I am a first time poster. I have been married for 11 years now. Last week I moved out of our flat because I couldn't take it anymore. I now live in a rented apartment. It is very lonely. I miss my children (5 & 8).
4 years ago I moved the family to Hong Kong so the wife could be close to her ailing MIL. Her mother has been in and out of the hospital during the whole time. During the entire time we've been here, the entire life of the family revolves around the inlaws. My needs and feelings came last. Her MIL is a drama queen who craves attention.
She went and bought a car we could not afford; not for me, or the family, but for her MIL. "She wants her MIL to be comfortable in the last days of her life."
Things took a turn for the worst starting this year. MIL was hospitalized again, and the wife started showing signs of stress; acting odd, tuning out, on facebook all the time, and she has found god. For a couple of months there, the wife virtually disappeared and I was left taking care of everything; the kids, her bills, everything. The wife was sleeping in the hospital with the MIL.
Ever since we lived in NYC, and for the past five years I have been complaining that my needs were not met; and they came last. I have always put her first on my list. I even moved the family so she could be close to hers. She did not reciprocate. It was always the needs of the MIL, then the kids, then our friends, and then maybe me.
I feel like she never listens to me. Whenever I was upset and silent, she would treat me transparently. She did not care if I slept on the couch, in a tent behind the estate, or in some dingy motel.
She went to a marriage therapist for several sessions but gave up and started going to church instead. She started putting the kids in church against my wishes. I am fervently anti-religious.
I asked her to leave. She would not.
After reflecting, moving to HK was a mistake. My in-laws destroyed my marriage. I should have kept them at arms length.
The resentment and anger have built so much for the past five years I just could not take it anymore. I grew up in a violent dysfunctional family and I do not want the same for my children. I did not want to blow up so I moved out.
I desperately want to see my kids but I do not want to call because I am still incredibly angry with her and I don't want to put the kids in the middle of it. I am afraid she is filling the kids heads with BS about me and at the same time the church is brainwashing them.
I feel like I have been walked all over and abused. I feel nothing but hate and anger towards my wife and the way she has treated me. I feel like a doormat.
This is the hardest thing in my life. I wait by the phone/email all the time hoping for a call from the kids (or her). I need to get out and live life. Travel.
Forgive me if I am rambling. I need to vent because I have nobody to talk to. I need some words of encouragement (or discouragement).
I live in a flat close by. I will never be far away from my children. I am not going to dump them. I am not going to be a deadbeat dad. I am still paying the mortage and bills.
The thing is I am very mad and angry right now. I don't want to put the kids in the middle of it. All I want to say to them is "Mommy is mean to Daddy and doesn't give a **** about him." I don't think that is appropriate to say to a kid, so I am not going to say it. I need to calm down first.
You're right, that would be a terrible thing to say. Glad your head is on straight. Definitely cool down. Welcome to TAM -- this is a great group of people who really care about each other...for many, including me, TAM has been a lifeline each and every day.
That said, my first take is this: your childhood trauma may have prepared you to take the back seat in your marriage. Have you had trouble setting boundaries with your wife? Have you given all you can and felt like she has not given back? Do you feel like a doormat? You might be a Nice Guy, and/or Codependent. (I'll let the men around here explain.... Gentlemen?!)
The good thing right now is that you landed here -- a place where you will begin to find support. We will help you get some counseling, help you get through your days, help you figure out what the heck is going on when you are at a loss. The great thing? You don't have to stay unhappy. By addressing the issues that brought you to this place, you can begin to heal your past, grieve the end of the dream you once had for your family (whether you reconcile with your wife or not), and learn how to become a healthier man so that you will never end up in this kind of situation again.
Marriage didn't come with a manual...we are educating ourselves now, and let me tell you, knowledge is full of hope!
>> Have you had trouble setting boundaries with your wife?
Yes and No. I have to fight to keep the boundaries I want only to lose repeatedly. She does not listen to me. I feel like I am talking to a brick wall. She goes and does things without discussing them with me. She enrolls the kids in all these extra-curricular activities without discussing with me. She buys a car without discussing with me. She buys a piano. etc. I tell her after the fact she needs to talk about this with me first but she ignores that.
>> Have you given all you can and felt like she has not given back?
I have given her my life. I moved the family just so she could be with hers. I have given all I can.
>>Do you feel like a doormat?
I feel like a doormat who has been **** on. Literally.
Life is NOT moving on without you. Your kids need you and love you, and you know that. Your wife detached a long time ago, so really nothing has changed except for the fact that you finally stood up for yourself, you made a stand and said "I won't take this anymore."
You did nothing wrong by compromising for your family and giving to your wife through your marriage. But when she started to do things that irked you, when she stopped being your partner and started living independently while you started living co-dependently, things began to go downhill.
I have learned that a relationship is a spectrum. At any given time, you are either moving closer together or further apart. I bet if you think about it, you can identify times when she started moving away from you, and you let her go -- probably because you were afraid that if you held her to your boundaries, she'd leave you. Am I close?
We are on different sides of the world and I need to go to sleep in a few minutes, but I wanted to leave you with something more positive before I do.
Please know that today, your only job is to breathe.
You will feel angry, sad, maybe depressed, guilty, ashamed, jealous, insecure. It's all normal.
Let yourself feel everything, as much as you would prefer not to. This is what must be done to begin to heal. It will hurt for a while, but over time it will get easier and lighter. The more you let yourself feel those awful feelings now, the more you cry it out now, the more you punch the couch and pace the room, the faster you will begin to feel better.
I hope that your day gets a little better. Sending hugs.
Thanks for the advice. I am feeling horrible now. I will just focus on breathing. I will skip the team lunch today and do a run - I am an emotional wreck. I can't face anybody.
I have never been worried about her leaving me. I am just sick and tired of being treated like a doormat. My needs and feelings and constantly been ignored. I am 10th on the priority list, while she is #1 on mine. I just could not take her abuse anymore so I had to leave before I would do something I would regret. Now I am just dealing with the pain of the decision I made - very painful indeed.
Oh, boxhead. How awful. I'm glad you have made the move to divorce.
I do want to gently echo the comments above about your kids. Your kids only know that you are gone and you are not talking to them. They cannot interpret that as, "gee, he's got problems with mom and is probably too upset to call right now." They cannot. All they "know" is that their daddy doesn't love them anymore.
If you have the smarts and the strength to move from England to HK to New York, then you have the smarts and strength to have a cordial convo with your children in which you do not bash your wife. Will it be easy? No. Is it the right thing to do? Yes.
I wish you well -- don't do anything stupid, you're in a very bad place right now. It's okay, we've all been there, but you have to hold it together.
conrad - she hasn't listened to me for years. she went and bought a car without talking to me. she put the children in church without talking to me. She signs the children up for all these extra-curricular activities without talking to me. She doesn't listen to my viewpoint and that hurts immensely.
iamaga - thanks for the input. I talked to both my son and daughter today. It was very difficult. I have to keep talking to the children but I am having a hard time keeping the anger aside. I can't even look at my soon-to-be x-wife now.