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Relationship Troubles

Altimus the ThirdAltimus the Third Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
On an alt, obviously.

Some background. My wife is originally from a different country than the one I live in. We met over the internet, struck up a friendship, started long distance dating, got engaged, got married, and finally she moved from where she lives to my country. For sake of reference, it's around an 8 hour trip from our home to where she lived. We recently bought a house together, and had made the decision to try to have children. We've been married over five years, and living together for over four.

When she moved here, she wasn't able to work due to regulations, and then never bothered to get a job, because my take home pay was adequate for our purposes. Being a transplant, she doesn't have much (if any) of a social circle of her own here. Pretty much all her interactions outside the house happen in conjunction with me. I didn't think this was much of an issue, as we're both pretty introverted, and neither of us have really cultivated an extensive network of friends and acquaintances.

Yesterday morning, we got into an argument where I confronted her about something I wasn't happy about and she got really upset. She told me she's been unhappy for a while, and feels like she has no social life, and nothing she does is her own, that her whole world is just the house. I was completely shocked, this really came out of left field for me, I'd been under the impression that things had been fine. She went out for a walk, and I moped around the house. We only really properly talked about it later that evening, and she told me that she wanted to go back to where she lived to stay with her mother for a while and figure out what it is she wanted.

Needless to say, this upset me a lot, especially when she told me that she didn't know when she'd want to come back. I spent the night and this morning oscillating between shock and sobbing. She was really upset too. I still love her dearly, and she says she loves me too. We're still physically affectionate, still hugging and sleeping in the same bed, and stuff.

Originally the plan was that in a week I'd drive her about halfway there and her mother would do the same. This was so that she could take her PC with her, etc. This morning I spent pretty much most of the time crying, and I must have woken her up. She came downstairs and said that she couldn't take it, and that she wanted to leave sooner, that we'd just buy her some train tickets and she'd come back in a week. She hugged me for a bit, then went back upstairs to sleep. And that's pretty much where things stand.

Strangely this has calmed me down a little bit, I think it's mostly having a definitive end date where she'll be coming back home. I'm still upset that home is such a high stress environment for her right now. I don't want to make this any harder for her, but I'm such a wreck emotionally it takes everything I can just to hold it together. I just want to make the few days before she leaves as positive as possible.

I'm terrified of losing her. I've made it clear that there's a ton of options out there as far as jobs, going back to school, going to counseling, volunteering. I'll support whatever it is she wants to do. I just want her to be happy. I guess I'm looking for some advice on how to cope with this. Should I do anything with regards to sending something along with her on the train? I thought about writing a letter, or getting a photograph of us printed and tucked in a little slip case or something, but I also don't want to do that if remembering me is the last thing she wants, and I don't want to be manipulative, or cause her any more stress than she's already under. I'm just second-guessing everything right now.

Altimus the Third on

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    VarianVarian Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    The most you can do is be supportive of her decision to figure out what she wants. Even if you're not with someone the basis of the relationship doesn't have to change as you both care about and support each other.

    Also stop sobbing. Be a man, heh. People come and go, people change. Every relationship, everything, comes to an end one way or other. So I guess it doesn't help much at the moment, but try to have the outlook that change is the only constant in this world. I don't consider any of my previous relationships as failures, even though we eventually broke up. Everyone has something to teach you and if you feel like a better person for having known or spent time with them, it's all you can ask for.

    Varian on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2009
    An 8-hour drive isn't too bad... try a 7-hour flight.

    When I was younger, I married a British man who was pretty much unwilling to live very far from London, and it would have been pretty hard for him to find a good job in the US anyway, so I moved to be with him. The marriage was recognizable as a marriage for about 1 year. I had nothing to do, no car, knew no one but his parents (who really didn't like me), we lived in the middle of fucking nowhere, and I couldn't legally have a job anyway. At least there wasn't a language barrier, but I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, and he worked 8-hour days (and sometimes Saturday) with a 2-hour commute each way. I was literally going crazy. We loved each other, but it didn't matter. I had only him, and I was without even him for a ridiculous percentage of every day. I decided to go to school back home, we grew apart, and that was that.

    If she's never visiting her home and it is even remotely possible for her to do so, this isn't going to work. You two need to be making trips to see her family and friends as often as you can, at least until she makes some here, which is something she needs to actively work at or it won't happen. She needs to find some book groups, sewing clubs, archery classes, anything that will get her out of the house, and unfortunately you can't really do that for her. Also, taking classes at a local college or university is a great way to meet people if you can afford for her to take even one. It will keep her busy and allow her to meet people. This is how I've made friends, and I'm terrible at making friends because I hate being around people. Be encouraging, be supportive, help her talk to her old friends and be encouraging about finding new ones.

    Does she have her own car?

    I'm not going to tell you to stop crying, because I know I would cry. It's not going to help you here, though. Discuss her options with her, find out what she wants to do (because I don't care who you are, everyone needs something to do with their time) and then do everything you can to help her do it. This could take the form of clubs, training for a dream job, or just classes where she'll learn new things.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    Altimus the ThirdAltimus the Third Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I agree completely with what you're saying, ceres. I do think she should have friends, hobbies, a job, a life outside of the home. I've been home for a week doing nothing, and I know how stir crazy you can get without reliable human interaction. It's just very frustrating because she's had the opportunity all this time, to do any of those things. I'm not some ogre that's attempting to stick her at the top of a tower.

    The trips home have gotten lower in frequency over the years. It used to be she'd see them every 3 months or so. Now it's around twice a year. Again, she's always had the opportunity to travel to see them on her own, and I go with as often as I'm able to (usually the twice a year).

    She hasn't really had access to a car due to me commuting, but if there was something she wanted a car for, I could definitely arrange a carpool solution for myself. Or we could've made some sacrifices and gotten her one. I've made that and everything more than clear. I've flat out asked her what it is she wants, and her only answer is that she doesn't know, and she wants to go to her mother's.

    Honestly at this point I feel like she's so stressed and upset, and that being around me, at all, is just going to make things worse due to the tension. So she needs to get somewhere comforting, low stress, and then when she's calmed down I hope she'll put some serious thought into what it is she wants. And I hope that'll include me.

    Regarding the crying, it's pretty much stopped now. Her taking a train helps, in that there's a solid end date where she'll be coming home. It's also less long distance driving for me, which I'm grateful for, because being emotionally overwrought and on the highway isn't a very good idea.

    I absolutely loathe not being able to do anything about the situation. Even to the extent of not making things any worse until she can get on that train.

    Altimus the Third on
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    LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Varian wrote: »
    Also stop sobbing. Be a man, heh.

    Don't be stupid. This is his wife of 5 years he's talking about, not a girlfriend of 5 weeks.

    Its natural to be distressed, there is nothing manly about stifling your emotions, nothing weak about crying. I'm sad for you, Alt. its a tough situation to be in. The only advice I have is to support her, carry on loving her, encourage her to go out and make friends, join a group she'll have things in common with. Being in a foreign country is hard, having to rely on just your husband/wife for everything is a strain. Maybe spending a little time with her mum will help her. I hope things work out for you both, together.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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    AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Use this opportunity in life to regain your individuality. You do not need to depend yourself onto someone else to exist. Perhaps you will be united with someone again in the future, but bathe in your independence for now my friend. For all you know, her decisions will enlighten your life far beyond your expectations.

    Awk on
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    LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Like everyone else has said, support her 100% on the decisions she makes. Help her get out there to do her own thing, meet people, etc. But don't allow yourself to become the bad guy. You're not stopping her from doing anything, and if she tries to pull some "it's all your fault I'm here with no friends" nonsense, don't lie down and take it. We all need to take responsibility for where we are in life, and if she's not happy with where she's at that's her fault.

    Lail on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2009
    Sometimes you just don't realize how bad something is till you can't take it anymore. Go easy on her; I'm pretty sure she didn't do it on purpose.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    oncelingonceling Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    What did you confront her about that you didn't like? Might be a dealbreaker for her, or perhaps its just the defensiveness set off all these other things. Doesn't sound like you are thrilled though with things either? I can't imagine whatever it is that you confronted her about being like "Can you please not leave dishes in the sink" ?

    onceling on
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    Altimus the ThirdAltimus the Third Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    onceling wrote: »
    What did you confront her about that you didn't like? Might be a dealbreaker for her, or perhaps its just the defensiveness set off all these other things. Doesn't sound like you are thrilled though with things either? I can't imagine whatever it is that you confronted her about being like "Can you please not leave dishes in the sink" ?
    While I was doing some routine PC maintenance on her computer, her IM program decided to have a fit, and threw up about 15 windows on the screen. Most of them were buggy-looking search pages, but it also threw up things like her profile info and message history. And as I was closing windows, I saw some messages that, shall we say, wouldn't be appropriate for a married woman to be sending to anyone but her husband.

    As it happens, the recipient is someone who I'd raised a concern about a week and some before. This is a person who she'd started interacting with on a regular basis around a month ago. At first I was happy for her, because it seemed like she'd made a new friend. But then a day came where I came home, and she was grinning at the PC, so naturally I wandered over to see what was up. And she threw up a hand in front of any text on the screen, and told me it was something private that she'd been asked not to pass on. I was a little bit put out, but didn't inquire further in respect of her wishes. But it continued to bother me, because it seemed very strange, it was completely atypical of our relationship, and it seemed presumptuous on his part. Especially since I'd been included in the loop in other happenings of his life that you'd normally consider to be private. It just stuck out really oddly.

    I waited a week before I said anything about it, just to make sure that I really did feel the way I did. When I raised my concern, she was dismissive about it, saying that it had nothing to do with me, that I was being overly jealous, and so on. Nothing to worry about. So when I saw those messages I felt awful about being betrayed, and awful about being lied to.

    I actually thought I'd handled confronting her about it well. I'd given myself an hour or so to calm down, so I wasn't shouting or ranting or anything. I simply told her about what I'd found, that I considered it unacceptable given our relationship, and that I wanted it to stop immediately. And that's when she started talking about how unhappy she was, etc.

    I can completely buy that she's dissatisfied with her current lack of a life. And I'm fully supportive of whatever she wants to do to rectify that. But I don't think she always was this unhappy. Or maybe that the interest in this guy was fed by being dissatisfied, and that in turn his attentions seemed more exciting and interesting than the reality of the every day marriage. I really don't know.

    But I'm pretty much out of options for the moment. She's basically shut down when it comes to dealing with me. I get one-word answers and a complete lack of affect. As much as I can, I've taken the hint, keeping interaction to a minimum, getting plans lined up for her to head to her mother's. I think at this point she's so focused on just getting away to a comfortable environment, nothing else is going to happen until that occurs and she can calm down.

    Altimus the Third on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2009
    That's... a different story.

    While the root of the issue is the same... at this point I would probably see how her week away plays out. See how she feels when she comes back. Decide just how big a deal that conversation was to you. Without knowing specifics about the conversation, it's hard to know if you're overreacting to it.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I can completely buy that she's dissatisfied with her current lack of a life. And I'm fully supportive of whatever she wants to do to rectify that. But I don't think she always was this unhappy. Or maybe that the interest in this guy was fed by being dissatisfied, and that in turn his attentions seemed more exciting and interesting than the reality of the every day marriage. I really don't know.

    Escapism is a funny thing, it's sort of a grass-is-greener scenario with a whole bunch of additional baggage attached. She may not have always been unhappy, but if she's lonely and bored and homesick she needs to find something to keep her not-bored.
    But I'm pretty much out of options for the moment. She's basically shut down when it comes to dealing with me. I get one-word answers and a complete lack of affect. As much as I can, I've taken the hint, keeping interaction to a minimum, getting plans lined up for her to head to her mother's. I think at this point she's so focused on just getting away to a comfortable environment, nothing else is going to happen until that occurs and she can calm down.

    From the outside, given the information you've laid out for us - especially the bolded part - it sort of seems like your wife already has a plan to not be bored or lonely or homesick and she's just sort of not telling you the whole story. I can only hope that she spends a week with her family and comes back with fresh perspective and the two of you talk things out and life is :^: forever.

    However, I don't want to be a poop, but have you considered that she's not really going to see her mother/family? I really don't want to upset you any more, but if the IM's were that inappropriate it's possible she's using this as an excuse to visit him. If that's the case I am truly sorry.

    Usagi on
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    Altimus the ThirdAltimus the Third Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Usagi wrote: »
    But I'm pretty much out of options for the moment. She's basically shut down when it comes to dealing with me. I get one-word answers and a complete lack of affect. As much as I can, I've taken the hint, keeping interaction to a minimum, getting plans lined up for her to head to her mother's. I think at this point she's so focused on just getting away to a comfortable environment, nothing else is going to happen until that occurs and she can calm down.

    From the outside, given the information you've laid out for us - especially the bolded part - it sort of seems like your wife already has a plan to not be bored or lonely or homesick and she's just sort of not telling you the whole story. I can only hope that she spends a week with her family and comes back with fresh perspective and the two of you talk things out and life is :^: forever.

    However, I don't want to be a poop, but have you considered that she's not really going to see her mother/family? I really don't want to upset you any more, but if the IM's were that inappropriate it's possible she's using this as an excuse to visit him. If that's the case I am truly sorry.
    I'm going to disagree with this, and hopefully give some more info on the situation at the same time. Regarding what you've bolded above, I don't think she has much of a plan at all. I think she's been caught off guard, and it's exposed a deeper-rooted problem, and right now she's distressed enough that all she can think of is to get to someplace comforting and safe. Right now that's not our home, because I'm there, and even if I'm not wailing and gnashing my teeth and rending my clothes, she knows that I'm hurt, and she knows she's responsible. I get how that could make it really difficult to do anything, much less figure out a solution to what seems like a long-term issue. I think her behaviour is just her way of trying to avoid either of us taking more damage right now.

    Regarding her travel arrangements, I know she's heading to her mother because I'm the one who made them. I mean, there's nothing saying she couldn't like, abandon the plan and do whatever she wants, but we'd find out about it pretty quickly as her mother's expecting to pick her up the same day. Plus the guy in question is incommunicado til the week's done due to thanksgiving festivities. So yes, happily enough I don't think she's running to him for comfort. I really do think she's just trying to get to someplace safe and secluded.

    Altimus the Third on
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    Altimus the ThirdAltimus the Third Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    ceres wrote: »
    That's... a different story.

    While the root of the issue is the same... at this point I would probably see how her week away plays out. See how she feels when she comes back. Decide just how big a deal that conversation was to you. Without knowing specifics about the conversation, it's hard to know if you're overreacting to it.
    To be a little more specific without being lewd, I'd classify it as some mutual fantasizing. It's not like there was a torrent of back and forths and carefully crafted for maximum eroticism. The conversation just trended in that direction until you had things like "Well maybe then I would do X" and "Oh, you would like Y, I bet" or "I've never done that before". It was sexual and specific enough that I was uncomfortable and felt threatened.

    Altimus the Third on
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    elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Don't be stupid. This is his wife of 5 years he's talking about, not a girlfriend of 5 weeks.

    Yeah. One thing that I have learnt is that most men pent up their emotions for way too long, like it would be some kind of sin to express them. And when they finally boil up, it only leads into further misery. Altimus the Third, you are doing the right thing when you are discussing with us.

    elkatas on
    Hypnotically inclined.
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    VenochVenoch Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I'm going to disagree with this, and hopefully give some more info on the situation at the same time. Regarding what you've bolded above, I don't think she has much of a plan at all. I think she's been caught off guard, and it's exposed a deeper-rooted problem, and right now she's distressed enough that all she can think of is to get to someplace comforting and safe.

    It sounds like she's running away. That's her immediate first reaction, to run to her parents several hours drive away rather than talk about the issue in any depth? That. . . doesn't make sense.
    Right now that's not our home, because I'm there, and even if I'm not wailing and gnashing my teeth and rending my clothes, she knows that I'm hurt, and she knows she's responsible. I get how that could make it really difficult to do anything, much less figure out a solution to what seems like a long-term issue. I think her behaviour is just her way of trying to avoid either of us taking more damage right now.

    I think it's a way for her to avoid responsibility. From the information you've given us it sounds like she feels guilty, and your confrontation brought a few long-term issues to the surface. It's unfair and irrational for her desire for a safe and comforting environment supersede your right to discuss these issues and communicate. You've lived together for a long time, and she must have had a lot of time to think over the long-term issues, so it seems like her reaction to run away is because of the recent development. It's too much of a coincidence for you to confront her about this guy she's messaging and her to re-examine your relationship, no?

    Anyways, whether or not she's cheating isn't very relevant, we simply can't judge off of such little information. However, what's certain is there's a serious lack of communication here, and it sounds like you acquiesce to her when you have the right to discuss over the problems. You're half of the relationship after all. Maybe you need to examine your own role in the relationship, because it seems like there's a lack of respect here.

    Good luck, man.

    Venoch on
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