This is the first time I've found the courage to post anything. But I think if I dont get some help and advice, I'll lose my wife and children. So if anyone here can help or give advice I need it right about now. I dont know if this is the right forum for this as it takes some explaining and it helps to spill the story out, so if I'm out of line, please point me in the right direction. I have been married to a wonderful woman for 12 years and in that time, we have both been very loving and affectionate. We have 2 children that we both adore. My wife is an accountant with a high-powered job. We have a normal happy healthy relationship with no problems other than this huge cloud that is hanging over us.
About 2 years ago, my wife became very unwell, became tearful easily, fell asleep a lot and became depressed. She couldn’t explain it and put it down to work. Her GP gave her mild tranquilisers and told her to slow down. A month later, while away on business, she got drunk (she doesn’t drink)and slept with a complete stranger. She phoned me the next morning in tears, confessed it all and asked me to collect her. I did and after we'd both cried ourselves out, we picked ourselves and tried to move on. Shortly after, my wife walked out of her job and drove home crying. She couldn’t explain it. She went back to hr GP and was signed off for months with depression. She spent most of the time in bed doped up while I cared for her and the children. When she became well, she returned to work and took a job with another practise over the year she has worked herself into the ground again despite friends and family asking her to slow down. Recently, she started to get tired and sleep during the day on the week-ends, she cant stop thinking about work, but ignored any pleas that she see her doctor. While this has been happening, she has run up debts on her cards and has cards I don’t know about until bills arrive. Here’s the reason for this outpouring - about 2 months ago, my wife did exactly what she did last time - impulsively walked out on the kids and I, and spent the night with a colleague she had only met briefly but spoken to for about 3 months I got the call earlier this time and found her in tears trying to make sense of what she had been about to do. She begged me to forgive her and fell asleep in my arms in the hotel room. Again I forgave her because I love her and she rang the other person and she didn’t want to see him again. I am absolutely sure she has not contacted him since. We spent a loving few weeks and then she broke down and told me she wanted her freedom and me. She wants to be able to stay away, get drunk and wants me to accept that or leave her. She doesn’t seem to be able to leave me and the children. I suspect she has a mental illness as she seems to have all of the signs of mania and then depression. I only suspect it as she will not discuss visiting an expert. Just states she wants her freedom and me. Currently we are miserable and cant seem to move past it. Things have come to a head as my wife has told me that she has 2 engagements for work in the next 2 moths that she wants to stay over with colleagues for the party. At least she has told me, but I am worried sick, but know what will happen if I don’t go with this. If anyone has experienced this kind of thing before, I’d welcome your help – as long as its not dump her as I cant find that in me at the moment – if I knew she wasn’t unwell and this was just cheating I might be able to deal with it. I cant seem to make her see a GP again. James
Your recommendation (near the end of your last paragraph) reminded me of the old paradox: "You can choose any colour, as long as it is black."
No, I will not tell you to dump her, but what she is doing is indeed very serious and risky. Sex with other people! Unprotected sex? What about STD? What about an unexpected and undesired pregnancy? Is she aware of these possibilities?
My friend, you have all the reasons in the world to be worried. Indeed, this situation would mean too much for anyone to tolerate. You are being much of a stoic.
To me, it looks like as if she wants to have an open marriage with you. This is unacceptable for two reasons: you both have a family and kids; and then such an arrangement certainly was not provided for in your marriage contract.
So, the only way for her is divorce, but you don't want it for the moment.
I can only see two possibilities for you, then:
1. Someone else in your and her family persuades her to go and see a doctor or a therapist. It must be someone older than her, someone she looks up to and listens to.
2. You take a break. Either you move into another town/city/place, where you can start a new life, from scratch, or you and she make a long holiday trip, in order to get away from it all. The children would stay with someone you trust. Maybe a change of scene, of place, of environment would help you gain insight into what is really happening below the surface and into finding a feasible solution, whatever it is (including a separation). Do you think she would agree to this?
James, you are doing an AMAZING job of holding yourself and your family together. You are obviously a strong, thoughtful and incredibly caring man.
Er, that was the good part of the message.
That bad part would be that you can only control yourself, my friend, and you know that. Your wife appears to be having a series of breakdowns with painful and chaotic consequences. Furthermore, her erratic behavior appears to be beyond her control (?) and is DEFINITELY beyond yours. These 'breaks' are not going away - they are continuing and intensifying.
Do you believe that your children are completely unaffected and unaware of your wife's behavior and emotional state? If not, you must take measures to protect them. You must also take measures to protect yourself. As valiant as you are, you can't continue to 'suck it up' indefinitely. If you do, you run the risk of becoming a very, very angry man (understandable but unpleasant).
Basically, your wife is out of control and she's taking your entire household with her. As the only sane adult left in the place, you can not allow that to happen. You can't force her to seek help but you can start holding her accountable for her actions. As a man, as a husband and as the father of her children you are absolutely entitled to say "I am no longer willing to accept this terrible damage to our family. Get help or get out."
I know that's not what you want, but unless you put your foot down and MEAN IT, you will continue to live in misery. As bizarre as it may sound, things are going her way right now. The truth of the matter is, she has no reason to change until you give her one.
A lot of times it seems that the path we try so hard to avoid, is the one we need to take.
Peace to you James, you have the strength and the love to see it through.
I agree with matter of time. Your wife should be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Her behavior is such that she doesn't sound mentally well. Maybe it is an onset of a mental illness, but only a psychiatrist can determine that. Try to persuade her to let you take her to a psychiatrist before she does more damage to your family.
I am amazed that her doctor did not refer her to a psychiatrist. Her behaviour is classic bipolar (observation only, not diagnosis). The depression and then the impulsive behaviour etc etc. She can be treated for this. Insist that she get medical intervention, or risk losing you and her children. It is no joke for them to grow up with a bipolar mother either. Sera