Troubled Marriage and feeling of never getting it back
W and I met when at school, got married young and so have lived our whole adult life as “us”. We have 2 children 13 & 10. We have been married for 20 years, I realised last year that we had drifted apart and just became 2 house mates and parents to our kids.
I know I have been a major part of our marriage dwindling due to my lack of communication (I know I had always been very lacking in the ability to communicate, no good at small talk or being able to engage in great conversation).
I believe that W had some form of post natal depression after our second child, however she would never share what she was going through with me and Looking back, I didn’t really offer much support. We have had some Major family issues arise through the last 7-8 years, W’s sister going through a divorce (H cheated) Which W support her and took a toll, later we had the biggest shockwave of a close family member being charged with abuse of other young family members, this has being going through the. Courts on and off for 5 years with multiple court appearances which we have been dragged into
Well, I am still having good days and bad days, when I can stop thinking about the “what if’s” or worrying about what things I don’t know about, or worrying about what W is thinking, I can have a good day or 2, then I always come back to questioning things from very minor things, a snide remark, the W having a bad day etc. But I have been much better at keeping my anxiety to myself and not triggering W or causing any disagreements.
Now, this weekend there is a possibility that I will need to attend a function that the OG (that W at least had an emotional affair with) will be at, this has triggered me and I am back to being anxious for some reason (just the thought of him makes me feel uneasy).
We have a counselling session later this week and I will raise how I feel there, however (for some reason) I went through W’s handbag this week and found a condom (still in a sealed packet) in a small discrete pocket. This has set me off something vicious, I haven’t raised it at all, and plan on bringing this up at counselling also.
Why would W have a condom in her bag at all? We have been together 25 years, I got the snip 12 years ago, we don’t use them. I don’t know how long it has been there, or the motive behind why it is there at all. W previously told me that she never intended for anything to happen and sleeping with someone else was the last thing on her mind. My head is now finding it hard to believe this at all, I am very anxious, I am now back at not trusting her again. I need to raise these things at counselling for my own sake, but I am sure she will take it as a major attack without any basis and that it proves I still don’t trust her.
what should I do?
I can see that you guys have taken one step forward; and two steps back. The fact that you are still seeing a phycologist is a positive. The condom in the purse is a negative that raises obvious questions. As a general rule, faithful spouses do not carry condoms on there person. I know that I didn't.
I have no idea what to make of the condom. Is she bating you, or is she being unfaithful? If you bring it up at counselling, you will be accused of going through her purse and of being untrusting; if you don't bring it up, you will never know. Either way, you lose.
In regard to your anxiety, are you on any form of medication. If not, a visit to you GP might be worthwhile. There is medication to help keep your anxiety under control. I know that I would not have survived without medical intervention.
As to what you should do; that is a very good question? I don't think you should bring up the condom at counselling; there is simply nothing to be gained in doing so. There is a good possibility that you are being baited, and your wife is just looking for an argument to justify her distorted reality. That being said, it is your call.
My only other suggestion would be to transfer some money into a bank account solely in your name. If things go south, you will need access to a cash. At the very least, the money transfer will make your wife sit up and pay attention. If counselling is going to work, you wife's control/trust/money issues need to addressed. To my mind, these are the primary issues, not the condom.
It is often the case that people with control/trust issues (your wife) project these issues onto others (you). If you google, "NPD projection", you will see what I mean by "projection". Projection is also associated with other personality disorders, not just NPD. The takeaway message is, don't believe everything your wife tells you. More than likely, your wife's accusations are relevant to her, not you.
Stay in touch!
I did respond earlier, but when I hit the post button, the message just vanished into the ether. My first post might come in later; who knows.
I can see things have taken a turn for the worse. I would suggest that you don't say anything about the condom in your wife's purse. She may be baiting you; at this point you just don't know.
To my mind, the big issues are your wife's control/trust/money issues. These are the issues that need to be sorted out at counselling. I see little gain in bringing up the condom at this stage. If you do; she will turn the issue back onto you; this is what controlling people do.
In view of your wife's recent behavior, you might want to consider moving that money back into you sole bank account. If thing go south, you will need access to cash. In addition, the transfer may make your wife sit up and pay attention. It might just be the motivation she needs to keep her on track. If it will keep the peace, tell her that you intend to transfer your money into your account.
Have you seen you doctor about your anxiety. If not, anxiety can be controlled by medication. Something to look into, if you have not already done so.
One other thing, don't believe everything that your wife tells you. A lot of what you are hearing is "projection". A controlling person will often "project" there bad behavior onto others. Google, "NPD Projection", if you want to know more. Projection is associated with a number of personality disorders, not just NPD.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
Thank you once again Mr Paul for your reply, I really appreciate you providing your perspective of my situation, it is usually right on the mark and you provide some good thoughts and information. I have tried to look for a thread of yours. Do you have any of your own that I can follow and maybe be able to assist you in a small way?
I can see that you guys have taken one step forward; and two steps back. - Tell me about it. But this is pretty well just me and sh!t going through my head, not really any heated moments between us, the last couple of weeks we have been amicable but both of us have had days that we have struggled through as well. (But have avoided causing argument with each other, more just avoidance).
are you on any form of medication. - No medication at the moment. I feel my anxiety is completely linked to W’s behaviour last year and I have been trying to move past it but the thoughts keep coming back. Nothing has been resolved or talked about. I think I want to try and work through it with help before I look for medical assistance.
I know it is my problem, so I guess I should seek individual counselling, but due to the fact that I keep having trust issues because of these events, I feel W needs to know what has caused me to be on this roller coaster of anxiety and lack of trust as well as how much damage her actions and hiding have caused me. I can’t seem to get past this and forgive and move on if W won’t take responsibility for her side, own up to it and commit to working on us.
If I can’t get anywhere with counselling I may look at seeing my G.P. Thanks.
transfer some money into a bank account solely in your name. - I did that 2-3 weeks ago (at the same time I told W that I think we need to separate) and all hell broke loose. W said if I didn’t transfer the money back then we are over. Our counsellor told me I needed to put it back if I wanted any hope on the relationship. So I did. If I did it again, I am sure W would take it that I have called time on our marriage (again). I’m not trying to antagonise anything, but I need to figure out how I can find some calm in myself again. I hate the ups and downs and I don’t want them causing more pain or uncertainty for W, because that will just reduce the chances of saving our marriage even more.
control/trust issues - We both seem to have these, mine have only been for the last 12 months and I hate the person I became at the peak of my anxiety.
"We both seem to have these, mine have only been for the last 12 months and I hate the person I became at the peak of my anxiety."
In view of your wife's behavior, I think your trust issues are well justified. Just image what would happen if you started flirting with another woman; if you started carrying a condom around in your wallet. Your wife would not accept that behavior from you, so why should you tolerate that same behavior from her.
The problem is, you are blaming yourself for your wife's poor behavior. I did the same. I blamed myself, because my wife told me it was my fault. It took me a good while to realise that I was the victim, not the offender.
As I said previously, your wife is projecting her bad behavior onto you. It is this behavior that needs to be addressed at the counselling sessions.
When I tried to work through the same issues (control and trust) with my wife, the discussion quickly turned to my faults. My wife was not willing to discuss or accept her faults. For this reason, I would suggest that you do not discuss these matters without a counsellor. You will need someone to mediate the discussion, if you want to make any progress.
Like you, I was reluctant to take medication for anxiety. In the end, I had no choice if I wanted to function normally.
The stuff going through you head is normal. Your mind will broadcast negative thoughts 24/7. The trick is to tell yourself, that thoughts are just stories and stories may or may not be true. If you can do that, the stories loose some of their venom. This will sound silly, but prefix all of your negative thoughts with, "My mind is telling me a story". After that, end your thoughts with, "thank you mind". It does work, up to a point.
If you are interested there is a book called, "The Happiness Trap, Stop Struggling, Start Living", by Dr Russ Harris. In the book, Dr Harris goes into the tricks that the mind plays. I found the book to be more helpful than the Phycologist I was seeing at the time.
The good new is, you guys are still seeing a counselor; there is hope.
Hi Mr. Paul,
Hmmm, seems like you may be experiencing some technical difficulties, thanks for the effort in restyling things when your posts seemed to disappear.
When I tried to work through the same issues (control and trust) with my wife, the discussion quickly turned to my faults. My wife was not willing to discuss or accept her faults. OOOOHHHH YEAH, I’m hearin ya.
The problem is, you are blaming yourself for your wife's poor behavior. - I think I have gone past that stage. I have different problems which I am struggling to get past.
I always always always had my own belief that if anyone ever cheated, that the relationship would be over. Cheating is a deal breaker for me, always has been. Anyone that knows part of our recent story tells me things more stuff must have gone down than I know about, but I have tried to deny this to myself and believe W’s stories. I have now come to the realisation, that all my anxiety and ups and downs can be attributed to me losing trust of W and I need to find away to be able address that, if I can’t get my trust back for her, then we don’t have a chance.
I don’t think I am blaming myself for her bad behaviour (I have realised I was part of the cause of our marriage to stagnate and I take ownership of that, but I have also tried to put the effort into trying to get the marriage back on track while W wandered elsewhere for what she was lacking.
What I am blaming myself for is not being able to put my trust back in her. Well I don’t really think “blame” is the right word. I don’t know IF I will ever be able to fully trust her again (because of my long held belief that cheating = finished). I am scared that if we try and work through this, then one day I find out that it has all happened again??? I am scared of being the sucker AGAIN. sayings like “once a cheater, always a cheater” and the thought that if we decide to stay in the marriage that I will continue to go through cycles of doubt. I KNOW I don’t want live like that.
I am continuing to try, with counselling, being present and respectful in the day to day, my worry is how I get my head out of the negative. I do try and think of positives (but always struggle to find many/any), but I can always seem to find negatives. She has been sleeping in the spare room all year, she hasn’t worn her rings since the start of the year, and there are never any words to say that she wants to make it work, just that she couldn’t afford to live if we split and she would move state.
Yes, I now see your dilemma. Trust is something hard to deal with. Once it has been broken, it's hard to get it back. That being said, when my wife and I were seeing a phycologist, we were told that trust can be rebuilt. If that is possible, it will require and effort from you and your wife.
Some time back you mentioned getting some ono-on-one time with a phycologist to help you work through your personal problems. Is that something you would still consider? If yes, you can get access to a Medicare subsidised phycologist by getting a "Mental Health Care Plan" from your doctor. It's not available to couples, but it available to individuals. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If nothing else, a few sessions might help you make a decision.
One step at a time!