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I'm just down and don't know why I'm here
October 10, 2004
8:23 am
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jwt
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I posted here for several years when I was going through my affair with Elvira. It was very painful and I received a lot of good advice here.

Well, that affair really ended for me about a year ago. I still have to see Elvira at work. And, she still tells me that she loves me and treats our relationship like it is something special to her. I'm nice to her but I just don't care any more. She can say what she wants or not say anything at all. I can see her every day or not see her for weeks. It just doesn't matter to me at all. She is finally not a problem for me. There was a time when I really wondered if I would ever feel this way.

Unfortunately, both my marriage and relationship with our daughter are still big problems for me.

I think that my dissatisfaction with my marriage was a big reason why I started the affair in the first place. I didn't see that at the time but it seems very clear to me now. I have tried to recapture the feelings I had for my wife when we were first married. Maybe we've changed. It's just not there any more. I see it and admit it. She gets very upset whenever I have tried to discuss it. It's like she doesn't want to admit the truth that is right in front of her.

I have NO desire for another affair. That was a nightmare. And, I am scared to death of being alone. She is basically a good woman and I don't want to hurt her. So, I stay quiet about how I feel and just go through the motions of being married. But, we fight all the time and I know it is a sad way to live.

Some of the biggest problems in our marriage are related to our daughter.

Our daughter had a mental breakdown three years ago when she was 19. It revealed a whole web of lies she was telling people about us and about her life. It became clear that she is just using us for money. She showed no love or respect for us. She has refused to go to counseling and claims that all of her problems are physical.

We paid for our daughter’s out of state tuition and all of her living expenses for the first three years of college. We never saw a grade card or a transcript. When she had her breakdown, we learned that she had been telling everyone that we had abandoned her and that she had a full scholarship. By that time, she had wiped out our life savings. I was willing to borrow the money to finish her education. But, we asked her to take a break from college to go to counseling and get her life on track. She refused and went back to school on her own. I believe that she claimed she was an orphan and took out some student loans. We have continued to pay for her medical bills, extensive care repairs and groceries.

She now "says" that she has her master's degree in history. She has moved 1,200 miles away to Montana. She says she plans to get her teaching certificate and teach high school. We communicate with her primarily through email and her occasional telephone call. She seldom initiates any communication except when she needs money. I am still hopeful that she is getting her life together and is growing up a little bit. I pray for her all the time.

Anyway, the guilt and worry about our daughter has put a real strain on our marriage. We have constant disagreements about her. And, for the first time in our marriage, we are broke. It is a struggle to pay the bills. We have constant disagreements about what we should do to get out of our financial problems.

Well, that's what is bothering me this cloudy Sunday morning. I know it's not exciting or a life and death problem. But, it's my life right now and it really has me down.

October 10, 2004
10:44 am
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Tumbleweed8
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Jwt, You know you can always come here and post and get these things which are troubling you out. Have you tried to talk with a financial counselor about those issues? I had to consolidate debts which I'm still paying on and am not working now. I hope you can get some help, too, at least with eliminating the problems like this which create arguments and more unhappiness. Hope this helps.

October 10, 2004
11:08 am
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Zinnie
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HI JWT,

No parent likes to see their children struggle, but, perhaps it is time for you to let your daughter be on her own.

If she indeed has her Masters, and is planning on teaching - then let her do so. By always bailing her out, you are letting her consistently fail without paying for her consequences.

My youngest son (20, soon to be 21) decided he wanted to take a year off of college and travel. Something the others did, but BEFORE they went to college. It was decided that if that was what he wanted to do, then he had to finance his travels himself. He has partial access to his trust fund that his Father set up for him, but he still only has a limited amount. He is traveling, and seeing the world - but, he is making his own way. He is staying in hostels, and working here and there - as well as expanding himself musically. We have been putting $50.00 into his bank account every two weeks, should he need it - but last time I looked at the bank statement, he has not touched it; so he IS standing on his own two feet.

No one wants to see their children down, or fail; and it is even harder to accept our childrens problems and short-comings. But, we have to do it. Think of it this way... who would care for your daughter when you are no longer here to do so?

Z.

October 10, 2004
1:22 pm
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workinonit
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Ok, I hear the let her go thing but I am wondering...why do you have guilt? What do you feel you should have done differently? Did you set boundaries for this child? Did you proactively try to be involved when she was in school?
I'm only asking because most times children learn from their parents. What kind of ownership is necessary here and what is not? She is an adult and I am not saying she doesn't have responsibilities but have you considered going to family counseling to resolve some issues? OK she lives across the country now so that may be hard but, what about some truthful email dialogue? You are open here on this thread. Are you this open with her?

I lost my father when I was 36 years old and we were estranged. He called me shortly before entering the hospital where he died . He took ownership of our situation and I know he knew his end was coming. It breaks my heart that we didn't have the last year together but, he came through even though I feel I could have too.

Being the parent of an adult child is difficult but most children have issues with their parents. Maybe you could shed light on things she has completely twisted around in her head.

Just my 4 cents! Best of luck. Raising kids is the toughest job in the world!!!

October 10, 2004
8:10 pm
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bangles
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Well, I can't comment about your affair as have never been that route, but I've been posting here a bit now and most of my problems are with our adult daughter. My husband and I don't fight over issues with her, but, invariable, we worry and wonder if we could have lived or done things differently. I am trying desperately to detach as she is leaving us tomorrow for a job quite a distance from us. It is a long story and I am sorry that it has to be this way. Part of the problem is the economy in the small city in which we reside, part is haer having gone to college far away in a large metropolis and getting used to that lifestyle, and a third part is that she has not met any interesting significant other here. And all her friends have either gotten married or moved on themselves. I thought once they got out of college, worries were over. Wrong. Then I thought that the normal process would follow...she'd meet a nice guy, settle down. Wrong again. I surely figured that a 4 yr. college degree would guarantee her some kind of gainful employment although when she started waitressing here in town, most of the waitstaff had college degrees as well! Wrong yet again! Nothing has gone in the direction I would have foreseen and the concern and worry continue as well. Could we have done things differently? Yes. In my case, a college in a large city very far from home was not good for our daughter. Did we know all this would come of it? No. If it helps you at all, I hang onto the idea that there is a master plan of we we are all a part. That means we are all exactly where we should be doing what we need to be doing at any given time. All this is ahppening for a reason; granted, unbeknown to me, but note the less, for a reason. It is where my path leads and where I and those around me are intended to be. When I lean on that thought, I feel a little less guilty for not knowing ahead of time what to do and what consequences it would reap. Also, coming here and posting, or sometimes just reading and getting out of my own life for a bit and thinking of someone else's situation lessens the tension. Granted, I have lots of emotional lows and I don't have the answers. The one day at a time sounds great except when you're on "that" day! Best to you, Bangles

October 10, 2004
8:22 pm
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workinonit
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Good for you bangles, I think you are getting it!!!

Can I ask you why you had children? When I thought about my answer to that question I guess it is because that's what everyone did. Do you know how lame that sounds? We yeach our children to be leaders and not follow the crowd and then we want them to conform to a society that has questionable ethics.

How about you? Do you remember the dreams and goals you had as a young woman? Was there anything special you wanted out of life but never did? I know I did but now I am going for it. I am 46 and in college!!! Jeez.

All I can say is, we did not bring children in this world to live our lives through them. We show them ways to survive physically and emotionally, we guide them in sensitive matters but, they have to take the reins. What helped me was allowing them choices from day one. If they didn't match it was not such a big deal. The value of them choosing their own outfits and dressing themselves a few years later was worth any egotistical embarrassment.

I always talked to my kids about issues they were facing. Asked them if anyone approached them about drugs and told them I would be more angry if they did not call me when they or someone else was drinking and ready to drive. My sons heard the sex talk from me because their father didn't ever do it. Talk about embarassing!!!

I guess my opoint is, you should be excited for the adventure your girl is heading toward. Why should she ever get married if she chose not to? It's her life after all and would you want to make her feel guilty for disappointing you? Better to accept and have faith in them. They deserve it just as we did.

Only my 4 cents.(2 is never enough) LOL

October 11, 2004
2:10 am
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jwt
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Have I been to a financial counselor? No. I know that the emotional atmosphere with personal problems can cloud good judgment and that seems to be the problem here. We've done the debt consolidation thing. A major restructuring of either income or expenses or both is needed. I've identified some short and long-term strategies that could help a lot. But, it will be painful in the short term and my wife is not willing to cooperate. We just seem to circle the issues without finding agreement.

Why do I feel guilty about our daughter? I was not home or deeply involved in our daughter's life when she was young. I'd like to say that I was too busy earning a living. The truth is that I was hiding from an unhappy marriage by becoming a workaholic. I missed so much of the really important parts of her childhood and simply wasn't there for her. I missed so many signals of her emotional problems and wasted the opportunities to do something about them.

Somewhere inside me I hold my wife responsible for not really trying to help our daughter. She was basically a stay at home mom throughout our daughter's childhood. And, she just couldn't cope or deal very effectively with the problems our daughter presented. As I look back on the problems we have had throughout our marriage, I now see that my wife routinely refuses to deal with problems and retreats into a pollyanna attitude where everything is just fine. Nevertheless, that doesn't excuse me for turning my back on the situation.

I always had high expectations for our daughter and put too much pressure on her. I don't think I was trying to live my life through her. But, I did expect her to do her best and succeed at what she wanted to do. I see now that my expectations caused her to put too much pressure on herself. She makes up grandiose lies when she feels she doesn't measure up to my expectations or to her own expectations. She can never admit failure or mistakes. I wish I would have somehow taught her that it's okay to fail and that it's really just a learning experience that helps us do better the next time.

I've tried to tell my daughter how I feel. She tells me that I didn't do anything wrong and won't let me accept any blame for the situation. But, I think her attitude is just a giant smoke screen. She just doesn't want to talk about it because it is too painful for her.

I learned something very important on this site as I struggled to understand myself during my affair. I know that so much of my relationship with my daughter is a reflection of my relationship with my parents. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my daughter is so much like me. We have the same likes and dislikes. We have the same insecurities. And, I suspect, we struggle with the same inner demons. To my daughter's credit, she is trying to hard to break free from this pattern.

Even with all of our daughter's problems and her coldness towards us, I am still proud of her. She is taking her life in her own hands and is taking risks that I would have been too timid to take. I hope she will be a stronger person as a result.

I still worry and want to help her. I've never mastered the concept of "tough love." I didn't want her to be unhappy when she was a child and I had trouble setting boundaries for her or telling her no. Maybe now I should cut her off financially. But, I can't stand the thought of denying her medical care or a safe car to drive or food to eat. Maybe I am just trying too hard to make up for all that I failed to do when she was a child. And, maybe, I am still making a big mess of the whole thing.

The bottom line is that I love my daughter. I want to do the right things for her. I just don't have a clue what to do.

October 11, 2004
3:04 am
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free
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JWT

You did the best you could. Ya know, your daughter has a part to play too in her own success.

What is it gonna take for you to find happiness? You were down like this the first time I saw your post, about a year and a half ago.

What can YOU do, for YOU, JWT? something's gotta give. A person just can't live like this forever. Ya know?

You seem like such a sweet man. I bet you are. What do you want, and how can you go about getting it?

free

October 11, 2004
8:54 am
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jwt
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free, it has been so long since I was happy that I don't remember what it feels like.

What's it going to take for me to be happy? When I think about this question, all I feel is a big void. I guess I could get out of an unhappy marriage for starters. But, then what would I have? I'm an only child and all of my relatives are dead. My daughter has disowned me. I really don't have any friends and haven't had any since high school. If I left my wife, I would be truly alone in the world. I think that would make me even sadder than I am now.

I try to find joy in little things, pretty sunsets, a good book, our cute dog or an exciting baseball game.

I still love our place at the lake and all-day boat rides. But, right now, I'm too poor to put gas in the boat and selling the place at the lake would sure help with our financial problems. And, when I think about divorce, I know that one of the first things I'd lose is that place at the lake.

I've been unhappy for so long that it just seems like a natural state of affairs. I can't see an alternative that seems much better.

You know, I think that is why I hung onto my affair for so long. It was exciting and a distraction from my dreary life. And, at the beginning, I thought it offered an opportunity to find a new happier life. Instead, it made my life a living hell for seven years. I'm glad it's over. I did learn that you can't find happiness from anything outside of yourself. Unfortunately, my soul seems have been beat into submission to misery.

I've tried counseling with two different counselors. It was a complete waste of time and money. I did rediscover my religion and it does give me some hope. Maybe all of this is just a test of my faith. How long does God let someone suffer before he shows him a path to something better?

October 11, 2004
10:59 am
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Cici
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Sometimes we choose to stay in an unhappy situation because it's just more comfortable to be in a familiar setting than it is to face the uncertainties of change. Change is scarey. Most people avoid it like the plague and settle into a sedate routine. Routines are really great tools for people with personality disorders or depression, or anxiety disorders....it helps you keep everything on an even keel and maintain mental stability. BUT, it can also make anyone stagnate.

THe biggest obstacle in life nowadays isn't survival anymore, it's finding the balance between challenging yourself to constantly be focused on growth and change, and finding a comfortable plateau to rest on. It's important to see your life as stairs, not a plateau per se (that was poor woord choice!)

Good for you about Elvira. Everything happens for a reason.

As for your daughter, I understand your guilt...but at a certain point in your child's adulthood, you can start enabling them to be dependendent, and the longer they rely on you either completely or partially for financial support, the more difficult the transition to independent living will be. It's a bell curve. There's an optimal age-range of financial support - if you go past that, the advantages for supporting your adult child go way way down.

I just took a class that dealt partially with estate planning...it is so expensive nowadays to retire, and if you need long term care or home health care, your expenses can triple or quadruple in no time. So, it's important to address your savings issue STAT...especially if your daughter may or may not help in supporting you when you are no longer able to work.

When you are in a financial quagmire, you need to get practical and focus on what needs to be done right now.

October 11, 2004
7:32 pm
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bangles
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jwt and Workinonit: First to you, workinonit. Don't know how much of my misery you've read over the month (has it been that long?!) but you asked why I had her. You know, my husband and I were married and got caried away with house repairs, mortgages, car finances and were married 7 years before I said, I think it's time we started a family. Being the good natured guy he is, he was more than happy to appease me! Tee hee! So, we had her right away and I never knew nor was I prepared for how deep mother's love could go. I mean this little bundle of joy was my very existance. (Hence, unbeknown to me,beginning of my co-de). This beautiful child became totally and completely my life. Husband took a back seat, which he still acknowledges somewhat bitter sweet at times,because he loves the dickens out of this now 23 yr. old daughter too. But, he knows that I would always do for her with "every breath in my body, " was his favorite saying. (I posted before...I think I almost could have been that cheerleader mom we all read about!!!!) I mean nothing was too good or too anything for this child. So much so that I didn't even consider having a second child...was so tied u p with her...until she was 5, and I was about 37. Then, just because I thought it'd be nice for HER to have a sibling! Do you believe it? Am I the textbook example of co-de or what!!!!! (yes, I am 55 now). At 37-40 we did lots of miserable degrading operations (and costly)to try to have a second child but with no luck. Hence, she is an only. So, basically, I have lived my life through her. Now, to you, jwt. Gads, you sound like you could be me. Ii don't know if tough love is exactly in order for this daughter of ours, but I know she always aims to please us and feels she. too, has failed. More now then before. I think I did not praise her enough. I took her accomplishments for granted. But we talked recently, and she said she always knew we were proud of her when she was in high school. I never missed a bb game or football..no matter how far or how cold...to watch her cheer!!! I was there for everything. And of that I know she is appreciative. But, college in the big city was an awakening for her and unfortunately, for us. She is not "small townish" anymore...and why would she be after going to school up there for 4 years and then staying a year to work? These were 5 strill pretty impressionable years. Then she came home to live in April and thus most of my problems because now that I had her back, I knew I disn't want to lose heragain. And, she left today for RI. Boy, am I rambling. You don't have to read all this if you don't want to. But, she told me that she feels she no longer makes us proud. That I have said discouraging things about her friends (up-town friends) which I don't deny...they are losers and druggies, I think...dysfunctional with a capital D. And my daughter here at home hasn't been using her degree, just waitressing. So now she lands this pretty good job at a Marrriot "up there" and is gone from me again and once and for all, I fear. You see, here in Highschool, the last time she lived with me, she dated a steady boy a bit older. She never cultivated the friends she should have. When she went to that dreadful college "up there, " everything was new and different and I think she partied, partied, partied. She actually was so very mature before she went up there and now has regressed if you can believe that !!!She claims it is growing up, I claim it is seeing, doing, living too BIG and everything to excess. But, her main thing here with us since April is no friends, no boyfriend, and no "real" job. I just wish things had been different and she would have liked our city and stayed here with us. Add to this mess the fella I work with...38 and wanted to date her but he couldn't wait until they were friends. He wanted it all and right away. So, while he had promised her that he would hang out with her and his friends would be hers, they weren't. She sat home most nights while he and his buddies went out. I now still have to work with him and am trying D*** hard to be pleasant and kind when that is not how I feel. He was over last night to say goodbye and he now acts so sad, well, why didn't he spend some time the 6 months she was here? So that is basically what I am dealing with and not dealing well at all, by the way. If you read my earlier posts, last Sunday I said some very mean things to her, as she did to me, which I'm sure did no enhance this mother-daughter relationship. So I am feeling bad, but , credit workinonit for reassuring me that detachment with love is the answer and all this crap has happened for a reason. I do soo appreciate you kind comments. And, yes, I know she needs to be happy but I have anger issues, as I stated, with "the guy I work with" because I think he could have made a difference. And now he wants to fly up there to see her???? He could have seen her every night for free... Don't get me goin' on this any more. Thanks, you all. Bangles

October 11, 2004
8:41 pm
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Hey JWT, just wanted to let you know I was reading. I went to church on Sunday with some friends of mine, and the minister gave a really good sermon. He talked about the two things that are needed in life for happiness... (1) gratitude and (2) generosity. They each flow from the other.

I know that you said you are trying with your wife to recapture those feelings you once had. Maybe they aren't recapturable. You are two different people than you were when you married. But why not get to know each other as you are now? Starting with generosity towards her, and then gratitude towards her for the things that she does do, it starts out like a tiny little snowball that you've cobbled messily together at the top of the hill, and you set it in motion. It might get stuck, and you'll have to nudge it down a little further until it picks up enough snow and weight and momentum to go on its own, unstoppable.

The sermon spoke to me so clearly, I just couldn't get over it. How could you not be happy if in everything in life, you were either being grateful for it or giving love back?

I am not sure how to apply this yet. But I wanted to share it anyway, maybe you can make sense out of it faster than I.

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