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An incredibly convoluted situation. Need advice.


upstreamcolor

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First off, sorry for such a long post but I feel like leaving out details might

 

Wow, where to start.

 

 

Background

 

My wife and I have been together for nearly 6 years, married for just a year and a half of that. We're both relatively young (I'm 31, she is 27) and knew each other for about 2 years before dating. My wife and I both had upbringings with alcoholic parents and other assorted issues and it was an immediate bonding point that we shared. We quickly became best friends and it eventually bloomed into a dating relationship. Before we knew it, we were madly in love. I'm the type of person to take things slow and she is definitely the more romantic type. She started throwing the word marriage around after a year and I was quite apprehensive. Not so much that I doubted, but I'm a firm believer that you need to live with someone for awhile to get a true sense of who they are. Our love remained rather strong throughout the relationship and we rarely, if ever, got into arguments and I eventually decided to ask her to marry me, 4 years in. Our bond continued to get stronger and I had no doubts about my decision.

 

My wife has a number of issues with anxiety, depression, and as aforementioned, alcoholism. These became very prominent issues in our relationship and eventually lead to her seeking out help. She started by going to A.A. for her drinking and that alone was a huge step forward in her progress. I don't really drink (socially once or twice a year) so it was easy to support her in an environment without alcohol. She then began to tackle her anxiety by going to a guy who specializes in group therapy. And here is where our story begins....

 

So, what's the problem?

 

My wife began going to individual sessions with her therapist who was curating the group sessions at the beginning of this last summer (May I believe). It was about a month or two after this that I started to notice a change. She started a new job at a bar (yeah, dumb move) which she really enjoyed due to her co-workers and the money she was making. However, we were hanging out less, she was going out with new friends, and she started drinking on occasion. Fortunately, she wasn't coming home drunk, but I could smell the booze on her breath. We're both pretty independent people but one night she wasn't responding to my texts when she hadn't come home an hour after her shift. Knowing that she tends to shut off when she is drunk, this was an immediate concern. Around 3 am, she showed up and said "we need to talk right ing now" out of nowhere. I could tell she had been drinking and I didn't want anything to do with it. She claimed that she had sobered up quite a bit from before and she was ready to talk. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and talked. It was at this point that she told me she wasn't happy in our relationship. It was a long conversation with 0 answers (she couldn't really tell me why) but I agreed that I would do my best to work on it. The next few days, we apologized to each other and moved on.

 

Forward a few months to November when the conversation surfaced again. We had hardly been intimate in the last few months, we hardly did things together, and we felt more like roommates than lovers. She told me that she was thinking of leaving just to take time to "not be in a relationship". It was something I acknowledged and told her that we need to spend more time communicating with each other, and for the following days, I did. I talked to her every night but the conversations just continued to go in circles. I told her that I wanted to go to therapy with her because if we were going to make sense of it all, we should do it with mediation. On the second day of December, I was finally scheduled to go to her therapist with her. I didn't know what to expect but I told myself to be as open minded as possible. In that session, I put my heart on my sleeve and explained what I had hoped to gain from going to therapy with her. She also opened up too and I thought that the session was very positive. However, when we came home that day, we talked about the session a bit and she told me that "she couldn't stay in this house any more." I also got the dreaded "I love you, but I'm not in love with you."

 

I was so shocked and confused. I didn't know if she wanted a divorce or what and I really broke down. I basically begged for her to not leave and she agreed that this would be a "break" rather than a "break up." She made arrangements with her friend to stay at her house for an indefinite period of time. She left literally hours later. I told her that I would like to continue going to therapy with her because it made sense and she agreed. Well, a week goes by and in this time we cried together a few times but nothing was resolved. She told me she wanted to go to therapy alone the first week and I respected her wishes but she told me I could definitely come the next week. Well, during this week, we had close to 0 contact which was excruciatingly hard for me but I knew that therapy would be the best place to talk. The day before therapy, she told me she received a text from her therapist asking her to come alone. I found this extremely odd but I was also incredibly hurt. I was waiting all week for this session and it was taken away from me. A couple days go by and I still don't hear from her. I finally broke down and called her and asked to talk. She agreed to come over and for the first hour, it felt like the good old times. We were laughing and joking and things seemed to be back to normal in a way. At this point, I asked why the therapist wanted her to come alone. She paused for quite some time and said "I don't want to talk about it." I could tell something was wrong...I pryed a bit more and she finally said, " I don't think I can see him anymore but I just don't want to talk about it." For the rest of the night, I left it alone and we talked about our issues. She told me that she just didn't want to be in a relationship and wanted to be single for awhile. She promised that there wasn't another guy nor did she want to even date or see anyone (she didn't rule out sex though...which is a whole other story with her promiscuity). By the end of the night, she finally told me what happened.

 

Her therapist basically said, "I could lose my practice over this but I've never felt this close to someone" and he proceeded to ask to kiss her. He then told her that he had time later in the week if they wanted to get together and have intercourse. This , in his 40s and married, waited until we were taking a break to move in. As you can imagine, I was and still am livid. My mind started racing. Had this guy been manipulating her this whole time? What did she do? Etc... Thankfully she told him no, but she said she felt really guilty because she wasn't as stern/ angry as she should have been. I don't know all the details or if they touched each other or whatever, but it makes me so sick. I told her that she needs to report him and stop seeing him. She agreed to the latter but said she was still really confused on what else to do.

 

After that night, nothing happened and our break continued (3 weeks at this point). A week later, I contacted an old Clinical Psych professor I had about the situation to get recommendations on what to do with this therapist. She wrote me a long e-mail back and I forwarded it to my wife. My wife was thankful but told me she wasn't going to report him because she "didn't want to ruin someone's life." She's been really messed up from the whole situation and I suggested again that we see a new therapist together to work things out. It was at this point that she really turned on me. Our phone calls became really heated and I knew from friends that she had been drinking it up and neglecting herself.

 

So, here I am, a month and a half later. I'm moving out of our house at the end of the month because the pain is too much to bare. I'm an an absolute mental wreck over the situation and I just don't know what to do. I love her so much but I can't seem to get through to her at all. She knows I'm moving but still hasn't talked to me in over a week. Most of her stuff is still at the house. I'm in such a rut with anxiety and depression. Barely eating, and just miserable every day. I literally shake when I have to send her a text for small talk things like "you have a package here" etc.

 

One of the conclusions I've reached is that we were very co-dependent on each other. I need her for love, affection, and all of the things I was missing from my childhood. She, the same, but she always depended on me to do things in her life. She would often wake up late for work and I would have to help her get ready. She would often forgot about bills and I had to remind her...just little things that really added up over time. Most importantly, I was there to stop her from drinking, and when she would mess up, I would too easily forgive.

 

I don't want this to end in divorce but 2 months after the break, I am quite fearful that this is what will happen. I'm trying to give her space to think things through but she's in a really horrible environment to be thinking about anything.

 

 

Any advice?

 

Sorry again for the really long post and I appreciate your answers.

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Anything stopping you from reporting him? Frankly, I think you need to as a favor to his other patients. Probably not the first or last time he has done this and yes, he likely messed with her head and yes, she doesn't want to report him because a large part of her is deeply flattered by this even if she had the sense to reject him. Unfortunately, there may be many clients who didn't or won't have the same sense. This is dangerous and he should be losing his license to practice. No question about that.

 

As for your wife, alcoholism is tough. It can make them depressed, angry, aggressive, withdrawn, crazy, promiscuous, flat out ill and all of the above in a slew of "fun" mood swings. Some people conquer it and some actually need to land in the gutter literally before they will take any real action to deal with their problem. Don't know what to tell you here. At the end of the day she is an adult and you can't make her do anything. You just have to figure out how much time you are willing to give her before you are done.

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I think you're going to have to bend your mind to the fact that this is headed for divorce court. As much as you don't want to hear or consider that, it would be a good idea for you to contact a lawyer and get the ball rolling so that you're through and done with this. She wants to live the life of a drinker and be around those sorts and there is nothing you can do to make her see or do otherwise. She has no real interest in saving her own skin and you can't do that for her, as much as it hurts you to know that.

 

She's not thinking anything through as long as she chooses to soak in liquor.

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After what she has done, you give her space and she sows her wild oats, what do you expect to happen? She'll get it all out of her system and come back? You want her back? Think about that. Give *yourself* that space and think about moving on without her. She does not exist, just you. That's the mindset.

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I was told that only she can report him due to legal reasons. Moreover, since I was not there to witness said events, I would be working off of her word of mouth. The only evidence I've seen is the text message he had sent her the day before our therapy.

 

She's made some great progress with her drinking and I've been told that she has been mostly keeping it under control (though I'm sure that will not last). The day she left the house, she apparently got black out drunk and one of her co-workers had to take her to her new residence. The person she is staying with has 0 tolerance for her drinking and told her if she comes home that way again, she is kicked out. Since she is still staying there, I know at least that she hasn't come home completely wasted...or if she has, she's done it quietly. It's also possible she's crashing at other people's houses if she is drinking. I don't know. When I talked to her about it, she was pretty open and honest and said she hasn't gone crazy since that first day. As you can all imagine, I sit and worry about it quite a bit because I have no clue what is going on. Moreover, she has pretty much removed herself from all of our shared friends that we've had over the years. Most of those people have been hanging out and talking to me while this mess goes down. They don't exactly approve of her behavior.

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Reporting him to the licensing board is not the same as suing for malpractice. You absolutely can take that text message and go to the licensing board and report him. Let them investigate him at the very least. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but at least you did something.

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Sadly.. you cannot take her problems away, nor can you be her sitter and always 'take care of her'.

She has to come to terms with her issues she's got and do some things on her own.

 

I Know how hard this is for you... but you've done well to respect her, backing off and all.

 

In the beginnings of a break up and for a while, it's awful. The anxiety and the emotions are so high.

 

I suggest you see your doctor to help out with the anxiety. I've been on Cipralex for a few months, it does help.

You may also want to seek some of your own counselling, for yourself if things are getting too hard for you to handle?

 

Either way... for now, take care of you. Your hurts and do your best to 'accept' the situation. Yes, it'll take some time...

 

You're not alone..

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You said, "and knew each other for about 2 years before dating"

- Explain?

 

You said, "My wife and I both had upbringings with alcoholic parents and other assorted issues and it was an immediate bonding point that we shared. We quickly became best friends and it eventually bloomed into a dating relationship. Before we knew it, we were madly in love."

- Sounds more like proximity and needy... not love.

 

Helpful hints:

- Don't call her anymore.

- Visit friends and relatives.

- Distance and time should clear the haze from your mind.

- Stop telling her what to do... it's a big joke behind your back.

- Purchase James Dobson's "Love must be tough" (Do not talk to her about this book)

 

 

PS, Forget about the 'therapist" he's no less hapless than you. She would just find some other dud.

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Welcome to ENA

 

If you both were seeing the therapist and pulled this stunt then yes you can report him. He was supposed to be helping save your marriage not get into your wife's pants! Call the licensing board and explain what happened and see what they say. It may help someone else to get this predator punished.

 

On to your situation. I was raised by 2 alcoholic parents so I know a little about what I speak. First off taking a job at a bar is like a junky taking a job at a pharmacy. SHE is making bad choices knowingly and there is nothing you can do about it.

 

This seems to be much more than a marriage problem and you know it.

 

New friends, acting differently, strange hours, getting drunk all add up to a very bad outcome for your marriage. I am sorry.

 

Can you marriage be saved? Only if she makes that choice. Can you make changes to help that happen? I am not so sure but you can try.

 

The very first thing you must do is take care of yourself. Go see your doctor and explain what is going on in your life and how you are feeling. Then begin to get yourself as healthy as possible (mind and body) because you have a rough road ahead I am afraid. Once you start to get your legs back under you and feel a little better you can begin to try and save your marriage.

 

There is no fast repair for what is broken so get yourself good and then you can see what you really want for your life. She is already gone so you have time...

 

Lost

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I only saw the therapist once. I was informed that because the incident happened directly to her, she has to be the one to report it. I may still give it a shot but my hopes are not too high. She was supposed to see him this last Tuesday to let him know she wouldn't be coming back. I found it odd that she would even bother telling him at all. Moreover, since I haven't talked to her since, I have no idea if she went through with it. Everything is in this really awful limbo state and I think that is why I'm hurting so much. As you said, I do know this is more than a marriage problem and it really bums me out that she can't see past that right now. As I mentioned before, I am aware that you guys are only hearing my side of the story and I feel guilty in a way because she can't explain it from her point of view. When having conversations about our issues, I've brought up the greater issues she has and she immediately tries to turn it on to me ("you had chances" "you didn't make a real effort").

 

One other thing I left out in my original explanation is an issue that we had for quite sometime; Spending time together was always a chore. Our conversation would usually go something like this: Me: "Hey, I have Sunday off, you do too right?" Her: "Yeah." Me: "We should really do something" and I would make a few suggestions. Her: "Yeah." So, Sunday would arrive and then she would sleep in way too late to do anything and by the time she got up, her other plans were already in que and we ended up not doing anything. I would hear her alarm go off countless times and she would continue to shut them off. There was never any urgency to get up and do something. It was something that really really frustrated me and she knew it.... however, I would tend to act like it wasn't a big deal or be kind of passive aggressive because I got to the point where I expected her to fail in following through. It was this dad/ daughter dependency thing that was really a huge issue in our relationship. It's also the key thing I wanted to work on with therapy but never had the chance.

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Were you compatible before marriage?

Did your relationship begin on the unfinished end of a failing marriage/relationship?

 

Both sides of the story aren't normally necessary.

 

If compatible:

She said, "you had chances" "you didn't make a real effort"

- This line would most likely mean she is internally conflicted and mad. (Revenge)

You shut her down one to many times with your unloving ways.

 

If not compatible:

She said, "you had chances" "you didn't make a real effort"

- There's no inner conflict and all she wants is to be with her hero.

 

Did you get Dobson?

 

PS, The therapist is just one of a million men she could find... he's not the problem. You are.

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This isn't all your fault for sure and it appears that she isn't good for anyone really. Her behavior shows very little respect for anyone including herself. She has shown little desire to spend quality time with you, work on building a strong relationship or increasing a loving bond between the two of you.

 

I get the feeling she has used you for her own needs and now she feels like she doesn't need you. Please look back at your relationship from start till the split but this time view it as if it were your brother or best friend in your shoes. What advice would you give him?

 

Have you read any books on the adult children of alcoholics? Here is a good one: link removed

 

The issues of you being the father, helper, wake her up, cook, clean, make plans, keep her safe, watch the money, pay the bills and on and on is the real problem I see here, not if you were a good enough husband or not. Unfortunately love is not enough sometimes and you have to accept the person you love doesn't want help and doesn't want to change, they want to drink and sleep and live a selfish life. That is not a marriage...

 

Take a hard look and tell me what you see from the outside looking in.

 

Lost

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Thanks lostandhurt.

 

That is the way I've been attempting to approach the situation and a lot of my reaching out to her friends has resulted in people supporting my position. I try to be as honest as possible when I describe the situation but I feel guilty for not letting her have her say too.

 

As far as her not wanting change: There was definitely a time where she did want change and I sometimes blame myself for not giving it the encouragement it needed. I told her I was happy about her going to therapy and the like but I didn't get as involved as I maybe should have. On the other hand, I don't necessarily think she ever asked with the occasional "you can come if you want" as the exception.

 

As far as the father figure thing: That is something I try to remind myself of as much as possible. It really was an 80/20 relationship where I would bend over backwards for her and not get much in return. She is a really nice person and was always by my side in hard times, but the every day was really always me in control, even when I didn't want to be. I know that dependency she had on me was absolutely a problem and I sometimes wonder if this separation is her legitimately trying to break it. At least, I would like to think that is the case but I'm not sure.

 

I finally talked to her brother the other day who she holds in higher regard than anyone she knows. He is her main source of advice and she believes he is the only person who understands her. I'm not sure what my expectations were in talking to him, but I definitely left the conversation feeling unfulfilled. He basically told me that he didn't know much more than I did and that she needs to figure things on her own. I tried to express just how much it hurts to be completely left hanging and he agreed that she definitely handled it the wrong way. Moreover, he said he hasn't talked to her in nearly 3 weeks when she last visited him and that is about the approximate time I last talked to her too.

 

I've completely stayed non contact as of late and it seems to be getting harder rather than easier. I thought I was making real strides in my recovery but I find myself having roller coaster days, every day. I also beat myself up because I know people have much worse problems than I do but my heart feels like the person I love has died. Eventually, I am going to have to see her as I am moving out in a week and her stuff is still here. Just knowing where in the house her wedding ring is sitting is painful enough but I'm going to have to deal with sifting through a lot more very soon.

 

Tough times. I hate it.

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Yes they are tough times and they will get tougher I am afraid.

 

The thing to remember is that they will get better but it takes time and a lot of work. She is broken and it appears either she will continue to be destructive and hit rock bottom and then try to rise above it and become the person she wants to be or she will wallow in her existence for some time until some life changing event happens to shock her into action. Sometimes it is an arrest, DUI, beaten by a BF, loosing a job, illness or anything serious but many times that is what it takes.

 

The 80/20 thing is bad. A relationship is about equality and clearly by choice or need there was no equality in your relationship. I know this is hard but you really need to let her do what she is going to do. During this time build yourself back up and get even better. Work out, eat healthy, contact old friends and live a good life like you want and you may be surprised by the results.

 

She is on a path that you cannot follow as she needs to discover who she is on her own. Until then nothing will change...

 

Get and read the book I pointed out. It is cheap and an easy read but will open your eyes for sure. Stop contacting others to get info on her as well. It looks like you are checking up on her like her father or something. Stay NC and get your life together.

 

She has made a choice and your biggest challenge right now is accepting that choice and accepting you have zero control over it.

 

Lost

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I would report him. If he were romantically interested in her he should have done the right thing and stopped seeing her as a patient BEFORE anything happened.

Now, after a year it should be OK to inquire about marriage...I mean how long are you going to string someone along(4 years apparently)? If you don't want to get married anytime in the next few years you should be very upfront as soon as the relationship turns exclusive. You can't fix her emotional issues like the alcohol use. All you can do is help her find her way by being supportive. After hearing your story it sounds like don't want to be alone but you are best off getting out of this relationship for good.

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I stuck it out with the non-contact but was coming close to budging as my move out day approaches this week. Yesterday, she sent me a text mentioning that she is aware she has stuff to pick up and that she'd have it all out by Thursday. I replied by asking if I could call with the caveat that I promised "it wouldn't be weird." We chatted a bit about the moving process, who is going to get the bed, etc. We also talked about taxes and other non-relationship related stuff but she eventually told me that she went through with cutting off her ties with her therapist for good. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders but it immediately flooded me with emotions. I told her I was really proud and happy for her. At this point, she brought up counseling but didn't really say much about the two of us going or if she actually wants to go through with finding someone else. I had to reiterate that my work provides free sessions and that was kind of the end of that conversation, which really bummed me out.

 

We continued to talk about other random stuff and the overwhelming feeling of being close and nothing wrong was happening started to take over. We were laughing and joking and it was just like old times. At this point, a friend of mine showed up to the house and started overhearing our conversation. We said goodbye to each other and that was that. The first thing my friend said to me was "I just don't understand why you guys are separated...it just seems so dumb and weird." I broke down and started to cry because I genuinely feel the same way. We still have such an insane bond with each other and I can't comprehend why on earth she's thinking the way she is.

 

She still doesn't want to talk about divorce but after just shy of 2 months, I think some lines need to be drawn. I want nothing more in the world to get back together but as more time passes, the more I have to prepare myself for the worst. A good friend of hers from years ago told me that she thinks that my wife wants to end it but simply does not have a reason that wouldn't make her look like a horrible human being.

 

Gah, I need a hug.

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Stick to the NC as much as possible and if you do talk on the phone or in person cut it short. ALWAYS be the one that end the conversation.

 

It is okay to break down and be sad. You are human and this hurts. Get it out and then get back to improving yourself.

 

I want you to be so good on your own and that not only she will see it but everyone else (including you) will see as well.

 

The best way out of this is for you to understand and accept what you have control over and what you do not. You really need to keep working on you like your life depended on it.

 

Keep your good friends and family close and it will help

 

Lost

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