I was just asked for a divorce 2 weeks ago. Our marriage has been less than stellar for 5 of the 7 years. A quick run down: My father died 11/7/14 We married 1/26/15 We bought a house 2/15/15 He moved 3 hours and started a new job, "here" on 4/7/15 His stepfather died 4/11/15 (unexpected) His mother died 4/22/15 (battle with cancer) His father died 9/2015 I saw him spiraling down a dark hole of depression, I begged him to talk to me, but he shut me out, I begged him to talk to a professional..........blah, blah, blah. For a couple of years, it was "okay", but the fusses became more frequent; it was almost like he was completely shutting out everyone in his life and he has become and IS, SO angry. He has never hit me. He would break his hand on a wall first, but in my constant pleas of get help, WE are not doing well, stop shutting me out, it has continued to get worse. We haven't slept in the same bed for 2.5 years and haven't had sex in about the same amount of time. We seemed okay until I tried to ask about our lack of communication. They were ALWAYS met with HUGE resistance. In the past 6 months to 1 year, the arguments have become so verbally abusive. He calls me really bad names, tells me that he has told me what needs to change (yet I don't know), says that I left him to wallow in the most difficult time of his life. He set up cameras in our bedroom, like he was spying on me thinking I was cheating and I found them and confronted him and he is gaslighting me into thinking I am in sane. He says that he loves me but WE don't work. This is my 3rd marriage. My first two husbands cheated and I could NOT let it go. This is his first marriage. I am 12 years older than him. I am 52, him, 40. I DO have trust issues, but that was known before and during our courtship and marriage. Normally, with him, I didn't go through his things. He was not like the other two....until I was printing some paper off of the computer and found porn. He admitted it and said it was a one time thing; but here are those trust issues again. I am at a wall. I DO love him and want my marriage to work. BUT, I seriously don't know which of the techniques I even need to try. He has resorted to literally living in the basement. We speak, very civilly, when I go to the store, I buy the things that he wants, likes, needs. I cook dinner and we have had a few together. As long as conversation stays superficial, we are fine. Anytime I bring up "us" or staying together, his answer is SOLID, that he is resolved on his decision and WE don't work. I 100% believe there is NOT anyone else. He has made zero effort to pack or leave, but the living environment is causing me to walk on eggshells and wonder what is next. Someone please give me some path to go down. After reading Divorce Busting, The 7 steps and listening to "A Woman's Guide to Changing Her Man".............is seriously have NO clue what to do because I don't feel like WE fall into any criteria. He is 100% against therapy. I started therapy a few months ago. His view on therapist are they are overpaid, evil people who tell him what a "f____" up he really is. I am at a loss guys. I welcome any and all help :-)
(((Cathy))). Gosh I so empathize with how you are feeling. I was desperately afraid of being alone and it was difficult in the beginning when my kids would go to their dad’s. In that process, however, I realized two very important things:
1) I had been alone in my marriage for a very long time. I just didn’t realize it because being “married” gave me the illusion of having a partner that I did not have in reality. A partner doesn’t fake medical treatments for four years in order to abandon his wife and family (read my thread…it is an unbelievable story).
2) Being alone does not have to mean that you are lonely. I was desperately lonely when I was married. And I have learned that I much prefer my own company to the company of someone around whom I have to walk on eggshells. That’s no way to live. But I had lived with it for so long, I didn’t know any better. I had forgotten what peaceful happiness feels like. I remember now. It feels great Cathy. I do have to say one thing though… as bad as my XH was, he NEVER, EVER called me names. That’s abuse, plain and simple, and something you should not accept. Please, please, please… work on your fear of losing him. Because that is what it is…fear. You need to ask yourself what it is exactly that you are afraid of and work at overcoming it. No one should ever be afraid of losing someone who treats them poorly. Just picture what it would feel like to get up every morning and walk into your kitchen feeling calm and peaceful because there is no one lurking around waiting to make you feel bad about yourself. Trust me Cathy. Alone is soooooo much better than that.
(Although, prioritize setting FIRM verbal abuse boundaries which will also help build you up.)
I want to reiterate what Traveler says here. I've alluded to this in previous responses, but this is really important. The worst thing you could do, even worse than divorce, would be to go right back to the same dynamic you guys were in before BD. Really think about what R and MR 2.0 looks like to you, then make that the minimum standard for saving your marriage. Verbal abuse is a non-starter, and as a former borderline verbal abuser (though no where to the level you faced), it takes a lot of work on his part. Including, whether he likes it or not, individual counseling.
I know right now its hard to see that D isn't the worst thing you are facing, but really it isn't. Deep down you do not want to go back to the way things were. You start moving away from that dynamic forever by instituting what I suggested before: if he starts getting verbally abusive you shut it down. "I refuse to sit here and be verbally abused." Then get up and leave.
Remember, moving forward to MR 2.0 is the goal. But moving forward is a requirement regardless of what he ultimately decides.
I think that is ONE of the most inhumane things someone has ever said to me.
It's common. A week after my long-term XGF and I broke-up, I totaled my car and called her for help. She didn't believe me--she thought it was a ruse to manipulate her. In fairness, I had tried to persuade her in the days before and her wariness to manipulation was off-the-charts. It's ironic that the same XGF lamented she was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease a week after her XH broke up with her, and it similarly pained her he would not listen. Poignant moments.
Originally Posted by CathyC
Do you all ever look at these threads (as an outsider) and just ask......"why do you want to continue down this path?"
You've been together a long time. It makes sense that part of you wants to stay together, and part of you wants to escape. Not to beat a dead horse, but my big hopes for you are: a) You will set boundaries for firm action when he or your own negative self-talk calls you names, b) You won't allow your emotions to lead to passive-aggressive behavior like threatening divorce or asking him to divorce--you'll take control by either filing or not filing, c) You will begin to find CathyC either solo or with your friends, realizing your H is currently neither your partner nor your friend. That may change in time.
You are not being a "witch" if you respond with efficient, non-rude answers. "Have you done the laundry yet?" "No, I haven't." Don't accept such names. Unless you're a practitioner of Wicca, of course!
I didn’t know, nor have I ever met anyone as stubborn or head strong as my want to be WAH. Before reading three of Michele’s books and joining this group, I did reach out to his sister. I felt like I needed someone that KNEW him to talk to me. Not to talk to him or to persuade him back but to find out if this has happened before, has he always been angry and just suppressed it. Who am I even living with. I did find out that he has a history of anger, he has really never had a relationship that was truly meaningful until ours. Long, yes but not true commitment. She believes that he does not have then mental capacity to love completely….and attributes that to his father/mother. I DO realize this is something I cannot fix. Again, I’m a fixer and my heart is shattered that I can’t fix this. It reminds me of a small child who is crying for help and no one is listening. 😢
Obviously, your health comes first. I would highly suggest finding things that occupy your mind. Hobbies, projects, other things you can engage in that will break the monotony of sitting around and dwelling on your situation.
As far as your previous marriages, I feel like cheating is a dealbreaker for most people. However, when faced with their spouse cheating, many hedge on that being a dealbreaker. So I give you a lot of credit, for someone that has admitted to being a bit of a doormat in the past, that you stood up for yourself and walked away from your previous marriages due to infidelity being a dealbreaker shows you can do that.
Cathy, my W and I were also IHS. IHS is rough, no question. I know you have mentioned it a few times. One thing to keep in mind is that we've seen many LBSs here that felt IHS was too difficult and pushed for physical separation, only to realize they disliked being separated physically even more! For full disclosure, it did help some be able to move forward and more easily emotionally detach. But for a lot it falls into the category of "be careful what you wish for." Many after separation end up fixated on wondering what their WAS is doing and whom they are doing it with.
GAL - Go out and do things that push you outside your comfort zone. Salsa lessons, spent time with friends, join a gym etc. Doing things like this builds confidence and can be very attractive to a WAS.
Your goal should be to get to the point you are no longer living in fear and wondering what your H is doing/not doing. And once you get to the point, there will be a shift in energy that your H will feel. He will notice not because you told him what you are doing, or because you are peacocking and trying to get him to notice your changes, but because you will give off a different vibe, a quiet confidence.
You want to get to the point where your H actually starts to fear losing you.
Cathy, there are unfortunately no shortcuts to any of this. You have to muddle through as best you can. Those in IHS always think it would be easier in physical separation. Those physically separated struggle with not having contact and not being able to "show" changes. There is no one is better than the other, unfortunately.
But you have to stop being his wife. He has fired you from that role. You can characterize it as "not being able to not take care of him". But in reality, it is your fear telling you that if you aren't "nice" then he will leave. Fear is your enemy, it will cause you to do thing that bring about exactly what you fear! Nicing him back by taking care of him is only reinforcing to him that he wants to move on. Your best next step is to STOP being his wife, stop taking care of him. Let him see what life is like without Cathy playing his wife. Stop letting him cake eat.
I believe there is a book for "nice girls" just like there is one for nice guys. Look for No More Mrs. Nice Girl or a similar book. It will teach you about trying to be "nice" in order to "deserve" better treatment, better relationships, etc.
I am starting to repeat previous advice so I will stop for now. But until you are ready to change your dynamic, your dynamic will not change.
I DON'T know how to not take care of people. That is my profession and that is what I have done with him for 11 years.
You ARE looking out for him by stopping those spousely duties--cooking, laundry, dishes, shopping, etc. You're honoring his request and showing him now WHILE THERE'S STILL A CHANCE TO FIX THINGS what life without Cathy as his wife looks like. When my son was in preschool and opted not to wear his jacket, I let him be cold and learn his lesson. That came from love, not anger.
If he responds with verbal abuse, you REFUSE to accept it, because you're worth more than that! Besides, you're showing him you've changed by not breaking down or responding in kind.
I hear you that it's hard to GAL outside your home this week. A girlfriend's house is great!
I have SERIOUSLY even contemplated putting a voice recorder in the area to see if he is talking to someone else.
It sounds like he's been clear with you that in his mind you two are through. Putting a voice recorder in his room would be an invasion of his privacy and perhaps illegal. The consequences if he found out, or if you caught him pursuing a woman but didn't act, may be high. He may not be able to forgive you. You'd look weak. You'd have trouble unhearing. All these are common outcomes we've seen before. It's also focusing on him instead of focusing on you, the nurturing CathyC!
Yes, I think that is why so many of us word it that way, it is impactful to understand exactly what he is telling you. So many LBSs hear "I don't want to be married anymore" from their WAS, and what they hear is "You better become super-spouse or I am going to leave!" That isn't what they are saying. In fact, most WASs get irritated with the LBS when they suddenly become the perfect spouse. Their attitude is "Where was this all along? It is too little too late!"
So the best thing to do is to give them what they want. A life without you. Go live an awesome life on your own, and maybe they'll be attracted back and get interested again.
Cathy, I know you are still recovering, and you have a friend coming in. Start making your plans for what you want to do once you get back on your feet, back to work. IC? Support group? Reconnecting with old friends? Rediscovering old hobbies and activities? Have a plan, and then put that plan into action.
1) I really truly think your husband is deeply depressed, that being said if he refuses to get help for his mental health you are under no obligation to deal with it. You are under no obligation to deal with his outburst, or his paranoia, or his made up history of your relationship. Think of him as a mean drunk. Would you take this if he has AODA issues? If the answer is no, then don't take it. Depression is treatable, if he chooses not to treat it that's on him
2) IHS is super intense and really hard. I'd recommend reading through the MLC thread. Their situations aren't exactly the same as yours but I think it would be more similar than a lot of the newbies' situations here. You in particular might want to look at cardinal's thread. No kids, IHS, H is petty and mean, and can be verbally abusive. She's been doing this a long time, and they are finally in the D stage but he's still in the house and dragging his feet every step of the way. Maybe it'll help you if you see how common this hot mess is.
3) The best thing you can do for you and for your MR is to worry about you and do your best to work toward detaching. The sooner you can step back from H and his ugly words the better you will feel. The sooner you get some of yourself back the sooner you can stop walking on eggshells in your own house. Take some of that energy you've being dumping into worry about this, and trying to save this and worry about you and save you from this. Your mental health matters here. Yout feelings matter here. You matter. And you being happy, healthy, and whole is more important than anything else right now. Exercise radical self love. H doesn't want to love you any more. Fine. You're going to love yourself better than he ever did.