That was eight years ago. I will be forty soon and I feel I made a horrible mistake. I know now that, after seven years of marriage, I did not really know my husband at all. I was naïve. However, I know him now and what he is capable of. I know everything my husband hates about me because he informed me in great detail on our DDay. I think it is probably a good idea to keep some grievances to ourselves, especially if one would like to establish a long-term marriage. Those words still sting to this day, even those words that were clearly based on projection. All of the things he claims he hated about me eight years ago he supposedly values in me now.
Firstly, staying for the kids or for the family is a serious error in judgment. All of those things I felt I had protected my children from were actions in vain. My daughter, now 13, is a typical teenager who does not especially value a traditional family. Most of her friends are from divorced families and her father is away often, sometimes for up to six months at a time, due to his job. I am basically a single mother and always have been. My son, 3 at the time of DDay, would have never even remembered his intact family had we divorced. I doubt my kids will ever thank me for sticking around with their father because it was “the right thing to do”. They will never have enough knowledge of events to thank me for sparing them the possibility the parade of X number of nutjob stepmoms they may have endured.
I just don’t think a couple’s sex life can survive this sort of thing intact. It wasn’t all that great to begin with, but I accepted it and at least I felt that warm, bonding feeling after we had sex. My husband never rejected me sexually, but he had always been an immature and semi-selfish lover. This is why I know that affairs and indiscretions, for women, are often more about power and need than they are sex. My husband was no sex god and everything he learned, he had learned for me. I still feel resentment for the fact that, after two kids, I am still petite and in good shape and my husband let himself go almost immediately after we married. Being physically appealing has never been a priority for him. Taking the time to discover things that would appeal to me has never been a priority. I am an open person and have shared fantasies throughout the marriage.
After DDay I was in shock and felt desperate. We had a short but intense time of hysterical bonding. Beyond that point, I feel I was used. I submitted to anything he wanted and I am ashamed of that. These are not things that I wanted and most of them were coerced. Some of these things were horribly painful and it would take days for my body to recover. In the beginning, I’d have emotional and physical reactions to these sex acts, similar to panic attacks, and my husband witnessed this. He’d tell me he was sorry and comfort me, but would then initiate the same sex acts again. I began to dread each time he would touch me, as none of these sexual encounters were geared towards my pleasure. I had to see a pelvic floor specialist because I began having issues with pain and other things. She told me that sometimes sexual abuse can cause these issues and that biofeedback and other physical therapy could help. I am still so ashamed and angry. My husband is so clueless. I relayed what my pelvic floor specialist said about sexual abuse and he said, “I’m so glad I’m not one of those guys that abuses women” and I looked at him and said, “You’re kidding, right? You’re the reason I’m having to basically retrain my vagina. You’re the reason I had to seek counseling, take antianxiety drugs, and take antidepressants for two years.” The shame extends into any future projections: would any future man want me if I divulged what I had done and put up with?
While I went to therapy to help myself and to help the marriage, he attended two sessions of marriage counseling and two appointments of individual therapy. He lied and downplayed during the marriage counseling, so I decided not to waste my time. His individual therapist, a psychologist who was kind and non-judgmental, told him he suspected he might be cyclothymic—which makes plenty of sense to me. He did not pursue treatment of any kind, claiming he could handle any mania/depression on his own simply because he was now aware of the problem. So, basically, a nonchalant bipolar individual married possibly the most neurotic woman on earth and wonders why things are kind of shitty.
Thank you for reading this ridiculously long post. I doubt anyone can offer me any help. Just confessing some of this some helps, though. No one cares if you’ve made a 15 year mistake when it is categorized as a marriage—especially when you are imperfect yourself. Everyone thinks my husband is wonderful and that I am so lucky because he is very affectionate. No one knows anything otherwise. I do love my husband and family, but I feel I compromised and lost myself along the way…
Did your counselor advise you to call an abuse hotline....your husband physically AND emotionally abused you, and it sounds as though he hasn't a clue. Or he just doesn't want to face the reality of his actions. I'm sad and angry for you.
After all this time, what do YOU want?
You cannot fix him. He needs to do that all by himself.
Try not to look back too much about the last 8/15 years worrying about your choices. They are in the past and part of your history; accept them.
You are still relatively young and have a long life still ahead of you.
What do you want it to look like?
I have decided to start individual counseling again in order to move past my feelings of regret. I would like to do what is best for myself and family, but I think it sucks that if I initiate divorce, especially after all of these years, I will appear to be the "bad" guy to my kids. I do not ever want them to know the awful things their father has done.
I hope that time spent with a counsellor might look at co-dependency issues. Your worry about how your children will regard you is part of the same problem as your tolerance of serious abuse. You sound very insightful and articulate, and yet it sounds like you have given up hope. Maybe you don't know what to hope for any more?
I think you are right about delving into issues like co-dependency with my counselor. In the past, I have focused more on anxiety issues. It is hard to really look at yourself and examine your weaknesses and faults.
I don't want to give the impression that I am being given beatings left and right at home. My relationship is very confusing because there is a lot of affection, kindness, and companionship shared. But, it is dysfunctional nonetheless and my kids deserve a better model. I just wanted them to have a better life than I had growing up and I know divorce would be confusing and hard on them.
Your worry about divorce seems to contradict your earlier statement:
Firstly, staying for the kids or for the family is a serious error in judgment. All of those things I felt I had protected my children from were actions in vain. My daughter, now 13, is a typical teenager who does not especially value a traditional family. Most of her friends are from divorced families and her father is away often, sometimes for up to six months at a time, due to his job. I am basically a single mother and always have been. My son, 3 at the time of DDay, would have never even remembered his intact family had we divorced. I doubt my kids will ever thank me for sticking around with their father because it was “the right thing to do”.
Probably because you feel ambivalence and fear. I hope your counsellor can help you with those feelings, and others, as well as probably a tendency to suppress feelings.
I feel everything you said.
I try and self-talk myself into believing in lessons learned, wisdoms gained. Now faced with a newer version of what would be the second go round of my misery, I am choosing differently. D papers are served and now waiting out my 90 days.
My son tells me he supports my decision and understands and I hope my unborn daughter is as wise and loving as my son is.
Hugs to you Lydia.
I think your children at this point portray feelings and beliefs that will easily change with maturity. It is amazing to see how my relationship with my parents has evolved through my own battles and challenges. What if your suffering and wisdom gained later helps them?
Myself I am working hard on getting past "regret" and I often have to remind myself that I have NO idea what is coming down the road that this has prepared me for...to just breathe and live for today. Even the bleak lonely days. They too must have a value/purpose.
If anything, the sharing of your story helps other people realize here that they are not in some special sort of hell designed just for them. I often come here for comfort that I am not alone, I am not a horrible monster suffering through a deserved fate.
Hugs to you.
The difference is I have many years on you. I am 63, and honey if I were only 40 again like you.
Trust me, you are young in the prime of your life and have much yet ahead of you.
Learn from your mistakes and move forward.
You can do it
You are so worth it
It is hard to really look at yourself and examine your weaknesses and faults.
I hope your IC will also help you with that kind of self talk. They are not 'weaknesses' and 'faults', they are coping strategies, mechanisms, survival modes. learned responses, other internalised voices, some of which have served you well and you don't need any more. Just think how alive you might be able to feel again, authentic, in touch with yourself.
I wish you joy, you deserve it.
Edie, I was touched by your profile story. Such lovely writing!
I think in part you are trapped by the image other people have of your husband; maybe you fear being judged if you left him, seen as an impossible to satisfy person? But the only true judge who matters in this is you. What YOU feel and want takes so much precedence over the idle, uninformed gossip of anyone outside of your situation. How the situation seems to be externally and how it feels on the inside can be worlds apart. And you have to be true to how it feels, no matter if everyone thinks your husband walks on water. That's just an image, not what's real.