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I need help and a dose of reality

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InTheShade posted 4/8/2021 09:02 AM

This is my first post here. Short background: married for 22 years...bad marriage from the beginning. Wife has some deep emotional issues from her childhood and always considered me the enemy and unsafe. She has been physically and verbally abusive. Counseling for many years. She had an emotional affair for almost two years, confessed (I was devastated), did very little to help me recover from it and instead focused on my reaction...calling me abusive for being mad and hurt. We have two kids, both in college now.

The emotional affair with a guy from another state and through chats involved sexual talk, pictures, etc. No actual physical contact...I know this to be 100% true...I don't want to discuss how I know...just trust me.

I thought the affair would be a catalyst to actually improving our marriage, as she seemed very repentant and open at first. But pretty soon it was back to normal: blaming me for every wrong in her life, no love, no affection, no sex, no nothing. She claims she wants to be loved and cared for but gives nothing back...other than attacks, gaslighting, blame.

A year ago I decided to leave. The marriage was affecting my health and I was done. I moved out and it was a very sad day. I was pretty devastated. Some issues with my apartment forced me to move back for what I thought would be a few weeks but it's been 6 months and I am still in the house with her...sleeping in separate rooms.

I am ready to leave again. I found a place and I am ready to sign the lease. But I am very sad. I am sad to leave a home of 15 years where my kids grew up, a life I know, etc. I am afraid....I know I will be fine but it is devastating to think my kids won't be able to bring their children to our home (when they marry and have kids) and be a normal family. The apartment I am moving to is very nice but I am leaving my home, most of the stuff we have collected for years, memories, etc.

Financially we will be fine splitting up but most likely will have to sell the house. Her attitude is one of: "I want to work on things...leaving is YOUR decision", but does absolutely nothing to improve our marriage or get closer to me. So it is a guilt thing now.

I have been stuck in this for these past six months. I am worn out. I need to sign the lease papers and I get a sick feeling to my stomach. Or decide I am staying in this horrible marriage for the sake of a "family"??

I have read the fear/truth and it rings very true, but it is hard to see the light when you are in the thick of it.

Any advice from those who were very afraid, left, and how it all turned out?

I am healthy, have some good friends, activities. But I know there will also be moments of sadness and loneliness. This is just not what I would have wanted in my life.



asc1226 posted 4/8/2021 09:19 AM

You need to detach from your emotionally abusive WW so you can make decisions that get you out of infidelity and a bad M in general. Check out the simplified 180 in the articles section of the healing library here. Itís in the yellow box top left of the page.

TheLostOne2020 posted 4/8/2021 09:32 AM

InTheShade

Financially we will be fine splitting up but most likely will have to sell the house. Her attitude is one of: "I want to work on things...leaving is YOUR decision", but does absolutely nothing to improve our marriage or get closer to me. So it is a guilt thing now.

If there's one thing I've learned throughout all of this it's that words are absolutely worthless. Actions are what matter. She can recite you all the syrupy sweet words the world has to offer but if she isn't pulling her weight in repairing the marriage then all those words are just ephemeral nonsense.

I am healthy, have some good friends, activities. But I know there will also be moments of sadness and loneliness.

There's going to be sadness and loneliness in life, with or without her. What you have to determine is whether you two are miserable together and if that's fixable. Right now, from what I've read, the answer seems to be that things will not improve.

So, do you want to live a life you know will be filled with misery? Or do you want to live life how you want to, with the knowledge that it won't always be great?

Bigger posted 4/8/2021 09:38 AM

Have you and your wife sat down and talked about what you two want?
Both as a couple and as individuals?
Itís OK if the conversation starts from either of you with something like ďI donít want to be your spouseĒ making the next issue Ė what you want as individuals Ė be moot. If either or neither of you wants to be married to the other then the path is quite clear. Divorce.
The Big D isnít as complex or difficult as most people think it is. In your case I guess your kids already know of the issues Ė what with you having moved previously out Ė as well as friends and family. If people accept that generally divorce laws are relatively fair and go along with them it basically boils down to a tough Excel session and some legal dots and Iís
If however both of you show some interest in remaining married then the issue might be how to progress to the next stage of healing. If that was the case then maybe signing a lease.

I strongly suggest you and your wife have that talk.

AnnieOakley posted 4/8/2021 09:46 AM

ITS,

Iím so sorry that you find yourself here, but you will find support. 22 years is a long time to feel like the enemy in your own home/marriage and from the very beginning.

And years of counseling for her...have there been periods of any improvement?!? Or do you mean marriage counseling? (MC)

Because for many couples MC after an A has been a huge failure and makes things actually worse because the therapist has no clue/training on the trauma that the A has caused. They instead focus on fixing ďthe marriageĒ vs. the cheating spouse addressing their problems and what lead them to make the choice to betray and cheat. Own their shit!!

If you are truly done, there is no way thru this but to do it. One day or minute at a time. The distance from the abuse will certainly give you peace of mind, eventually. Allow it to take root this time.

You mention your health and good friends, both very important. Donít avoid the emotions though. Talk with a friend. Counseling for yourself. Is there something new you can tackle with your extra alone time? New hobby of some sort, balcony garden an option at your new place?

I was going to start salsa lessons last April (hello CV19), finally am doing it now. Private and vaxxed. Going to pickle ball next week with a GF-Iíve heard itís easier than tennis. 😂

You deserve better. ☮️

InTheShade posted 4/8/2021 09:58 AM

Commenting on some of the replies...

We have had many conversations and they never end well. There is a lot of defensiveness, lack of forgiveness, etc going on. We have tried a lot of counseling and it never helps. There is just no way that after 22 years of the same something will change. I am not sure what feelings I have for her anymore other than I want her to be fine with or without me.

At this point I think it boils down to the fear and anxiety of taking the next step and knowing it will be fine.

Actions speak louder than words. She can claim she wants the marriage but does little to change things...other than just checking to see what I do and if I am making changes.

I think a separation is the best solution. Ideally I would think of it as a temporary thing to allow us to be more introspective, see if we miss each other, and then decide. But I think her view is: "if you leave, all bets are off".

I think she is more concerned about finances, being alone, etc than about me. She hasn't shown any love or affection for years now.

My kids know about the situation. They are independent and they understand, so that is not a huge factor.

Bigger posted 4/8/2021 10:06 AM

Not the question I asked.
I have no doubts that you two have had numerous conversations but have you two answered the key question:
Do you want to remain married?
It should be answered by both of you with a single word: Yes or no.
No buts, no yes if or no butÖ The ifís and butís can be addressed IF you want to be married. Thatís where you try MC for a couple of sessions and see if you can move closer to a joint direction. If the answer is no then you sign the lease and start the formal process of ending the marriage.

barcher144 posted 4/8/2021 10:10 AM

I know I will be fine but it is devastating to think my kids won't be able to bring their children to our home (when they marry and have kids) and be a normal family.

I'm sorry for the brutal honesty, but you never had a "normal family" based on your description of your marriage. The *good* news, though, is that you can build yourself a new life that is normal and one that your kids can visit with their kids.


The apartment I am moving to is very nice but I am leaving my home, most of the stuff we have collected for years, memories, etc.

Her attitude is one of: "I want to work on things...leaving is YOUR decision", but does absolutely nothing to improve our marriage or get closer to me. So it is a guilt thing now.

This is a situation where you need to be an actual grey rock rather than someone pretending to be a grey rock. You're unhappy with her. She has demonstrated that she is not willing to work on the marriage.

You need to learn to not be affected by anything that she says or does. It takes practice but you can get there.

Also, my therapist once told me to pay attention to a person's actions, not their words. People can lie with their words... but their actions always tell the truth.

I have read the fear/truth and it rings very true, but it is hard to see the light when you are in the thick of it.

Any advice from those who were very afraid, left, and how it all turned out?

I've been there, done that. In fact, I stayed way way way too long. How do I know that? Once I decided to give up on my the marriage, I never missed her. Not once. It's healthy to have regrets... that's normal. It's not healthy to stay so long that you don't have regrets.

Anyway, in my experience, sooner than later, I started feeling really good. I had a whole new world of opportunities open up for me. It felt like freedom.

barcher144 posted 4/8/2021 10:10 AM

I know I will be fine but it is devastating to think my kids won't be able to bring their children to our home (when they marry and have kids) and be a normal family.

I'm sorry for the brutal honesty, but you never had a "normal family" based on your description of your marriage. The *good* news, though, is that you can build yourself a new life that is normal and one that your kids can visit with their kids.


The apartment I am moving to is very nice but I am leaving my home, most of the stuff we have collected for years, memories, etc.

Her attitude is one of: "I want to work on things...leaving is YOUR decision", but does absolutely nothing to improve our marriage or get closer to me. So it is a guilt thing now.

This is a situation where you need to be an actual grey rock rather than someone pretending to be a grey rock. You're unhappy with her. She has demonstrated that she is not willing to work on the marriage.

You need to learn to not be affected by anything that she says or does. It takes practice but you can get there.

Also, my therapist once told me to pay attention to a person's actions, not their words. People can lie with their words... but their actions always tell the truth.

I have read the fear/truth and it rings very true, but it is hard to see the light when you are in the thick of it.

Any advice from those who were very afraid, left, and how it all turned out?

I've been there, done that. In fact, I stayed way way way too long. How do I know that? Once I decided to give up on my the marriage, I never missed her. Not once. It's healthy to have regrets... that's normal. It's not healthy to stay so long that you don't have regrets.

Anyway, in my experience, sooner than later, I started feeling really good. I had a whole new world of opportunities open up for me. It felt like freedom.

HalfTime2017 posted 4/8/2021 19:32 PM

ITS - You are the only person that needs to make the decision to D. Divorcing, does not require both parties. If you feel that you're living a miserable life and only staying for the sake of a "family", then you can make that call. It sounds like you already did, and came back only b/c of a housing issue.

I Divorced and as hard as it was, we all make it. We all think its the end of world, will I ever find someone else, how about attorney fees.... the list goes on. I'm here to tell you, that it will all work out. Its a journey, but you've really already dealt with the shitty part, the part where you caught your WW cheating.

Work thru your feelings and seek IC if you need it. But I'm here to tell you, and many others that it will all be fine. You will make it, and you'll survive. Its not the end of the world, just your marriage, which you've already stated was bad for 22 yrs. Don't waste another year in this arrangement.

InTheShade posted 4/9/2021 08:45 AM

Thank you all for the honest (and brutal honest) replies. They help. Yesterday we had a conversation about me moving out and finances. It seems that is her main concern...which is fine. She is now saying I should stay up until after we go through this class on forgiveness that was recommended to us (do it separately). And then she talked about a divorce while living together so that we don't spend extra on an apartment. It feels as if she doesn't much care about how I feel, it is all about finances to her.

And then the guilt trip comes. And while I know she is probably not doing it on purpose and it is my decision to accept it or not...it happens. The comment: "but it is your decision. I would stay here but if you want to move out it is your call. It will just be hard financially for awhile and I think I would have waited until after this class". She knows I am agonizing with the decision so this just takes me to a place of deep anguish. I am sitting there listening to this while I stare at the pictures of our family on the wall.

Yes, we have never truly had a good marriage.

I was so deflated and stressed out last night. I can't take much more than this. I already went through abuse for many years, her emotional affair which took me 3 years to recover from...on my own. That emotional affair lasted 18 months and it was during a time we were supposed to be working hard on the marriage and in counseling. She confessed it, I will give her that, but did not do much to help me heal (she got protective of herself because I was mad).

So it has been a hellish 5 years and I am spent. I know how the "divorce from home will go": we finish this class in two months, nothing changes, I am ready to move on but kids are back from college so now "wait until they leave so that it is not ackaward". So we are not in August/September again. I don't know I have life left for that.

I have truly never thought of dying as a way to find peace but I am now. I can't take much more. I feel stuck and I can't get out of it and I am dying inside. I see no way out.

asc1226 posted 4/9/2021 10:04 AM

Sign the lease today. If itís going to be more than a couple of days before you can move find a friend or family member you can crash with. It sounds like youíre trying to find out how long you can hold your breath while youíre 100 feet under water. You will find out, but the cost will be dear.

Bigger posted 4/9/2021 10:14 AM

The reason I wanted that question asked is simply to better understand what it is you want.
I donít do half-ways. I you should be married with the goal of attaining the best marriage EVER or you divorce with the intent of allowing your ex to have the least negative effect on your life.
Itís not enough that one says that itís the others choice to divorce. It needs to be BOTH decision to reconcile. There is a vast difference in what your wife says: I want to work on thingsÖ to really committing or doing the work. As is it sounds like sheís holding a gun clutched to her heart, pointing at herself and asking you to pull the trigger.

I seldom see separation as a good tool for reconciliation. It can be, but then it needs a very clear timeline, rules and purpose. I donít see in house separation, money-saving tips and/or cohabbitting once divorced as a good tool to either divorce or reconcile. In fact, I think it has more in common with the present limbo Ė only as divorced.

If you sign I strongly suggest you start doing the research needed to file and divorce.
Iím OK with you saying something along the lines that the present situation isnít sustainable and the only logical conclusion is divorce. Iím also more than happy with you stating and accepting that once the ink is dry you and your then ex wonít be sharing Sunday dinners or helping each other in buying cars or the laundry. You will live separate, gradually more distant lives. Iím also OK with you reconsidering IF she commits to reconciling (note RECONCILING and not blame-assigning or trying to win some argument), but what is clear to me is that the present situation of limbo isnít doing either of you any good.

Bigger posted 4/9/2021 10:46 AM

The reason I wanted that question asked is simply to better understand what it is you want.
I donít do half-ways. I you should be married with the goal of attaining the best marriage EVER or you divorce with the intent of allowing your ex to have the least negative effect on your life.
Itís not enough that one says that itís the others choice to divorce. It needs to be BOTH decision to reconcile. There is a vast difference in what your wife says: I want to work on thingsÖ to really committing or doing the work. As is it sounds like sheís holding a gun clutched to her heart, pointing at herself and asking you to pull the trigger.

I seldom see separation as a good tool for reconciliation. It can be, but then it needs a very clear timeline, rules and purpose. I donít see in house separation, money-saving tips and/or cohabbitting once divorced as a good tool to either divorce or reconcile. In fact, I think it has more in common with the present limbo Ė only as divorced.

If you sign a lease I strongly suggest you start doing the research needed to file and divorce.
Iím OK with you saying something along the lines that the present situation isnít sustainable, and the only logical conclusion is divorce. Iím also more than happy with you stating and accepting that once the ink is dry you and your then ex wonít be sharing Sunday dinners or helping each other in buying cars or the laundry. You will live separate, gradually more distant lives. Iím also OK with you reconsidering IF she commits to reconciling (note RECONCILING and not blame-assigning or trying to win some argument), but what is clear to me is that the present situation of limbo isnít doing either of you any good.

InTheShade posted 4/9/2021 11:00 AM

@ Bigger: the answer is not simple. I don't want to be divorced but I don't want to have another minute of the marriage I have had for 22 years. My wife would also rather be married but not like this either. And I truly don't see how things can change. There are aspects of her personality that will not change and are very hard to live with. There is blame shifting, anger, etc and the amount of work that will take to address and "possibly" change all of this is monumental. And with no guarantees.

crazyblindsided posted 4/9/2021 16:28 PM

I have truly never thought of dying as a way to find peace but I am now. I can't take much more. I feel stuck and I can't get out of it and I am dying inside. I see no way out.

This is exactly how I felt right before I left. My M was never good either and I stayed too long and was very afraid to leave. When I had the thought you mentioned above I knew it was time to leave.

Life is good on the other side, it is very peaceful and I am enjoying it. Never thought I'd like being alone so much. I am a much healthier person now. I don't sit around depressed. I have stopped drinking to numb my pain. I actually have life in my eyes again and I no longer feel like dying will be the way to achieve peace.

I know my kids notice it. I take them places to do things again instead of putting it off because I was so exhausted and depressed. I am really happy, truly. My kids have a better parent again in me, like I was before I knew my M was a wreck.

Separate and see how you feel. It reinforced for me that I had made the right decision and don't ever want to go back to that again.

Anna123 posted 4/9/2021 17:12 PM

She is now saying I should stay up until after we go through this class on forgiveness that was recommended to us (do it separately)

So she either feels she needs to learn to forgive you for--(fill in the blank). Or she is planning on you learning to forgive her for her affair and (fill in the blank)? Not sure here but what you describe sounds like torcher. Her telling you it's your decision, yet not making any solid effort to accommodate your wishes, is not workable. Divorce will be a welcome refuge once you get past hanging on to the idea of what 'could' or 'should' have been in this marriage. Sorry you are going through this:-(

I promise you, it is so much better on the other side if you move forward with the divorce.

nekonamida posted 4/10/2021 18:25 PM

ITS, DO NOT fall for her guilt trips or accept any of her requests for you to hold off on separating. She has proven time and time again that she is abusive. Even if the physical abuse ended years ago, her emotional abuse of you continues. ANY request of hers for you to stay close to her is about control which is agreed upon by experts to be THE defining feature of abusers. She wants to keep control over you even if it's just for superficial reasons - finances, projecting the appearance of a successful marriage, etc.

Move forward and inform her that you're leaving when you're closer to your move out date. Get into IC and examine why you've stayed for over 20 years and why you've put up with her abuse. Examine why you still entertain her control over you today. Get healthy.

ChamomileTea posted 4/10/2021 19:41 PM

I know how the "divorce from home will go": we finish this class in two months, nothing changes, I am ready to move on but kids are back from college so now "wait until they leave so that it is not ackaward". So we are not in August/September again. I don't know I have life left for that.

I have truly never thought of dying as a way to find peace but I am now. I can't take much more. I feel stuck and I can't get out of it and I am dying inside. I see no way out.

There's your dose of reality, right there in the quote box. Copy it down and put it in your wallet. It's you, in your own words, telling yourself what your preference is. You got yourself so wound up at the prospect of staying in the marriage that you practically bumped yourself off by the second paragraph. You might have nights when your apartment doesn't seem quite like home or moments when you wonder if you could have stuck it out. But when that happens, take out these two paragraphs and read them again. Trust yourself to make the right decision for you.

Marz posted 4/10/2021 22:35 PM

Stay = get more of what youíve had.

It is your choice.

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