Typical pattern in even successful MC?
Hi folks -
Wondering if what my wife and I are going through is typical.
Our marriage has been rocky for about 5 (of the last 20) years. It came to a crisis this past Jan.-Feb. and we both agreed to go to MC (we had talked about it once or twice over the last couple of years in agreement we could probably benefit - but neither one of us had rushed to do anything about it).
When we started wife was like 90%-10% in favor of divorce (her words). She readily agreed to counseling though I was wondering if her motives were really to repair rather than make divorce easy or get validation. Anyway we saw a couple of MC and picked the one we felt was the best fit. We started with him in mid-March.
In late-April / early-May the MC and I saw a pretty good amount of progress. Our fights had turned into discussions, etc. My wife, though, thought not much had changed. Granted, we had spent most of the prior six weeks talking more about communication and weekly incidents rather than the core issues that we wonder are irreconcilable (sex, money, parenting, the usual!) But I was disappointing she felt things were not better.
On May 5 I told her I guess we can't make it work if she isn't full-in on trying to actually stay together if we can resolve stuff. I presented her with options (separation, divorce (mediated or traditional)).... The next day she said she really wanted to try to make it work and was all-in for a six month attempt at which point we'd re-evaluate. At that point her behavior did change somewhat but she still wasn't doing the MC 'homework' etc.
[My changes have been happening - drastically - for the good. Beside better communication style I have also gone on a SSRI, medical weight loss program, diet change, exercise, and individual counseling started back in March. The whole family remarks on my turn around on anger and respect issues and how I am treating everyone so much more 'normally'. It has been four months of success (even wife agrees).]
So we were on the reconciliation, all-in path (at least in theory) since early May. On Memorial day we had a lonnnnnng discussion (most of the day) about trust issues (both sides). There were some things in that discussion she basically really hated. She thinks my trust of her is just a matter of a 'leap of faith' based on 20 years (we didn't have trust issues till recently over some shady financial stuff she did, but wont admit it was shady.) She was offended by my doubts (though she is okay with her doubts about me!)
The next day she said she didn't think this was going to work and that we are too far apart on issues and she is too offended. After a few days I talked her off the ledge. Basically saying 'yea, this is hard sh**. It is going to be tough going through this. But are you still willing to try knowing how hard it might be. She never really said 'it is worth it'. She still has doubts. But we have tentatively agreed to go back to the 6 month reconciliation path. But I sense she really isn't as all-in as she was. As I am the 'talker' (she is a passive-aggressive withdrawer who hates conflict and 'deep' discussions) and as the one who really wants this to work I know I sometimes push the process too hard and fast (the MC warns me as a gardener I can't tell the strawberries to "yell grow faster"!) which makes this all harder too. I have to keep my pursuer in check (which I didn't do last weekend!)
So, my question is... for those who have been through this (hopefully successfully) I assume this isn't a straight line from bad to good relationship and that an occasional stumble together on a hard issue will bring back the bad and maybe make one (or both!) doubt if this painful process is worth it! I also assume that maybe her not doing the homework, reading the books may not be a sign of hesitancy but just avoidance (she is an avoider and also processes things slowly.)