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Author Topic: My Story Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...

j
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My Story Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
OP: January 30, 2024, 06:08:46 PM
My husband moved across the country a little over a week ago. It seems like our entire relationship devolved in a matter of weeks, and I'm trying to figure out if the majority of the reason is because of MLC... and if I should have any hope at all of reconciling.

My husband and I have been together for over 23 years, married for 20 of those years. I am 49 and he just turned 50 a few months ago. We've had our share of ups and downs, including infertility (we were unable to have children) and moves for both fun and work to different states, stressful jobs, and many deaths in the family. Like any couple we have communication issues, among other things that we probably should have addressed sooner, but I always felt secure in my marriage and felt we loved each other very deeply. We renewed our vows in our church 11 years ago. He has been very devout for over 10 years. We'd often sit on the couch and talk about how we love our life, up until about six months ago. We've traveled, spent a lot of time with friends and family, and worked together to accomplish many things. We know we can rely on one another, and have always had a lot of fun together.

A year ago I quit my job (very blessed) due to stress and my mother's illness. My husband agreed to it, which was great, because she'd been sick for about four years and it gave me more time to spend with her and help when needed. I wasn't a full time caregiver, but supported her quite a bit financially and by providing rides and chores as needed. She needed a lot of help, which was frustrating at times, but we did our best to help her if she needed it. My mother and my husband had been close at one time, but it got to the point where her needs were too much for him, so I did my best to protect him from the situation over the last year, because by this time he was starting to appear agitated and withdrawn. I also want to mention I'm blaming her illness for his change in behavior, just providing context because it was a source of stress and what was occupying my thoughts at the time.

In mid-late summer of 2023 I started to notice some different behavior coming from my husband. He would say things like, "You used to be happy, and I've only hurt you." He also started talking about how he was losing interest in his faith. Shortly after this my mother ended up in the hospital due to side effects from her fifth chemo treatment (by this time she'd been sick for 5 years). I had to clean her house for a couple of days (anyone who has been in this situation knows it can get bad). My husband offered to help my on the second day - the job was pretty bad, and on the ride home I was talking a lot about it. I wanted to know if he was okay because I knew it was bad, but instead of asking if he was okay I asked if he wanted to be married to me anymore. He said "No," and proceeded to tirade about how life has been so difficult with me, that I've never wanted to do anything with him, and how I've always sabotaged his career and crushed his dreams. If he is in MLC, I guess this would be the first bomb drop. I regret asking that question more than anything I've ever done.

From then he started saying things like, "I don't want to grovel anymore" and "We've only ever done what you want. I want to do what I want." I always thought we made decisions together on everything. If he was in disagreement with anything, he sure didn't show it. At this time he had a rather sad expression, almost as if he was depressed, or conflicted even. He seemed like he was open to work on things, and to be honest I was terrified at the change, so I made every effort to be more affectionate and intimate with him as much as I could.

Over the next few months he said he wanted to be alone two more times and that things weren't okay with me, that our marriage was a failure so we should just let it fail. It was at that time I got us into marriage counseling. Then we went on vacation for his birthday and my mother died in her home while we were gone. The day after we returned, he said for the third time that he just wanted to be alone. With a funeral to plan and a trust to administer, I couldn't wrap my head around it. He remained sad and distracted, but did what he could to help me during that time. It was a horrible and sad time.

When the dust settled from the funeral we took a short trip. While we were away, he was a mix of distant, angry and sad. By that time he'd been acting this way for over three months, so on the way back from our trip I got angry with him. I was so tired and sad, and overwhelmed with grief and confusion that I let loose on him. Two weeks later, he wanted a divorce. This was less than two months ago.

The following 8 weeks were an absolute nightmare. He completely shut down emotionally toward me, saying that our entire marriage has been awful for 20 years. He accuses me of having anger issues and "monologuing", that I'm a walking crisis, and says he's been miserable the entire time. He has no good memories of us. He's made extremely disparaging comments about my weight (that he's embarrassed to be seen with me, openly mocking me about having a weight problem), and how he's un-attracted to me now, and that it's too little too late. He says we have no chance of reconciling. He changed from being sad and conflicted to completely narcissistic, at one point talking about how he's a good looking guy and doesn't need to chase women or instigate in the bedroom. And that I should have known what a man needs... "How could you not know? You are blind." He has also said we renewed our vows to force himself to stay with me, and that periodically over the years he has told clergy that he thinks about leaving me, but didn't think about it seriously until now.

Full disclosure, in the last few months, I have done all the wrong things. Begging, pleading, following him and keeping him up at night. It just made things worse. And now he is gone.

He doesn't reach out to me. I reach out to him - he's still taking care of the bills and has agreed not to file for divorce for the next few months so I can find a job and get on my feet. It's all business. I've talked to him a few times, but he's completely shut down and does not have any empathy or care about my feelings. I also know he has a secret social media account and has been looking at porn. I also wonder if he had reconnected or met someone because of the drastic behavior change. Part of me feels like I've ruined everything, and part of me feels like something mental is going on. And that is why I'm here.

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, are there enough indicators of MLC here, or is it relationship problems that were never resolved? I'm so confused. I know that marriage is a choice. It's not ever perfect. I feel like at this point I should just let it go (he keeps telling me to let him go). I know I need to detach, and I know things will be okay for me, but I am heartbroken. Am I crazy to think marriages take work? How could someone stay for that long and be miserable? All I wanted was to work on things. I'm trying to figure out if this could be MLC, or due to relationship issues or some character defect of mine. I am so sad and full or regret.

That is my story. I would love to hear any thoughts.

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#1: January 30, 2024, 08:13:50 PM
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I am relatively new myself (BD 4 months ago) and there are lots of wiser folks on here, but I will say this, I think that your story has a lot of MLC elements to it. Not finding any happy memories for one, and also going completely cold and distant and shutting down. My H fled to another country to get enough space from me and our kids and it was completely sudden and happened within two weeks - but of course, like you, looking back there were signs that depression was taking him over.

I think probably no contact with him for a while might be a good idea. It was the only thing that seemed to calm mine down. Just leaving him alone entirely to his own thoughts and showing that you are not chasing him. And in the meantime, trying to do some triage on your broken heart by connecting with other voices who love you, reading great books, and lots of walking outside. And prayer of course.

Again, I'm so sorry you are going through this. Just know you are not alone.
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#2: January 30, 2024, 08:31:24 PM
Thank you so much for your kind words.
And I'm so sorry you and your children have to experience this... my heart goes out to you.

No contact and plenty of prayer sound like good medicine.  :)



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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#3: January 31, 2024, 01:23:11 AM
To me, it reads like a synopsis out of "How to have an MLC for Dummies." LOTS of script there .....

Everything has always been horrid, you (the LBS) has ALWAYS been horrid, the marriage has ALWAYS been horrid, and the Mid-Lifer was "forced" (I don't know, maybe you were holding a gun to his head for 20-some odd years?) to stay....

Let me put it this way..... If you absolutely HATED to eat liver and onions, would you have stayed around and eaten Liver and Onions EVERY SINGLE DAY for 20 some odd years?  Probably not.....

I am sorry that you have had to find us but am glad that you were in fact, able to fund us. This community is full of people that will have experienced VERY similar things to you. There will be LOTS of advice coming, some of which is applicable, some not. Take what works for you and disregard the rest.

My own 2 cents is to get the financial details nailed down as soon as possible. Mid-Lifers can spend money like there is no tomorrow. In addition, make sure that you are taking care of your own needs, mental, and physical.... Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, exercise are all crucial to get through this time.
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#4: January 31, 2024, 06:28:15 AM
Dear jmnab,

I wrote a post on Amanda W's thread that I think draws some parallel's to your situation and wanted to point you over there.

I also want to say please, please don't internalize all the spew that your H has thrown at you. It's all nonsense - yes, projection and also a form of pushing you away. He's like a wounded animal flailing around and you are getting clawed because you are too close. I agree with AmazingLove - let him go for a while, it's the quickest way for him to see you are not responsible for his unhappiness (or happiness for that matter). It's also the best kind of damage limitation. The more you engage, the more wounds you will get. Later on, it is likely he won't remember saying any of these things, but you will remember everything verbatim. It's a well-worn phrase, but still true 'hurting people hurt people'. I would add 'often' in there, because not all hurting people hurt people, but in the world of MLC it is true. Another quote that helped me for a while was 'depression and love speak different languages'. Your H is currently looking at the world through a different lens. The lens changed, not you.

Look after yourself first, and as UM says, batten down the financial hatches, a storm is likely coming.

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#5: January 31, 2024, 06:59:44 AM
Thank you both for the thoughtful responses. I want to add that I do have a lawyer on retainer for when that time comes. My H has one has well. He's filled out forms but hasn't paid yet. Once he pays the ball will be rolling. He says he'll wait 90 days. We'll see.

My H has been in a 12 step program the entire time we've been married, and as I understand it he's spending time in that sphere in his new city. He's always been trustworthy, so spending problems hadn't crossed my mind. I guess if someone's personality can change that quickly I should be concerned. Thank you for the advice.

KayDee, I read your post on Amanda W's thread. It's spot on. One of the things my H said when I had more time after my mother's death was that he was getting my "leftovers." In my mind I was trying to be a good daughter, but I can see how my attention to her illness would cause him to internalize what he perceives to be neglect. I never meant to neglect him. I know he's been in pain, because even when spewing vitriol there were times when he'd cry. To add even more context, he also lost a brother a year and a half ago. He's experienced a lot of death in his own family, and for many of them, he was there in their final moments. He's a good man. It's both terrifying gut wrenching to see the change in him.

Thank you for encouraging me not to internalize the vile spew. It's been absolutely soul crushing.
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#6: January 31, 2024, 11:56:24 AM
Let me put it this way..... If you absolutely HATED to eat liver and onions, would you have stayed around and eaten Liver and Onions EVERY SINGLE DAY for 20 some odd years?  Probably not.....

I love Ursa's posts on HS.  Really smart teachings.  I'd add, be careful not to fall into the trap of being gas lit (an overused word, but its real).

MLCer: "You never did XXX so it shows that you never loved me"
LBS: "I know I wasnt perfect but I truly did love you"
LBS when lying in bed at night: "Maybe I didnt love her.  Maybe I was satan and pushed her away" etc

Cut it all out.  As time goes by, your filter will get much better at blocking out what's real and what's not.  BUT, be careful.  For a freshly bombed LBS, your mind will run wild.  You wont know whats real and whats not, and you'll blame yourself for all of it.  It's truly a mindtruck in the beginning....
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#7: January 31, 2024, 01:09:03 PM
Let me put it this way..... If you absolutely HATED to eat liver and onions, would you have stayed around and eaten Liver and Onions EVERY SINGLE DAY for 20 some odd years?  Probably not.....

I love Ursa's posts on HS.  Really smart teachings.  I'd add, be careful not to fall into the trap of being gas lit (an overused word, but its real).

MLCer: "You never did XXX so it shows that you never loved me"
LBS: "I know I wasnt perfect but I truly did love you"
LBS when lying in bed at night: "Maybe I didnt love her.  Maybe I was satan and pushed her away" etc

Cut it all out.  As time goes by, your filter will get much better at blocking out what's real and what's not.  BUT, be careful.  For a freshly bombed LBS, your mind will run wild.  You wont know whats real and whats not, and you'll blame yourself for all of it.  It's truly a mindtruck in the beginning....

Thank you for this.

That is exactly what is happening. I'm the first to admit that I have behaved badly at times, especially during times of stress. I wonder if I pushed him over the edge. But because everything was painted as bad, it's hard to separate the truth from reality. All I wanted to do was fix it, and now I don't think I'll ever get the chance.

It's so painful.  :'(
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K
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#8: January 31, 2024, 01:55:12 PM
I don't think it is possible for someone to push another into crisis - especially not a loving spouse. I hope I didn't give that impression when I said that our needs often cause pressure - or that our (reasonable) distraction elsewhere  - created the crisis.  I don't think that at all.  I think it is a lack of certain emotional coping skills that causes the crisis. The root is often childhood trauma/FOO. So it is more like an accumulation of things causing a collapse. You know, like a bridge with a 'fault line'  that finally collapses under the sheer weight of (emotional) traffic.

In healthy, balanced relationships we understand the ebb and flow of life. That sometimes we share our partners with others - those dearest to us in times of need (in the same way they have given it to us in past). Yes, sometimes that support takes time away from our spouse, but that's a very normal occurrence (I think of all the friends that dropped everything for me in the wake of BD - how my family 'walked' with me for months and months). Yes, you are a good daughter. I expect you are a good wife too. Most of us were living with a depressed spouse quite a while before BD. But it is a hallmark of this type of crisis that they do not communicate their needs and often we only see this more clearly in hindsight. That's why it's a bomb. For us, it comes out of nowhere.  You can't fix it, no. But you didn't break it either. Try not to blame yourself, it's not your fault.
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« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 01:56:35 PM by KayDee »

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#9: January 31, 2024, 02:20:58 PM
. The root is often childhood trauma/FOO.

I know we say this a lot here at HS.  And it is true in a lot of MLCers.  But not always.  Busy Bee, a recovered MLCer here, stated she grew up in a happy home with family in tact she she had no explanation for why she had a MLC.  It just happened. 

So facing the shadow.  The demons?   If the MLCer doesn’t even know what caused it.  Yet they worked through it.  What’s really going on as it can’t all be FOO. 
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j
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#10: January 31, 2024, 02:35:07 PM
I don't think it is possible for someone to push another into crisis - especially not a loving spouse. I hope I didn't give that impression when I said that our needs often cause pressure - or that our (reasonable) distraction elsewhere  - created the crisis.  I don't think that at all.  I think it is a lack of certain emotional coping skills that causes the crisis. The root is often childhood trauma/FOO. So it is more like an accumulation of things causing a collapse. You know, like a bridge with a 'fault line'  that finally collapses under the sheer weight of (emotional) traffic.

In healthy, balanced relationships we understand the ebb and flow of life. That sometimes we share our partners with others - those dearest to us in times of need (in the same way they have given it to us in past). Yes, sometimes that support takes time away from our spouse, but that's a very normal occurrence (I think of all the friends that dropped everything for me in the wake of BD - how my family 'walked' with me for months and months). Yes, you are a good daughter. I expect you are a good wife too. Most of us were living with a depressed spouse quite a while before BD. But it is a hallmark of this type of crisis that they do not communicate their needs and often we only see this more clearly in hindsight. That's why it's a bomb. For us, it comes out of nowhere.  You can't fix it, no. But you didn't break it either. Try not to blame yourself, it's not your fault.

Thank you so much for this... it brought tears to my eyes as I read it. The despair I've been feeling over the past few weeks has been gut wrenching. I've lost 30lbs in 6 weeks and have only been sleeping every other night. I am seeing a therapist and have some medications, which is helping a little. I also joined a gym and have been leaning on my closest friends and family.

In retrospect I had absolutely no idea what was going on with him, and with my mom and then the third BD I was so distraught I completely lost it. When something like that happens it's easy to self blame and ruminate. Sometimes I think if I'd seen it and been more sympathetic I could have put it off a bit longer, but it likely would have eventually happened anyway. I have to remember that in those last weeks he was completely devoid of empathy and not the same person. I never thought something like this was possible. I miss him terribly.  :'(

And thank you for your lovely comments about being a good daughter and wife. I've been questioning my place in the world and thinking about what's next. It helps to see that kind of support. I'm so very grateful.
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#11: January 31, 2024, 02:48:00 PM
. The root is often childhood trauma/FOO.

I know we say this a lot here at HS.  And it is true in a lot of MLCers.  But not always.  Busy Bee, a recovered MLCer here, stated she grew up in a happy home with family in tact she she had no explanation for why she had a MLC.  It just happened. 

So facing the shadow.  The demons?   If the MLCer doesn’t even know what caused it.  Yet they worked through it.  What’s really going on as it can’t all be FOO.

There were people in his family that had some addiction issues (not everyone), but he was working a program and other than that he seemed to have a normal upbringing. I do know he has a lot of shame for some reason. He kept mentioning that he didn't want to blame himself for anything anymore. That's when he started blaming me. And with the loss of faith it's almost like he let something loose he had been repressing for a long time. It was unrecognizable to me.
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#12: January 31, 2024, 04:37:53 PM
The loss of faith is a big and deep issue that came along with my W's MLC too.  When someone's entire spiritual / world view changes, everything changes along with it.  When the "rules" and standards that a couple was living by are no longer agreed upon it causes a division down to the core of a relationship. It's a deeply painful and frustrating experience.  I'm so sorry you're going through this!
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#13: January 31, 2024, 11:50:18 PM
First of all, I am very sorry for the loss of your mother. What a hard few years you have had. And dealing with the aftermath of someone’s death as you doubtless still are is hard too, even without what your h has done. It’s very normal after a significant bereavement to feel as if life has been upended, to feel exhausted and not quite like oneself even when other things in life are ok….and of course that is not what is happening for you right now, is it? So, please be very kind and realistic with yourself about how you feel. It’s a hard time on the back of hard times….but this time too shall pass….but you may find you have to metaphorically triage how you use your energy for a while, and intentionally take extra care of the basics right now. Go small, slow and steady, baby steps, a day at a time for a little while. Avoid anything that makes you feel much worse unless there is an overpowering reason to do it. Ask for help from those who care about you where you can. And if anything makes you feel 1% better - doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is not harmful to you or others - do more of that. Your job right now is simply to outlast this hard season of your life until you get to a calmer, sunnier shore, that’s it.

Imho, folks come here asking about MLC primarily for two reasons. Or a blend of both. Either looking for hope that if it’s MLC there is a path they can plot towards a predictable happier outcome soon. Or to try to regain some sense of their own reality, that they are not crazy or to blame for something they find completely inexplicable. It sounds as if right now you are looking more for the latter?

Take a breath. You know who you are. Truly you do, most of us do. Warts and all lol. You know what is in your wheelhouse as a person, as a wife, a daughter, a friend. What you could imagine yourself doing in certain circumstances. And what you could not. It’s important to trust that regardless of what anyone else might say. And really important if they have an agenda that is served by your confusion or doubt about it. So, take another breath, and remind yourself of who you know you are.

Again jmo but, regardless of the reasons why, folks who do what your h has done and is doing have an internal black hole. A kind of neediness. And usually in a long term relationship, with hindsight, we see a million ways - big and small - in which we kept that hole filled and provided a kind of scaffolding. It is not at all uncommon here, as others have said, that the metaphorical lid blows off these people at a time when life circumstances mean that the LBS’s energies are needed elsewhere…a troubled child, a sick parent, a demanding job or even an LBS illness. Something that means it’s not all centred on them. Something that requires deep difficult adulting in a marriage. But something normal in the ebb and flow of a shared life. And poof, they implode. Or explode. And usually run off to try to find something else to hang their happy hat on while, perhaps unconsciously, rather resenting the LBS’s ‘failure’ to keep that show on the road. Just like you said he used to be close to your mother ‘until her needs became too much for him’? Think of it like that, just like that….the fault did not rest with your mother but the lacking capacity in your h, that ‘her (understandable) needs’ were ‘too much’……..

All of which is to say that you are no more responsible for this than you were responsible for your mother’s illness. You have done your best with both situations, but there are simply things in life that are beyond your pay grade and not in your control and not your fault. Your h had a bunch of choices he did not choose…..and that’s about him, not about you. He may find it easier to believe what he is saying right now, he may even believe it….but that does not make it true or accurate. Like a guy with a tinfoil hat who comes up to you in the park shouting about aliens….his truth does not need to be your truth, you simply have to accept that, for reasons beyond your comprehension, he is a shouting man in a tinfoil hat.

So, the most important thing right now is to focus on getting some stable solid sane ground under your own metaphorical feet. It sounds as if you have support from people who care about you and some professional support, that’s good. Have you consulted a lawyer about your rights and obligations where you live? You don’t have to jump into action but, not unlike you did when you were caring for your ill mother, information can be useful. And you are probably going to have to keep reminding yourself that your h is not in the pool of resources that can help you right now….thats a strange thing to process after a long shared life, I know, but at a simple level, the one who is hurting us can rarely be the one who helps us heal. And imho vice versa.

It is a time to dig deep in caring for yourself with the same grace, kindness and commitment that you have shown in caring for others. And for many of us, that takes a bit of getting used to, doesn’t it?  :)

Sadly, based on anecdotes here, and your h does sound pretty textbook MLCish, things will possibly get worse and more incomprehensible before they get better. Big BDs tend to be followed by a series of smaller BDs, one WTF after another bc these folks have usually hidden some muck under their life rug before the lid blows off. And they have become accustomed to compartmentalising and lying and blaming and avoiding. In a sense, the LBS is playing catch up for a while….affairs, missing money, addictions, all kinds of weird stuff can come out in the wash. And that can be deeply shocking too. There’s a kind of surreal level of entitlement in folks like this post BD, a rage almost and an Instinct to gaslight people as a distraction from rather ugly realities which can be very disorientating to deal with. Which is another reason why legal advice is a good idea tbh.

I remember that the slow process of acceoting some of the reality of the spouse in front of your nose was a deeply painful process. Bc it makes no sense and bc, of course, one does not want to see it. One of the most useful phrases I remember tripping over was in a podcast by a psychiatrist who specialises in dealing with personality disorders….she said ‘well, who does that?’ It helped me hang on to my own sense of what was normal for normal people and it helped me gradually adjust to the reality that people who could do what my then h was doing were profoundly ‘off’ in some way that was beyond my comprehension. Who does that? A person who is deeply disordered for reasons I can’t get was usually my answer…..but it taught me to slowly change what I expected to see and that helped me get some solid ground under my feet. (Similar circumstances to yours with family illness and bereavements)

Which is also why that sense of solid ground under your own mental feet is so important. Even if it just starts with a square inch.  ::)
Do whatever you need to do to build and protect that bit of ground. Trust who you are. Teach yourself to see what belongs to you on your side of the street and what doesn’t.  What you can control and what you can’t. Rinse and repeat.

What do you see as the priority for action for you right now, my friend?
How can we best support you?

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« Last Edit: February 01, 2024, 12:13:55 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#14: February 01, 2024, 12:32:18 AM
Quote
In a sense, the LBS is playing catch up for a while….affairs, missing money, addictions, all kinds of weird stuff can come out in the wash. And that can be deeply shocking too. There’s a kind of surreal level of entitlement in folks like this post BD, a rage almost and an Instinct to gaslight people as a distraction from rather ugly realities which can be very disorientating to deal with

Yes, I agree. This was my experience. And gaslighting leading up to BD.
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#15: February 01, 2024, 01:18:34 AM
Just nodding along in recognition -- my experience was also that things kept coming out in the wash, as treasur says.  And also that the big BD came after my attention was "diverted" by children with special needs. 

I'm sorry you are going through this, but this forum is a great place to be, there is good advice here.  Treasur has written beautifully about it.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#16: February 01, 2024, 06:55:11 AM
What do you see as the priority for action for you right now, my friend?
How can we best support you?

I woke up this morning and read this... thank you for posting. It makes me feel less alone. I think that is the worst thing right now - the rumination and self blame that is keeping me from moving forward. I'm trying not to internalize everything, but there is some truth in a lot of the things he said. I know there are issues we should have worked through long ago, but for him, it's "too little, too late."

Bringing up things long past, arguments or petty things that I've apologized profusely for, or even mannerisms of mine that I didn't know bothered him. Then there are the things that I know are ridiculous. For example, last year I fell down the stairs and bruised my back pretty badly. He had friends coming that weekend and had to cancel. He accused me of throwing myself down the stairs to isolate him.

I spend a lot of time trying to rationalize what happened, which I know isn't healthy.

Along with the hurtful and vile words I've heard:
"I don't want to be married anymore"
"I just want to be alone"
"Our marriage is a failure, let's just let it fail"
"I don't love you romantically anymore"
"I'm not attracted to you"
"If I knew what I know now I never would have dated you"

Which, after 23 years, makes it easier to assume MLC is a big part this.

I know it isn't realistic, but if this is a MLC a part of me sincerely does hope there is a future with him, but based on the emotional shutdown and the way he isn't communicating at all unless I reach out I doubt it's possible. Do they ever come back from this? The other night he told me he wants to be single. So I'm left processing the soul crushing spew and wondering if I'm to blame for my marriage ending. One thing that keeps running through my mind is when he said he no longer wants to blame himself or "squash" his feelings, and unloaded all the reasons why he's been miserable for 20 years.

The internal black hole makes sense. On some level he's always been looking for something more. At one point, we were moving around so much, we lived in 5 states in 6 years. We moved back to my hometown to help my mother two years ago, but I guess he wasn't done. He also mentioned multiple times that I'm a walking crisis (I can't handle stressful jobs, minor health issues, etc.) He mentions these things and says he doesn't want to deal with my BS anymore.

I don't think he's had a physical affair, unless he did on one of the rare business trips he took. There is a part of me that wonders if he reconnected with or met someone online a few months ago (when his behavior really started changing). I also want to mention, and this may be TMI, but he got angry after being intimate before he left - that's when he made the vile comments about being embarrassed to be seen with me and taunted and mocked me about my weight. It was almost as if he'd betrayed someone and wanted to hurt me. The sad fact is, he moved across the country, and because we don't have children, I may never learn of these things. Maybe it's a blessing.

I don't want a divorce, but I have consulted a lawyer. I have him on retainer for when the time comes (we agree to postpone until the spring). I have a pretty good idea what my rights are. The challenge for me is deciding if I want to prolong this situation and risk losing anything. My husband is a high earner, and has always been trustworthy, but you never know.

I guess the biggest struggle for me right now is deciding if this really is about my flaws (again, there is some truth in what he's said), or if it truly is MLC. If I assume he did reconnect with someone and that it's MLC it's easier for me to process, but there is always the possibility that he is just done with me, for whatever reason. The possibility that I am to blame for ruining my marriage kills me. But it does comfort me to hear it sounds like textbook MLC.

I am working on things I can control, and doing my best to take care of myself, but I'm still very distracted trying to rationalize what happened. It's all consuming. Are there tools to try stop this negative thought pattern?

And based on my story, should I have any hope?


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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#17: February 01, 2024, 07:47:39 AM
I’m going to treat you like a grown up, albeit a rather wounded one right now, and respond to your last question first.
Based on anecdotal evidence here, very few marriages survive this scale of destruction. Partly imho bc MLC goes on for a long time - years not months - and leaves a lot of damage to be repaired. Partly bc the very things we LbS have to do to survive it changes our lens on what we are prepared to work with and what we are not.
But some do. A few. I don’t know if yours will be one of them. Neither do you. And tbh reconciliation is not an easy path either for either party. The good news is that the toolbox you will develop to survive this will be just as useful either way.

I can see that you are still (understandably) at the stage where you are struggling to not place undue weight on his words and attempts to blame you. Easier to see the BS from the cheap seats over here lol. But to help, I want to pull out one example, when you fell down the stairs. I want you to take a breath, take a moment, and think who on earth would say that? Even conceive of it?, how weird a pov is that? (Unless you have a history you have not shared yet of dramatic self harming bids for attention or Machiavellian levels of manipulation - which you probably don’t) would that have been amongst your first thoughts if the roles had been reversed? Or to be more concerned about changing your social plans than any possible injury your spouse might have suffered? Don’t get me wrong - I’m not suggesting you obsess about his mindset in that moment - I’d just like you to take a step back far enough to see how weird and how uncaring and self centred a pov it was.

I would also encourage you to trust your instincts about the possibility of an ow/owomen. None of us want to think that, most of us initially come up with reasons why it’s not the case. But sometimes when a duck quacks like an unfaithful duck, the simplest reason turns out to be true. It may not be….but imho it would almost be surprising if someone with your h’s recent sense of neediness and entitlement were not having some kind of external affirmation. And his behaviour is pretty MLC textbook, and affairs sadly are part of that textbook. The truth tends to come out so I wouldn’t snoop for it too much, just be prepared for it. If it is so, I don’t know how that would affect your attitude to potential reconciliation. And tbh they always affair down so sometimes hook up with ow types who bring their own dysfunction to the party….which can mean that any conversation with your h is also being influenced by the agenda of an unseen third party…and it can be a good reason for divorcing sooner rather than later from a financial PoV. And sadly a good reason too for STD testing, sorry.

This stage of the MLC game sucks, there is no way past that.
But we will be here anyway, however you decide to approach it.
But please start letting the BS wash over you and down the plughole. Whatever shame there is to feel, whatever lies have been told, whatever cruelty and devaluing has been unleashed, it isn’t yours. There is nothing  earth shatteringly wrong with you, dear girl….but a husband who thinks his wife threw herself down the stairs to limit his social life is more than a bit ‘off’. Jmo.
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H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#18: February 01, 2024, 10:50:34 AM
This stage of the MLC game sucks, there is no way past that.
But we will be here anyway, however you decide to approach it.
But please start letting the BS wash over you and down the plughole. Whatever shame there is to feel, whatever lies have been told, whatever cruelty and devaluing has been unleashed, it isn’t yours. There is nothing  earth shatteringly wrong with you, dear girl….but a husband who thinks his wife threw herself down the stairs to limit his social life is more than a bit ‘off’. Jmo.

Thank you, Treasur, for the thoughtful and candid response. I absolutely know he's crazy for thinking I could do such a thing. To add to the crazy, he has said he fell out of love with me when it happened (but he said it multiple times blaming other scenarios). And yes, if it had happened to him, I would have been there at his side and forgotten about it after recovery, rather than seething with resentment six months later. I know he's not right in the head.

As for the ow/women, after talking to friends and family with more experience in cheating, I am fairly certain there is something going on. There was a shift in seeming sad and conflicted and saying things like "I don't want to lose you" or "I just want everything to be okay" to "I'm allowed to make mistakes" or "I may come back with my tail between my legs." He would also say things that were out of character, like "you denied me pleasure" or "this is just one of the many ways you crushed my dreams." Those weren't his words and I know it. After that he became narcissistic and started vilifying.

Once it got really bad, I couldn't take it and responded with horrible things, too.

I am taking care to protect the financial assets we share (luckily most of it is separate).

The reason I say I may never know is that I don't talk to his family anymore, nor am I on social media. And I don't plan to be, until I feel comfortable. It is highly likely that in a few months, once I'm employed and in a place where we can sell the house, he will have to come back to help me with it. He did pack up everything of his and put it into storage, "disentangling" himself from our life together, so he will probably take care of that at the same time. If I do find anything out, it will probably be then. Somehow it comforts me that they affair down (probably because there is a fair chance it will eventually blow up on him), but I do dread the idea of him bringing anyone with him. It's likely a certainty, so maybe I should buckle up.

I sincerely thank you for the response. I'm very grateful for the support.
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« Last Edit: February 01, 2024, 11:34:40 AM by jmnab »

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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#19: February 01, 2024, 11:50:51 AM
You are very welcome x

As my gran used to say ‘don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you’ in terms of worrying about him showing up with ow down the line if you end up getting to selling the house.

You have enough to focus on right now now and no way to know yet how things will unfold. My then h was a vanisher by that point….i packed everything up, could barely get him to sign the estate agents paperwork  ::) And if he did? Well, you can always just say No to anything that you find unacceptable, right? If there is an ow, she is in his life….you are not obliged to allow her space in yours  :)
So, focus on what’s in front of you right now. You can deal with tomorrow’s troubles when and if you need to later!
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#20: February 01, 2024, 05:44:59 PM
Today I've been wondering about one more thing...

The gaslighting and vitriol I experienced was so far beyond anything I ever thought possible. Is this just normal cheating behavior? Or is it specific to MLC?
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#21: February 01, 2024, 07:53:21 PM
It's hard to say, and probably more unique in each situation. I think there were other times in our relationship when my xH was likely having EAs or was at least limerent for other women (in hindsight), but he definitely didn't exhibit the kind of monster behavior he did with the MLC-era. My mother was always a cheater on my dad (not MLC), and she was always pretty awful to him. So just from what I experienced in my life, I think it can go either way. And there are even some LBSs here who didn't get the monstering at all.
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#22: February 02, 2024, 01:43:09 PM
It's hard to say, and probably more unique in each situation. I think there were other times in our relationship when my xH was likely having EAs or was at least limerent for other women (in hindsight), but he definitely didn't exhibit the kind of monster behavior he did with the MLC-era. My mother was always a cheater on my dad (not MLC), and she was always pretty awful to him. So just from what I experienced in my life, I think it can go either way. And there are even some LBSs here who didn't get the monstering at all.

It's so confusing. I don't have any proof anything was actually going on when he was here, but I've definitely thought about EA just based on his behavior (my spouse worked/works from home), so unless it happened on a business trip, which was rare, my guess is there wasn't anything physical going on. I just learned about limerence, and the crystallization phase would definitely explain things if there was an EA going on.

I had an appointment with a therapist today. He mentioned the relationship between pornography and anhedonia, which, according to him could explain a lot of anger and lack of empathy. I mentioned MLC, and he legitimized it as something he sees, confirming a lot of the behavior that has been going on in these last few months. I'm still not sure what is going on, but I'll find out sooner or later.

With each passing day I blame myself less. The perspective helps - thank you.  :)
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#23: February 03, 2024, 08:57:24 AM
As I've been reading through other posts and understanding MLC more and more, I'm starting to struggle with something.

I'm currently unemployed, but have a quant background and think I'll find work in the next month or so.
Soon I will have more control over my situation. I also want to mention I've taken steps to protect/reduce access to funds I may need.

Based on my H's behavior, his physical distance and unwillingness to reach out, and that for now he's dead set on being single (divorce), I think he will eventually be a vanisher. Not sure yet, but what I've read combined with the majority of interactions I've had with him indicate it's likely to happen. There have been a few conversations where he seems sad and confused, but most are cold and tell me he's done. I also think he has an avoidant personality, which doesn't help.

Earlier on, amazinglove suggested no contact (giving him space to realize his anger isn't about me). Since then we've only texted about financial matters - he reached out about the electric bill and I about the house. Before he left, he did a lot of outdoor work around the house, bought firewood, and took measures to make sure I could protect myself if something bad happens.

I know he cares on some level. I don't want this, and I know emotions can change. It's still early on, and I'm trying to think through the right balance between patience with his situation and financial safety.

So here's my question... should I make decisions to protect myself based on how he's acting now? (i.e., file for divorce myself as soon as I'm able)
Or should I give it more time?

What would you do?






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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#24: February 04, 2024, 08:45:25 AM
I woke up this morning feeling strong, like I don't deserve this. I was picturing what my life could be like on my own once all is said and done.
Then I started to miss him.

So I read through amazinglove's journey. I'm inspired by her ability to create space for herself during something so tumultuous and devastating, as well as the thoughful responses provided by everyone on this forum. We are on a similar timeline I think, and much of the information in her threads apply to me as well.

Some of the posts mentioned a "controlling" spouse, and "people-pleasing" MLC. Both of these apply to my situation as well. I called my H (in his new city) three times last week.  During the second call he said,  "Why does everything have to be your way?" Before he left he kept saying I was controlling and manipulative, and that he was sick of being a "pathetic try-hard." The interesting thing is, the people pleasing comment also applied to his career. When I think about it, this can't be about me. It's about everything.

I know there were some components of Gottman's 4 horsemen in our relationship, but not to the extent that it couldn't be fixed (in my opinion anyway). When my H and I were in marriage counseling (the whole 4 sessions), he was so angsty and belligerent that our therapist recommended we have private sessions to figure out next steps. After his appointment he said she recommended he get his own counseling because our sessions were going to get worse before better and he would need to open up and be vulnerable. He refused. We canceled therapy and a week later he wanted a divorce.

At the time I thought it may just be because he's avoidant, but when I think back to some of the things he said, I definitely thing there is someone else. EA, maybe PA on a rare trip? Or even during a recovery meeting? It took him 2 weeks to decide where to move after he told me he wanted a divorce. At times he said he just needed space. I also mentioned he seemed sad and sad he was allowed to make mistakes and that maybe he'd be back. Looking back at these comments I think he was really struggling with guilt. No empathy, though. Then the narcissism. So very strange.

So I'm stuck imagining what's going on in his palm tree paradise. My mind is taking me to some really dark places. I've been learning about stages of limerent affairs (if it is going on I'm guessing he was in crystallization), how EAs happen, and how long they typically last. I'm depressed today because it doesn't bode well for me.

I do admit there was a little of Gottman's four horsemen going on before all this happened, but not enough that it wasn't fixable. Unless the defensiveness and contempt were so strong on his end he couldn't stand it any longer. I guess human behavior during hard times could do that.

Another interesting thing is that when he told his friends and family what he was doing, many of them told him to "go slow." One of his siblings told him they would support him no matter what, even if he decided to come back. He scoffed and asked why they would say that, and they replied "just in case." I think they know what is happening, and even though I'm not speaking with them presently I find it comforting.

We live in a probabilistic universe. I've decided for the time being to take things day-by-day, and and focus on what I can control (moving finances, work, finding an alternate place to live). And of course, giving him space and taking space for myself.

The waiting and wondering, though ... it feels like it's killing me.  :'(

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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#25: February 04, 2024, 04:47:20 PM
Quote
I'm depressed today because it doesn't bode well for me.

Trust me...it bodes better for you than you think, but it has nothing to do with whatever decision your H makes. You are a smart, empathetic, and resourceful person who took your vows of "better or worse" seriously. You have already won in the integrity department, and you will make good choices. You cannot trust your spouse, but you CAN trust yourself. Through the anxiety and uncertainty of the worst of it, which is what you're experiencing right now, you will persevere. It will not feel this raw 6 months from now. It will feel better than that one year from now. No matter what. The day-by-day approach is good.

Quote
So here's my question... should I make decisions to protect myself based on how he's acting now? (i.e., file for divorce myself as soon as I'm able)
Or should I give it more time?

What would you do?

I'm going to be very transparently honest here. What I *did* do and what I *would* do (given what I know now) are two different things. That doesn't mean your story will play out the same way. But I went fully with my heart and "trusted the process" of MLC because I felt I knew my xH better than he knew himself. That was the lesson for me. I found that the person who files for the divorce (which was my xH, with the OW and his mother in his ear) has most of the power. If I were to do it over again, I absolutely would have been the filer. I would have picked a little more no-nonsense, "wait and see" of an attorney, and instead just gotten it done and dusted. I would have taken it more at face value in that moment, not in the possibility of reconciliation.

That is not to say that there aren't possibilities! The contact that I have had over the years here and there with my xH shows me that this thing is real, and that there is absolutely something up with him that goes above and beyond limerence. I ended up bankrupt, and I had to save my home from foreclosure. I was happy at one point to 'pay the price' to protect our assets because I truly believed the day would come when he would pay me back. That day will not come, but it was a path to get there in acceptance. Again, this is an example of one. But I hope you get a lot of different input on this so you can make an educated decision. It is your life! And you are not in a partnership now that wants the same things. So it's wise to weigh it all. Hugs.



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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#26: February 04, 2024, 09:42:20 PM
First of all, thank you for your comment and I'm really glad if something resonated in my thread for you because I have gone back and read so many others' threads on here, and found such comfort in them too.  There are truly some incredibly wise souls on here and I have been hugely blessed by them in ways they can't even imagine, but for which I am eternally grateful.

Looking at your headline for this thread, I just want to say yes, definitely have hope. But hope for a great life for yourself, that's not exclusive of, nor contingent upon his return. Someone suggested a while back that I stop praying for my H to wake up and return and start praying with expectation of the fulfillment of God's great plan for my life, all good things and blessings, without being specific on what that looked like. I found that shift to be helpful for me.

Here's the thing - if you had told me 2 months back that my H would be here, reasserting that he is not reading to blow up our marriage or involved with anyone else, smiling warmly at me, speaking to me like a close friend, I would have yelled hip hip horraaaay!

But the reality is, he's super depressed, grouchy, selfish, low energy, withholding of affection, hugely afraid of any kind of intimacy, and has one eye on the exit. it's not an ideal reality at all. In fact, as happy as I am to think that maybe we can actually put this back together for our kids and also just for the sheer continuity (!) , part of me might actually feel relieved if he made the call that this was over. I would be devastated and sad yes, but also somewhat relieved that I am not responsible for his health and happiness in the way that I feel I am now. I might even allow myself to feel a tiny bit optimistic that I could find another partner who was not as messed up as the man currently sleeping alone by choice in my son's room instead of here with his beautiful wife.

It's not like he's come home "whole" you know?

The stuff your H has said to you is horrible and mean. My H was cruel to me around the time of BD too. He didn't personally attack me but he did say 'I hate you' and he has since said I love you and meant it. he also said 'i am living for myself now! It's my turn!" and he has two small children and he's here now to see them and do the school runs. So that's just pathetic.

All that to say, don't take any of it to heart. They say all kinds of ridiculous things. And don't worry about the 'four horseman.' I started to see contempt for the first time in my marriage about a year before BD. H literally could NOT compliment me about anything and if someone else praised me, (which was happening somewhat often, as I'd started a new job out here and was doing well) he would not comment "of course they love you!" like he used to do - but rather just change the subject. I noticed that and commented on it. He denied it at the time. The contempt that emerged was a direct result of his depression and hating himself and projecting it on to me. He still hasn't figured that out for himself and maybe never will. He won't do any marriage counseling at all btw.

Rest assured, that the space you are now in is temporary. You will not live here forever in this painful, liminal place of being deeply traumatized and wounded and also afraid of what the future holds. Hang on. Walk and walk and walk outside as much as you can. Read books that feed your soul and insipre you. I have actually been reading the New Testament again - my church is doing this Immersion Bible program (it's a New Testament with no verses or chapters, it looks like a novel and the order or books is mixed up) and you read through it in 8 weeks. I haven't read a Bible in years. And I can say with all honesty, I am finding myself really blessed by it. Whatever works for you.

I loved Emma Forrest's memoir Your Voice in my Head (about her painful break up with Colin Farrell) and this quote resonated:

“There is a blessing in losing the one we love. It's the blessing of self-transformation. You don't have to be who you were anymore. You've struggled. And now you can change. It doesn't mean that bits of that person won't cling to you, they will throughout your life, but they are now subsumed into something greater. That person has given you, in fact, the most important blessing, which is they gave you the blessing of transforming your soul into something better, something more beautiful.”

Focus on that part for now, if you can.


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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#27: February 05, 2024, 02:11:58 AM
So here's my question... should I make decisions to protect myself based on how he's acting now? (i.e., file for divorce myself as soon as I'm able)
Or should I give it more time?

What would you do?

What I did (do), is ask myself  - am I making any decision based on pressure from others (H or beyond) or am I making a decision based on what is best for me.  In the wake of BD, I needed time to even my keel. The thought of divorce admin, and worse moving house with all that entails, sent me into a paralyzing brain fizz. So, it's a balance, I believe, between managing your own recovery (which means dealing with your anxiety and trauma responses) and securing your future. In hindsight, I have dealt with my recovering by opening one box at a time. And I now trust myself to know when I am ready to open what box when.

I can imagine, in hindsight that ripping the bandaid off quickly is always the best option, but maybe that's because we forget the extremity of the distress of that time and the amount of firefighting we had to do to stay afloat. I'm glad that is fading for me, but friends have told me what I looked like, the proverbial bunny in the headlights, with an added skill of being able to waffle endlessly. If you are not in any imminent financial threat, and you need more time to even your keel, then perhaps you can give yourself some grace time. With the caveat, that different countries have different divorce laws, so bear this in mind when you read responses - we merry band of sisters/brothers are from all over the globe!
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2024, 02:13:22 AM by KayDee »

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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#28: February 05, 2024, 02:15:08 AM
Ps... I got legal advise immediately. For me, the saying - forewarned is forearmed  - was really important. If you haven't done this, I would advise doing so asap.
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#29: February 05, 2024, 02:53:28 AM
I agree so much with what KayDee said.
It’s important not to underestimate how much the sheer shock of this experience after a long marriage can temporarily disable our normal good thinking and decision making processes. I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag. And that’s particularly difficult when we are trying to decide things that are important enough to affect our future wellbeing significantly.

Get legal advice on your options and obligations where you live. Take a friend if you feel you need emotional support or a spare brain to remember the information, not unlike what folks recommend if you are dealing with serious medical information imho. Then take a few days to sit with the information before deciding what is best for you.

And yes, you should absolutely prioritise your best interests and protect yourself. Bc a spouse who has left you will not and you do not want your survival and wellbeing to be in his gift. Does that mean filing? Well, that deoends on the law where you live….given that your h has announced he intends to file, ask the lawyer about the legal pros and cons of being the filer or the respondent. Consider the emotional costs for you of all of your current options. And, if you have not already done so, separate your financial assets where you can do so without his involvement….joint credit cards, joint bank accounts….again, take legal advice on this.

And finally, stop calling or initiating contact with your husband. You said he does not reach out to you….fine, stop reaching out to him until things are clearer in your head on your next steps. Right now, as you recounted, contact is not helpful to you. It opens up conversations that are not useful to you and probably add to your distress and confusion. It is surprising, when we decide to do so, how little interaction is actually necessary when someone unilaterally blows a joint life up and runs away. It’s a pretty standard trauma response though to think otherwise and to have exoectations that somehow, in the face of opposing evidence, that our spouse will communicate fairly and reasonably about the shared consequences of unravelling a shared life. But common too that this is not how it seems to be. Unless there is a sky falling in kind of reason that you absolutely cannot resolve without action from him, do not contact him. Or if your lawyer advises you of the need to have a documented paper trail on some issue so you can show you are the legally reasonable one eg any personal possessions he needs to pick up. Otherwise, no contact. Not by email, phone or carrier pigeon. If he has something to say or wants something from you, let him initiate that. And if you decide to file, or he does, let your respective lawyers do the communication. It also has the added plus that he can’t say you are pressuring him or controlling or ‘having it your own way’ or any of the other self-justifying BS MLC folks say bc you are giving him what he says he wants and mirroring his lack of communication - or if he does, bc these folks can create a drama from a hairpin and often project their bad actions on others, you won’t hear it lol.

It is a bit of a mindf**k I know to be essentially ghosted by your spouse after a long marriage. You will understandably have all kinds of emotions about that….but your h is not going to soothe or remove any of those emotions bc he is the one who is causing them. I remember almost having to train my brain by constantly repeating ‘he does not care about that now’ or ‘how can I find a way round that which does not require information or action from him’. I got quite creative after a bit of practice lol. But I was still a bit shocked by it tbh…my mother’s dementia, my cancer, his cat dying, a mutual friends illness, his piano, boxes of his stuff in the loft, insurance, the practicalities of selling the house….the list was almost endless. But I got to the other side of it all and you will too. It is just very early days for you yet.

Small steps, focus on the big priorities, safeguard your emotional stability by withdrawing from the impulse to contact him, keep going.
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2024, 03:18:18 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#30: February 05, 2024, 11:45:30 AM
The contact that I have had over the years here and there with my xH shows me that this thing is real, and that there is absolutely something up with him that goes above and beyond limerence.

Thank you so much for the response. I'm trying to take it a day at a time, but I also waffle back and forth about whether I should file myself once I find work. But there is a part of me that feels I don't know or understand enough yet. This helps.

I'm curious about the comment above (if you're willing to share, of course) - what in your convos with xH made it real for you?
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#31: February 05, 2024, 11:59:28 AM
Here's the thing - if you had told me 2 months back that my H would be here, reasserting that he is not reading to blow up our marriage or involved with anyone else, smiling warmly at me, speaking to me like a close friend, I would have yelled hip hip horraaaay!

This is where I am right now. I don't want to be.

Before I read about MLC, and based on my H's behavior my gut told me that this thing is temporary (albeit long-term), and existential. No one around me understands. They keep saying it takes two and to focus on what I need to do so I don't mess up my next relationship. I'm so glad I have support on this forum.

“There is a blessing in losing the one we love. It's the blessing of self-transformation. You don't have to be who you were anymore. You've struggled. And now you can change. It doesn't mean that bits of that person won't cling to you, they will throughout your life, but they are now subsumed into something greater. That person has given you, in fact, the most important blessing, which is they gave you the blessing of transforming your soul into something better, something more beautiful.”

Focus on that part for now, if you can.

I like this - no matter what happens.  :)
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#32: February 05, 2024, 12:04:51 PM
So, it's a balance, I believe, between managing your own recovery (which means dealing with your anxiety and trauma responses) and securing your future. In hindsight, I have dealt with my recovering by opening one box at a time. And I now trust myself to know when I am ready to open what box when.

Thank you for this! Beautiful.  :)

If you are not in any imminent financial threat, and you need more time to even your keel, then perhaps you can give yourself some grace time.

This feels like the best approach right now, but I just hope I have a good enough understanding of where he is to allow myself this kind of time.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#33: February 05, 2024, 12:18:18 PM
I agree so much with what KayDee said.
It’s important not to underestimate how much the sheer shock of this experience after a long marriage can temporarily disable our normal good thinking and decision making processes. I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag. And that’s particularly difficult when we are trying to decide things that are important enough to affect our future wellbeing significantly.

How long will the shock last? I was in shock the entire time he was still here (5 weeks). It has been 2.5 weeks since he left.
Right now I feel like I'll never recover.

And finally, stop calling or initiating contact with your husband. You said he does not reach out to you….fine, stop reaching out to him until things are clearer in your head on your next steps.

It is a bit of a mindf**k I know to be essentially ghosted by your spouse after a long marriage. You will understandably have all kinds of emotions about that….but your h is not going to soothe or remove any of those emotions bc he is the one who is causing them.

No phone calls recently, just texts. But I will be stopping those as well.
And yes, complete mindf**k. I still cry about it every few hours.
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#34: February 05, 2024, 01:33:20 PM
Quote
How long will the shock last? I was in shock the entire time he was still here (5 weeks). It has been 2.5 weeks since he left.
Right now I feel like I'll never recover.

Well, of course you feel like that. It’s like being hit by a truck.
Imho, it’s a sliding scale….you're in the equivalent of the emergency room right now. Tbh it can take longer than we might wish to navigate through the next equivalent stage which is a bit like physiotherapy, when the shock fades a bit or comes and goes.
But I can promise you that you will not always feel like you do right now. Recovery comes in ebbs and flows, and takes time. Keep taking it a day at a time. Treat yourself with great kindness. Just as if you  were actually hit by a truck tbh.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#35: February 06, 2024, 06:10:54 AM
As I read through some of the stories in the forum, I notice a lot of MLCers waffle back and forth between being with their spouse and their OW/OM. I know based on behavior that it's likely my H has an OW, but I'm not sure if/when I'll find out.

Sometimes I still question whether his behavior is due to MLC or something else. I know most of the signs are there, but there are some things he said that lead me to believe he just wanted to get away.

It seems like the confusion/guilt behavior that many folks experience here happened a few months ago for me. At the time, I just didn't have the bandwidth to recognize/deal with it because my mother was in and out of the hospital. I wonder if I'd paid more attention or been more understanding/curious if he'd still be here. In one way or another, I kept asking, "What about me?" I regret not being patient or compassionate enough.

Eventually he said he wanted to move on with his life, and that I should, too. By the time he was ready to leave, there was no jealousy or fear about me being with someone else in the future, and that he didn't want to sink any more time into our relationship. During one of our conversations after he left, he had indicated he was going slow with his plans. When I asked if that meant coming back was on the table, he said he didn't want to, and that he wants to be single. Is this normal for some MLCs?

And is this a common pattern? Waffling then disappearing with no hope of reconciling?





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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#36: February 06, 2024, 06:49:17 AM
Sometimes I still question whether his behavior is due to MLC or something else. I know most of the signs are there, but there are some things he said that lead me to believe he just wanted to get away.

It seems like the confusion/guilt behavior that many folks experience here happened a few months ago for me. At the time, I just didn't have the bandwidth to recognize/deal with it because my mother was in and out of the hospital. I wonder if I'd paid more attention or been more understanding/curious if he'd still be here. In one way or another, I kept asking, "What about me?" I regret not being patient or compassionate enough.

While you are at it about wondering this, that and the other thing, try wondering what green tastes like because the results are going to be similar..... You will never know for sure but there is one thing that is certain - would a normally functional adult act like he is acting? Would a normally functional adult make the choices he is making in the manner in which he is making them?

Eventually he said he wanted to move on with his life, and that I should, too. By the time he was ready to leave, there was no jealousy or fear about me being with someone else in the future, and that he didn't want to sink any more time into our relationship. During one of our conversations after he left, he had indicated he was going slow with his plans. When I asked if that meant coming back was on the table, he said he didn't want to, and that he wants to be single. Is this normal for some MLCs?

There is NOTHING "normal" about an MLC. It is the atomic bomb of relational destruction
And is this a common pattern? Waffling then disappearing with no hope of reconciling?
For some, yes. Some keep coming back around like a bad penny. Others simply fall off the face of the planet. Still others make an appearance every now and then to make sure that he LBS is still right where they left them - sitting on the porch in a pile of boogery tissues in their rocking chair, crocheting lace doilies and waiting for the MLC'er to get their head out of their ..... fog and come back and then are VERY surprised when they learn the LBS has grown forward with their lives and the MLC'er is no longer an integral part of said life. Some actually DO get their head out of their .... .fog.... and actually DO the work they need to do to internally heal their own wounds, take responsibility for themselves and their actions and approach the LBS to at least try to reconnect, if not reconcile.... Which flavor you have can only be determined over time.

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#37: February 06, 2024, 09:24:38 AM
While you are at it about wondering this, that and the other thing, try wondering what green tastes like because the results are going to be similar..... You will never know for sure but there is one thing that is certain - would a normally functional adult act like he is acting? Would a normally functional adult make the choices he is making in the manner in which he is making them?
I guess not. Running away to a "new life" on the heels of the one you supposedly love experiencing a tragedy does not seem right. Unless, of course, he was planning it all along.

One more twisted thing... the last time I saw him and hugged him goodbye, he simply said, "Sorry it didn't work out."
After 23 years.

And that is why I'm questioning MLC vs. WAS. It all feels so final.

Has anyone on this forum had an MLC experience that ended that quickly (5 mos. from initial BD)?
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#38: February 06, 2024, 09:42:36 AM
Take the concepts of MLC and WAS. Assume, whenever you have the capacity for it, that it was one or the other. Then assume it was both. Then assume it was neither. What changes for you? What meaning are you trying to extract by applying these forms? How do these categories help or hinder you?

For myself, I wanted it to be a crisis because that meant it was temporary, a storm to be weathered. It meant that she loved and cared for me but was frightened and confused. It meant that the past was real and if I could just hold everything together then the future would be comfortable and familiar. I needed those scaffolds. At times, I still need them. Where I tend to be now, it doesn't matter what label is applied to her behavior. The hurt I experienced was just as real and just as valid regardless.
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#39: February 06, 2024, 09:49:00 AM
I guess not. Running away to a "new life" on the heels of the one you supposedly love experiencing a tragedy does not seem right. Unless, of course, he was planning it all along.
Firstly, does he seem like a man with a plan? Does he have a nice new loft apartment in NYC, a new job and a healthy savings account? I thought this about my H, until I remembered he dashed out of the door with a bag of underpants and not much else. But, if he did have a 'plan' then what kind of person does that - secretly plan to leave their long term partner whilst playing the part of loving long term partner. Both are skewy.
One more twisted thing... the last time I saw him and hugged him goodbye, he simply said, "Sorry it didn't work out."
After 23 years.
Right, yes - classic teenager talk. He should have said 'see ya around kiddo!' - I have heard similar claptrap.
And that is why I'm questioning MLC vs. WAS. It all feels so final.
I asked this very same thing when I first posted on the forum. I somehow thought my H had a plan, he was being decisive etc etc. About three months later he was asking mutual friends for 'second opinions'  ::) ::) and he has since expressed a lot of regret. Crucially, he can't remember much of what he said to me when he left at all. So try not to internalize these things - they are mist words.

Has anyone on this forum had an MLC experience that ended that quickly (5 mos. from initial BD)?
All of us? Most of us? My H went 3 days after BD - we were together 26 years....
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« Last Edit: February 06, 2024, 09:50:45 AM by KayDee »

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#40: February 06, 2024, 10:10:29 AM
Sometimes I love reading your stuff K.  You are so right on this.   

I was convinced I had a WAW situation.  I hoped for it.  Because that’s something that can still be turned around IMO.   

However.  The “lack of a plan” absolutely nails it.  Within 2 months I quickly realized this was a whole other animal.    There was less than zero planning on my home front and even two years in, there appears to be very little talk about the future and what the plan is.   She’s spends most of her time hating me and wallowing about her situation.  And I mean outright hating me.  Destroying me to anyone that will listen.  Actively doing things to sabotage and hurt me.   Yet does very little to actually execute on HER D or plan for the future.    I sometimes wonder what she’s going to do when she’s finally free of me.  She’s spend so much time vilifying me, hating me, and trying to actively destroy me.   What will she do with the free time lol….

I will remember these pearls of wisdom.  Thank you. 
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#41: February 06, 2024, 10:20:57 AM
Take the concepts of MLC and WAS. Assume, whenever you have the capacity for it, that it was one or the other. Then assume it was both. Then assume it was neither. What changes for you? What meaning are you trying to extract by applying these forms? How do these categories help or hinder you?

Thank you, zartheit, for the response.

Like many have mentioned about their marriages in this forum, my marriage hasn't been perfect. Because there were truths in what he said, I lean toward WAS. But the cold/cruel behavior, talk of his regrets, lack of eye contact (hatred), lack of empathy, and monster?  MLC.
So I guess I can assume it's either MLC or both. But then again, I don't know how people act toward each other in normal divorce situations.

For myself, I wanted it to be a crisis because that meant it was temporary, a storm to be weathered. It meant that she loved and cared for me but was frightened and confused. It meant that the past was real and if I could just hold everything together then the future would be comfortable and familiar. I needed those scaffolds. At times, I still need them. Where I tend to be now, it doesn't matter what label is applied to her behavior. The hurt I experienced was just as real and just as valid regardless.
And crisis is what I hope for as well. Even if it's a storm I can't weather. For the same reason.
The hurt is real, and like you said, it probably doesn't matter which applies.

But right now I have close people in my life telling me it takes two - 50/50 to make a relationship successful or ruin it. Then there are those that are saying it's 10% me 90% him because he left. Then there are the twice divorced relatives/friends that ended both marriages saying I need to fix my sh*t and move on. I'm still struggling to recognize what is mine and what isn't, and fighting against internalizing his hurtful actions. At the same time I'm internalizing pie charts created by people that likely don't understand. So I ask more questions.

This experience has been extremely lonely. It would just be really comforting to be able to know for certain that I'm not a terrible person and that I didn't drive him away because I couldn't handle life stress. Like Treasur said, I'm still in the emergency room. I have days where I can't get out of bed and can barely feed the cat. My H is the love of my life and the thought that I could be partially responsible for this is killing me.
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#42: February 06, 2024, 10:40:44 AM
Firstly, does he seem like a man with a plan? Does he have a nice new loft apartment in NYC, a new job and a healthy savings account? I thought this about my H, until I remembered he dashed out of the door with a bag of underpants and not much else. But, if he did have a 'plan' then what kind of person does that - secretly plan to leave their long term partner whilst playing the part of loving long term partner. Both are skewy.
Good point. It seemed rather impulsive to me, but he did come up with one. In December he knew he wanted to leave but didn't know where to go. Funny you mentioned NYC - that was the first option, but a week later he opted to go to another state. He's renting a temporary abode and is saying he will find something more permanent.

He packed up everything of his the last two weeks or so he was here and put it into storage. He says he'll pick it up later (from across the country) or just throw it all out. We're talking pics of family, heirlooms, valuables, in addition to clothing and anything else belonging to him. All that is left in this house are things that belong to me or things we purchased together.

It's a bit easier for him bc he WFH. Yes to savings, but not due to any preparation to leave. So the decision was made and everything was set over the course of about 3 wks.

Right, yes - classic teenager talk. He should have said 'see ya around kiddo!' - I have heard similar claptrap.
Lol at claptrap. So ridiculous. ;D

I asked this very same thing when I first posted on the forum. I somehow thought my H had a plan, he was being decisive etc etc. About three months later he was asking mutual friends for 'second opinions'  ::) ::) and he has since expressed a lot of regret. Crucially, he can't remember much of what he said to me when he left at all. So try not to internalize these things - they are mist words.
Mist words - I love that. Thank you.
It must have felt good to hear of his regret! It's interesting... we don't have a lot of mutual friends. Most of our friends are mine (I invited him into every aspect of my life). He kept his own friends to himself. I would spend time with them now and then but his friends were definitely his.

All of us? Most of us? My H went 3 days after BD - we were together 26 years....
Was there much interaction after that?
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#43: February 06, 2024, 10:52:20 AM
I was convinced I had a WAW situation.  I hoped for it.  Because that’s something that can still be turned around IMO.   
I hadn't thought about WAS that way. I don't really have any hope either way at this point but the different perspective is interesting.

However.  The “lack of a plan” absolutely nails it.  Within 2 months I quickly realized this was a whole other animal. There was less than zero planning on my home front and even two years in, there appears to be very little talk about the future and what the plan is. She’s spends most of her time hating me and wallowing about her situation.  And I mean outright hating me.  Destroying me to anyone that will listen. Actively doing things to sabotage and hurt me. Yet does very little to actually execute on HER D or plan for the future. I sometimes wonder what she’s going to do when she’s finally free of me. She’s spend so much time vilifying me, hating me, and trying to actively destroy me. What will she do with the free time lol….
I felt that hatred when he was still here. It's terrible. Not just the vilifying words, but the lack of eye contact. Shifty - always looking away. he couldn't stand to look at me even. He always used to stare and wink at me from across the room. Such a drastic shift in a matter of weeks.

I'm sorry to hear about your W's attempts to sabotage and hurt. >:(
Hopefully people are seeing thru the BS.

I think the plan for the future in my case is for him to stay in his new city and start a new life - whatever that means. Tie up loose ends here where I am when the time comes. We'll see.
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#44: February 06, 2024, 11:14:21 AM
The lack of eye contact is the strangest thing.  I've tried to rationalize it.  Perhaps she feels tremendous shame like RCR suggests.  I dont think thats the case. 

There were moments when she outright gutted me by doing viscous things and I had bouts of hatred towards her.  In those moments, I recall myself not wanting to speak to her or see her, and I avoided eye contact and avoided being around her.  From my experience, I think it has more to do with feelings of hatred, disgust, rage towards the LBS vs feelings of shame.  That "I hate you so much I cant even look at you right now" feeling.  I think that's what it's about. 

And in my case, it hasnt let up in 1.5 years....  She's been very consistent with it.  It's hard to describe how deep the LBS hatred runs.  Im not sure hate is even the right word.  It's worse than that.  I've read fog stories from the other side and MLCers do describe this.  But seeing it on the other side.  Its a mind truck. 

I dont know what she's going to do with her time when I'm out the picture.  She spends 90% of her time scheming, hating, actively wanting to inflict pain.  It will be interesting. 
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« Last Edit: February 06, 2024, 11:15:56 AM by WHY »

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#45: February 06, 2024, 11:31:09 AM
But right now I have close people in my life telling me it takes two - 50/50 to make a relationship successful or ruin it. Then there are those that are saying it's 10% me 90% him because he left. Then there are the twice divorced relatives/friends that ended both marriages saying I need to fix my sh*t and move on. I'm still struggling to recognize what is mine and what isn't, and fighting against internalizing his hurtful actions. At the same time I'm internalizing pie charts created by people that likely don't understand. So I ask more questions.
The thing about MLC/identity crisis/existential crisis is that it is a mental health issue underpinned by depression. Most people don't understand this (I'm not sure I did until it happened to my H). So all the well-meaning advice is a bit useless really. The best support those close to you can give, is to help you stay afloat and listen and validate your feelings. A good IC can help you with untangle yourself from another person's crisis.

You will feel at fault to begin with. You will chastise yourself, feel you are somehow not loveable. Did something WRONG. You will probably not like yourself. I felt all those things plus. plus. But I don't anymore. I know now that this crisis was not about me.  From what you write, it seems obvious to me, it is not about you either. You and your H, you were together decades, if something wasn't working, it would have shown up about 4 years in, certainly much, much earlier. A funny story (if one can have a funny story in the Land of MLC). My H bought a year's supply of an expensive household consumable about a month before he left. One example, but the most banal sign that he was not thinking (planning) of leaving the month before he did. You may have noticed your H being distant, grumpy, tired etc. You may see in hindsight that he had the signs of depression in the time leading up to his BD. This is common. The break, when it comes, seems sudden, but it was brewing. IMO, BD comes when an overwhelming amount of emotional pressure that the MLC could not cope with becomes unbearable. Perhaps you were his 'coper'. I was my H's coper. It wasn't my job and it wasn't healthy. But in long term relationships that grow from youth, you don't always see these unhealthy dynamics. Until things fall apart.

You asked me about whether it felt good to hear my H's regrets and if there is much contact now. I suppose it was a relief to hear that he did not blame me or the marriage. That was some consolation. But otherwise, no, it didn't really, because this happened a year after BD, and by this time I knew how firetrucked things were. I saw how distressed and depressed he was then, and how much work he needed to do to heal. Which is a completely separate thing to our marriage. I believe at that stage, when he showed his regret, he wanted to come home. He circled endlessly around saying it, but not quite able to say the words and ask. And I didn't ask, because I knew this was not the right thing for either of us. He wanted me to cope for him again. And then, about 3 or 4 weeks later he started up with OW, with all the lightening speed of a high-school crush.

There's not much contact because I don't initiate and I do believe we non-crisis spouses, we can set the tempo of contact. I think if I did initiate, he would be the proverbial clinging boomerang, but my instincts were, and are, to let him go. My personal feeling about this is that he either wants to work on his issues or not. At the moment, he is likely outsourcing his coping mechanisms to the OW. So, that answers what he wants to do at the moment. His choice.

In the wake of BD, I had a kind of tunnel vision myself. I could not see beyond the pain and the damage. But slowly my vista widened and I started to see other things, I began to reflect, I began to see all the other beautiful things in my life - friends and family, the things that bring me joy. You will start to see these things too Jmnab. As Treasur often says - our lens change. It's not to be feared, but it also can't be rushed. Please don't blame yourself. You are delightfully normal, like the rest of us  :)
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« Last Edit: February 06, 2024, 11:33:06 AM by KayDee »

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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#46: February 06, 2024, 11:34:48 AM
Quote
I kept asking, "What about me?" I regret not being patient or compassionate enough.

jmnab, I don't know if anyone has said this to you yet, but I will gladly be the first if they haven't. YOU were not the one who wasn't being compassionate enough. When your mother was going through the final stages of her life was not when any sane person would drop everything and focus on their whiny spouse!!! And I will call him out as that, even though it is MLC behavior, because that's what they do. It was too much to ask of you to keep EVERYONE, except yourself, afloat.

You still no doubt have grieving to process about your mom, and at this time when you'd need your 'for better or worse' by your side, he is not. That is NOT a failing of YOURS. Clearly there's something wrong with him (if he is anything like mine, he just doesn't have the emotional bandwidth to deal with anything of magnitude. Maybe that's what tipped him in, but that is still within HIM, not you).

I get that feeling of not wanting to lose one more thing. My business was failing, there were people and pets around me dying, and my house was in pre-foreclosure when I got BD'ed. But I want to speak to you as your future self who will see that your H, who is right now incapable of being strong for you in these moments, taking himself out of the equation for at least a bit will give you space to reconnect with yourself, find your footing, cry the ugly tears (the "saltwater cure" as it became known around here), and decide, a little farther down the road, whether standing is right for you. You can have absolute faith that you will come through it because, WOW, look what you have come through so far! You are SO strong, but you don't have to be all the strong, all the time. It's okay to see that this isn't fair to you. Trying to find sense in his nonsense words will just keep you distracted, and never end up giving you any real information.

And they have NO plans. ;) Mine left in 2011. HIS STUFF IS STILL HERE!  ;D Periodically I've tried to get him to take some, and he says, "I'm not that person anymore, I don't want it." It's his yearbooks? And photos, tools, things that aren't really "identity changing". Accountability is not their strong point, and sewing up the loose ends falls in that category. So I've sold some stuff over the years, repurposed some, and junked some. It gave me comfort for a while that he considered things safe with me. Then, it was just in my way. Trust that you'll grow through all of this, no matter what happens.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#47: February 06, 2024, 12:29:42 PM
The thing about MLC/identity crisis/existential crisis is that it is a mental health issue underpinned by depression. Most people don't understand this (I'm not sure I did until it happened to my H). So all the well-meaning advice is a bit useless really. The best support those close to you can give, is to help you stay afloat and listen and validate your feelings. A good IC can help you with untangle yourself from another person's crisis.
At this point, I'm trying to stop listening to that group of friends and family. They think I'm reaching. I do have a therapist that actually believes MLC is a real thing, so that is something.

You will feel at fault to begin with. You will chastise yourself, feel you are somehow not loveable. Did something WRONG. You will probably not like yourself. I felt all those things plus. plus. But I don't anymore. I know now that this crisis was not about me.  From what you write, it seems obvious to me, it is not about you either. You and your H, you were together decades, if something wasn't working, it would have shown up about 4 years in, certainly much, much earlier.
Exactly what is happening. And there were definitely things we put off dealing with, but we still lasted over two decades.  A lot of those things came up when he left, though. The last couple of years or so I think we really neglected each other. He meditated - a lot. But not for twenty years. Is it even possible to repress your feelings for that long?

My H bought a year's supply of an expensive household consumable about a month before he left. One example, but the most banal sign that he was not thinking (planning) of leaving the month before he did. You may have noticed your H being distant, grumpy, tired etc. You may see in hindsight that he had the signs of depression in the time leading up to his BD. This is common. The break, when it comes, seems sudden, but it was brewing. IMO, BD comes when an overwhelming amount of emotional pressure that the MLC could not cope with becomes unbearable.
Yard tools here. Many expensive yard tools. Still in the garage.

I'm sure he had trouble coping, but I also I don't think I coped well with my mother's illness. I couldn't stop talking about it. And in retrospect he was definitely depressed.
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#48: February 06, 2024, 12:55:36 PM
jmnab, I don't know if anyone has said this to you yet, but I will gladly be the first if they haven't. YOU were not the one who wasn't being compassionate enough. When your mother was going through the final stages of her life was not when any sane person would drop everything and focus on their whiny spouse!!! And I will call him out as that, even though it is MLC behavior, because that's what they do. It was too much to ask of you to keep EVERYONE, except yourself, afloat.

You still no doubt have grieving to process about your mom, and at this time when you'd need your 'for better or worse' by your side, he is not. That is NOT a failing of YOURS. Clearly there's something wrong with him (if he is anything like mine, he just doesn't have the emotional bandwidth to deal with anything of magnitude. Maybe that's what tipped him in, but that is still within HIM, not you).
Thank you for this. I really did do the best I could, which to many, may not have been enough. I feel good about helping her in the ways I did. And she had a really nice funeral. It was like a movie.

After she died, and after the funeral was when H really started going downhill. When he said he wanted to divorce (Dec.), I talked about how we'd just been through something very stressful, and that we should take some time to work on our marriage. He said, "Stop blaming your mom. It's YOU. IT'S YOU!" But on different days he would say worse things like,  "Your mom s*** all over me for two years then you s*** on me!" Or here's another... "Your mom dying was like we lost a child. Do you know how f***** up that is???"

Or some days he wouldn't say anything about it at all and just vilify our entire history. Or accuse me of things I haven't done - sabotage, selfishness, manipulation, control, abuse... you name it.

To be honest, H's depression and lack of empathy during that time was so shocking, I probably did focus too much attention the "whiny spouse," lol. I didn't drop everything for him, but there were some days I could have spent more time with Mom. Huge regret. I've just recently made space to grieve for her in the way I need to. I miss her. In fact, I'd be staying with her right now.  :'(

H has been able to cope with deaths in his own family (from a distance), but has never been a person that has coped well when I'm in a position of weakness (surgeries, injured, tired, family problems, etc.). No bedside manner. Irritable. I should have taken notice of this earlier on in the marriage!

And they have NO plans. ;)
Based on what I hear from him I'm starting to realize this. It's possible something may materialize for him (he has it pretty easy), but in the few times we've spoken it really seems like he has no idea what he's doing.

Thank you so much for the thoughtful response. It helps. And it's good to know there are good people who've survived and come out the other side in the face of so many obstacles.  :)
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#49: February 06, 2024, 01:11:38 PM
I know I'm spending way too much time rationalizing the terrible things H has said in the last few weeks.

But no matter what, I also realize that the only way he can even attempt to justify what he's doing after loving each other for so long is to magnify the bad and convince himself the lies are true. I know what being single and "finding himself" means. YUCK.

Thank you so much to everyone on this forum - your words are a great comfort.  :)
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#50: February 07, 2024, 03:08:07 PM
Does anyone have thoughts on the role resentment plays in MLC?
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#51: February 07, 2024, 04:22:01 PM
Huge role. I described as "his resentment poisoned the foundation of our marriage." If our marriage were a house, the resentment pushed it off its foundation. Not much you can do with that bc it means that these conflict-avoidant people let the resentment build until they destroy the marriage. If they had learned how to express their feelings, including anger, in a constructive way, this would likely not have happened. I am years past the BD and know that my ex is in a different relationship. I can only hope that he learned some communication skills so that he doesn´t repeat the harm on another person.
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#52: February 07, 2024, 08:57:43 PM
Huge role. I described as "his resentment poisoned the foundation of our marriage." If our marriage were a house, the resentment pushed it off its foundation. Not much you can do with that bc it means that these conflict-avoidant people let the resentment build until they destroy the marriage. If they had learned how to express their feelings, including anger, in a constructive way, this would likely not have happened. I am years past the BD and know that my ex is in a different relationship. I can only hope that he learned some communication skills so that he doesn´t repeat the harm on another person.

Today I had to call my H about a logistical issue. I had no intention of discussing anything about our relationship, but of course it ended up in a diatribe about everything I've done wrong/how selfish I am yada yada yada. I left the conversation thinking I was entirely to blame for the breakdown of the marriage, and again questioning if this is in fact related to MLC. Partially bc (for the time being) I don't think there is an OW, but also because I learned my H's current living situation will likely be permanent (for today anyway - his words).

You summed up my situation well, forthetrees - everything is my fault and has nothing to do with the conflict avoidance and built up resentment resulting in his anger. After I spoke with H, I was questioning my sanity and whether I should continue on this forum, but once again, the invaluable insight here confirms this is where I belong. Thank you!!!  :)
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#53: February 08, 2024, 12:35:22 AM

Today I had to call my H about a logistical issue. I had no intention of discussing anything about our relationship, but of course it ended up in a diatribe about everything I've done wrong/how selfish I am yada yada yada. I left the conversation thinking I was entirely to blame for the breakdown of the marriage, and again questioning if this is in fact related to MLC. Partially bc (for the time being) I don't think there is an OW, but also because I learned my H's current living situation will likely be permanent (for today anyway - his words).

His diatribe was nothing more than justification/projection.

The question for you is whether or not you wish to continue subjecting yourself to such nonsense or is it time to set a boundary such as "I refuse to be talked to in such a manner. If you continue, then I will need to end this conversation." or "This has nothing to do with the issue that I called to discuss with you. We can either discuss that or I will end the conversation." or "I am sorry that you feel that way but we both know that this is not true. When you are able to discuss the issue at hand in a reasonable manner, we can talk again. Goodbye <click!>"

Boundary -> consequences -> Boundary enforcement with application of consequences for violation
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#54: February 08, 2024, 10:58:14 AM
His diatribe was nothing more than justification/projection.

Yes, and surprisingly he ended up apologizing.
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Re: Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#55: February 08, 2024, 11:11:11 AM
His diatribe was nothing more than justification/projection.

Yes, and surprisingly he ended up apologizing.

And I would judge the sincerity of his apology by his behaviour from here on, my friend. Feet over mouth  :)
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#56: February 08, 2024, 11:29:31 AM
I need some advice about what to do here.

My problem right now is that I'm at the mercy of my H financially - he is still supporting the household while he lives in his new location. We do not have children, so at times he has little incentive to be kind.

He says he wants D, but that he'll support me until I can get everything together, as long as I need (I am moving forward in preparation for the worst) . I don't know if this is the right way to think about things, but I see it as an opportunity. I asked if he would consider an extended separation, and he said yes. But he says the outcome will be the same. Then he says he'll keep an open mind. He says I may not like the outcome but that if we give it a lot of time and still want a D at least we'll know it is the right thing.

If there is a part of him that is okay with waiting that long, I do wonder if he truly does want a D. But maybe it's wishful thinking.

He brings up a lot of things that are true, but at the same time he says he's wanted to leave me since we got together over 20 years ago (MLC). He says I've isolated, manipulated, and held him hostage the entire time we've been together, and that every decision we've made has been what I want to do (MLC). He told me he didn't want to continue marriage counseling because he'd continue to be a hostage (MLC). In that same conversation I fanned the flame and asked what changed. He just said I realized I didn't love you anymore (MLC). He wants to find someone who can 'share.' MLC, MLC, MLC...

After the conversation I had today, I don't think there is anyone else yet (but you never know) and I believe him to be completely sober. And because there are exaggerated elements of truth - we did have some dry spells, and a lot of life stress - illness, moving around, jobs, etc., I still question whether this is MLC.

I know I shouldn't be discussing these things with him right now, but it's very difficult to stop once the floodgates open.

Treasur says few relationships survive this level of destruction. Many others have suggested moving forward as if they're not coming back. But there are also those who say I'll know what to do if I decide to stand. I'm inclined to stand for a while, but the divorce threat seems too strong. He's angry and is holding grudges about things long past. He really has a lot of resentment. It's really moment to moment - sometimes I want to give it more time and other times I want to give up and get it over with.

The fact that he's willing to support for that long doesn't feel like MLC. I can't remember who said it, but someone posted that there are no rules for MLC. Does this ever happen?

I know I need to make my own decision. Right now I'm inclined to stand because he's willing to give me time. At this point I don't know if it's just to prevent me from being homeless OR if there is a chance of reconciliation down the line. Of course I hope for the latter, but time will tell. We've decided to talk weekly to discuss logistical issues, which puts us in boomerang territory.

This still doesn't feel real. I know I need to work more on detachment, but I can't help but want to have hope. I also know that in a few weeks I could decide I don't want to deal with this cr*p anymore and file for D myself.

So here are my questions:

1. For those who do stand, is it mostly a waiting game? Do you have any influence at all?
2. And are there any stories of standers making sweeping life changes before reconciliation?
3. Am I fooling myself?
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#57: February 08, 2024, 01:06:23 PM
I want to respond to a couple of things that aren't the questions you asked, but maybe useful to you

I need some advice about what to do here.

He says he wants D, but that he'll support me until I can get everything together, as long as I need

Right, so he does not get to decide this. This is settled legally, depending on your country. But a long marriage such as yours would take into consideration the earning power of both spouses, pensions, assets etc. If he is at a considerable advantage to you income-wise he will have to pay you alimony, or give you more of the house value etc. Basically, this is a two-way thing, not a Him-Way thing. Can you get some legal advice on this. Standing or not. It's helpful.


The fact that he's willing to support for that long doesn't feel like MLC. I can't remember who said it, but someone posted that there are no rules for MLC. Does this ever happen?

I'm sorry, this is so hard. People in this type of crisis, whatever it is, they do things that you'd never imagine they'd do. Please try to create a safe zone for yourself where you are not dependent on him for anything. This may take some time to achieve, but he cannot be relied on at the moment and potentially, he can use this power to control you - directly or indirectly.
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#58: February 08, 2024, 03:03:47 PM
Right, so he does not get to decide this. This is settled legally, depending on your country. But a long marriage such as yours would take into consideration the earning power of both spouses, pensions, assets etc. If he is at a considerable advantage to you income-wise he will have to pay you alimony, or give you more of the house value etc. Basically, this is a two-way thing, not a Him-Way thing. Can you get some legal advice on this. Standing or not. It's helpful.
I just spoke to my lawyer. I was a bit concerned about medical and alimony as I've been a high earner in the past. He helped me devise a strategy to get what I need if I have trouble finding employment in the next couple of months. My H and I are in different states, and the filing laws are different (likely friendlier where I am), so if nothing changes  or improves before late spring, he is recommending I file myself. I hate this.  :'(
The fact that he's willing to support for that long doesn't feel like MLC. I can't remember who said it, but someone posted that there are no rules for MLC. Does this ever happen?
I'm sorry, this is so hard. People in this type of crisis, whatever it is, they do things that you'd never imagine they'd do. Please try to create a safe zone for yourself where you are not dependent on him for anything. This may take some time to achieve, but he cannot be relied on at the moment and potentially, he can use this power to control you - directly or indirectly.
Yes. It doesn't seem like he wants control - it seems like he just wants out. Is it normal for LBS to be hopeful or reach for mixed signals?
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« Last Edit: February 08, 2024, 03:25:03 PM by jmnab »

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#59: February 08, 2024, 03:08:47 PM
More than one MLCer has, in the early stages, said they would be generous with finances. We've seen that change as MLC progresses and they need money for their fantasy life.

I wouldn't rely on his promises regarding the finances.
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#60: February 08, 2024, 07:09:02 PM
Just sharing some ridiculousness...

I mentioned being accused of throwing myself down the stairs to isolate my H. Ridiculous, yes???
Here's another... for the past few years I've been volunteering with an org that provides horseback rides for differently-abled individuals of all ages... for four hours a week. It's a really great organization that provides an invaluable therapeutic service for people that need it. Today he accused me of preferring to shovel horse sh*t rather than scrub floors for him. The floors are clean.

When asked what we did wrong, most of the time there are no specifics (unless it's an unhinged lie like what I mentioned above). No knowledge of what they want, just that everything has always been wrong. Maybe they can point out a few specifics in the beginning, but once they reach the point of being hateful and purely self-serving it's all blanket statements about why things are awful. If they give any examples, they make absolutely no sense or are extremely exaggerated. I've often wondered if he has a brain tumor or early onset dementia. It's that bad.

The selfishness on display is so far beyond anything I've ever experienced. I'm starting to get a sense of humor about it. That's a positive, right???
I am very glad I spoke with my lawyer today.  8)
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#61: February 09, 2024, 12:22:37 AM
Have to say that those are ones we haven't heard before. Throwing yourself down the stairs to isolate him and preferring to shovel horse excrement instead of cleaning the floors in the house. How could you do that?

Yet another example of the ridiculous garbage they come up with to throw at you.
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#62: February 09, 2024, 02:28:26 AM
More than one MLCer has, in the early stages, said they would be generous with finances. We've seen that change as MLC progresses and they need money for their fantasy life.

I wouldn't rely on his promises regarding the finances.


What he tells you today and what he does tomorrow are likely to be two VERY different things...
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Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#63: February 09, 2024, 04:10:36 AM
Congratulations on finding the courage to see a lawyer even though you hate that you needed to. We get it. But it was wise and brave of you.

Right now, as others have said, from the cheap seats it looks like you are gambling large bits of your own future wellbeing on his actions. Or inactions. And actions/inactions from him that you have pretty much no control over. How comfortable is that for you? What would have to change for you to change that current choice?

You will not be the first LBS who has had to file for a divorce they did not want to protect themselves from unmanageable financial or legal or medical risk. There are even a few stories of folks who have done so, finalised a divorce and then found an ex spouse wanting to reconcile years later. Not many, but a few…..bc divorce seems not to fix an MLC anymore than the marriage did….apples and pears.

We know how hard a choice that must feel, but the legal advice sounds as if it would clearly be to your benefit to do so sooner rather than later in your own jurisdiction. So, logically, one would have to have a pretty good reason for not doing so….do you know what yours is? And, bc MLCers words are written in water usually, how big is the risk and what is your back up plan if he files while you are still thinking about it? What are the practicalities of your life that would be affected….medical, current home, pensions, paying the bills, even opportunities to relocate or live differently etc….if you filed or if he did or if you did nothing?
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« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 04:15:12 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
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#64: February 09, 2024, 07:27:34 AM
We know how hard a choice that must feel, but the legal advice sounds as if it would clearly be to your benefit to do so sooner rather than later in your own jurisdiction. So, logically, one would have to have a pretty good reason for not doing so….do you know what yours is? And, bc MLCers words are written in water usually, how big is the risk and what is your back up plan if he files while you are still thinking about it? What are the practicalities of your life that would be affected….medical, current home, pensions, paying the bills, even opportunities to relocate or live differently etc….if you filed or if he did or if you did nothing?
We did have a jurisdiction discussion, and set a date for when he'd like to see me filed. I'll likely move on it before then. The recent conversations with H like talking to two different people, and it's getting worse. I get it now.

I do have some resources in place to take care of the practicalities.  :)
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#65: February 09, 2024, 01:33:40 PM
I'm really hurting today.

My H signed a lease in his new city. This morning I had an appointment with my IC, who works with a lot of men. One of the things he mentioned seeing was that my H likely felt shame for putting up with anger from me. I admit there have been times when I've lashed out, especially in the last few years, but I didn't think it was so much that it could drive him away. He never said anything about it. It's definitely something that in hindsight I should have worked on, though.

This morning, after my appt. I called my H to apologize for the part I played in the demise of our relationship. I want to be accountable but also realize it may have been a moment of weakness that I thought would help. He was almost normal except for one statement where he asked if I had told my IC that he'd been 'walking on eggshells' the entire time we've been together (something I don't remember or understand).

Other than that he was normal. He was in his new place setting up the internet.

I am so sad and full of despair today. I still don't understand all of this... I still blame myself and sometimes when I speak to my IC I realize I played a part in it. Then I get confused and wonder if it truly is me or MLC.

I need help today. I need to know I'm not crazy for thinking MLC is part of this...

Aug 20th - 'I don't want to be married anymore' (after cleaning up when mom in hospital)
Sept 23rd - 'Things aren't okay with us. I'm not okay with you. I want to be alone."
Oct 14th - 'Our marriage has failed. We should just let it fail. I just want to be alone. I'm happier when I'm alone." (two days after mom passed)

Then funeral planning and trust administration, cleaning up mom's house to sell
Up until early/mid Dec. seems willing to work on things. We have 4 or 5 marriage counseling sessions, but then he doesn't want to be vulnerable so he gives up.

Dec 12th - 'I don't love you anymore. I don't want to be married to you and I don't want to work on things. It isn't worth it. I want a divorce.'
Sad and conflicted, he decides he needs to take a 90 day break. H says things like, 'I don't want to lose you,' or 'I'm allowed to make mistakes' or 'I may come back with my tail between my legs.'

Begging and pleading commence on my end. Cue monster - I'm controlling, manipulative, everything has to be my way. I've ruined our marriage by being emotionally abusive. I've withheld sex and denied him his needs. I've crushed his dreams, never taken any risks. Everything we've ever done is for me. Trying to make me happy has made him incredibly unhappy. He needs to work on himself. All his life he's taken care of me, now he needs to take care of himself. At the same time pointing out things I have done that I'm very sorry for (which is where my guilt is coming from).

Jan 12th - returns from a business trip. Cue more monster. 'What's wrong?' I say. 'YOU! On the trip I was reminded of how miserable you've made everything.'
Jan 20th - moves across the county and monsters every other time I speak with him.

Yesterday afternoon said he would be stupid if he wasn't thinking about whether to save our marriage and said we'll see what happens.
Monstered last night with a tirade about how I never prioritize him and that I'm an awful housekeeper that only cares about myself and what I want.
Seems fine today now that he's in his new place. Hasn't changed his mind about divorce, but doesn't want to hurt me or make things hard on me.

I'm feeling extremely lonely today - the feeling of abandonment is really creeping in. My father will be here to visit tomorrow, but today I really don't know how I'm going to get through this heartbreak. I'm just as isolated as he claimed to be. Every day is different. I miss him so much.  :'(

I know everything has changed and I have to look after myself now, but I still just cannot believe this has happened.  Did I do this???

Does anyone have stories or a similar situation they can share? I know there are no rules, but I wonder what's next.
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#66: February 09, 2024, 06:41:41 PM
You are not crazy. Whether it is MLC or not tbh. Still not crazy.
You are bewildered and grieving. Double grieving.
And in my experience, double grieving makes you feel a little bit crazy for a little while. Still not actually crazy though.

And no, you did not do this. Your h did this. You are a normal imperfect person and your h had a bunch of options in dealing with however he felt. He chose to take this one. And to pretty consistently blame you for it.

And unless you are God, or have intentionally dedicated 20 years to abusing him bc you hate him so much, you are not - and never were - responsible for his unhappiness. Whatever it is he’s unhappy about.

I’m not sure you can see it yet, but your h has been and is being remarkably cruel to you. His timing showed no empathy or respect at all. No compassion for your own struggles when your mother was so ill or your loss. His blame shows no fairness or personal accountability at all. I’m sure he knows you are deeply hurt and yet he finds it acceotable to blame you for his actions. Very MLC. Very cruel. Very unfair. Very weak. Very dishonest. Very unkind. Very Me Me Me.

He may say he doesn’t want to hurt you or make things hard on you….but he has actually done, and is doing, the opposite. Every job, every bit of blame, every bit of monstering IS actually done to hurt you and make you feel worse and to make himself feel justified and in control. I think you may need to learn more about how projection works, my friend.

If you doubt this, pause for a moment and reverse the shoes. If your h had just nursed a parent for years and then they had died, while you had in parallel let’s say decided that you wanted to end your marriage - for whatever reason - could you conceive of having treated him the way he has treated you? And is treating you now? Blamed him for everything under the sun and told him so repeatedly? No? I thought not…..bc that’s about who you are. This situation, and his behaviour, is about who he is, not about who you are. You can’t see that yet but with time, it will become easier to see, I promise. Some of the things you say he has said and is blaming you for are patently ridiculous.

And I call BS in what your IC said. I’m not sure what value you see in this IC or why you chose him. But what he said sounded a lot like victim blaming to me. How awful it must have felt to be trapped between two men blaming you for things beyond your control.

Do YOU think anger is a pattern for you? (Clue - if it were, you would see it threaded through your behaviour in your life, not just with regard to your h). Maybe your anger was warranted bc your h was behaving like an entitled a$$hat? And if a decent IC was trying to get you to focus on your own patterns of anger, they would do that not infer that you were responsible for someone else’s unspoken shame. They would focus on YOUR behaviour and the roots of YOUR anger. His comment makes no therapeutic sense to me. And tbh you don’t sound like an angry person….you sound like a bewildered, vulnerable one who has put in years of adapting around an avoidant h to me. I could make a pretty good case that you could consider feeling a lot more angry about a whole bunch of things actually  ::)

So I think you should find a better IC. One who understands trauma ideally and one whose modality is built on making you feel stronger not weaker, more resilient not less. Or challenge this one about what he said when you see him next to see if you misinterpreted what he said.

Bc I have a simple rule in life, and as a coach tbh, if I did not know about something, if I got no vote or voice in it, if I wasn’t even present,  particularly if someone else uses all or nothing language…and if it leaves me completely bewildered…..it usually isn’t my responsibility. Or yours.

Imho your phone call to your h was a trauma response. Which is understandable. But try to not do that again, right?  :) Bc again I hope you can see that it hurt you rather than helped you.

Trauma and abandonment, and grief tbh, makes most of us react for a while like a small child lost in the forest. And our inner children react like real small children do….we blame ourselves, we plead for rescue and reassurance even from the people who are hurting us, we make ourselves very small and our needs very small, or we get very angry and break things. Please be very kind to your inner child right now. Wrap her up with biggest hug you can. Talk to her even if it helps. And understand that it is rarely true that the people who are hurting us will also be the ones to help us feel safe or help us heal. Bc that’s just not how real life works, is it? The good, kind, gentle, compassionate folks help us heal….and if we don’t have lots of them around, we need to be extra kind and compassionate to ourselves.

This terrible awful thing is happening to you and I am so very sorry that it is.
Whatever the cause, whether it is MLC or not, it is still happening. And still not your fault. Bc it isn’t being created by you and you are not in charge of how it is being done either.

It’s a common LBS belief - maybe a hope or even a trauma response too - that if it IS MLC that means perhaps that a) it isn’t our fault and b) it will stop and life will go back to ‘normal’. I don’t know what you believe about MLC or what you think would change for you if you knew for sure it was? It still isn’t your fault….you can only own as I said what you knew and got a voice or vote in imho. And if it IS MLC, sadly, it usually gets worse before it gets better and the behaviour seems to last for years not months until it changes. So imho, even if any of us could 100% know that to be true, it does not bring the relief that right now you are so desparately hoping for. I’m sorry.

But back to you….
This awful thing is happening, for reasons currently beyond your comprehension. Time tends to bring clarity and takes the veil off hidden truths….that can be a shock too but it also brings a kind of clarity. Right now, for whatever reasons, your h is acting like a man who does not want you in his life and does not care about your feelings or needs. He believes, rightly or wrongly, that he has signed a lease on his new magic happy. (As he has taken himself with him, and is investing so heavily in blaming you, the newsflash is that this may not turn out to be how it goes lol…but that’s his problem) so, let him go find out and learn his own lessons from the karma bus - you have enough to deal with in finding your own square feet of solid ground in the middle of this life hurticane.

And any IC who does not see that, and work with you to help you build it inch by inch, is imho as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Biggest hug from my inner child here to yours bc my inner child still remembers what it felt like to be abandoned in that very dark forest xxxx
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« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 06:53:22 PM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#67: February 10, 2024, 02:37:33 AM
This morning I had an appointment with my IC, who works with a lot of men. One of the things he mentioned seeing was that my H likely felt shame for putting up with anger from me. I admit there have been times when I've lashed out, especially in the last few years, but I didn't think it was so much that it could drive him away. He never said anything about it. It's definitely something that in hindsight I should have worked on, though.

I agree with everything that Treasur has said. It is quite a sobering exercise to switch the main characters in this tragedy to see the horror of the crisis-spouse behaviour. I know I would never do that to my H. I know this, because 6 months after he left, he was on my sofa sobbing about how lonely he was   ::) - my chest physically hurt and yes, dear reader, I comforted him.

But the main thing I want to add, is a thought about what your IC said. It may be, as Treasur says, that you ask him to clarify. Sometimes, in our distress we reinterpret or hear things differently. Your IC may have meant that your H cannot bear anger. Period. IMO, that would be bang on, as this is very common with extremely avoidant people. They are pathologically afraid of conflict. This is why many of them become people pleasers. This is why many store up resentments. And that's their storage facility btw, not anyone else's.

This morning, after my appt. I called my H to apologize for the part I played in the demise of our relationship. I want to be accountable but also realize it may have been a moment of weakness that I thought would help. He was almost normal except for one statement where he asked if I had told my IC that he'd been 'walking on eggshells' the entire time we've been together (something I don't remember or understand).

As this is Call BS Saturday, I call BS on the 'walking on eggshells' comment. Of course, it's a classic rewrite (otherwise his feet would be mere stumps by now, no?). But it also contains what psychologists call 'leakage' - to me it reveals that he was not able to cope with your grief (in caring for your mom in her last days and her death) and it was he that created a kind eggshell situation in an attempt to avoid having to cope. (AKA kitty footing around). If he is an avoidant person, it is unlikely he would be able to hold your anger in grief. I'm guessing, and I could be wrong, but probably went some lengths to avoid this, because he was afraid. And perhaps your 'lashing' out was a response to having to hold it all down. And hold it all together. Just some thoughts from me, a spouse of an extremely avoidant people pleaser, who absolutely could not cope with my grief when someone close to me died.

As T says, good therapist work with anger. And the word anger is such a blunt catch all. It can range from slightly irritated to rage. And it presents in different ways over very different timescales. But what is true is that anger and grief are bedfellows and you likely have a lot to get out. If your IC can't hold your anger/s, then yes, maybe it's wise to find another.

When I first turned up on the board, people kept saying to me - you will be alright. And they were right,  I am alright. But I felt just as you did for a time. So I believe you will be alright too. It's too early for this just yet, but you will likely be more than alright, you will find new things, new people and through the adversity, these will mean more and be deeper. For me, a renewed gratitude in all things has been the biggest gift. It takes time, but you will start to see what you have and relish it. Your view will change.

Final note - let him have his Magic Happy (trade mark Treasur :) ) - he seems mister cool-kat at the moment, because he thinks he has taken back control (that may wobble when he can't get the internet to work  ;D ) - but the irony is, he doesn't realise that he has just careened off the tracks. If you can manage this, go dim on him for a while. You probably need to take some time out to properly grieve your mother - perhaps visit maternal relatives? Do something symbolic to celebrate her life?

Keep going jmnab - as the often repeated phrase says - the only way is through.
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#68: February 10, 2024, 11:48:36 AM
Quote
And I call BS in what your IC said. I’m not sure what value you see in this IC or why you chose him. But what he said sounded a lot like victim blaming to me.

I completely agree with this. Victim blaming for sure.
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#69: February 10, 2024, 12:05:05 PM
First, thank you for this. I arrived home late last night and read it 7 times before I went to sleep. I woke up realizing more the extent of the damage he's done. Hopefully I realize it more and more each day. I was also paranoid because I realized I have no idea where the new place is (only the city). I spent some time on the county clerk's website to make sure he didn't buy a house or something. I need to think about these things. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end things myself when the time is right for me, which hopefully is soon.

Thank you for pointing out his cruelty again. He isn't the same person, so I shouldn't miss him.

And no, you did not do this. Your h did this. You are a normal imperfect person and your h had a bunch of options in dealing with however he felt. He chose to take this one. And to pretty consistently blame you for it.

And unless you are God, or have intentionally dedicated 20 years to abusing him bc you hate him so much, you are not - and never were - responsible for his unhappiness. Whatever it is he’s unhappy about.

I’m not sure you can see it yet, but your h has been and is being remarkably cruel to you. His timing showed no empathy or respect at all. No compassion for your own struggles when your mother was so ill or your loss. His blame shows no fairness or personal accountability at all. I’m sure he knows you are deeply hurt and yet he finds it acceptable to blame you for his actions. Very MLC. Very cruel. Very unfair. Very weak. Very dishonest. Very unkind. Very Me Me Me.
I know he is unhappy because he's been an avoidant people pleaser. There is a part of me that wonders if this type even knows what they want before the lid blows off. My guess is no. I don't think he ever knew what he wanted out of life. He tried to do all the things everyone else does. He succeeded with some and not so much with others. And now, apparently I've stopped him from getting all the other things, whatever they are (especially children).  Truth is I never made any decisions for us with out asking him first, because that's what partners do. And I never said no to anything he suggested, but I did ask questions. Maybe at times I would say things like, "I don't think we should do that and here's why." But I didn't ever shut him down like he says I did. But if, on the rare occasion I did say something like that he should have fought more for it instead of just letting it go. Maybe he's interpreting those conversations as control.

I was listening to someone on YouTube last night. Maybe Larry Bilotta? Can't remember. But the gist of the video was that the words of childhood influencers (usually parents or other family members) ring in the ears of someone with MLC. I could see how the people in his FOO could have been controlling. Dad was aloof and off on various dalliances. Mom was at home knowing full well it was happening. From things people in the family have said, the kids never spoke of their feelings.  I guess now it's all coming out, and it makes me wonder how controlled he felt growing up.

Do YOU think anger is a pattern for you? (Clue - if it were, you would see it threaded through your behaviour in your life, not just with regard to your h). Maybe your anger was warranted bc your h was behaving like an entitled a$$hat? And if a decent IC was trying to get you to focus on your own patterns of anger, they would do that not infer that you were responsible for someone else’s unspoken shame. They would focus on YOUR behaviour and the roots of YOUR anger. His comment makes no therapeutic sense to me. And tbh you don’t sound like an angry person….you sound like a bewildered, vulnerable one who has put in years of adapting around an avoidant h to me. I could make a pretty good case that you could consider feeling a lot more angry about a whole bunch of things actually  ::)
I've been thinking about this. There are definitely times when I've been more reactive than necessary, particularly during times of stress (this happened a lot recently with my mother's situation). And over the years there have been times I've had trouble coping for various reasons (had a couple of angry fights on road trips, reactions to bad driving, etc), but it my mind it was rare enough that it shouldn't have been a deal breaker for the marriage. OR, if it was really that much of a problem, he should have said something about it.

For context, he's an extroverted black cloud cynical type (as described by my friend. - as a gen-xer I found this very attractive when we met), so he isn't the innocent victim he claims to be. There has been a lot of complaining and criticizing of others on his end.

Honestly, I think he's using all of it as an excuse for what he's doing, but I probably won't ever know. And because he refused counseling, and I have no idea what is really going on, it makes me wonder if it's worth it to focus on that aspect of therapy at all.

This awful thing is happening, for reasons currently beyond your comprehension. Time tends to bring clarity and takes the veil off hidden truths….that can be a shock too but it also brings a kind of clarity. Right now, for whatever reasons, your h is acting like a man who does not want you in his life and does not care about your feelings or needs. He believes, rightly or wrongly, that he has signed a lease on his new magic happy. (As he has taken himself with him, and is investing so heavily in blaming you, the newsflash is that this may not turn out to be how it goes lol…but that’s his problem) so, let him go find out and learn his own lessons from the karma bus - you have enough to deal with in finding your own square feet of solid ground in the middle of this life hurticane.
Sometimes I want the truth and other times I don't. I feel fortunate that he is far enough away and I am far enough removed from his family and friends to have a choice right now. It will likely come out anyway. It sure would be nice to find out what happens on the karma bus, but I really shouldn't think about it that way.  ;)

Thank you again, Treasur, for your response. It is a great comfort.  :)
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#70: February 10, 2024, 12:37:27 PM
They are pathologically afraid of conflict. This is why many of them become people pleasers. This is why many store up resentments. And that's their storage facility btw, not anyone else's.

...

And perhaps your 'lashing' out was a response to having to hold it all down. And hold it all together. Just some thoughts from me, a spouse of an extremely avoidant people pleaser, who absolutely could not cope with my grief when someone close to me died.

As T says, good therapist work with anger. And the word anger is such a blunt catch all. It can range from slightly irritated to rage. And it presents in different ways over very different timescales. But what is true is that anger and grief are bedfellows and you likely have a lot to get out. If your IC can't hold your anger/s, then yes, maybe it's wise to find another.
He's full of resentment. Still talked about it - said it embarrasses him.

To your point about coping with grief, I was there for him through five deaths. When it was my turn (my mothers was much longer and more involved), he stuck it out for the 5 years then took off.

I do need to find a new therapist.

Final note - let him have his Magic Happy (trade mark Treasur :) ) - he seems mister cool-kat at the moment, because he thinks he has taken back control (that may wobble when he can't get the internet to work  ;D ) - but the irony is, he doesn't realise that he has just careened off the tracks. If you can manage this, go dim on him for a while. You probably need to take some time out to properly grieve your mother - perhaps visit maternal relatives? Do something symbolic to celebrate her life?
He does seem happier where he is - at least he tells me so. He has made 12 step connections already and says he has a social life, but works a lot. He has zero interest in coming back to my city. Probably for the best, but I'm still curious how it will all play out.

I plan on taking some of my family members want to visit my mother's resting place. It's very beautiful.  :)
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#71: February 12, 2024, 10:29:34 AM
This weekend my father visited. He's been very stressed and concerned about me, and has been a great support through this whole ordeal. We had a chance to go out for dinner a couple of times together. My parents were divorced when I was very young (not amicably), and I've always lived a great distance away from my father. Once my mom passed, I took all of her pictures, many of which were of me when young. My father and I went through them this weekend and after 45 or so years, he finally has pictures of me when I was a baby/toddler. It was a very healing activity for both of us.

I talked a lot about my pain, and how I still don't and probably will never understand why all of this is happening. I showed him pictures on my phone of my H, and one of the things he noticed was that starting in the summer of last year (especially after the first BD), his demeanor changed. In the photos of us taken together, he looked normal, but in the photos that I had taken of him where he was looking at me, he looked angry. I said, "shark eyes" and he said, "Yes!"

I also scrolled through all of H's texts to see where everything changed. That was a bit different - maybe Apr/May.

My father said over and over that he just didn't understand it or see it coming. My father knows every word that has been said, and mentions that it's as if he'd been possessed by the devil (he's very religious, haha!). Of course he is defensive - he's my father. But it was still interesting to hear his perspective. It was really great having him here, and the wonderful thing is he'll be back in another two weeks.  :)

Meanwhile I'm trying to fill my days with fun-tivities (meeting friends/family for drinks, archery, art). It's difficult... now that my mother is gone I don't have a lot of people around, but that will resolve itself in due time. I'm thankful for this forum.  :)

I'm also making a concerted effort to go dark and not worry too much about what he does. I have a plan for the legal stuff, and depending on what changes in the next 60 days or so I'll likely move forward with it.

I still think a lot about how everything unfolded, though. I've been reading many of the other stories here, and it seems as if there are quite a few MLCers that waffle in the first few months, then turn monster, and others that waffle the entire time and monster (or not). In my case I even remember my H saying I've been a wonderful wife in the last couple of months (during full on monster). It's those glimmers and the comments about not knowing who he is or what he wants along with the sadness that make me realize he's still probably still in there.

It seemed like he's still normal when he's around everyone else but me. It's just scary becoming aware of how the contempt and resentment grew toward me. When H was still here he would walk through the house whistling, and be wonderful around the pets. He also seemed fine while working (sometimes a bit more subdued). Beyond that I didn't really hear him on the phone much. My neighbors did notice he was a bit off the week before he left.

Did anyone else see this in their spouse? Growing anger resentment, and contempt toward you, but fine/a little off with everyone else?
What about the shark eyes?

I know it doesn't do me any good to think too hard about these things, but there are so many similarities in behavior. That knowledge is comforting somehow.

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#72: February 12, 2024, 11:05:24 AM
This weekend my father visited. He's been very stressed and concerned about me, and has been a great support through this whole ordeal. We had a chance to go out for dinner a couple of times together. My parents were divorced when I was very young (not amicably), and I've always lived a great distance away from my father. Once my mom passed, I took all of her pictures, many of which were of me when young. My father and I went through them this weekend and after 45 or so years, he finally has pictures of me when I was a baby/toddler. It was a very healing activity for both of us.

I talked a lot about my pain, and how I still don't and probably will never understand why all of this is happening. I showed him pictures on my phone of my H, and one of the things he noticed was that starting in the summer of last year (especially after the first BD), his demeanor changed. In the photos of us taken together, he looked normal, but in the photos that I had taken of him where he was looking at me, he looked angry. I said, "shark eyes" and he said, "Yes!"

I also scrolled through all of H's texts to see where everything changed. That was a bit different - maybe Apr/May.

My father said over and over that he just didn't understand it or see it coming. My father knows every word that has been said, and mentions that it's as if he'd been possessed by the devil (he's very religious, haha!). Of course he is defensive - he's my father. But it was still interesting to hear his perspective. It was really great having him here, and the wonderful thing is he'll be back in another two weeks.  :)

Meanwhile I'm trying to fill my days with fun-tivities (meeting friends/family for drinks, archery, art). It's difficult... now that my mother is gone I don't have a lot of people around, but that will resolve itself in due time. I'm thankful for this forum.  :)

I'm also making a concerted effort to go dark and not worry too much about what he does. I have a plan for the legal stuff, and depending on what changes in the next 60 days or so I'll likely move forward with it.

I still think a lot about how everything unfolded, though. I've been reading many of the other stories here, and it seems as if there are quite a few MLCers that waffle in the first few months, then turn monster, and others that waffle the entire time and monster (or not). In my case I even remember my H saying I've been a wonderful wife in the last couple of months (during full on monster). It's those glimmers and the comments about not knowing who he is or what he wants along with the sadness that make me realize he's still probably still in there.

It seemed like he's still normal when he's around everyone else but me. It's just scary becoming aware of how the contempt and resentment grew toward me. When H was still here he would walk through the house whistling, and be wonderful around the pets. He also seemed fine while working (sometimes a bit more subdued). Beyond that I didn't really hear him on the phone much. My neighbors did notice he was a bit off the week before he left.

Did anyone else see this in their spouse? Growing anger resentment, and contempt toward you, but fine/a little off with everyone else?
What about the shark eyes?

I know it doesn't do me any good to think too hard about these things, but there are so many similarities in behavior. That knowledge is comforting somehow.

YES!!! I noticed exactly the same thing with my wife.

Through the summer her demeanor completely changed also, usually looking angry at me and resentful as we came into fall. I can see it in pictures also looking back.  It's like she was morphing into a different person. She also slowly lost interest in the dog, the kids and things like crafts and gardening. I was so concerned but she just didn't say much and I always felt like I was walking on egg shells. I kept thinking I did something and no matter how nice I was to her it didn't seem to change. By Christmas I couldn't get her to smile ever and Jan 6 she walked out the door.

I am filled with sadness and guilt that I did something but my kids and family and friends assure me it's all her issues. I feel your pain, believe me.

More therapy on Wednesday to help keep me sane.

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#73: February 12, 2024, 11:10:45 AM
I do need to find a new therapist.

He does seem happier where he is - at least he tells me so. He has made 12 step connections already and says he has a social life, but works a lot. He has zero interest in coming back to my city. Probably for the best, but I'm still curious how it will all play out.

Therapy is definitely one part of the dealing and healing process. Highly recommended.

My wife moved to another city close by also. She has "new friends" that she hangs around with. I don't know them at all. She claims to be free and happy, like you I don't know where exactly it's all going but I feel like her social media glamor shots cover a lot of depression. 
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#74: February 13, 2024, 01:10:36 AM

My wife moved to another city close by also. She has "new friends" that she hangs around with.

Read "new enablers."

I don't know them at all. She claims to be free and happy, like you I don't know where exactly it's all going but I feel like her social media glamor shots cover a lot of depression.
It is not called "FakeBook" for nothing..... Between that and all the Instagram Filters, one can be whatever they want to be online....
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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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#75: February 13, 2024, 06:02:38 AM
Read "new enablers."
Yes, and unfortunately some of the in-laws fall into this category.  :(
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#76: February 13, 2024, 07:07:01 AM
Read "new enablers."
Yes, and unfortunately some of the in-laws fall into this category.  :(

That should not be too surprising... Blood is thicker than water...
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

Survival Instructions for Newbies
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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.
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#77: February 13, 2024, 09:12:49 AM
That should not be too surprising... Blood is thicker than water...
Not surprising at all, but they don't know the whole truth, will believe the projection, and are way too influential.
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#78: February 14, 2024, 12:04:55 AM
Not surprising at all, but they don't know the whole truth, will believe the projection, and are way too influential.
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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.
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#79: February 14, 2024, 04:22:35 PM
Question for those whose spouse's eventually moved out...
In your experience, if you were in contact at all after move out, did you find the monstering stopped during some conversations? Or did it cease altogether once they were away? Or was is solely dependent on the subject matter discussed? (relationship vs. smart contact, etc.)
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#80: February 14, 2024, 06:31:29 PM
Question for those whose spouse's eventually moved out...
In your experience, if you were in contact at all after move out, did you find the monstering stopped during some conversations? Or did it cease altogether once they were away? Or was is solely dependent on the subject matter discussed? (relationship vs. smart contact, etc.)

For me she moved out two months ago and still only speaks to me to insult or berate me about anything. And makes up situations to be upset about.

The monstering is there with even the smallest of interactions I just filed taxes and messaged her to tell her I was claiming our oldest D as our mediation agreement states so she will claim our younger child. And she responded mad that I changed”our turbo tax email from her email”. It says welcome “my name” and linked to my social and phone number. But she was mad and DEMANDED I get her tax records immediately. Which I sent the link to get tax statements from the irs website 🤷‍♂️.


So as of now every change she can she monsters. And it’s still so hard to swallow. How someone you’ve known so long can behave in a way you never expected or saw in them.

I’m sorry you are dealing with this as well. None of us should have to.
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#81: February 14, 2024, 06:38:17 PM
For me she moved out two months ago and still only speaks to me to insult or berate me about anything. And makes up situations to be upset about.

The monstering is there with even the smallest of interactions I just filed taxes and messaged her to tell her I was claiming our oldest D as our mediation agreement states so she will claim our younger child. And she responded mad that I changed”our turbo tax email from her email”. It says welcome “my name” and linked to my social and phone number. But she was mad and DEMANDED I get her tax records immediately. Which I sent the link to get tax statements from the irs website 🤷‍♂️.

So as of now every change she can she monsters. And it’s still so hard to swallow. How someone you’ve known so long can behave in a way you never expected or saw in them.

I’m sorry you are dealing with this as well. None of us should have to.
I'm sorry to hear this.

I haven't had much contact over the phone lately, but when I text H sometimes will call. For me it waffles back and forth - one day he would monster and the other seem normal. Or maybe a little of both - a normal conversation with an outburst. It's such strange, erratic behavior.  I can't stop thinking about it.
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« Last Edit: February 14, 2024, 07:38:22 PM by jmnab »

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#82: February 15, 2024, 03:04:25 AM
MLCxW1 would go off on a monster rant virtually any time we had contact, even after all the paperwork was signed and I was living half-way across the country (guess that La La Land didn't turn out to be quite as nice as she had expected, especially after OM/AD took off and defaulted on a loan that she co-signed for him.... Those darn consequences of he own choices you know... Of course, it was somehow my fault... ) so it is not out of the ordinary....   

However, the question is NOT whether it is normal or not, the question is "How much of it are you prepared to continue to accept." You can not control her actions but you can control her access to you when she is off on a rant....
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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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#83: February 15, 2024, 08:59:08 PM
Has anyone on this forum had any experiences with close friends or family (your side) either taking the side of the MLC spouse, projecting their divorce experiences on you, or just in general not believing you when you describe the circumstance/how everything unfolded?

I'm experiencing this now. Has MLC/WAS cotributed to the break down of other relationships in your life?
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#84: February 15, 2024, 11:20:42 PM
Yes, I've experienced just that. I'm sure many on here have experienced just the same - RCR did a blog post about people doubting what you're saying once:

https://loveanyway.theherosspouse.com/2022/09/04/so-what-you-have-mlc-doubters-youre-the-one-in-the-trenches/

I try not to give those people much space these days. On one hand it must be pretty bloody unbelievable to hear that someone you know has behaved in the way our spouses have.. We know our spouses (we think!) very well - yet how many of us come and describe on here how we can't believe what they are doing to us? It must sound like we are making some of this stuff up as it's so crazy. On the other hand we would like the support of our friends and family and need to feel validated in some way? I dunno - you kind of realise after a while who you can talk to about this stuff and who you can't. I've found the best advice has come to me from people on HS, with a couple of exceptions in real life (therapist and funnily enough a couple of mates who have done so much therapy they seem to now have a greater understanding of people than most).
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#85: February 16, 2024, 05:50:25 AM
Yes, I've experienced just that. I'm sure many on here have experienced just the same - RCR did a blog post about people doubting what you're saying once:

https://loveanyway.theherosspouse.com/2022/09/04/so-what-you-have-mlc-doubters-youre-the-one-in-the-trenches/

I try not to give those people much space these days. On one hand it must be pretty bloody unbelievable to hear that someone you know has behaved in the way our spouses have.. We know our spouses (we think!) very well - yet how many of us come and describe on here how we can't believe what they are doing to us? It must sound like we are making some of this stuff up as it's so crazy. On the other hand we would like the support of our friends and family and need to feel validated in some way? I dunno - you kind of realise after a while who you can talk to about this stuff and who you can't. I've found the best advice has come to me from people on HS, with a couple of exceptions in real life (therapist and funnily enough a couple of mates who have done so much therapy they seem to now have a greater understanding of people than most).
Thank you for this!

I have a family member I've been close to for decades. We've been talking to each other for years no matter where I lived, and have been good friends for a very long time. We often went out as couples. I can tell they don't believe the MLC behavior and think it's just a normal divorce situation. This person has been trying to 'counsel me on what I can control (i.e., things I need to change about myself) without taking sides' when all I wanted was a sympathetic ear. It's purely through the lens of someone who has filed for two divorces (and had a PA - not MLC). And this is a family member.

I mentioned I felt unsupported (probably not in the best way), and later called to apologize. They sent me my house keys in the mail (they had them in case of emergency). I was shocked.

I guess I can understand how this could be pretty terrifying for some people. Once my H decided he was leaving, everyone I knew had the 'Are we okay?' conversation in their own relationships. No one saw it coming. It's very isolating.  :'(
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#86: February 16, 2024, 07:06:57 AM
Quote
This person has been trying to 'counsel me on what I can control (i.e., things I need to change about myself) without taking sides' when all I wanted was a sympathetic ear. It's purely through the lens of someone who has filed for two divorces (and had a PA - not MLC). And this is a family member.

I mentioned I felt unsupported (probably not in the best way), and later called to apologize. They sent me my house keys in the mail (they had them in case of emergency). I was shocked.

It’s a basic truth I think that 9 times out of 10 what other people say or do tells us something about them and not much about us. And this is about the family member and how he/she feels ok about their own actions. Nothing to do with you at all. As the saying goes, when people show you who they are - or send your keys back lol - believe them. And if you want to maintain a relationship in future with them, sharply adjust your expectations accordingly.

It’s a pretty good life lesson to learn to ask for what we actually need at a given moment. And to be kind that people aren’t mindreaders  :) And that we don’t have to ask perfectly bc none of us are perfect and it won’t matter with the right kind of folks.

But asking for what we need eg I just need you to listen, not to try to counsel me does mean that people sometimes say No. Or ignore what we’ve said (see above ha ha). So asking implies accepting that not everyone is going to be able or willing to do that. Which may suck, but it is also ok writ large. We find our own tribe I think when we’re on our knees….some folks disappoint us, but others can really delight us and that’s a tremendous blessing too.

Still not about you though  :)
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 07:08:38 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
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#87: February 16, 2024, 07:58:11 AM
Quote
This person has been trying to 'counsel me on what I can control (i.e., things I need to change about myself) without taking sides' when all I wanted was a sympathetic ear. It's purely through the lens of someone who has filed for two divorces (and had a PA - not MLC). And this is a family member.

I mentioned I felt unsupported (probably not in the best way), and later called to apologize. They sent me my house keys in the mail (they had them in case of emergency). I was shocked.

It’s a basic truth I think that 9 times out of 10 what other people say or do tells us something about them and not much about us. And this is about the family member and how he/she feels ok about their own actions. Nothing to do with you at all. As the saying goes, when people show you who they are - or send your keys back lol - believe them. And if you want to maintain a relationship in future with them, sharply adjust your expectations accordingly.

It’s a pretty good life lesson to learn to ask for what we actually need at a given moment. And to be kind that people aren’t mindreaders  :) And that we don’t have to ask perfectly bc none of us are perfect and it won’t matter with the right kind of folks.

But asking for what we need eg I just need you to listen, not to try to counsel me does mean that people sometimes say No. Or ignore what we’ve said (see above ha ha). So asking implies accepting that not everyone is going to be able or willing to do that. Which may suck, but it is also ok writ large. We find our own tribe I think when we’re on our knees….some folks disappoint us, but others can really delight us and that’s a tremendous blessing too.

Still not about you though  :)
Thank you, Treasur.  :)

To your point about the family member and their own actions, I agree completely. My first thought was that they drew parallels between my H's experience and their own, and made assumptions about my character and role in it. This person is also 'born again' Christian as of a few years ago, which makes their reaction even more alarming. (They would talk to H about religion/spirituality before H gave up and lost it)

And yes, I have been delighted by others - people I would never have thought I could depend on. People that tell me I will find joy again, to guard my heart, and that there are many good men out there when I'm ready. People that I can be honest with and move past conflict...I guess there are some people that don't have the ability to do this. There aren't many people in my life like this right now, but I'm hoping the number will grow over time.  :)
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#88: February 16, 2024, 08:57:23 AM
They come in surprising ways and places, I think.
My Valentine’s Day involved visiting a friend to meet their new kitten. Before BD, she and her husband were acquaintances. Post BD, she was one of the few people who had an extraordinary ability to sit on the bench of where I was with me. And she is a very private sort of person,who often comes across as being even a bit cold. But she was amazing and I am deeply grateful for her and a few others. They literally, no hyperbole, kept me alive.

I remember a young woman in a local 24 hour store attached to a garage. Not sure I ever knew her name. Years ago now, first few months post BD when I couldn’t sleep and didn’t eat, I drove there about 3am (we lived in the middle of nowhere) to fill the car and buy cigarettes and yoghurt bc that was pretty much my diet. As I was paying my bill, this young girl put a big cup of coffee and a pastry in front of me - I thought she’d made a mistake. And she just said “you look like someone who might need a little bit of TLC right now, so that’s just from me, no charge”…..
I sobbed, of course
But that day, that moment of really being seen by someone, bc I felt SO unseen, unheard and alone at the time, even a stranger, kept me going into the next day. And a day became a week became a month became a year and so on. Imho folks who do this know where we are bc they have visited a similar spot.
I have never forgotten it or her.

 And every word that might have made a difference here to someone I will never meet, without me even knowing perhaps? I am here to use those words bc of people like my acquaintance turned friend and that young woman. That can still make me well up a little actually as I am writing this - it is a remarkable beautiful thing.

And a very good reason to not waste one’s energy pushing on human closed doors  :)
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« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 08:58:47 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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#89: February 17, 2024, 04:29:58 PM
I had therapy with my IC early Friday morning. It was a successful session - turns out I did misinterpret what they said about H running in shame from my anger. It had more to do with how an avoidant handles anger. This was good news for me because I really like this IC.

During the session I shifted the focus to the trauma I am experiencing. When I first started the sessions I was trying to focus on DBT, as I thought it would help with emotional reactivity, but I've had such a hard time concentrating on it I haven't made much progress. There are some fantastic exercises to control your thoughts and emotions though, so once I get a bit more sleep and my concentration improves, I'll return to it.

I'm still in a holding pattern where I'm looking for employment. If I don't find something by a certain date, my lawyer is advising me to file myself to protect me financially (I won't give the details, but this is still my plan). H still seems set on divorce - again, before he left he wanted it immediately, then he wanted to wait 3 months, now he's in no rush and says he can wait a year. Frustrating. I still don't want it, and not knowing any details about what his life looks like in his new locale makes it even harder. I don't want to rush into anything as it's still early on for me, but I have to keep my plans in place. I really don't want to do it at all, though. Makes me sick thinking about it.

Something interesting happened during my session. At the end, my IC asked if I thought H would be open to to meeting with them for a session - not as a marriage counselor but just to get a feel for where H is to help me. My IC is a good listener, and usually digests a lot of what I say, making suggestions about potential issues with H. They like to work with 'the entire team' to see where things are. They know about the projection and blaming, but are also aware we likely had communication issues before he left. Depression, attachment differences, identity crisis, and low T were all potential issues, among others. When they asked about the session, I laughed at first and thought 'absolutely not,' but said I may ask in the future.

Most of my interactions with H lately have been over text, with a few return phone calls from him to talk about specifics. I'm no longer calling. Yesterday I had some questions about a couple of things, so I shot him a text and asked about meeting with my IC. I mentioned the session and he said he'd be open to it. I was shocked.

It could be a complete disaster - I don't know. Again, my IC said it's more to get a feel for where H is to help me. I don't know what to expect. We'll find out in a couple of weeks.

Anyone have experience with anything like this?

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#90: February 18, 2024, 07:22:22 PM
I would be thrilled if I could get my wife to see someone, anyone. She is in denial there is anything wrong with her. The kids are trying to pressure but no luck yet. My therapist would be thrilled to have both of us in together, not seeing any chance anytime soon.
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#91: February 18, 2024, 08:26:15 PM
I would be thrilled if I could get my wife to see someone, anyone. She is in denial there is anything wrong with her. The kids are trying to pressure but no luck yet. My therapist would be thrilled to have both of us in together, not seeing any chance anytime soon.
My IC actually asked me if H would be willing so he can have more insight to help me (it will be a one time thing). And that's how I approached it - I was shocked when H said yes. I know H is curious - I told him many times before he left that my IC has helped many men (his typical clientele). In my last session I described how emotional H is (usually anger, but lately more sadness). IC mentioned emotional decisions aren't usually permanent, so he just wants to get a feel for what is going on. But it is entirely possible that H is only emotional around me (because I'm the bane of his existence).  ::)

Same over here about marriage counseling... it was a disaster. It was EFT, and to this day he still says he felt like he was in a hostage situation (such drama, lol).

The appointment will be in a week or two. We'll see if H even sets it up. It will be confidential, of course, but there is a part of me that hopes he'll get something out of it. He may just project/monster about me the entire time though, haha.  ;D
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#92: February 20, 2024, 02:42:40 PM
MLCxW1 would go off on a monster rant virtually any time we had contact, even after all the paperwork was signed and I was living half-way across the country (guess that La La Land didn't turn out to be quite as nice as she had expected, especially after OM/AD took off and defaulted on a loan that she co-signed for him.... Those darn consequences of he own choices you know... Of course, it was somehow my fault... ) so it is not out of the ordinary....   

However, the question is NOT whether it is normal or not, the question is "How much of it are you prepared to continue to accept." You can not control her actions but you can control her access to you when she is off on a rant....
UM you posted something on KayDee's thread (I was just reading through it). It was in reference to the MLCer treating us differently than everyone else. You said:

"What you are seeing is the mask. It is the persona she wants everyone to see because it fills her needs & her justifications for her actions.  She can only wear it so long though before it becomes too heavy a load and the poop stored up behind the mask breaks out...."

I've been so curious about how this can play out with the MLCers family and friends over time. Any thoughts or experiences?
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#93: February 20, 2024, 08:41:59 PM
Family and friends don’t live with the MLCer. They don’t see what we see or know what we know.  Sure. If the MLCers behavior is completely batsht then F&F will know.  But I’d bet 99% of them don’t see what we see. 

The mask holds up well for a family BBQ.  Or a dinner with friends.   But not for the LBS.  Especially with an at home wallower.  Day in and day out.   We know what we know. 
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#94: February 20, 2024, 09:14:04 PM
Family and friends don’t live with the MLCer. They don’t see what we see or know what we know.  Sure. If the MLCers behavior is completely batsht then F&F will know.  But I’d bet 99% of them don’t see what we see. 

The mask holds up well for a family BBQ.  Or a dinner with friends.   But not for the LBS.  Especially with an at home wallower.  Day in and day out.   We know what we know.
Yes, I guess you are right. It seems like it should break every now and then though, right? Seems like the people closest should see at least a glimpse of something being not right.
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#95: February 21, 2024, 01:05:21 AM
Yes, I guess you are right. It seems like it should break every now and then though, right? Seems like the people closest should see at least a glimpse of something being not right.

This ASS-U-MEs 2 things- 1) that they WANT to see the batsnot crazy that is happening in front of them and 2) they have enough exposure to the batsnot crazy to actually get a glimpse.

Many MLC'ers will either blow so much smoke up the butts of their family and friends that the F&F actually start to believe the BS that is being spouted. Others won't drink the Kool-Aid and are immediately relegated to the camp of the "Enemy' (read "LBS")  and are discarded or cut off. Once in a blue moon, a Mid-Lifer will actually do something so off-the-wall in front of F & F that they too scratch their heads and say

but that is not often....

See, they need to keep up the mask for F & F so their actions are justified. Their actions need to jibe with their narrative about how God-awful horrible the LBS is and that the Mid-Lifer has no choice but to do whatever (or whoever) it is they are doing....

I've seen both things happen in MLCxW1 and MLCxW2.  Some of their family and friends believe the BS and some don't. Those that don't are cut off.... Those that do become enablers....
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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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#96: February 21, 2024, 01:39:19 AM
There's unlikely one answer to this, as others have suggested. It depends on the dynamic with each group or individual. With immediate family, we tend to fall into familiar patterns. And if there is FOO, there is often a dysfunction around communications anyway. I would imagine that someone who goes into crisis like this does not come from an emotionally intelligent, communicative family dynamic. There's probably rug sweeping and avoidance of the topic. Friends are a bit different. They want to support us, hopefully not with the puff of smoke up the rear, but we know from our own distress, we want to be heard. But there's just no knowing what people really think. Anyone with enough emotional intelligence and observation will sense (if not see), that the abrupt ending of a long marriage without prior major issues, followed by what we have all experienced, that things are off.  Actually, I have a close friend who is going through a bit of a crisis (not a full blown MLC but shades of). From the outside, it may look like I condone his actions and don't 'see'. But we have lots of long conversations and I am always challenging him, in a supportive way. I do see the behaviour and I also reflect it back to him when I think it is needed.

One finally note, that others have covered - a few mutual friends in my sphere were under the impression that I had left my H  ::) so, you know, he who controls the narrative and all that.
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« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 01:40:47 AM by KayDee »

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#97: February 21, 2024, 04:36:25 AM
And if there is FOO, there is often a dysfunction around communications anyway. I would imagine that someone who goes into crisis like this does not come from an emotionally intelligent, communicative family dynamic.
Exactly this.

I bring it up because I know H is visiting siblings (I can see accounts), one of which he thinks is abusive, the other more of an enabler. One of the topics that has come up in the last six months or so is that they never learned to share their feelings or think about what they want. But they relationship between the siblings is also toxic - they don't speak. I wonder how he will act when their kids annoy him, which usually happens.

Funny thing though... H accuses the brother of similar things he's accused me of (abuse, control, etc.)... maybe there's something there?
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#98: February 21, 2024, 07:03:40 AM
I woke up at 2am this morning. Yesterday was 6 months post bomb drop, 2 months and 10 days post monster, and 1 month since H moved out.

Is it normal to have good days and bad days? Good days are days I have hope for myself and feel confident I'll get through this. Bad days are sleepless and full of crushing loneliness that makes me want to check myself in at a hospital. Today is one of those days. So was yesterday. It is dreary where I live. Lots of gray, lots of rain

Finding work is taking me longer than I anticipated - I had a 1.5 year break, which makes it more difficult. I don't have children, and have very few people in my life to talk to right now. And with those I think I'm wearing out my welcome. My life revolved around my H and I didn't even realize it. Even when I was working, my life revolved around us, together.

Yesterday I asked my father if I could spend Christmas with him. For some reason he hesitated and I broke down crying. I'm still losing weight way too rapidly. And I'm really scared.
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#99: February 21, 2024, 07:25:53 AM
Very very normal to have good and bad days. Especially since it has only been 6 months since BD.

It took me a very long time to realize that I was traumatized and needed therapy to deal with the "trauma" of my whole world blowing apart. We normalize "divorce" in our society and it almost seems abnormal to be upset about the ending of our marriage. Many freinds do not understand why we suffer so much, why we just do not focus on finding another person and forget the old.

When our lives are threatened, the body's mechanism is to go into fight/flight/freeze mode which accounts for the weight loss, difficulty sleeping, difficulty focusing and many other symptoms that LBSers experience. This is a protective mechanism but can be maladaptive when it continues for a long period of time. So there is a physical response to trauma and there are ways to decrease this response.

Here is a chart that helped me a great deal to understand what was happening in my body and with a great therapist, I learned how to change my body's response to this trauma...but it was several years after and you are still very early on. I hated when people told me that but it was true.

https://lissarankin.com/polyvagal-theory-interoception-a-neuroscience-understanding-of-attachment-trauma/polyvagal-chart/

Anything that helps to decrease the physiological response can be helpful. Exercise everyday, particularly walking and things like yoga. Getting out in nature. Volunteering helped me, at first in a food bank, then an animal shelter and for several years with children who are abused. I got a dog who was of great comfort to me.

I discovered golf, joined a book club, became more involved in my church, joined a group that plays mahjong..things that would get me out of the house and stop the monkey braining for even a few minutes...focusing on my breath, slowing it down....

If you read Biscuit's thread today, it's a positive review of how we slowly do heal.

As for your weight, buy some Ensure, drink smoothies or eat ice cream/milkshakes even if you are not hungry. It is important to take really good care of our heath.

I hope that you can find work. I was not working when this happened and never returned to my career which in retrospect was a huge mistake. I think I would have been better if I had a job to go to. I was sent back to a house in a place where I had not lived very long and did not have any family or many friends here and the loneliness was a killer.

On HS, you know that we understand and can help you though, as so many people helped me many years ago.

Don't negate at all how very difficult this loss is.
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« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 07:27:40 AM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#100: February 21, 2024, 07:58:20 AM

Is it normal to have good days and bad days? Good days are days I have hope for myself and feel confident I'll get through this. Bad days are sleepless and full of crushing loneliness that makes me want to check myself in at a hospital. Today is one of those days. So was yesterday. It is dreary where I live. Lots of gray, lots of rain
Oh yes, very, very normal. Hopefully you will notice the gap between the bad days get larger. I also notice, now, that my bad days are often a sign of shift in me. Another phase of grieving gone through. We can only go through alas, not over or around. This helped me to understand. I needed to feel what I feel, but then, not to wallow endlessly.  A good cry. A scream. A punching of the pillow. We've all done it.

Best way to beat the rain and gray is to put on some waterproofs and go and walk amidst it. Surprising how reconnected with the outdoors this can make you feel. And it's nice when you get in to the warm too.

Finding work is taking me longer than I anticipated - I had a 1.5 year break, which makes it more difficult. I don't have children, and have very few people in my life to talk to right now. And with those I think I'm wearing out my welcome. My life revolved around my H and I didn't even realize it. Even when I was working, my life revolved around us, together.
You know, these observations are all part of your healing. You see things through a different lens and you make changes. Keep going, you will find work, even if it is a slight move downwards or sideways to get your engine revving again. And then you will meet new people, make new friends. Exercise classes are also a way to be with others in shared activity, which makes you feel good AND less alone.
Yesterday I asked my father if I could spend Christmas with him. For some reason he hesitated and I broke down crying. I'm still losing weight way too rapidly. And I'm really scared.
I recognize this. I was so super sensitive early on. Like when people cancelled plans etc. When normally I would have completely rolled with it. It's normal. You're seeing things through the lens of rejection. It will pass.
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« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 07:59:51 AM by KayDee »

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#101: February 21, 2024, 08:41:47 AM
Very very normal to have good and bad days. Especially since it has only been 6 months since BD.
Thank you, xyzcf.

It took me a very long time to realize that I was traumatized and needed therapy to deal with the "trauma" of my whole world blowing apart. We normalize "divorce" in our society and it almost seems abnormal to be upset about the ending of our marriage. Many freinds do not understand why we suffer so much, why we just do not focus on finding another person and forget the old.
Part of the trauma is still ruminating over everything that was said over the las six months, and overthinking every interaction. In the more recent conversations I could sense sadness, and the fact that H agreed to meet with my therapist to help me gave me hope.

Then there are the questions - I read a Heart's Blessing article that said if I detach, drop the emotional rope, and go no contact for a while that it triggers a response. I hate that I'm thinking this way, but I'm sadly hopeful that will happen, even though it's been mostly vitriol for the last couple of months.

I think the last couple of days have been bad because it's finally sinking in that I need to detach and move on from hope.

When our lives are threatened, the body's mechanism is to go into fight/flight/freeze mode which accounts for the weight loss, difficulty sleeping, difficulty focusing and many other symptoms that LBSers experience. This is a protective mechanism but can be maladaptive when it continues for a long period of time. So there is a physical response to trauma and there are ways to decrease this response.

Here is a chart that helped me a great deal to understand what was happening in my body and with a great therapist, I learned how to change my body's response to this trauma...but it was several years after and you are still very early on. I hated when people told me that but it was true.

https://lissarankin.com/polyvagal-theory-interoception-a-neuroscience-understanding-of-attachment-trauma/polyvagal-chart/

Anything that helps to decrease the physiological response can be helpful. Exercise everyday, particularly walking and things like yoga. Getting out in nature. Volunteering helped me, at first in a food bank, then an animal shelter and for several years with children who are abused. I got a dog who was of great comfort to me.

If you read Biscuit's thread today, it's a positive review of how we slowly do heal.

As for your weight, buy some Ensure, drink smoothies or eat ice cream/milkshakes even if you are not hungry. It is important to take really good care of our heath.

I hope that you can find work. I was not working when this happened and never returned to my career which in retrospect was a huge mistake. I think I would have been better if I had a job to go to. I was sent back to a house in a place where I had not lived very long and did not have any family or many friends here and the loneliness was a killer.

On HS, you know that we understand and can help you though, as so many people helped me many years ago.

Don't negate at all how very difficult this loss is.
Thank you for this.
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#102: February 21, 2024, 09:32:00 AM
Quote
I read a Heart's Blessing article that said if I detach, drop the emotional rope, and go no contact for a while that it triggers a response. I hate that I'm thinking this way, but I'm sadly hopeful that will happen, even though it's been mostly vitriol for the last couple of months.

I think the last couple of days have been bad because it's finally sinking in that I need to detach and move on from hope.

I really like many of Heartsblessings writings. I think that what you are hoping is that droping the rope and going no contact will have some effect on his desire to return to your marriage.

My BD was in 2009, many many years ago. I have followed HS closely for many years and I do not believe that anything we do  or don't do will change the trajectory of their crisis. We sound like a broken record when we say that this is not about you, not about your marriage...that this would have happened regardless of who they had married.

I truly believe this to be true.

Especially initially, we truly hope that they will return to their pre crisis self and return to our marriage. That we can rebuild and find one another again. In my case, it's been really hard to believe that in the 35 years we spent together, that he didn't love me or wasn't  happy in our marriage.

Some people believe that having hope is detrimental to our own healing, others believe that having contact with them is detrimental..each of us finds the path that suits us the best.

For myself, I found it necessary to have hope because I could not and cannot face that 35 years meant nothing. I often felt that what happened to him, psychologically was fascinating, had it not been happening to us and I believe in the pathology of this crisis and the changes that happened to him. Not everyone shares my beliefs.

I still miss the man I love, I still love the man he was, I still hate being "single" and not having an intimate partner in my life.....the man he is now, is not the person I knew....but yet, I have never let go of hope..perhaps it has changed now and the fact that we do spend time together and it's quite pleasant in a different sort of way...I am not his wife but I am still important to him.

I followed my heart, my intuition, my values and have remained open to him while living my own life...and thankfully finding joy again, for many years I could not feel joy. I knew what joy felt like, but I did not experience it.

There are many roads in life, we do not know which road will present itself and how that will play out in our future. Letting go of hanging on to the past is perhaps possible and necessary...we do not know what the future will hold so another thing that helps to stabilize oneself is to try and live fully in the present.

Heartsblessing also said "let them blow in the wind and crack their heads" or something to that affect. We cannot save them from themselves and it is vital that we save ourselves...so what ever that takes to do that, do it. For some that is giving up all hope, for others, the hope continues because it helped me to move forward in my own life and living what is right for me...not because someone tells me I must do this or I must do that..but because I have carefully considered all options and feel this is the right path for me.

Over time, I have not found the word "detach" to be helpful...like you have to purposely work at cutting all feelings/emotions/memories from a relationship that was a major part of your life.

My answer to this is "acceptance"..that has helped me to better move forward than to try and artificially "detach"  ...but again, each of us is different in how we process this,

And, as my therapist has told me, I can always change my mind from one time to the next. Nothing I decide is carved in stone really..I see my life with him still an important part of me and our family...but I don't fall apart anymore because I can see that his crisis impacts him greatly...and I feel much empathy for what he is going through.

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« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 09:35:24 AM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#103: February 21, 2024, 04:31:37 PM
Quote
Part of the trauma is still ruminating over everything that was said over the las six months, and overthinking every interaction.

No contact is for you to heal if that helps you. Things you do don't affect him so make your choices about what helps you.

Avoiding ingesting the garbage of what is said, for some people, can help. Then you don't have to take the time and energy to work through the garbage they throw your way.

As xyzcf said, what you do doesn't affect them (contact, no contact, standing on your head, wearing polka dots each day).

Spend you energy, time and effort on you and your healing. That is the most important thing you can do. You don't affect them, but you can affect you.
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#104: February 22, 2024, 01:52:42 AM
On the therapist thing…..my suggestion is to open your hand and metaphorically let it go. He may or may not make the appointment, he may or may not turn up if he does, and if he does, he may or may not be driven by some desire to ‘help’ you and your IC will be bound by professional confidentiality about what he says, he may or may not find it personally helpful and your IC may or may not find him credible or useful in understanding what is going on. And of course he may simply use it as an opportunity to roll out the same list of complaints that you have already heard. Lots of maybes there right? And things which are completely outwith your control?

So, my best advice is to add it to your metaphorical mental bin. Don’t think about it, don’t ask about it, just let it be or not as it is. Unhook yourself from seeing it as anything to do with you or meaning anything significant for you. Think of it like rain as opposed to an umbrella. That is practically speaking what being more detached looks like.

Bc I think there is a danger that you are inadvertently at risk of hanging some kind of hat on it or inferring things from it that may not be true and may not be useful even if they are true. Easy to see from the cheap seats bc most of us have been there!

My former h popped up, can’t recall now, maybe a year or so post BD, seemingly desperate to do MC. I was guarded by then so said I would show up if he did all the work to find the right person, set up the apppointment etc etc….cue, much exchange of emails over a month or so….appointment set up (I was surprised but brewing a sense of hope about what that meant of course). Day comes, I turn up feeling pretty nervous….and he just no shows, no explanation before or after to me or the IC. Just more of the same silence. On a positive note, she was a really good IC and I saw her for a few months when I was really in a pickle so it ended up being a bit of a gift lol. Why did he do any of that? I have no idea. Was any of it done to ‘help’ me? Well, probably not, bc actually what he did was rather cruel and I got very little voice in it….although I don’r think that was his intention either tbh….whatever his reasons were, they were transitory and doubtless about him at the time.

It’s  usually true in life imho that the people who are hurting us can rarely be the people who can help us heal from the damage they have caused us. Most of us think they can…..that’s normal for a while……but tbh I’m just not sure that’s how it works for most of us. On the rare occasions when folks genuinely try, there is usually a fair amount of time and water under the bridge to bring a shift in perspective for everyone, and by that time you, like most LBS, will have done your own healing work to the point where it doesn’t matter in the way you now think it might. Plenty of stories here of MLC spouses trying to make emotional apologies years later and LBS finding themselves responding with a kind of ‘meh’ feeling about it bc they are not in the same place they were initially post BD.

Again jmo but practically I think most of us DO detachment long before we FEEL detached. And the heart of detachment is I think laying down some of our assumptions or beliefs that what our former spouse is doing or thinking is anything to do with us or about us at all. Along with simply refusing to take responsibility for, or be involved in, things that we have no voice or vote or control about. And of course, detachment has two sides in practice…..we also have to learn to withdraw THEIR voice and vote and control over things which belong to US. Which normally means consciously changing our expectations and assumptions. At least in our own heads lol. It just takes a bit of time and practice to get the hang of it. But YOUR healing, my healing, and how we choose to approach that imho is one of those things. Scary perhaps, but in the end healing is inherently a solo job, although if we are lucky other good humans will play a part and cheer us on.  :)
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« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 02:36:04 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#105: February 22, 2024, 03:07:23 AM

Part of the trauma is still ruminating over everything that was said over the las six months, and overthinking every interaction. In the more recent conversations I could sense sadness, and the fact that H agreed to meet with my therapist to help me gave me hope.

I'm not sure if this helps, as we are obviously all in different (but similar) situations, so I will evoke the Acorn Mantra of Sample of One. When my H left he said some pretty drastic things. Summary - he blamed me, I was a neglectful wife etc. One year on, he cannot (truly) remember saying much of what he said. And he actually said at this one year mark 'I don't know why I did it'. I don't write this to make any excuses for people's choices, I write it because, I too held onto so much of what he said. It didn't take me so long to realize that I wasn't to blame, but it took me longer to realize (well, a year in fact) that his words were a kind of manifestation of his emotions at that point in time (I think Treasur calls these emotional burps?). In my H's case, the 'neglect' was from way, way back, before het met me. So, I spent far too much time dwelling on words he doesn't even remember saying. Perhaps others will have similar accounts. But there's a caveat - more horrid words/deeds may follow. But perhaps the same rules can apply.

I read Treasur's account about MC and her ex with interest. I have come to the realization that my H has never taken responsibility for anything (FOO and missing a key stage of maturation). There is the mental crisis, yes, but his inability to address it, and the damage, that's a huge thing because that means he has to take responsibility for it. A year on from BD, my H expressed the desire to fix things, perhaps a bit like T's ex, arranging MC etc, but when it came to it, he didn't have the skills or the strength. He kept throwing the bait to me (hands up from a former fixer) but, like T, I knew that this was not my job or journey. I'm wandering off on my own journey here  :) (I need to update my thread I think), but for me, realizing that he cannot take responsibility really helps me frame all his behaviour. Including that with new OW. He has passed the responsibility to her. It explains so much for me. I am a work in progress still, but slowly, slowly the 'it's not about you' refrain is taking effect. It is not about you jmnab. Keep on trucking - you are doing much better than you think!
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« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 03:09:44 AM by KayDee »

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#106: February 22, 2024, 09:36:11 AM
On the therapist thing…..my suggestion is to open your hand and metaphorically let it go. He may or may not make the appointment, he may or may not turn up if he does, and if he does, he may or may not be driven by some desire to ‘help’ you and your IC will be bound by professional confidentiality about what he says, he may or may not find it personally helpful and your IC may or may not find him credible or useful in understanding what is going on. And of course he may simply use it as an opportunity to roll out the same list of complaints that you have already heard. Lots of maybes there right? And things which are completely outwith your control?

So, my best advice is to add it to your metaphorical mental bin. Don’t think about it, don’t ask about it, just let it be or not as it is. Unhook yourself from seeing it as anything to do with you or meaning anything significant for you. Think of it like rain as opposed to an umbrella. That is practically speaking what being more detached looks like.
I'm almost here with this. It's been sinking in lately that I can't keep dwelling on any glimmer of hope. This thing, whatever it is, is just starting. And I am a long way from solving my own job/living situation, much less healing from the trauma. My IC knows just based on his behavior that H is trying to hurt me - if anything, hopefully there is some benefit to me, but if it doesn't happen, I guess I'm prepared for that, too.

Bc I think there is a danger that you are inadvertently at risk of hanging some kind of hat on it or inferring things from it that may not be true and may not be useful even if they are true. Easy to see from the cheap seats bc most of us have been there!
Yes, still here but starting to waffle.

My former h popped up, can’t recall now, maybe a year or so post BD, seemingly desperate to do MC. I was guarded by then so said I would show up if he did all the work to find the right person, set up the apppointment etc etc….cue, much exchange of emails over a month or so….appointment set up (I was surprised but brewing a sense of hope about what that meant of course). Day comes, I turn up feeling pretty nervous….and he just no shows, no explanation before or after to me or the IC. Just more of the same silence. On a positive note, she was a really good IC and I saw her for a few months when I was really in a pickle so it ended up being a bit of a gift lol. Why did he do any of that? I have no idea. Was any of it done to ‘help’ me? Well, probably not, bc actually what he did was rather cruel and I got very little voice in it….although I don’r think that was his intention either tbh….whatever his reasons were, they were transitory and doubtless about him at the time.
I'm terrified of something like this happening. I have access to some joint account information, so every now and then I get a glimpse of where he is. I know him, and from this I can tell he's lost and likely lonely. To the credit of multiple people on this forum, they were right that he DOES NOT have a plan, just the resources to do whatever he wants, for now (I won't say why specifically, but I can tell he's wandering). Like my IC says, emotional decisions are never permanent. I'm getting to the point where I truly hope he doesn't come back (if he does, I want to be ready). I need to figure out what my life will look like and get out of this period of uncertainty.

Plenty of stories here of MLC spouses trying to make emotional apologies years later and LBS finding themselves responding with a kind of ‘meh’ feeling about it bc they are not in the same place they were initially post BD.
I wish there were a magic fast forward pill for the 'meh.'

Again jmo but practically I think most of us DO detachment long before we FEEL detached. And the heart of detachment is I think laying down some of our assumptions or beliefs that what our former spouse is doing or thinking is anything to do with us or about us at all. Along with simply refusing to take responsibility for, or be involved in, things that we have no voice or vote or control about. And of course, detachment has two sides in practice…..we also have to learn to withdraw THEIR voice and vote and control over things which belong to US. Which normally means consciously changing our expectations and assumptions. At least in our own heads lol. It just takes a bit of time and practice to get the hang of it. But YOUR healing, my healing, and how we choose to approach that imho is one of those things. Scary perhaps, but in the end healing is inherently a solo job, although if we are lucky other good humans will play a part and cheer us on.  :)
I really hope I am detaching without realizing it.
I've seen a couple of posts suggesting to write about why you love and want to stand for your MLC spouse. After all of this I can't bring myself to think of a good reason - due to mental illness or not, the recent behavior and abandonment has completely overshadowed everything. I still struggle with the fact that 2.5 months ago, we were vacationing, affectionate/intimate and everything seemed like it would be okay. A week later there was such a quick change in personality it still seems it cannot be real. I think maybe if H had shown more obvious signs of the narcissism or disregard throughout it would make more sense. This is where I continue to waffle about hope. But the gravity of what he's done is sinking in.

I have been thinking about what H thinks he has complete control over. It's less than he thinks.
And yes, I have some good humans coming to help me this weekend.

Thank you, again, Treasur.  :)
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#107: February 22, 2024, 10:23:06 AM
I'm not sure if this helps, as we are obviously all in different (but similar) situations, so I will evoke the Acorn Mantra of Sample of One. When my H left he said some pretty drastic things. Summary - he blamed me, I was a neglectful wife etc. One year on, he cannot (truly) remember saying much of what he said. And he actually said at this one year mark 'I don't know why I did it'. I don't write this to make any excuses for people's choices, I write it because, I too held onto so much of what he said. It didn't take me so long to realize that I wasn't to blame, but it took me longer to realize (well, a year in fact) that his words were a kind of manifestation of his emotions at that point in time (I think Treasur calls these emotional burps?). In my H's case, the 'neglect' was from way, way back, before het met me. So, I spent far too much time dwelling on words he doesn't even remember saying. Perhaps others will have similar accounts. But there's a caveat - more horrid words/deeds may follow. But perhaps the same rules can apply.
Thank you for this, KayDee.

I do sincerely believe much of what my H said was emotional - likely related to a family dynamic in which he was encouraged to repress his feelings and wants, but also because as a good Catholic (no longer) in his mind he needed to justify his actions. I also know there is a chunk of his later childhood where H began taking his mother's depressant medication (V) - maybe 12 years old? I can't remember the exact age, and I don't know what was happening in his life at the time, but H was obviously numbing himself to something. I also know that he has had struggles with porn in the past (sorry TMI). I was really struggling with why my appearance/performance came up during monster (neither were ever an issue as far as I know) but once I thought about this particular struggle, it made sense. So lots of instant gratification followed by a long period of accommodation and delayed gratification. Then back to the instant gratification. Thinking about it that way, I'm not surprised the lid blew off and the shadow came out...

I read Treasur's account about MC and her ex with interest. I have come to the realization that my H has never taken responsibility for anything (FOO and missing a key stage of maturation). There is the mental crisis, yes, but his inability to address it, and the damage, that's a huge thing because that means he has to take responsibility for it. A year on from BD, my H expressed the desire to fix things, perhaps a bit like T's ex, arranging MC etc, but when it came to it, he didn't have the skills or the strength. He kept throwing the bait to me (hands up from a former fixer) but, like T, I knew that this was not my job or journey. I'm wandering off on my own journey here  :) (I need to update my thread I think), but for me, realizing that he cannot take responsibility really helps me frame all his behaviour. Including that with new OW. He has passed the responsibility to her. It explains so much for me. I am a work in progress still, but slowly, slowly the 'it's not about you' refrain is taking effect. It is not about you jmnab. Keep on trucking - you are doing much better than you think!
Yes, I already saw this with us when we tried MC - there was no way he was going to be vulnerable. I have no way of knowing this now, but I do think based on some things H has said that he could return as yours did after a time (or not). And I'm not banking anything on the upcoming session. It's just something my IC suggested. I do hope that it can help him with his crisis, but I doubt it.

What you said about your H missing key stage of maturation really resonates with me. (and what I mentioned above!)
I think the 'it's not about you' mantra will be easier to digest once I've had more time with less contact. For now, I'm just trying to get more sleep and figure out how to put my life together and maintain/change everything for the better in his absence. I just hope everything doesn't blow up before I'm able to get there.  ::)

Thank you again, KayDee, for the thoughtful response.  :)
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#108: February 26, 2024, 09:46:32 PM
A bit of journaling today...

Over the weekend my father and brother came to visit. Since we are so near spring, I've been worried about how to take care of the yard, as my H typically did that work. It was really fantastic having them here. They instructed me on how to use the yard tools, and we all took care of it together. We also had dinner over at my brother's house. I haven't felt that much love and support in a very long time. The two most important men in my life were standing at the top of a hill, talking about how they could support me through this while I pushed a mower over the grass. It was EMPOWERING. :) :) :)

I've come to realize I solely relied on my H for this support over the years, and he gave it to me, but in the past two years he has been different.

So on to the negative part, haha. I have a large piece of equipment outside of my home that that I don't know how to operate,  so I had scheduled a call with H to discuss it (I know I may get some flak for this ;) but I hadn't touched it in 5 weeks and it was kind of unavoidable). The call was fine, but as per usual it devolved into somewhat of an R discussion. No monster though... just a lot of negativity. In fact he sounded almost normal. He kept repeating that he didn't want to be married anymore, and that I wasn't accepting it. Blah, blah, blah. It did make me think, "Is this MLC? Or am I just refusing to accept what he wants?"

Then the odd stuff...

The first has to do with the 'We've only ever done what you want' narrative. I've asked 100 times WTF is he talking about (without the language, of course), and never got anything but generalizations or general feelings about how everything in our lives has been about me (accommodation on his part, not true). But this time H brought up an example of a restaurant he wanted to go to years ago for his birthday, where his brother hijacked the entire thing and took us somewhere else. Why would he attack me about something the brother did? Crazy talk.

Second, he mentioned the visit he had with his brother this last week. I don't think H wasn't wearing his mask during that visit. I guess the brother saw this instantly and asked if he was going to be nice or if he was going to lash out at everyone. I thought to myself, THEY KNOW. I proceeded to tell H about his change in appearance over the last six months. I know I can't reason with him, but when you tell someone they have angry shark eyes and that their appearance and entire demeanor has changed when they've been so vain, they tend to listen up a bit. Probably won't remember it, though.

I was thinking about the tunnel and unresolved childhood issues when I heard all of this, and it made me think that much of the garbage he's spewed over the last couple of months likely has to do with neglect he felt around his siblings, or others in the family maybe? Mom and grandma were very controlling. And I do know the wants and needs of the siblings always took precedence... so....
It's fascinating, but also NOT MY PROB, NOT MY JOB.

Then he started monstering about divorce.

Once I heard the things about brother I told H I knew he needed to be free... that he has a demon or something inside of him he needs to wrestle with. And that he needs to be alone to figure it out. I said I'd gladly hand him that freedom as long as I have a bit more time to prepare. He had been threatening me that I was pressuring him and he was one phone call away from having our marriage 'done.' I said not so fast...I don't have to agree to the way we do any of it. I also have other options for my specific situation I won't mention, but I didn't bring those up. Fact is, I will do this when I am ready (which will be very soon), or I will respond to his lunacy accordingly.

He also said he would quit his job to sabotage both of us. I laughed.
I've really tried to be understanding and compassionate about the pain he's in, but he has lost his mind. I am so sick of this garbage. If he's this nuts he'll be put on a PIP and fired in six months anyway.

By the end of the conversation, H was talking about how everyone in his life has always abused him. EVERYONE in his life, all his life. I said I was sorry he felt that way, but that I had nothing to do with that feeling, and that he's the abuser right now. In his current state, and from what I know, I very highly doubt he has an EA/PA. He just wants to be alone.  It's so sad - I find it difficult to NOT be concerned, but that is not my job right now. There is obviously a lot of pain there. In the end I suggested he get a hormone panel done (maybe he has low T) and to go see a doctor because he may have depression. Hopefully he does something about it for himself.

It has NEVER been more obvious to me that I am not the source of his pain. This is not something I caused - it is something he has to go through ON HIS OWN. I get it now. It takes a while to see it and to sink in. It does bother me when H says he is okay disappearing and never speaking again. I know right now he likes causing me pain for some reason, but goes so nuts that it doesn't really phase me anymore. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that his isn't permanent. But after everything I don't think I have the time or the patience to even entertain the possibility of standing (especially without divorce). Too much damage has been done. And too many of my tribe think he's bipolar or has started drinking again. It's a lot to come back from.

I want out of this.

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#109: February 26, 2024, 10:10:03 PM
If you need to have these types of debates with H to find closure, sure go for it.   But any vet LBS will tell you it’s a complete waste of time.

Look up the definition of psychosis.  I truly believe this is what the MLCer is experiencing. They view the real world in an alternative form.  One without any rationality or reason.  It’s a waste of time to talk about any of it.  They see what they want to see and no miracle from the heavens will change it.

Ursa’s modified.   Stop standing in the path of the tornado and trying to negotiate with it to change direction.  Just get the hell out the way….
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#110: February 26, 2024, 10:20:09 PM
If you need to have these types of debates with H to find closure, sure go for it.   But any vet LBS will tell you it’s a complete waste of time.

Look up the definition of psychosis.  I truly believe this is what the MLCer is experiencing. They view the real world in an alternative form.  One without any rationality or reason.  It’s a waste of time to talk about any of it.  They see what they want to see and no miracle from the heavens will change it.

Ursa’s modified.   Stop standing in the path of the tornado and trying to negotiate with it to change direction.  Just get the hell out the way….
Agreed about psychosis.
Not really a debate, but rambling. I just know at this point it's over. I'm six months in and don't want to even try.
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#111: February 27, 2024, 02:00:01 AM
How lovely that your father and brother were able to practically and metaphorically show up for you. Thank God for good normal humans, right?  :)

I think that there is a time when we feel driven to seek answers, and get pulled into conversations that make no sense really bc we are trying to pick through the chaos to find something that we think might help us make sense of it all. We can incur some damage in doing that and it can even make things more confusing, that’s true, and we sometimes start to see patterns or evidence of things that help us figure out some kind of limited sense of what we are dealing with. Not a one size fits all thing, is it? But I think when we do this, it can also help us reach a point where we see the futility or damage or limits of doing or not doing certain things. We see patterns and they start to become predictable, still WTF but more predictably WTF if that makes sense. I remember reaching a point when my deepest gut instinct was that my then h was so weird and lied so much about pretty much everything that talking to him about anything was futile. And that it usually added to my pain or confusion with very little practical benefit I could see. So I stopped. File under F for Futile became my catchphrase lol….and i started trying to find other ways to scratch my own itches, deal with practical stuff and find my own version of answers in ways that just did not involve him at all. Like any new habit, it takes a little while to get used to doing that but when you do, you do and it becomes the ‘new normal’.

I’m not sure from what you have written that you are quite at that stage yet. And that’s ok, it’s a process not a destination.

If you were imho, you would not have tried to get his input on the machinery bc you would know that it would open up a pointless conversation….you would have figured it out yourself, asked a neighbour, found a YouTube video. And if you were imho, you would not have offered any thoughts or advice about hormone levels or going to see a doctor or your opinion about shark eyes or his behaviour changes or listened to his opinion about what you are or are not doing to take care of your own needs or legal choices. And consequently you would not have had to listen to his negativity sadz, or his attempts to threaten you if you do not do what he wants, or any of his blame or anger or frustration.

But that’s ok….you will get there when you get there, and I can see that you are already thinking about being more detached, you just have not found the rhythm of doing it yet. And I’m sure you will bc of how you are thinking, and how you feel plain tired of the drama and BS of it. As you say, you see things that you did not see before and things start to sink in. And as they do, we adjust our behaviour accordingly. And do whatever we think we need to do in our own best interests given the situation that we can see.

One really can’t have much of a sensible rational conversation with bats$it bonkers folks who say black is white in my experience, or who are more invested in venting about something than resolving it fairly with others. My gran used to say that one should not wrestle in the dirt with pigs bc the pigs were better at it than you, liked mud more and you just ended up face down in the mud with a pig sitting on you  :)
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« Last Edit: February 27, 2024, 02:13:35 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#112: February 27, 2024, 02:48:53 AM
My gran used to say that one should not wrestle in the dirt with pigs bc the pigs were better at it than you, liked mud more and you just ended up face down in the mud with a pig sitting on you  :)

I am SO going to steal this..... Because it is the Gospel Truth.....
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
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Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
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Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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#113: February 27, 2024, 09:20:50 AM
And don’t worry about the lawn/garden equipment and stuff. It’s actually a great hobby when you get into it.  Try something completely out of character for you.  You may enjoy it!  If you master it you definitely will have a sense of accomplishment and it will build confidence. 
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#114: February 27, 2024, 10:23:29 AM
How lovely that your father and brother were able to practically and metaphorically show up for you. Thank God for good normal humans, right?  :)
It really was. My brother and I still haven't completely processed the loss of our mom. It was really wonderful for both of us to be together with our Dad. He moved very far away from us when we were young, so it is even more meaningful to me that he is showing up the way he is now.

...We see patterns and they start to become predictable, still WTF but more predictably WTF if that makes sense. I remember reaching a point when my deepest gut instinct was that my then h was so weird and lied so much about pretty much everything that talking to him about anything was futile. And that it usually added to my pain or confusion with very little practical benefit I could see. So I stopped. File under F for Futile became my catchphrase lol….and i started trying to find other ways to scratch my own itches, deal with practical stuff and find my own version of answers in ways that just did not involve him at all.
I don't feel like it's really adding to my pain at this point, but I do know any type of conversation is futile. Other than to get a read on what he may be impulsively planning to do (which I need at this point because I'm in the dark about), I don't get anything out of it. I don't go into it with a goal of understanding or getting him back. Until I get everything in order, which is happening slowly but surely, I use opportunities like these to get a pulse, nothing more. But things come out.

I am starting to recognize his pattern. It is a waffling between acting normal and wanting to be divorced to saying crazy things and blaming me and everyone else for how unhappy he is and how his life has turned out. Oh, and threats when feeling pressured, which for him means him hearing my voice at all. Truthfully the pattern does bring me some comfort right now because I'm at the point where I still struggle with whether this is about me.

When the crazy talk comes out, it makes me realize there is something really wrong, and I don't have to blame myself. I guess in a twisted way it gives me hope that I'm good enough to move on without him. I'm getting to the point where I've seen the pattern enough to know something is off... that I wasn't abusive, or controlling, and that I wasn't unreasonable to expect my most cherished one to be there for me in a time of need (Mom). And that he should have had the grace to forgive me for any mistakes I made during our marriage as I did him, but instead hung onto them. When the sh*t hit the fan he just could not cope. And he lost it.

I’m not sure from what you have written that you are quite at that stage yet. And that’s ok, it’s a process not a destination.

If you were imho, you would not have tried to get his input on the machinery bc you would know that it would open up a pointless conversation….you would have figured it out yourself, asked a neighbour, found a YouTube video. And if you were imho, you would not have offered any thoughts or advice about hormone levels or going to see a doctor or your opinion about shark eyes or his behaviour changes or listened to his opinion about what you are or are not doing to take care of your own needs or legal choices. And consequently you would not have had to listen to his negativity sadz, or his attempts to threaten you if you do not do what he wants, or any of his blame or anger or frustration.

But that’s ok….you will get there when you get there, and I can see that you are already thinking about being more detached, you just have not found the rhythm of doing it yet. And I’m sure you will bc of how you are thinking, and how you feel plain tired of the drama and BS of it. As you say, you see things that you did not see before and things start to sink in. And as they do, we adjust our behaviour accordingly. And do whatever we think we need to do in our own best interests given the situation that we can see.
You are right... I'm not at that stage yet. I have a plan in place that is slowly coming together, and as mentioned above I'm just trying to keep a finger on a pulse so I know whether or not he is moving before me. He disappeared but didn't. Debts are in his name, and I have to be sure that in the interim between BD and D I have a way to manage everything. Right now, for me that includes conversations every now and then. I don't like it, but until I figure this out I would be much more uncomfortable if I weren't having them.

Me pointing out behavior changes and telling him to get a T test was just a reaction to him telling me things are not okay with anyone. It just came out. I was his wife for a long time. Habit.

I had a discussion with a cousin recently. She has been through something similar in the last year, and mentioned the frustration she experienced with people in her support system not being able to meet her where she is in terms of her grief. That is what I appreciate about this group. I understand how frustrating it must be to watch those of us in the nascent phase of this struggle with too much contact, too many questions, and a desire to understand. When something so important changes this quickly, like a light switching off, it takes a while to adjust to the darkness. I know I'm still feeling around for the way out.

One really can’t have much of a sensible rational conversation with bats$it bonkers folks who say black is white in my experience, or who are more invested in venting about something than resolving it fairly with others. My gran used to say that one should not wrestle in the dirt with pigs bc the pigs were better at it than you, liked mud more and you just ended up face down in the mud with a pig sitting on you  :)
Haha, I love this. I feel like I'm wrestling a pig in the dark... trying to escape.
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#115: February 27, 2024, 10:24:13 AM
And don’t worry about the lawn/garden equipment and stuff. It’s actually a great hobby when you get into it.  Try something completely out of character for you.  You may enjoy it!  If you master it you definitely will have a sense of accomplishment and it will build confidence.
It has been really fun.  :)
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#116: February 27, 2024, 01:38:17 PM
I remained in the our home. I had to learn how to take care of the yard, although we had often done that work together. The first time I tried to cut the grass, I could not get the lawn mover to start. My neighbor came over, opened the gas tank and said " xyzcf, it works better with gas in it". I learned how to use the noisy thing and then bought an electric rechargeable lawn mower which is light, quiet and doesn't require any maintenance and no having to carry gasoline from the gas station in my car. I have since replaced many other "tools" with much lighter ones and my grass is the envy of my neighbors.

I love gardening. I find it very therapeutic to dig in the dirt and grow flowers and things in containers like fresh herbs, tomatoes..last year even a few cantaloupes. I learned to pace it out...if I do about an hour a day, I kept things pretty tidy. I also find it to be great exercise. If there are bushes that I feel are too much for me to handle, I hire someone to cut them and cart them away.

Not for everyone..people are always asking me why I stay in this house with all the "work".... the day I don't feel like doing it will be when I move...hopefully that is not for a very long time.

Quote
I don't feel like it's really adding to my pain at this point, but I do know any type of conversation is futile. Other than to get a read on what he may be impulsively planning to do (which I need at this point because I'm in the dark about), I don't get anything out of it. I don't go into it with a goal of understanding or getting him back. Until I get everything in order, which is happening slowly but surely, I use opportunities like these to get a pulse, nothing more. But things come out.

I always have had contact with my husband. It did and still does give me more understanding of him and allows me to see the changes from a first hand view. I don't have to guess, because I can see it with my own eyes. I support remaining in contact if that works for you. Even in their crisis, there are some answers to legal and financial things that they can give you. I believe you can keep the door open while still moving forward in your own life. I am also comfortable to be around him....it doesn't send me into any kind of panic to receive a text or to spend time in his presence. Our family gets to spend family time together so I can see many benefits from talking to the MLCer...even if they do not make any sense.

You are seeing that his crisis has some reasons to have happened  due to his family and you can see that he's really not doing well. Your suggestion that he get himself checked out, even if he doesn't do so is made out of caring for this man you spent so many years with. It's not unusual to offer some suggestions or support although they will seldom listen to anything we say.
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« Last Edit: February 27, 2024, 01:41:03 PM by xyzcf »
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#117: February 29, 2024, 10:16:06 AM
The night before last I woke up and absolutely could not get back to sleep.

I was thinking back to a few weeks after BD, when my H was still being kind, albeit sad and conflicted. The second time he told me he wanted to be alone, which was sometime in late September, I remembered he said it was all he could do to keep himself from packing a bag and taking off. He was crying at the time. I had forgotten this. Fast forward four months (late Jan) and it actually happened. Not only that, he moved across the country. I don't know his address, just the general area in which he lives.

I've been doing everything I can to move forward, but my heart still hurts and I have so much uncertainty about the future. I know H is still completely shut down to me/monsters and says no matter what we'll eventually be D'd. Every time he threatens I'm one phone call away from it ending, he doesn't do it. I still really don't want this D, but understand that I may have to take action myself.

I can't decide if the problem is that I'm just not willing to accept that he doesn't love or want to be with me anymore (he said this multiple times), or if he is in MLC.

I was reading through the stages yesterday, Escape & Avoid in particular. If it is truly what is happening, it explains a lot. I know we shouldn't obsess over these, but I'm curious... do most on this forum subscribe to these? Not obsessing over the length of time, but the behaviors associated with each? Has it been your experience?

And has anyone experience a complete shutdown of empathy/emotion with monster that eventually changed? For me it's been 2.5 mos. of this behavior with no sign of any improvement. I haven't spoken to him for a few days now, and don't plan on it. It would just be good to hear stories from people who experienced some change. It's been so heartbreaking.

I also read through the instructions for newbies... man did I screw that up, lol. Still was until last week.

I'm just thinking through how I'm going to approach everything when the time is right. I'm prepared to do it if I have to, but feel rushing to D at this point wouldn't be right for me. I've decided to take it a month at a time to make that decision (unless something horrible happens, of course).

:'(

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#118: February 29, 2024, 01:27:22 PM
The night before last I woke up and absolutely could not get back to sleep.

I was thinking back to a few weeks after BD, when my H was still being kind, albeit sad and conflicted. The second time he told me he wanted to be alone, which was sometime in late September, I remembered he said it was all he could do to keep himself from packing a bag and taking off. He was crying at the time. I had forgotten this. Fast forward four months (late Jan) and it actually happened. Not only that, he moved across the country. I don't know his address, just the general area in which he lives.

I've been doing everything I can to move forward, but my heart still hurts and I have so much uncertainty about the future. I know H is still completely shut down to me/monsters and says no matter what we'll eventually be D'd. Every time he threatens I'm one phone call away from it ending, he doesn't do it. I still really don't want this D, but understand that I may have to take action myself.

I can't decide if the problem is that I'm just not willing to accept that he doesn't love or want to be with me anymore (he said this multiple times), or if he is in MLC.

I was reading through the stages yesterday, Escape & Avoid in particular. If it is truly what is happening, it explains a lot. I know we shouldn't obsess over these, but I'm curious... do most on this forum subscribe to these? Not obsessing over the length of time, but the behaviors associated with each? Has it been your experience?

And has anyone experience a complete shutdown of empathy/emotion with monster that eventually changed? For me it's been 2.5 mos. of this behavior with no sign of any improvement. I haven't spoken to him for a few days now, and don't plan on it. It would just be good to hear stories from people who experienced some change. It's been so heartbreaking.

I also read through the instructions for newbies... man did I screw that up, lol. Still was until last week.

I'm just thinking through how I'm going to approach everything when the time is right. I'm prepared to do it if I have to, but feel rushing to D at this point wouldn't be right for me. I've decided to take it a month at a time to make that decision (unless something horrible happens, of course).

:'(

I'm mostly staying no contact and my wife has zero empathy or emotion about anything other than herself so ya - it's a thing. It's totally heartbreaking because it's not her, she has become another person. No change really since she left other than she doesn't need to run anymore because she has an apartment now. She is much more calm but everything is still about her.

Don't rush anything. People keep telling me that and I think they are right. There is no timeline. One day at a time, one month at a time.
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« Last Edit: February 29, 2024, 01:28:29 PM by Atari25 »

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#119: March 01, 2024, 12:14:05 AM
And has anyone experience a complete shutdown of empathy/emotion with monster that eventually changed? For me it's been 2.5 mos. of this behavior with no sign of any improvement. I haven't spoken to him for a few days now, and don't plan on it. It would just be good to hear stories from people who experienced some change. It's been so heartbreaking.

Yes, it's part of depression and also of not being able to face the damage they have inflicted - so they kind of pull their own emotional shutters down. It's not an excuse - it's how some people are when severely depressed. They just can't cope with anything. Certainly not anyone else's pain.   'Monster' is their anger projected onto someone else. My H has never been big in the monster phase (maybe because I never tried to stop him leaving, or remonstrated with him), but he definitely had the legendary black eyes (irises not bruises - although, you know, it's tempting :) ) and shark eyes. He was completely devoid of empathy for me in the first 6 months and would say very callous things - not directed at me specifically - but they still hurt. For instance, about 3 weeks after he left, he said, in a kind of arrogant way 'well, I have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life' - as if I wasn't there, a crushed person sitting opposite him who had been his loving partner for the past two decades. He spoke to me as if my feelings didn't matter at all. He has been slowly changing from this - the shark eyes are gone, but he is still very focused on himself. And he goes along with things that anyone else would know to be extremely hurtful (these are things the OW does, aimed at me, that he just lets happen). He must have dropped 15 or so close people from his friends (real ones) on FB through her behaviour. Although, I add, it is HIS behaviour too, obviously.

But I don't think it uncommon that they will bounce in and out of these states. There's no set times It's all about them. All of it.
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« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 12:21:53 AM by KayDee »

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#120: March 01, 2024, 04:04:37 AM

I can't decide if the problem is that I'm just not willing to accept that he doesn't love or want to be with me anymore (he said this multiple times), or if he is in MLC.


I think the hardest part is that we do have to accept what they say, whether they are entirely true or not. We can speculate but never know why they said it (and the speculation just spins is in circles). The prolonged pain of the LBS is from trying to get inside someone else’s mind and figure out what is true and what is not, which is an impossible task. it can’t be done. And the meaning that we assign to everything they say and do is coming from our own minds, we’re projecting it. It’s not reality. We can’t construct a reality out of the unknown, though we try to, and in the process we often break our own hearts.

What he has said is hurtful (and cruel), and I remember how hurtful those words were. It hurts to tell ourselves that they are true. It hurts in a different way to tell ourselves that they are not true, because that creates the never ending loop of projection, looking for confirmation that they’re not true, seeing signs in everything they do.

I also understand the desire to hear stories of a change from that horrible, cold lack of empathy. There can be comfort in knowing that others experienced that. What I can say is that you’re very close to it right now and it will look different the more you detach, the less you are focused on it. in hindsight, I would suspect that many LBS would say that the shift occurred when the LBS emotional state changed with detachment and the MLCer’s behavior stopped feeling so intensely personal, and through the lens of detachment, their perceived level of indifference or coldness lessened.
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« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 04:50:32 AM by Nas »
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Any information, stories, examples, articles, or testimonials on this website do not constitute a guarantee, or prediction regarding the outcome of an individual situation. Reading and/or posting at this website does not constitute a professional relationship between you and the website author, volunteer moderators or mentors or other community members. The moderators and mentors are peer-volunteers, and not functioning in a professional capacity and are therefore offering support and advice based solely upon their own experience and not upon legal, medical, or mental health training.