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Thread: Iím in a crisis, not sure if I should stay in this marriage

  1. #1
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    Iím in a crisis, not sure if I should stay in this marriage

    My marriage Ė Iím in a crisis, not sure if I should stay in this marriage and not sure what I would do if I left.

    My husband has his own life, passions, projects that are (in my opinion) successful and he enjoys them. But often he gets depressed due to:
    1. chronic illnesses (Crohnís Disease, Interstitial Cystitis, Frequent debilitating migraines) and bad experiences with lousy doctors. He is often in pain.
    2. disillusionment in his academic career (with the world of academia)
    3. increasingly (over the years) antisocial attitude
    4. I think heís too harshly critical of himself and is self-defeating or self-limiting


    I get frustrated/anxious
    1. I often donít know whatís going on with him, for example, whether he is unhappy because of his health, some anxiety about going out in the world, a self-defeatist attitude, a migraine mood, or a mix.
    2. During bad times, he shuts me out, shuts down, withdraws, and I feel like he makes me an adversary. If pressed, he may say heís in a bad mood and that it has nothing to do with me. But I wouldnít know that without pressing, and then I still donít know what it is about.
    3. In bad times, I feel like he doesn't want, need, or appreciate much from me as a person (in terms of affection and support), and only wants my favors and acts of service like I'm his assistant or housekeeper. I know thatís not true but thatís how it feels.
    4. I worry that he is pushing me down and making me more negative and isolated- and then I feel helpless, unwanted, selfish and guilty.
    5. Lately when he is happy or up for activities, I am apprehensive and anxious about messing it up, or that something will trigger his sadness/annoyance and ruin it. I am also slightly frustrated that I feel compelled to drop my plans to cater to him because he is finally in a good mood or interested in doing something.



    • He often seems to have a lack of interest in new experiences or in taking chances. He doesnít like many people. He shows critical behavior and attitude toward me when I want to try new things, seems glum when I want to socialize without him Ė although verbally he encourages me to socialize & pursue my interests. Even verbally, however, he is often coldly ambivalent or even judgmental about my choices.
    • He often shuts down the conversation if I try to make plans or talk about doing new things (ďshut upĒ ďI donít want to talk about itĒ ďjust get out of hereĒ)
    • He will not make plans with me and will not talk about it. That means I cannot plan. When I try to plan something for myself or with others (he is almost always invited) I try to tell him in advance, but he often seems annoyed or rudely ambivalent & tells me he doesnít care or doesnít want to talk/hear about it.
    • He almost never tells me his ideas or plans in advance, when he does have them, (probably because he often backs out of his own plans for himself Ė his unpredictable health is a factor). He says he doesnít care if I join him or not.
    • I find it difficult to talk to him about important decisions that affect us.
    • I feel an unfair distribution of effort/accountability and directorship in the household.
    • I feel very little support or positivity. I feel judgement and pressure and criticism. I feel alone.



    • There have been times when I felt he showed a lack of teamwork and support of me in challenging moments - ex. When we travel or have to make decisions on the spot
    • Harsh criticism of my mistakes or bad decisions (with name-calling ďidiotĒ ďmoronĒ)



    I feel guilty
    1. Maybe Iím being too touchy and sensitive and self-absorbed.
    2. Maybe Iím not being sensitive enough to his unpredictable health issues and the effects that has on him. Maybe it is not reasonable to expect him to plan.
    3. I feel guilty about blaming him for his negativity when he may be dealing with legitimately difficult problems and feelings of isolation that I may have contributed to.
    4. I worry that I have failed him: Maybe if I truly knew him well and were a good partner, then I could figure out how to help him through his sadness and disappointments, and I would make that extra effort to help him, bolster his confidence, provide support. Maybe push him out of his comfort zone when anxiety is holding him back. Is it my job to challenge and push him?
    5. Maybe I was too cavalier and distant toward his health over the years in the past, or didnít handle things well, and I pushed him away and drove him, in part (bad doctors and his school program did too) to deal with everything in this self-imposed isolation.
    6. I have at times tried too hard to help him, gone too far and overstepped, messing with his work. Though there were times when he did seem to appreciate my efforts, and I have trouble knowing when Iím crossing the line, especially since I find it difficult to make decisions and plans with him.
    7. When he's depressed and/or sick and he shuts me out, I feel guilty If I leave him alone, even though heís pushing me away. I feel like I am abandoning him and being selfish and cold and not a good partner.
    8. Sometimes I feel guilty for having fun without him, alone or with others.
    9. I feel as if I am never justified in being angry with him.


    I am going to a counselor today to talk about this. I did not tell my husband. I fear he would tell me it's stupid and a waste of time. I also don't think he would ever go to counseling with me. But I never asked him to.

    In general, I feel like my life is empty and meaningless and that I have no real future; that I am just biding my time, living by default, waiting to get old and die. I enjoy lots of things but they donít bring my life real meaning. I don't know what would. (I know I spoke of a family before but truthfully I never really wanted to raise a child, I just see people with families and assumed that might be an answer to happiness and purpose in life.)

    I feel like I am stupid and a failure for not knowing how to be happy and how to manage my marriage and to communicate. I worry that these are such simple, small, non-problems in the scheme of life. I hate the thought of getting divorced just because I'm not happy right now, and honestly don't know what would make me happy anyway.

    I'm not good alone. I know I need someone to be held accountable to, or else I tend to get reckless and again, the meaninglessness of life leads me to meander and flail without direction, to be impulsive. I don't want to be that way. I know I need stability.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    If he's mentally and verbally abusive, discuss that with the therapist. Also discuss an exit plan.

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    He is not bipolar but sometimes I think he exhibits some of those traits. He has these creative, productive highs, followed by lows when he wants to throw it all away and isn't interested in anything.

    Last week we had a few wonderful days. We went for a hike, went to a fall festival. Spontaneous and happy. He was a good partner and helpful. The day before yesterday I spent the evening at a friend's house carving pumpkins and making sugar cookies with her and her toddler. It was SO much fun. I was really glad I did that. He didn't seem to care or judge me for it at all. I don't think it bothered him in any way that I did something fun without him. Not this thing, anyway. But last night he was upset about something and he said it had nothing to do with me but I still felt like I was in a house with someone who didn't like me. And he was critical and judgmental of me doing things on my own. I just never know what to expect at home, I guess. So I tend to either agonize and find whatever bothers him least, or be what feels like an uncaring meanie, doing my own thing and not acknowledging him.

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    Is it verbally abusive if you're in an argument and he says "You're a moron!"

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    Honestly, if I get divorced I will feel like my life is over. I don't have anything in life. My job is just a job, it's not a life's calling. I mean nothing to anyone except our families and to them I would feel so ashamed of this. I will feel really ashamed and alone. I also wonder if divorce is too dramatic and final because on those happy days when he's his old self it's like, he's still in there somewhere. I ask myself why did this happen? Is it the graduate school program? Was it me? Is it the illness?

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    Is it verbally abusive if you're in an argument and he says "You're a moron!"
    Yes, that is emotional abuse. Plan your exit.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    That's what you're paying the therapist to determine and advise you.
    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    Is it verbally abusive if you're in an argument and he says "You're a moron!"

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    Have you noticed a bigger rift since the time you overstepped your bounds by making up those fake reviews and fake social media accounts to promote his work? I know that he was beside himself with what you did there and didn't trust you/pushed you out a little after that.

    From your other threads about work and other things, you do tend to exhaustively analyze every person and their intentions, so maybe you should bring that up as well.
    I think that if he is having a funky day and doesn't want any part of anything -- you go about your day and leave him be and you have just recently been doing that, right?

    I agree, talk to the therapist, but i also think you should figure out why you thrive on/are attracted to this dynamic so that you don't repeat it with someone else if you do leave your husband - and maybe if you do stay, you can shift your part of the dynamic.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    His chronic illness will remain with him for a lifetime, and so will his depression unless he receives treatment for it. I experienced similar problems in my first marriage. When I got to the point of asking for a divorce, he didn't want that and agreed to treatment for depression. For 2 years, my marriage improved because of his choice to be on anti-depressants and psychiatric care. At that point, he all of a sudden said he never meant to be on the meds for a lifetime and decided to wean himself off. I begged him not to but he did, and over the years, things became even worse than before. We sought marital therapy, but he really didn't want to be there and I finally divorced him because instead of having warm fuzzy feelings about growing old together, I felt like a weight would be lifted off my chest if we divorced.

    What would I do in your shoes? Immediately have a discussion of communication rules. No name calling should be the first thing on the list. This causes bitterness and instead of discussing problems in a constructive way, you're attacking the person by being demeaning. Same thing with the disrespectful and hateful statements of "shut up" and "get out of here." You're the lifetime companion he chose above all other women on earth and he's speaking to you like this? I hate to see how he treats someone he doesn't like.

    Don't stay with someone because of what relatives or friends will think if a divorce happens. You don't make decisions for their lives, and they don't get a say-so on your one precious life on this planet.

    Do what I did. Pull out all the stops to make it work and if it doesn't after all of your efforts, at least you can say you tried. After your therapy session, tell him you've gone and now you want to seek couples counseling. This will show him the seriousness of the matter. If he values the marriage, he will agree and maybe over time, positive changes can happen. If he refuses, you owe it to yourself to create a happy life without him.

    This means staying alone a minimum of a year and spend time with girlfriends, family, and perhaps a new hobby. You're probably like me in that you like having a lifetime companion to eat with, sleep with, and spend leisure time with. After my divorce, I made it my goal to find a man worthy of me. I made mistakes over the years but eventually found my future husband and am now living a far happier life. I hope the same for you. Take care.

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    Well, I understand that you're not happy, but you're with someone with chronic illnesses. Depression, migraines and bowel problems are debilitating and they make someone a miserable human being. It would take an exceptional person to be able to be happy in this situation. It would certainly explain why your husband has good periods of time and bad periods.

    But I would say that you haven't developed a hard shell, as you should have, to deal with your husband's problems. You're making it about you when it's actually the illnesses talking.

    Whenever someone tried to pick an argument with my grandmother, she would dismiss it by saying "don't be foolish" and walk away. You need to develop a similar attitude. When your husband gets out of sorts, tell him it's the migraine talking or the IBS talking and you can talk about things later. You can even tell him, "don't be foolish" and walk away. He tells you it's not about you, it's him, but you seem to take it all personally. I would have thought by now you could recognize when he's in a bad mood or he's in pain and learned how to deal with it.

    You have all the symptoms of an emotional abuse victim but I don't think your husband is intentionally abusing you. You need to develop your own life, develop your own interests and hobbies and friends. You need to be independent. If you want to do something, do it! If your husband says something disparaging, that's just the grumpiness talking. If your husband doesn't want to go outside, it doesn't mean you have to sit there in the dark with him. Go out. You can keep inviting him along, but if he doesn't want to come, then let him stay at home.

    Think of what your husband has as a handicap. Would you feel guilty if your husband couldn't walk and was in a wheelchair? Would you think it was your fault? Would you feel guilty if he couldn't do something but encouraged you to do it?

    You can actually learn about how to handle this situation by Googling how to deal with someone with depression and how to deal with emotional abuse. The advice is the same I would give you in your situation, such as:

    (paraphrased) Donít underestimate the seriousness of his illness. It drains a personís energy, optimism, and motivation. He can't just ďsnap out of itĒ by sheer force of will. It isn't personal. Illness makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he loves most. They often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the illness talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally. And you can't fix it. Youíre not to blame for his happiness (or lack thereof).

    Hopefully a counselor can help you through some of this.

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