Hard staying married when the long-term outlook seems so hard
Hey BB team!
My wife has experienced complex post-natal depression for the majority of the past 7 years, with much of that time involving hospitalisation with our first and second child. Diagnosis has included depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and most recently, bipolar - although it seems they are struggling to commit to an explanation with so many overlapping traits.
I consider myself fairly resilient and have played the role of mum/dad/carer throughout this time which has eroded my own mental wellbeing and relationships with family and friends in a way that I did not see. This was notable during an 18 month period when I was spending a lot of time working away from home and I would find I would revert back to being a happy and relaxed person, but coming home pulls me down again. I don't mean to sound unfair, but I rationalised it in line with the theory that we are most like the 5 people we spend most of our time with - and I was spending the vast majority of my time propping up someone who was in a very poor state of mental wellbeing.
I'm a believer in the commitment of marriage, I can't blame my wife for being overshadowed by an illness that I'm sure she feels the impact of far more than me. My concern is that my resilience is failing, and I'm starting to see the red flags that have been there frequently over the past few years.
1. Would I cheat on my wife: Yes, in the unique circumstances. I have felt overwhelmingly lonely for years. We live in a sexless marriage, which makes me feel guilty and almost like a sex perv to raise - but that's what brings me a sense of connectedness. I know sex out of marriage likely won't offer what I'm missing, but I still wonder if it could fill this long-term void - although it is an unlikely event as intent/availability/vulnerability don't usually align. Nonetheless, a concerning self awareness.
2. I fantasise about life outside the relationship. I'm not talking about sexy bikini girls half my age, I'm talking about the wholesome mum look, the kind of lady I'd like to see every day and to be a mum to my kids in the cliche of normal. I'm not happy with my family dynamic and fantasise about something better.
3. I'm emotionally disconnected. For the first few years I would get upset and empathetic, but to keep going I have learnt to detach. It now feels like after so long and such damage to the relationship that although I value my wife's terrific companionship, our relationship is overcome by sadness.
Hello Husband and Dad to Unhappy Wife
Welcome to the forums and thankyou for your heartfelt post
Just a quick note>>>The forums are a rock solid safe and non judgmental place for you and me to post!
You are a caring and committed dad. Yet you can only do so much in a difficult situation. Just so we can provide more effective support, can I ask how often your wife sees a GP/Counsellor? (the frequency of the visits are important to your wife's recovery with the recent diagnosis you mentioned)
The only reason I ask is I neglected to have regular appointments with my GP/Counsellor which I regret with my own anxiety issues as they only increased in intensity (just for myself)
I understand you are resilient. As you mentioned the situation has impacted on your own well being too. Your health and well being are paramount...I hope you can post back if and when you wish
There are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you..I am only one of them
my kind thoughts
Hello husband and dad,
Thank you for posting and reaching out. I know it must be very hard for you and your wife during this time. I do understand a little bit about this as my sister and her husband went through this a while back. He found it very hard at times to cope, and wanted to give up on his marriage. But he reached out and started talking about it and while doing so he realised that he had to be there for his kids and also be there for his wife who for no reason of her own was going through post natal depression. He put his feelings aside and started showing positiveness, indulging with the kids more, giving his wife the space that she needed and today she is much better and they are happy again.
What I am trying to say is reach out to a professional and talk about it. It will surely help. You can reach out to our support line. But please talk to professional.
Hello, I can understand the position you are in as my ex suffered from PND and it does alter how you look at the marriage/relationship as it can put a great deal of responsibility on you and can affect your own capacity as being a carer and parent.
Having to leave this situation as you work away relieves the pressure you're under, only to return when you're back home and could be something you don't desire knowing how your life will change once home.
I'm not a doctor, however, with all the conditions your wife is suffering from, surely a psychologist could work through these problems as it's not uncommon for someone to also have all of problems as depression and anxiety occur at the same time, although one day, one is worse than the other and vice-versa, and can also involve PTSD as well as when PND occurs.
Being intimate usually doesn't happen but if you have an affair with another person can complicate the situation because you involve two families and not only will it affect your marriage but also confuse the issue with your kids.
How is your wife when you go away for work, and I only mention this because sometimes separating can change a person's mind, not only in getting the help they need, but looking at the situation from a different angle.
If you believe your marriage has been overcome by sadness, then if you want this to be fixed, then you could also seek a psychologist, but if this isn't what you want then can I suggest you separate.
If I can mention that I had depression, anxiety, PND and PTSD all combined but managed to overcome these and hopefully, your wife can do the same.
I feel for what your going through, my husband and I aren't on good terms.
I'm in a sexless marriage and can relate to how your feeling, but please don't cheat on your wife, even though I get how your feeling,and it might feel good at the time, it won't solve anything. Being on the receiving end of my husband speaking to another woman and find out, it's broken me!! Your wife seems to be going through alot and when it comes out (as I truly believe if someone cheats it will always come out even if it's years later) it will distroy her.
Although I get your temptation, as I want to feel desired as my husband doesn't make me feel this and makes me feel the Opposite. I can see you have morals and values and this would go against this, stick to your believes, you don't want to distroy your inner worth with going against what you truly believe.
I also get your 2nd point, I do this often, I want a husband who loves me, cares for me, protects me, that we can be in a happy marriage and happy family unit that we can go away and do things as a family with our kids.
I get your pain and I hope you feel peace very soon as I don't want anyone feeling the way I'm feeling...it's horrible!!
I’m so sorry you are going through this. You sound like a very caring Dad and husband, that is more than some men are. Coming from a woman’s perspective though. I myself just had my first baby 3.5 weeks ago. It is not easy carrying a baby for 9 months and your body certainly doesn’t look the same after as it’s been stretched etc.
It just sounds like you guys need to communicate better somehow. It sounds like you do want to fix things, which is a positive sign. Have thought of going to marriage counseling? They would facilitate ways for you both to communicate better with each other.
Please don’t cheat on your wife. As Melissa said it might make you feel good temporarily, but a temporary feel-good moment is not worth ruining your marriage over. Remember this is the woman who is raising your children. She deserves more respect than that, even though she has post-natal depression I’m sure she does her best as a mum.