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Marathonwaseasy posted 10/20/2013 06:19 AM

Fwh had a serious, almost fatal breakdown 7 years ago. Long story short - he was diagnosed as bipolar and was in 100% denial. He was utterly broken, diminished and withdrawn. He was lost to me. I limped on, working, trying to raise our family. I even tried to believe it was ok. There were occasional slightly better moments to give me hope that he was still there. But no.
I don't believe in a higher power as such but I often begged that I would give anything or do anything to have him back, getting well, facing his illness. Apart from obviously my children's health. I tried everything I could think of. But I just made it worse tbh as the more I did for him the more he felt belittled and broken.
The last year of the 7 he was in the A. Which led to another breakdown.
1 week post dday he crashed utterly. Hit complete rock bottom. He now sees what his reality is, what he has to do, that he's ill and needs to address the illness, and he needs to commit 100% to me. My husband is back, better than ever.
This is what I wished for, begged for. The cost is not to my children but to me. Is it too much to pay or can this be the start of everything I ever wanted?

Skan posted 10/20/2013 17:28 PM

In a large part, that's up to you. It's your decision. Thing is about rock bottom, its a turning point. Up or down. Better or completely worse. Hauling yourself up or giving up and dying a sad, lonely death, mentally or physically.

But that turning point is not only for the person bouncing on the bottom, it's also a turning point for everyone around the affected person.

New truths have to be faced. Old lies buried. New ways of relating have to be figured out. Inter-dependent ties have to be dissected, examined, and re-evaluated.

Strange, but true. Sometimes when someone hits rock bottom, accepts that they need help, seek it, and become better people, old people in that person's life can't accept the changes. They need that person's dysfunctions and brokenness to function. Other times, the change has come too late to save the relationship the old wounds are too deep to heal from. Nothing wrong with that latter scenario, sometimes one is just "done."

So, it really is up to you. If you're done, then there's no shame in it. You have the right to realize that there has been too much done and said to reconcile. But if you think that there is anything at all left, you owe it to yourself to explore that.

No right or wrong call here. Other than the call that is right for you! (((hugs)))

eachdayisvictory posted 10/20/2013 17:47 PM

I know that it feels to me like the beginning of the best relationship of my life, just now. But it's still mixed with lows that make me feel like I can't make it. I think that his illness being acknowledged is a start, but it sounds like you need to take the time for YOU to figure out if this is right for you.

You definitely need some MC to help you wade through this all. The part I hear in your story that is worrisome is that you may be so concerned about his illness and recovery, that you won't feel free to make your own demands moving forward. Although I know from my journey that I went through months of feeling desperate to save our family no matter what it cost me; happiness, sacrifice, crying every day for the rest of my life. It took a long time and a lot of reflection for me to get to the place where I could be honest with myself and my H, and look at what I WANT from this life, relationship and partner.

But the rewards are an intimacy and connection to my H that I never dreamed of before. So, yes, I believe that it's possible that you will get what you wish for. I had to get to a place where I was willing to consider that my dream may not be with my H, and then I was free to do the work I needed to.

It still hurts to say and think that sometimes, but I am ready to walk away today if I find out that he has broken our contract (truth, commitment, remorse and responsibility in a nut shell). That's the truth, and the hardest commitment I have ever had to make with myself.

Best of luck, sending you hugs and support. You are not alone.

BeautifulEmpty posted 10/20/2013 19:09 PM

I want to chime in from a bipolar perspective as well as from the pov of someone who acted out during a major manic episode and lost everything.
I typically post here as a BS because that is overwhelmingly the position I've held in my marriage of the last 11years but prior to that, I was married to someone else. I haven't gone into that relationship here much. I'll just sum it up in that I got married at 17 to my bf of 4years. The relationship very quickly became emotionally abusive. At the end of our roughly 13 year marriage I (sort's very complicated) had an exit affair. Please trust was very very complicated which is why I don't go into it much here.

I want to commend you for sticking by your husband.
Please do your best to keep yourself happy and healthy so that you can support him in doing the same.
Realize that bipolarity isn't a choice and there may be times that he honestly doesn't know what he's doing.
Realize that there can be crushing guilt for even dumb little things, much less, the big things.
Lastly, a lot of folks do not realize this but for the bipolar person, small, seemingly innocuous things can tip us into mania or depression. A party. A really fun shopping trip. The excitement of looking forward to going out...whatever. I'm not saying those things shouldn't happen obviously but you need to be aware that simple, normal, happy things can be a trigger of sorts.

I'm guessing that all along, your husband has wanted to be who he's showing you now. I really commend you for loving him through all that as it is a very rare thing. Part of him getting as much a grip on himself as he can may also bring additional guilt because of what he's done to you.
Truth be told, I don't have many bad things to say about a spouse who goes through that stuff and cannot handle it and leaves...but it's just very rare to hear of someone who stays the hard road.

Your husband may still hit heavy depression and mania. He isn't choosing these things to happen but it helps to have a game plan.
My current husband spent years egging my mania on because I'm really super fun when I'm like that...if you think orgies and general debauchery are 'fun'. I've got a lot of embarrassing history behind me as well as a 2year complete depressive meltdown in which I was mostly bedridden. Now, he finally understands. Now, he watches for signs and tries to keep me as stress free as he can. We have a game plan for keeping me under wraps if I'm getting 'up to antics'. I feel awful guilt. I'm not sure how to get over that part.
I hope I don't sound preachy. I'm sure you know this stuff.

He can be someone who you can love and trust...if he is doing all you said and if he begins to learn boundaries...what they are, why he needs them and how to use them. He will really need them.
If all that is in place as well as you understanding that sometimes he will need your outside perspective to help him through his less positive moments, I think you should cautiously begin to heal with him.

One last thought...about the A. I don't know the details so I apologize if I'm way off mark but it's possible that his A was about him trying to feel 'normal' or to have moments of being okay. He was likely under incredible guilt for his 'failings' and depression. Guilty for what he was doing to you and kids but couldn't stop. An affair would have (wrongly) allowed him to be able to be 'normal' and 'desirable' in brief amounts of time he might have been able to sustain where he couldn't sustain anything at home. He knew you knew every last piece of garbage about him and he knew he was failing in every way. He couldn't pretend with you.
It's not an excuse but it might be perspective. Again, I apologize if I'm way off. I just know the bizarre places I've been and some of my thoughts surrounding them.

AFrayedKnot posted 10/20/2013 19:20 PM


I can relate to so much of your story. My fWS has struggled with addiction issues as long as I have known her. There were a lot of bad times over the years. I gave everything I had holding our family together. Intermixed there would be good times that offered hope only to be let down again. For years I prayed everyday that she would find the willingness to work on herself and find peace.

That willingness, the work, and the peace has all come from the bottom she hit since Dday. So yes, I too prayed for it, I just never expected it to happen the way it did.

I hope you both find peace through this storm.

[This message edited by Chicho at 7:21 PM, October 20th (Sunday)]

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/22/2013 06:04 AM

Thanks so much for these great posts
I am going to IC and I'm telling him how I feel but it's hard. I am scared of him getting so ill again that he dies. I know he utterly needs my help to get on top of this. I resent this as I was always there for him and the A has broken my heart completely and utterly. But I do want to R. Sometimes knowing how ill he is makes me feel that my decision to R is not fully mine to make. How could I throw my children's father to the mercy of his illness? I believe it would kill him. But I've been over this with my doctor and it is what I want.
Some of the appeal of the A was that she is less than him (I'm not meaning to break the terms of the R forum and vent but really she is a car crash). She made him feel less broken. I'm maybe just a bit too together. Or at least pre dday I was.

Knowing posted 10/22/2013 06:57 AM

Just to add to the discussion. There is a very helpful book on codependency that is worth reading: "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie.

It was truly surprising for me to realize how much of my confidence and self-esteem/worth came from the superior position I held in my M due to my WS' brokenness. I depended on him to be fucked up, and the more fucked up he was the better I felt about myself. In the beginning of our R I treated him as "inferior", and part of me wanted that dynamic to continue. I had to work on myself while he was working on himself, and be vigilant about seeing him and treating him as an equal/partner.

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/22/2013 07:11 AM

I have the book - I bought it years ago when he first got sick and threw it away in disgust because it didn't apply to me

Actually my codependency has been more that I have taken on more and more and more to protect him out of fear of finding him hanging in the garage rather than liking being the strong and sorted one. But my FOO stuff was all about me being "tougher than the rest" so I have had a lifetime of being a coper rather than being allowed to feel. I am loving the fact that he is taking responsibility for life for the first time in over 7 years. I'm not loving the fact that I don't know who I am if I'm not the strong one. But I can't be strong right now. I'm doing all I can just to get through the day.
I'm looking at my difficulty with feeling my feelings in IC. I am being authentic with FWH but it is very hard.

BeautifulEmpty posted 10/23/2013 09:22 AM

You sound very insightful :)
I'm so sorry you find yourself here but it's a good place to be if you need it.
Bipolar is tough on both parties, no question but it sounds like your H is really trying. He sounds introspective as well. Many bipolars are although I've heard it said that one of our problems is that we have too firm a grasp on reality. >.< As in, we strangle ourselves in it. If we can stay out of the *too dark* places, introspection can allow us to really feel remorse and have understanding for our spouses.
I'm pulling for you and you are probably quite right about the AP being more broken than him and how that made him feel. It's fucked up but in a way, I could see it being a small comfort too. When he says he had an A because you are too good, it isn't bs like it usually is coming from a neurotypical betrayer and it's more, he couldn't be good enough for you during his long, very dark time.
Well, whatever the case, my thoughts are with you.

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/24/2013 03:16 AM

Yes there is some comfort in the fact that he affaired really, really down.
The one thing I've not had to face is insecurity about me not being as good as her (although I am not as slim as her, I was when the A started - funnily enough I was comfort eating the whole time it went on and couldn't explain why - I guess on some level I sensed something)
Then I feel bad that I despise someone so broken - do I need to get past that? Her behaviour to me after dday was vicious. She knew me and came to my house and her daughter is friends with my daughter. Should I be above revenge fantasies regarding someone who is more to be pitied? Not sure about that. I was brought up to be a good girl - forgiving and never angry and to never feel so I'm uncomfortable with feeling hate. I had a go at her on the phone and then - how messed up - I FB messaged her to apologise.

blakesteele posted 10/24/2013 05:10 AM

Yes there is some comfort in the fact that he affaired really, really down

Not to take away your comfort....but don't most, all fWS affair down? Isnt the fact that their AP is willing to hurt and destroy another family singular proof enough that they do this?

If I were to sleep with a married millionaire underwear model who was also the CEO of Farm Aide and had adopted 8 homeless African children...would that be considered Affairing Up for me?

I guess a possible exception to this rule is a man who is married to an abusively alcoholic wife and his AP is not....but even in this case....wouldn't it be Living Up by divorcing first, or counseling, or intervention for wife? I still think it would be affairing down.....just seems like there is no UP for anything about adultery.

just my opinion.

God help us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:18 AM, October 24th (Thursday)]

blakesteele posted 10/24/2013 05:15 AM

(although I am not as slim as her, I was when the A started - funnily enough I was comfort eating the whole time it went on and couldn't explain why - I guess on some level I sensed something)

This is interesting to me. I actually found a counselor 3 weeks before I found out about my wifes affair. Know what I found one heightened levels of anxiety.

This is the GUT everyone talks about listening to.

You had comfort food before your husbands A, I had anxiety issues before my wifes A....both were somewhat in check up until they blossomed upon our spouses decision to commit adultery.

Peace to us all.

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/24/2013 05:17 AM

Yes blakesteele I know what you mean. Anyone who wants to destroy another family is seriously low

I just meant that on SI and things I've read/heard in real life it seems a lot of BS feel inadequate after an A. I do in some ways for sure but I don't look at her and think she is in any way superior to me.
Which is a small amount of comfort and right now I will take any comfort I can get.

blakesteele posted 10/24/2013 08:55 AM

Which is a small amount of comfort and right now I will take any comfort I can get.

Totally get is a smart mode of operation to take time to recognize and feel EVERY comfort we can identify.

I am really enjoying your posts and your journey...thanks for continuing to share it as it comforts and helps me.

God be with us all.

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/25/2013 01:29 AM

Thanks so much blakesteele

Yesterday was another roller coaster. Has it really only been 6 weeks since dday?????

I started the day so anxious and insecure. Fwh reassured me. I survived a morning at work. We had a parent teacher afternoon regarding our son who is 15 and has big exams pending so we had the afternoon together. My parents had our two daughters. Fwh was struggling at lunchtime with the game changing of realising he has this awful illness and the fear that his guilt and my anger will mean he is stuck in a permanently subservient role. I get what he means but it's not my desire to belittle him and I try when angry not to score points. We talked. It helped. We talked a lot while waiting for various teachers. Some good. Some bad. Despite the challenge of having such an ill father our son is doing great. We are both so proud and so relieved that we are able to try to R for the kids as well as for us.
Then we started a conversation about love languages and that did not go well. I tried for years to use any of the ways to express love and it was always thrown back in my face. This predates the A and relates more to our disconnect regarding his diagnosis. We resolved this later too.
We got home later than hoped because the school interviews over ran and the traffic was bad. My father was horrible about it because he has plans. Plans I hadn't known about when we made the arrangements. I tried to stand up for myself about his attitude and got shouted down (just like fwh used to do) and got ridiculed. My FOO stuff regarding never been prioritised, fear of abandonment, my narcissist father and codependent mother and my idea on what love is seem even more relevant now. Good job I have found a good IC
Fwh and I managed to finish the day well with time together, love, a lot of talking about the A timeline, my fears and our M and all the good and bad times and our regrets. We both would have loved more children. Not happening now. Didn't happen before because of bad decisions and then his breakdown.

Funny how the A was a bomb in our life and every single thing has been shattered and we are looking now at it all in a different way.

I'm tired even thinking about it.
Long day at work ahead and a little girl to get ready for a preschool (kindergarten equivalent) Halloween party.

Love to all my supporters

BeautifulEmpty posted 10/25/2013 03:26 AM

Do what it takes to keep your head up. You've got a tremendous amount on your plate and despite what perhaps you *should* be doing, get some extra rest instead if at all possible.
Try to schedule times you talk about hard subjects so that you aren't already worn out when you start. If it's been a rough day, keep things low. I know it's not always possible but do your best. (((Hugs)))
I am a firm believer in indulging most feelings...for a short while. Not in a way that feeds a problem...that's not what I mean. I mean like, if you are feeling disdain for the clearly pitiful creature who is the AP in your it...until it no longer serves you to do so. You do not owe her anything and certainly not respect. It's perfectly alright to be hateful for a little while...but recognize when it's time to move on for yourself. This has nothing to do with her. If she wants to be a better person, she can could start with her choosing not to fuck around with married men but hey, that's just my opinion:)
Anyways, no beating yourself up over that. Use it like a leach bleeding away poison from your system.
This is going to be a tough battle even if there had been no A so please take care of both yourselves. Minimize stressors and extras and focus on positivity and being grateful. I'm not suggesting that you aren't grateful btw but while your spouse can't help his brain chemistry, it is very hard to be down when you are being actively grateful. It isn't a cure all and I frequently find it almost impossible but any time I can do it, I focus on it and it helps. Sort of like a meditation in gratitude so that it becomes a habit.
I'm hurting for you both and rooting for you at the same time!

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/26/2013 01:40 AM

Thanks beautifulempty

I feel very sad this morning. Not specifically about the A. Which is progress. The A was a symptom of a much bigger problem. And the biggest painful memory I have in the front of my mind right now while during the A was my fwh furiously angry and downright cruel in the grips of his denial.

I had mentioned something to him about work, something that I was proud of and it angered him. I get why tbh. I am a doctor and since his breakdown I started trying to use my influence to try to improve things because local mental health services are dreadful and full of staff with attitude problems and who are cruel and the stigma culturally is huge. I was so traumatised by my experiences as a carer I wanted to "do something" I got more educated, am now on carers' groups, help to write protocols and get paid quite a lot of money to spend a day a week advising. He has at times seen this as me gaining career success on the back of his illness. I would love to not do it anymore but we need the money. A husband in denial with a OW on the side does not make sound financial decisions. And a codependent wife doesn't think before she buys another expensive present to try to make her husband happy.

Anyway that day he was breathtakingly cruel to me. Told me I was to never talk about work to him again. That we were married but in name only. I didn't even suspect the A but I still begged him on my hands and knees not to withdraw from me. The A had been on the wane as OW loved him so much she didn't contact him or visit him while he was in hospital but apparently in addition to humiliating me that day he decided to go back to her because he was so angry with me.

Of course that was all about denial. Denial of this horrible illness. Anger with me because the only other option was acceptance and he wasn't low enough to reach acceptance. But I hate that it happened.

So this morning I'm sad.
And not least because although I knew he had effing bipolar while he was in denial I didn't always have to face it too. Not its undeniable and ever present. And regardless of my pain I ache for him because bipolar really sucks

AlexFL posted 10/26/2013 08:57 AM

I don't know. I'm starting to think that there are so many people out there that I don't know, that haven't cheated on me, that may be very nice and considerate. Why waste my time with someone I love but continually hurts me. Why try to spend another year to repair something broken when maybe there's something new awaiting for me. I'm not particularly talking about another person but more experiences. I've spent a few years now being sad and angry. It's not my nature. I'm outgoing and fun. I feel like I walk around with dead eyes (nothing behind them) just trying to allow myself to feel happiness but there's always a shadow. I feel horrible to say this but maybe I finally had enough, although I love him and painted a picture of growing old with him- I need to realize that the picture is just fantasy. Without trust I don't see how a marriage can work especially because I gave in a few times before and we end up in the same place. His tears are sincere, his sadness cuts me deep. It's so hard to put that aside and concentrate on what I deserve. Somehow I feel If I leave then I'm giving up but I know in my head I've given up a few times and have given up on myself. I hate this is what we have become but I need to start accepting it. This is unfair to have to go through this again. I thought we were in the clear. I thought we made it through and would continue to grow as best friends and lovers. Now we go from that thought to him telling me he doesn't even want to be friends because he wants to be together. I'm so tired of talking about this. I am mad that it's been almost two weeks and my every moment has been spent thinking about this. We only get one life. Everyday I spend trying to fix things AGAIN is another day that I can never get back do I am going to try to concentrate on finding how to have a good day again, new experiences- and he can repeat this pattern with someone else. (Now if I can really act on those thoughts)

Marathonwaseasy posted 10/27/2013 01:19 AM

I get it Alex. But having been so sure my fwh wasn't the type to ever cheat I'm not sure I believe that there could be anyone I could ever be sure of
And I do love this broken man
And we have 3 children who are all at risk of the self same bastarding illness fwh has. (About a 1 in 10 chance. They may well have the genetics but it's stress especially at adolescence that switches the illness on. So how do I throw him out which would probably kill him - not a manipulation he's given me but my assessment of this bloody reality)

I'm struggling this morning. Really really struggling
I can't ever see myself not being in agony over this

BeautifulEmpty posted 10/28/2013 00:42 AM

Lets just take a moment to breathe...I feel such deep hurt here not that this site is lacking in hurt.
First off, know you are doing a good thing and why. Don't ever lose sight of your motivations because you know what they truly are in regards to why you began really digging into the system behind mental health care in your area. A lot of people will benefit for that. It's no small thing even though your H said what he did. You are in a position to do something because of who you are. I thank you for it.
My oldest daughter is also bipolar and to touch on passing it around...I feel guilt for this because I watch her struggle and hurt and suffer in front of people who don't get it. Yes, that's hard but it's also life. Would've, should've, could've...nothing to be done about that part of things, right? Just move forward...BUT she is about to lose her counseling because insurance won't pay for it despite her counselor writing umpteen reviews and reams of doctors notes and a very long history. She called the insurance co, begging them to please not take away the one thing that was actually helping her for the first time ever. The very perky girl on the other end of the phone told her that they don't want her using it as a coping method because...wait for it...they want her to get better.
Bipolar is brain chemistry. You don't get better. You learn coping skills. Find the right meds. You eat super clean so at least you aren't adding artificial crap into your system to cloud things further. You take lots of supplements. You lower stress and exciters to as low a level as you possibly can. But you don't get in cured.
I commend you for doing what you are doing. Your husband is hurting from so many angles, he probably has a hard time sorting it all out sometimes. At least while he's in the middle of it. Again, I'm just guessing but that's what it's like for me.
I just want to offer comfort and support. Sometimes hearing someone on the outside talk about things can offer different perspective or just a different facet of the same diamond you've been looking at. Whether I manage that or not, I hope you can feel the peace and empathy I'm trying to send your way.

Now to Alex...I haven't read your story but you said 2 weeks. 2 weeks is too early to even know what you are doing or feeling besides pain and anger. Please trust me on this but if you don't...well, look around on SI. People tend to follow a pretty clear time frame with very little exception.
I am so sorry you find yourself in this and I've certainly felt the same. I actually felt stronger and more sure footed at two weeks than I did at two months...or twelve months.
The conclusion I came to, right or wrong, was simply this: I hate dating. I have had numerous crappy experiences. I don't have a lot of patience for that kind of thing. I'd rather be alone, honestly. Okay, maybe that's not quite true. I'd rather have what I always wanted but I hate the process it might take to get that at this point and I'm not growing any younger. Despite the garbage my spouse has put me through (for years), he is still the one I know best. It's still his personality and his arms...his scent, his touch...that I crave. I've met many seemingly upright men from a variety of walks of life but it's still him I miss. To be fair, almost without exception, those other guys were all hiding an insensitive, cheating nature. At least I know what my ('formerly' according to him) cheating spouse is all about. So...while the grass may look greener over there...I'll take the devil I know over the one I don't any day. I suppose I might be missing out on that one great guy but I wouldn't recognize him anyways at this point.
I can't tell you what is right and I wouldn't even try because I don't know you or your guy. I'm just telling you my thoughts at this point.
None of this means I let my H walk over me. I have a lawyer on retainer ready to file for divorce at a words notice and he knows it...I hate that this is how it is but truthfully? I could never know without doubt what ANY guy was actually up to. I trust me and how I'll handle things if need be. I trust what my own eyes show me and that is my H is doing everything he can to right some severe and serious wrongs...every single day, without fail. I do not trust anything more.
Hold your head up, get rest and drink water. Take some walks, do so,e writing. Distract yourself and don't feel bad about it. Don't make any decisions about anything. You don't need to now. Let things settle and clarify. Read and ask questions or just cry here. Vent and be angry here. We all understand.
My heart is hurting for you both.

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