Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Aurora, CO
| | Is it really too late to save our marriage?
My husband and I of 7 years (3 married) are getting separated in a couple weeks.
We had a beautiful relationship, and a romantic story on how we met, got together, fell in love, etc. We were so much in love and we thought nothing could tear us apart, and although we had our rough times and petty arguments, we always got through it somehow.
However, in those years we have been together, there have been issues that have been brushed under the carpet because we were too afraid to confront each other about it. Although we still get along great and have a lot of similarities, there were several issues that weren't address until it was too late. For instance, we've got bad communication. Whenever he was feeling down about stressful situations (finances, school, etc), I would try to comfort him, but it rarely ever worked. He would say that I wasn't helping and even lash out at me accusing me of never listening or never caring about him. It would get to the point where I would start to feel awful and guilty about whatever he was feeling and the fact I wasn't helping. It would then lead to him comforting me in the end. That's why he feels like he has given so much to me all these years, but has never received anything emotional support in return. It makes me feel awful and guilty, making me feel like I'm to blame for him being miserable and ruining our marriage.
Then there's the difference in how we handle stressful situations. I tend to hide my sad/angry emotions and try to laugh it off when I'm stressed, and it takes a lot for me to break. He on the other hand tries to hide it at first, but gets pretty passive aggressive and eventually lets it out, and it takes a very long time (well over an hour or two) for him to fully get better despite my efforts and others to try to make him feel better. This may be because of his untreated A.D.D. After doing research, we've found that all the symptoms he has match those of A.D.D., including suffering from something called ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). That would explain why it takes along time for him to feel better when he's sad/angry, and people with A.D.D. naturally use these negative thoughts as a stimulant, which makes it even harder to get over. Needless to say, this has gone untreated for a long time because he felt like he could use it to his advantage, to brag about it, and embrace because it defines his character.
Then of course there's the financial stress. We were both going to college when we married. I used to have a job a few years ago, but quit because it was awful and they stopped giving me hours. Since then I have been searching for one, but haven't been successful, so it was him that was supporting us for a majority of our marriage, working as a server. It pained me to see him do all the work with me not being able to find a job, and I know it stressed him out too. I just recently finished college in May and although I haven't landed any interviews yet, it gave me a sense of pride that I would finally be able to find a good job to help support the both of us. But now that we are separating, I feel like I have failed him as a wife as far as the financial support.
Although the decision to separate is mutual, he is the one who is really leaving me. He had been hurting very badly, to the point where he had an emotional affair with my best friend to try to get away. He says he ended it (although that's questionable now) and feels truly sorry and guilty for trying to find the easy way out. I was willing to forgive him and I asked him to give me a chance, but to no avail. He says he feels like he's tried so hard and has given me a chance for 7 years to make things work and how he hoped I would turn around and emotionally support him the way he needed to be. I told him that I can change, and that couples therapy would be best for us to try to understand each other better and to try to work out our communication problems and get individual professional help as well, but he thought even that wouldn't work for us, that our problems are way in too deep to save our marriage. He still loves me, but says he needs to do this for his own good.
I just don't know. I'm hurting so much, even more so as the day comes closer when we'll be moving away from each other. We had so many plans for the future, we were even planning to start a family at one point. Now my dreams have been ruined, especially of wanting to be a mother, which is really killing me inside. He says it's not my fault that he's lost faith in our relationship, but every time we discuss our problems he makes it sound like it is. Am I really the one who screwed things up with us? Is it really all my fault? Is our marriage really unsalvagable?