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Need Advice Desperateley
April 20, 2005
6:38 am
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Burnt
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As a f/u to the cod. on an addict son and me on her. We have 2 younger children and are trying to stay together. We get along OK, but feel like she has no love for me.

Tried to make love this morning as I like feeling close to another, but no go.

If we are to stay together, yet try to be happy, what do I do? She wants nothing to do with me, but it looks like neither is yet willing to break up the family.

How do things ever get better?

Has anyone had a turnaround? If yes, how.

If not, what do I do for me?

April 20, 2005
10:11 am
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Burnt
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OK, let me follow up in more detail. After I left this morning I called her back and said I want to do counseling. Because of all the other problems we've had with our addict son (whom she's codependent upon) our emotional energy has 99% gone to him.

I'm tired and resentful of this and simply want to work on us for now.

She's not ready she said. She's in her own therapy (just started about 3 months ago) and needs to sort her stuff out first. She encouraged me to do "whatever I needed to do" to which I said I'm not leaving the kids, but will wait to see what happens if and when she's ever ready to work on us.

Right now I feel sheer contempt from her, not one positive feeling is there. I am codependent on her, and that's got to be turn off, but at the same time I've provided a wonderful living for her, enough money, lots of love (though she does not want it), and am the self-admitted best Father ever.

All this serves as a turnoff. I think she's only interested in a strong man with issues that she can rescue.

I'm at my ropes end. Please help.

I want our relationship to be better, but 99% of my concern is that I'd lose the kids (as most Father's always do in a divorce) despite the fact that I think I've been as good a Father as there could be.

April 20, 2005
10:54 am
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revelation
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OK...but I think before the relationship gets better a lot of work has to be done on yourself and herself. Now...sounds like she's working on herself right now and she's looking after number one...which is something we all need to do sometimes. So why don't you try that? You seem to be frantically worried about your relationship and you yourself seem to be unraveling.
So...I don't mean to scold...but you need to LET GO. I don't mean forever I don't mean for a long time, but for as long as it takes, let go of all this and take some time for you. Another thing...you seem to be guessing all the time whats she's thinking and what she's feeling, well, you need to stop that or you'll drive yourself crazy. Two phrases that I read over and over on this board and I never never tire of it as I always need reminding "You can't control how others feel" and "You can't control how others think". Try to detach here...thats what you need to do now, don't worry about later just do that now. ok?

April 20, 2005
11:03 am
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Burnt
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If you think I'm frantic and unravelling, you would be correct. I'm freaked out. My family is my life. I was raised in a culture that put family above all else and I cannot think of a greater personal failure than for my family to disolve. So just know the profound impact this is having on me.

Each time I feel rejected by her (which is daily) I die a little inside. Only thing that has kept me in the relationship is the fact that I simply can't walk away from the 2 angelic faces (my daughters) whom I'd leave behind. If I were a woman, I'd leave in a heartbeat as they tend to get the most custody, money, etc...

But as a man I know I'll be screwed personally, my kids will be devestated (at least for a while), and I can't now bear the thought of some other man eventually raising my daughters. I'm frantic - hell yes.

I do know from counseling the words you wrote above, I can't change anyone or the way they feel, just myself. I accept that and try to remember that constantly, it's simply losing my daughters that I cannot bear.

April 20, 2005
11:07 am
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revelation
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But try not to think like that. Why do you think you would lose your daughters? Has your partner mentioned that she wants an end to your relationship? Is there any chance to salvage your relationship? When did things start to crumble? Keep posting here...keep writing this down, its all helping.

April 20, 2005
11:16 am
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Burnt
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OK, you asked for it.

I married my wife 13 years ago. She had a son by another marriage (a drug using dead beat father who abandoned the son).

I adopted him at 5 years old and raised him as best I could as my own. We were happy - as long as the son was happy. 5 Years into the marriage we finally (after all those years of trying, miscarrying...) had our own daughter. At that same time I was sued twice, new job, new house, new baby. I withdrew as I was emotionally overwhelmed. My new baby was the bright spot in my life.

I got better in a couple of years, then my adopted son began using drugs at around 13. He went down hill from there and coincidentally so did our relationship (with wife). We had another daughter and the distance between wife and me continued.

His drug use, defiance, school problems, criminal activity... has been the focus of most of our energy for 5 years. I've grown tired and resentful of it, she still thinks he's an angel deep down. We're now with a lot less money after a lot of rehap, and have grown far more distant. As he's been out of the house for 9 months, we got to be together which was not good. It became more clear that she's just not happy unless he's around and happy too. I felt completely abandoned and still do.

We tried counseling once, but the therapist was a terrible fit and nothing really changed. Since we've been overwhelmed with all his crap the past year I was reluctant to bring it up with her again. But this morning I asked her and she said not now.

She has said on several occassions she's been close to walking out. Not quite sure what's stopped her, but I know it's not an incredible emotional and sexual bond to me. I think it's more practical and she's reluctant to put the kids in that position yet.

So, it's been downhill for 7 years and obviously any efforts I've made have backfired. I could let go of this, it's just the fact that I could not bear not living in same house with my kids.

Does this help fill in the blanks more?

April 20, 2005
11:51 am
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revelation
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ahhh, my message never posted!
Anyway, I'll try again.

OK, firstly I think its very commendable that you took this woman and her son into your life, it shows straight away that your are a kind compassionate man and you sound like you have done a great job as husband, father and provider to your family. Surely this can't have gone unnoticed by your wife? If it has, then she is obviously very troubled and maybe she really does want to concentrate on letting go of her problems with her son through therapy before she will enter into any other kind of therapy. However, I think that you both need to try to open up the lines of communication here...be completely honest and open about what you would like to happen now and in the future and ask her to give you the courtesy of telling you what she would like. Although she is closed to the idea of couples counselling now...is it something she feels she will be ready for in the near future? If she still will not communicate, then you need to ask yourself if its worth hanging on to this...really, what benefit will you and your daughter have from living like this? All you can do is be open and honest with her...tell her exactly how you feel...if she doesn't respond to this then you can't make her...so then you'll need to think of your options.

April 20, 2005
12:27 pm
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Burnt
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Yeah, my thoughts exactly (and unfortunately). And it's not 1 young daughter but 2.

In today's society, men basically get every other weekend. How much does that suck? These girls are at an age where they're total Daddy's girls, but I'm sure she have no remorse about keeping them away if it came to that.

I just feel powerless here. The laws are so biased towards women. I don't think either of us can make the case the other is a bad parent, but I'm thinking that's what's likely to happen.

It's just so hard to feel like an isolated island - and we both feel that way right now and have for quite some time.

I just feel lost, angry, resentful, and deeply alone.

April 20, 2005
12:45 pm
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revelation
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Please please try to be more positive. Firstly try the communication, if that doesn't work..then consider the seperation option. As for the "every other weekend" scenario, c'mon try not to be so negative here. I am from Ireland where the laws are even more antiquated than the UK and the USA. My brother has full custody of his three children and is doing a great job. His ex wife did get nasty and tried her best to damage his case (not because she wanted the kids but because she wanted the house). You don't want to start getting into all of that. If she can't see that she is throwing a good (and salvagable in my opinion) marriage, down the tubes, then you may have to just walk away...before you do, seek legal advice, explain that you want to be part of your daughters life and that that will be your main priority, I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think its all doom and gloom for single dads...I think the tide is turning, and about time too!
But first...tell her how you are feeling, try that just once and tell us what happens ok?

April 20, 2005
12:54 pm
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Burnt
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OK, well I did tell her how I was feeling just this morning. And she's feeling the same way. I said I felt like and island and she said she did too.

I said I don't think we can make our relationship perfect, but I would like to work on making it better and did not attack her. I simply said how lonely I was and how much it hurts that she wants nothing to do with me from any intimacy level (from a hug to sex). It hurts a lot and has been that way for a while.

She clearly understands that, but has done nothing to change from her side. I've been to counseling, lost a lot of weight (I've been at about the same weight I was when we married), been on anti-depressants (mildly helpful), and have tried to change some behaviors I know she dislikes. The same feelings have not come back from her.

I'm out of ideas. She wants to continue working on herself and getting the mess with our son resolved (which I doubt will EVER happen as he's been a addict and is showing no signs of changing). So I'm in emotional purgatory. I am trying hard to take care of myself - been sick lately and not able to work out, but should be back at it by week's end.

I suppose I need to find a balance between getting a life outside the family and not making her feel like I'm trying to leave altogether.

April 20, 2005
1:03 pm
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revelation
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Oh dear....what a tangle. Your last sentence says it all really.
Sounds like she is completely wrapped up in your son and just can't see past that one issue. You could stick it out and see if it gets better, or you could start making contingency plans. I don't mean to sound harsh like "leave her cause she's not having sex with you" Its just that, you seem quite emotionally damaged yourself and what I am worrying about is those little girls, they need someone strong and stable in their lives and if this marriage is destroying you, then you need to do something about it for them. Thats my opinion anyway.

April 20, 2005
1:25 pm
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Go into therapy and work on yourself. You sound codependent on your wife. Learn to feel whole and complete without anything from her.
Give up needing anything from your wife. A good therapist can help you with this. A shift in you can cause a shift in her. If your behavior changes the chances are hers will too.

April 20, 2005
3:58 pm
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Thank you both so much, can't tell you how much I value your feedback.

I have been in quite a bit of therapy and will go to my first CODA meeting on Thursday night. After learning about it it sounds like it nailed my feelings right on the head.

Karhygy - I love the simple advice about needing ANYTHING

April 20, 2005
4:00 pm
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Burnt
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OOOPS - fat thumb syndrome, wasn't done yet...

Anyway, I love the advice about not needing anything from my wife. That's a healthy way to be.

However, since neither of us has yet left, I'm assuming there's hope.

I intend to try and disconnect myself from her in a way that does not her feel like I intentionally giving her the cold shoulder.

Make sense?

As a woman, what advice do you have in addition?

April 21, 2005
5:48 am
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revelation
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Hello Burnt,

Sorry I never got back to you, I am in Ireland and my office shuts up for the evening about 7pm so then I gotta go!
Anyway, hope you are feeling a bit more positive today. kathyg said it all really. you know already that you are codependent on your wife so you will have to work really hard at detaching. Also, stop worrying about how SHE will feel when you "disconnect"...remember, YOU can't control how she feels.

April 21, 2005
9:02 am
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Burnt
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Thanks Rev,

Still blows my mind that people with similar struggles are now able to converse easily even across oceans...

Was feeling better as I woke up, but when I left for work she walked to the other side of the room (at the very minimum we usually kiss each other goodbye in the mornings...). Very loud and clear message from her.

I'm reeling.

I know I can't control her feelings 1 iota, but I can't help feeling like I'm dying a bit every day too.

I have a business lunch today, a counseling call this afternoon, and a CODA meeting tonight.

I desperately want and need to stop feeling so unworthy of love and just waiting for her to leave. I have no history or knowledge of how to stop this cycle. I'm scared. I don't want to lose my family.

April 21, 2005
10:55 am
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revelation
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You really won't lose your family. I believe that that is one thing you DO have control over. This coldness from your wife must be unbearable, does this get worse and worse every day or is it something thats been happening for a while?

April 21, 2005
4:26 pm
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Burnt
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OK, here's where I'm at.

Yes, the coldness is unbearable and has been so for years.

BUT - I called Divorce Busting for a counseling session today (which I saw recommended on several threads).

Talked to the guy and feel 100% better about my outlook.

This was truly a real deal helper outer. No I don't work for them, but he listened to me for 20 mins., then offered real, concrete things to do differently that even if they don't help will make me happier:
- Go have true fun and don't worry about what anyone thinks
- Do a 180 - turn some things around
- Be less of a hanger on

And others.

I will try to implement these and also bought 5 - yes 5 - books today that I intend to get some help from.

So I went out and blew $500 on the top of the line iPod just now and can't wait to set it up and try it.

I want to feel this way!

April 22, 2005
5:38 am
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revelation
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Hello Burnt...sorry again for not getting back, had to leave the office at 5 to interview some potential lodgers for my spare room!
Nice one on the I-pod, I am always telling people to treat themselves, people don't do it often enough. Really glad you are feeling more positive, just remember to keep it that way, worry about you for a while!

April 22, 2005
3:50 pm
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Burnt
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Thanks, that's a page from the Divorce Busting book and it sure felt great to say WTF!

Today I'm tired b/c I was up until 1 in the morning putting music on it. I'm dragging and not as alert.

But I'm determined for constructive ways to keep her on her toes - and more importanly stretch myself.

I may go down in flames, but I'll go down swinging.

Ideas to keep her off balance without pushing away? I'm looking for interesting things to do for me too.

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