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Need some encouragement... divorce? Not sure
January 14, 2001
3:06 am
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gingerleigh
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I finally got up the courage to stand up for myself and give my husband the ultimatum... it's been months since he has touched me or said anything kind to me. He is going through some sort of crisis that he can't talk to me or anyone about. He has withdrawn completely away from me, his family, his children... and is completely unwilling to talk about it or seek professional help. Things are terrible, from bills not being paid, promises being broken, no affection or love, and just emptiness in our lives where before we had such a caring relationship. After agonizing and pleading and begging and getting no response, I finally approached him and told him that he needs to either get professional help or build his life without me. I have given him a week to decide, and must wait patiently to hear his decision. I also told him that I would love and support him throughout his healing process, go with him to the session if he wanted, and be there for him. (When I entered therapy, he was completely non-supportive, and I've felt so alone and unloved through my "awakening". I don't want him to feel that way! I want him to realize that I'm not asking him to seek help because I'm mad at him or hate him... I just can't live like this anymore!)

It hurts me to imagine that he would rather choose to find his own living space, transportation, and financial support rather than spend 2 hours with a therapist. But that is a real possibility that I have to face.

I'm looking for some word of encouragement... I feel in my heart that this was the right thing to do, but sometimes I have doubts. I wrote out a list of good and bad things about him, and I had over 20 awful things, and 5 good things (and the good things haven't happened in months and months!) I worry that I was too cold hearted, too selfish, but I also feel like I've been taken advantage of and abused and am just now starting to wake up and take care of myself.

Anyone else go through something like this? I think my husband is suffering from severe depression, and could be helped so much by a doctor. Can someone offer some words of wisdom or experience or advice?

January 14, 2001
4:31 am
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iab
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I know a wife whose husband suffers extreme anxiety and he has been staying home-doing nothing except eating and sleeping...for years now. His wife and children accepted the situation as hopeless and kept him as part of the family.

It is difficult to do the same thing.Seems to me that your husband needs someone who accept and understand,and I am afraid that he would interpret your situation as not caring.I know it is difficult to continue like this,but I am afraid the current situation would make him more depressed and more resistent to therapy.

It is confusing. Aren't there anyone who could affect the situation? Parent or friend or pastor or boss or physician or ...? What about your children?

It is clear from what you wrote that he didn't care enough for you,and this is an issue that should be dealt with. But is it the suitable time to do so? I think it is now time to help him and not to blame him.I know that it is not fare,but should you do to him what he did to you? If yes why to blame him then?!

January 14, 2001
12:24 pm
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gingerleigh
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I know, these thoughts have been turning around and around in my head too. I feel so guilty for adding to his pressure like this, but I just don't see any end in sight.

As far as the children go, they are his from a previous marriage, and they live with their mother, not me. He is not close to his mother, and his father is passed on for some time now. He doesn't go to church, and the situation at work is horrible for him (he and his boss are at odds constantly, and he is working 18 hours a day now.) He is extremely private, and doesn't seem to have close friends that he opens up to. He went back to where he grew up to visit his very best girl friend (she's gay) there, who supposedly knows everything about him and has been there for him for the last 15 years through his divorce and her divorce from her partner, but after spending the time with her, he was even more closed-mouthed than ever.

I guess I should say that he decided to go and visit her on the spur of the moment last week, didn't even tell me he was going until he made the plane tickets. Then instead of coming home on the day he said he would, he decided to fly to another one of his work locations and work from there for the next two weeks. I was so heartbroken by that! Did he hate me that much that he would just stay 2000 miles away from me, with one change of clothes to get him through the next two weeks?

It makes me think that I am a horrible person. And when I ask him about this, he tells me that how I feel is my problem and too bad, he does not "feel like taking responsibility" for how I feel. What? At least treat me like a decent human being, if you can't treat me like the wife you are supposed to love and cherish always! He says that all I care about is myself. But is it wrong to expect that your husband will at least give a damn about how you feel and how his actions make you feel?

I guess the sad and scary part for me is that I don't know where to draw the line... I've tried to be patient and understanding, doing extra things for him, supporting him financially... and he keeps pushing me away. I feel neglected and alone, unloved and miserable.

I know that this ultimatum approach has the definite possibility of pushing him to the limit and eliciting a "fine! f*** you, I'd rather leave you and everything wonderful we ever had together than admit that I have a problem!"

I'm just so afraid to let go of him. People tend to seek counseling when they have hit rock bottom, and this tells me that he isn't quite there yet. I wish so much that I were important enough to him that the idea of losing me would convince him how important this is in his life, but it doesn't seem to be.

At what point is it OK to start worrying about yourself, and remove yourself from someone who is abusive? I know that he is sick, and I don't blame him for his condition, but I want him to get better! If he had cancer or some other physical ailment, could anyone fault me for convincing him to see a doctor?

I don't know what to do about my feelings, how to feel better. He has broken so many promises to me, and I'm starting to feel like I'm not worthy of having promises kept to me. That's wrong, and I should not allow myself to feel like that, but I am just so confused by all of this. Why won't he seek help? Why won't he talk to me?

January 14, 2001
12:59 pm
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Molly
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I tolorated the hell you were in for years, to the point that it did truly affect me physically, emotionally, financially, and ultimately affected my relationship with my children, and many foolish choices made under stress, and while depressed. Over the years the more I persisted the more he resisted. I had several ideas what the problems were, but was so focused on HIM, forgot about me and mine during my sinking process. With my mothers death and the graduation from highschool of my youngest, my nest that I had clung so hard to hold on to was now empty, and I had a gust of wind beneath my wings. Sold the house and flew away. The spouse had been out of the house for 8 months in a hotel. To this day I can't figure out what was in his mind, but when he came by and the house was empty, and called my employer to discover that I had quit a week before, the man realized no more BS was going to be passivly accepted, and eventually ignored.
He sought medical treatment, and did all sorts of work on his stuff, mostly anger at women, depression, sexual impudence, caused by diabetes out of controll, and various medications for high blood pressure, and realized that he did not have a clue about love, but wanted it, and me. Many manipulations were presented during his course of action, some I fell for but mostly due to the distance I was able to heal me, and regain my sense of self. It had been short of two years when he appeared on my door with a signifigant weight loss, and glow. The change was apparent, the effort and love was present, and although this has been a difficult year of patience wait and see, it has been well worth my return. Men are very strange creatures, that are so very different than women, from the way they express their love, their emotions, and the way they process their stuff, shut down is the most common, with retreat, and walls, very very high walls. Just like our children they know our buttons, and how far we push, which usually we retreat, but I found that my actions really supported my words for a change, got me change. However, no pain, no change, it rings true for everything, maybe he must loose you and everything like mine did to realize what he wants, and is willing to work for. He must want it , it must come from with in him. Most of the difficulty came after my return where the patterns of behavior most familiar came back into play a couple of times, and I needed to shake my head, and work at the new learned stuff, and so did he. The first 8 months were the hardest, and I was not all that confident, and must admit withheld some of me from the relationship. The stuff with my girls didn't help any, and I did go bonkers for a while with that stuff. I read Mc Graw's relational rescue, and have focused on me entirely, and strangely enough the last month has been very rewarding. Who knows what the future will bring, but I know that I am in controll of my end of things, and that was a hard lesson for some reason. So I guess there is no real way of knowing if you did, or are doing the right thing regarding him, but you must do what you know is the healthiest choice for you right now, and be open to the possibilities of the future. Just because you have seperated, doesn't mean your not married any more if it should come to that. Just be strong, draw boundry lines, and be healthy for you and yours.

January 14, 2001
2:31 pm
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janes
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I read in your posts that you know what you want and need in a relationship. You seem to know and understand what you want from him.

He is right that how YOU FEEL about this is your responsibility. With that reaction I think you don't need to worry whether or not you are to cold or hard hearted.

Remember when someone else is making their own choices it can't "make" YOU a bad person. From what you have said you are anything but.... Perhaps you have made some mistakes in the relationship. But unless you have been beating him with a cast iron frying pan and verbally abusing him I don't think this is coming from you.

Sounds like the problems are deeper thanyou can even imagine.

Selfish? Everyone of us is slefish. There is nothing wrong with SOME selfishness. We HAVE to take care of ourselves and when we are strong we are able to care of others appropriately too. It's a gift we can share.

I would say you ARE at the point where you can start worrting about you.

You KNOW, in your heart of hearts that if you have done all you can do as an individual that the next steps to save the relationship are up to him.

Yes. If he goes you will be lonely, sad scared and hurt. You can't MAKE him do counseling etc. His approval is not the most important thing. Your approval of YOUR self is!!!! If you are starting to doubt yourself run like the wind or he will drag you into a pit that will take you years to dig out of...alone.

You are worthy. You always have been.

You can't save him but you can save yourself so if and when he "awakens" you will be WHOLE ...

If you have done all that you can ...
then there is nothing left to do.

Reread Molly's last post....take no shit from him. Do not let him ruin you while he plays his little game of "I don't know what I want"

If he leaves pretend you are on a sabbatical...and learn to love and value YOU!!!

j-

January 14, 2001
4:04 pm
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gingerleigh
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Thank you Molly, for giving me hope for him. It was a really hard decision for me to make, and it's even harder to stick with it. Your experience makes me feel more comfortable with the decision. Maybe he *has* to lose everything to really feel that pain and change himself into a whole and healthy person again. I see glimpses of who he used to be, and it hurts terribly to catch the glimpse and then watch it fade away.

Janes, you give me hope for me. I can't help him, but I do have the capacity to help myself. I am starting to believe that his depression isn't my fault, but I can't bring him out of it either, only he can do that. I wish that his love for me and for himself were big enough that he would want to do this, but so far it isn't. That's understandable... how can I expect him to love me when he doesn't even love himself? It's also unfair of me to expect him to start "waking up" just because I am.

Knowing this stuff makes it a little easier, but it's still tough. You know that I'm sure. Sometimes when I think about this whole thing I get so gloomy and depressed and I don't want to do anything or talk to anyone (and, that's funny, that's a lot like what my husband does).

I need to get out and do something, just need to build up that first burst of energy to get out there. Some enthusiasm... where's Richard Simmons when you need him? *grin*

January 15, 2001
4:39 am
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lost soul
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I certainly has benefited by reading this thread. Yes, we can't be respondsible for our spouse's issues.

Take my case for example, I have been very patience with my husband for the past few years. Even up to the extent to forgive him & try to work things out after I found out his affair with this girl.But he is back to his old self after a while....partying and not coming back home. Whenever we are out ( my daughter , he & myself ) he always disappear for a while to make phone call. I guessed this extra marital affairs of his has been for quite sometime and I guessed it must have a "solid" foundation. Sounds silly right? "solid" foundation campare to a 13 years relationship. what a joke!!!

Anyway, what I need now is time, because time will heal the wounds. I keep telling myself " there is no point loving someone who does not love you at all" & over the years his has caused me so many misery.

The funny thing is while people learn to love someone, here I am learning how to unlove someone..............

January 16, 2001
11:53 am
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Molly
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Lost soul, is it unloving some one, or learning to love your self, like you love others. I think that is where we women trip over the concept of selfish. WE WERE BRAIN WASHED. If we are not stable the home is not stable, and when we are with unstable partners, we are not stable. It creates confusion, which I believe creates depression. The depression is an energy sucker that feeds its self, and boy do we sink fast before we know what hits us.
Gingerleigh, this is where your anger can come in handy, get mad real mad. Focus that anger, on your loss, that hurt, that pain, that betrayal, that dissappointment , into your fuel for your reward time. Strange how much extra day you have when your not obcessing over HIM, cooking for HIM, cleaning for HIM, nurturing HIM. Now its all about you and success is the best cure of all. They for some reason some spouses believe that because we have continued to tolorate conditions, that we have languaged to be intolorable, that we will continue to just whine and go on in our personal misery while they do the same ole same old. All part of the game of life, and we must remember it is a game or we go insane. Quit the fight, and just work at you, disconnect from his drama, and protect your self financially, emotionally, and spirtiually. Once you start to do for you, and the sunshine breaks in you will be shocked at just how depressed you were. No more waiting wishing or hoping just selfish action , a good selfish, that is about time you learn. It feels wierd at first, then look out, fun ahead.

January 17, 2001
4:56 pm
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pg lova
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Gingerleigh,

I am a minister, and what I'm going to tell you to do is to pray and earnestly seek God's assistance with this issue. It seems to me that your husband has taken a pretty hard hit from the devil. By letting go of your marriage, you're only going to allow Satan to wreak more havoc in your life. I know it's not easy, but I want for you to try and be as strong as possible for him, that's what he needs. Don't turn your back on him him, he really needs you now. God didn't tun His back when the world was lost, but he came down from heaven and died on the cross. He loved the world so much that He'd rather die than let his children be lost. Similarly, Paul tells us in Corinthians 2:6 that "We should be minded like Christ who though He was God, did not demand His rights as God, but He humbled himself and endured death on the cross." I'm sure that everything will be all right for you. Keep your head up and don't give in, God will make a way for you. I will be praying over your situation, and if you would ever like to talk or pray, just e-mail me at [email protected]. Jesus loves you and your family and so do I. So now may the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit rest, rule, and abide in your home, now, henceforth and for evermore. AMEN

God Bless U & Take Care of yourself.

January 17, 2001
4:57 pm
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pg lova
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Gingerleigh,

I'm sorry, I gave you the wrong verse, the Bible verse is Philippians 2:6.

January 17, 2001
11:07 pm
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gingerleigh
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I talk to God every night, and ask him to bless my husband and show him a way to peace. I also pray for peace for myself, and God has guided me towards the decision to set both my husband and myself free. We have no children that we will be harming, and I understand that I need to allow him to heal on his own and come to his own understanding.

However, I know now that by keeping our family unit intact right now, I am preventing him from taking the space he needs to become whole again. I am also seriously making myself sick and preventing myself from ever creating a healthy environment for our children, should we ever have any.

For this reason, we are separating, to give both of us time and space to heal.

I feel like God has guided me to this decision, and that He is watching out for me. Thank you for your post, pg lova.

Peace.

January 18, 2001
3:21 am
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iab
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Good Luck, and take care of yourself.

January 18, 2001
1:33 pm
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Anonymous
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I am to sad and lost in my marriage and wanting so bad to take a stand in my marriage. I plead for him to talk but I can't make him. We have so many issues and three very young boys.Help, I'm so angry.

January 18, 2001
6:34 pm
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Molly
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Shelly, m Mouse
Anger, well I can relate, but its not a very productive state unless you can use it as energy to take action to make things better for you and your children. First of all break down the word angry into what emotions are really behind it, say hurt, disrespected, tired, frustrated, etc. Take the situations, and break them down into real emotions. When talking use I statements, men hate to talk, they hate to be confronted, and about being wrong, are they ever???? Their response is to usually go into their caves. I would again suggest Dr McGraws book relational rescue, it focuses on you, and that is all you really can effect, its up to your spouse to rise to the occasion when he is ready. There are several other books also to help communicate with men, they are just different. After reading and doing the work in McGraw's book, I find that if I leave the books I want my spouse to read in the bathroom, they are magically read, or at least browsed through, he never does what I ask him to do, so I got smart, and don't ask. About the issues, after doing some work on you, and giving him some space, be direct, and ascertive in your request, if it is ignored, ask for counseling. Unless he is abusing you or the kids, I would forget that divorce is an option, its just to hard on everyone, and to tell the truth the grass is not really greener on the other side.

January 18, 2001
6:50 pm
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gingerleigh
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This site is wonderful... to update, I haven't spoken verbally to my husband in a while, other than quick things for work (we work together... yes, I know, difficult, but at least we both respect eachother's boundaries regarding work). He's been out of town for the last two weeks on business, so we've been keeping out of eachother's way.

I finally received an email from him last night explaining where he was in his healing process. I think he has made some progress, but is still heavily in denial. He has been shooting much of the blame back on me, and when I finished reading, I felt horrible, felt like I might really HAVE been the cause of his misery.

But I went back and read what you wrote (especially you, Molly) and realize that a lot of what he said and the way he said them were just "manipulations", perhaps trying to save himself from the pain of looking at his own shortcomings, doing anything to prevent himself from owning up to the fact that he is making himself unhappy.

So. We're still doing the separation. Details to be negotiated tomorrow. I'm dreading it, but also looking forward to it at the same time. It's the end of what started as a wonderful caring relationship, but the beginning of my new life with myself.

Ms. Mouse, Molly's advice is good, really try to identify what's up, and try the books. Work on yourself, but unfortunately for you, you have to also watch out for abuse to your boys. It's IMPOSSIBLE to make a man talk. All you can do is work on yourself. I know it hurts so much though, when you really want to build and keep the family together. Write more of what is going through your head, it helps.

January 18, 2001
10:35 pm
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Molly
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gingerleigh, amazing, but it was working together with my spouse that really put the final dent in our mess. It was in 91, real estate, that is how we met. It was I guess a power struggle with several issues, prior to that, which exploded while working to gether. Tell me more about your working together, I accidently stripped my man of his ego, and was accidently better than him, and made him more money than he had ever made before in his life. He couldn't handle it, and I made alot of mistakes, by my efforts to be the best. Needless to say, that was just one of the big issues, discovered while working together, that he had no concept of partnership, and that he had never wanted a partner, sad but true, the same rang true with marriage, and still is a struggle. I saw what the problem was in our marriage by working through issues at the office, that were never resolved. Glad to hear your at peace, and able to see truth, vs his survival techniques.

January 19, 2001
3:58 am
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lost soul
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I can relate to this!

Take care friends.

January 19, 2001
3:39 pm
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eve
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lost soul, how are you doing in your process of realizing that you haven't only lost a husband but gained a lot of freedom back? Are you ok? What's your daughter doing these times.
take care

January 19, 2001
7:25 pm
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gingerleigh
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Sounds very similar to my situation, Molly. My husband and I work in the IT department of a startup company. He makes about twice what I do, but I also make a pretty good salary. I used to work for him, but moved onto another team managing a completely new set of projects. When I moved over, his entire project set started going to pieces. He started getting a lot of major flak from his boss, and meanwhile my projects started to take off, and I was getting noticed also, but in a very good way.

I'm sure it was a huge blow to his ego. We still have to work together, because my projects directly depend on results from his projects. When I don't get what I need from him at work, I have to escalate through my boss, who escalates to his boss, and then things are awkward. I find myself escalating only as a LAST RESORT where my husband is concerned, whereas I would have escalated sooner with another coworker, friend or not. Again, more evidence of me protecting him and trying to take care of him. He gets SUPER defensive when I ask for overdue items.

In the marriage it is the same way. Any time I insinuate that I need him to act a different way (i.e. pay his cell phone bill), I am "attacking" him, and showing my "disapproval". It seems like deep down he thinks that he is perfect, and cannot accept any criticism at all.

This makes a for very difficult marriage partner, AND an even worse employee. He clashes constantly with our management because he cannot accept feedback that isn't "Hey, great job! We'd be lost without you!"

He makes me feel so awful sometimes... things will be OK, right? 🙂

January 20, 2001
8:47 am
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janes
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Yes...things will be okay.

Tough with the job thing. Just keep it professional and not personal...at least from your side. Nothing more you can do really. 'specially when your stuff depends on his stuff.

But how are you?

Sunny COLD day here in Mich. Idropped the 9th grader off for the bus to a volleyball tournament at 6:15 a.m. I am feeling guilty for not going.

Phone call forgot shirt...guess I am going.

No more guilt.

January 20, 2001
2:11 pm
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gingerleigh
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I feel OK mostly, sometimes very sad, sometimes very relieved. My husband came back from his trip last night, and we had a long talk, lasted several hours. It was the first time in many many months that we actually listened to eachother. It hurt me when I saw that he had removed his ring, but of course I had removed mine too. It was the little things I noticed like that which hurt most. I keep turning things over in my head wondering if I had done things differently, not acted irrationally on this occasion, or not been judgemental on this occasion, etc. if things would have worked out. My pendulum swings back and forth between taking all the blame and taking none of it. Finding that perfect center where you both admit to being at fault is hard to accept and balance. So it is a struggle.

One really good thing he told me is that since he has been away, he has started being creative again. That's one of the things I fell in love with him for, and he slowly stopped doing that over time. I'm guilty of the same thing, stopped being a real person after a while and just felt sort of half-human, my husband's extension.

Which brings me to something that has been bothering me but I have been too ashamed to admit. Both of us need to be alone for a while, and I know that I personally don't want to date or even LOOK at another man. But, he is perfectly justified in looking for another woman. I would be very very hurt if he immediately jumps into bed or into another relationship with someone else, it would really hurt my ego. (And this is completely ignoring the other issue that I shouldn't worry about, which is that it isn't healthy for him either.)

That brings up a lot of feelings, you know? Jealousy of the the other woman for making him happy when I couldn't. Jealousy of him for "successfully" moving on where I can't seem to. Sense of not being good enough CONFIRMED because someone else made him happy.

What a worry wart I am, I'm worrying about stuff that hasn't even happened yet! I AM a control freak, eh? Right now I should be focusing on the terrific home and sanctuary I am going to build for myself, and how to make it perfect for me and no one else.

His life is his life, gotta learn to let go. ARGGG!!! It can make you crazy if you let it.

**************
So janes, what's up with the volleyball tourney? Did the 9th grader ask you to go or not to go? Were you not feeling well?

January 23, 2001
9:40 pm
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gingerleigh
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Sometimes this sucks. I see him at work every day, and he is cheerier than I have seen him in months. He is nice to me, stops by just to chat, and is overall the person that I was first attracted to. This kills me. Other aspects of his life seem to be falling into place too. I really feel like I *was* the poison in his life.

Need to keep busy. Found some cool places to rent downtown, the rent is exorbitant, but I'm worth it, right?

He seems to have gotten over me awfully quickly. That makes me really mad. Here I am feeling like I've lost my world and he is nothing but smiles. How do I turn my brain off and stop thinking about him?

January 23, 2001
10:20 pm
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Molly
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REVENGE, THAT IS HOW. You can put on the same front, that is one of the reasons that I came back. My first husband went through all the changes, and after 4 years said by the way you were right about almost everything. ASSHole, so when I saw that my current husband was fineally jumping through all the hoops, I mean addressing all the issues, I had languaged, I sure as heck didnt want some other woman, to receive all the benifits that I had paid for emotionally, and through the hell of an existance I had endured, I wanted the guy I fell in love with. If it were not for his physical stuff, I would almost have him, his meds, make him so old like. The work thing sounds very similar, and sorry men just have not evolved enough yet to let their mate be better than they are , at least most of the men that I have encountered. Its the macho, hunter thing. Go figure.
He is full of him self right now, but it is going to hit him, he is fuled with a renewed zest for life, that we women just don't go for unless we have to. We are so focused on holding on to the nest, like it is all OUR responsibility, or our fault that it fell apart. Fake that bounce in your step, be a little mysterious, be busy, be attractive, get in touch with that flirty girl he met, and flat out don't give a damn what he is up to or how he looks, just focus on success, glowing from with in, and life, trust me he will notice, and not like it. Perhaps, time appart is what you need to get back into who you both were before the ca ca hit the wall. Then again maybe not.
I think too, that is why I wanted to get back into Real Estate, that is how I met him, I was equal to him in a different aspect, then became subservient, letting him be the king, and hero, stiffiling me. I went into another field, which caused more problems, due to transference, some of my clients were like his family, and of course graduate student syndrome, I called him on his every defect, opps. But I resent not being able to earn = for time spent which if I returned to that profession I know I could. It was like in November I realized, that I had put his ego before mine, which despite all efforts, comes out some how, and serves nothing. So you will figure out what is best for you, what is going to serve you best, and in the mean time, be strong, be happy grab it when you can, and try real hard to glow. The melancholy comes in waves, and the waves get smaller and smaller, till they stop.

January 24, 2001
2:40 am
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gingerleigh
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Thanks Molly. You go, girl. I'm happy this evening after reading your post. If you ever plan on being in Seattle, let me know, would love to take you to dinner, after all the great advice.

Take care, my dear.

Virginia

January 24, 2001
7:47 pm
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Molly
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Oh, how I would love to. I love Seattle, got to go once a friend who got stuck in this surburban hell that I live in, was from there and got to move back. Our daughters were friend and I got to go visit for a week, they lived right on the Sound. The beauty of the lights from your city from the ferry. Ahhhhhhhhh If I get one more complaint about my dog, I just might say screw it all and pack the car for an adventure!!!!!!! Dreams ... eh? I am just tired, finished the 4th session on a circut training I signed up for and it is killing me, what really sucks is that I haven't told any one, and after just 3 sessions, I am getting hey, you look great what is the difference, damn. But like we, I , keep telling every one, exercise works, damn again. I want a pill. Love to you and thanks for the thoughts.

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