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It took 20+ years and a war to lose my wife
November 15, 2004
12:36 am
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salmon
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Hello all,

Where do I start? We've been married for over two decades and I've discovered that I was in a classic codependent relationship. My esteem was in my family and particularly my wife, as I was definitely a controller and jealous type. I solely controlled the family funds, would ignore or bypass any suggestions she would have, not listen, etc. We had definitely established a codependent relationship and I thought the problem was with HER alone instead both of us. In doing more reading I found that, she too, is a classic codependent partner. She has ALWAYS gone from relationship to relationship in fairly short order. On our first date, one passionate kiss and she suggested sex (I now understand it was Love Addiction which I, too, have). Shortly after that (like a week or two), she asked to move in with me. Of course, I said yes and actually helped her move out of the house she was living in with her last boyfriend. We were married 3 years later and she actually cried on our wedding day because she expected something "magical" to happen when we got married (another symptom of our Love Addiction). In spite of that, we felt blissful for the first 3-4 years. She then wanted to leave and later changed her mind. A year later, we had a child and it was wonderful for both of us. Four years later, another child and I felt whole whenever I sacrificed myself for my family and never expecting anything in return. Sadly, I had a one night stand that I confessed to her and we seperated. I was beginning to forge a new me and remembered thinking to myself, "darn, I wasn't done changing" when she came back as I had to be at home to watch her again (classic!). Our relationship had either very high highs or very low lows and she wanted to leave several more times through the years. I don't think neither one of us were truly happy. I went to Iraq and had to give her control of the household. As a codependent, whenever I called home I would tell her what to do and sometimes overrode her decisions, to include matter concerning our children, from half a world away. She, on the other hand, came to realize she could make it without me (and had found another relationship to go to a la "love addiction"). While in Iraq, I had an epithany with a rocket fell just 20 meters from me. I was in the kill zone if it went off (it was a dud) and recall lying in the gravel and sand and swearing I would make things better for my family. Too late, when I got home I was given a ultimatum and she is hell bent on divorce. She also took the opportunity to tell me of my lifelong mistakes and I've been "what if'ing" it to death and you know what happened to me. My pain is so overwhelming that I had wished many times that the rocket would have gone off to keep me from suffering the pain I now do and how much easier it would have been. I'm swimming in my self doubt and insecurity and compound that with obsessive jealousy over her new lover. I feel alone as I was a good codependent and have few relationships outside my family. I feel I'm over the hill and no one would want a old, dysfunctional man like me. I've prayed to God to take me home because I can't bear another day of the pain but my kids still give me what little purpose in life I now have. Nonetheless, I just don't know how I am ever going to go through this and start a new life without her. She is so desperate to get out asap that she is suggesting I buy her out so she could move. Guess what that's doing to my mind? I JUST WANT THIS PAIN TO STOP AND CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW A MERCIFUL GOD COULD PUT ME THROUGH THIS!!! I WANT DESPERATELY TO FEEL SOME RELIEF!!!

November 15, 2004
1:35 am
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Anonymous
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Welcome salmon,

I just want you to know I did read your post and I feel your pain and understand what you are going through. It's a weekend and most posters will be back in full swing tomorrow. I myself need a bit of sleep so please do not give up, this is a wonderful support group and I am sure you will find some advice/help here. I hope that you will stay with us, there is much understanding and love here. Hang on!!

Sunny

November 15, 2004
9:23 pm
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salmon
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Dear Sunny,
Thank you so very much for your kindness in explaining the process here. I hope I can find some relief from this burning pain in my heart. Maybe a bit of "understanding and love" is what I need right now. A bit colorful but truthful. Even through my tears, I have to say thank you again for being there for me.
Salmon

November 15, 2004
9:27 pm
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gingerleigh
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Hi Salmon. I'm not sure what advice I can give you, but I'll try. I really do understand some of what you're going through. My husband is currently in Iraq, not due to be home "for good" until March or April, but will be coming home for R&R in just a few days. I have not seen him since February. Like your wife, I also had an affair, most likey because I selfishly needed attention that my husband couldn't give me while being so far away. But our problems started long before he went away I'm sure. I know we have our work cut out for us when he gets back, and I'm more than a little nervous about the R&R.

So first, let me address your statement... "who would want an old dysfunctional man like me?" LOTS of people, and I'm sure you're not nearly as dysfunctional as you say. You're talking, you are looking for help here, as long as you are still questioning, still looking, still thinking, still wondering, still feeling, you have hope, you have potential. Plus, as a man, you should know that your options tend to increase as you get older. Not only do you have the women your age to choose from, but all of a sudden you end up with a host of younger women who are attracted to older men to pick from. So if you wanted to do the "mid life crisis" thing with a twenty-something, you are set.

All joking aside, war and deployments are stressful. Does your unit have a family support group set up? They might be able to guide you and your wife to some help together, or at least for you if she won't or can't commit to working through these things with you.

These long deployments allow people to grow apart, and small things can balloon into huge amounts of resentment. What was the ultimatum she gave you? Ultimatums are generally worded "Either you do X or I will do Y." What was it?

I can empathize with your wife on some levels. It is really hard to be left behind. But my heart goes out to you, knowing what you had to go through, and now what you are adjusting to being back in the States and having to deal with betrayal and heartbreak besides.

Welcome to this site, welcome home. My husband tells me all the time that he isn't in the army to "serve his country"... he's there to protect his mom, his dad, his sister and her family, his friends, and me. Know that at least one person you've never met is eternally grateful to you for the sacrifice you've made for this country and for the people you love.

November 15, 2004
9:46 pm
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on my way
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Hi Salmon, welcome. I hope you find some answers here. Most people ae honest about themsleves and their feelings, and , what they have learned.

November 15, 2004
9:59 pm
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Welcome Salmon, I am a classic case of coda, but I never married any of my bf's. I am now 39 and have been in 4 very long term relationships with men...each of them had addictions, and I tried to fix them and mold them to how and what I wanted them to be. I was too afraid to be alone, so I would dump one boyfriend and find a new one a week later, only the new guy, always had
problems, and this was great, cuz I could caretake and help him. Its been
a painful road for me, trying to fix and change men for so long, I don't know what normal is. I did spend time alone, no dating for almost 2 years and this helped me "wake up" and be better to myself. Love myself more, attend coda meetings, reading all coda books, joining this group....it all has is benefits. Take your time, this may all seem new to you in "recovery" but you are not alone, there are many, many supportive and wonderful people in this group. (((camer)))

November 15, 2004
11:12 pm
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salmon
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Dear Sunny,
Thank you so very much for your kindness in explaining the process here. I hope I can find some relief from this burning pain in my heart. Maybe a bit of "understanding and love" is what I need right now. A bit colorful but truthful. Even through my tears, I have to say thank you again for being there for me.

Dear Gingerleigh,
You have absolutely no idea how "nice", if you can use that word, it is to be able to have someone who can truly empathize with what I'm going through. Your kind words of support have been gratefully accepted and will now be processed and I feel a bit better. Our unit does have a family support group set up but I'm reluctant to use it as not everything there is confidential. I chose to go to a private counselor. Second, the ultimatum given was absolute: she wants out and there is nothing on earth I can do about it. Her new lover is apparently a man of means and can provide my wife with much more material goods than I have over the years and fits her past MO of not moving on until she has someone else lined up.
Thanks again for the support and I am extremely grateful for compassionate people such as you.

Dear on my way,
I hope what is say is true and helps. Thanks for the nice note.

Dear Camer,
As a fellow CODA person, I too took my wife partly because she had come from a rather dysfunctional family and I wanted to "rescue" her with my love and caring way. We have been married longer than all her siblings combined; however, her younger sister is on husband #5 and all were gotten through adulterous relationships. Her parents, too, have had such problems and I have to realize that I cannot rescue anyone except myself. Am I on the road to recovery? I sure hope so but its hard to see through tear filled eyes. I am impatient for some short term relief as I, unfortunately, know I will have long term pain to follow. My children are what's keeping me going as my faith in God is not as strong as it was in the past. Thanks for the support! You'll never know how truly grateful I am.
Salmon

November 16, 2004
1:11 am
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gingerleigh
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Wow, that's not even an ultimatum! No choice whatsoever. That completely strips you of your own power in the relationship. She definitely has her own issues to work out, sadly she probably never will. But you, you have a chance to heal and reach the next level of self-awareness and self-love. And you have your children.

One word of caution I would extend from personal experience. Be careful not to lean on your kids. I know that's the last thing you would intend to do. Just be there for them to offer them a solid place to anchor during these times of change, and let them know you love them and always will no matter what. Continue to be their dad.

I got really frustrated with family support myself, and quit going to the meetings completely. I have nothing at all in common with the other wives. Most of them are stay at home moms, their lives revolve around their kids, and although they are nice and all, they stress out over the tiniest things, like they are afraid to be out in the world. They make me sad and scared just being around them! So I totally understand not wanting to follow the family support route. I am glad that you've found some counseling for yourself though. Stick with it. You've been through a war and back, the toughest condition that man can suffer through. You can get through this war of the heart as well and not just survive, but become stronger, healthier and happier. It just takes a lot of time, unfortunately. Be patient with yourself and your feelings.

November 16, 2004
2:25 am
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salmon
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Dear Gingerleigh,
You're absolutely right! Her mind is made up and thats it! She has never gone back on past relationships and I don't expect her to come back to me, especially since she now has someone who could really fulfill her material needs and will give her a sense of financial status. The only thread between us is our wonderful kids and spending almost half her life with me. She said we were two different people and just not meant to be...I guess that best sums up her feelings. Your advice on leaning on my kid is well given and, unfortunately, a bit late as I did when I first heard of her final decision. However, to my credit, I was able to get myself together enough to seek more professional help. Awhile back, at the dinner table, I asked the kids if I love their mom. There was a quick and emphatic YES! When asked if she loved me, one said, "no comment" and the other just smiled and shrugged his shoulder. After the kids reaction and a pregnant pause, she quietly said I do love you. How sincere is that? Finally, I do have to disagree with you on one point: Going to war and back is not the toughest challenge that can face a man as you can seek some level of protection against hostile forces; it the war of the heart where you truly feel helpless in protecting yourself. I hope that winning my personal war of the heart will turn out as you predict but the "healing" time is the most painful and difficult enemy I've yet to face. Thanks again.
Salmon

November 16, 2004
6:50 am
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CAMER
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hi Salmon, just seeing how you are feeling today, hope this site helps you out much. Just know that "recovery" and understanding of codependency does take time, my therapist told me b4 that it may take as many years to become "un" coda as it did to become coda....and that's a scary thought. You seem to
be on the right track, with wanting to get help and improve your life,
keep venting here, its a great support site, and know you are not alone on this path that we are all walking on.

November 16, 2004
7:12 am
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Hi Salmon,

Wow, those words really hit home with me and I can fully relate. My dad was a career marine who did tours in Korea and Vietnam. I always thought (as a child) that it must have been so very hard for him. However, when my parents divorced after he had been retired from the military about 10 years later, I saw then that his service was not near as traumatic as the breakup of their marriage. He did finally get over it but it was tough. I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best in dealing with this life changing issue as well. Lean on us and take it one day at a time!

Hugs,

Sunny

November 16, 2004
10:12 am
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salmon
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Dear Camer,

Mixed feelings today like ever other so far. Hard to concentrate and harder not to obsess over this. It is scary that it will take years to un-coda but in my present frame of mind I think I will be willing to change while I mourn the loss of my marriage-note: I didn't say ours... Thanks again.

Sunny,

If a tough Marine had a difficult time, then mine will be doubley difficult! Again, I may be underestimating my abilities but its hard to focus on anything except the woman I've loved for 20+ years. Thanks for thinking of me and the nice wish. Special thanks for the hug, I need one badly now. (((hug back)))

Salmon

November 16, 2004
10:24 am
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Salmon,

Never underestimate yourself. You would be surprised at how strong you really are! Hint: Know what really helped my dad, the one thing that finally turned it around for him and him being able to accept and put it to rest? His children....

Sunny 🙂

November 16, 2004
11:04 am
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salmon
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Sunny,

I hope you're right! I'll add that your dad and I have something else in common and that's our unconditional love for our children. They have been my primary focus and will continue to be as I HAVE to be strong for them. I will do my best to take this one day at a time and stop projecting too far into the future. Usually what happens is in no way related to what you think will happen. I have to say that I love (first time I've used that word in awhile) everyone who has offered me encouragement.

Salmon

November 16, 2004
11:12 am
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Salmon,

I just know it helped him immensely. But then I'm not sure how old your children are, we were adults and it was the closest I had ever been with my dad, until his death. You sound like a great father and that is so important now, for all of you. What branch of the service? Oh..wanted to add one more thing if I may... Monetary? Believe me Salmon, I was married to a rich guy once. It didn't bring happiness.. But I'm sure you know that. You have plenty to offer the right person when and if that time comes.

Thx for the hug!

Sunny

November 16, 2004
11:34 am
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salmon
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Sunny,

I'm AF and my kids are teens. I appreciate that money doesn't bring happiness but to a material girl it might be her dream and she can "adjust" to the situation, especially with the "falling in love" flutters. I'm not slamming her but my counselor asked me if she took gifts and did she return affection... I had to say no real affection but she did return appreciation which I took as the former. In spite of it all, it will take a long time to accept what's happening.

Thanks again.

Salmon

November 16, 2004
1:05 pm
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kathygy
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Salmon, You have suffered a great loss, a woman you loved for 20+ years. Please be very gentle with yourself and focus on treating yourself with love as much love as you give your children. You will grieve for awhile. Don't be afraid of the pain, lean into it and it will pass sooner. You will recover and find love again. You have a lot to offer and are working on yourself. I would not discuss your wife with your children. They should have to feel any responsibility for your feelings.

Hugs, Kathy

November 16, 2004
2:34 pm
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salmon
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Dear Kathy,

Your words of wisdom is the encouragement I need. It IS a great loss (almost like a death) as I loved and worshipped her instead of loving and respecting her. I've learned a lesson for sure and hope I can recover. I am also afraid of the pain as its overwhelming to me right now. I'll try to lean into it and become stronger faster but that will take time. My children are my life and I will NOT destroy their relationship with their mother for retalitory reasons. They still need and have both a father and mother. My wife may have stopped loving me but I have not stopped loving my children. Thanks again and hugs back as I sure could use one now.

Salmon

November 19, 2004
8:58 pm
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Kathy,Sunny,Camer,Gingerleigh, and on my way,

I'm back and just got off my webmail at work (300+ in only 3 days) and wanted to extend my sincerest thanks (belated) to all of you for your much needed support during a VERY hard time for me. It took a month for help medically as well as my counseling and, believe it or not, I think I'm FINALLY starting to get past the denial stage and moving to whatever the next stage may be. I've had a few "good" days in a row and can finally function again and it feels nice. I'll admit I digress sometimes but its for a few minutes verses hour(s). It took my best friends to tell me a few days ago that it doesn't matter what the reason is she's leaving, she gone and why waste time (and emotion) tracking it down. It was hard to hear from them and when I brought it up in counseling ditto the response. I guess I'm a slow learner in that arena and its sad but true that I really need to expend that energy on ME for a change. My present state of mind is helping that along. I had sacrificed time I could have spent with my kids and instead chose my wife to go on extended and cross country trips with them for her pleasure instead of me (or us doing it together). I thought that she would appreciate my sacrifices. Now I am so sad that I did that and will have to start being a REAL dad to my children. There is very little trust between my wife and me and I will have to work extra hard on my part to make sure I can work with her in regards to my children as I'll be forever bonded to her through them. She is very smart as well as very meticulious so no more searching for the "golden ring"; that's the hardest part but its a promise I HAVE to keep to myself (see, more concern for me instead of others) and again will be a lot easier in my present state of mind (I'll add, so far so good except for one very minor transgression about 5 or 6 days ago.) That's REALLY good for me! I forgot to mention that my last aunt passed away and the compounding of my woes didn't help me emotionally. I'm now kind of happy, if that the right word, for her as I know she was in a lot of pain and it hurt seeing her suffer - believe it or not, it was my wife that brought that reasoning to me. Sadly we have more compassion for animals in pain than our own family since we really want to hang on to the last possible second. This is the first time in many days I've gotten really teary eyed but at least its for the right reason this time. I'll be a wreck at the funeral Sunday so I'll try my best not to lean on my kids but perhaps my family will help. Please keep me in your thoughts this Sunday and thanks again for the outstanding support when I needed it the most.

Salmon

P.S. I re-read my original thread and wish I had not gone so overboard in the desperate state I was in. Thank God this is anonymous!

November 19, 2004
9:12 pm
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We feel how we feel. It's not overboard! I'm glad to see that you're still around and talking. Hang in there, you are exactly where you need to be, and things are on the upswing.

November 22, 2004
3:43 am
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Dear Gingerleigh,

I hope your reunion was both timely and enjoyable. I'm sure you are not nearly as frightened as you imagined and the reunion went as expected. When you fill us all in on the R&R, I'll bet it will be positive!

Additionally, thank you again for your kind words on my unkind statements toward my wife in my original string. Sadly, being one who now either accepts or mitigates blame, I find myself at fault when emotions override reason. In anger, I tried to paint as nasty a picture as possible of my wife and I think I succeeded. Sadly, I now feel the guilt as she is not quite as sexually active as I painted and if she was materialistic I take part of the blame as I showered her with gifts whenever I could. Needed to clear the air.

I'm now having more good days than bad and don't know the entire reason yet. I just returned from my aunt's funeral and had a bit of time to reflect. I'll admit that I have not been as truthful with my wife recently as I could have been. Lately, I've done a LOT better in stopping my "snooping" in spite of the temptation out there. The main reason for my digression is that when she is evasive or less than honest I can often feel that something is amiss. After 20+ years together, I really can't pin down a specific action, it's more of a "gut" feeling. For the longest time, I believed she was the most honest person I had ever known (one of the many things that attracted me to her) and would have bet my life on it, literally. I have to add that she acts very offended and agitated whenever I challenge her truthfulness; I guess only time will tell who is the more honest. It's VERY difficult to establish a working relationship with her "one way" as both members need to cooperate. Sadly, I don't forsee that in her presently and hope her inaction will not spill over to our children to adversely affect them. My children are the love of my life now and I will continue to protect them as only their father could. I know that I can only reduce or stop errant behaviors in me and am very pleased thus far with my successes (and there will be more to come with this mindset). Fortunately for me I do have a support group of sorts to give words of encouragement and sometimes to give me a venue to vent, listen, or just discuss good/difficult times.

The ONLY good news out of this is that she agreed to let me take her out on her birthday to her favorite city (USED to be mine too, along with London, but the pain of not being there with her or watching my lifelong sports teams without her is unbearable!). Her birthday was always something I've looked forward to but this one is particular is very special to me and the children. They are aware of the evenings plans and had again helped choose the gifts. Under the present circumstances, I have to renege on one of the gifts. This is not to show off but to demonstrate my sentimentality. We chose a nice gold/white gold two-tone heart shaped locket with "I Love You" embossed on the front. Planned to engrave her birth date on the back and even had mini-photos of the children and me picked out to put in the locket. At this stage its now only a piece of shiny metal and I will tell our children that I've changed my mind or something. Will either return it or finish paying off her gifts and send this gift to my best friends wife as she is now the "woman in my life", with his permission of course.

I know this is a lengthy string but I guess I need to clear my mind as well as vent some. This string is not very active now and I'm OK with that; however, I want to finish it with a HONEST closing note and a sincere thank you to all who have given me support. Keep in touch as I KNOW I'll be needing your support and encouragement as the action progresses.

Salmon

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