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10 years ago  ::  Nov 23, 2008 - 4:47AM #1
Posts: 6
hi everyone,

i've just come to the forum today and spent quite a bit of time reading some very sad stories. my heart goes out to everyone who suffers the pain of this loss.

my husband separated from me 3 months ago. he called me from overseas on a trip to say that he's had an awakening of sorts - that he was absolutely miserable in his life and needed to leave me. i'm enormously grateful that he has not blamed me at all. he has suffered from depression and stress more often than not in his life. i guess he never learned to be happy in himself. he has good fortune in having a wonderful job, a beautiful home in the rainforest, a lovely family, health etc. and yet he was always miserable. i guess this is a midlife crisis for him. he needs the space to heal himself.

he still loves me, he calls me most days and we still often have very long talks. in fact he is becoming more open and intimate in some ways than he has been for years. and yet the thought of coming home to me and our beautiful life fills him with great anxiety.

i'm broken hearted. i have asked him to please come home and work on this stuff together but he cannot. so beyond this i can't see what else to do. i have promised him my love and support. i would love to see him find his happiness. i've promised to wait for him and to remain faithful. unfortunately he will not make me the promise of sexual fidelity. part of his mid life crisis is wanting to have sexual adventures.

i am 48 and he is 38 (and a total spunk). i have had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for the last 10 years and so i'm not quite the fit and sexy young thing i was when we met 15 years ago. he does admit that he has a lot of resentment about my illness and i believe it also has really reduced his attraction towards me. he has been a gentleman and tried not to punish me for it but his resentment has been apparent in his emotional withdrawal of the past few years. we've been through hard times before and always worked through it. i truly believed, and so did he, that there was nothing we could not overcome with love, respect and hard work. but he alluded to these difficulties but refused to work on it with me. so i waited for him to work it out in his own good time. but he didn't. if i could go back and change anything i might have tried harder to keep this from becoming a festering wound. but it is not the whole story of course, his depression goes back a very long way.

what i have done for myself through these difficult years is get into buddhism and meditation and in so doing found so much joy and optimism. i had decided to learn to find happiness within regardless of ill health and distant, angry husband. so when colton called from brazil and dropped that bombshell i was at that time the happiest i'd been for many years. so happy that i felt myself floating all the time with deep gratitude for the blessings in my life. it is worth noting that he travels for work a lot and it is when he's away that i get to soar. anyway, i was mindful amidst all that happiness that all is impermanent and that attachment is the basis for most of our suffering. funny how life works! attachment and impermanence are what i am facing every day now. i am choosing to make good use of this hardship as a great learning curve. i try to read buddhist texts every day and to meditate. i have decided for now that meditations on compassion for myself and for him are esp useful. it keeps me from sinking into old habits of despair and self loathing and keeps my anger at bay also.

i believe that anger in this situation could cause a lot of harm and i will not let it consume me. although i certainly have my moments of feeling betrayed and abused. he is not perfect, far from it. but i believe in his potential, i see the beauty inside him that he does not see himself.

i cannot see anything else i could be doing but waiting patiently. trying to find the beauty in every day and remind myself of my blessings. determining to create a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for the kids. making it as easy as i can for the kids to travel between us.

but sometimes i wonder if i should be less passive, more determined to fight for what i want. should i be writing him love letters, dressing up, trying to convince him that he would be crazy to let me go, taking over delicious meals? or should i push him away and make him suffer more, make this a lot less comfortable for him? but it all sounds like games doesn't it? just how possible is it to alter the outcome through my actions anyway? this is such a critical time. this is where i could lose him forever or .........

hmmm, sorry for such a long post. i live in a remote part of australia and i miss having someone to share this with. i look forward to talking with you.

loving kinship
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10 years ago  ::  Nov 23, 2008 - 11:25AM #2
Posts: 1,407

Welcome to the Divorce & Separation Forum, and sorry for what has brought you here.  There are indeed many sad stories here, and there is also a lot of caring and compassion both for and from those in pain.

What you describe does seem like a classic "midlife crisis," although that does not make it easier on you.  What you are doing with meditation and non-attachment are probably the best things you could be doing for yourself.  Although happiness does ultimately lie within, it is perfectly natural to be devastated, upset, and yes even angry  (For a Buddhist take on anger, you might appreciate the book of the same name by Thich Nhat Hanh).  Also, by addressing any anger you might have you are likely to get some insights into the feelings beneath, such as fear or sadness.

"Sexy" has less to do with fit young bodies and more to do with attitude and confidence!  Also, you might want to reflect on why it is acceptable to declare the sexual fidelity part of the marriage vows null and continue to have long intimate conversations and generally be available.  What would happen if you declared your own "midlife crisis" and desire for more sexual adventures?  And when the call home came you were "out"?

It does not pay to stuff or suppress feelings, although it also not effective to wallow in them either.  Hopefully it may be possible to look at your own "despair and self-loathing" though the eyes of lovingkindness and compassion.

Whether the marriage endures or not is not all in your hands - you cannot make another's choices for him.  The more you try to "convince" him to stay, the more needy you will appear - and "needy" is never attractive!

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Divorce & Separation
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10 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2008 - 3:11PM #3
Posts: 16
I would recommend the book Love Must Be Tough, by James Dobson. Although it is a Christian book, I believe the principle of a 'forced crisis' could apply very well in your situation. Best of Luck to you.
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10 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2008 - 1:59PM #4
Posts: 658
I see a definite mid life crisis going on here.  He is wanting his cake and to eat it, too.  He doesn't want to move home, because he wants to be with other women. 
The question is, can you live with this?  Should you live with this?
If you allow it, then you are giving him permission to step outside his wedding vows. 
Perhaps you should think about a legal separation....

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10 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2008 - 2:31PM #5
Posts: 6
I understand what you are going through to a point as I, too, have just separated from my partner YESTERDAY and I lost my mom to cancer in July of this year. With the holidays looming, it seems almost insurmountable to just get out of bed. However, with that said, here is my advice for your situation. Tell him you agree with his decision and that it was something you were thinking of yourself. Make that a brief statement, not a lengthy discussion. Then give yourself at least 1 month with no contact. That means no emails, texts or phone calls. This is not designed to punish him, but rather to give yourself each the space you need to really weed through a variety of emotions. He can not truly miss you if you are always there for him. And these losses create panic and desperation within ourselves which come out as anger and neediness. Confidence in oneself is the key. How do you get there? By taking that time to feel your pain and figure out exactly what is working and what is not for YOU. And time and active working at figuring you out is the answer, the key to healthy relationships. When you feel angry with him, write down why. What works? What does not? Keep exploring what you really want and if you are capable of ever getting it from him. I write these words to you while experiencing my own panic and desperation at this time. I'm very bad at waiting. I want answers and discussion NOW, but that is exactly what I cannot have because I'm hurt, scared, betrayed, and lonely so when we do talk, it doesn't turn out the way I want it to. You need to be face-to-face after some time has passed to have healthy discussions about the future. If this realtionship is a good one ultimately, you can work it out. Take the time to see if it is what you need AFTER time has passed. But don't make it easy on him to access you whenever he needs to. Let him know you need time to think about it to. It's amazing how this simple psyschology works in our favor. You won't force him away or even back by begging or bargaining with him now. Not one of us has that power. When humans feel another's neediness, we tend to feel anxiety. It's not about love, he obviously loves you. He's afraid of himself and he needs to figure out why. Let him. In the meantime, you figure what you are scared of and if there is any real truth to your fears. FEAR: future events appearing real. I will pray for your happiness. If you need a friend, feel free to contact me.
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10 years ago  ::  Nov 28, 2008 - 7:00AM #6
Posts: 6
i think you are all right, i do need to be less available. i have the thought in the back of my mind that if i could somehow separate myself more, create some distance, then he might start thinking about what he is losing.

he does keep telling me that we'll always be close, no matter what. so yes he does in some ways have his cake and eat it too. he feels confident of my love and that i'll always be there for him.

he also tells me he's coming up with quite a bit of stuff about a controlling, suffocating mother with his therapist. there is no doubt in my mind that he confuses me with his mum. and that expressions of love are probably frightening for him.

my counsellor told me this too. that 3 months is long enough. if he has had no change of heart yet then i should stop waiting around and move on. how exactly i can move on i don't know. all i can think is that i should speak to him less often. we share the kids so it is not possible to cut off all communication. and the truth is that i love those calls and it gives me happiness. but i also know inside that it is a dangerous pleasure for me since it is simply the illusion of normalcy that i'm clinging to. i am taking shelter from the harsh loneliness of reality - as he is too.

she also told me that if he wants to get back together with me it will only be if i am strong and independent. i just don't feel either of these things. my strength is just melting into a puddle of grief and it seems like a big ask that i should not be feeling grief right now. actually i did try a couple of weeks ago to assert some independence and i asked him to move his stuff out of our bedroom. he freaked out a bit and moved half of it and has made no efforts to do the rest. he is doing the same as me emotionally i guess. trying to do this separation in tiny little steps, trying to put off the really big hurt. but it gets bigger for me all the time. the longer it goes on the more i'm coming to know that this is over.

what an incredibly difficult thing to make a reality. so hard for me to believe. when i have the knowledge in my heart and head it is overwhelming. my chest gets tight and i have trouble breathing. i feel nauseous. my body is taking this hard. i'm getting recurring infections that i never get. this reminds me of when i lost my mother and brother suddenly. grief made me ill in all sorts of wierd and wonderful ways.

how are things with you onn15? you have only just separated, right at the beginning of that roller coaster of fear and disbelief and a myriad of other feelings. let us know how you are going.

i send you my kind thoughts
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10 years ago  ::  Nov 28, 2008 - 7:33AM #7
Posts: 6
hey onn15,

thankyou for your post, i really appreciated the depth of your understanding and your sound advice.

i'm so sorry for the terrible amount of loss you've experienced this year. when my mother died it felt so insurmountible. she was my hero, simply the most amazing person i have ever had the good fortune to know and i was so proud to be her daughter. the way she would smile at me when i'd meet her was like the sun parting dark clouds. she beamed with love for me. i thought, no-one will ever smile at me like that again! my heart felt so broken i thought it would never mend.

it did mend in time of course, but it took a long time and a lot of work. i'm sorry this does not sound very encouraging does it? i think the loss of my brother suddenly and also 2 friends all in the space of several months compounded the loss. spiritual healing was ultimately what healed me.

i'm sorry for your separation. was this your choice? there is so much going on for you its no wonder it is hard to get out of bed some days. especially with holidays and birthday coming up. it is good that you're in touch with this forum. its so important to find support. and i really do recommend a counsellor if you are not already seeing someone.

be gentle with yourself. there is a lovely practise which i use from a book by thich nhat hanh called "anger" (also mentioned by arniebeegut). he suggest that when we feel anger or any afflictive emotion that we consider this as a child needing our attention. we don't wait until we finish the dishes to attend to a crying child, just so we take the time immediately to go somewhere quiet. go lie down and be with your needy child. attend to the child as an infinitely loving and compassionate parent. patiently and non-judgementally allow the child to just be and feel. send messages of comfort.

i like this because it cuts through the tendency i have to be critical and it also gives me something constructive to do with painful feelings. it allows full expression of our grief.

i would like to be your friend through this difficult time so please feel free to write me.

take loving care of your precious fragile being.

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