I love my wife. I decided to love her long ago and I believe love is a decision, not just a feeling. She had a challenging childhood, so I always knew that being married to her would come with trials. But everyone needs love, and no one is perfect, so I chose to love her. I was tested two years ago when I found out that she had a 6 month affair that was very physical. In fact, more "physical" than she had ever been with me. I was crushed, but I still loved her, and our children, so I forgave her. I tried to show her even more love, to help her overcome her feelings of guilt. For a while things were better. Then, she started having troubles. She had frequent panic attacks that often ended with her in the emergency room. She had lots of pain symptoms that doctors say are related to her stress. She became consumed by her own pain and did not care for me or our children. Her pain and panic attacks have now gone away, but she remains very distant from us, treating us in ways that make us feel that she doesn't love us. If I had to choose between having a wife that had an affair, or a wife that treats her family like this, I would choose the affair.
I just want to be loved. My kids just want to be loved. I forgive her for the affair (and the kids don't know about it). I want so much to do the right thing, and I want to keep showing her love. But I am starting to wonder if staying with her is really best for my kids. I've always believed that you should stay committed to a marriage, no matter what. But now, I am seeing the stress and anxiety that she is bringing into our family. When can you make a decision that things are beyond hope? Or perhaps it is better for the kids to learn about commitment and faithfulness, in midst of trying circumstances. I am willing to be unhappy if my kids will be better off because if it. But I don't want it to be all for nothing. So, when is the right time to decide that the kids are better off suffering through divorce than suffering with a challenging parent?
Is it possible she is depressed? I have clinical depression, and before I started my meds for it, I very closely matched the description you just gave for her: distant, not showing that she loves you. For me, it was because I was so depressed that I couldn't feel the love - I knew it was there, I knew I love my kids and boyfriend, but I couldn't feel it. I simply could not access that.
If that's what's going on with her, then treatment *could* change things and begin to improve it. And if you think that might be what's going on with her, then I think you owe it to all of you to stay while she gets treatment and see what happens after she gets treatment and is no longer feeling so depressed.
If she refuses to get treated, or if you think this isn't what's going on with her, then you have to look at how things are now, and how you think they would be if you left her, and the potentially bad consequences of leaving her, and decide what's best for you, her and the kids. Keep in mind, too, that the wonderful picture you paint in your mind of how things would be without her, may not be what would actually happen. You have to be prepared that if you leave her, things may not go as you expect and it will be hard and quite probably suck for a while.
Also, if you leave her, even if you get custody, she'll still have visitation. So, the kids will still deal with a challenging parent, perhaps not on a daily basis, but they will still deal with it. And it could be worse in that situation, because she could put them in the middle asking them what you do and who you see or trying to turn them against you.
In terms of when you decide it's time to give up...well, that's up to you. Some couples decide to stick it out "just a little longer" and end up being together until death. Some give up after the first argument on the honeymoon, and some don't even make it to marriage before they give up. The question is not when is it time to give up, but can you give up without looking back later and regretting it?
the guy -- I do want to show my kids an example of a good marriage. But also, they need to learn not to give up just because things get hard. Every marriage is hard. I believe many end in divorce when things could have been worked out. So I guess I am trying to decide between teaching my kids how to persevere through difficult times vs. giving them a secure and loving environment to grow up in.
atruckersgirl -- The doctors she has seen have all said her issues are due to anxiety. She has tried 4-5 different depression/anti-anxiety medications. Each one increased the frequency of her panic attacks, so she ended up going off of them. That is part of her problem -- she is giving up hope that she can ever get better.
This is trying for my family, but then I think -- what if she got cancer or was seriously hurt in a car accident? Would I be asking if we'd be better off without her? Her issues are mental/emotional, and perhaps within her ability to control, but shouldn't I stay committed through this trial just as I would if she had a serious accident or physical illness? I could probably find a better wife/mother, but is that what is really best for me and my kids? I really don't know.
DNewsom77, I feel your pain. My DH doesn't have panic attacks but he doesn't show his love for me and our daughter. He says he loves us but the actions and gestures are missing. I feel he has walled himself off from my love because he feels undeserving.
You don't say how old your children are. My daughter was 17 when I learned of his affair. She's 19 now and living at home attending college. This has been very hard for her. H and I were separated 3 times and each time I think the emotional roller coaster is much harder on her. At one time she begged to move out because she couldn't handle not knowing how dad would behave that day or if we would be "off again." I was crushed and told her that he would move out permanently before she did for this reason. I know at 19 she's almost ready to be on her own but I will not have her move out because she is uncomfortable in her own home.
Several times she has said she doesn't understand why I didn't just divorce him already. I tell her it's complicated. We've been together 22+ years and I feel our relationship is not without hope. He is incredibly depressed and only recently started medication which he says makes him feel numb. He sees his MD in a few weeks and I hope he will try another medication. His mother was schizophrenic and had her medications figured out by the time I joined the family so I never saw her at her worst. For the longest time DH thought taking an antidepressant made him "crazy" like her.
I don't know when it's time to call it quits. I wish I did. I know I will never regret trying the last two years to make it work. You say your children do not know about the affair but they know something is wrong with mom. How is that affecting them on a daily basis? If you knew that in X months your wife would be a loving wife and mother again of course you would stick it out. How comfortable are you with an indefinite timeline for her recovery?
Homemaker -- I agree with what you have said. My wife and I are both frustrated that doctors can't find anything (other than anxiety) that can explain her symptoms. We've looked into adrenal and thyroid issues. While she has lower than normal estrogen levels, the doctors say it is nothing to worry about and are sticking with their anxiety diagnosis. She is seeing a counselor and a psychiatrist, but hasn't really seen improvement. For now, I am waiting it out and doing my best to support her. Perhaps it is best to keep doing that the rest of my life. I don't know.
Is it possible she doesn't want to love you and kid because she wanted you to go away with the kid? She wants freedom and falling in love with any man she likes instead of staying with you for marriage and commitment?
In that case, you should really plan for a better life and happiness for yourself and your kid. Posted via Mobile Device