Re: Welcome to Talk About Marriage
I was pleased to find this site as I'm looking for a sounding board when I get frustrated with my husband's emotional issues and need some perspective.
He suffers from anxiety, a problem that first reared it's ugly head about 5 years ago where before it didn't exist. It is sometimes so severe that he has a difficult time functioning and, as a highly educated man with a demanding job, this is extremely worrisome for him. He is 53 years old, looks 40, and was a very strong person before this all happened. A quality that I very much admired.
I run a business myself, am very decisive, strong willed and direct so, when I feel he is falling apart, I find myself becoming impatient with him.
This absolutely horrifies me.
He deserves my understanding, kindness and support, not my contempt.
When it first happened, I couldn't do enough to try to help him as my heart broke for him and how he was suffering. I arranged counselling for him, drove him to and from work day after day while making sure I also got to work (remember his commute is 100km). I would talk him through anxiety attacks over the phone several times a day, reseach information that I thought would help him cope and just be there for him in general.
Now when he has flare ups, I find myself rolling my eyes and clenching my teeth instead of feeling sympathy. I get irritated and frustrated and wonder when the hell it's going to stop. I try my very best (honestly!!) to not convey this to him but I find my inner dialogue is frequently negative.
Basically I need people to remind me that I'm being a b*tch as with the job I do, I can easily lose touch with my soft side!
Fortunately, aside from low grade general anxiety, he only has acute flare ups once a year or less which, in my eyes, makes my reaction even worse. he also stays in the city during the week now, which eliminates the need for me to drive him to work when he's having a flare-up (this has nothing to do with the anxiety and everything to do with the 2 hour or more rush hour drive...each way).
To be honest, I think the problem is that I'm terrified that one day he'll have a flare up and it won't go away. Ever!
I am 11 years younger than he is and I don't know if I could continue on in the relationship if that were to happen, but I can't imagine abandoning him either. We are (were) both such independent, strong people that I feel this problem is an extremely cruel twist of fate, making him more dependent on me which I can't help but see as weakness. I don't like it and I know that I'm being incredibly selfish. Hence the guilt.
It's funny because if it were a physical problem it wouldn't bother me nearly as much. I definitely fell in love with his character and personality which changes during these times.
Our relationship is great otherwise. We communicate well and aside from the intimacy issues we're experiencing due to the weekend only contact (which we discuss and take measures to improve) we enjoy each other, have no difficulty with jealousy and treat each other with respect.
In 10 years we have never once yelled at each other or called each other a mean name - not that we don't disagree or fight, 'cause we do!! :-)
Anyway, I look forward to receiving the advice I'll seek from time to time as, in reading through the board posts, there is no shortage of wisdom and good sense. :-)
Thanks for allowing me to become a member of this community and I look forward to getting to know everybody.