1. After the last fiasco, we talked. He acknowledged his lack of communication last year was completely his doing and the fallout from it was a direct result of him not opening up. Totally not on me. He owned it. He recognized it. It bit him in the butt hard. He screwed up. He "gets it". I think he had his own version of a wake up and come to Jesus moment.
2. He is still incredibly burnt out and let down because the prior year didn't turn out like he'd hoped. Which he has to process. He has lost any and all ambition. His "get up and go" has completely got up and left. He is a shell. A ghost within a body, just floating thru life. He has lost any and all interest in anything. Including me.
3. Intimacy is gone. Which is a huge red flag. That is one thing he has always totally and completely enjoyed with utter abandon. Doesn't matter what is going on around us, when that bedroom door shut, he was safe. He teases me and says I'm like a camel. I could go months and care less about it. But he enjoys it every chance he gets. Not anymore. We have talked about it. It all ties in with points 1 and 2. And also 4.
4. He told me last week that he has/had lost the will to live. He would never, ever contemplate suicide. He would never leave me or the kids with that kind of trauma. But if an accident happened, he wouldn't fight it. He would welcome death's embrace. (Cause apparently and accidental death isn't "as bad" as suicide? I have no clue where his thought process is on that one.) Here's the kicker. We have discussed death before. He has always been adament that I remarry. I "don't need to be alone" and "the kids need a dad". BUT, when its reversed, he digs his heels in. No way is he remarrying. No way is he going to sleep with another woman, even if I'm dead. Nope. Not happening. I'm his one and only. Period.
It all boils down to this: I am not replaceable to him. But he is to me. He has always believed that. And unfortunately, my past actions have backed up his theory. We were laying in bed talking a couple nights ago and discussing this very thing. I looked him dead on the eye and said, "You are not replaceable. No one can ever take your place. You are special. You are unique. And you're mine." He broke down. He heard me. But I realize the doubts kick in. Part of the healing process.
5. Which should have been 1. Screw the mutha-effin' healing timeline. That thing has messed me up so much. QS is NOT on the typical BS timeline. At. All. Not even close. All the proactive junk I've done, preparing for the next stage? Waste of time. And I shot myself in the foot every single time. Its all wrong. Put every segment of the time line, write it on a piece of paper, put it in a bowl, and pull at random. That's QS. I've listened too much to the timeline and not just shut up and watch. (I would say listen but...there's not a lot to go off of most times)
6. He doesn't reach out to people. And I broke it down with him a little yesterday. I asked if he felt he was too good or above getting help and support. Quite the opposite. He doesn't feel good enough. He doesn't feel worth help and support. He's scared of humiliation and rejection. However, at the end of the conversation he didn't shut down. He seemed more open to talking to others. Maybe not on a forum setting or email. But maybe he will text two friends. Hey....do what works for you! Just do something!
7. I have a "Girl's Trip" scheduled this weekend. Been a work in progress for forever. Its part of my healing. Finding, making, and nurturing friendships. This trip is the first of its kind. Something I've never done. I have been watching things go down with QS and wonder if I should cancel. He refuses. I "need this". And I won't be far away. About 30 miles. And will only be away from home from Saturday morning to late lunch Sunday. He has work and church so he'll be busy. And it will give him bonding time with the kids. They will be going to work with him Saturday. I'm nervous, but have to take him at his word. That it will be ok. That he will be fine. And if he needs me, he can call and I will come straight home. And maybe a day and a half "rest" will be beneficial to him. To us both.
This is scary territory. Seeing him so broken down and...dead. There is no light in his eyes. He enjoys nothing. I don't know what to do. Don't think there's really anything I can do. Just hold his hand and watch closely. I have to be strong so he can fall apart.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
You really are doing everything you can. This is something for him to process. I know that IC really isn't his thing, but this is something he sounds like he needs help with.
QS, in your corner. I send you strength also. PM if you want.
[This message edited by 5454real at 9:56 AM, March 18th (Tuesday)]
UnexpectedSong - I will always be the one with that broken soul - pieced and glued together, maybe, but you can see the seams and duct tape. It's ugly.
In my early days here, I always used this quote to describe a remorseful WS, forever scared by the brokenness of their honour and integrity but in recent months, especially as I read of BS's who, 5 or 10 years out, are still suffering from doubt, fear, bitterness and anger, it has come to best describe our BS's.
Trytoforgive - As remorseful WS's, it is hard to know when let go of the reins and know that they truly are responsible for their healing, as well. We can stop the bleeding, but we can't give our BS’s the will to live, KWIM?
I can see LF in the reflection of your H and yes, it hurts like hell to see what we have done to our spouses. As you said, we can be open and honest, we can be honest and reflective but no matter what we say or do, our spouses healing must come from inside them. You can only continue to do what you have already done. Be there for him. Support him, talk to him and give him a safe environment for his own healing.
If you have lost hope, hold onto faith. When faith deserts you, hold onto sheer stubbornness and pigheadedness - HUFI.
I agree with Moo. I spent a long time not reaching out to anyone for my own reasons. I didn't even begin to start to unscrew myself until I reached out. The thing is, I thought I was stronger than I was - that I had always been able to cope on my own. I was wrong. That was hard to admit.
Moo, he has numbers programmed in his phone. People he's met repeatedly. People he trusts. They have been in his exact position. He "knows" them so its not so "weird" for him.
Like I said. Yesterday he didn't shut down at my suggestion. He seemed more open to the idea of talking. Even if its just a "Hi. Today sucks." He seems committed to trying.
SI scares him for some reason. I asked if he wanted me to disappear. Would it help. He rejected that idea. I wonder if its not so much his opening up, but the outpouring of support he would get from others. Cause ya know, he doesn't feel he deserves it?
I dunno. Not going to analyze it to death. He has access, outlets, and men standing by. Its all there. He just has to reach out when he's ready.
[This message edited by Aubrie at 10:19 AM, March 18th (Tuesday)]
My BH just opened up to 2 of his buddies and we are getting closer to 2 years out. They had gone to him because they know he's "off" and by their appearances, throwing his marriage away by his actions. They can see it. They wanted him to smarten up. He told them everything. I get nausea thinking about what if they tell people. My BH says "bro code" is different and they won't say a word. I hope this is finally going to be real R. Maybe that's what QS needs. Like you said just texting a friend. Something!!!! Other than what he's been doing. I sure hope he can work on his healing for the sake of himself and you and the kids.
Yep timeline out the window! I gotta say that year 2 is right on the mark for totally sucking though. But it sounds like year 3 for you has been unexpectedly bad. A turning point is needed. I hope this was it
As someone who has been battling depression for most of their life, I've only recently been able to define or describe it to others. Some things you said QS have said sounds, to me, like a deep depression is settling in. It's so hard to differentiate between our response to trauma and depression, because they look the same from a lot of angles.
The utter loss of motivation is one of the key indicators that this is depression and can't be alleviated by logic or conversation.
I watched a TED talk a while ago, and it got a little long in parts but the speaker's description of depression settling in had me weeping because I could never put into words why I can't put a folded shirt in a dresser drawer, or why napping all day/week sounds appealing to me but I have to talk myself out of it every morning.
I'm in a better space thanks to meds and counseling. Crazz watched this video with me about a month ago and it really opened his eyes to what this is really about. There's sadness and anger where his affair is concerned, but it's just a gateway emotion to a depression that I have been prone to my entire life.
People haven't believed me because I'm active. I'm social, athletic.... I love holidays and going to the beach and art and music and parties and events... and I am depressed. I need to fight it every day so that it doesn't take over.
It sounds like QS might be in this bucket. I attached the link and I want to encourage him to take a look at it and see if something resonates.
Sending hugs to you both.
The biggest thing that jumps out at me (and apologies if I am projecting) is that what you describe in QS sounds like depression. If that is the case, he should seek professional help.
It's hard to see how you (together) can progress in your marital healing if he isn't able to function. Not enjoying anything should not be allowed to become a 'normal' condition. The lower he sinks, the harder it will be to come back up.
Take care, both of you.
I think he's trying to not stay stuck. He wants me to keep nudging him. He wants me to make life as normal as possible. Which is the main reason I haven't cancelled my trip. He wants life normal. Make plans, do stuff. Alone and as a family. Last weekend we walked the Greenway. This weekend, he made a wooden model Deby car thing with DS.
He has been making a real effort to talk more. Its the same stuff over and over and over. He's processing. And when he's done, he'll quit picking that particular item up and move to another one. He's all over the board right now. His FOO. Me. Us. The kids. He makes random observations. Stuff that is seemingly totally out of left field. But it was stuff that impacted him negatively and he never processed.
Would professional counseling be good? Definately. Not my call. I will not force him. All I'm doing is monitoring his safety. If he isn't throwing any additional red flags, I won't pull rank.
[This message edited by Aubrie at 1:01 PM, March 18th (Tuesday)]
I have hope that this video will help you both find a name for his feelings. It's not counseling, it's someone telling a story that hit so close to home for me I lost my breath for a moment.
It sounds like depression. You can't pull him out of it, and getting frustrated with someone with depression is like driving nails in the coffin. It looks ABSURD to someone on the outside - lazy and sulking all the time? Get over yourself! The sun is shining, the house smells like bacon, we're going to Disneyland.... only it doesn't matter. None of that matters.
If it's depression, look at it like it's a disease that if left unchecked is just going to eat him away from the inside.
It's not reasonable. It doesn't make sense - but it exists. His depression is NOT your fault, nor is it your job to pull him out of it. Identifying it and having compassion for what's going on inside of him will help, though.
I'm glad that you are going to try the link. If it doesn't register with either of you then I'm off base and I apologize.
[This message edited by Jrazz at 1:15 PM, March 18th (Tuesday)]
I agree- it sounds like depression. Does any of this sound familiar? From Mayo Clinic:
•Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
•Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
•Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
•Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
•Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
•Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
•Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
•Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
•Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
•Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
•Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
•Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
I think if it is suspected that he has depression, then he should seek professional help.
There is no shame in this. There is stigma attached but even that has alleviated as more knowledge/awareness is gained in the field of mental health.
He IS worth seeking help. I cannot stress this enough. If he were diabetic or afflicted with some other disease then he would seek professional help. Why then should he neglect his mental health? He is SO worth it. Your two precious children are testaments to that. You are a testament to that, as is your relationship, which is growing stronger with time. But he's worth it ALL. ON. HIS. OWN. MERIT..
I agree, you can't force him to seek help. So, what to do? As a "fixer" I bet you feel so disjointed right now.
Have you asked QS what he wants? What healing looks like to him? What it would take for him to be interested in life again? What it means for you, for him, for your family to be a disengaged "ghost" in his own life? What does he need to happen in order for things to not JUST be normal again but for him to be engaged and interested again?
[This message edited by abbycadabby at 1:54 PM, March 18th (Tuesday)]
He told me last week that he has/had lost the will to live. He would never, ever contemplate suicide. He would never leave me or the kids with that kind of trauma. But if an accident happened, he wouldn't fight it. He would welcome death's embrace. (Cause apparently and accidental death isn't "as bad" as suicide?
Oh I can so relate to this ^^^^. So much that I didn't want to reply. When I was going through my troubles, this is exactly how I felt. I would be driving on the interstate and see the bridge abutment and actually have to focus to keep myself from driving right into it. After all, if I ran into it, it would be declared an accident, I lost control so xWW would get the insurance, the kids would be taken care of and nobody would have to worry about me being in the way. This only subsided after I drove my car into someone else's car in a parking lot because I was so zoned out I couldn't concentrate. Actually I got into 3 accidents in 4 weeks including totaling my truck. After that I finally started coming around.
He is still incredibly burnt out and let down because the prior year didn't turn out like he'd hoped. Which he has to process. He has lost any and all ambition. His "get up and go" has completely got up and left.
This is the part of my current job situation that I own. The hole I dug myself was too deep to get out of coupled with office politics and a king sized arsehole and a few mionion asses and I just shut down. The place became toxic but I still struggle with a lack of motivation when I have so much I am planning for and want to accomplish. The only thing that seems to break the cycle for me is my running. When I run I really seem to snap out of it and I just cannot wait for this cold weather to finally go away so I can get out there.
Is there any possibility that you and QS can get away for a long weekend? Leave the kids with your sister and go somewhere you haven't been to too often or someplace you love - Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis. Get away and just break the routine and spend some time away. Maybe it can help to just spend some time in a new area focusing on each other to get over the hump. I also recommend that he either start exercising or get on some ADs. It really does make a huge difference.
And finally once again please make sure he knows he can call me at any time. I've been there and am very willing to talk.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - Aubrie
Is there any possibility that you and QS can get away for a long weekend? Leave the kids with your sister and go somewhere you haven't been to too often or someplace you love - Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis. Get away and just break the routine and spend some time away. Maybe it can help to just spend some time in a new area focusing on each other to get over the hump.
Love this idea.
Is there any possibility that you and QS can get away for a long weekend?
I suggested this last Friday. That's 3 votes from some of, IMHO, the most intelligent people on SI!!!
I kid, I kid. But maybe there could be something to this idea if 3 of us suggest it?
I can relate to gahurt's story about the bridge. I did the same thing. I had a 3 year old in the backseat, and one growing in my womb. Driving down the road, I would eye those massive, silver phone poles. Just a flick of the steering wheel and a press on the gas pedal. That's all it would take. My children's lives stopped me from doing it, but only barely.
All the "blah" feelings, aversion to intimacy, the anxiety, fear, exhaustion, all these symptoms are very familiar to me. The difference between he and I, is that he spoke up. I never did. I shoved it and withdrew even further within myself.
Yes abbycadabby, I can see many of those elements. Probably 10 of the 12 you listed. The"fixer" in me struggles to want to do exactly that. Fix it. But I know I cannot. And I have done very well with shutting up and just watching and listening. He acknowledged that with a note. Said I was a "supportive ear". Progress on my part fa sho.
We have a trip planned for the end of April. To a city he's always dreamed of going. And it helps there is an old military fort/museum there. It will be a family trip. I sugggested leaving the kids. But he doesn't want that. So, family it is. We have a friend in that city who has offered to keep the children one night so QS and I can go downtown and enjoy the district. So we'll still be getting "alone time".
We seem pretty well as a couple, weirdly. Probably caused I'm learning to chill the crap out more. I dunno. This is new territory, and while I'm scared, I'm not paralyzed. It is what it is, and we take it one day at a time.
My H had been down in the dumps too, I was taking it so personal because he is usually my rock. It was simple though. His lack of success in work was causing him to tailspin into a tornado, it was bad enough to be have work issues swirling around in there, then the relationship issues got sucked in, and the family issues came up too. It is a huge thing for some men's ego, to be able to provide abundantly.
The best thing is to be patient and not take it personal. I still get in my mood where I am like "is it not enough to know that you get to come home to wonderful me no matter how crappy your day was?!"
But it is not about me, I may be the center of his universe, but I am not the only thing in his universe. Like it or not I have to share him with work, family, etc. and they sometimes bring him down and there is nothing I can do for him except endure the hard times with him.
Stop focusing on fixing him, and just focus on being there and helping him get through it in his own way.
2002/3 (him) EA
Tog. 16 yrs, Marr. 15 and counting!
It's difficult to be locked within your own mind. I get it. And focusing on the positives is bull. Last night he made the statement, "Why does my life have to be so hard. How could it get any worse?" Well I personally know of a HOST of reasons how it could be worse. But it won't resonate with him at this point. Reminding him and telling him to just choose to be happy is not going to fix him.
I cannot fix this for him. I know this. I'm not trying to. However, I AM trying to be as supportive and understanding as I can be. THAT will go a long way in this process.
Razzie, I casually pulled up and watched the video at dinner last night. He sat and watched the whole thing. Didn't move. Didn't make a peep. When it was over, he got up and started changing outlets in DD's room. Did it resonate? Absolutely.
Put the kids to bed, he showered, I showered, and he finally spoke. "Why me?" I don't know Honey.
He talked, I talked. He feels stupid. I explained depression is a medical condition. Just like the flu, or the chicken pox, or lupus, or RA. It has a bad rap because of the "mental illness" part of it, however it is science. He was almost, relieved (?) to hear that. I'm looking some information up for him on the science part of it. The breakdowns and what is affected, and why. If he can SEE charts or diagrams, it will click more than just words. Kwim?
We discussed quite a bit before the sleep overtook him. He said if he's honest, it started creeping up on him since last summer. Around July. Now, he's up to his eyeballs in "blah" and feels utterly overwhelmed. All I can do is support him and make him as comfortable and safe as possible. If this takes 6 months or forever.
One thing I'm so grateful for, my friends. Since I don't have a relationship with FOO, this would be so much more difficult and the helplessness would overtake me without a place to recharge and revolt myself. I cant take care of QS if I neglect or run myself down in the process. As it is, I have outside outlets and support. My children give me joy and light. I woke up this morning with a sadness in my heart. DS popped up over the side of my bed and promptly did something utterly adorable that made me laugh.
*sigh* If there is anything I can do (Not to fix! To support.) Please, let me know.