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So lost...


hecatol
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I've been married for 14 years, and my wife is a wonderful person who I love dearly. We're both 37.

 

About a month ago, she told me that she wasn't happy anymore and that she didn't think the marriage could last. It came as a COMPLETE shock to me, and I've been in a panic ever since. We're in a holding pattern, going to couples counseling. I've convinced her not to be rash and move out... for now.

 

It all comes down to her feeling that we've become "just" best friends, and that the magic spark for intimacy is gone. In the past she's gone through long periods with little interest in sex, and I've learned to live with that, but now she feels a strong need, and just doesn't look at me that way.

 

Both I and the counselor have tried to convince her that this is something that can be worked on, but she seems unconvinced. She's giving it a try, but I'm desperately afraid that as the days and weeks tick by nothing is changing.

 

Have anyone else here been in the same situation and managed to work their way through this? I'm so afraid of losing her, we've had and still have so much together that is good.

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Nine times out of ten, there is more than meets the eye. The 'no sex' periods were a big warning sign. Has she ever expressed any complaints or desires in the relationship before ... even if they didn't seem like a big deal to you? When was the last time that you took her on a date? What are her interests and passions? Do you two have children?

 

Try to give us as much info as you can imagine would be helpful. If you don't know, that might be part of the problem.

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There's a lot more info, I accidentally hit send too early. I'll try to answer some questions too.

 

She's been on medication for depression for most of the time we've been together. For the "less sex" years she was on Paxil, and she attributed the lack of interest to that.

 

The "trigger" for the unhappiness announcement was that she had been spending a lot of time on Facebook, reconnecting with old classmates both male and female, and she felt that in chatting to them it had become clear that the lack of attraction/intimacy was a bigger issue than she had let on.

 

One night about a week after the initial conversation, I was frustrated with what I saw as her lack of trying. She was staying up late, chatting on Facebook, working out, etc. and basically avoiding talking about things. I told her that maybe she was right, maybe she should move out since she apparently didn't want to work on things. She broke down completely, almost as if she suddenly understood the magnitude of what was going on. She was so distraught and talking of wanting to hurt herself that I took her to the hospital. They saw it as a real risk, and asked her to commit herself to the behavioral unit. She was there for a week, during which time the psychiatrists diagnosed her as bipolar and having gone through a manic episode.

 

She's been on medication since she got out, but so far it hasn't done much. The mood swings are terrible from extreme irritation to deep depression. She keeps saying she has lost the attraction though, but is at least willing to see a therapist.

 

We have no children.

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They say that by the time a partner tells you they are unhappy and want to divorce, they have already emotionally checked out of the relationship a long time ago. I don't know how true that is, but it makes sense to me. It seems she's been unhappy for some time before she finally admitted it to you.

 

I do hope that couples counselling will help save your marriage as I do believe there is a chance it can be saved, but if she has "emotionally checked out", then I don't think she'll make an effort to save it. Perhaps she could try individual counselling at the same time, with a different counsellor. Sometimes that helps.

 

Wish you well.

 

ETA: We posted at the same time, so I didn't see your new post with more info. It seems there's a lot more going on than I first thought. If she's currently being treated for depression and other related things, then I think you're going to have your work cut out for you and a lot of patience will be needed. At least she getting treatment and seeing a counselor, so that's a good starting point. I hope it all works out for you.

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Oh, she also quit her job back last fall with the intention of going into a new field. Unfortunately the economy went south, and she hasn't been able to find anything in the new field. She also realized after quitting that her previous field of work was what she wanted to do. She's back at her original employer, but only as an on-call freelancer. I know this has been very hard on her.

 

She doesn't have any friends, by her own account by choice as she has a hard time trusting people.

 

I know there is definitely a bit of "finding herself" mixed into this, she says so, but the marriage issue is so specific that I don't know how to relate the two.

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Oh, she also quit her job back last fall with the intention of going into a new field. Unfortunately the economy went south, and she hasn't been able to find anything in the new field. She also realized after quitting that her previous field of work was what she wanted to do. She's back at her original employer, but only as an on-call freelancer. I know this has been very hard on her.

 

She doesn't have any friends, by her own account by choice as she has a hard time trusting people.

 

I know there is definitely a bit of "finding herself" mixed into this, she says so, but the marriage issue is so specific that I don't know how to relate the two.

 

 

This all sounds very rough. Thanks for the background. Honestly, I think that this will require lots of therapy to sort out. Mental illness can be a major challenge in a relationship but not an insurmountable one if she's getting treatment and taking whatever meds she has been perscribed. There is not much that you can do about her sex drive other than to keep working on the marriage/talking to the counselor.

 

She needs to start to sort herself out. If she doesn't, divorce seems very likely. To facilitate the most desirable outcome for you, give her a little space - don't try to force the therapy and try to guard your heart a little because you are going to face a lot of emotional rollercoasters from her.

 

Keep us posted with updates and we can try to give advice as appropriate.

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This isn't a solution, but maybe give The Wedding (sequel to The Notebook) a read; circumstances sound similar. Maybe you can get some ideas from that. It sounds like you're facing a pretty serious life roadblock. Hopefully it works out for you. Good luck.

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Thanks. All I'm hoping for at this point is that she is willing to give it time. Time for the medication to work/be adjusted, time for her own counseling, and time for the marriage counseling. Depending on her mood swings, she sometimes talks as if this is something she's willing to do, but then there will be a downer where I can tell she wants out asap again. It's tough to go through, it hasn't really gotten any better emotionally for me in the past four weeks, but the alternative of giving up is still worse.

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This is driving me crazy, but I know I have to be patient. I feel like my whole life is on hold - first to deal with the illness (which she hasn't truly faced up to yet) then, assuming she is willing to give it time, the counseling.

 

I had a solo counseling session last night, and the counselor gave me some hope that there is a way out of this.

 

I just wish the anxiety, depression and general panic could go away for a few hours at least...

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Thanks. All I'm hoping for at this point is that she is willing to give it time. Time for the medication to work/be adjusted, time for her own counseling, and time for the marriage counseling. Depending on her mood swings, she sometimes talks as if this is something she's willing to do, but then there will be a downer where I can tell she wants out asap again. It's tough to go through, it hasn't really gotten any better emotionally for me in the past four weeks, but the alternative of giving up is still worse.

 

 

Out of curiosity, why is it worse?

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Out of curiosity, why is it worse?

 

Because I still love her dearly, and believe that she still has love for me. We've had so many wonderful years that working through this crisis is still absolutely worth it as long as there is some hope of getting to a better state.

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There is hope. There is always hope. But only when the other person wants to work on it too.

 

Well, that's the challenge with the illness involved here too. Some days she's very encouraging, talking about giving things time and even making plans for the future, but on tough days she gets very discouraged and talks about how nothing's going to change because she doesn't know how. I'm getting better at tackling it at least, and nowhere near giving up. Our marriage counselor does alternating couple/individual appointments, and today my wife went alone. She said she still felt a little bit like the counselor was trying to be a "party planner" by coming up with things for us to do to reconnect, but then she added that they did talk about other stuff that was helpful. So I still have hope...

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Well, the thing I feared the most happened today. I went to my therapist, and feeling down after that I decided to go home rather than to work. My wife was in the middle of packing her bags, and no amount of pleading, bargaining or reasoning could change her mind. She's moved to an Extended Stay Hotel but is looking at apartments.

 

Her mood has been all over the place. One moment she said she just needs time to think, the next it is that she was never truly physically attracted to me and married me (13 years ago) because I was "safe and nice". Then she accused me of wanting to keep her on meds even though there's nothing wrong with her. When she got in the car she said I should just find a normal person and be happy, but I told her I'd be here waiting for her no matter how long it takes. Why can't it be enough that I love her. I have never hurt this much in my life.

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I don't know if I'd advise trying to convince her at this point (and actually after your last post it's probably a very bad idea), but she needs to see a trained clinical psychologist rather than a counselor. Maybe others can tell you how to approach this.

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