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Author Topic:  Searching for Answers

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Searching for Answers
OP: July 21, 2021, 08:52:01 PM
Hi to everyone. I’ve tried to put this together using the guide for the first post, so here it goes.

I am LBW 49 yrs old.
Married to my H (49) since 1996/together since 1991.
D (19) S (17)

H was always good to me and kids but he had a terrible childhood(abusive/alcoholic father left him and his mom when he was a kid). He strove to be nothing like him. He has been dealing with some medical issues over the past few years with heart, thyroid, and arthritis, and now struggling financially as his job was impacted by covid.

I toyed with the idea of MLC a few times, but not taken it seriously until I saw something posted in another group for Separated Woman this week. Someone replied to a post to consider possible MLC and recommended this site. Was all relatable so I checked into it and I began to see lot’s of similarities.

He has isolated himself from pretty much everyone and withdrawn. He shaved his head and grew a huge, messy beard. He’s gained weight and looks much older. Incredibly irritable and moody with me, kids and others (neighbours commented/trouble with his coworkers).

Still live in the same house. I live upstairs/he in the basement. We ignore each other and are completely separate. I did ask if we could say hi to each other or try to communicate but he originally ignored my request, later complaining I didn’t acknowledge him. I tried again to open the communication but he now claims he doesn’t feel communicating effectively is possible.

Often does not reply to my texts/emails/requests to talk. Very different when he wants something and texts, expecting a response quickly. I’ve asked him not to text me and created a separate email to communicate only as necessary.

BD March 2020. He separated from me in our own home. I believe the trigger was actually me as we fought and I asked him to sleep in the basement one night - he never came back. I had been going through severe depression and was finally getting excellent help (which he had encouraged) so I was shocked by this.

At first said he didn’t know what he wanted/couldn’t figure things out. As I didn’t know what was going on, I kept asking for answers and pushing for decisions. He would say he needed more time. He would walk away from conversations, if he had them at all. I continually told him I was willing to help him as I knew he wasn’t ok. I would reach out every 4-6 weeks to create a plan to move forward, together or separate, but he usually ignored me. Interestingly, he would later say I never did anything to create change. Each time I reached out I told him I wished it could be different/gladly work with him to change things/ask him if he was sure this was how he wanted it, because it wasn’t how I wanted things to be.

By August 2020 he felt our marriage was over; didn’t want to be hurt by me any longer; claimed I abused him; I hadn’t allowed him freedom; couldn’t think clearly as everything I did triggers him; I took his family and friends away; he doesn’t know who he is anymore; feels he has wasted his life.

I suggested completing a legal separation agreement and asked about lawyers but he hasn’t contacted any. He mentioned mediation late in the summer of 2020, but I refused (he wasn’t talking to me so it didn’t make sense). He didn’t push it again. He refused to do marriage counselling. Claims to have seen someone but only a few sessions where he decided both me and our marriage was toxic. When I asked why he’d stayed for over 20 years he said he was afraid of me.

This has almost driven me crazy but I’m hanging in there. I’ve always felt something wasn’t right. I have been working hard on myself physically (eating habits/jog/walk/yoga) and mentally (weekly therapy since December 2019/mediation/reconnected with friends and family).

Nothing I’ve done seems to have made any difference. He’s just as angry now as he was in March 2020. As of May 2021 I’ve decided to let things be and focus on myself and the kids until Spring 2022 when I plan to reassess if he makes no moves by then.

And now, here in July, I have found this group. Does it sound like a MLC? It’s the only thing that seems to make sense so far. Does anyone have any insights/thoughts?
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Searching for Answers
#1: July 22, 2021, 07:10:55 AM
Does this sound like MLC?

Is the Pope Roman Catholic?  Does a bear poop in the woods? Are cemeteries full of dead people?

This follows the "Low-Energy Wallower" script to the letter, right down to living in the basement... He's "scared" of you and always has been (for 20 years? PUH LEEEZE!), you "never" let him do anything he wanted? (What? Are you his mom that he has to ask permission to stay at Kevin's house for an hour?  ::) )

A couple of questions for you to consider....

1) Do you have financial security and have you ensured that he can not jeopardize that?  Even Low-Energy Wallowers can spend money like there is no tomorrow and you have 2 kids that I assume are still at home.  You may need to set some budgetary boundaries and get a handle on the family finances. You may even need to go so far as getting legal advice to ensure that YOUR financial security and that of your kids is secure.

2) How is his R with the kids? Does he even notice them? Interact with them?

3) If you are separated while in the same house, who does his laundry, cooks his meals, etc?  It really shouldn't be you as he has fired you from that position.

While he talks a lot about how it is all over, he hasn't moved to end anything (typical wallower).

As far as him expecting you to respond quickly, he doesn't respond at all. You may wish to consider mimicing that behaviour (take a look at the Rule of 3 - Someone is bleeding, respond in 3 minutes, something really important that has to do with the kids or house, 3 hours. "we need to talk"| - 3 days. Idle chit-chat, 3 weeks (if ever).

Unfortunately, form the first impression, you have gotten the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket to a party no one EVER wanted to be invited to attend and there are a few things to consider.
First, you need to take care of you - eating right, exercise, sleep, etc (all that stuff you listed already).
Second, you are now, unfortunately, the grown up in the house of 3 teenagers (2 real and one wannabe). Your kids are going to need someone stable in their life and Dad is probably NOT going to be it.
Third, this is HIS crisis and there is absolutely NOTHING that you can do about it. You can't "nice" him through it, you can't push him through it, you can't help him through it. He has a whole huge load of FOO (Family Of Origin) Poo to deal with and you are NOT the right address to try to assist him in that endeavour. He needs to deal with it, either on his own or with professional help.
Fourth, this is NOT a sprint to the finish line. This is an ultra-marathon slog through thick mud and, while there are success stories where the couple has reconnected and reconciled, the casual evidence is that this is not often the case, unfortunately. The goal if HS is to help you get to the point where you can live a good life, REGARDLESS of what happens with your Mid-Lifer.

In my tagline, there are a couple of links to some of the resources available here on the site and are a good starting point for people to get an idea of what they may be confronting if the person formerly known as "Spouse" has really gone off the deep end

Post as often as you feel the need. There will be others along shortly to also extend their welcome and offer their experience and advice. Take what feels useful and discard that which doesn't apply.

As a former Navy member, all I can say is "Batten down the hatches and stand by for heavy rolls"

Sorry that you needed to find us but glad that you did. This is a community of people who have "Been there, Done that, gotten the T-Shirt" so there is certainly someone who has been in an identical situation to you....

UM
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Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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#2: August 05, 2021, 01:28:45 AM
Hi This is me,

I got a similar inspiring and powerful message from Ursa Major about fourteen months ago. In my situation it gave my the strength to stay in my own home and the knowledge that I really hadn’t done anything wrong. Are we LBS perfect of course no5 but 8 had been and continue t9 be a great Dad and I was a good provider and loyal and supportive partner.

I did for a while live in same house but that is very tough . Particularly for the kids as I think they feel the tension . My x gave all of us the I need to have fun as 8 have been looking after everyone for 19 years.. she also came from not a bad but disruptive childhood and had a selfish Dad who always put his mates and golf and fishing before wife and kids.  When she dropped the bomb on me she referenced things I had done wrong 19 years ago but she had never raised before... I think they need to rewrite history t9 justify the enormous family crushing decision they are about to make ... I do think the childhood pain bit is very common in MLC.

I am in lockdown as well ... I wish you strength and hope that things improve whatever tha5 looks like
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#3: August 05, 2021, 01:43:01 AM
I got a similar inspiring and powerful message from Ursa Major about fourteen months ago.

At least I am consistent over time!  ;)
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Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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Re: Searching for Answers
#4: August 05, 2021, 11:56:20 AM
Welcome to the Board

You are in a good place.
Your H/W  is on his/her own journey.
You can not do anything to control this trip.
Come here and read or vent, we will listen.
Give your H/W space  he/she needs to heal himself/herself.

I would not ask him/her anything unless you can have no expectations.
Sometimes asking them questions will be thought of as pressure.
You do not want to do anything that can be thought of by your H/W as controlling or pressure.

Your need to start working on you.
There is nothing that you can do to help your H/W.

He/She has given you a gift.
It is time!!

Use the time wisely to make yourself a better person.
Look in the mirror to see what it is that you can improve.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.
GAL.

Read some books on depression. Both for yourself! And for H/W.
Believe none of what he/she says and 50% of what he/she does.

Read the resources from this site.
The links that are in my signature.

Detach. - The single most important thing you can do

The detach link and HB's 6 stages of MLC(rewritten from Jim Conway) located in the resources above.
http://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=4.msg380#msg380

Developing Detachment
http://jamesjmessina.com/toolsforcontrolissues/developdetachment.html

http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/self-focus_releasers_detach.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/14712-developing-detachment/

RCR has asked everyone to keep to one thread until  that thread is 150 posts

Keep posting and asking questions and we will try to answer them.

Knowledge is Power - Sir Francis Bacon
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Re: Searching for Answers
#5: August 05, 2021, 11:59:13 AM
Not sure why this thread was in the wrong forum but it is moved here now, we will leave it here as long as it is active.
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#6: August 05, 2021, 09:23:12 PM
Hello thisisme.  I hope you continue to post.

I have an S21, D19 and and S16

Definitely sounds to me like he's in the throes of MLC
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#7: August 07, 2021, 01:59:30 PM
I appreciate the response to my initial post. It's so gratifying to see that yes, I’m on the right track. The validation means everything to me after feeling so lost since March 2020. Even if I can’t fix anything, knowing what’s behind this, and that I’m not alone anymore has helped me feel like I have made a step forward. Does that make sense?

I appreciate the info that has been passed along here, too. I’m learning so much and will continue to read everything and take notes (yeah, I'm nerdy like that  ::).

Quote
A couple of questions for you to consider....1) Do you have financial security and have you ensured that he can not jeopardize that?  2) How is his R with the kids? Does he even notice them? Interact with them?  3) If you are separated while in the same house, who does his laundry, cooks his meals, etc.

1-Finances: While we have no legal agreement, we have separated our finances and shares of bills. This got off to a rocky start, but is now working. Initially he wanted to purchase a new $50k+ truck but I was able to shut that down just in time. Of course, I was the bad guy for it. He also started spending from our credit line, but I went to the bank and froze it as saw he could take us down financially really fast otherwise. I paid it off and he still doesn't have access. That, too, was deemed unfair by him. In fact, at one point he wanted me to leave the home, give him access to the credit line and continue paying most of the mortgage. I was in disbelief when he couldn't understand why I couldn't do that for him. We are not rich, by any means! I work f/t and luckily do better than him as his job has suffered due to covid, but there's no way that was logical or reasonable, in my opinion.

2-Behaviour with Kids: He's up and down with them from what I can see, which really isn't much. Either father-of-the-year or mad and angry at them too. Most often though, the house is quiet and awful. Both kids are here for the summer. D19 returns to university shortly but for now we seem to live in our own rooms, most often with the doors closed. I know this is awful for them. I did try to discuss this with him but he doesn’t see it the way I do. He says everything he does is for the kids and their well-being...really??? I make dinner for the 3 of us most nights so there's a touch point and connection but painfully aware that he is often sitting below us in the basement. I keep saying I'm in this for the long game by not resorting to his type of behaviours, as I'm pretty sure he's said things that haven't been completely truthful, yet not straight out lies about me and the situation to the kids. I let them know I'm here to talk and have tried to get them to see a therapist (without success). I try to avoid saying much about him except that I think he's not well. Starting to wonder if I should share more with them, but haven't.

3-Cooking/Cleaning: Nope. I don't do any of it anymore. I learned my lesson the hard way. I was cooking a little bit for him here and there but nothing regularly. All that ended this past New Year’s Eve. I did an amazing steak and seafood dinner for me and the kids. Felt awful that he was in the basement alone so I did a plate for him too. S17 took it down to him but he sent it back without any hesitation. That was really tough for my son as he knew it upset me and he was the one who had to return the food to me. H wouldn't even return it to my face...yet he's only thinking of the kids, right? (Sorry...venting!) Didn't cook for him again after that. He hardly uses the kitchen at all, and I think he eats mostly crappy, take-out food. Does his own laundry right down to using his own detergent. When I say we're living separate, we really are. I can go a week without so much as seeing him and our house isn't large by any means.

I think I’ve begun to detach since reaching out to him in May (which I now recognize I shouldn’t have done or do again). I was trying to change our living arrangements. I obviously failed at that. He was crappy to me and I realized then that I couldn’t allow myself to be hurt by him every month or so, so I cut the cord as much as I could and have done my best to stick with it.

Having said that, I have to admit there's this part of me that just can't let this go. I can't seem to fully wrap my mind around the fact that he's "gone".  Part of me keeps thinking he's coming back. I've read that is not often the case, and I'm a fairly intelligent woman, so I don't get why I can't shake the feeling. I sometimes wonder if it's because we're still in the same house? It's like being stuck on pause even though I'm making every effort to work on myself and do stuff for me.
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#8: August 07, 2021, 03:40:08 PM
Hi thisisme,

It could be MLC, but I really question if it's MLT instead.

It doesn't sound like he's in some big affair.... it sounds like he's grumpy, disconnected, angry and wants people to leave him alone.
I've known several men who have gone thru this.
He seems to be on the tail end (age wise) of when this normally happens, but yeah he's still in the zone.

If you don't mind me asking: Did he have some big plans or dreams that just kinda fell flat? Any big failures? Your depression, how long were you in that and how did he handle it? Did he try to pull you out of it?
That he hasn't left the house is a good clue as to where his heart actually is (IMO). If it's MLT, then him withdrawing is him trying to remove himself from what causes him pain, I.E. what makes him feel like a failure.... and him trying to rely on himself when he feels like nothing can be relied on (including himself).

A possibility.

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BD - 27th April 2019
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#9: August 07, 2021, 09:00:11 PM
If you don't mind me asking: Did he have some big plans or dreams that just kinda fell flat? Any big failures? Your depression, how long were you in that and how did he handle it? Did he try to pull you out of it?
That he hasn't left the house is a good clue as to where his heart actually is (IMO). If it's MLT, then him withdrawing is him trying to remove himself from what causes him pain, I.E. what makes him feel like a failure.... and him trying to rely on himself when he feels like nothing can be relied on (including himself).
Thanks for your insights. It is so great to have help with this.

I think his biggest dream was to make something of himself and his family. His birth father was abusive to him and his mother, as well as an alcoholic, and left them when he was a kid. He was determined to do better.

I was depressed on and off for almost 20 years, starting with a series of miscarriages and then post-partum with the births of our kids. The depression ebbed and flowed over the years. He was my rock throughout it all, pushing me to see doctors, try different meds and approaches and ultimately the one who pushed me to find the therapist I’m with now who made all the difference for me. I ironically found her Dec/19 (BD March 2020) when at the height of my most severe depression. I initially took a turn for the worse between starting with her and the BD which I know was tough on him and likely contributed to this. I have continued weekly sessions with my therapist and have done so well even with all of these challenges ever since.

He did say that he feels he gave me the tools to help myself for many years and I never tried hard enough to get well. This simply isn’t so. I kept searching right along with him for someone to finally help me. I think he must realize that somewhere deep inside, though I do think he feels resentful that he wasn’t the one to “fix” me.

What you said about him trying to remove himself from what causes him pain/feeling like a failure, which I suppose is me, really speaks to me. I wonder if he wanted this perfect life, to succeed where his mother and father failed but sees me as having ruined this for him?

I’ve totally tried to explain things so he would understand I was doing the work, committed and determined to be better for him and our family, but I guess from what I understand, his anger and resentment is part of the process. It’s so sad, because I really feel it doesn’t have to be this way and would do anything to help him if he’d let me, but at the same time I’m so frustrated and upset by his choices.

Perhaps I should look more into the differences with MLT and MLC...I'll take a look. Thanks for your suggestions.
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