Partner's hard time is affecting me
My partner is currently finalising his financial separation from his ex-wife (nearly 2 years after the separation). He wants this all to be over and free but it emotionally stresses him. He also has a lot of stress at work.
We are coming into the "hot phase" where he needs to get the final paperwork, house vsluations etc. dond and submitted to the lawyers. I have noticed the last 1.5 to 2 weeks that he has an incressingly shorte fuse and he has noticed himself tha he has this anger that comes out at times and he doesn't like it. It's nothing violent, just really edgy. Also, he withdraws a bit and doesn't get in touch as much as he used to. I try my best to understand and give him space but after 2 years of constantly going through his emotional turmoil, I cannot help but get triggered sometimes. It makes me anxious and a little sad that I feel on the back seat again and also that there seems to be nothing I can do.
I am not sure how to deal with this. I will see him tonight and I even asked him whether he thinks it's a good idea or whether he would prefer to self-soothe and be alone this weekend. He said no, that he is looking forward to it and that he needs a positive "distraction". He probably meant this nicely because sitting alone in his house brings all the negative feeling but the label of distraction does not sit well with me. He distracted himself with us when he first separated and then the grief and attachment issues got hold of him. We subsequently split and only rekindled because he was in a much better and aware space. I believe this is just the last big hump, but my experiences with him in the past make me hypervigilant now. I don't know how to best manage this situation.
We have a long weekend trip planned next week and he is very much looking forward to it. But I also told him that tomorrow, I will leave his place early so he can dedicate enough time to get his things sorted. I told him that his situation affects me too and that I cannot live like this forever but that it needs to be done now. For his health as much as mine.
Is there anything specific I should/could do to support him but also look after me. I tend to put my needs behind others', so I don't want to do that again. But I also want to be understanding because he probably does the best he is emotionally capable of right now. How can I meet his and my needs in this situation?
Welcome to our online community. Thank you for taking the time to post and share what you are going through. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space to talk things through and our community is here to offer as much support, advice and conversation as you need. We're sure that a lot of our community members will relate to these feelings and hopefully some of them will pop by to offer you words of wisdom and kindness.
It sounds like you have been really patient and supportive of your partner. It certainly would not feel nice thinking of yourself as a distraction for him and it is important that you do continue to assert yourself and your needs amongst all of this. It can hard to balance our own needs with that of our partners but it is always our own responsibility to assert our own needs and put ourselves first. You deserve to have a peaceful and reciprocal relationship and if that means taking a step back while he deals with this 'hot phase' of his separation then maybe this will be better for both of you? Think about what your limits are and perhasps think about scheduling in time that will be nice for both of you to spend time together that is centred around your own relationship rather than his financial separation, so you can really enjoy each others company.
A good space for you to talk about your feelings about this could be our telephone counselling service. Our counsellors are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.
If your partner would like some support, a good telephone service is Mensline. MensLine Australia is a free 24/7 telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. He can contact them on 1300 78 99 78 or https://mensline.org.au/