In Need Of Urgent Help And Advice Please - What Do I Do?
I spent last night into the small hours reading many of the threads on this forum and I really need some help and advice - I feel like I am dying inside at the moment
H and I married in 1996. We were very young, in our early 20's, and the first few years were fine, although it is fair to say we were both extremely career minded. He wanted to have children back then, but I loved my job so much I didn't want to, and to be honest in my 20's the thought of having children wasn't even on my radar.
His parents divorced when he was little as his Dad left his Mum out of the blue and he was brought up by his Mum and his step-dad, who has acted as his Dad. His biological father remarried and didn't come to our wedding, citing the seating arrangements on the top table as the issue. He has never spoken to my H since, nor H's sister, nor seen the two little girls she has, or kept in touch with his mother, brother and sister. I thought I'd mention this here, because it will be significant later on.
I had to change a lot about myself and compromise for the sake of the marriage. He needed constant reassurance, even things like if he cooked a meal he would constantly say, "is it okay for you" and if I ever criticised it, even if it was something really tiny like the pasta was a bit overcooked, he would be all like "why, why don't you like it". He could never take any constructive criticism and being with him sometimes felt like walking on eggshells.
He was also extremely arrogant, and I mean EXTREMELY arrogant. He is VERY high up work wise in his industry, and I think this went to his head a lot. He set himself goals like earning the same amount in thousands as he was for his age at the time, which he did and even surpassed very quickly. I couldn't help but admire his tenacity for things like that. I always thought to myself that one day he would create something by accident, and that thing would go on to be huge. This is also significant, so please bear with me.
Then when we had been married 7 years I couldn't take the arrogance any longer. We are both big fans of Formula 1 and this one particular Sunday the race was on very early in the morning as it was the Japanese Grand Prix. He decided that he didn't want to watch it so early, but that he would avoid hearing the result and watch the re-run later in the day. Well my Dad dropped round, as he often did, and said "hey, what about that Ferrari 1-2 win then" - well my Dad didn't know what we were trying to do, it was an accident he said that! My H went into a complete tantrum and said, "That's it, he's ruined it, I can't watch it now", went up the stairs and slammed the door. This is just one example of his arrogant and childish behaviour, and for me was the last straw.
So I said I thought we needed to separate and he went to stay with his parents. But he was very apologetic and wanted to try again, so after a while we did. At this point I was ready to try for a baby. Several years later and 5 miscarriages later, my Doctor finally referred me to be looked at. I was convinced the problem was me, but it turned out it was my H due to a genetic condition, and that the only options open to us was ICSI or sperm donation if I were to have my own biological child, rather than adopt, as I COULD have them. We were devastated, and even now I don't think I've recovered from all the miscarriages I went through and the news we got.
I haven't been perfect in our marriage - I love writing and poetry so I have done a lot in that arena, created a festival in my spare time and it is fair to say that I've been guilty of doing other things and spending time writing/performing my poetry instead of on the marriage, especially since I started the festival and that took up a lot of my spare time. My H got on with his job and career and didn't really question me, so I thought it was okay. Also our personal life suffered because it became all "functional" and timed to trying for a baby so much, and after we found out about my H's genetic condition that was totally off the agenda.
So last year just after we found out, one of our close male gay friends offered to be a donor. Now this is where I know looking back I really went wrong - I wanted a baby that was biologically my own so much (I was 37 then, 38 now - so I don't have all the time in the world) that even though my H was not at all keen on the idea I went ahead with the "turkey baster" method, despite my H saying that he wasn't happy about it. But I had gone into "panic" mode about my age as my Mum was 37 when she started an early menopause, and at the time that was ALL I could think about, that I was going to go down the same road because daughters can follow the Mum if they have an early menopause.
We had asked our friend if there were any inherited conditions in his side of the family, after all, we had to know because if there had been it would have been going from the frying pan into the fire. He assured me there wasn't, but I then found out that that wasn't the case from his sister - their mother had serious mental health issues with paranoia, schizophrenia and all sorts of other things. Thank god that despite having two cycles of trying "turkey baster" method I didn't get pregnant. Suffice to say I fell out with this "friend" over that, and although my H didn't say anything, I knew that he wasn't at all happy with me for not listening to him about that - I really really wish I had
On the work side, going back to what I said earlier, my H created some software that began to sell all over the world and we created a company together (I own half of the business). I gave up my own career to help him because he had a full-time job at the time the product was launched online, and took it from us both working in an office at home to offices with staff, we are now up to 10 members of staff.
One of them is a long standing friend from when I was at school. She had moved back to the area having separated from her husband who gave her the “l love you but I’m not in love with you” speech, I met up with her when she came back, to cut a long story short she was looking for a job and we needed someone with her expertise. Looking back, that was the biggest mistake I ever made, and this will become significant later on too.
In the end my husband had to give up his full-time job to work on the business full-time, because I was working well over capacity myself trying to keep on top of everything. I gave up the festival I started, I gave up my writing, I gave up my career and every waking moment was spent working on the business. Even with my husband having given up his full-time job, we were both over stretched with how the business progressed.
It is again fair to say that we stopped being like husband and wife, going out together, spending time together etc – except for at the office. He slept in the spare room at night, because he has terrible problems with snoring, which he knows about (he is a bit overweight) and he wanted to make sure that he “slept well so he’d be alert for the office” - he would always start off with me at night and we would have a cuddle or whatever, but then he’d let our dog out and go to the spare room. In the morning I would go in with him.
The business became his very life. He had no other topic of conversation, he wanted to stay in the office as late as possible every night working, he went into the office at weekends, he was glued to his phone for his work emails all the time as well. But I accepted it because I thought if we worked really hard now, we could pay off the mortgage and other things and enjoy ourselves later on, and in the absence of there being any children, it was a bit of a trap that we both fell into.
So, towards the end of last year he went on a business trip to the USA with my friend who works for us. And when he came back, looking back on it now, he seemed different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he wasn’t at all himself.
While he was away I went back to my doctor and asked for blood tests to find out my ovarian reserves and if I was heading to a menopause – with my Mum having had hers so early I needed to know, even though discussing anything with my H was taboo since the whole incident with our ex friend. It turned out that even though I am 39 I have the fertility levels of someone in their early 30’s, and there was no indication that I was heading to a menopause any time soon! My Grandmother was 47 (yes, 47) when my Dad was born, so I guess I must have taken after his family. This being the case, my GP said based on my results we could probably get two rounds of ICSI on the NHS, and he referred us.
I told my H when he got back from his trip and I thought he would be happy, but he said flatly, “that’s great”. Christmas came and went, and then on January 6th, totally out of the blue, he gave me the “I love you but I’m not in love with you speech” and said that he doesn’t have feelings for me as a wife anymore. I was physically sick, I couldn’t believe it. He absolutely insisted that there was no-one else, but I had my nagging doubts that someone or something must have triggered it off. He did say that he wanted to “see how it goes”, so I agreed. He even suggested going away and booked a week’s holiday in Florida.
But I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that something was going on – even if not physically then emotionally – between him and my friend who works for us. And it affected my performance in the office – I couldn’t help it maybe I should have taken a break from the office, but I didn’t want her “worming” her way into what I did even on a work level, but she was at more than full capacity herself so I don’t see how she could have done, but it was still a fear I had.
In mid-January they went down to London for a business meeting, and when they got back – I’m not proud of this – I just lost it in the office in front of her, my husband and the staff It had just all bottled up and I attacked her and her work performance, I did undermine her, but I’d been through so much emotionally I just couldn’t help it – which was unlike me – I am always usually so calm, controlled and collected My H immediately jumped to her defence, didn’t support me or even try to understand why I did what I did, apparently had “meetings” with all the staff members the following Monday and said that none of them wanted me there because of what happened and I wasn’t to come back to the office. This reinforced for me that something was going on with the two of them even more. I’ve since learnt from my solicitor that I should have dug my heels in as a joint owner of the company and still gone into the office, but I was so shocked that he sided with her and wouldn’t listen to what I had to say I just did it for a few days, but then went back.
I consulted a solicitor about everything and divorcing, where I was told that no matter what I was to hold on to my half of the company. After that we went to Florida for our holiday where things were a bit better, but not back to normal. He didn’t want to talk about the marriage or the relationship, I couldn’t even bring it up with him. And then one day while we were there his phone beeped while he was in the shower, he asked me to look at it for him and it was from her – the text was actually okay and business like, but I could see the whole thread of texts and there were a few that I considered to be inappropriate from her, she’d texted him at a weekend saying “I’m doing my bathroom, want to come and see my plumbing”, and things like “Thanks for sorting out that customer issue, you are AWESOME as the Americans would say”. To be fair to my H, his responses weren’t flirty or anything like that, but hers were inappropriate given she is meant to be my friend and they were to her boss.
When we got back things in the office were strained, but I think that’s because my friend had time with the staff while we were away to manipulate her way in and undermine me in there. Things were okay in the office before I left just about, but I’m sure she’d done some meddling while we were away – I could feel the atmosphere was so different there.
During this last few weeks getting my H to come home on time to spend time together, or go out and do something as a couple was like getting blood out of a stone – he still worked late and thought of nothing else but the company. A week ago we had our consultation appointment about ICSI and were told our first cycle of that would start mid-March, he was quiet during the appointment but we did have a situation arise in the office with a customer that day so I put it down to that.
Friday night we actually went out for a meal and to a live music gig. Then yesterday morning he got up and said he’d been up “thinking about it” all night, that he just wasn’t getting that “feeling” back and he was going to phone his Mum to come and pick him up. He said he had to say it now because of the ICSI treatment starting and he didn’t want to go down that road until he was certain of his feelings for me, and he needed to get away to decide that. He said during the time he is away he might start the divorce proceedings off but that we could stop them if he decided he wanted to be married to me after all.
I just looked on in total shock as he threw a load of his clothes into a suitcase. He said he would give me the house, the car (we share a car between us as with working in the same place we weren’t using our second car so got rid of it), he would give me a monthly “salary” as I don’t have a job or income as I gave up my career to work on the business and that I could keep our dog. His Mum came to get him, he said he wanted to meet up for lunch on Monday, and that was it – he was gone.
I got my parents to come round and we are all convinced that while nothing may have happened physically, it looks like an emotional affair. My friend is quite overweight and one night at dinner with my parents and my H my Dad made an innocent joke about it, and my parents were horrified the way he jumped to her defence immediately. It is also significant that he is the exact age that his Dad left his Mum when he was little. My Mum said that she always had a gut and niggling feeling that one day he would do the same thing as his Dad and he would turn out just like him. He clearly has. My Dad also said that it looks like he has replaced actual children with another “baby” – his company – as that’s the only thing that seems to mean anything to him now.
So here I am, in bed at home, I can’t stop crying I do love my husband and I married in the Catholic Church so for better and for worse I want to do all I can to try and resolve this before I let it go. I want to suggest relate, and that we “date” for a bit – but any and all help or advice you can give me after reading this very long post would be really appreciated.
I have given myself a username of EternalHope, even though I am dying inside, because I have to try and believe that things will get better somehow.
Thank you all for reading this,