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Marriage and life exploding


question2008
English Conversation About A wedding
English Conversation About A wedding

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It has taken me some time to decide to post here, just reading some of the other threads has helped a lot, but now I am ready to reach out and tell my story…it’s hard to sum this up in a few lines so apologies for the long post.

 

We have been married for less than 18-months, together for 6 years, he is 41, I am 36 (no babies, but they were in the ‘plan’). Mid-November, after 3 very rocky months, and during a blow up fight, he left with a small suitcase and went to live with a friend of his in a spare room. That led to a huge emotional rollercoaster with tears, hysteria and desperation on my part, something he just wasn’t expecting, so we have been living in ‘purgatory’ ever since. We have now realized that we have a pretty serious communication issue, he is very internalized, and analyzes things individually; I am quite an ambitious person (i.e. bossy  , trying to make a ‘perfect’ life, and put him under pressure to meet my expectations. I also recognize that I have certainly taken him for granted as he was very much the wooer in the relationship (i.e. followed me half-way around the world to surprise me on vacation, sent me 100 roses to my office, so romantic…). The relationship has increasingly been unstable recently due to serious non-communication which has also led to a reduced sexual connection (esp. on my part).

 

We started couples counseling at the end of November (the cycle is 1st session together, 2nd and 3rd sessions individually, then a session together (1 session per week)). At first he only agreed to go ‘to make me realize that things were over’. We continue to speak/SMS (almost daily) and see each other (at least once per week), normally out of the house for a nice dinner (he feels pressured when we meet at home). He has stayed over 2 nights since he left, but very much on his initiative (he can’t be ‘pressured’, ‘needs space’, etc.). Comes and goes as he wishes, really.

 

To add to the picture some depth, I am from the US, he is Italian, (we met in Italy 6 years ago) and live in Italy in a lovely home. I have a great job here with an American company, he owns his own successful company with 2 great partners. This is a HUGE issue for me as I don’t have the support network that he does, I feel so lonely and far from home, but home is also foreign now. I have great friends here, but my parents and brothers are in the US, and I can’t just up and leave for a good hug. I have not even spoken to my family about this (even though we are very very close), I don't want to say anything until it's really necessary.

 

The Christmas period has just been terrible. We spent Xmas Day together with his lovely parents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. which has just torture for him ‘too much family’, he is a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to family. Xmas evening he drove me back to our home and then left almost immediately for the Alps to stay with his single friend for a ski holiday. So he left me alone again Xmas and Boxing Day (my birthday!!!). No phone call, no message, nothing. I am now getting organized to go away for a few days with a couple of girlfriends. (I had even found a Caribbean catamaran trip with a contact here, and he called me in tears the other day asking me not to go…even though he recognized that he ‘had not right’ to ask me not to go).

 

On 2 occasions I have not responded to his calls/SMS for 3 days, and he starts to ‘panic’ sending desperate messages apologizing for the situation, asking me not hate him, etc. but the NC concept is not so easy to implement while we are in couples therapy (the therapist has advised me not the proactively look for him, so I have stopped, but what about responding?).

So, a complicated situation.

Would love to have some advice. xo

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Wow. I can understand how after six years, this would be a difficult pill to swallow.

 

To be honest though, I think you do need time apart - no SMSing, texting daily, etc. He needs to miss you!! He can "ditch" you and keep telling you that he doesn't want to continue when he's still talking to you and being part of your life.

 

I think he needs to miss you to realize what he's truly missing. If he thinks it's over, then he should act accordingly, not go to therapy with you, stay over, talk to you daily, etc.

 

I think this is hard for him too, but he's being a bit selfish by not letting you go if that's how he truly feels.

 

Try to get away from him for some time. Don't be so readily available, and he might suddenly realize he's not being pursued any more. It might be the kick in the head he needs.

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The ironic thing is that I have never had to pursue him in the past, he has always been there, and available, so I have admittedly taken him for granted in the past. In fact the relationship has always been unbalanced in my 'favour' for lack of a better word. The tables seem to have suddenly turned (and he seems to be enjoying it), but such an imbalance is not healthy, according to the therapist, and we agree. We need to try to find a new balance, but how? He's not even around to work on the situation...I am going out of my mind. I can't imagine a life without him.

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So I received another very sad email from him the day after my birthday, saying how sorry he was that we hadn't been there, how sorry he was about the whole situation, and how very very sad he was that day. Asking me questions like where am I? What are my plans for the holidays? etc. to get in touch. He even signed the mail with 'kisses'. I waited a full day, then broke down and rang him and he didn't even answer, and he didn't even call back! He seems to be very confused, but it is been a month and a half since he left the house... am I just fooling myself to think we might get back together?

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Both people need to be fully committed to change and working on a relationship. It doesn't sound like he is fully committed to making the relationship work.

 

It will not work out positively if he isn't willing to make changes.

 

I wish you luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

so after several days of virtual silence, on Dec 30 I received an emotion-filled phone call, followed by a long, sincere and heartfelt email. He can't believe he left, things just exploded, he wants to try again, and he is sure we can make it work...and he loves me.

 

and on this note, I too went off for a few days with some girlfriends to get out the of house. We spoke again on the same day, he said he hadn't called because he had been thinking alot and only wanted to call me when he was sure what he wanted to say - that he loves me and wants to work things out. I used the break to really look inside, and see if that is what I really wanted too.. and I decided it was.

 

So, we met for dinner last night, I of course was thinking everything was on the right track to sort things out...but he wasn't acting like what he had said and what he had written in the email. He misses me so much it hurts, but he is so 'lost'. He broke down and cried again...he is a mess, his work is suffering, he has lost more weight and he feels so guilty for the situation. It's been almost 2 months...

 

I am so confused, am getting so exhausted by the emotional rollercoaster...I hadn't cried for days, now I can't stop again. I feel sick and out of control. I please help...

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I may be off base here, but here's one theory:

 

You're controlling & always pushing him to do something, he'd rather make some meaningful decisions on his own and have you take his orders every once in a while. It would make him feel more like a man.

 

So, eventually he has enough and leaves to assert his independence before it's too late. But he inadvertently takes it too far and then he realizes that he might actually lose you, which was NOT the point of the exercise. So he wants you back, but if he comes crawling back, apologizing, the entire point of walking out is blown.

 

In other words, he's painted himself into a corner.

 

Try apologizing him and asking him to come back. He'll jump at the chance to be back together with you while saving face,.

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No you are not off base at all, and I really appreciate you taking the time to help me.

Yes, I certainly do have a tendency to be controlling, but I am now aware of this, and was really super happy to hopefully have the chance to work on this issue. He is terrified of losing me (he even said he fears he already may have lost me), but he is also terrified of coming back and having things go back to ‘before’. I told him yesterday that I love him, that I can live without him, but that I really wanted him in my life, and a chance to show that things can be better and happier for both of us. So I think I did apologize, and did ask him to come back to start again. I said that of course I was also afraid of the question marks, so he shouldn’t be worried that he has some fears about coming back. So far no jumping at the chance to come back…

 

He seems to be dealing even worse than I am though...I think he may have had some kind of breakdown, but I don’t know how to help him. What can I do?

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I think the above post could definitely be some of the reasons he's acting like this....

 

Things always being in "your favour" and him always having to go with what you want is not a healthy marriage.... I was like that somewhat at the beginning of our marriage (I admit, my parents definitely spoiled me a bit) ... thankfully my husband confronted me on this when it was first happening so that I saw the light

 

It really makes sense to care about the other person this way. And it would be good for you to see him as another PERSON with his own desires, needs to be met by you, and passions!!!

 

I agree with the post above saying that you really need to apologize. You said yourself multiple times that most of this has been because of your actions.

 

He's honestly trying to take some control in his life is what it looks like to me... and going away with single friends definitely indicates that. now its up to you, if you will humble yourself and realize that he has his needs.

 

(also, never withhold sex from your husband!!! unless he is abusive/cheating/addicted to something illegal. Sex is one of men's greatest needs - its comparable to how much women need affection and communication in their lives.

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Thanks everyone for responding. I am so drained, but you are giving me new energy.

 

Bliss, yes, I think you are right. He is trying to claim some independence. It seems he is almost angry with himself for missing me so much. The only thing about apologizing is that he really won’t let me - he keeps stopping me from doing so, saying that it is all him, that he is the problem. My apologizing actually makes him more anxious, and makes him feel very guilty – guilty for everything that has happened, guilty for leaving. I am so confused.

 

PS your comment about the sex – point well taken. I agree, and this should not be forgotten!

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So he is now in therapy with our counsellor 2-3 times a week instead of just once. He has officially had a nervous breakdown. Uncontrollable fits of tears and desperation - I am so worried about him but don't know how to help him as I am so destroyed myself. He keeps saying he is dying to come home, wants nothing more. Our counsellor though has advised us that this is probably not the best solution, that these things take time. So her advice to him is to not move back until he can be comfortable being on his own. So he is moving into a tiny apartment on a short term basis. I have been hanging by a thread, just never knowing what is coming next. The plan is to meet once a week, for dinner and limit our communication in the meantime, so that he can concentrate on getting better, and I can at least go to work without bursting into tears in the middle of meetings (my work is suffering alot, as I am tied to the email and phone waiting for his messages). I meet the counsellor once a week, but for now, no joint sessions (he needs to focus on getting over the breakdown). Any thoughts? Has anyone gone through anything like this and still managed to stay together?

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  • 2 weeks later...

we're in it right now (to avoid later conflicts we might have)... and its only going to last 8 weeks once a week (and has lots of activities/homework!)

 

I'd say it seems to really help the couples that have problems - even major problems going on!!! But I guess it could depend on the type of person you have instructing it... ours isn't a "therapist" counselor, but rather just a person that wants to help marriages (and even with no formal training it is DEFINITELY working ) So yea, give it a try.

 

 

I so sorry to hear its not seeming to get better - I had such hope that it would for you! I honestly hope this helps, and my heart goes out to you question2008

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Hey sweetie, thanks for your answer, and for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. Glad to hear that therapy is working for you. It sounds like you are really taking great care of your relationship.

 

On my end, the therapy might be working (too early to say what a positive outcome would be), but we have been advised that these things take time, and to take 1 day at a time. I am suffering because I am not really comfortable in this 'middle ground' grey zone of ambiguity. I don't remember the last day I haven't cried.

 

Easter is the timeline we have given ourselves (with the therapist), but every day that passes is a rush of emotions of all kinds and I am split between trying to be calm, and just walking into the office tomorrow and asking for a transfer to the US, leaving it all behind. Although if I throw in the towel now, I know that one day I would look back and wonder 'if I had stuck it out a bit longer...??'

 

ANY ADVICE??? I am really at a loss... oxoxox

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm still here.

 

We are still going through therapy individually, and seeing each other every so often with very mixed results. Very briefly, what is becoming clearer and clearer is that I am relatively balanced, structured person with strong family values. He has been diagnosed as clinically neurotic, and carries baggage from his youth (feeling of insecurity, unpopoluarity, lack of a 'strong' father figure). He doesn't need a psychiatrist, but I am not sure what the implications of this are.

 

Does anyone have experience with neurosis or a neurotic partner???

 

xox

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