I could really use some help

ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
edited September 2015 in Help / Advice Forum
It looks like my marriage is pretty much over. My wife and I have been married for almost 5 years, but together for 12. Throughout our relationship, she dealt with anxiety and depression issues. She also worked incredibly stressful jobs, and in the midst of all of this, she would project her frustrations onto our relationship, or at least it seemed that way to me. Each time a guy showed interest in her, she started wondering if being with me was the right choice. She didn't think she should have feelings for other people if everything was okay with us. This cycle would happen every couple of years. It would end with her reaffirming that she loves me and wants to be with me

This has had a toll on our sex life. We never had actual sex until some time after we were married, and it's never been easy for a variety of reasons. At this point it pretty much isn't happening more than once a month. It didn't really bother me, but apparently it bothered her.

She started taking Lexapro a few years back now, and she's been steadily improving. Her getting a job and us moving out to CA has put her at the best I've seen her since college. It's also put us at the start of the cycle again. She says they're feelings that she's never really let go, but we never really end up talking about it until she gets some kind of confession from someone. Now that she doesn't feel like she has to rely on me to keep her stable, it's like there's nothing left for her. I've wanted nothing more than to have her get to this point, and now she feels like she could make it on her own and really wants to try that. She had trouble seeing us growing together as people, but doesn't really know what that means. She asked me what she saw us doing together, and my response was basically going to places we wanted to experience, trying new things and growing older in the process. She said she just couldn't get excited about that.

I don't know what to do with myself now. Obviously we'll need to figure out the divorce proceedings, but just the personal side of things completely swamps me. I'll need to move, because living solo in LA is crazy expensive and I don't think I could afford it. I don't have any attachments here anyway, aside from her. We had been talking about moving to Seattle before the job offer so that's a consideration, but going there as by myself is completely different from what we were looking into before. I have no support system down here, no friends and my family is all on the other coast. I'll be doing this completely on my own. Is Seattle even a good idea as a bachelor?

The Freeze seems hard enough on anyone who's new there, and I absolutely will need to meet people. I'm terrified that if I just end up shut up in an apartment with no contact that I'll end up hurting myself. I work from home, so the job will just be there as long as I have decent internet, but there is absolutely nothing that requires me to leave the house.

I don't know what to do. I always knew there was a possibility that we ended up here, but I always thought we'd work through things.

I'm really scared, guys.

Artereis on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    Don't take this the wrong way, but it seems like you're putting a lot of the blame on her. There doesn't seem to have been a lot of proper boundaries set up, and there doesn't seem to have been a lot of proper communication (from both of you). It seems to be the actual sex took place well after marriage, which is fine, but was there any communication? Was it just "I don't feel like it" that's a big deal, that should've been one of those "we need to have a discussion" moments and decide if you two really should be together at that point. But hey, some people have sexless marriages, and some people are okay with that too.

    When you have to reaffirm someone 'you love me' that's a sign of abuse. Love needs to come from the person. I'm not saying you abused her, and it's likely just an anxiety of the situation thing happening, but if you're ever in that situation you need to probably be inquisitive, find out why she's having those feelings and work together to see if it's still something you are both happy with. It's okay, people aren't the same people you knew from when you first met them, shit changes, and sometimes you fall out of love.

    Her taking medication, great, she needs the help if it's affecting her life. She's attempting to communicate with her. The fact that she was 'relying' on you is not a good thing, for you or her. If she can't get excited about the relationship, that's fine, you two now have different goals and desires. Maybe she wants someone who she can veg out with at home, maybe you want to travel the world, maybe she doesn't really want to settle down. All are reasonable, and communicating those desires is important.

    Don't try to think about yourself as an extension of a relationship, you need to be happy with who you are, what you're doing, where you're going, and practically everything else. Do you have a good job? Do you have hobbies that make you interesting? What are you looking for in a partner? It's okay to be a shut in too, if that's what you like to do. But even shut ins like me like to go out and do things. I like RPGs, so D&D groups fit what I'm looking for. There's also local groups for people in my profession I could join. But more importantly I like to go hiking and camping. Maybe you like to build model airplanes, but if you're a shut in, it takes a lot more of your own wants to fix that. So go out there and make friends.

    In order to be happy in a relationship you need to discover and be happy with yourself and that seems like your biggest issue to me, that and the lack of communication about desires, but that's an easy one to fix.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    See, even as of an hour ago she still sees me as her best friend. Maybe reaffirmation is the wrong word. Whenever this came up in the past, my general stance was "I love you and want you to stay, but if that's not what you want anymore you need to tell me so we can move on." She would decide that she wanted to stay and try to work through things.

    We've never fought. I think I've raised my voice to her in actual anger once the entire time we've been together, and it was because she had an anxiety attack (before drugs) and made out with someone literally a week after we had signed off on our wedding venue. We've always sat down and talked. This is the only topic where everything she has given me is nebulous. I want more than anything for her to be able to point at me and say she can't stand something about me. She just can't, or won't.

    Her words, I've sunk an incredible amount of energy and effort into this relationship, and she doesn't feel that she's given me anything close in return. She's said that several times. She's convinced something must be broken, or else she'd want to have sex more, get excited about going on trips, etc.

    But honestly, that's not why I'm here. I'm not looking for help saving the marriage. I've suggested counseling and she doesn't see the point.

    I'm looking for help saving myself. I don't know how to bounce back from this.

    Artereis on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    May want to take out her company name in your OP.

    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
    briguy
  • NewblarNewblar Registered User regular
    I've not been in as long of a relationship as you but I've been in a lot of serious ones. I used to fight tooth and nail to keep a relationship going no matter how poorly matched we were, no matter how much we fought, no matter how miserable we made each other and no matter how much I utterly hated the person. I did this because I was so very lonely and I couldn't bear the emotional turmoil that would follow. After a break up I'd totally bottom out messing up everything good in my life be that friendships, school or work.

    Thankfully, a few years ago I finally found the light so to speak. Instead of viewing breakups as a traumatic life scaring experience I gave them an appropriate amount of negative emotion and started to view them as an opportunity. An opportunity to find someone that I was a better match for that was also a better match for me. When I look back now all I can do is thank god/chance for saving me from some miserable relationships that I can't imagine wasting my life on now.

    Some things that help:
    • Aside from the necessary requirements break contact. Yes you may have to wait about due to divorce proceedings but the sooner you can break contact the better. It doesn't have to be forever, but it has to be for awhile. Right now your emotional needs take precedence, she's already taking care of hers by asking for a divorce. Emotion is a tricky thing, you can feel a twinge from time to time over people you thought you moved on from and a hell of a lot more than a twinge the first time they tell you they're dating someone new (even if you beat them too the punch).
    • Eat properly and exercise. Lack of these has a huge impact on your mood especially when you're going through emotional times already.
    • You need some sort of support structure, a friend, family, a professional, whatever, you need something.
    • Get the fuck out of the house. Just relying on your wife previously for your social needs is not healthy and is a major drawback to working at home. Meetup.com, D&D groups, Friday Night Magic, board game groups, recreational level sports leagues, library social groups, art classes, cooking classes etc.... Get out and do something, it doesn't have to be something you'll 100% love and do for the rest of your life, the goal is to get you out of the house, talking to people, getting some activity, and trying new things. (Consider this when choosing what city to live in).
    • Reconnect with friends/family.

    The main things you're striving for are to keep busy, keep active, keep social and keep healthy. You actually have some choice in this.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Mysst
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Artereis wrote: »
    I'm looking for help saving myself. I don't know how to bounce back from this.

    If you can work from home, and you're looking to get out of LA anyway, it sounds like it's in your better interests to move back near your family, especially if you're worried about shutting down and self harm. I'm not saying move back in with your parents, but within driving distance so you can grab some dinner with them every couple of weeks or so. You're going to need that support structure, and I think you know it.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
    DerrickLostNinjaCambiataKetarSmrtnik
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    I've given that thought, but they live in New Hampshire. I spent half my life there and couldn't have been happier when we finally got out. There's just nothing there. I'm not a Boston fan, either, and I love the west coast in the time I've spent here.

    She told me she felt guilty for dragging me places, like she thinks I've given something up so she can take advantage of the opportunities she's earned, but every place we've ended up has resulted in a better quality of life. The whole reason we were able to come out here so easily was because my job is so easy to transfer. She's worked so hard to get her out of the pit she was in, and I am just so incredibly hurt that I'm not going to be able to see how she blossoms now that she's finally there. Every time she told me she thought she wasn't giving enough back, I told her that her saying that she loved me was enough. Now she's excited to get out of bed - no more panic attacks when the alarm goes off. She can actually sleep in on the weekend because she can turn her brain off.

    It's like she carries some kind of guilt for all these imagined sacrifices she thinks I've had to make.

  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    Go back home, friend. Be with your family, and if you have friends back home even better.

    Bad relationships that last long term drain your psyche and your soul in ways you'll never realize until you're whole again.
    Artereis wrote: »

    We've never fought. I think I've raised my voice to her in actual anger once the entire time we've been together, and it was because she had an anxiety attack (before drugs) and made out with someone literally a week after we had signed off on our wedding venue. .

    Hindsight is ever 20/20, but you should never have married this woman.

    Derrick on
    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
    ThroThe EnderSmrtnik
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Artereis wrote: »
    I've given that thought, but they live in New Hampshire. I spent half my life there and couldn't have been happier when we finally got out. There's just nothing there. I'm not a Boston fan, either, and I love the west coast in the time I've spent here.

    She told me she felt guilty for dragging me places, like she thinks I've given something up so she can take advantage of the opportunities she's earned, but every place we've ended up has resulted in a better quality of life. The whole reason we were able to come out here so easily was because my job is so easy to transfer. She's worked so hard to get her out of the pit she was in, and I am just so incredibly hurt that I'm not going to be able to see how she blossoms now that she's finally there. Every time she told me she thought she wasn't giving enough back, I told her that her saying that she loved me was enough. Now she's excited to get out of bed - no more panic attacks when the alarm goes off. She can actually sleep in on the weekend because she can turn her brain off.

    It's like she carries some kind of guilt for all these imagined sacrifices she thinks I've had to make.

    That could be it. Issues with self worth and depression go more or less hand in glove, and it's possible that those are lingering even though she seems to have shaken the anxiety and depression issues.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    Things are starting to settle a bit now that we're past the initial conversation bomb. Seems like she may be having some second thoughts now that some of the things she's been fantasizing about are giving way to the enormities what actually splitting up entails. We've had some good conversations and identified some issues that have somehow just haven't been discussed or went unrealized despite how open we are about how we're feeling. I suggested group counseling again, even if the goal isn't to save things - just to have someone not embroiled in all the emotions help us talk more. She was more open to it that time. Past personal counseling experiences had colored her opinion about its effectiveness. I'm hoping that it would help me identify how much of what I said in the first couple posts is me injecting my own panic into the retrospective. I like to look for patterns and some of that may have been fabricated by my own brain when trying to put reason to it.

    A good friend of hers from college is also apparently doing a good job of talking her off the ledge she thought she was on because she had a lot of the same thoughts with her own marriage at some point in the not too distant past.

    If this turns out to just be another bump in the road, in the end, at least the prospect of separation has forced me to look more closely at myself. I always thought I had some degree of control on my social anxiety, but this whole thing really pointed out how isolated I've actually made myself. I've already reached out to the two friends I have in the area from back in college and we're going to make a stronger effort on both sides to get together more. Now I need to start thinking about what else will get me out of the house in general on my own. I've recently started Couch to 5K in the interest of health, but it's probably time to find some more to do.

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    It sounds like you are in a codependent relationship with a self-destructive person. Why don't you get some non-couples therapy to help figure out what you really want out of your life?

    no no no no noo no no no no no
    bowenNobodySo It GoesDerrickSmrtnikspool32
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    She may has been self destructive when she was at her lower point before treatment, but I don't think our relationship has ever been codependent. I'm a nurturer by nature, so any time she had a breakdown we'd sit, discuss what was going on and help her plan out what she might need to do to get to a goal. She was not always aware of herself, so if I saw her sliding back into anything we had discussed I would let her know what I was seeing. I'm also not the kind of person that would try to prevent her from doing something, even if it made me uncomfortable, if I knew it would help her. Before treatment was definitely a rough time. It took a lot of work to help her come to to the realization that yes, your brain can lie to you.

    The fact that she has come so far now is I guess part of where the problem lies with us. She feels comfortable in her own skin, feels valued at work and knows she can kick ass and take names. Her office campus is also an incredibly creative environment. Everyone there lives and breathes the product, and the energy there invigorates her. My job is a great job in the sense it pays well and has good work/life balance. The problem is that it's not exciting. I work in spreadsheets all day, and on a good day a lot of what I do is spent waiting for data to validate. I worked hard to make my way up in that company to get a job on this team, so I've been enjoying the fruits of my labors. She is the kind of person who puts everything she has into work, but overlooks the home life aspect. She's not always aware when she's overextended herself and just needs to crash and recover. One advantage of me working from home is that I'm able to make sure that "home" is ready for her. I place higher value in the personal side of life than the professional.

    But it's not a place with the type of energy she feels at work, and she's starting to think that something is missing because of that. She's wondered if, now that she's in a good place, she needs to be with someone who has a similar professional drive instead. It's made her less attracted to me as a result and now that, again, she feels good in her own skin, she'd like to be more sexually active. She gets urges at work, but doesn't want to satisfy them with me when she gets home.

    I think, because things had become so much easier in the past few years, that we had become kind of complacent with each other. There's a lot of passive love and comfort when you've been together that long, and at least on my side I think I may have let some things slide without realizing it. I've never stopped doing little things to bring a smile to her face, but I forgot that it's important to make her eyes shine, too.

    Naturally, I'd like to save things. People and relationships don't always grow or evolve at the same rate, but now that we're both aware of how things are I'd hate to just throw it all away without trying to work at things first. I've suggested things like a coop arts and crafts night to try and inject some more creative energy into the home. I love painting models, but have always gotten started the wrong way and could use that to get back into that particular hobby. She's been wanting to draw because all the artists at her office inspire her. I've suggested me taking most of the errands we've run together over the weekend and doing them during the week myself so that are weekends are fully open for other things. She's still kind of fantasizing about what it would be like living on her own, so I suggested she do periodic stays at places near her work through AirBNB. There are a lot of nice little apartments available.

    I don't know what she'll end up deciding. We don't have a whole lot of time because our lease is just about up. If I'm honest with myself, it's probably still going to be over. I'm happy to delude myself otherwise, though.

    It's just weird to me because none of this has actually affected our friendship. Things feel almost normal when we're talking. I'm madly in love with her, and love the family we've built with our two young cats. I'm desperately going to miss my in-laws and will be incredibly sad if I won't get to see my new nephew grow up.

    I just wish she could find a way to explore her new self without giving us up.

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    Artereis wrote: »

    The fact that she has come so far now is I guess part of where the problem lies with us. She feels comfortable in her own skin, feels valued at work and knows she can kick ass and take names.

    This is a big red flag for me. It sounds a lot to me like you're using the fact that she's gotten her shit together against her, and that you'd prefer her to need you to feel good about herself and to validate her life.

    That's not a healthy relationship...

    I would honestly suggest rereading what you just wrote from an outsider's point of view and see if you don't come off as a bit controlling and needy.

    steam_sig.png
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    Artereis wrote: »

    The fact that she has come so far now is I guess part of where the problem lies with us. She feels comfortable in her own skin, feels valued at work and knows she can kick ass and take names.

    This is a big red flag for me. It sounds a lot to me like you're using the fact that she's gotten her shit together against her, and that you'd prefer her to need you to feel good about herself and to validate her life.

    That's not a healthy relationship...

    I would honestly suggest rereading what you just wrote from an outsider's point of view and see if you don't come off as a bit controlling and needy.

    No no no, that's the exact opposite of what I want. I'm sorry if I'm not writing things well. I'm still a bit of a trainwreck of emotions. I am thrilled with all the progress she has made. I've never wanted her to "need" me. I just meant that her realizing how good she feels now is what has caused her to go back and look at us.

    All I've ever wanted is for for her to see herself as I do. If anything in what I've written makes it sound like I resent her success it's completely unintentional and I'm very sorry.

    Artereis on
    spool32
  • 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
    Artereis wrote: »

    The fact that she has come so far now is I guess part of where the problem lies with us. She feels comfortable in her own skin, feels valued at work and knows she can kick ass and take names.

    This is a big red flag for me. It sounds a lot to me like you're using the fact that she's gotten her shit together against her, and that you'd prefer her to need you to feel good about herself and to validate her life.

    That's not a healthy relationship...

    I would honestly suggest rereading what you just wrote from an outsider's point of view and see if you don't come off as a bit controlling and needy.

    This is a terribly uncharitable reading of the quoted statement.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    Artereis, everything you post is all "she, she, she." "She wants this" "She has problems with that" "She feels x" "She needs this" "She is better than she was"

    You need to put a bit more "Me" in the conversation. Who are you? What do you want?

    Hold on, that's from Babylon 5 :) But it still needs to be answered! And answered without using the word "she"!

    CelestialBadger on
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  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    With respect to our marriage, I want a chance to work things out now that all the cards are on the table and we're both fully aware of how we are feeling.

    With respect to my own life, I want to address some of the things that have kept my cooped up. One of the reasons I was excited to move to the west coast was that I could maintain my east coast work schedule. So I roll out of bed at 6 and work until 2:30. I have a whole afternoon available.

    I probably haven't been taking advantage of that as much as I could. I play Wildstar and raid 3 days a week, so on those days I usually run errands and prepare a light meal since our schedule starts at 6:30 local time. We're normally wrapping up by the time my wife gets home from work. The other days I generally cook larger meals. I consider cooking a hobby and collect recipes from all over to try. I also try and make sure I spend some time playing with our cats.

    I'm not good at asking to be included in things, which is probably part of the reason why I don't have a very large social circle. The couple friends that I do have out here from college and I are going to try harder to get together more often, and they've been out here much longer so they have a group of people that I'll get introduced to.

    I've been wanting to take Japanese lessons for fun, and there's a place by the Tar Pits that offers classes, so I'll probably try that starting in January. The only question is if I'll be able to afford them on my own.

    I don't think I'm ready to move out of LA yet. Yes, it's expensive and actually having to live on a tight budget is kind of nerve-wracking (we never had to really set one, as a couple), but I don't think I'm ready to give up on LA yet. I need to know more of what it has to offer.

    Meetups and things like that still frankly terrify me. Doing something like that will take some courage.

    The two of us have gone to Prime since our engagement, so I don't know if I'll be mentally ready, or if I'll be able to afford it next year, to go on my own. I had given thoughts to applying to be an Enforcer in the past and give something back. Maybe it's time to try that.

    Thanks for asking that. I'm not sure if that helps anyone reading this thread. I'm not used to talking about myself. I'm also not used to asking (or feeling like I need) help, so thank you to everyone who has posted here.

    CelestialBadger
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I think the most pressing issue is your social anxiety. If you had a busier social life, you wouldn't depend on your wife so much for human contact, and that'd take the pressure off her, too. And if your marriage does end, it will be less crushing if you have other friends than her. So get a therapist (you are in LA after all!) to help you with this issue.

    Smrtnik
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    Sometimes it's kind of scary to look back at certain things and see how they can twist over time. When she was at her low points, one of the worst things for her well being was to leave her by herself so she could stew in her own head. It's one of the reasons she hated therapy because they'd always get her to try meditation.

    I got used to just being available because I got very good at talking her out of a panic attack. I think part of me is still in that role. It's hard to believe I never noticed. I've always been an introvert, so it's not the sole reason I am the way I am, but I have to imagine that it has contributed in some way.

    Artereis on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Now you are back to her, her, her. I really think you need to talk to a therapist.

    You loved your wife when she was a broken bird. Now she is strong, you can't relate to each other. Now you are the one that needs fixing.

    I don't think your wife made you that way. Some people just feel happiest in the "nursing" role.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    It's just hard to disentangle the me from the her or us when looking back over that amount of time. You influence each other in a relationship. I became who I am through a mix of reasons.

    I can't say if the nursing role actually made me happy, but after at or near decade of care it's hard for that to not become a part of who you are. I always looked forward to the day I told her she was beautiful and she just smiled and said "You're right." Do I think the personal toll was worth it, for her? Without a doubt, but it is probably the hardest thing I've ever done for someone. You carve away at yourself to keep things from hurting so you can help them stop hurting.

    I want to truly understand every part of where she's coming from, but some of it is beyond me. She is not unhappy. She insists on that. She knows she is loved and safe and our home is comfortable for her - but she's not sure if that's enough for her in her new outlook. She thinks she might want what she feels at work at home as well. I know I'm saying she again, here, but it's important to state her viewpoint because it's the single hardest point in this whole thing for me to process.

    I think the pain of a divorce will fade before I'm able to actually come to terms with that. If I really am now the broken one, then it's hard to not feel a little abandoned. Oh, and and before anyone tries to point this out, I have not said that to her. I don't think that would be fair.

    I'm probably still swimming in the river while I wait for her to decide if or how she wants to work on us, but at least I'm being proactive enough to start looking for a new place to live.

    Artereis on
  • MrGrimoireMrGrimoire Pixflare Registered User regular
    So I'm just curious about something. You say that she's more energized now and would like to expand her horizons a bit and you need to break away from your role as her her support (as you've been) and try to get more out of your own life. Have you considered dating each other? Like go out together and try new things?

    I realise that having lived with each other for a long time, you might have grown a bit into each other, so going out together to do things that might be outside your comfort zone (or things you both find nice) might shake things up a bit. Show her that you love her while letting her try to explore her new-found strength.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    That would depend on what her interests are.

    I've gone through a couple of phases as a result of this

    1) I didn't talk to her much for the first day because I couldn't make heads or tales of my emotions immediately.
    2) Second day I left it more or less at "I would like to work to save things, but if you need to leave I understand"
    3) Since then I've been wracking my brain and offering things we could do to change things and try to break us out of whatever rut we're in.

    In order to date she would need to be interested in continuing to spend time with me. I mentioned today that her work place environment was meticulously built with ridiculous human and monetary cost to specifically be this bastion of creative energy she loves so much, while it's only the two of us for our marriage. We would both need to make an effort and even then we'd likely be dwarfed in direct comparison. I have the will, but I don't know if she does, and I don't know if she has any faith that I could reach whatever it is she's searching for. I just want the chance to try.

    The manager for the apartment I really wanted to see didn't call me back today. Hopefully I'll hear from him tomorrow.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You have to keep on at the apartment manager. Housing in California practically rents itself these days, the market is so hot. If you don't act pushy, they won't chase you up. Are you trying subconsciously to make it so that you have nowhere else to go so your wife can't ask you to leave?

    It seems to be that you are saying "I fixed you, so now you owe me." You are trying to squirm out of this and not say it directly, or even think it consciously. But you *are* thinking it. You need to work on this with a therapist, not your wife.

  • 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
    You sound kind of hopeless at this point. She is GOING to pick up on that, and it's not going to help.

    Dating is a fantastic idea. My husband and I still find ways to date once in a while, 8 years and a two-year-old later. It's hard, but it's important.

    Don't say "what can I offer her that her work cant?" God, that line of thinking is entirely self-defeating and you've given up. You aren't a fun-machine, you're a person with thoughts and feelings and hopefully some interests and things you enjoy that you have to offer and share. Find something you've always wanted to try out and never have for whatever reason, make some plans, and ask her to go out and try it with you. You can take her to dinner or drinks or whatever after and just chat. If she declines, go do the thing yourself. Believe it or not, if it looks like you were never serious about going without her, the next thing you suggest won't seem serious either.

    I will tell you this from a place of near-exact experience with her end, and this may help you: when you start to make huge strides in your life from a place where, not only did you never think you would do it, but you never think you could, all you want is to see that drive in the people you care about. This is for two reasons: first, this drive to improve yourself has made you better, happier, and feel more interesting and confident yourself. You want to see the people around you feel that because it's amazing. It's indescribable.

    Second.. and this is big.. if you are feeling that and the people around you are scared or stuck, you become terrified that you'll fall back into old habits, old ways, and that you'll never truly be able to escape what now feels like an old life.

    Don't do that to her, and don't do that to you. If you want to make things better for both of you, take up a few new things you think you can get into learning, and really learn them. Get excited and work hard. For her, this can show her that you aren't stagnant and dependent upon her. For you, if things don't work out, you have a couple built-in hobbies, interests, whatever that you can throw yourself into and fall back on for support.

    Whatever you do, don't do nothing because you don't know what she's thinking and you're afraid. I promise you it will make everything worse. Like I said, I've been her a hundred times over for the last eight years or so. So whatever you do, don't be stagnant; it will destroy your marriage and over time it will destroy you.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    CelestialBadgerUsagiMrGrimoireGizzytapeslingerCambiatajoshofalltrades
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    You have to keep on at the apartment manager. Housing in California practically rents itself these days, the market is so hot. If you don't act pushy, they won't chase you up. Are you trying subconsciously to make it so that you have nowhere else to go so your wife can't ask you to leave?

    Oh, no, we've both literally just started. Our lease is almost up and neither of us can afford this place on our own. I don't think she's done anything herself other than mark some favorites.
    ceres wrote: »
    You sound kind of hopeless at this point. She is GOING to pick up on that, and it's not going to help.

    Dating is a fantastic idea. My husband and I still find ways to date once in a while, 8 years and a two-year-old later. It's hard, but it's important.

    Don't say "what can I offer her that her work cant?" God, that line of thinking is entirely self-defeating and you've given up. You aren't a fun-machine, you're a person with thoughts and feelings and hopefully some interests and things you enjoy that you have to offer and share. Find something you've always wanted to try out and never have for whatever reason, make some plans, and ask her to go out and try it with you. You can take her to dinner or drinks or whatever after and just chat. If she declines, go do the thing yourself. Believe it or not, if it looks like you were never serious about going without her, the next thing you suggest won't seem serious either.

    I will tell you this from a place of near-exact experience with her end, and this may help you: when you start to make huge strides in your life from a place where, not only did you never think you would do it, but you never think you could, all you want is to see that drive in the people you care about. This is for two reasons: first, this drive to improve yourself has made you better, happier, and feel more interesting and confident yourself. You want to see the people around you feel that because it's amazing. It's indescribable.

    Second.. and this is big.. if you are feeling that and the people around you are scared or stuck, you become terrified that you'll fall back into old habits, old ways, and that you'll never truly be able to escape what now feels like an old life.

    Don't do that to her, and don't do that to you. If you want to make things better for both of you, take up a few new things you think you can get into learning, and really learn them. Get excited and work hard. For her, this can show her that you aren't stagnant and dependent upon her. For you, if things don't work out, you have a couple built-in hobbies, interests, whatever that you can throw yourself into and fall back on for support.

    Whatever you do, don't do nothing because you don't know what she's thinking and you're afraid. I promise you it will make everything worse. Like I said, I've been her a hundred times over for the last eight years or so. So whatever you do, don't be stagnant; it will destroy your marriage and over time it will destroy you.

    I just went ahead and had her read your post, and she said you're basically in her head.

    Also, it's pretty much over. I'm at about 8 hours of sleep for the week, I think, so I don't feel too much about that right now.

    I'm going to be completely honest and say that I don't know the difference between being stagnant and doing things you enjoy. I read and play games. I watch various shows and anime. I play with our cats. I'm running now when I never liked it before. I like going to farmers markets for awesome Cali produce. I cook really good food. I squeeze my own juice for fun and health. I go to Prime every year because it's great, I have a small Transformers collection because they were a big part of my childhood. We both love national parks and we had been talking about the ones we wanted to see here. I do have things that I've wanted to do but haven't yet, like learn the bass I own or take Japanese lessons. I don't have a lot of friends but I mostly just didn't notice that I needed them. I've never begged her to be around. I'm not dependent on her physical presence. She's gone off for various trips with friends or family where I've stayed home to watch the animals and I wasn't pining away waiting for her to return. I would just do whatever I felt like after work and when she got home I'd ask about her trip. If she were out late during the week with coworkers I might text her to see if she knew how late she'd be so I'd know if I should go to bed, but other than that I'd be doing my own thing.

    I come from a father who only goes to work and comes home to remodel their house or read. My mother quilts, gardens and goes to quilt shows and that's about it. They never travel. I feel like I've come a long way from them, so I just don't get the whole stagnant thing. Is it because I'm sitting on a job that I spent years working my way up to? I actually like who I am. I may not like looking at myself in the mirror, but I'm not miserable being me.

    Whatever it is, she can't remember the last time she was attracted to me. She doesn't know why that is or what would need to change, though. She says I deserve someone who can put the same energy into me as I've put into her. That's not really a comfort, though. It absolutely sucks that this is going to cost me both my wife and my best friend. We've been friends longer than we've been together.

    Looks like I'll be seeing that apartment tomorrow.

    Artereis on
    Geth
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    It seems to be that you are saying "I fixed you, so now you owe me." You are trying to squirm out of this and not say it directly, or even think it consciously. But you *are* thinking it. You need to work on this with a therapist, not your wife.

    Maybe it's semantics, but I just feel abandoned. Like I'm not worth any effort. This is not the first time she's told me that I put in more than I get back, or that she takes the energy I give her and gives it to other people instead. I just never felt that it was true until this week. We've been out here 11 months. I've been super happy the whole time, despite our different work schedules.

    Artereis on
  • MrGrimoireMrGrimoire Pixflare Registered User regular
    See, what you should be doing if you want to keep her is to go to one of those national parks! Make the plans ASAP! Ask her to come along. Go whether she does or not. If she comes, go eat out and have a drink after you're done.

    What I'm reading in your post above is "I'd like to do some stuff, but never get around to them. The stuff I do only requires me to waffle about in the house."

    Secondly, it's not about how far you've come from your parents. It's about how you're growing as a person. If you want to keep her, you're going to have to make some big steps to make yourself interesting. Which includes actually doing the stuff you say you want to do.

    But seriously, take her out for a movie and dinner. Make her feel special and appreciated.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    MrGrimoire wrote: »
    See, what you should be doing if you want to keep her is to go to one of those national parks! Make the plans ASAP! Ask her to come along. Go whether she does or not. If she comes, go eat out and have a drink after you're done.

    What I'm reading in your post above is "I'd like to do some stuff, but never get around to them. The stuff I do only requires me to waffle about in the house."

    Secondly, it's not about how far you've come from your parents. It's about how you're growing as a person. If you want to keep her, you're going to have to make some big steps to make yourself interesting. Which includes actually doing the stuff you say you want to do.

    But seriously, take her out for a movie and dinner. Make her feel special and appreciated.

    We were actually on a date at the Santa Monica Yacht Club. We loved going to Tar and Roses and had just heard that there was a fire which temporarily closed it down. The same people own this restaurant, so I made a reservation and we went. We got drinks and some lobster burrata toast and spent the time talking about how awesome it was. Before the main course hit she said things felt wrong with us. Kind of put a damper on the rest of the meal.

    She's expressed discomfort in that she knows how much I appreciate her, but she just doesn't think she can reciprocate anymore. We had a whole conversation last night about how we feel together, and she's pretty much limited to "comfortable" and "familiar" to describe us. She desperately wants sparks like in a new relationship. She mentioned that there's some guy in her office that feels like electricity to her when they so much as stand near each other. The one time I got a reaction out of her was when I smoothed some of her hair back like I used to do back in a specify way when we had first started dating in college. I triggered some kind of memory there.

    When I showed her Ceres' post, she said "That right there. That's what I want for you, so that you can go out and get a girl who treats you the way you deserve." I won't say that I haven't been hurt in the time we've been together, but it's like she thinks it's all she does. I'm slowly moving beyond trying to win her over because it just seems to make her feel guilty that I'm so earnest about it.

    When I think about the future being alone, it's the weird things that get to me. The apartment will be fine. Work will be fine. It's all of that Time in between things like work and sleep and weekly errands that scares me. It's what you do if you wake up in the morning and really need a hug. I also personally value doing things solo way less than doing things with someone. Restaurant by myself? Ugh. With someone? I love a shared experience eating amazing food. Movie by myself? Man, wait for it to come out on streaming. Movie with other people? Love it, will watch again. Monterey Bay Aquarium was on our bucket list of places to go, but we hadn't found a good weekend to make the trip yet. I would love it there because aquariums are the best. However, it was pretty much The Place she was interested in as a kid, so getting to be there when she got to see that would be something else entirely. We went down to San Diego in July to visit the zoo. It's to me what the aquarium is to her. I loved it, but I liked getting to show her how awesome it was the most.

    I don't know how to fix that part of me.

    *edit* Decided to try an image change. My hair was clearly bad luck, so I got rid of it. Never been bald before. Just one of those things I had been talking about trying some day but never doing. Makes me look thinner, actually.

    Artereis on
    Geth
  • MysstMysst King Monkey of Hedonism IslandRegistered User regular
    man that ain't really a part of you that needs fixing, most people enjoy the close company of others. you can't let the potential loneliness scare you. it will be lonely at first, but it is also a chance to learn about yourself and what you really want and need out of life. let yourself get situated in the new fashion, take a breather, then check out meetups and groups and okcupid and just venues or whatever to meet new people. it'll be daunting and scary but all things are bearable man, you gotta be that Kwisatz Haderach!

    I'm nearly a decade out from my divorce and I can still vividly remember the weight on my chest from being told I wasn't loved anymore and that I would need to find my own way. don't let that weight hold you down! push against it and find your strength, then take that strength and let life happen to you.

    and remember that I am rooting for you!

    ikbUJdU.jpg
    Twitter Steam Playstation- Mechaphiliac
    Smrtnik
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    I think what we're going to end up doing is using the cats as a reason to occasionally see each other. They're staying with me but they're still our babies. I suggested we stay generally out of contact but if she needs some kitty time she can text me and come over and see them, maybe grab some dinner. She had been kind of steeling herself to just lose them entirely, and she seemed really happy that she might not have to.

    Artereis on
  • GinGin Registered User regular
    As long as you accept that if you need the cats as the "reason" to see each other, then she's really coming to see the cats, not you. Don't know how you'll feel about this, but it might not be healthy.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    I figure if people who have real kids can manage, then it's worth a shot with our furry children. Despite everything in this thread, this is still amicable.

    I mentioned a few times that I had social anxiety, but it always manifested itself as just a reluctance to go somewhere, a vague sense of discomfort in a public setting, or an onset of fatigue after hanging out with people for a while. This whole process seems to have kickstarted a genuine anxiety problem for me, as I haven't been able to shake the fist that is squeezing my heart or shut my brain off. If this results in me also needing to go on a treatment plan, then hopefully that will also help me cope.

    Posting a little of our history makes me feel better. Prior to moving to California, the two of us were pretty much all we each had for social lives. Neither of us worked in places that had people with our interests except one couple that she knew through her very first job. We spent time with them frequently until they moved to Florida, then it was back to just the two of us. It's why we went on so many trips. If we were with anyone else then, it was usually her family. These 11 months in Cali have really been the outlier. She went from no one like her at work to everyone like her, and I guess I was just playing catch up due to working at home. I had been enjoying the new schedule because before I got promoted I had spent 6 years with a pretty grueling commute, so I was just enjoying the sense of freedom being done halfway through the day gave me. But here after the end of the first year I was starting to find myself bored, so I had already started thinking about what I might want to do.

    This split has just kind of forcibly accelerated it.

    Artereis on
  • GinGin Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    There's certainly divorced couples who still go on picnics and vacations together with their new spouses, but that takes a certain kind of person and you need to ask if that's really you. What you have to avoid is turning this into a long term play where you slowly try to win her back, because that can consume years of your life and won't get you anywhere. She will find a new man at some point and then the game will change anyway.

    From what you described, I think you're just an introvert, not socially anxious. Socially anxious people get anxiety about simple things like buying a cup of coffee because they think the cashier will think they're an idiot, or getting a haircut because they think the barber will think they are a hopeless loser and what the fuck are you doing getting a haircut.

    Introverts aren't broken, they're just not extroverts and we live in a very pro-extrovert world.

    Gin on
    Smrtnik
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    It might be me, I'm not sure. The friendship part of our relationship still feels normal. When she's home she's joking and telling me about her day, or we'd do something like watch Agents on Wednesday. Once we're not living together, I think my outlook on things will start to change. Right now I feel like a beggar whose change cup got knocked into the road, and every minute she's not here is a coin that rolled into the sewer. I'm scrambling madly for every second that's left because I know how little time there is. I've never been someone who compulsively texts, but I'm kind of proud that these feelings haven't made me do something like light up her inbox like some horror stories I've heard. It's agony, but I've maintained a good level of self control.

    I'm at least glad that I don't need to sort out my feelings. I know exactly what they are and I just need to wait for some to fade. I'm not convinced she's entirely come to terms with her own. She apparently really liked my new shaved head and kept wanting to touch it last night. She also hasn't said one word to anyone in her family yet. Her parents really like me and I think she's afraid they're going to come down hard on her or not understand. I really wish she would, though, because I want to talk to her mom, too.

    Artereis on
  • MrGrimoireMrGrimoire Pixflare Registered User regular
    Whatever you go with, I wish you the best of luck with it and hope all the things sort themselves out in the best way possible! It sounds like you're getting a good handle on this.

    Btw, your description of yourself and how you like to do stuff with/ without people sounds very similar to how I am and I hit very hard on the introvert scale and only taps in on the anxiety one.

  • GizzyGizzy i am a cat PhoenixRegistered User regular
    edited October 2015
    Its going to feel rough for a while, and it may be very difficult to see - but I get the sense that you're going to be ok in the long term. From what you've said and how you've described yourself you seem grounded and happy with yourself. That's a good thing.

    Your situation sounds similar to mine with my ex - though more intense due to the length of time you've been together. I consider myself a fun and interesting person who is easily content and just happy to be doing anything even mundane things with the person I love. I definitely don't bring energy to the room - but I'd never describe myself as the kind of person who would drag others down. I dated a guy for 3 years who I wouldn't call high energy himself - but he was definitely drawn to those kinds of people, people who had burning passions for their hobbies - people who inspired him. So we eventually broke up still caring for each other deeply, and sad to part with a friend - but we just weren't the best match for how we wanted to approach life.

    I feel like folks are giving you good advice about finding hobbies and passions of your own, but, I wanted to chime in and say I that I don't think it sounds like anything is wrong with you - or with her (at least her present self, it sounds like things weren't always great on her end in the past)

    Gizzy on
    Switch Animal Crossing Friend Code: SW-5107-9276-1030
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  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    We finally moved on from circular talks about saving our relationship and finally talked about her actual feelings today. It actually helped more than I expected. She hadn't been letting on at all that this was a hard process for her, and she finally let that armor crack. We had a few good cries together. You know this may have been the first time I've genuinely cried in front of her the entire time we've been together? Sure, I've teared up at the occasional movie, but full on tears have just never happened. I tend to keep my emotions close. I think I kind of had to, back then and it just kind of stuck.

    She really wants to try living on her own now that she's in a good spot. No relationships or anything like that for a while. She's always had some guy in the periphery in the past when a relationship ended that she ended up with. There's one in this case, too, who is very interested, but she really wants to make this split about her personal growth. If she ends up immediately falling in with him she'll feel like she completely failed the two of us.

    I spent a few good hours working on an OKCupid profile to try and pull in new friends. That shit is weird. I've made very few new genuine friends since college and writing things to try and call attention to myself is super awkward. Also, lots of girls don't do a damn thing for profiles. I wish I could block the ones like that.

  • 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
    If you're really just looking for friends, you should look at all of the genders.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    CelestialBadger
  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    Isn't OKCupid used for finding romantic interests? You might be more interested in something like meetup.com.

    NightDragonSo It GoesDerrickKetar
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    Thanks, Ceres, I hadn't realized I could switch it. It looks like there's a fair amount of people looking for friends on there, I don't really know. I'll be working on Meetup, too, but probably not until after I move. That one will take a bit more thought because I'm not sure what I want to start doing. At least on OKCupid I can just kind of target people with similar interests.

    Artereis on
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