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I know it won't last forever, but..............

Bigwool
Community Member

After our initial separation (as a result of being caught out in an emotional affair), my wife & I were getting along and trying to manage our 2 young kids the best way possible. This all changed the day I moved out (only 7 days ago) of the marital home into a rental property where she had the locks changed within 1 hour of me pulling out of the driveway.

Her actions at this time has played a major role in my anxieties taking over my everyday life since this point which is impacting me on all levels of my life. I have recently agreed to medication for my anxieties, but my wife refuses to accept my constant references to 'my mental health' - I feel like she thinks I'm using this as an excuse.

 I am now trying to deal with her constant emails in relation to financial contributions, the care of the kids & the settlement of our assets - my wife has a cold, clinical approach to everything she does in life, which I have witnessed over our 10 years together on numerous occasions, now being on the receiving end of this has me at rock bottom.

 I am constantly on the phone with help lines, Mensline, Relationships Australia, Beyond Blue in those moments when my mind will not stop thinking about my wife and her attitiude towards me - the daily grind of feeling hurt and helpless is starting to take over my life. It doesn't help that I'm trying to learn to be by myself for the first time in 20 years - I feel so alone in my new place, finding it incredibly difficult to settle in and get on with life. Everybody I talk to continue to tell me that it will get better - I truly believe that, but it seems so far away right now.

I know there is no magic wand that will make this all go away - it is up to me to pull myself out of this hole that I created, but with each passing day I feel like I'm withdrawing from life more & more.

My wife is living rent free in my head - my anxieties are making mountains out of mole hills and no amount of talking or reading right now is helping shake that overwhelming feeling of helplessness. 

If there is anybody reading this who has experienced the above I'd love to hear about your experience and how you overcame it.

Cheers All.

9 Replies 9

JessF
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello All, I believe the answer to a great deal of what you're experiencing is time, and you know this already.  But what can you do to try and cushion some of the blows now, and make life a little bit more bearable?

For me I find it helps to try and concentrate on the things that I can control, and accept and let go of the things that I can't. 

One example: it sounds like the emails from your wife are having an impact, you describe them as "constant". Can you set aside a time in the week where you will deal with them, and restrict it to that time?  You could let your wife know that you will only be answering emails to do with these issues during that time, so that expectations are set.  Have emails from your wife diverted to a specific folder so you are not tempted to look outside of that allocated time.  

It's difficult to be alone again when you've been with someone for a long time. It's scary, and you may feel like you have no sense of self, which is why there's lots of space in your head to be filled with regret and reproachment.  It may also help for you to make a list of things that you find helpful to do when you feel really down, that you know will work, almost like a care plan that you can swing into action when the unhelpful thoughts come. 

pipsy
Community Member
Dear Bigwool.  I don't know if you've heard of the Serenity Prayer.  Help you change the things you can, accept the things you can't, and the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and can't change.  This 'emotional' affair you had, was it a situation where it was a one off, or had you been seeing this person for a while?  Jess is right where you need to limit the amount of time spent reading these emails.  Obviously your wife feels really betrayed by what you did and she needs to lash out and hurt you as she was hurt.  It's hard for her to understand what you did and why.  Maybe you could just 'delete' her emails, block her on fb if she contacts you there.  Maybe you could try emailing her, asking her to 'back off' for a while.  I realise that sounds equally cruel, but you need time to 'lick' your wounds and self heal.  Her attacks, while beneficial to her, are not helping your recovery.  You know you did wrong, you don't need constant reminders.  As long as you continue to financially take care of her and children, that's all you need to worry about.  As Jess said, time is your best friend at the moment.  Cutting contact with her will help, as the constant reminder will no longer be there.  You will get through this.  Have you thought about group therapy.  Talk to your Dr about the possibility.  There are loads of people having to attend therapy for a variety of reasons.  Some men abuse their wives and are told to attend.   have a think about therapy, discuss with your Dr.  I can assure you, judgement doesn't come into it.                

Bigwool
Community Member

Hi Pipsy & JessF,

Thanks for the feedback above - I know in myself that time will heal me and I'll get on with life. Whilst being in this uncertain place though, I'm finding it hard to mentally prepare myself every day to take little steps forward when I'm constantly thinking about my wife and kids. 

Over my marriage (8years) I am guilty of a couple of emotional affairs - I would seek that dopamine rush, the thrill of the chase, when things were not going well at home - I was never interested in the physical part of having an affair. These affairs were very transactional, I'd introduce women into my life, get what I needed in terms of a high, then move on until the next 'hit' was required. I've always defined these interactions as harmless fun - of course that was until it became real for my wife.

A mediation session has been arranged which will help settle a few of the current issues so I think the emails might stop for awhile now. For me, finding something I can do when I slip into thinking mode about what has happened, or what my wife is doing behind the scenes in terms of the kids or asset settlement, to stop my anxieties from taking over is the key. 

I am going to join a group, 'Dad's in Dispute' to not only learn from others experiences, but to be around like minded people who have all gone thru this.

 I only wish I could get my wife to understand how my mental health has played a role in what has happened, how her lack of emotional intamcy has played a part in what has happened so that she could at least take some accountablity for our marriage breakdown.

Thanks for you thoughts & suggestions.

Cheers.

Bigwool
Community Member

Its at this time of night that I'm feeling at my most lost. I've just realised that for the last 6 years this has been the busy part of the day with my kids. Cooking a meal, dishes, baths and the general conversation that comes with sitting down with your family at meal time.

Tonight, cooking Spaghetti Bol for one has me feeling really down - I thought I was starting to get on top of these feelings but I guess there is still a lot of healing to do & acceptance to obtain. 

I decided after doing my dishes (more like my dish) that I would go walking, while out I rang my kids and had a great conversation with my 3 yr old daughter, unfortunately that has only resulted in my tears returning for the first time in quite a few days.

I have the weekend to look forward to from this point where I hope to have my kids in my new place for the first time since the separation - setting short term goals seems to be the best way to tackle my emotions at the moment with a view on reaching the long term goal of happiness, security & finding my place in this world.

 A wise man once said to me - "You can't eat an Elephant whole".

pipsy
Community Member

Dear Bigwool.  Your wife obviously doesn't agree that her behaviour contributed to your marriage breakdown.  While it takes two to make: two to break, you're the one who had the affair, she didn't.  Whether she contemplated it is not the issue.  You say your mental health issues caused you to 'stray' initially.  You had two affairs during your marriage, how would you feel if your wife claimed exactly the same thing as you: mental health caused me to stray.  Were you caught last time, or did you confess?  Whatever your wife did or didn't do, was it worth losing your marriage by having an affair.  Your wife married you for love, she trusted you.  When you say it's the 'thrill of the chase' when things were not going well at home.  Sorry, but that's 17/18 year old talk, not supposedly settled married men.  There's not a person on this forum (I'd say) that hasn't 'looked' at another person.  But there's a difference between looking (appreciating what you have a home) and actually chasing.  Paul Newman once said, 'why should I go out for hamburger, when I can get steak at home?'  Once you can learn to look, appreciate you have the best at home, and go home, then you know you have the best life has to offer.  Usually when a man does look, he mentally compares what he's looking at to what he has waiting for him.  Women do much the same, everybody 'window shops', but not many purchase, because losing what they have is more than it's worth. 

Not trying to lecture. Just think before you leap?  Your wife and child, or what you have now, which is nothing.  If you want your wife back, you have a lot to gain by proving you're worthy.     

Neo
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi

Really feeling you on this one bloke!

Been through all of the above, topped of with a strong history of family suicide so I've been to some dark places in the last few years but it does get better but not by itself.  It's up to you.

First thing I'd say to do it write down a life structure.  It is important to keep busy. Time will heal your wounds but the days are feeling long at the moment?? Write down everything you need to do in the week. Work, kids, chores and I highly recommend exercise. Do something that used to make you happy. Something you probably gave up for the family.  

Second thing is a group called dads in destress. Contact these guys. You'll be among friends, talk and listen but most important you will learn valuable information with coping and well as the process to take and general bad behaviour patterns not to fall into. You are not alone here buddy, you don't need to do it on your own. 

One last thing, I read motivational quotes on Facebook, (sounds corny) but you'd be surprised how a few positive lines in the morning can change your day. 

"Don't be afraid to start again, it's a chance to built it better this time"

Nine months after my split and my life is better than ever.

Good luck 

 

Bigwool
Community Member

Hi Pipsy,

Not much I can say to your last post other than thanks for the Whack!

While some of your points are valid in terms of having an affair and losing everything isn't an enjoyable experience, your line about "it takes two to make & two to break" is, in my view, is very relevant in my situation. Yes, I did get caught in the presence of another woman other than my wife, I'm human at the end of the day and have emotional & physical needs like everybody else.

Given you have been giving advice on this service for a long time you would appreciate that a weakened mental state will allow you to make decisions not always based on what's right or wrong - some of those decisions have horrendous results. My decision to step ou

 

Bigwool
Community Member

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE POST:

 My decision to step outside of my marriage was both conscious & opportunistic at the time and no doubt for future relationships I will have to work harder with my partner to ensure this is never a temptation again.

Despite working hard on my marriage for 2 years, the steak had been replaced by hamburger  at home - we were a husband and wife who became room mates, meeting in the middle of our home daily to manage our kids, work lives & financial responsibilities. Marriage councilling is only effective when both parties give it everything by being emotionally open to look at their own actions and accept accountability for their part.

I have no doubt that is a majority of cases infidelity is usually the result of the man stepping outside of his marriage and being caught which labels men as being the weak link - it takes two to tango - it also take two to be successful in any relationship.

This post might be viewed as defensive & narsacistic on my behalf, I appreciate your point of view Pipsy but I certainly don't 100% agree with it.

pipsy
Community Member

Hi Bigwool.  My apologies if I sounded harsh.  Perhaps if your wife had been more understanding of your needs your affair mightn't have happened.  At the same time, counselling for both of you may have been beneficial too.  Have you both tried counselling?  Sometimes when one partner wants counselling and the other refuses, you do feel like you're alone.  When it come to the physical aspect of any relationship, to a man it is physical.  You said it wasn't physical, but transactional (never heard of that term in relation to sex), whatever the reason, with women sex usually becomes emotional if it's with the same partner.  When you had the affair, how many times did you see the woman.  If you saw her over a period of time, no doubt, she would've felt some attachment (be it love) for you.  I agree both of you in your marriage have to want the same thing.  If your wife for reasons (known only to her) is not interested in the physical side, was it because she was unwell, tired, or just not interested.  Perhaps sex was painful.  I'm not passing judgement, I'm trying to help you understand from the women's point why she may not want the physical side.  You say she appears cold, unfeeling etc, it sounds to me like she may have some mental health issues too.  I stick by an original statement though of not having too much contact with her at the moment.  The last thing either of you need at this stage is more arguments re: finance, kids etc.  You're both hurting and when you're both so vulnerable, that's when things are said that would've been better left.  If you can get some help and show her you are trying, she may soften enough to realise she needs help too.  I do hope your contact with your kids continue, they need dad in their life and you need contact so you know they're okay. 

Again - if my earlier post upset you, please accept sincere apologies. 

Take care of yourself.