Skip to main content

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

j
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Gender: Female
My Story 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?
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 8222
  • Gender: Female
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.
  • Logged

j
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Gender: Female
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.  :)
  • Logged

j
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Gender: Female
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?






  • Logged

j
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Gender: Female
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.  :'(

  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 8222
  • Gender: Female
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.



  • Logged

a
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 95
  • Gender: Female
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.


  • Logged

K
  • ****
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 274
  • Gender: Female
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!
  • Logged
« Last Edit: February 05, 2024, 02:13:22 AM by KayDee »

K
  • ****
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 274
  • Gender: Female
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.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 12485
  • Gender: Female
Confused and wondering if I should have any hope...
#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.
  • Logged
« 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.


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

 

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained within The Hero's Spouse website family (www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com, http://theherosspouse.com and associated subdomains), (collectively 'website') is provided as general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, medical or mental health advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The Hero's Spouse cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a trained medical or mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a legal professional for specific legal advice.

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.