fish, I think you have a good grasp of the possibilities here.
I’ve become a pessimist when it comes to sudden changes in behavior. While your wife may suddenly be enlightened that things are abnormal, that doesn’t translate to long-term changes in her behavior. And you’re very right that even if she can/will find a therapist quickly, progress takes years, not weeks, and is easy to stretch indefinitely.
Thanks everyone. This forum really is the biggest help ever!
greatcoastal thanks for the links. Reading some of those almost made me cry. I have known for a long time that my wife has BDP (rather than NPD), or at least most of the characteristics, although not a formal diagnosis just my observations. I thought that I knew a lot about it but some of the information was new to me: particularly the article on argument styles, I thought the author must have been watching us argue!! It explains why I come out of an argument wondering what just hit me with my head spinning. And why we never seem to actually discuss the issue she originally brought up, but everything else she is angry with me about spanning the last 20 years..... again!
DryCreek yes when I have mentioned divorce in the past she suddenly got interested in sex, once or twice maximum just to make me change my mind. It is a predictable pattern. She has now totally and completely lost interest in sex so it's a promise to see a therapist. Realistically it is just a stalling tactic and nothing else.
Our eldest cat has got really ill over the last few days and I think she is going to die very soon, she is 18 so she is allowed to call it a day. A bit of a break from thinking about marriage issues until she says goodbye to us.
I believe this is another delay tactic for your wife. I wonder how she would react if you stuck to your guns and told her that her attempts at seeking therapy were too little, too late?
Here's my guess from my own experience ,and reading of 100's of others like mine, she will then lawyer up, move money, and manipulate the entire family against you. She will play "the victim card" to the max.
It's all about power , control and avoiding the truth.
Could very well be. But she wouldn’t go anywhere near a psychologist, psychiatrist, or individual therapist, even when advised to do so by a marriage counselor. In 2012. And again in 2019. So I doubt she’ll ever be diagnosed.
fish, my late wife was mentally ill, although her diagnosis was schizo-affective, not BPD. Basically, she had elements of schizophrenia and bipolar. After our son was born, she was paranoid about getting pregnant again. Our sex life died, even though I got a vasectomy. She also kept our son under her control, not letting him play sports or go too far alone. We should have divorced, but that would have left one or both of us in poverty. I live in the USA where there is no NHS. I could not afford two apartments on my salary and her disability. She eventually died I’d cancer and heart disease two years ago.
My son and I had an honest talk about how his mother would cope with this COVID-19 quarantine. My son confessed that he was glad she wasn’t around for this, as his life would be way more restrictive. I confessed that I would give anything to have her alive but be divorced from her. Being married to her was stressful, but I miss talking to her about our son. No matter what, we always had our son that we brought into the world together.
Since her death, he has played three sports, learned to ride a bike, and got a driver’s license. He also has friends whose parents are divorced but co-parent very well. I remember watching his homecoming date posing with her divorced parents as the father’s second wife took a picture of all three of them. It was smiles all around.
I am still dealing with my wife’s mental illness along with her death. She was very sweet and loving, but the paranoia and the self-centered behavior made both my son and I very resentful of her. We both miss her, but life is better for us both of us now that she’s not with us. I’m in a steady healthy relationship now.
I share my story to point out that divorce is not the same as death, and staying married to someone with a serious mental illness drains both you and your children. The resentment builds until it poisons your entire life.
I have to say, the concept of "dating" while married sounds... odd.
To me, "dates" are activities meant to test a relationship for the plausibility of deeper involvement. I never saw dating as a permanent lifestyle, but rather a sort of way station on a journey to marriage, the "Final Destination" where I would find a welcoming family, a supportive family, and a home that both benefited from economies of scale and provided comfortable, unlimited sexual activity.
What fools we mortals be. 🙄😱🤦♀️
This whole journey toward a destination must be exactly why I have zero appetite for “dating” right now, or for the foreseeable future... 🤢
Dating while married is also composed of "activities meant to test a relationship for the plausibility of deeper involvement." It, too, is "a way station on a journey to marriage, ... a welcoming, supportive family, and a home that both benefited from economies of scale and provided comfortable, unlimited sexual activity."
I lack the unlimited sex. Dating would have gotten me to that "Final Destination". It just so happens the welcoming family, I already had and might not have been with the ladies I date. (though in the case of polyamory, it might mean merged welcoming supportive families) Not dating when unhappily married is an unfinished journey and your travelling companion wants to stay put. You suggest going on, taking pictures and coming back, but they say you mustn't go see what you originally set out for because.... well, the reasons vary.
As for you Padgemi, I've plans to date if my marriage ends (no time soon, that I can see, happy to say). I'll be very clear that any future marriage will be open. We might never see anyone else, but the option is always there. Pre-nup probably mandatory. Does she still want a ring? I might say Yes.
Fish isn't sure he wants an open marriage, he says. Strikes me that this recent reset can have a time limit. If he can (platonically) date a month from now, and date non-platonically three months from now, perhaps he can agree to the reset attempt. Her reaction may tell him volumes. She should be willing to offer an answer to him other than indefinite faith. If not, the promises ring hollow. She should not resist giving herself incentives to make earnest effort unless her offer isn't sincere.
If he knows there's light at the end of the tunnel and sexlessness need not be part of his family life, perhaps seeing relatives for holidays isn't objectionable at all. That sex and family must be joined is the ideal, but sex outside marriage may be better than divorce which in turn appears to be better than sexlessness in Fish's case. As soon as I started dating, my wife and I got along so much better. The resentment of her controlling my sexuality was toxic. Turns out, she reset pretty damn well, thanks to therapy. (Stay tuned a year from now...)
We buried our cat yesterday. Life has been all about the cat for the last week since she was so unwell, and talk of divorce dried up. It's my 2 week summer holiday in one week from now so I thought we might as well have a nice family holiday and I have booked up a lovely camp site for us to go to for a week of that, and my mother has invited herself down for the other week. I just have to make the most of it and enjoy family life as it is for the next few weeks.
Also my youngest daughter has been very low for the last year and now isn't eating properly, I'm sure it's our fault, living with parents who don't get on must have had some effect. Our doctor referred her and she is suddenly having assessments at the hospital and is under the eating disorders team. It is bringing us closer though, and making us talk. I have to think very carefully about what is best for her.
So life has conspired to put everything on hold again. Pushing for a divorce would have ruined everyone's summer so I don't really have an option right now.
To be honest I feel completely lost now, and a bit upset about losing our cat. I thought that I had finally got the momentum going, crossed the bridge and knew where my life was going but that's all on hold now, and I'm not sure of anything again. it's going to be difficult to get any momentum going again after the holiday.
fish. I’m so sorry about the loss of your cat. I know first hand how difficult it is losing a beloved pet- especially when it seems everything around you is falling apart. I learned that it’s never a good time to make those hard decisions and there will always be good reasons to keep the status quo. A therapist helped me focus on making the best decision for me. I hope you enjoy your Holiday. We all need a break sometimes. But I also hope you don’t stay in that status quo for long. You only have one life to live- you should live it well.
Post by saarinista on Jun 27, 2020 15:02:58 GMT -5
fish I had an eating disorder in my teens too. Usually they are an attempt to assert control over a seemingly uncontrollable environment, like a miserable home life. My parents fought a lot, and I was in the middle. It's no fun. Staying for the kids is overrated, to a degree.
Please forgive any typos or poor sentence structure. As I often say, you can have it perfect or you can have it now. Here, I choose now.
Thanks again. Talking on here really is very helpful.
My daughter has eaten a few full meals in the last few days (ate a whole homemade pizza with dough balls, although I have to say my pizza dough is getting rather good with practice!) She has an assessment with a psychiatrist at the end of next week, at least I will be there as I missed her other appointments due to work. I hope the subject of her parents relationship comes up although that could use up the whole assessment, but suspect they may not be that interested, although I think it is 99% of the problem. I used to be able to refer for family therapy many years ago and the therapists always told me they hardly spoke to the child, it was always the parents issues they looked for, sort that out and the child will be happy.
saarinista I'm sorry to hear that you had an eating disorder. Do you have any advice on how to handle my own daughter?
I am struggling. I really don't like being at home with my wife right now everything she does irritates me beyond belief and 2 weeks off work is going to be difficult, particularly with my mother staying for half of it. I am also feeling very sexually frustrated and think I might explode soon.
I attribute my eating disorder DIRECTLY to my frustration at being unable to get my parents to stop fighting and be happy, even if they had to divorce. I encouraged them to divorce but they never did.
They had a horrible marriage, and I was very much in the middle of their constant battles. Though I didn't see it that way at the time, I've since done a lot of reading and believe that restricting my food intake was my way of successfully controlling the only thing I felt I COULD control which, was what I put in my mouth. Controlling my eating behavior and getting attention for losing weight was a coping mechanism which enabled me to substitute personal seccess and autonomy for my perceived failure to "fix" their marriage, which I could not do, of course.
After 2 years of semi starvation, during which I lost approximately half of my body weight, I finally started eating again when I got a waitressing job. This gave me a feeling of autonomy, got positive strokes outside the home, and gave me both exercise and access to food, both of which were helpful to my struggle to get healthier.
Some 45 years later, I'm back to my norm. I'm short and not very athletic. I'd rather read than exercise, though I force myself to do the latter. I'm always trying to lose 10 of 15 pounds. But that's better than dying of an eating disorder.
I am not a health professional. Take everything I say with a grain of salt.my thoughts are based on personal experience and informal (albeit exhaustive) reading of scientific papers and mainstream books/articles.
Here's a decent article on anorexia nervosa. While don't know if your daughter has AN, I think there is some useful information in this article for your contemplation prior to her appointment.
Thank you saarinista . She is actually now continuing to eat well and seems much happier. I think that she now feels as if she is being listened to, and is getting a lot of attention. I'm not sure it would be labelled as anorexia nervosa just yet as she has maintained a good weight and her eating is very up and down. We will see what happens - holiday time now which hopefully will be fun.
Marriage update: we had a big 'conversation' a few days ago. I was wanting to wait until after our summer holiday to talk about divorce again, but my wife brought the subject up. She got very aggressive, as usual, and we resolved nothing, she maintained that sex was not important and that I was selfish, and told me that every website she has ever seen says this is true (I should have asked her to show me one because I have never seen one that says sex is not necessary in a marriage). She decided that she wasn't coming on holiday with us to 'play happy families', and that I could take the children away on my own. She didn't speak to me for 24 hours, and went around slamming doors.
I think that deep down she knows that sex is important and is angry with herself.
I carried on as normal trying to be pleasant. High emotion does trigger off some passion and I couldn't help kissing her last night before bed, and I felt quite turned on (human psychology is interesting). I haven't looked at her in that way for over a year.
This morning she smiled at me in a sheepish way and said that she wished we had made love last night, and that we would have to do something tonight. And she is now coming on holiday.
One part of me knows that this is most likely just reactive desire. On the other hand it's a year and a half since we have made love, I feel something for her for whatever reason, and why not just give it one last go. I could be very disappointed, the last time we made love it was so bad like making love to a dead animal, I stopped before cumming and couldn't carry on, and she couldn't have cared less. I will keep my expectations low, and if it is a ploy to keep me in the marriage I will know before the end of the 2 week holiday so nothing lost. On the other hand 1 in a million chance she has changed that would be a welcome miracle.
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