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#2232271 - 03/20/12 11:50 PM Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb
ouroboros Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 41
Hi everyone, very new to this forum and recently just started looking for help online. I don't know what to do. I guess I'll just tell you the story and plead for any advice.

Two days before our 14th anniversary at the end of February, my wife told me she saw a lawyer and wants an amicable divorce. We have 2 kids, daughter 7 and son 4. No physical abuse ever, no affairs on my part, none admitted by her.

Unlike her, she was emotionless the entire time and matter of fact. I was a complete emotional wreck, bawling and trying to understand what was happening. I still am. Although the last time we saw a therapist together was 2.5 years ago, and 10 yrs previous to that, she told me that we've done all we can.

She talks about having a 'moment of clarity' back in mid-December when our son was having a difficult week in pre-school. One of the teachers asked my wife if anything is going on at home since the boy didn't seem himself this week. She says it hit her at that point that we should divorce, although she failed to tell me any of this until the bomb in late Feb.

For over two months before the bomb, she says she looked for 'indications', that it was very hard for her to fake through my birthday and valentines day, and didn't want to repeat that with our anniversary. I'm so confused by this--no discussion about us, no demands make things different, not a discussion about divorce, just an appt with the lawyer and the bomb (no papers yet).

For my part in it, (and after reading some of the information here about MLCs), I have had a wildly challenging past 4 years. In 2008, I unexpectedly lost my dad, my sister sued me over our dad's estate, I lost my job, and lost our cat. In 2009, I was very dissatisfied with my new job and was considering a career change. We talked for months and in detailed ways about how/when/if I should enroll in a 1 year culinary program and build a small restaurant. We talked about how we would work together, how hard it would be, but how we'd manage it. So I left my job, started working part-time at another job, and was accepted to the school. A week before I started, she told me she didn't want to be a stay at home mom anymore, how she loathes cooking, and wanted to apply to a 1yr teaching program. I expressed my serious concern--stress of both being in school at the same time, childcare and transport, riding our finances slim, and having opposing schedules. I wasn't sure we could handle it, but supported her if that was what she had to do.

In hindsight, that's when I started becoming very depressed, feeling abandoned my her, with brief moments of passion pursing my new career.

So, skip ahead a year to 2011. After a difficult year, which was stressful to our relationship, we're both graduated. I'm working 60hrs/wk at a restaurant, she's subbing and looking for a full-time gig. She's unhappy with a perceived imbalance in the housework, and I'm still up-down depressed. She feels abandoned in our marriage, as do I. We talk to each other about it, but rarely, walking on eggshells, have listless sex every other month, arguing, but trying. Two of her friends keep whispering in her ear that they know for a fact I'm having an affair (not true). More stress. She feels concerned about her weight, starts taking doctor prescribed phentermine (even though she's in recovery) along with her antidepressant she's been on for years. I get a chance to own the restaurant at which I'm working, but it doesn't pan out. Deeper depression for me. Our dear dog dies.

Then, mid-year on a rare day that we're both off, she absolutely shocks me and initiates sex--for the first time in 10 years. Couple of weeks later, she tells me she's pregnant.

We discuss options--although having another baby would be awesome, the reality is that there are severe medical complications with her having another pregnancy. We mutually decide for her to have an abortion. There are two visits involved. She insists the first visit has no gravity for her--show up, take two pills, and leave. She tells me it's stupid for me to take off work. I acquiesce, call her repeatedly to check up. The next visit, I arrange to get off work and get told by her how the first appt was the important one, that I missed that one, screaming at me insisting that I don't come. I'm floored. My depression seriously deepens.

The new owner of the restaurant is absolutely awful. I quit in September. I start looking for another job, and places to buy. After running the restaurant numbers again and again, I can't make them work--unless it's a family run restaurant. My depression takes me by the neck, throttling me. I start drinking way too much, which although certainly not helping anyone, doesn't have any visible negative consequences. I was feeling completely crippled, even having irrational fleeting thoughts of suicide. I tell this to my wife, asking for her help. She tells me, yes, I do need help and does nothing. Deeper.

Then December, her 'moment of clarity', months of her looking for 'indications' while at the same time spurning me for any support, a hug, a kiss hello. Not even a handshake.

Then the bomb at the end of February. I'm crushed, but from god knows where I find the energy to stop drinking, to meet 1-1 with a marriage counselor, get on antidepressants, get help.

I asked her to go out for a dinner, which was civil and polite. After pointing out to her she has made a unilateral decision, and without actually talking to anyone--all this was on her own save the lawyer--she acquieses to seeing a couples counselor, but to help me feel better about her decision. This week we have a first session.

In the meantime, in just the past two weeks, I feel like I'm starting to be back in my own skin. I feel like I don't know where or who I was for months prior. Our home life is civil and 'pleasant', at least for the kids. We talk about our days, but not about us. She sleeps in another room, will not kiss me, but will hug me hello/goodbye.

As I get my head screwed back on, I'm concerned that the technique of being aloof and distant--a technique which I've used successfully in the past--will not work in this case. I'm beginning to suspect she's having a MLC of her own.

Good lord, I've about written a novel here...apologies for the length.
Thank you for any help or advice.
_________________________
(formerly crushd)
Married 14 yrs
M41/W43/D7/S4
M: MLC, major depression/W: WAW
Bomb 2/26/12, 2 days before anniversary
Detachment, Grown Apart, "I love you like the father of my children", EA/PA?

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#2232564 - 03/22/12 07:12 AM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: ouroboros]
Cadet Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/09
Posts: 5177
Welcome to the board.

Divorce = SPACE

She is asking for SPACE, give it to her.
Get out and GAL.
DETACH.
Believe none of what she says and half of what she does.
Have NO EXPECTATIONS.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.

You are on moderation right now on the forum.
SO post in small frequent posts until you get off of it.

Your W is giving you a GIFT.
THE GIFT OF TIME.

USE it wisely.
_________________________
Me-60, D27,S26

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#2232577 - 03/22/12 08:54 AM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: Cadet]
sayitaintso Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/11
Posts: 951
Sorry you are here Crushd but as they say on here its the best place to be during this awful sitch.

I certainly can empathize w/ you. My w hit me w/ a bomb which seemed out of nowhere and moved out 8 months ago. Looking back their were signs but she never once sat me down or communicated how unhappy she was and I feel never really tried to work on us.

Anyhow, I thought I was going to die and it took me months to get to a point where I could make it through a day semi-productively. Buckle up because it is going to be a long ride.

What Cadet says is above is great and simple but by no means is it easy. Keep posting as much as possible and now is the time for you to dig deep to see what things you brought to the M that need to be worked on in order for you to become the best possible person that you can.

Best of Luck!!
_________________________
Me- 34 W-33
S15 S10 S6
Married- 11 Together- 18
Bomb- 6-2011
WAW moves out- 8-2011

"Nothing in the Universe can stop you from letting go and starting over at anytime"- Guy Finley

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#2233007 - 03/24/12 08:50 AM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: sayitaintso]
Cadet Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/09
Posts: 5177
Not sure that there is anything different in your second thread, please point it out to us if there is.
_________________________
Me-60, D27,S26

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#2233033 - 03/24/12 12:02 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: ouroboros]
Dory Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 75
Loc: West Coast Canada
Hi crushd,

I'm really sorry you've found yourself here, it's a brutal situation to be in. There's lots of great advice and wisdom to be found here.

I've got to tell you, your story really jumped out at me. Nearly everything you've described seems so eerily familiar: The chronic external stresses, lack of sexual intimacy, depressions, feelings of abandonment, right down to the lack of emotions when the bomb is dropped.

I know too well that feeling of having the rug pulled out from under you. It's gut wrenching. In my own sitch I had made the grave mistake of assuming that the distance between my H and I was the result of all the recent stresses that had been placed upon us and that given time, life and our M would settle back to normal again.

I'd like to recommend (along with DB & DR) that you read John Gottman's Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I read this book under the advice of my therapist and I must tell you, it gave me a very clear picture of what had really gone wrong in my M. It showed me that the external stresses in life, although were a contributor, there was far more going on than what I had initially realised or was willing to accept. I will forewarn you, that reading this book and the light that it shed left me incredibly sad about what had really gone wrong in my M and why my H was/is feeling the way he is feeling about us. Despite all that, it gave me a clear understanding on what really needs to change if I wish to have any hope of restoring my M.

At his point, I think it's a good idea to try to stick to the 37 rules/guidelines. I read in James Dobson's book, Love Must be Tough that the WAS is typically feeling trapped & obligated and the LBS needs to pull back to reduce the pressure the WAS is feeling. I'm wondering why it is that you suspect that going dim, or in your words "aloof and distant" would backfire in your case? Can you elaborate on why you feel that way?
_________________________
M:36 WAH:41
M:16 T:17
D:12 SS:21
Bomb: IDLY 10/29/11
Separated same day, about an hour after the bomb.

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#2233068 - 03/24/12 04:19 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: ouroboros]
sandi2 Online
Member

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 10949
I have some questions, if you don't mind. First, why do you think she's having a MLC?

Second, why didn't you go to a doctor way back when you first started having the depression? Why did it take her dropping the bomb before you took action to get better? Within two weeks you can already tell a difference in your feelings! I bet that could tick your W off, except for one reason.....she's done with it.

Why were the two of you seeing a therapist 2.5 yrs ago and then ten years ago? Was it your W who wanted you to see somebody? Did she feel the M improved afterward?

If your M survives, it will be b/c you start becoming the man you should have been for years. I believe it is harder for a woman staying with a depressed man than the other way around....mainly b/c the way we are wired. We believe men are suppose to be the stronger vessel, and when he's depressed it can put him in a very unattractive light that makes him appear weaker than the W. Women are not attracted to men who are emotionally weaker than she is. Now, most women can deal with it for a while, and especially if he seems to be trying to help himself get out of the depressed state. But if he's not doing anything about the depression (like taking antidepressants), she begins to feel anger & resentment, and she begins to lose respect for him.

You've got a long road ahead of you. It will take a lot of emotional strength, energy, and strong determination that you are going to become the best man you have ever been.

You've made the first step by getting medication. Now listen, do not stop taking your meds when you start feeling better. It is very important to stay on them b/c you've been this way for years and you may have to take AD from now on.....but so what? If that's what it takes, then do it. Your family will appreciate it! I'm sure it has not been a picnic living with you.

You need to read Michele's article on the home page here, the WAW Syndrome. It sounds similar to MLC. One things for sure.....she has walked away in her heart.

Please post every day b/c that will build up your support system here on the site.
_________________________
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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#2233428 - 03/26/12 03:44 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: Cadet]
ouroboros Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 41
Originally Posted By: Cadet
Not sure that there is anything different in your second thread, please point it out to us if there is.

Sorry, it's a duplicate.
_________________________
(formerly crushd)
Married 14 yrs
M41/W43/D7/S4
M: MLC, major depression/W: WAW
Bomb 2/26/12, 2 days before anniversary
Detachment, Grown Apart, "I love you like the father of my children", EA/PA?

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#2233429 - 03/26/12 03:51 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: Dory]
ouroboros Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 41
Originally Posted By: Dory
I'd like to recommend (along with DB & DR) that you read John Gottman's Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Thank you for the reply as well as the suggestion, I'll check it out. I've read DR.

Quote:
I'm wondering why it is that you suspect that going dim, or in your words "aloof and distant" would backfire in your case? Can you elaborate on why you feel that way?

I'm concerned that her dropping the bomb is a reaction to feeling my detachment already from having a severe relapse of depression since Sept. Recently, I've been following the "37 suggestions" as it were, but I see more signs of relief than change.

Also, in doing some of the things that one's not supposed to do, such as delivering her flowers with a specially worded note from early in our M, I kinda got the impression that it challenged her point of view. But really I don't know. Maybe it was just her feeling resentment...
_________________________
(formerly crushd)
Married 14 yrs
M41/W43/D7/S4
M: MLC, major depression/W: WAW
Bomb 2/26/12, 2 days before anniversary
Detachment, Grown Apart, "I love you like the father of my children", EA/PA?

Top
#2233433 - 03/26/12 04:08 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: sandi2]
ouroboros Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 41
Originally Posted By: sandi2
I have some questions, if you don't mind. First, why do you think she's having a MLC?

That is based my observation of her rather spontaneous decision to return to school after years of being a SAHM. Maybe I don't have my terms right, I'm not 100% about MLC vs. WAW yet.

Quote:
Second, why didn't you go to a doctor way back when you first started having the depression? Why did it take her dropping the bomb before you took action to get better? Within two weeks you can already tell a difference in your feelings! I bet that could tick your W off, except for one reason.....she's done with it.

Depression, for me, is a numbing monster. It isn't obvious to me from the inside that it is occurring. It's not feeling sad, it's not feeling.
I did make some half-hearted attempts. I spent 8 hrs over a couple days trying to get an appointment that takes my insurance. Without belaboring the details, it didn't pan out and my demons told me it didn't matter anyway.

I have no idea why the bomb motivated me. Desperation, shock, or trauma I suppose.

Quote:
Why were the two of you seeing a therapist 2.5 yrs ago and then ten years ago? Was it your W who wanted you to see somebody? Did she feel the M improved afterward?

In hindsight, the reason had to do with her passive aggressive behavior over our friction over her perceived imbalance in the household chores, including general tasks for taking care of the kids (e.g., making lunches). I found this peculiar as I've spent most of our M freeing her of obligations (e.g., hiring someone to clean the house regularly, doing all the cooking, doing the bulk of the dishes to just be able to cook, etc).

In other words, I thought there was a balance where I was doing 50% of the chores while going to school full time and simultaneously working part-time, while she had no job or other responsibilities. I definitely felt and still feel an utter lack of gratitude for my contributions, as if I'm reduced to a nuisance (e.g., sex, interaction) or a convenience (e.g., do her chores for her).

I'm a bit surprised to find myself feeling some anger and resentment about that situation as I type this out.

Quote:
...You've made the first step by getting medication. Now listen, do not stop taking your meds when you start feeling better. It is very important to stay on them b/c you've been this way for years and you may have to take AD from now on.....but so what? If that's what it takes, then do it. Your family will appreciate it! I'm sure it has not been a picnic living with you.

Thanks, certainly good advice...30 days with no drinking, I've been exercising, meds are clearly effective for me, getting out with friends, and performing nearly all the household tasks (which actually makes me feel good rather than resentful).

Quote:
You need to read Michele's article on the home page here, the WAW Syndrome. It sounds similar to MLC. One things for sure.....she has walked away in her heart.

Will do. And yes, she has walked away.
I'm also realizing over the past few days, regardless of my very real blame for this, is the fact that this worsened considerably when she started taking phentermine. A side effect of that is emotional detachment. I don't' know, I'm probably grasping at straws.

Quote:
Please post every day b/c that will build up your support system here on the site.

I think I needed to hear that, thank you.
_________________________
(formerly crushd)
Married 14 yrs
M41/W43/D7/S4
M: MLC, major depression/W: WAW
Bomb 2/26/12, 2 days before anniversary
Detachment, Grown Apart, "I love you like the father of my children", EA/PA?

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#2233439 - 03/26/12 04:28 PM Re: Spinning, neglect, loss and the bomb [Re: ouroboros]
Accuray Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 2088
I had the same problem -- W's main complaint was "lack of quality time and connection" so detaching and giving space seemed to fly in the face of making things better.

First, "giving space" doesn't need to mean "aloof and distant", it can also mean "pleasant and independent" -- that's really what you're going for. Think of it like applying a "friend standard" -- what level of intimacy do you expect from your friends at work? You probably don't expect them to kiss or hug you. When you try to engage them and they're not interested, you don't care that much. It's like "hey, I'm going to get a cup of coffee, do you want to go?" If they say "no", you go anyway and don't give it a second thought. There is no reason for them to feel guilty for not joining you. That's the space you want to give -- there is no reason to feel guilty for not engaging with you. You have no expectations about things you're "owed" or what your friend "should do for you".

Does that distinction make sense?

You need W to "see" a future with you where you are a fun, strong, independent person who's going to add more to her life than you detract. There is *nothing* you can do to paint that picture with words, you can only demonstrate it with actions, and those actions need to be repeated again and again and again. It's like retraining. If you teach your dog to "speak" and give him a treat when he does, you may find that his barking becomes annoying. If you now just don't give him a treat you haven't retrained him, he views it as an exception to the rule. Only through never rewarding barking again and instead rewarding other behaviors do you change the dog's perception of your relationship.

Although you felt your first post was long, it wasn't long enough. More details are better. Here are some things to think about and maybe post about:

1) What patterns have defined your marriage, both good and bad?

2) What initially brought you together?

3) What do you have in common?

4) What makes you individuals in your marriage?

5) What do you respect most about each other?

6) If you envision your future with W, what does it look like?

Your expectations right now are your worst enemy. You will expect that whatever you "do" to improve the situation should make things better on some "reasonable" timeline. Unfortunately, your actions will have less impact than you expect for far longer than you would like. Expect that there are no guarantees. Expect that W owes you nothing and may choose not to engage. Expect that whatever effort you put into improving yourself will pay off in one way or another, either with W or without her.

Accuray
_________________________
Married 18, Together 20
M: 45, W: 47, D: 15, S: 13, D: 9
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
ILYBINILWY (again) 7/12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014

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