On February 10, my husband of 17 years gave me the "I love you but I'm no longer in love with you" speech. He said he is not happy, he wants his freedom, he doesn't want to have to spend his time meeting me for dinner, etc. He said there is no one else in his life, he just wants to be single and do singleton things again.
I think he is having a MLC. He's 41. I'm 37. In the past nine years or so, we've been through two job losses (both his), an abusive job situation (mine), the death of my adopted Grandmother, the death of his father, he returned to school full time and started working full time after a year being out of work, and just recently, he got into trouble at his current job over a holiday bonus. We've also gone from him being the primary income earner in the house to me being the main income source, and taking over the mortgage on the house he bought when he was 21. Also over the past year, he's had a host of health issues, from headaches, to gallbladder surgery, to finding out he has a hernia that causes him to have terribly gastric upset. He's lost about 30 pounds from not being able to eat over the last year.
He doesn't appear to have another person. Perhaps an emotional affair, but not a physical one. He keeps in contact with me about where he will be and when, he doesn't make any untoward financial purchases, he has not set up a separate account that I know of. I am not snooping into his affairs.
But the man I knew, my best friend, my rock, my partner and confidant appears to be replaced with someone who looks like him, sounds like him and yet says some of the most hurtful things he's ever said to me in the course of our marriage. We are still living in the same house, and he wants things in many ways to continue as they always have - he wants my friendship, companionship and for me to be with him for meals and in the evenings, but he doesn't want to be married to me anymore, and says that he no longer sees the "flame" of passionate love he once had for me, so he is no longer in love with me. He wants a way to leave our marriage and still keep our friendship, he says.
I asked him to leave our bedroom and sleep on the pull out couch. He said that since he is no longer in love with me, he does not want to cuddle, kiss, hold hands, hugs, or be affectionate with me. I couldn't deal with that kind of rejection while I was trying to sleep, but every night it's a struggle to not ask him to come back to our bed. I cry myself to sleep most nights.
I started IC almost immediately after the ILYB bomb drop. I have an online support group of very close friends to talk to when I need to. I am keeping a journal. A close work friend knows what's going on in detail, and she is supporting me at work when I need it.
He has arranged to get counseling though his work, and his first appointment was last week. Now, his counselor wants to see us both on Monday. My counselor has loaned me Michele's Divorce Busting book, and I have also ordered the Divorce Remedy book, to be delivered today. I keep re-reading the blog posts, especially the one about surviving your husband's MLC, but I'm terribly afraid that I don't have what it takes to get through the patient, "time takes time" process this is going to take. My husband has always been my very best friend and we shared everything in our lives. Now that's gone, and I feel very alone. I am trying to hold to the mantra that I can't fix him, I can only fix me and that I must give him the space and time he needs to get through this on his own and the greatest proof of my love and belief in our marriage is that I stand back, work on myself, and love him from afar until he is ready to come back.
I see some similarities to your sitch and mine... you're not alone. That 'emptiness' you see in him, we call that "shark eyes" and we often refer to our WAS as being an alien, because we don't recognize this person anymore. So as painful as it is, it sounds like your H is acting 'normal' for these kinds of situations.
Post often here and on other's threads, so you can get off moderation quicker. Keep reading different threads on here, you never know what bit of information may help you. Check out: BklynMom, Barely Floating, nhmom, labug, keep going and mine (just for a few examples of similar stories.)
The following list is credited to Sandi2- another wise elder on these boards, who successfully reconciled her M with DB efforts. Most of us have copied this list and refer to it OFTEN... especially when we are at our lowest. Find a seat and make sure your safety bar is tight a secure, this roller coaster gets pretty rough and is going to last a while
1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore! This turns the spouse completely off!
2. No frequent phone calls to spouse.......let him/her be the one to call you. Then don't try to hang on to your spouse through conversation.....instead, you say good-bye first.
3. Do not point out good points in marriage or try to get him/her to read marriage books, look at your M pictures, etc. Especially, do not get him/her to read the DB/DR book. That is for you only!
4. Do not follow your spouse around the house like a puppy dog trying to get his/her time and attention.
5. Do not encourage talk about the future. They don't want to think about a future with you at the moment, so stay clear of that subject.
6. Do not ask for help from family members or friends. Don't discuss private matters with them that would upset your spouse.
7. Do not ask for reassurances (That is showing neediness and being clingy.) Show self-respect and self confidence.
8. Do not buy gifts to make "brownie points". (Can't buy his/her love and affection.)
9. Do not schedule dates together at this point. (That is pursuing.) Save for later when the R is much better.
10.Do not spy on spouse by checking emails, phone bills, etc. (Not good for you and will make matters worse.)
11.Do not say "I Love You" (It is being "pushy" and trying to make your spouse say it back to you......he/she will despise you for it.)
12.Act "as if" you are moving on with your life with or without them and that you are going to be okay. Keep a good attitude.
13.Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive at all times! In other words, be the best you can be and look the best you can look at all times. Even when wearing jeans and T-shirt, wear good cologne, b/c it does cause the spouse to take notice.
14.Don't sit around waiting on your spouse to see what kind of mood he/she is in or what he/she is going to do or say – get busy, think of things to do. Go to church, go out with friends, etc. in order to get a life for yourself without waiting on your wife/husband.....but it is okay to invite them, just don't act as if it will change your plans if they do or don't go.
15.When at home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation---then don't, wait for him/her) then, be rather scarce or with your words, but don't sound rude or too short like you are mad. If your spouse asks what's wrong....just say "nothing" and have a pleasant expression on your face. Keep it short and simple. Don't get into an argument! Stay polite and don’ t act like you are pouting. Use poise and class. This does not mean to act like you aren’t speaking, but don’t be overly talkative.
16.If you are in the habit of asking your spouse his/her whereabouts, ASK THEM NOTHING!! No matter what time he/she comes home! You are giving them space and asking no questions! You enjoy your time with your kids, friends, etc. Remember, you are getting a life, also.
17.You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.
18.Do not be nasty, angry or even cold - just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what he/she will be missing. (But never ask him/her if he/she has noticed any changes!!) This is important! If you do, then you have blown it.
19.No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. This can confuse some of them b/c it is not what they expected. Show your spouse someone he/she would want to be around all the time, somebody that can be attractive and fun to be with. That somebody is you! Don't overkill in your attempts to outshine another person your spouse may be having an A with (if there is OP in the picture) to the point of looking like your attempts are "fake" b/c your spouse will see through all of that.
20.All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while)so this takes patient on your behalf.
21.Never lose your cool! Don't let your spouse trap you into a fight. Don't take her/his bait.....leave the room or the house for a while, if you have to, in order to avoid a fight.
22.Don't be overly enthusiastic, don't over-kill; in anything you do b/c it will come across as fake.
23.Do not argue about how your spouse feels about something (it only makes his/her feelings more negative.) Only they know how they feel!
24.Be patient......very, very patient. Give your spouse space and time. When you pull back, it will draw them towards you. It feels opposite of what you want to do, but it works!
25.Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you. Look them in the eyes when they talk to you. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking and stop what you may be working on to look at them when they talk. This shows them that you really care about what they are saying.
26.Learn to back off, shut up and walk away when you want to speak out (or scream and yell).
27.Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil). This is for your health's sake.
28.Be strong and confident and learn to speak softly. Read self help books, inspirational books or listen to tapes. They are for you only.
29.Know that if you can do 180's, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30.Do not be openly show that you are "desperate" or "needy" even when you are hurting more than ever and truly feel desperate and needy. This is a large turn-off for your spouse.
31.Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse, instead, focus on them.
32.Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because he/she is hurting and scared.
33.Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
34.Do not ask your spouse if he/she has noticed your changes. Those changes are for you and for the rest of your life...with or without your spouse. If it is just to get your spouse back...they won't last and the same problems will return.
35.Do not send several TM's or emails throughout the day unless absolutely necessary.
36. It is best to stay away from the bar scenes where other problems easily arise.
37. Do not backslide from your hard earned changes.
M-31, H-31 T-9, M-7 S-6, s-20mth sep 8/1/11 ILYNILWY 11/29/11 Creating separation papers. Discover H has feelings for BFF, she does too 1/11/12 H moves out 1.20.12
I am trying to hold to the mantra that I can't fix him, I can only fix me and that I must give him the space and time he needs to get through this on his own and the greatest proof of my love and belief in our marriage is that I stand back, work on myself, and love him from afar until he is ready to come back.
If you can do this, every day, you will be in the best place you can be.
I wish you luck. Keep reading here. Look at past threads, recent threads, current threads, anything that strikes a chord in you.
I just reposted, now that we're 19 days in. I didn't see that this had been approved.
I read and re-read that list just about every day. I read pages 54-57 of DR every night before bed to remind myself that "ILYB" doesn't have to be permanent.
We saw my therapist yesterday in a joint session. My husband is so angry with me and my attempts to 180. He called it an "impostor" - the same way I feel about him right now. My gentle, sweet and loving husband is gone and a hard eyed stranger is in his place, saying horrible things.
I am going to work on giving him space, time, detatchment and forgiveness. I will work on what I need to work on within myself in IC, and spend more time out and about. J (my husband) and I have always been very close, and somewhat insular - we did everything together. So I have to unlearn that.
I'm not sure. Last night's talking was not relationship talking, we had a big three-hour marathon talk Tuesday night about that, and I was left somewhat hopeless. Hence my decision to get started on the loving distance. J's complaints are that I never do anything loving toward him, never take his needs into consideration, never thank him, and always hold grudges over past behavior. Some of those things are true, and I am working in IC to change the things I think need to be changed. I apologized to him sincerely for his hurts.
Last night, he just wanted companionship, so that's what I gave him. But I stopped hugging him (I was allowing myself one hug per day), and when he came in from school, I didn't go find him in his room and kept to myself, but cheerfully. He was much more solicitous than usual. He offered to help me with things, and did nice things for me unasked. I thanked him cheerfully each time.
This morning, he forgot the mail he was going to take to the post office for me, so I brought it with me to take to the post office after work. He emailed me this morning to tell me he was sorry that he forgot about it. I told him that I was sure it just slipped his mind and that I appreciated him doing that for me. He emailed me again at his lunch break to tell me "You're welcome."
Compared to how he was just two days ago and for the weeks since he dropped the "ILYB" bomb, this is a big change. It gives me some hope, but I am going to stay my course with loving distance and working on myself. I even found a belly dance class in my town that's starting soon, so I'm going to join it. I'm very excited about that.