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This will be a little long so bear with me.

My spouse and I have been together for going on 11 years, married for technically nearly 5. A bit of background. Previously we both identified as lesbian women. I am 31, and he is turning 40 in a few days. 

He has always been loving and caring, attentive and affectionate and VEHEMENTLY against cheating. And he has been this way with all of his previous partners too. His current behaviour is very out of character for him.

He has never had much of a libido, in all of our time together, and it was the same with previous partners (i spoke to the exs) and last year he agreed to see a couples therapist with me to see if we could get to the root cause of it. To see if it was a trauma or if he was just asexual. During this time he started exploring his gender identity as well. He became a bit distant, but was still willingly engaging in the exercises at his own volition.

He told me in February that he had started remembering, through individual therapy, about childhood sexual abuse and I was very supportive and assured him that it did not change how I feel and that it was not his fault. He had started remembering it the previous September so my therapist and I put the distance down to trying to process the trauma and gender identity.

A month later he left in the middle of the night after a hard session with our therapist where I confronted him about not defending me against something a friend of his said to me that was over a line.

He told me he just needed time, that he wasn't leaving me, that he loved me and needed to find the person I fell in love with again, he told both of our families and friends the same. He told the friend who took him away that he couldn't handle my anxiety (I have treatment resistant Bipolar 1, but it's mostly managed) he was also diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD and Bipolar 2 a week before he left.

He reiterated that he wasn't leaving me and that he loved me to all of the friends, both sides of the family and me for 3 months. And during this time he came out as transgender to me (female to male). Again I was nothing but supportive, I reassured him that I love him, that I'm not going anywhere, that I still want to be with him. That he just needs to let me know what he needs from me.

During the 3 months he was open about being confused about being married, he told me on the one hand he wanted to be because then there was someone that loved him unconditionally but on the other he didn't because he didn't want to consider someone else's feelings in all of this.

He told me the one thing he was the most sure of is that he loves me more than anything.

He implemented a ‘reintegration’ plan into coming home. So that we could redefine the roles in the relationship slowly so that he did not get overwhelmed. He would tell me how he was enjoying spending time with me, how it was feeling like home again, he was loving and affectionate.

I found out he stopped taking his medication about 2 weeks after he left and stopped seeing his therapist a month later.

During all of this I had been working on my anxiety and he even commented on the improvements I had made.

At the beginning of June he came for the weekend, again he was loving and affectionate, he did say that he felt that he was at a crossroads, that on one hand he could see himself with me but that he is scared if he comes back that we will end up where we were march but that he doesn't want to give up what we have built over the last 10 years and that he knew we could work through it, but on The other hand he sees himself without me, but that he knows we can work through it. He was even making plans for our future. Both immediate and distant.

Then 10 days later, the next weekend he was supposed to spend with me he walks in and asks for a divorce. I was confused. He told me he loves me, that there's no one else and probably never will be, but that he doesn't think its working and that he thinks it's unfair to keep me in a relationship his heart isn't in. He was still telling me he loves me every day until this point. 

I reacted badly and impulsively, I overdosed on all of my medication while he was there and landed up in ICU for 2 days.

We were both told to not contact each other, to give each other time and space. He didn't pay his share of the bills at the end of June and my mother contacted him about it. He told her he could afford only one of them and has been paying it since. But he also told her unprompted 2 weeks later that he loves me very much but just thinks we bring out each others anxieties.

I respected the space. I did not contact him and for a month and a half he did nothing. Then he blocked me on tiktok, that was followed by removing that he was married on facebook and then blocking me there too.

Then he started changing his name, back to his unmarried name.

I had written him a letter, explaining why I felt the anxieties had been heightened for us both because he also said he had felt this way for years, but he never said anything to me or his friends. In fact he was telling people how much he loved me and how lucky he was to have me all the way up until he asked for the divorce. He was telling me every day while he was away that he loves me and he would call to talk to me almost every day. And he had agreed to meet my mom who was going to give it to him. We had been through a lot of health scares, employment upsets, COVID, family worries, loss of pets, his memory of childhood sexual abuse, his gender identity discovery in the past few years. I believe that it contributed a great deal to the heightened anxiety. 

He then lost his job of 5 years for ‘lack of integrity’ and was kicked out of his friends house, where he had been staying this whole time. I dont know why, but they are no longer speaking and she has been his best friend of 15 years.

He turned up on the 1st of September to pick up his office keys to give back to his boss unannounced. He looked terrible. And I asked him about the cutting me out like he had, he told me my family had told him to. I asked about why he never said anything in the few years not even in therapy and he deflected it and said he felt attacked in therapy, even though I gave him 2 chances to stop going and he chose to continue.

I asked him about him telling everyone how much he loves me and he got defensive asking me who told me that. I asked about him telling everyone how he wasn't leaving me and he told me he just couldn't explain it

Again. I was reassuring, understanding, and calm. I reiterated I wasn't giving up on him. I asked if he wanted me to give him the letter then and he said yes that it may be a good idea.

He told me he had felt more like himself in the past 3 months than in the past 5 years. Which i believe is due to him having come out as trans and not me being out of the picture. I asked about the fact that he was still telling me he loved me and making plans for the future etc 10 days before. He said he decided to stop lying to himself and that walking away wouldn't be a failure and that he felt the relationship wasn't good for him, that we were too codependent and not independent. That he decided it was time to put himself first.

Now he never looked after me in any way, I was always the caretaker in the relationship. And I asked if the 6 months had not proved that we had managed to establish the independence again and if he doesn't think that things could be better now. 

He then told me he doesn't love me anymore and when I said I don't believe him and that I think there's something else he snapped at me and told me I could believe whatever I want.

I gave him the letter and he promised to read it and I told him I loved him and I'm not giving up and that everything will be okay. I was calm and loving the entire time.

Now he had stayed in the apartment and family whatsapp groups until this point and I decided to start being active in the informal apartment one, as a show that I really was doing everything he had asked, that I had been making the changes he said were a problem. And he was still active in the group. The moment I became active in it he left it.

So I started drawing again and I was posting progress pictures as statuses on whatsapp. And he was checking them religiously. He had been checking all of the statuses I posted since June, which he had never done before.

He met with my mom yesterday. She said she thought the meeting went well. He was open and there was no defensiveness. No anger, no negative anything. He had read the letter he told her he had read it a few times and that he thought I had made valid points and he agreed but that he didn't think it was all that was a problem. He said he could see I was making the changes and working hard. I had also sent a voice recording, rebutting some of the things he had said when he turned up at the house and he asked my mom to send it to him without her asking him if she could. He willingly listened to it in front of her and again in the driveway of his parents house which is now where he is staying. He never once mentioned wanting to continue with the divorce he said he was processing a lot of things he said he was trying to find work. He deflected the fact that he was fired, he blamed his boss, and he told my mom that he agreed that we need to talk to each other and that he has no problem seeing me.

Then an hour later he blocked me on whatsapp and left the family whatsapp groups too. He has also removed the rest of the family from Facebook. He is still in the formal apartment group.

I found out this morning that he is seeing someone, a girl half his age, a girl I know, who was still in school when we were still dating. The daughter of one of his mothers friends.

I had a suspicion about this, I thought it may happen, I had discussed it with my therapist months ago that if as part of his transition. He needed to explore I would give him a temporary hall pass to do so, but he was posting pictures of them online, he had a petneme for her, he NEVER had that for me ever.

I want him back, my therapist doesn't know if this is a midlife crisis or the Bipolar since he stopped his meds and therapy in April, but he is destroying his life. I keep being told to give him time and space, that the ‘relationship’ he has going on is temporary and will end but I don't know. I cant help feeling like just sitting and waiting is counter productive. The letter and voice note were my only chance and they seem to have fallen on deaf ears. I dont know why he had read the letter multiple times, I don't know why he wanted the recording. I dont know why things changed so drastically so suddenly. Initially we thought this was just because he needed time and space to redefine himself as who he is now that he is out, outside of the marriage, but now with the side piece I dont know. Nothing makes sense. All I know is that I have been nothing but good to him, I have been nothing but understanding and supportive and caring and this is all spiralling and I dont know why, this recent behaviour is so out of character, he has never been like this, not even with his previous partners, I keep being told he will hit rock bottom at some point and realise he is making a mistake, and that I need to be patient. That he just needs a wake up call, but no one knows what that could be or when. It is killing me, seeing what is happening, it is killing me just sitting doing nothing and being progressively cut out of his life like a cancer, but that I want to get him back. I just don't know how to. I just need advice on what to do, how do I get him to wake up, how do I get him back?

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If you cut out all the non-relevant stuff, your post would have been about a paragraph. Doesn't matter about all the lesbian transition from her to him stuff and the childhood abuse and bipolar and not taking meds etc etc.

Your partner has left you, blocked you, and is with someone else. After saying there isn't and never would be anyone else.

This isn't about what you want. 

Game over.

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It sounds like the two of you have significant mental health issues that mean that the two of you do not belong together in a relationship right now.  I'd separate and prioritize mental health and have no contact with this individual.  

And almost all married people are "vehemently against cheating" on their spouse -kind of one of the points of marriage. 

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41 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

It sounds like the two of you have significant mental health issues that mean that the two of you do not belong together in a relationship right now.  I'd separate and prioritize mental health and have no contact with this individual.  

Agree on all of the above. 

You need to start looking after your own well-being now, OP. This man is not in a place to offer you the relationship you once had, and it doesn't appear as though he is interested in trying to build again. 

It's going to be hard, but I think you have the face the reality that this has come to an end. And it will be for the better.  It's tearing you up and badly affecting your mental health, which should now be your absolute priority. 

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Quote

How do I get my spouse back?

Why would you even want somebody like that back?

Its clear that he doesnt want you. Even got a nice younger woman and blocked you. There is not a magic stick to fix that. Its not really worth it to lose more of your mental health on somebody who decided that doesnt want you in his life. Get a divorce and concentrate on your mental health first. As far as him goes, what he does with his life and how he ends, is not a concern of yours. He doesnt care about you so you shouldnt too. Concentrate on acceptance of that and move on in time.

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2 hours ago, Artistic Wordsmith said:

I reacted badly and impulsively, I overdosed on all of my medication while he was there and landed up in ICU for 2 days

Sorry this happened. I would focus on this and only this. He is too confused damaged and damaging to have in your life right now.

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My heart goes out to you, and I'm so sorry you're going through this.

I'd consider the fact that you went straight for a suicide attempt as a likely reason your husband has felt trapped for so long. He probably knew you would do that.

I would seek legal advice to learn all of my options and the best steps to take for each option. This is NOT the same as filing for divorce, I would leave that up to husband. However, gathering legal information will enable you to operate on real information rather than on emotions alone.

As for the emotional aspects of this, I'd request that my therapist ramp up our number of sessions each week and refer me to any available resources, such as a suicide hotline, a peer counselor, group sessions, and any additional treatment and additional help during this difficult time.

I hope you'll also consider writing more here if it helps.

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I am sorry for your pains 😕 .

But it does sound like a LOT has been happening with him..right?

To me, it sounds like he may just be totally overwhelmed with a lot.  He may find it hard to explain and converse with you - so he has been more distant, while he's trying to figure himself out.

As mentioned, your acting out as 'suicidal' is concerning 😞 .. Was it because you felt you were 'losing' this battle?  Feeling so low, etc.?

This will also be causing concern at his end - and again this type of behaviour can make someone pull away.

IMO, If someone has admitted they've 'lost feelings', then let them go!  Let them go away for a while to do their 'thinking'.. Like they say the 'man cave'.  If you continue to pressure them too much, you WILL again push them away. 😕 

Also, remember, we cannot make someone love us - So, if he's saying all of this your way, then you need to just try to accept his choices here... and work on your own mental health.

I know..it all hurts a lot.. I am sorry.  Been there a cpl times.. Loss is never easy.

As for your statement for this post, ' How do I get my spouse back'?

Not a lot you can do, except back off and let him do his thing...his way.  You respect his choices and don't keep at him.  Don't beg or chase and expect answers.  If he is confused, he can't give you answers.

But, I just feel that maybe things may be fizzling out in this situation.  It may not end up too well in the end.  If he wants to be involved with someone it is his choice.  Nothing much you can do about that.   If he is messing himself up somehow ( eg moving on too fast), then that is on him & he'll have to deal with the results..( But do try NOT to compare what you had with him, to anything he's doing or saying now eg.  a 'pet name'.).. Just don't!

Is time to focus more on yourself now.  Continue with your therapy, try journaling, get out with friends more, etc.  But don't be in his face expecting answers.

 

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No advice, just massive, expansive, infinite solidarity. It’s on a micro scale for me on account of my relationship never finding it’s feet like yours did but I still had invested in the idea of this person being my forever person and we have come together and come apart three times now. The Baggage reclaim lady likes to say that people unfold. My ex was a really good match for me for a while, under certain conditions. The conditions changed, he unfolded (into a person with a rigid idea about how relationships should progress), I unfolded (into a person with unresolved fear of intimacy). These two new states don’t work at all. It’s not that he was never my rock. But we’re in the next chapter now and I have been chanting under my breath ‘I accept that my ex is not my soul mate’. Admittedly this is the third break up and for one and two my heart just wanted to linger, standing there waiting for him to reconsider. (Which he did, and the combination of us still didn’t work well). But it’s like keeping your hand in the fire because you are fond of that fire. I think if you two come back together later nothing on heaven or earth could stop it but right now life is giving you an opportunity to practice acceptance and moving forward. (Same as it is giving me). Seeeeeeeize it!

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Changes in a relationship, personal and otherwise are often good.  But these total evolutions you shared spiral you two into entirely different places.  Places where you two no longer fit.

I think people often behave in ways that they hope their partner would choose to leave.  Rather than being the one to end it, they get the other to do it for them.  I'm sorry, but this seems like one of those cases.  He doesn't seem to want to shoulder the responsibility.  That may be why you continue to get the mixed messages about how much he loves you.  You can love someone at the same time recognize you are no longer meant to be together.

I am sorry this is happening.

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He has shown you through his words and actions how he feels. You should believe him and stop setting yourself up for his rejection, which will only hurt you. He needs his space and so do you. You need your space in order to heal and move on. I’m sorry, but it will get better with time and the sooner you remove yourself from his life the better off you’ll be. 

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