Bipolar Spouses? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 08-15-2006, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I dont know if there is a "My Partner is Bipolar" thread, I looked/searched and came up with lots of posts/threads by folks who are struggling with Bipolar themselves, but none for spouses,partners, etc...If there is one you know of, Id love a link.

Im currently struggling with my DH who is BP and an alcoholic- sober now. Last night I found out that about 3 or 4 weeks ago- supposedly, though in retrospect now I am guessing about a month to 2 months ago- he decided to cut his dosages of all his meds in 1/2, or not take them at all, because he thinks it will save us money. Theres more to say, but I want to see if theres an appropriate thread I should be joining or what.....

Thanks in Advance...

Sally
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#2 of 26 Old 08-17-2006, 03:32 AM
 
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While I'm the one with the BPD I wanted to respond and send you support. I used to be so out of control with my bpd-could not control it even with meds and I used to drink all the time on and off meds and it was just scary. however my love stood by me through it all and I respect you for doing the same with your dh. It is very encouraging to have supportive loved ones around us. I would suggest you could look into support groups for bpd in your area. You can even check through your local hospital. My area offers support groups not only for individuals w/ bpd but also groups for people who live with/have family who is bpd. I really recommend a support group b/c htey can help discuss ways to "deal with" or "handle" bpd with and without meds. Plus it's always nice when you know you're 'not alone'. Hope this helps.
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#3 of 26 Old 08-17-2006, 03:48 AM
 
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I just wanted to give you a . I'm sure you'll find some other mamas dealing with bipolar spouses. My brother is bipolar and we're pretty sure my dad and his mom are/were too. The only one on meds is my brother and if he goes off them, he gets completely scary out-of-control.

I hope your DH is willing to get back on his meds if they were helping him and that you find some support here and otherwise.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#4 of 26 Old 08-17-2006, 11:04 AM
 
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I, too, just wanted to give you hugs and support! As with Princess, I am the one with BPD and I know it has taken a great deal of courage and love on the part of DH to work through it with me. There have been *many* times I have been tempted to go off meds for one reason or another. I have come to understand that this desire to go off meds is also part of my illness.

On the other side, my grandpa and my mom also have bpd. Grandpa is completely unmedicated and refuses to accept his diagnosis. His volatility and gradiosity make him nearly impossible to be around. My mom has a lot of trouble accepting her diagnosis and often "adjusts" her meds of her own accord. However, over the years I have talked her into making regular visits to her psychiatrist, sticking with her meds and seeing a therapist on a more full-time basis.

I second Princesses' suggestion to find a support group for family members dealing with bipolar family members. Sharing your story and finding what works for others will be invaluable to you.

In the meantime, perhaps you and DH could work out a plan wherein he agrees to turn his meds over to you and you dispense them on a daily basis. I know this sounds a little drastic and will probably be met with resistance, but his health depends on him taking his prescribed meds. As for the money arguement, I would point out to him that there is *nothing* more important than his mental health. If he really feels that you need to save money, you can examine your budget and make cuts in other areas. If he were diabetic, he wouldn't stop taking insulin to save money.

The following are some books and web sites you might find helpful. The book by Miklowitz is excellent. And the last website is a wonderful resource for all the things bipolar.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by David Miklowitz
Bipolar Disorder Franics Mark Mondimore
http://www.bpso.org/
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry
http://www.psycom.net/depression.central.bipolar.html

Sorry this got so long. I really feel for your situation and sincerely hope that you and DH can find a way to work through this together. Please keep us posted!
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#5 of 26 Old 08-20-2006, 11:14 AM
 
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The long road has just started for my family. My husband was just diagnosed with bipolar 1 and has been hospitalized for the past 2 and a half weeks. It looks like he will remain there at least another week or two. He was also self medicating with alcohal and pot for years. We always suspected bipolar (his mother was diagnosed two years ago), but he never got treatment. When he was finally hospitalized he was completley beyond manic in a very scary mixed state.
Hopefully, when he comes home, he will stick with treatment and medication. We have two young sons....
Any spouses out there that have dealt with the cheating (or affairs while manic). Since he has been hospitalized, i have found evidence of other relatoinships (this from a man who despises those who cheat). Doctors would like me to keep these discoveries to myself until he is well. It is very painful and frustrating. I know my husband is dealing with alot and this time is about him getting well. I don't mean to complain, but I am very overwhelmed dealing with the future of the diagnosis, taking care of a home, two small children, finances (which are a mess), my husbands business (so we can pay bills), his unfaithfullness which I only have hints of (not the whole story),,......
Any help out there or advice?
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#6 of 26 Old 08-20-2006, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Welcome to my world. I have experienced much of what you are going thru. My Dh- soon to be xdh- self medicated since he was a teen. He was in the hospital after expressing suicidal thoughts- for a week long stay on a psych ward on suicide watch. thats where he got diagnosed as BP, and then he was in rehab for a month- month and a half? So I can relate to what you are going through. I wish I could help more but please write more if you need to.

After he got out, my husband sought counselling and finally settled with a therapist he felt comfortable with. He got on 5 or so different meds and He forgets his meds alot and runs out of different ones all the time. It seemed like he was never 100% on his meds correctly. HE could never keep track of them and it was hard for me to deal. It washard bc he would not tell me when he was out of his meds, and then hed spring it on me at the last minute that he needs more lithium, or whatever- and it would be up to me to beg for money from family to pay for his meds. Meanwhile he would always insist in also having $ for smokes, soda, etc... Saying it kept hiim sane....AndId no $ for gas. And we never could keep up with our bills. I had a hard time dealing with it all. He goes to his Dr. but mostly he says they dont talk they just have med checks.

I say deal in the past tense b/c we just decided on Tuesday to divorce. I dont think it is so much due to the BP as just due to a lot of other stuff, and also his bp didnt help matters. He is NOT demonstrative or affectionate. I got tired of waiting for him to pay any attention to me. I also got tired of always being wrong, and I got tired of him treating me like shit. No matter what I do, it was never correct and hed always say "sweet moses, sally... (insert a long sigh)... Jesus Christ!" or something similar. I have been pretty much a single mom for so long, but married. Now I will be a single mom in word and in deed.

I dont know what advice to offer other than follow your heart AND your head. 2 years ago, my head said 1 thing- Go- while my heart said stay. I stayed and the best part of the past 2 years is my son Quinny. Good Luck, I wish you all the luck and love in the world.
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#7 of 26 Old 08-20-2006, 11:00 PM
 
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Thank you for your story. I am trying to look on the bright side. He says he will be dedicated to staying well, so I can only hope for the best. I wish you a lot of luck through your divorce. I know it will be a hard road (this is my second marriage). But good things come to all of us in due time....
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#8 of 26 Old 08-21-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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So bipolar= cheating? I nver heard that excuse before...
Also why is your husband in the hospital b/c of bipolar/ did he willingly admit himself? That's soo sad
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#9 of 26 Old 08-22-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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He was not diagnosed officially until he was admitted, but he went willingly (or atleast with much persuasion, begging...) once there, he refused to sign himself in, but he changed his mind. He was diagnosed bipolar 1. He wanted to give 72 hours notice, but never did, and even if he did, they would not have let him come home. He is coming home this week. He is almost ready, the doctors would have liked to keep him until next week because he is still slightly manic, but our insurance thought otherwise.
The doctors and staff actually warned me that cheating and hypersexual behavior is very common. So..... i don't look at it as an excuse---he doesn't even know that I know there was anything like that (cheating) going on.
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#10 of 26 Old 08-23-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princessnomore
He was not diagnosed officially until he was admitted, but he went willingly (or atleast with much persuasion, begging...) once there, he refused to sign himself in, but he changed his mind. He was diagnosed bipolar 1. He wanted to give 72 hours notice, but never did, and even if he did, they would not have let him come home. He is coming home this week. He is almost ready, the doctors would have liked to keep him until next week because he is still slightly manic, but our insurance thought otherwise.
The doctors and staff actually warned me that cheating and hypersexual behavior is very common. So..... i don't look at it as an excuse---he doesn't even know that I know there was anything like that (cheating) going on.
oh right hospital doctors know more than a doctor who specializes in bipolar disorders...or even more so than a group of people who actually experience it. Well if that's what make you sleep at night is to excuse such behavior so that you won't "be alone" then so be it.
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#11 of 26 Old 08-23-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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no no. i am not saying it is excusable. it is not. cheating is cheating. that is why i logged onto this chat. i want advice from spouces or bipolars that have been there, done that.
to stick up for the hospital, he was at the best in the country for bi-polar Dr. Jameson (An Unquiet Mind)is on staff there..... .
I would just like some advice. All the literature states that cheating while manic is very common. Again-not excusing, just want some info.
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#12 of 26 Old 08-24-2006, 12:41 AM
 
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Brianne: I'm not trying to be disagreeable here, but I think its perfectly legitimate for a hospital/doctor to diagnose BPD. As you know, when someone is in the throes of a manic or depressive episode, it is quite obvious that mental illness is present. IMO, narrowing down the mental illness to BPD wouldn't be difficult, especially if the person were in a manic phase. Of course it would be preferable to be diagnosed by a pyschiatrist specializing in BPD, but I do think its possible for a "regular" doctor to diagnose BPD.

And although cheating is cheating and wrong, someone in a manic phase could very well exhibit hypersexual tendencies along with grandiose thoughts that what they are doing is all right. This isn't to say you can use BPD to excuse "bad" behavior, only that it can be used to explain certain behavior patterns and actions.

Again, I'm not trying to be adversarial at all. I just want to provide support for princessnomore while acknowledging the value of your personal experience.
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#13 of 26 Old 08-24-2006, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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WHile not having been through a cheating spouse, I can comment on how hard it was for me when dh was in a hypersexual phase. Not to get specific, but I could always tell, bc I would get more attention from dh which was great. But then he would not be satisfied with me, and my comfort level sexually, and he would have to find other "avenues" for his umm... you know... So the computer would start getting lots of viruses and then emails about porno would double or triple- dh had a thing for porno onthe computer. I felt so ugly and unloved when id discover that. I mean, nasty stuff, imo, was what hed look at. I admit I checked the history files for a while to see what was up- then he got smart and would empty those files... Anyway I was so angry and hurt by what he was doing. And sad that I couldnt satisfy him. P'nomore, I feel for you. Are you feeling confused? Angry? Whaabout uyou- What are your thoughts about the issue? How are you doing on a day to day basis?

SAlly
p.s. no spell check for me as my kid needs me asap...
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#14 of 26 Old 08-26-2006, 03:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familylove
Brianne: I'm not trying to be disagreeable here, but I think its perfectly legitimate for a hospital/doctor to diagnose BPD. As you know, when someone is in the throes of a manic or depressive episode, it is quite obvious that mental illness is present. IMO, narrowing down the mental illness to BPD wouldn't be difficult, especially if the person were in a manic phase. Of course it would be preferable to be diagnosed by a pyschiatrist specializing in BPD, but I do think its possible for a "regular" doctor to diagnose BPD.

And although cheating is cheating and wrong, someone in a manic phase could very well exhibit hypersexual tendencies along with grandiose thoughts that what they are doing is all right. This isn't to say you can use BPD to excuse "bad" behavior, only that it can be used to explain certain behavior patterns and actions.

Again, I'm not trying to be adversarial at all. I just want to provide support for princessnomore while acknowledging the value of your personal experience.
Well I feel 100% UNACKNOWLEDGED . Where did I ever say that doctors don't know about BPD? You could have easily supported princessnomore without bringing my post into it. But whatever I mean I'm BPD so i don't have valid feelings or opinoins..
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#15 of 26 Old 08-26-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ConfusedPrincess
oh right hospital doctors know more than a doctor who specializes in bipolar disorders...or even more so than a group of people who actually experience it. Well if that's what make you sleep at night is to excuse such behavior so that you won't "be alone" then so be it.
Brianne: I took this to mean that you felt that hospital doctors would be unable to diagnosis princessnomore's DH with BPD. If that's not what you meant, then I apologize.

Of course your opinions, feelings and experiences are valid! But I also have BPD as does my mom and grandpa, so I felt that my experience and knowledge would be valuable to pnmore as well.

I'm sorry my post offended you.
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#16 of 26 Old 09-01-2006, 03:28 PM
 
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Thank you everyone for your support and advice. My husband is home now and adjusting pretty well. He is still on alot of meds (Lithium, Zyprexa, and Klonopin) so he is very tired. His doctors hope to titrate him off all but the lithium in the near future.
Again, thankyou for the support and validation that his behaviors, while not excusable, were in fact not abnormal for this disease.
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#17 of 26 Old 09-01-2006, 04:21 PM
 
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Hugs

My brother (who I am very close with, he is a widower and I help him with raising his 3 children ages 10, 15 and 16) has been dealing with Bipolar since he was 20 years old. In addition my father is bi polar and my grandfather was. I don't believe my grandfather was ever complaint with treatment (he died 30 years ago) but he also was an extremely rich factory owner so he "got away" with things by being eccentric and powerful.

My brother and father are very complaint (coperative) with treatment though (as is my best friend who is also Dx with Bi polar.) Women present differently then men, in fact there are many different categories for the illness. In addition substance use plays a major role in functioning (or dysfunction as the case may be.) How complaint a person is with treatment and medication can really make a difference in the dealing with this condition. The good news is, it is treatable, med and therapy really can make a big difference. Some things will change with treatment, some won't (some are personality.)

I often think this illness can be as hard or harder on the loved ones to deal with then the patient. I know it is for my mother. However she always see my father as the identified patient and it is all about him. I really wish she would accept that there is some things about him that isn't going to change and get some professional help in dealing with this herself. My father is often very depressed and does nothing (leaving her to cope with life as close to a widow) or is "high" and is pretty happy, but gives away money and almost everything else, spends it like crazy and is pretty fun to be around for everyone else, expect her. We all like it a bit when dad is "high" he is alive again. For my mom it is like he is out of control and she never knows what will happen.

I am also a clinical social worker (but a SHAM for the past 2 years.) I used to work in an outpatient mental health clinic.

Pay attention to your Dh's sleep patterns. When they are off that is a big sign that something is happening and is always good to tell the Dr. Try to find a Dr. that is willing to work with you too, after all this really effects you and your family. Oh and pay attentive to weight gain and side effects. Lithium is effective (more in men then women) but tremors and weight gain can be bad. There are many other options, but Lithium is 1st course treatment and many of the others have the same side effects. Still side effects can be hard to live with, but not as hard as living with out the treatment.

Zyprexa, and Klonopin will make him pretty tried (that is standard meds for hospitalization.) With time the Zyprexa shouldn't make him as tried, but will help control mania. Klonipin tends to make people pretty sleepy no mater what, so many people take it only at night. You are also going to find that these meds are giving in different doses to different people for different reasons. For example people will say "My cousin was on Zxprea and he was hearing voices......My sister was on Klonipin for as sleep disorder etc" Don't let that bother you at all. It is pretty normal for doses of meds to be tweaked and changed too. It might even take some time to find the right combo. It can be trail and error to find the right meds though.

As hard as it is for everyone to get this Dx, this is a good thing. Much better then living with the symptoms, and not treatment and help. You and him are on the right path for things to improve now. Hugs again.
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#18 of 26 Old 09-05-2006, 10:19 PM
 
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Thank you for your story and for the hugs. You are exactly right about the Klonopin, that is what seems to make him so tired. He is trying to only take it at night. What we are worried about now is that he doesn't feel like he can sit down and relax. He feels like he has to be doing something all the time. Not the "manic" doing something, when he is running a mile a minute. He is definately calm and s l o w e r, but he still cannot just relax. I'm not sure why, and neither is he. He is going to tell his doctor at the next med check..... any insight?
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#19 of 26 Old 09-05-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by princessnomore
Thank you for your story and for the hugs. You are exactly right about the Klonopin, that is what seems to make him so tired. He is trying to only take it at night. What we are worried about now is that he doesn't feel like he can sit down and relax. He feels like he has to be doing something all the time. Not the "manic" doing something, when he is running a mile a minute. He is definately calm and s l o w e r, but he still cannot just relax. I'm not sure why, and neither is he. He is going to tell his doctor at the next med check..... any insight?
That is info you want him to give the doc. I have heard some patients say "I want to crawl out of my skin." Not a pretty side effect. His sounds more restless. The doc I used to work with would give the advice to give it a few weeks and see if it passes. (many side effects are only short term during adjustment.) Still it is all info you want to give the doc. It could be the Zyprexa.

Does he have any hand tremers? Lithium can cause it. Keep an eye on it (my brother has pretty bad ones.)
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#20 of 26 Old 09-12-2006, 11:13 AM
 
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What we are worried about now is that he doesn't feel like he can sit down and relax. He feels like he has to be doing something all the time.
My DH is bipolar. He is on lithium and risperdal (antipsychotic). When he had an episode in the past and his doctor prescribes extra risperdal to get him to sleep, he gets that feeling. He says it feels like an itching under the skin. It makes him want to get up and move around. When there's nothing in particular he needs or wants to do, he gets up and paces. We asked his doctor about it and his doctor admitted that it was a known side effect of the risperdal. Seems strange, since once we get past the episode, it seems the risperdal makes him act more mentally disturbed than without.

For anyone who's bipolar or whose DH is bipolar, I would urge you to cut out sugar and refined carbohydrates. We are currently on a whole foods diet and it has made a world of difference with DH. Before, on just meds alone, there were still blips and things beneath the surface that was bubbling and would require extra meds once in awhile. We noticed the biggest difference after we cut out sugar and refined carbs. DH still eats some sweeteners, but only whole sweeteners like agave nectar, stevia, and unfiltered honey in moderation. We have noticed that if DH goes too long without eating, he has mood swings as well. Basically, we treat his condition almost like a diabetic and make sure that his blood sugar is on an even level all the time. He has tested negative for diabetes but we feel the blood sugar levels and his moods have a direct correlation.
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#21 of 26 Old 09-12-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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If he's concerned about how much his meds are costing, he should ask his doctor about prescription assistance programs. My income is low enough that Glaxo sends me my Lamictal for free.

*hugs*
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#22 of 26 Old 09-17-2006, 12:33 PM
 
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I notice that refined sugars effect my dh with bp as well, but it hard to cut them out as he will have mad cravings for sweets and go out and buy like a whole bag of cookies and eat them all. He did cut out all alcohol since manic episodes and alcohol always spell bad, bad, bad and he seeing a therapist and will be getting on meds in a few weeks (I'm sorry, but I can't wait: ) I"m glad I found this thread as his official diagnoses and coming to terms with this stuff is new for us (I've been with dh for 9 years).
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#23 of 26 Old 09-17-2006, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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with dh and i divorcing, the hard part is now knowing where he is emotionally, and with his meds- on? off? im trying to detach from him and trying to not let him jerk me around. one day hes amicable, then next he's a mean *ss rat b*st*rd...its hard to detach from him, though, after 10 years and 2 kids.

he is doing things now to try and get me to respond to him. A big issue for me and him in the past is that he would take a nap all day and blow off all the stuff we had to do, or plans we had. Up or down...he'd want to nap. Example of him trying to push my buttons-we hap planned to meet today to go through and seperate some of our belongings. I get there- and he says "the best part about getting a divorce is that I can nap and you cant give me any shit". so he took a nap and I did the work. Anyway this is more a dh and i divorcing thing than a BP thing...

hope everyone is doing well...
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#24 of 26 Old 09-18-2006, 01:34 AM
 
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s to you, Sally!

When you went over to your soon-to-be ex-husband's house and he refused to help, could you have said in a non-confrontational voice, "Ok, you take a nap and I will do x,y and z. You can do the rest of it when you get up." Then you've put the responsibility back with him.

As for him acting like an *ss, as you said, you are trying to detach. Determine what that means to you and what you will and will not "put up with". You can only control *your* emotions and *your* reactions...there is nothing you can do or say to make him behave differently.

Best to you, sweetie...keep us posted!
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#25 of 26 Old 09-23-2006, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
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THe latest includes him telling me our young son, 3 1/2 mos old, dosnt look like him at all. Basically he said he dosnt think he is our sons dad.

I told him tha I would only discuss our finances, our divorce and our children and that I had no desire to talk to him any further at this point about anything else. I also told him he could take a paternity test if he so desired.

wow!
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#26 of 26 Old 09-23-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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Sly, I'm so sorry. This must be such a hard time for you
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