Temporary Separation - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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Temporary Separation

We have been married for 15 years and have always had a rocky marriage. I have suffered from an eating disorder, anxiety and depression off and on for most of the 15 years. I have received counseling and am in counseling right now. Three and a half years ago, our daughter passed away unexpectedly and to say the least, our lives have turned upside down. We are both trying to navigate the waters of grief and have taken steps to heal. Our marriage is in a horrible place right now and I am the cause of it. When we got married, my husband was a very attractive, active man. We did a lot of active things together...running, hiking, climbing, etc. We enjoyed being in each others' company for most of the time. However, I feel though that we lacked connection. I get fed through conversation and he is very quiet. He gets angry easily and I often felt trapped and alone. I would bottle things up and turn to my eating disorder to cope with it. Of course, when we adopted our daughter, we seemed to drift apart. When our daughter died, we had to figure out how to be a couple again, which has not been easy. Fast forward to now. I have become very controlling of his diet and exercise. About a month ago, I blew up when he started overeating at dinner. He doesn't care what he eats or how much and claims he knows a lot about nutrition and activity. I don't have a healthy relationship with food and exercise, but his overeating is disgusting. I've controlled what food we have in the house, which I know is wrong and controlling. I told him a month ago that I won't shop for him or be part of any of his meals. I am not attracted to him at all and feel alone because we don't do active things together anymore because according to him, I don't make them pleasant because I am so obsessive about my activity. Neither of us has many friends so we spend either time alone or together. I am trying to make changes and not let his eating affect me, but I turned a switch last night and blew up after he ate a whole box of pasta. I am a complete mental mess and am lost about what to do. I know I need to stop being controlling and manipulative, but I'm afraid that if I don't, he will become obese, inactive and thus, we will have nothing in common anymore. We talked about separating for awhile. We rent out a studio behind our house and he may live in there for awhile. I need a break from him so that I can figure out how to get better and treat him better. We have an appointment with our marriage counselor this week, but for now, i think we need some time apart. I know that all of this is my fault, but I don't know what to do to make things better. Do temporary separations work?

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 07:32 AM
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Re: Temporary Separation

You may get differing advice here, but my personal opinion is that separations, of any length of time, do not work.

Well, they work in the sense that if anything, they tend to solidify the idea that you can and should live apart. So, if your goal is to heal this relationship, I would not suggest separating. If your goal is to work on yourself and let the relationship go if need be, then I would suggest separation, if only so that you can focus more on yourself.

Maybe others feel differently or have had a different experience.

Forgive me, but it doesn't really sound like you love him. You're not doing the same activities you once did with him, so there's not much to bond over. You're very unhappy with the way he eats. I can understand as I once dated a man that did not care about his weight but it was just the way he wanted to live his life.

I'm sorry about the loss of your daughter and it's understandable that such an event is going to take a toll on the state of your relationship. There is a lot of unresolved hurt I bet... Did the two of you feel that you could communicate your sorrows to each other and find comfort in each other over the mutual loss?

It's good that you recognize your part in the breakdown of the relationship. Your Husband isn't here so we can't hear his side. Why do you feel the need to control his eating? Does it upset you because you are more worried that you will make a lapse in your own good eating habits?

He is a grown man and can make his own eating choices. What you do in response to his actions is your choice. In other words, I'm saying that you only really have control over your own actions and no one else's. By assuming control and forcibly restricting his food choices, you are sending a threatening message, so don't be surprised if he purposely does something to go against your wishes.

Putting his own eating issues to one side, do you feel that you are doing all you can to manage your own eating disorder, anxiety, and depression?
It is very difficult to repair the cracks in a relationship when either side has individual work to focus on. You must each work on your own, individual issues before thinking that you can repair the relationship. The relationship, after all, is just a combination of two people, in their present states of mind & body. Each side has to be healed, strong, and ready to come together again or you'll be stuck in the same place you have been before.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

~ Abraham Maslow
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 07:40 AM
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Re: Temporary Separation

Knowing your relationship with food isn't healthy, you can't trust your perception. Perhaps it would be best that you and he shop for, prepare, and eat food separately. If he begins to gain unhealthy weight, judged objectively using a scale and Dr' chart, send him to a professional for help correcting his diet.

It seems you are obsessing over his diet and exercise as well as obsessing over activities to the point that he sees activity with you as unpleasant. This is a serious problem above the paygrade of TAM'ers and needs to be addressed in therapy. Your therapist should be able to help you tame your obsessiveness so that your H will be able to enjoy activity with you again.

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 07:55 AM
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Cool Re: Temporary Separation

With rare exception, separations are only offshoots of a marital relationship whereby one of the partners desires "the space" because of the presence of covert infidelity on their part!

I'm not exactly saying that this is going on here, but in the overwhelming number of cases, it seems to apply!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 08:33 AM
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Re: Temporary Separation

You do need to seek counseling for your behavior, he probably is eating the right amount of food he needs for himself. This seems more about you controlling his food due to your disorder.

Moving out will not solve anything, but you do need to seek help and learn to stop controlling so much what your husband eats.

You do matter!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 09:24 AM
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Re: Temporary Separation

Originally Posted by ktheuerkauf View Post
We have been married for 15 years and have always had a rocky marriage.
Besides the food issues, and the terrible loss you suffered, what else would you attribute the fact that your marriage has been so rocky the entire time too?


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 10:15 AM
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Re: Temporary Separation

Your right, this is your issue and it's great that your aware. I think that communication is key right now. And let your husband know that you are struggling and you know your controlling and it's not fair to him and you love him so much and your going to work on yourself. Ask him if he thinks separating and getting space from each other while you work on yourself is something he wants to do. Make him part of the conversation, give him options. This is better than you just deciding and telling him what to do. Again it's about control.
You need therapy for yourself and you need to get your anxiety over food fixed. You have a unhealthy fear of weight gain which I'm sure you already know that. But gaining weight is not the end of the world, you can lose weight anytime. Ruining your marriage is not as fixable as weight lose/gain so focus your priorities. Why does gaining weight scare you so much?

I just want to piggyback on what @Satya said. You need to respect your husband and Let him be his own person and make his own choices he is a man not a child. All you can do is tell him how you feel which I'm sure he already knows and let him do what he wants. If he chooses to eat bad and gain weight, it's not the end of the world. If this happens THEN you can deal with it. As you know there are worse things out there than gaining weight.

Oh and For the record he does not have eating issues you do. Talk to your husband. Go to individual therapy. Maybe start journaling. Your aware of the issues but you need to channel that awareness into letting go of controlling him.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 12:16 PM
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Re: Temporary Separation

I echo everything Katiecrna stated, good post.

This is 100% YOUR issue. Honestly I am surprised he has stuck through this for as long as he had, I know personally I would not be able to handle someone trying to control ME in this way. My concern is that if you separate, he will figure out how freeing it is to be able to be in control of everything himself and will not want to work on things or get back together. So I think it would serve you best to work on this for yourself without separating.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

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