuff is still at the house, I just don't go there most days. Tuesdays and Fridays are my nights with the kids - I pick them up from school and take them to the house and put them to bed in the one and only bedroom they've ever had and hopefully ever have to have. Friday nights I stay at the house and wake up with the kids Saturday. I spend the day with them, put them to bed, then leave again.

I'm renting a room now for my sanity, but it's just a place to sleep.

Anyway, it's been over a month that I've been out. It was a month that I was away the first time before she started telling her therapist that she wanted to fix things. Somehow, when I came home uninvited in August, something snapped in her, and I don't know how to fix it.

She has such thick walls now that it is very hard to tell what she is thinking or feeling. When she lets her guard down for a while, it feels really nice, but she gets really nasty shortly afterward. I understand that's part of the cycle.

I don't want to spend 18 months doing this. I want to know how to get back into her heart now! but I'll wait.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2211839 - 01/11/12 03:31 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: MrBond]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
I wrote a long response to this yesterday... Please tell me it didn't get eaten by the system!
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2212267 - 01/12/12 06:43 PM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: AlwaysTrying]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
My wife isn't interested in couples/marriage counseling. "Reconciliation is not my goal".

Over the last few weeks, I have gotten her to come to my IC sessions. My IC therapist is actually a lot better than our original marriage counselor, and has helped W and me communicate on a few occassions.

W came with me yesterday again, and despite a rough patch over the last several days, it seemed like we were making progress. The issue that she's been throwing at me lately, when we try to talk about anything at all is how "nothing matters" because I think she is immoral for what she is doing. That I am so opposed to the idea of divorce that there are no possible reasons to justify it. I figured I was just looking at re-runs of her all or nothing thinking and deflection. Sometimes I think that when things seem to be getting better, some level of her mind is saying "Oh, crap! Not this again. I have to sabotage this somehow!".

Maybe I need to find a way to deal with this thinking even if it is a deflection, but I'm starting to think that it's an honest issue that I have to hear her about and try to find someway of talking about it, even though we both get really upset when we try to talk about anything in that emotional neighborhood.

Well, it looks like my wife will be coming to more counseling with me, so that will be good.

I bought a 3-pack over-the-phone help session with one of Michelle's consultants. Lori or Laurie. I've talked to her twice. I've been saving my last session for a time when I really need it.

I was thinking of maybe having my wife get on the phone with me, even though she's not ready to say that reconciliation is her goal or that she wants to go to couples counseling.

Is that a good idea?
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2212968 - 01/15/12 11:13 PM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: AlwaysTrying]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
My wife and I had a small argument today. D3 was not going to sleep. I had come over to the house for lunch and to help take the Christmas tree down. D3 has become extremely defiant and challenging lately. She doesn't seem to be influenced by timeouts or getting toys taken away or anything else we can think of at the moment. She won't stay in bed now. D3 came downstairs for probably the third time, and W went up to...? We really were at a loss.

As my wife was coming out of our daughter's bedroom, I remarked to her, "There has to be a line you can cross where simply hitting your kids is the less degrading thing to do." W and I are both strongly anti-hitting. This is not the way we want to raise children. She knows that about me, and this was meant to be a joke.

So, for the next 5 minutes, W and I quietly had an argument outside of D3's bedroom door, while W held the doorknob to prevent D3 from opening it. A guideline of us is that however you parent ought to leave everyones' dignity intact. That certainly wasn't happening.

So she repeated a few times something about how we don't hit, leaving me quite confused because she knows I agree with her. I feel lost when we argue sometimes because I'm pretty sure we're not arguing over whatever is actually coming out of her mouth. She asked, "Is there a line where I'm allowed to hit you?". I would be overjoyed if she would voice her anger directly at me. I stumbled a bit trying to express that, while she jumped around a little bit, pulling various bits from past fights. She punctuated with "that's how I *know* I don't want to be with you" and after another exchange or two, W disappeared into D3's bedroom to coax her into bed.

When W came out after a few minutes, I came back upstairs to try let her know that I was hearing her. I realized that the general theme was that she didn't feel respected as a parent, and that she was angry, and afraid of how things were going to go with our younger two children. I told her that I don't expect her to come back to me if she thinks I won't support her as a parent and as a partner and if she feels that I make her crazy. I felt that was important to say because she thinks it's unfair of me to have said (over 6 weeks ago) that she is immoral and wrong for bringing this divorce on our children. I think when she hears that, she thinks I mean that she had a duty to stay with me even if I drive her crazy.

In fact, what I mean is that we can find ways to address her concerns without putting our kids through hell and that we have not yet "done all we can" to save this marriage. When I try to defend my position, I think what she hears is that the things I did that pushed her away were OK and she has to just accept them. What I really mean is that I don't want to continue any behaviors that weaken our marriage and I will work "tirelessly" to make that a reality. I may say "tirelessly", but I'll admit I get pretty tired. I wish I had a lot more energy to DB. It's really easy to get down or fatigued.

Anyway, I didn't talk about any of that in that moment. I just kept it about her feelings - I can see you're hurting and I wouldn't want you to be with someone who made you feel that way. I could see that while she was in the bedroom with our daughter, that some of W's tantrum energy had dissipated, and she conceded that she knew that I wasn't going to hit the kids. I think I may have added something about how my commitment to our marriage meant I will make sure she feels supported... I can't remember what I said exactly, but it wasn't pushy and I didn't argue.

We have been spending more time around each other, and that is encouraging. I want her to open up like this more often, even if she is angry and hurt so we can get more of this stuff out in the open and exercised.

Later, I sent her an email:
Quote:
I hear you saying that you are afraid that I will be unable to respect your wishes as a parent or allow our children to be raised as you would like. I hear you saying that you expect me to turn our children against you, and compete with you for their affection. I hear you saying that you are afraid that I will have inappropriate attachments with the children. I hear you saying that you were hurt by the ways you felt out of control as a step-parent. I hear you saying that you are hurt by the way I might be talking to Bethany about you now.


Is there anything I missed? Is there anything else you want to say?


I'd like to talk to her about what I meant when I said she was behaving immoral and destructively before, but that might not be a conversation we can have successfully outside of a therapist's office.

No more emails for today, probably.

I have been sending W emails with text from "Divorce Remedy". I know you're not supposed to try to get your WAW to read the book, especially when you're in Last Resort mode. Am I still in Last Resort mode? I don't know. We seem to have some dialog now. Should I go back to it?

Anyway, I've been sending her the story of Carol and Dean in the "Pulling it all together" section, a few paragraphs at a time. I'm trying to illustrate to her that repairing a marriage is a process and that change is possible and there is a point to what I'm trying to do.

She hasn't responded to these emails, so I don't know if she's reading them or not, but I think she is. She reads every heart-bearing email I write to her. I've gotten a lot better at not sending them.
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2213264 - 01/17/12 12:06 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: AlwaysTrying]
sandi2 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 11050
Is the OM still in the picture?
_________________________
It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!

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#2213277 - 01/17/12 01:16 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: sandi2]
AlwaysTrying Offline
Member

Registered: 10/27/11
Posts: 243
OM lives 450 miles away. They have maintained a relationship since highschool. He is part of a group of close friends that have kept in touch despite being all over the country.

For her to just stop talking to him would seem weird to everyone. The problem is that she is getting her emotional needs filled by him instead of me. I've seen some of their snuggly-wuggly texts and it makes me sick.

I think they may have cooled off. At least she doesn't seem to be constantly texting him any more. I don't know if she's decided to do it mainly when I'm not around, but if that were the case, I suspect she'd be more eager to get rid of me more often.

Dwelling on the OM doesn't really help anything. I wish she would stop it with him, but I think that conversation comes a while after the one where W says she wants things to get better between us.

I asked her to come to counseling tomorrow. Short notice. She hates short notice. But she just refused. She doesn't want to go very often. She'll say, "It's too soon."

I don't know what she's waiting for. I'm frustrated with all of the waiting. What is she afraid of? What is so hard?
_________________________
- All for the kids -
Me:34, W:35
M:7, T:13
S6, D3 + my D15 from previous marriage
July 2011 "I think I need a separation"
W filed D September
Currently living apart - she has the house, I rent a room

Top
#2213654 - 01/18/12 01:45 AM Re: (NA) Informally separated from WAW, but DBing my best [Re: AlwaysTrying]
sandi2 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 11050
OM's still in the picture. It seems rather strange that you would make excuses for why she shouldn't just cut it off suddenly (b/c of the close group). Would you say the same if he lived closer, and there were more chances that he could be sleeping with your W?

I'm not trying to get you riled at me, but rather I hope to say something to cause you to understand something. To a woman, an emotional affair is very serious. B/c so much of who she is as a female, is tied to her emotions. Now with men, they seem to face the thought of an EA okay, but if they find out the W has slept with OM, then the H can't get that picture out of his head. He wants to go beat the OG up! So, the differences are amazing.

Quote:
The problem is that she is getting her emotional needs filled by him instead of me.


Exactly! And her getting her emotional needs met could be compared to having sex (for her)! That's why it's called and emotional A instead of physical.

Quote:
Dwelling on the OM doesn't really help anything. I wish she would stop it with him, but I think that conversation comes a while after the one where W says she wants things to get better between us.


I think you have tried to get the right thought here, but just haven't quite made it all the way through. You're right that the real problem didn't start with OM. Therefore, dwelling on him doesn't solve the original problem. But do you know what the original problem was? If so, then that will be helpful, and if you don't know....then it only adds to the mess you have now. B/c now, she's closed her heart to you and opened it to another. Even though you can't control how she feels or even what she does, you waiting around for her to decide she wants things to get better between the two of you......will not save your M.

No, I'm not suggesting you have a conversation about the MR or the OM. Neither do you need to try to fix her. DBing is about becoming the best man you can possibly be. It's finding that man you use to be. Maybe he had a lot of faults, but there was something she caused her to fall in love with you.

I agree with you about something you said in a previous post. Something about how you stop beating yourself up for the mistakes and trying to fix them (the past). And, also how it seemed she reached a point that everything you did seem to be wrong in her eyes. I think that's true for many WAW's. It's like her threshold for tolerance is gone and finding any patience or understanding for her H simply goes out the window. It's a heart condition. A closed heart.

I wish I could tell you that sending her copies of sections in the DR book would help her, but sadly, it doesn't. In fact, every time you try to point her in the direction of MC or sending her a book/tape/CD about MR, will only serve as pressure to her. It will make her more resentful and act colder to you. Anyone else might be able to say something at some point that would find its way through the WAW fog, but you won't be that person. It just doesn't work that way.

Every time you have a few good days and then you see her suddenly act cold again, that's your clue to step back. Here's the main thing I see the LBH do that makes it harder to R, and that's when she begins to show some small positive sign (like having a good day) and the H relates in some type of fashion (attitude, facial expression, or whatever) that he's encouraged about the future of the M. Sad, but true! That's why she feels she has to be cold toward you, so you won't go thinking she's coming around.

That's why DBing is for you.....not her. That's why MC doesn't work if there's OM in the picture!! She said R was not in the future! She has to want to reconcile in order for MC to help her. So, stop trying to get her to go with you. That is pressure.

One word about the three-year old. My parents never, ever, hit me. However, I had no problem in figuring out at a young age, why I was born with extra padding on my butt! smirk There is a difference in hitting and in spanking. There is a difference in whipping and in spanking. The problem is when adults don't know the difference.
_________________________
It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!

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