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Can this marriage be saved?


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Hi,

My problem is not a new one but I desparately need help.  I am 46 year old married female.  this year we will celebrate our 25th anniversary.  we have three sons ages 23, 20 and 14.  Four years ago, i was diagnosed with MDD which has been refractory to treatment.  I have had 2 suicide attempts, 2 hospitalizations, 3 rounds of ECT and countless pdoc and tdoc sessions.  anyway i really trust my pdoc and I do feel that we are on the right track right now.  He has slipped in the suggestion that I might be bipolar and so we are working on mood stabilizers.  Had a very bad reaction to Lamictal that landed me in the hospital (medical floor) for 10 days.

anyway, i don't mean to ramble on but my husband is tired of all this.  he feels neglected, unloved, etc, etc.  Yes, the meds have squashed by sex drive but at least when i wake up I don't want to open my wrists before i open my eyes.  but he has become increasingly insistent that things go back to the way they were.  I CAN'T do that.  I will wake up in the night to him trying to pull my bottoms down and "satisfy" himself.  then he said to call my best friend and maybe she would be interested in a 3-way?  We do still make love, i try to make an effort once or twice a week but it is not enough.  he wants to experiment.  He says he doesn't feel like a man and i end up feeling abused.  I don't know what to do.  anyone else have any similar story?  Please help.  I am at the end of my rope.  I begin to think that if I were just dead he could move on with his life.

Thanks

hangingon

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I am so sorry for your situation. Trying to keep a marriage alive while wondering about your own life is, at best, extremely difficult. My wife and I have recently split due in part to my own severe depression. I know she couldn't handle the silence, the rage, and the tears. Not knowing how I would behave from one minute to the next took it's toll over 14 years of marriage.

I don't have any answers for you. I will tell you I could not make her happy and try to deal with my issues together. She is gone and I still live every day with my demons. It hurts but is for the best FOR ME. I can focus on getting healthy and have the energy to get through the day.

I know having someone put pressure on me to 'snap out of it' or 'get my shit together' just made me angry, tired and sad. I really believe we have to be selfish and put ourselves first in order to have a chance to survive. But most of us have been programmed to put on a good face and be of good cheer. The ugliness of MI frightens most people-they just don't understand how it can RULE a persons very essence.

I wish for you strength and understanding from your loved ones. In my own case I try not to do anything against my basic nature. I leave less psychological debris to clean up later.

Peace,

Bobby

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I was married a whole um...three years and my husband just couldn't understand what "my problem was".  He was four years younger than me.  He didn't understand my rapid cycling.  Why I felt violated when he wanted sex and I just couldn't be bothered with it.  He never understood my rage fits.  As a matter of fact, he thought it was "cute" to annoy me on purpose.  He would say things like, "You're so sexy when you're angry", which would make me MORE angry.  I would throw things at him, tell him to get the fuck away from me.  It was absolutely horrible.  When things got so bad, I had to go back home to PA, we lived in NY near his family, and I would cry to my family and tell them, I just don't know what to do.  Up in NY, I didn't have the mental help that I needed.  This was way before I was labeled as a BP, BPD, and so on and so forth.  My physical health prevented us from having kids, which was  big issues with my ex.  We went to a fertility specialist and I was told that because of my Polycystic Kidney Disease that I shouldn't have children.  Then I was tested and was told that there was no chance of having children at all.  My ex, decided that our marriage should end.  I was crushed.  He even asked me for a divorce on Valentine's Day...the nerve! His family always put me down because I wasn't slim and beautiful.  I wasn't Catholic.  I wasn't this or that.  I even caught them saying these things.  And then my ex wouldn't say anything to defend me.  I was the one who put the wheels in motion for the divorce, even though he asked for it.

Today, years after the divorce, he has remarried, is a father, and now is working on yet, another divorce.  He'll be 29 this month coming up.  We are friends now.  He has told me time and time again, "If only I had known..."  Yeah, if only you had given me time to explain.  I don't really blame him.  I try not to hold it against him.  I am a difficult person to live with.  Every relationship I've ever been in has failed because of my mental problems and all I ever want is to be loved and understood.

I may not be able to give you advice on this.  25 years is a long time...but sometimes, it's just time to say, goodbye.  I'm sure your children will understand.  Hell, they're not really kids anymore.  It's your health and your wellbeing.  I dunno.  I guess I should keep my mouth shut.  I wish you the best and if you need someone to talk to, I will try to be there.  I'm trying to deal with my rapid cycling right now and it's not going so well, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm in my "I hate men" mode.  I want love in my life so bad, I just don't think that they will understand me and love me for who I am.  I guess I'm suppose to walk this existence all alone.  sucks to be me.

sorry...I really do wish I could give you some good advice.  Hell, I can't even give myself good advice.

Elizabeth

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Hanginon,

I'm your age, 46, have 2 grown kids, newly married (not my first) and I am BP II.  My husband would be thrilled to get it twice a week! I remember in my other marriage, my husband wanted a sex life like you describe. The issue at hand here may be, would you want that type of life if you weren't ill? It sounds like he is using you as an excuse. Give him options. You nor your illness is to blame. These are his issues.

I felt like it was abuse when I was married to this guy. I gave in to a lot of the things he wanted and I did not feel good about myself.

Being one of the MI, you definately have to take care of yourself. We don't get a lot of options.

I hope you can work it out. Best of luck, Sondra

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Dear Hanging:

Your husband is abusing you.  Sex is not something for him to "satisfy" himself with:  it's an expression of love and commitment.  There are times when we have sex with our spouses and would probably rather be asleep or doing something else, but love is a powerful motivator.

He needs to be seeing a counselor/therapist to understand the seriousness of your illness.  He has to be told that you will be treated for your depression for some years ahead.  It is unkind and irresponsible of him to expect you to participate in group sex when you are feeling unstable and unloved. 

It's not a matter of him "getting on with his life."  He is reneging on his marriage vows to you:  it was for "in sickness and in health," remember?

I would talk to a therapist and a lawyer.  He has no right to violate you and you have every right to call him on his selfish behavior.  You have made a 25-year commitment to this man and now he wants you to be sexually irresponsible with a teenager in the house? 

I'm sorry if I sound harsh.  I've been married twice, and this time it has been for 27 years.  I'm willing to wash his underwear and cook his food and we've had our share of tough times, but he's a REAL man, and a real man doesn't rape women.  He's my prop and support and my rock.  To me, that's what a partner should be.

If he won't get counseling, talk to a lawyer.

olga

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I am so sorry for your situation. Trying to keep a marriage alive while wondering about your own life is, at best, extremely difficult. My wife and I have recently split due in part to my own severe depression. I know she couldn't handle the silence, the rage, and the tears. Not knowing how I would behave from one minute to the next took it's toll over 14 years of marriage.

I don't have any answers for you. I will tell you I could not make her happy and try to deal with my issues together. She is gone and I still live every day with my demons. It hurts but is for the best FOR ME. I can focus on getting healthy and have the energy to get through the day.

I know having someone put pressure on me to 'snap out of it' or 'get my shit together' just made me angry, tired and sad. I really believe we have to be selfish and put ourselves first in order to have a chance to survive. But most of us have been programmed to put on a good face and be of good cheer. The ugliness of MI frightens most people-they just don't understand how it can RULE a persons very essence.

I wish for you strength and understanding from your loved ones. In my own case I try not to do anything against my basic nature. I leave less psychological debris to clean up later.

Peace,

Bobby

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Bobby,

Thank you for your reply.  It means so much just to "talk" to someone who really understands.  My husband thinks I am lazy and maybe I am, but every day I get up shower, get dressed and go to work and he does not understand what hard work that is for me.  I know what you mean about living every day with your demons.  I don't think I am in the right frame of mind to make a life changing decision such as divorce right now.  I don't trust myself.  I have put on the good face for so long. Again, thanks for replying and I too wish for you strength, peace and understanding.

Am still,

hangingon (Deb)

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hangingon,

sounds like hubby may be experiencing vanilla mid-life crisis, I'm serious.

I think Bobby's advice is very sound!

Take care of yourself first and go with your gut feelings and do what feels right for you= having less psychological debris to clean up

Sorry no other magic advice to offer

But PLEASE do what you have to do for YOU. Your boys legacy should be a mom who did her best,

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hangingon -

My marriage of ten years ended in part because of my refractory Double Depression.  It also involved me realizing that I'm more than half gay, but I was enjoying being a heterosexually married husband and father of two.  But my depression was the deal-killer.  She didn't understand why I couldn't just "be happy" with her and the children, and said I was constantly dragging her down.  She didn't feel loved, so she withheld affection, which made us both frustrated, and when she gets frustrated, she gets angry.  Her anger pushed me away, and she became verbally and emotionally abusive, which pushed us farther away from each other.  Sex became very infrequent (monthly on average).  She also became highly critical of my performance in bed, which was both demoralizing and emasculating.  It got to the point that initiating sex with her became a highly risky proposition as a conduit for abuse, and had a very narrow window of opportunity, something like trying to launch the Space Shuttle.  And even if somehow we did manage it, my Effexor made it very difficult for me to reach climax, which by all accounts ruined the experience for her because she said it made her feel like she had failed.

The bottom line is that there was no way we could have continued under those circumstances, and even though she now better understands my depression, the effect of it is the same.

I had resolved to set aside my gay leanings to honor my vows and be a dad to my children first and foremost.  I didn't marry her to "cover for it"; I loved her and still do.  The question of how much repressing my orientation contributed to my depression is still an open question, but my depression is at least partly biological in origin, or the meds wouldn't make a difference.  So this particular partnering simply doesn't function.  My mom said to me, "Sometimes people just marry the wrong people."

I'm not saying you have, but I think marriage counseling is absolutely in order for both of you, together, if you both agree that this is something you want to save.  It didn't work for us because she had already decided she needed to move on.  But if you're both in it together, both sides can be treated equally, and maybe you can find some common ground.

Regardless, he needs to take the bull by the horns, realize that you do have a legitimate problem, and work on helping you instead of worrying about his own "satisfaction."  He made vows, and made a family, and has responsibilities that extend beyond a few inches below the waist.

And that's a male perspective.

Cerberus

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Hello,

My husband and I just celebrated out 35th anniversary. We have never had the issues you describe but after 25 years I believe that you have more power than you think. I would be suprised if your husband would choose to end the marraige if you insisted on counseling.

So far you have tried to get his consent. Try telling him. "I have made an appointment for us. Do you want to wear the white shirt or the blue shirt?"

Give him a choice on the small things, not the big things.

Raven

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People don't send cards or bring food to people with mental illness that is saved for  people with a "real" disease.
That hit me like a ton of bricks.  Wow.  If our illnesses WERE considered REAL, can you imagine how great it would be to have the support that people get with physical illness?  That would be awesome.  And, dammit, we do need help with food, bill-paying, and other essentials that "real" physical illnesses engender also.

Wishing someone would bring me a casserole....

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Hello,

My husband and I just celebrated out 35th anniversary. We have never had the issues you describe but after 25 years I believe that you have more power than you think. I would be suprised if your husband would choose to end the marraige if you insisted on counseling.

So far you have tried to get his consent. Try telling him. "I have made an appointment for us. Do you want to wear the white shirt or the blue shirt?"

Give him a choice on the small things, not the big things.

Raven

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Raven,

Thanks for your reply.  I think you are 100% right, I will have to take the initiative and make an appointment.  I really need some kind of conclusion or peace  in this matter.  I am tired of feeling like everything that goes wrong with us is my fault.  I have set a goal to do something this week to set up an appointment.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Thanks again.

Am Still,

Hangingon (Deb)

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