Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Hi.

I'm relatively new to the forum but my husband and I have been struggling for quite some time. We have been in therapy since April, both together and separately. We have two boys, age 10 & 11. We have been married for over 18 years. We have had a lot of ups and downs in terms of infertility, a sick child, demanding careers, etc. But we have always come together and have been able to attack our issues. Our kids are thriving.

The problem has been that my husband started sensing a real void in our marriage a few years ago--not just physical intimacy, but emotional as well. And he's right. I sunk into depression about 3 years ago and withdrew from him. I was in denial about it for along time. I have always been an overachiever and did not think I needed help. I was exhausted, anxious and depleted on every level and I could not and did not respond to his needs. I put the kids and the demands of my career first, thinking that my husband understood. I needed to keep my job as there were many expenses related to my son't illness. I felt my husband was demanding too much of me.

I began to get help earlier this year and went on an anti-depressant which literally changed my life. I have been working to get healthy and have been working to repair the damage I have done. He feels that is too late. He is not sure he has what to repair our marriage and in a sense, start over. Neither of us have been unfaithful. There is just tremendous sadness and heartbreak.
He would like to try a separation. My therapist thinks it's potentially very damaging, esp. to the kids. Our marriage therapist thinks it could help. My husband wants to figure out how to be happy and practice "self-care." I wish he could do that while we are living together, as I am doing now. He has not closed the door to reconciliation down the road, but says that "he's not sure he has what it takes to make me happy." If he does move out, he found a place that is month to month and we would continue to "date." He says he doesn't want anyone else, I kind of believe him--as he says, he just feels "gutted", his self-worth is at an all time low.

I love him to death. I want to grow old together. I want us to have a happy life with the kids. I am sick that I am the main reason this has happened. I've lost a tremendous amount of weight in a short time; I literally can't eat. I am doing everything in my power to show him that I love and support him.

Should I support his need to separate and try to make it as easy for him as possible? I really care about him and ultimately want him to find happiness. He is from a divorced family and he really doesn't want to do this to the kids. Is there hope for us to perhaps repair the damage and maybe rebuild a new and better relationship?

Our kids are amazing, we are still very kind and respectful to each other, of course there is tension, but the kids have no idea. We are brutally honest with each other.

I have lost faith on our marriage counselor because she has not really been much of a guide. We revisit the same things week after week. Argh. But I'm not sure what another marriage counselor would tell us at this point.

Any advice/insights/personal stories are welcome.
thank you-
nan

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 09:47 PM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Change counselors. Find one you both like. We have a great counselor. We have seen her 15 times, and she never fails to surprise with something. My wife and I are learning lots of things we didn't know about ourselves, the other person and how to communicate.

Afraid I can' t help much on the separation idea. Personally it sounds like a bad idea to me. But i suppose people have R after worse, so, I'd say it's possible to R after. But still seems like a bad idea.

I can add insight into the 'self-care' need. I grew up in an addict's home. I grew up stuffing my emotions and not seeing my own needs and emotions as valid. I jumped right from that home into marriage. We have had some great time, but some of my wife's happiest times were my worst. I am learning how to balance caretaking my needs with still caring for my family. It's difficult to do as there is always something my wife or kids needs me to do, or something that needs to be done around the house. It's like I can never find time to do something just for me. In fact, i have a hard time figuring out what I can do just for me.

And that's the best thing you can do for him. Help him find the time to do that 'self care'. Be thoughtful in how much of his time you demand, and let him have some alone time. Join a gym, bicycle neighborhood poker game, something. At least a couple times per week where he can be him, without you or the kids (he needs to pick the activity, that's important. My wife keeps trying to identify things I can do for me. I know she means well, but I have to keep telling her to stop it! To figure it out for yourself is part of caring for yourself).And I personal don't think you need to separate to do that. But i'm not in your husband's shoes, so, take that for what it's worth.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

thank you SO much. It is incredibly helpful to hear your story. I wish you all the best.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 11:34 AM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Yes it is absolutely possible. My wife and I reconciled after TWO fairly long separations with lots of mess in between.

He's obviously shut down because he felt his needs were unmet for so long, he gave up believing they will ever be met. I understand you've realized this and are trying to make amends but the emotional valley he's in takes lots of time to come out of. Are you sure you are up for the challenge - lot's of people promise to change only to revert to old behaviours after not too long. Have you made promises you've not met in past?

I'd do two things: Continue on being supportive, ideally an active sex life, etc. Second, make separation real for him by discussing the logistics: "Honey I love you and want to support you. I don't want to separate, but if that's what you want we need to agree on the terms..."

- Are we going to date others?
- Where are you going to live? How much will that cost?
- What is the custody schedule?
- What will you do with your nights?
- What expectations can we have of each other?

I'll tell you the first few months of nights alone after having been used to being a full time father are pretty hard to get through. Dating is hard to get your head around.

You basically want him to realize he has a safe harbour at home.

BUT, if you can't deliver on that, then let him go. It sounds like he put a lot of effort into you that went unreciprocated. Don't just use the guy because you now realize you want him.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

thank you for your post. I have thought long and hard about whether or not we should stay together and whether I have it in me to turn things around. Bottom line is, I love him. Everything about him. And in my gut, I think we can be happy. I am sick over the mistakes I've made and I guess honestly, I can't blame him for wanting to leave. He's been down for so long. In a much different way than I have been. We;ve been in such different places for so long maybe the ship can't turn around.Thank you for your sound advice--i can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Hi Abra,

Yes--that could be the case although I've asked him that and he says it isn't. He is beating himself up over the fact that he couldn't help me when I was struggling. I didn't turn to him for comfort; I withdrew. I was in a pretty bad place. I hope he can work through this with his therapist because in no way is it his fault.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 05:32 PM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Have you told him all the things you've posted here? Are you guys having sex? Does he have a timeline for leaving, or is it just being discussed as a possibility?
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Hi Seeking Sanity-

Yes, I have told him all the things I've discussed here. We are not having sex right now although we are still in the same bed and cuddle and hug. We haven't discussed an actual timeline until this weekend. He went to look at an furnished apt. in town with a month-to-month lease. It's available mid-November.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 10:52 PM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Well, I was less than 2 weeks away from divorce before I called it off.
Also suffered a scary as hell panic attack that could've killed me, but that is another story...

The point is, I was driving to divorce. In my mind, I would either divorce, or kill myself trying. But I stopped it. So who is to say it can't happen for you?

Now, you give us all the reasons, for why you were the way you were. You expected him to understand, you needed to be there for your kids, your career, so where did he rate on your priorities? Dead last? Because that is probably where he felt like he rated.
And now, you need him. Now you want him. Well, I'll be brutally honest here. If I was in his shoes, here is what I am thinking: "She only needs me now because she is at risk of losing me. Once I am reeled back in, I'll be back to dead last on the priority list."

Now, let's look at your husband. Because we have been looking at you for so long.

Your husband comes from a divorce home. Well, so do I! Got very little love from my home.
So I found it in my wife. Just like your husband found love he was wanting in you.

But then, it gets shut off. And it is a play over of his childhood probably. Start out with love, then lose it. Just like his parents probably loved him when they had him but it slowly drifted away from the divorce, your marriage started out with love, then drifted away as you got depressed. And he sufferred that for 3 years.

Now, I am inferring about his life here, so I may be wrong.

You think you feel exhausted, how about your husband? How many of his kisses did you turn away from? His advances you turn down? His complements you shrug off?
Do that, and men won't feel loved. They'll give up on it. And he already has.



I am not trying to sound down, but I have a feeling he has considered this marriage dead, and was just waiting.
You two sound more like room mates than wife/husband. You haven't treated him like a husband for 3 years. So he probably already checked out of your marriage, and is finally leaving.

If you want him back, show him you'll be a wife. You haven't been one to him for the past 3 years. So you gotta work overtime.
Because if you don't fight for him, he'll not reconsider his actions.

When I was divorcing, my wife was fighting tooth and nail. And that is what kept making me rethink my decision to divorce.

Have you showed your husband how much you are willing to fight for him? Or are you just doing the normal wife duties you feel like you are expected to?
Because if you are just doing the normal duties, I'd have already found an apartment.

And I am not wanting to beat you up. I am wanting to show you your situation from your husband's point of view, and make sure you are doing everything you can. Because it sounds to me that you aren't really fighting for your hsuband, but silently hoping he changes his mind.

My wife didn't silently hope it would change. She tried to make it change as much as she could.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-01-2012, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Thank you Juicer. You are right on all accounts. I can say that I have been fighting for him for several months now and he his need to separate just came out a few weeks ago. He says "I'm doing everything right" and he knows how hard I'm trying. But your right. Maybe to him the marriage was dead a long time ago. But I'm not going to go down without a fight. I really do love him.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-01-2012, 01:40 PM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

I would support his need to separate. Otherwise you will have a husband who has one foot in and one foot out, which is hell.
Ask him for a timeline of one month and then re-assess. He will be damn lonely and he needs that to see what he will be potentially losing. You can tell him that you don't want a separation but you will respect his need if he feels there is no other way.
Why can't he understand that you were depressed and overwhelmed for part of your marriage? Does he understand that depressed people withdraw and are barely functioning? Is he at all compassionate to what you went through? No one can fix a depressed person, medication is neccessary to do that if the depression is bad.
Of course he has what it takes to repair his marriage if he truly values it and wants it. Love is a choice. There is no such thing as a dead marriage, marriage has it's highs and lows, they all do.
Also have you asked him point blank if he has he eye on another woman? Ask and look into his eyes when you ask.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-01-2012, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Hi indiecat,

thanks for your response. I have looked him in the eye about an affair and he is adamant that he has not been unfaithful. I asked him again today. I don't think he has, but I wonder if there has been a flirtation, etc. Regardless, you are right---one foot in and one foot out is hell. I don't think he truly understands the depression. I honestly didn't either. I think I have had mild depression for quite some time, but it hit an all time hight a few years ago and got progressively worse. I think my husband has a lot of guilt about not being able to help me--but yeah, I wish he understood it more. But it's hard to understand and it runs in my family so I have seen it. At this point I want him to focus on feeling better about himself. And I have said the same thing to him--marriage has it's highs and lows; we've been through so much together. But I told him if this is what he needs to do, I support him.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 09:59 AM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

You did the right thing. Have you heard from him?
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Hi indiecat. Thanks for checking in. He put the deposit down on the apt. but does not move in until mid-November. He's wrestling with a lot of things himself and his therapist has been great for him--or at least she's forcing him to confront his issues. I am trying not to pressure him one way or the other and just be as compassionate as possible, while moving forward with trying to feel better myself. Yesterday was an awful day--I just could not stop crying--but today I feel a little bit more like I can tackle this whole thing. So it goes up and down of course. I don't know what else to do at this point. So yes, we are still talking, he's still at home. We are still sleeping in the same bed although not intimate. He has agreed, somewhat, to keep working on the marriage while we are separated. Or at least to stay open-minded.
He said he put down the deposit because he just wanted to have it held for him but is still conflicted about going. Both of our therapists said we are stuck, and at least him doing this forces us to move forward, although not in the way I want to of course.
Any advice?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 09:00 PM
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Re: Reconciliation after separation? Is it possible?

Maybe he thinks now can be his turn to wrap his mind around things and sort himself out?
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