My husband recently brought to my attention his unhappiness with our marriage. It took me by surprise, although I know I haven't been happy either. We have struggled with several deeply emotional events including infertility, pregnancy loss, my mother death, my father's cancer diagnosis, my husband's bi polar disorder, his prescription drug addiction and my inability to become intimate both emotionally and sexually. He seems to have spent years upset with me but never said a word. He let it bottle inside while I always told him what I wanted. He has been supportive of me while I ended up isolating our friends, his family and ultimately him. I've depended on him to make me happy in all aspects of my life, but I never allowed him to be happy. I stood by him when he struggled with depression and finally sought help for his issues. He says that he now feels happier with himself than ever and tells me that because I'm not happy with myself, he wants me to go to therapy.
I agreed and I owned up to my issues with emotional dependence, isolation and resentment. That was four days ago. Since then he has been distant, understandably but isn't allowing me to even try to make amends. I've already scheduled therapy and I've given him his space. I'm not prodding for answers and I'm letting him do his thing. When I finally tried to touch him, he pulled away. In the meantime if he wants a kiss or hug it's okay, but when I try he pulls away telling me that he is numb and doesn't know what he wants.
I'm so confused and upset over this. I didn't hear his cries for help for years and now that I finally do, he isn't even sure he can deal with it. He said he knows that it won't be easy for me to deal with all the emotions and that it will take time, yet when I make even a small gesture of love, he doesn't want it. I've been through a divorce 15 years ago and it feels much the same as now. He pulled away and left me by leaving a note. We dealt with extreme emotion and death and once it ended, I forgave him but have recently become resentful for how I handled the break up. My husband thinks that all my issues stem from the past but he isn't letting me deal. My dad is dying from terminal cancer and I have my life split in so many directions. I just don't know what to do. Do I let him take his time, or prove to him that I will do whatever I can to make this work.
Getting them sober - read all 4 volumes. Addiction is addiction so don't worry about the author focusing on alcoholism. The same dynamics are going on in any type of addiction. It addresses codependency as well....that's the sole purpose of the books really. And of course the title "getting them sober" would attract any codependent. If your open/ready/willing, go to coda meetings - codependents anonymous is a 12 step program just like AA is. Also...you can go to al-anon.....for family members of addicts and ala-teen is for teens of an addict parent(s)...not sure if you have kids, just put that out there in case you have a teen at home
Marriages are dynamic systems. It makes perfect sense that he pursues you - you withhold; then you pursue him and he withholds. Get the picture? Yes, you've got issues from your past, but so does everyone. Every couple does a dance and you both do a two-step back and forth. When you were distant, he didn't have to get close. Seriously consider marriage counseling with someone trained in family systems, so that a counselor can see the dance you two do. You can read more about it in the "Dance of Intimacy" on my blog. Undoubtedly, there are codependent issues, which prevent closeness. "Codependency for Dummies," explains the symptoms, dynamics, and how to recover. Counseling will be beneficial whether you stay or go. Insist that you go together. If he refuses, go for you. You certainly need support with what you're going through and aren't getting any at home.
Darlene Lancer, MFT
__________________ Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist. She's helped individuals and couples for over 25 years and is an expert on relationships, codependency, and addiction. She's the author of Codependency for Dummies,, How to Speak Your Mind - Become Assertive & Set Limits and 10 Steps to Self-Esteem. For more information, see http://www.WhatisCodependency.com and get a FREE copy of 14 Tips for Letting Go.
You guys both need to get healthy befor you have any understanding, pattience and tolerance. We don't realize how tightly we tangle our self from the relationship wit the co-dependence until we pull back and see what a mess it all was and you don't even know what part of your personality is yours or his right?
I definitely can relate I get so attached to people, places and things. You need some time to pull back lick your wounds, learn some tools with counseling and recovery.
Thank you all for the responses. I haven't been on the internet in quite a few days. I am not only dealing with this marriage stress, but my dad has lung cancer and so I've been feeling stretched pretty thin. I feel like I'm worrying so much about my marriage that I haven't focused as much on my dad. That's a whole new story.
Anyway, things for my hubby aren't so different. He has been sleeping for days, not speaking to me and avoiding his friends and family. I caught him meeting with the girl he has promised me was only a friend and now he is mad because he thinks I"m crazy. I have never mistrusted him until I found that he spoke to this girl for two hours at 1am while we were on vacation with my dad, and I was asleep. He says she is a "therapist" for him, but she is an alcoholic and drug user. I caught him at her house which is only a block from my mother in laws place. I go to my mother in laws everyday for lunch to watch her dog so it's like he wanted to get caught. He says he was splitting some weed with her, but he came home with no money. I had asked him to stop talking to and seeing her a week ago and he swears he isn't cheating or thinking about cheating. He agreed to stop seeing her and he did for a few days until I caught him. Now he won't talk to me and is falling deeper into depression just making me think he has more to be guilty about.
Anyway, I did go to therapy yesterday and I am going to continue. He told me two weeks ago that he would get a therapist in addition to his current psychiatrist but he has yet to do so. I asked him again today and told him that he had to at least make an appointment by Friday or we had to make some serious decisions about our relationship. I know an ultimatum is not what he wants to hear, but he is so far depressed that I'm scared for him. Okay, so sorry it's long but I need to vent and don't have many people to unload on.