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feeling conflicted

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi strong single mamas,

I am so happy that this forum is here on mothering. I have been reading your posts and feeling that there is actually some hope for me. I thought I would put some of what I am struggling with out there as well.

My husband and I have been seperated since February, when I found out he was having an online emotional affair. At first I was devastated and in shock. But once I came to terms with the seperation, I started to realize that this relationship has been a huge emotional drain on me for so many years. My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years. He is not an emotionally stable person at all. He has been very depressed and his way of dealing with it was to become addicted to online gaming. I put a lot of energy into taking care of him as well as my daughter who is on the autism spectrum. My husband is on the spectrum too, actually.

So, anyway, since the seperation I have been working on setting limits with him and boundaries, etc. He tells me that he doesn't have contact with this online girl anymore (I don't know if I believe him) and that he doesn't know what he wants. Maybe he wants to reconcile, maybe not, he doesn't know. HOnestly, I feel like I have a responsibility not to slam the door in his face if we could reconcile, but I don't really want to be his caretaker anymore either. I have told him very clearly that before we can reconcile we would have to commit to counceling as a couple and he also would need to address his depression and addiction. I don't see him doing any of those things.

Tonight we had a really honest conversation. I laid it out for him (again). These are my deal-breakers and if he doesn't want to do those things, that is ok. I am going to be fine on my own and I really am dealing with this ok. Then he tells me that he has been leaning towards just moving on and not reconciling, but he is afraid i will become vindictive if he does. Kinda made me mad because through this whole seperation he keeps being paranoid that I am going to try to keep our daughter from him or try to ruin his life and I have not done anything like that at all. I don't know why he would think that. So I told him not to worry about that, I really am ok. If he just wants to move on we can do that and still be co-parents and on good terms. Seems like I am being reasonable. And he responds by going into a depression and leaving my apartment saying his life is worthless and there is no point and all his usual self-pity. I don't know what that means. I'm tired of trying to figure him out.

Ugh. I think I am less conflicted that I thought. Just mostly sad because I have realized that I can't make him into someone he is not and I'm just gonna have to let that go.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.
post #2 of 13
My take on it is that he isn't doing fine on his own. I don't know if he has given up his online affair. But it sounds to me like he was hoping to reconcile and when he got the feeling you weren't going to chase after him, he decided to take it to the next level of severity in desperation that you would change your mind and chase after him and soothe his ego. From what you wrote, it doesn't sound like reconciliation would be good for you. And energy you spend trying to take care of him is energy taken away from caring for your DD.

I can't say if he was trying to reconcile for the right reasons or just because he misses having someone keep his life together for him. I tend to think it is the latter because as you said, he hasn't done the things that you listed as your deal breakers.

I'm sure this is hard, and you are right, you can't make him into someone he is not and you do need to let go of that. Who knows, maybe you will be able to rekindle a healthy friendship between you as co-parents. If there is anyway you can get counseling for yourself you might find it helpful in healing.
post #3 of 13
it sounds like you are ready to move on. even if he's not, even if it's scary for him or he feels worthless, it is probably for the best. i hear you saying you're not going to be his caretaker anymore, which is great, because as draining and annoying as that was for you - it wasn't healthy for him either (even though he wanted it).

now you've told him what he needs to do in order to pull his life together. it's up to him whether he does it or not. it's not your responsibility. but even if he does it - it's okay for you to close the door on getting back together, because you can't wait around for your life to start. it is okay to move on.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses. I think that you are both right on in many ways. I think that he would be more comfortable if I was actually falling apart and trying to hold onto him and chase after him. I think that I would prefer him to just decide he is done with the marriage so we both can move on without ambiguity, but it's hard for me to be the one to say "yes, this is over, I'm moving on now." I still have a small hope that maybe he could deal with his issues, then we coudl deal with our issues and make a true marriage and partnership. But the likelihood of that happening is so small and there is a very real danger that instead we would fall right back into me trying to take care of him and fix him. It's exhausting just contemplating actually getting back together. This process of finding out who I am and what I need is really hard but so worth it. I don't want to go back to the old unhealthy behaviors at all.
post #5 of 13
Whatever your former spouse's issues, it seems that you're starting to realize that you can't make him be or do anything (just as he seems frustrated with the fact that he no longer controls you). His statements of self-pity are designed to get you to feel sorry for him and capitulate. Have you asked yourself whether you'd actually be content and able to trust him again even if you were to reconcile and go to counselling, etc?

Perhaps give yourself a cut-off date where *you* decide that he's had enough time to prove whether or not he wants to change, and then move on? I know how hard it is to be the "bad guy" who makes the decision, but then again, no one is going to look out for your best interests except you...

My personal opinion on the situation is that you've been given an opportunity to see what your life could be like outside the marriage, and it seems you're doing quite well on your own.
post #6 of 13
I agree with Halfasianmomma about thinking about creating a deadline. Would it help or be possible to agree not to talk about it or make any decisions for 3 months, and then see how you both are feeling?

I know this is easier said than done, but I do think that sometimes there is momentum and pressure to make a final decision, when in certain circumstances there is value in just treading water with the status quo and seeing whether time offers any clarity.
post #7 of 13
i also like the idea of a date. if it's difficult for you to be the one to call it quits, a deadline for action on his part may be a way for you to look at the situation as one in which he chose not to take the necessary steps, so then you chose to be done. it's not all on him or all on you.

i wouldn't tell him any of that though. just have it in your mind, as a way to say, "i gave him a fair chance, and now i've waited long enough - he has proven he's never going to change so now my only reasonable choice is to move on."
post #8 of 13
Also, if you're like me and you're entertaining the thought "but what if leaving him for good is the worst mistake of my life? What if we're meant to be together", perhaps it might help to think that if you are meant to be, it's going to happen whether you fight for it or not. Who knows what the future holds way down the road? But today, right now, he is exactly who he is willing and capable of being...if you do not accept that person completely, then it's only fair to be honest about it.

I also agree with carriemama about giving yourself the gift of stillness. When in doubt, do nothing.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I actually have had a couple of counceling visits. I can only get in about once a month but just saw the councelor this week. She also said that it would be good to come up with a time frame. Although she suggested being up front with him and letting him know that 1. these are the things that I need in order to consider reconciling, 2. it's his choice to do these things or not, 3. if the timeframe passes without any movement towards those issues then I am going to assume that he is not willing to work on that and move forward with filing for divorce. I actually gave him a really long timeframe. We both just signed year leases so that seemed logical that we would take this year ahead of us and both figure things out. I told him that if he wants to proceed with filing for divorce before that then he doesn't have to wait a year. But I'm not going to be in limbo forever and in this year I am going to work on my issues and making my life and my daughter's life better. I am going to stop taking care of him and leave his issues for him to figure out. It really seemed like the conversation went well up until the point where he left and then said how depressed he was and his life wasn't worth anything and he ruins everything, and on and on.

On one hand a year seems really long. But if in that year I really am not letting him control me, I am not taking his issues on as my own and I am being firm with boundaries, then I think it could be a good time for "being still" and learning about myself. I don't have any interest in trying to date or look for another relationship and don't think I would be ready for that for more than a year anyway. I have not really had much time as a single adult in my life and think that I would like to do what I want for a while and figure myself out.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
Also, if you're like me and you're entertaining the thought "but what if leaving him for good is the worst mistake of my life? What if we're meant to be together", perhaps it might help to think that if you are meant to be, it's going to happen whether you fight for it or not. Who knows what the future holds way down the road? But today, right now, he is exactly who he is willing and capable of being...if you do not accept that person completely, then it's only fair to be honest about it.

I also agree with carriemama about giving yourself the gift of stillness. When in doubt, do nothing.
I do have this nagging thought sometimes. I will be hiking in the woods with my daughter, both of us having a great time, and think "I wish H was here and enjoyed doing this too" even though he has NEVER gone hiking with us and it's just not who he is.
post #11 of 13
and welcome. i am glad to hear you being so honest with yourself. i know that at varying points during my former relationship, i was not so real with myself. it gives me a lot of hope when you said that you realize that you cannot change him. you are so right and i am glad that you feel that you can be supported here. welcome!
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the welcome and the support. It really means a lot.
post #13 of 13
A year might seem like a long time, but it will go by quickly really. I think it sounds like you have a good plan. Go do what you enjoy, discover who you are as an adult, and give him his space.

I would start keep records now though just in case this time next year you are seeking a divorce. You will want to be able to prove how much support financially and time wise he has been consistently devoting to your DD. It's not a pretty thought, but it could save you some pain later.

Best wishes to you on this journey for yourself this coming year.
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