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Possibly not a stepmom much longer - Page 2

post #21 of 60
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, in addition to still recovering from your mc. Your dh may get himself back together in a few weeks. He's probably scared and very stressed.
post #22 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. This distress is just so out of the blue.

I sat down with him the other night to try and sort out what he's really thinking, and he brought up problems in our marriage that I didn't know were problems. He made me out to be some kind of ogre almost. But I was thrilled, because of course if it's me I can fix it, but if it's him I can't. So I was happy for a bit, but then realized it didn't necessarily all make sense, as the behavior he was upset about happened before he got me pregnant.

He's being all lovey-dovey romantic now, and took me out to dinner and dancing the other night and is being all cuddly and sweet. But it kills me, because I don't know if I can believe it. My stomach is in a knot and has been for days -- I'm sure I'm losing weight already. I'm just a sad pile of nerves and can't really eat or even do much at work. I just want to cry all the time now. But then I'll get a little wave of productivity and think it will be all better.

This isn't the first time he's pulled the rug out from under me. There was one time he had found a job near where I lived, signed a contract to start in a few months, and then he called me up late one night and told me without warning that he was quitting the job he hadn't started (it takes usually a year to get a job in his field, if you're lucky, and this was a dream job for him) and that he wasn't moving here and wouldn't marry me, etc. We didn't speak for a few weeks, but when we did I took him to the doc and that was when he was diagnosed bipolar -- we hadn't known about it before. I thought that since he was being treated now we wouldn't get any more big reversals. He's been stable now for well over a year.

The behavior now seems similar to me, but to him it's completely unrelated. He was perfectly rational and cold both times, and both times still claimed to love me deeply. But he says this isn't an episode. If it is, then it's the first big one since I got him diagnosed and he got meds. If it isn't, then I don't know what to think. He's very insistent that this has nothing to do with his bipolar, and his doc is backing him up for now. He was so cold the other day, telling me how, yes, he's breaking a commitment, but that's what he does. I mean, really, wtf! He was basically trying to talk me into leaving him! I'm so lost as to how to react. Of course it's unacceptable, but then we are married and I do love him and I am committed to him. He sounds nothing like himself when we discuss all this. He's much more normal in lovey-dovey mode, but I'm fairly certain if I bring this up while he's being romantic, he'll get all cold again. He goes to the counselor this week and then we'll go together next. I really wonder how that will go.

I've thought that since bipolar is genetic, that maybe if he and I stay together I should still go the donor route for sperm so the child would be less likely to have it, but then there's no guarantee with donors, either -- they could donate before they know or could just omit it.

I'm just so confused. When he's good he's so wonderful and I always love him so much.

Some of you mentioned protecting myself, and I seem to be better at protecting my finances than my emotions. The house is in my name only and I bought one that I could afford by myself if needed. There have been moments where I think it's too small, but at least I don't have to worry about the house for now.
post #23 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
T sort out what he's really thinking, and he brought up problems in our marriage that I didn't know were problems. He made me out to be some kind of ogre almost. But I was thrilled, because of course if it's me I can fix it, but if it's him I can't. So I was happy for a bit, but then realized it didn't necessarily all make sense, as the behavior he was upset about happened before he got me pregnant.
Ah sweet one, so sorry you are going through this. The above concerns me. I don't know what the issues are but seems like he's placing all blame and responsibility on you. Putting you in a position of "fixing" it. It meaning you? Not cool.
post #24 of 60
I'm so so sorry that things are still so bad. I think that this is another episode. There is really no way to distinguish between episodes and personality traits because the personality will be affected by being BP.

I completely understand why you have that not in your stomach. No matter how much you love him and how much he loves you it doesn't feel safe to love and trust him. I worry about what he said about you marriage. I think he is shifting the blame. It doesn't sound rational to me.

Please try to eat. I know how hard that is but if your blood sugar is low you'll feel sad and depressed and you won't even think straight. Can you make smoothies if you don't have any appetite?

Hugs!

Anne
post #25 of 60
I'm so sad for you and all that you are going through right now. You are being given excellent advice on this thread, so I'll just add my

and wish you some peace of mind during this difficult time.
post #26 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Thanks for all the advice. This distress is just so out of the blue.
Time for you to "go cold" and protect yourself. Are you absolutely certain that there is no other woman involved? If there is, would it be a deal breaker?

What IS IT with the bipolar diagnosis these days? I thought it was pretty rare, but I have two good friends who have straying spouses and both chalk it up to bipolar disorder, which had been previously undiagnosed. Both women work in the mental health care field in different capacities. The meds for this illness are notoriously difficult to fit, so be sure he is with a dr. who can work with him while he fine-tunes them. So . . . my point is that since his bipolar was diagnosed so recently, he may not have found the treatment that works for him yet. Also, since people with bipolar tend to act out with excessive behaviour, including spending, gambling, and promiscuity, he may want to run away to keep this behaviour from being discovered.

Violet, it feels 'out of the blue,' but it's been shaky business all along. He left his first wife and kids and went across country, parenting via videoconference. He was willing to have you foot the bill for travel expenses and possibly child support. You've grown resentful, particularly of his ex with whom you had a friendship before and about whose marriage you had much intimate information, and you have described yourself as fighting the urge to become sarcastic with his kids when they have compared homes. His parents don't acknowledge your marriage. This stuff adds a lot of pressure. Adding a child when he's in the middle of finding employment and sorting through the baggage with the previous family he made is asking for trouble. He may feel guilty about his long-distance parenting arrangment.

Protect yourself, but stop overfunctioning in the relationship. Step back, do your work, get some grief counseling, and let him figure it out.
post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
Protect yourself, but stop overfunctioning in the relationship. Step back, do your work, get some grief counseling, and let him figure it out.
Hardest advice in the world to take, but yeah, that.

Violet, mental illness is not like high cholesterol. You don't usually find one drug, or one mix, and bam, you're good for decades. Very often the drugs work for a while, then stop, then you have to find new ones. Sometimes you can't find new ones that work. That usually takes months or years of experimenting. Therapy for an organic disorder is of limited use; all it has to do with is management of symptoms.

And yes, it's highly heritable.

The fact that you're the one who marches him to the doc is telling. I can tell you from experience that you're setting yourself up to be a nurse, not a partner, and relationships have a hell of a time recovering from a thing like that.

He's done this twice to you, and God knows how many times to other people; he'll do it again, in another stressful or crucial time. For you, if you have a child by then, it'll mean that you drop everything else to protect your child. Career, friends, community obligations, whatever you have to do. That gets very expensive if you do it more than once, because then the world regards you as chronically unreliable. And you'll be half-crazy, too, always fearing the next thing.

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew something was wrong with my xh, but I didn't know what it was, or understand the extent of it, or understand its history. (Boy, do I wish I'd been less civilized and read his old journals before he filed for divorce. None of his behavior was new.) Even so, I told him that I could take care of him and me, or me and a baby, but not him, me, and a baby. He said OK, and I went ahead. Had I understood what was coming next, I'd have headed to the clinic. Don't get me wrong; I truly cannot imagine at this point what my life would be without my daughter, with whom I'm besotted. But the fact is that there would very likely have been another wonderful person. And very possibly a much easier, and much happier, time, as well as a lasting marriage and a stable family for the child.

For the two years after his breakdown -- which came shortly after my daughter was born -- people suggested gently, and sometimes not so gently, that I divorce him. At first I thought that if I could just get him great treatment, he'd be all right, he'd be well-supported enough. Maybe so. I wanted to save my daughter's family. Eventually I saw it was unlikely, but by then I understood that if I divorced him, I'd have to let him take her unsupervised for visitation, and she was still a toddler. So I said no. By the time we were divorced, she was old and articulate enough to tell me if there was trouble when she was with him.

It was a hellish, and I mean hellish, five years. I know what "harrowed" means now, & I can't recommend the experience to anyone. Even so, when people asked me if he was bipolar, I said, "Thank God, no." Because at least his illness more or less immobilized him. We went through enough craziness that way. I can't imagine what it might have been if he were off on lunatic escapades as well. In the back of my head I fear that the next meds he's on will give him Lots Of Energy.

If your husband is telling you that breaking commitments is "what he does," believe him. Something tells me that wouldn't be news to his ex, either. There's a lot of behavior that's tolerable when you're on your own, but a guy who breaks major commitments so easily...step on over to the single-mothers board for a sense of what that life is like.

I am so terribly sorry, vi, it's an awful setup, and having to deal with this now...it's just wrong. But believe me when I say it can get one hell of a lot worse. Wacked-out people can be great friends. Really great friends, fabulous lovers. But hitching yourself to them...boy, it's a great way to hurt yourself fast. And a kid will hitch you permanently, divorced or not.

OK, I'll step out of this one now. Again, i'm sorry.
post #28 of 60
I doubt this will be helpful, really, but just wanted to mention that insisting to him that this is an "episode" won't really be worthwhile, IMO. Regardless of whether his logic, his disease, or his normal emotions are driving what he's thinking or feeling, this is what he's thinking and feeling, and to try to tell him "it's one of your episodes" will just make him feel brushed off. I'm not suggesting that supporting his feelings will make it all better, but just that convincing him his feelings are just an episode will not likely lead anywhere but to frustration.

I'm so sorry you guys are both going through this really tough time... and honestly, who gave his therapist a degree??? (Re: thinking now was a good time to play with his meds, and brushing off your input about his state - when his is just OBVIOUSLY struggling just based on him wanting to divorce you now due to not wanting more children, right after a m/c)
post #29 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
Protect yourself, but stop overfunctioning in the relationship. Step back, do your work, get some grief counseling, and let him figure it out.
That's what I was trying to say in my first post, put more eloquently by mooninjune. You just suffered a m/c of your first pregnancy. You should be able to lean on your spouse right now for support, grieve together. Instead he's asking you to basically prop him up. And telling you about what isn't making him happy in your marriage, so you can "fix" yourself.

Bipolar or not, that's pretty selfish behavior.
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
So, does the fact that you're on this list mean he changed his mind and you had kids? Are you two happy now? How long did it take?

I'm just so crushed, and I feel like DH is about to bolt.
Of course you're crushed! You're living through a very, very difficult thing, and I can only imagine the added stress of fearing the additional loss of time with your step-kids.
But, yes, we did work through it. I'd say it took close to a year for things to be "good" again, although great strides had been made after about six months. We also live very rural/remotely, so were unable to get any outside help, which I think would have sped up the process. I ended up on anti-dpressants for awhile, actually. We're definitely happy now though. And yes, both pregnant and in the midst of an adoption. I hope knowing that someone else got through it helps, although I know that it is so easy to feel, "Well, that's great for you, but it doesn't help me" (or, at least, I sometimes felt that way).
Hang in there. I've certainly been thinking of you.

Katia


eta:
And now, I've read the rest of these posts, and see that there is far, far more going on here then what we had to deal with! Not that you can't have a good outcome, just that there are others here with far, far more experience and expertise!
post #31 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkj323 View Post
Bipolar or not, that's pretty selfish behavior.
KKJ put it perfectly.

MY XH is bi-polar. He's slow-cycling and very high functioning, but mentally-ill nonetheless.

The thing that helped me most was my counselor helping me to separate the personality-driven behavior from the illness-driven behavior.

I was more than willing to be kind and caring and helpful and sympathetic as he worked through the symptoms of his illness. However, I was not willing to be talked down to, disrespected, verbally abused or manipulated in any way.

One day I realized I was married to a self-serving, self-righteous, MEAN jerk and bi-polar or not, that was his personality.

Separation and divorce followed...

I'm not saying that my way should be your way, but remember, even though he's sick, he's still a grown-up and he should be held to the same standards other grown-ups are held to.
post #32 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post

Well, it's been a month since then, we had the kids the entire time of all this hurt, and somehow held everything together and the kids felt very secure and happy. So this week my husband says he's not changing his mind, he doesn't want kids, and since he knows I do want kids, he wants to divorce!
Oh, I'm so sorry to read this.

You know it sounds to me like perhaps he was looking for something to justify a divorce. Like he wants out because he thinks it's easier, or he just can't deal with it anymore, or whatever. And the kid thing is a convenient reason to justify ending it.
post #33 of 60
Oh, sweetie. I'm so, so sorry. You've had a couple of life's most painful experiences stacked right on top of each other. I'm probably not the only one here who wishes I could take you out for coffee and let you pour it all out.

The best I can do here, though, is to tell you what has helped me. The book Stop Walking on Eggshells has been a Godsend. It's aimed at people affected by people with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is in many, many ways very similar to bipolar disease. They're so similar that most people with borderline are misdiagnosed as having bipolar for a few years after they enter the mental health system.

Anyway, the book (and its companion workbook) has been hugely helpful for me in learning to take care of myself, building stronger boundaries, and identifying what I really want and need. I started working on this stuff because my sister (who lives with us) has borderline pd, but the skills have improved all of my relationships.
post #34 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
Oh, sweetie. I'm so, so sorry. You've had a couple of life's most painful experiences stacked right on top of each other. I'm probably not the only one here who wishes I could take you out for coffee and let you pour it all out.
Yeah to that! Actually I'd like to cook your favorite food and let you rest under a blanket on the couch. I hope you have someone IRL to support and take care of you.

Anyway - I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you a lot. Please keep us updated.

Anne
post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishMom View Post
Yeah to that! Actually I'd like to cook your favorite food and let you rest under a blanket on the couch. I hope you have someone IRL to support and take care of you.

Anyway - I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you a lot. Please keep us updated.

Anne
I definitely have to say ditto to that... wish you lived closer and I'd offer to take you out for coffee or something... anything to get you out of the house and mind off things for a little while.
post #36 of 60
Violet- I am sorry you are going through this. My first husband left me after 11 years of marriage. I just had a baby and he was an officer in the military. He went away to Japan and started seeing someone else. Anyway, my first husband did want our baby at first. He only sees her once a month now and lives over 2 hours away. I never thought I would see myself divorced at 30 years old with a two year old. I went in denial and became depressed. My first husband was someone I had known since I was in 5th grade. My ex ended up marrying the girl after they both got kicked out of the military. I was so upset for many years as I pieced my life back together. I ended up meeting the most wonderful man in the whole world who became my current husband. He treats me like gold and has become the best father to my daughter. My whole family loves him and we have been married for 4 years. I had my second daughter at 36 and am now working on baby #3 after 3 m/c's. I am currently 38 years old and confident I will have at least one more child. My hubby now would take ten if he could. Also, my hubby has a son from a prior marriage (His ex-wife is working on her 4th marriage) My stepson lives in a very unstable life with the mom. My current hubby sees his son 2-3 times a week and never misses a doctors appointment for any of our kids. My point is this, you are not too old. Your husband should be kissing the ground you walk on. You sound like a kind and loving person. People used to tell me I deserved better but I loved my first husband. It took me about 4 years to let go of the pain. Now, I see things clearly, I was too good of a person for my first husband. You have to decide when enough is enough. You will find someone to love you I promise. You are special.
post #37 of 60
post #38 of 60
I've been thinking about you Violet. How are you doing?

Anne
post #39 of 60
post #40 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishMom View Post
I've been thinking about you Violet. How are you doing?

Anne
Thanks.

I actually stopped reading here for a while because I'm not sure I'm a stepmom anymore, and I'm certainly not a "real" mom either. But I popped in today and saw your and kittn's thoughtful notes!

It's been so painful. I think the baby thing was just an excuse. He fessed up recently that when he said no babies he had mentally decided to quit the whole relationship (10 days after m/c of a very planned pregnancy!) and now he says he's open but not sure what he wants.

Last night he called the kids and chatted with them while I was on the couch next to him, but he didn't even offer to let me say hi. And he has taken over all contact with his ex. I mean, it's ok with me if he contacts her (obviously -- heck, it's easier for me if he does it), but I'm just suddenly shut out of the whole coparenting thing. I have no idea of anything going on with the kids anymore. Snap. Just like that.

We are in therapy, and so much came up! He pretty much resents me for everything in his life right now, and hopefully him realizing that resentment will help quell it, as it's hard to justify resenting me for stuff I didn't do. Like he resents me because he can't see the kids every day. Mind you, the reason he can't see them every day is that he got fired and had to move. He sees them more with me than he could without, because I buy lots of plane tickets he can't afford. So here I am paying for all that and taking care of them all summer and I get hit with it being my fault he can't see them. He even said he wished he was still married to his ex "just to be able to see the kids." (I suppose she'd have followed his job change in that case.) I mean, thanks a lot for that -- and what about our kid that we just lost? His new spin is that I'm controlling, so he tries to do silly and/or expensive stuff to see if I try to "control" him by asking him not to.

Oh, and somehow it's a control issue that I own the house we live in. (Um, hello -- you have debt and you pay child support..) If I didn't own this house we'd be renting. I forget sometimes how important those things can be to men. I mean, yes, I own it, but I don't treat him as a tenant! He makes decisions for it, decorates and chooses things, same as me. We both live here and we both have a say.

But, not to sound all negative -- him realizing he's resenting me over stuff I had nothing to do with is actually possibly very good, and will hopefully be helpful. Therapy was really useful already, and we've only had one joint session so far. A lot came up. Including his expectation of me being a perfect stepmom. He always told me he could never be with someone who resented his kids, and I took it to heart. I figure I have to pretend they poop sunshine and roses at times. But I do love them and we get along great, so this is pretty easy. The part that always bugged me is to have no apparent distaste for the situation in general. Like I have to pretend I always wanted to be a stepmom and just love having his ex forever linked to us. I mean, obviously I'm ok with it, but I don't see why I should have to never have an imperfect emotion over it all. So he spent a long time yesterday telling me I don't have to be perfect and I'm a fantastic stepmom, etc.

Job prospect is looking up a bit, but still nothing solid. At least if he gets a job here we can continue therapy and see if we can work it out, but if he leaves for a job away I think it's done.


I guess the two-career issue (three careers if you figure the kids are tethered to their mom's job and we can't go too far) plus the blended family is a lot to take on, especially as in his case, in the almost total absence of support from family and friends. So a lot came out, and hopefully we'll figure all this out. For what it's worth, I still love him dearly and prefer his company to anyone else on the planet. Even now we cuddle and relax and there is sweetness there, albeit mixed with total and complete confusion.
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