Working on the marriage is so hard - Talk About Marriage
Reconciliation This forum is for those focused on reconciliation and success stories from people who have been through separation and reconciled successfully.

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Working on the marriage is so hard

Still hanging on.
Still going to IC and MC
He is still sober, doing AA and seems to be handling it well thank God

With alcohol out of the equation, we can really see the wreckage

Still under the same roof, in fact he moved into the bedroom a week ago, at my request, difficult to work on a marriage with a gulf between us
No sexual intimacy (only hugs) though as I am not ready, I think neither is he. he said he was cautious, so am I.

IC and MC is showing how our childhood traumas are played out in the marriage, needs of the inner child are not met and played out in fights.
This is useful as we become more aware of how our own expectations (rightly or wrongly) impact the marriage.


I never thought this would be so difficult, we both agree that it might be just easier to walk away, painful but something keeps us hanging on.
we are more open with our feelings, triggers, we listen more but that does not make it easier
we enjoy living in the moment of coffee time, dinners, but still veer towards doing our own thing.

I don't know if it will ever be the same again, will I ever look at him the same again, I know he is really trying and I am trying. He said he missed my smile and look that told him I loved him, that is gone, that broke my heart. I didnt tell him yet, but I miss the man who actually showed he still cared about me

If anything this is probably the first time I have become so self aware, aware of my own flaws, failings and emotional makeup. There is still much to do though.

I know we could both move on, meet others but all the baggage would be carried with us, and probably create the same or different problems. It is worth investing the time and effort in this, we have a long history and a wonderful family

On TAM we need more positive reconciliation stories, I hope mine will be one of them

I don't write for advice, just some words of encouragement.


Last edited by aine; 05-13-2016 at 11:03 PM. Reason: spelling aargh!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 10:09 PM
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

Not alcoholism... PTSD... both a cumulation really... you never really have a gauge on it while it's building in you. My wife is convinced mine was accelerated by my first 4 very intense years in the Infantry from the young age of 17-21 in the late 70's early 80's when my first assignment was running security in a recon platoon for Pershing nuclear missiles in Europe. from there I pinned on my Sgt. stripes at 20 and worked brigade operations for my last two years as a field grunt. Then it was a series of assignments all over the world , meeting my wife, having children up until Desert Storm and after returning my wife telling me my family would not survive if I tried to finish my last 7 years for retirement. I had already experienced two broken marriages (not from anger though), and did not want a third.

I walked away, but the demons followed me... no tolerance for failure, 14 hour days at work were a norm, rants when challenged by the children, at times questioning how I could love my family when I couldn't even love myself. My wife was terribly afraid at times with the pain of hearing me lash out. I was ugly, even though my drinking was curtailed and thankfully not influencing, and I still do not know how she stayed with me though the darkest of my times. I had thrived on the infusion of stress and suffering, it was part of me. I was a hardened man that was better off alone and that is the way I would have died.

Her words that morning were simple... find myself and get help or I was finished with her and the children and she was giving me only the afternoon that Sunday to come to terms. I won't lie to you, in the house alone I broke down and sobbed in the floor shower when the water went from hot to warm to cold to freezing... she turned it off when she returned 3 hours later. The next day I used my EAP benefits from work and began a path to heal all I damaged.

From 2006-2009 I could not see how it would end... like many say, you have to be prepared to lose everything in order to build fresh and as I found forgiveness in myself first, then others, my walls fell aside like matchsticks as my anger was curbed and the capable and good man my wife saw in me came forth. I still have a lot of work to do. My biggest realization while working it out was looking into my family's eyes when the calm that was never present before was able to see the truth of uncertainty as to whether Dad was going to fail them with his anger again... it was only then did I realize the amount of damage I had caused in those moments.

If your husband could only look into the eyes he would never take that fight to them again... from the eyes of the family he would look to yours and realize what the next step would be.

I know this.

I also know it will take more than being pointed down that first path... that first step may not be wholly self, but every step after that has to come from that. Like I was broken down to become the soldier they wanted, I had to be broken down again to remove the blocks that kept me from being loving, caring, sharing, giving, and kind. I was ready to lay down my life for anyone, yet never knew how to live for them. Combine that with the determination that was drilled into me with strength of character I brought from my father's love, relearning to love a true love, and lessons to be who I am today.

My children are now mid-twenties and I get a loving hug every time I see them and they tell me they love me, a wife who believes in me more each day, my path has only begun.

Last edited by Emerging Buddhist; 05-14-2016 at 03:00 PM. Reason: make-up spelling check
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

EB, your life story brought tears to my eyes but gladness that from such a broken place you are moving forward with the woman you love and your family intact. Bravo to you and the woman who stood with you.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 12:05 AM
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

No baggage. Just say no. Don't let it affect you. Don't let it win. I appear to be heading to the end of my second marriage. I jumped in with both feet and I have no regrets. You only regret things in life you didn't do. The reward will always be better if you put your everything into it.

So, maybe that's a motivational speech for you to move on wih your life, I don't know. But don't let bagged stop you. Leave the baggage at home, in your old marriage where it belongs. Life is too short to allow things like that to keep you from happiness.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 02:55 PM
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

aine... this is the first time I have ever shared this in a forum, I chose to because when I was in the deepest of counseling I asked how I would ever be able to share what I have experienced and she told me that I would know when the time was right. Up to yesterday, only my wife and children, parents, brother and sister, a few very close brothers in arms and my counselor knew the pain I felt.

After reading your thread here, the door opened and I cranked out my post in minutes... I was surprised how quickly it flowed from my fingers. I highlighted to delete it, took a breath, and hit the post button. The time was right.

I didn't even take time to correct the spelling, I had to take the next step.

I believe Pat Benatar had the song right with "Love is a Battlefield".

"When I'm losing control
Will you turn me away
Or touch me deep inside
And when all this gets old
Will it still feel the same
There's no way this will die
But if we get much closer
I could lose control
And if your heart surrenders
You'll need me to hold"

My wife loves me, this I know true and I know she is true, but with that "in love" was extensive damage I made and own, I am not sure she will ever be there like that for me again, but it is not the goal, to be the best husband I can for her is. If she were to walk away tomorrow, all I could offer at that time would be a simple final apology "I am sorry I couldn't do better" and be there for her as her friend, I owe her that much at least. I do know that I will never marry again if such a thing happened.

I hope it never comes to that, I found all the love I was missing in my life and fell in love with her all over again when my anger left and there was room in my heart for all that love brings. Like a velvet covered hammer, my words are soft but my resolve unquestionable and impacting.

I'm a die-hard believer in coming from the brink, whether it be individual, couple, or family. We have been successful, some days better, some worse, not all baggage is bad:

“Sometimes the past should be abandoned, yes. Life is a journey and you can’t carry everything with you. Only the usable baggage.” ~Ha Jin.

And still, when the right door is held open, sometimes a Phoenix can rise from the ashes.

Last edited by Emerging Buddhist; 05-14-2016 at 03:02 PM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

Marriage reconciliation is not going so well from my perspective. This man has done everything to me a husband can do and yet I am still here and for what? From his perspective, all is fairly ok. I know it is not ok at all. The past cannot be simply swept away and we simply move on. The foundation is rotten to the core. The wounds are too deep to heal.

We went away for a weekend which was nice, (then I am put back on the shelf again) since then I hardly see him as he travels so much for work. When he is in the country, he comes home late after this meeting or other. I am also stressed at work and have to travel far every day to my office and back. I suggested to my H that I get a temp place for a few nights a week near my office, if he is not here, there's no point in driving all the way back home to an empty house. He wasn't too pleased initially but saw my point of view. He kept asking was this a separation. He also kept saying he would be ok (it is still all about him) I have come to the conclusion, he doesn't see this marriage as worth working on, only in as far as it affects him, I probably agree deep down. I am tired. We have not been to MC for a while and wont be, right now I just want to escape from this. I feel so trapped.

I am alone to all intents and purposes, I have to face everything alone, I cannot rely on him at all. That is not a marriage. I am independent, have my own job, money etc but I wanted a partner, now the kids are gone I do not have one. He is still sober but for a man who does not currently drink he sure as hell spends a lot of time away from home, maybe he doesn't want to come home?

It is not possible to work on a marriage when you hardly spend any time together. Maybe I should seriously consider moving back to my home country, we can have a long distance marriage, it sure seems like this now. Not that he seems to give a damn, work will always be number one. I get that he has to work hard for the kids education etc. But it is just the lack of connection I cannot shake it.
The bottom line is I am not a priority in his life, he takes me and my being here for granted. I guess if I am honest he was a priority for me but I am detaching really fast, the searing pain I used to feel when I thought of us divorced has gone and is replaced with a sadness but one I know will eventually fade.

My counselor says she has done all the work necessary with me, I am very wounded by the marriage and need to focus on MC, she also says I have a self destruct drive on right now and will probably push the marriage over the edge. I don't know how to stop it. Has anyone ever felt like this before?
I think I have hung on far too long, I should have left when he cheated on me 17 years ago.
I do not want to be a part time wife in a part time marriage any longer. Now busy looking for places to stay near my office, even if I don't go through with it it feels like I have some control over my future.

If I start down this road, I guess this is the first step towards a separation and an eventual divorce.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:05 AM
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Re: Working on the marriage is so hard

I read a bunch of your old threads, this has been going on for a long time and it's not getting any better.

There's no reason to think it ever will get better.

You want a partner and that's understandable. So get rid of him and find someone who is better suited for you and not so damn selfish.
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