I don’t even know where to begin. I have been so busy it is ridiculous and hurting myself did not help any. This is a hard day and going to be a hard weekend. This is going to be the first time my wife and I will spend the night apart since full disclosure and NC. She has a conference she left for this morning and I have to take my oldest out of town for the weekend. I will not see her until Sunday night.
I mentioned last time that I was having panic attacks whenever we are apart. I really thought I was going to be good because it was not so bad yesterday. I actually think it was easier being apart just because of the reminder she was leaving. Now, I am sitting here at work trying not to panic. I cannot stop shaking but I will get through it. I have to.
Another reason I am freaking out is my wife got an appointment with a sex/marriage therapist and met with her last week. I have to meet with her today for the first time and she knows people in my work world. One of my criteria for a counselor is that it can never be relayed back to me in anyway. So if they are within my sphere of influence then I do not want that person. I just know how hard it is for me to open up at all and if I think it could ever get out to people I know, I know I can’t open up. I am afraid I won’t be honest and I know that will just make things worse. But she likes her and I promised I will try. So I have to go see a new counselor that I will have a hard time trusting and my wife is out of town. We have been very good talking each other off the ledge after counseling and now she is gone I do not know how I am going to handle it.
It is all blurring together but after one of our talks this weekend she said some harsh (but true) things to me. I did not argue or fight because the words were true. However, now I am back to getting sick at the thought of sex. She is still trying, not as much, but she is trying none the less. She knows it makes me sick, but I play it down so she does not know the degree of it. I am not sure that it will go away anytime soon. It is tough because I will never turn her down if I can help it because I know how much it hurts to be rejected. So I accept her advances. The problem is she is very subtle about her initiating sex. It is still a very taboo topic for her (religious upbringing instilled this in her). She still is not comfortable in showing that she wants me. And that hurts. I know this is one of the issues she is going to be working on with the sex therapist, but how am I supposed to know she is winking at me because she wants me or if she just has something in her eye. If I guess wrong it goes south for the rest of the night and into the days after. It is confusing and frustrating.
Let’s get off this topic and back to my story. We had just moved for the 3rd time and again we were far away from family and friends. We rented a place sight unseen because it was one of the few places in the school district we wanted to be in. It turned out to be nice and the landlord was great. The first year was better than it had been in a while. I think we were forced back together because we did not know anyone. So all our time and energy went to the kids or each other. As the kids got older and were more active we started seeing less and less of each other.
This would usually come up in our fights about sex. She wanted me to spend more time with her outside the bedroom. I completely supported this decision but she kept over scheduling herself and the kids. We never went anywhere without them. We did not know anyone and were not comfortable leaving them with a stranger. So we did not have a private moment for years. I gave her an article once explaining that if your kid says he is board then they are probably over-scheduled. They no longer can use their imagination to fill in their time. We talked about it again and again and each time we would agree to not take so much on, but we could never say no if anyone asked. Help with the carnival, sure. Babysit my kids, you bet. Have music lessons, sports teams and boys and girl scouts, where do I sign? It was difficult but I also believed this was her way of getting grown up time. She would help out so she could see and talk with other adults instead of our kids.
As we got busier and busier my wife and I drifted farther and farther apart. I would take on more at work because I also would not say no. So this was not all on her, but I also thought if she is going to be doing the carnival or girl scouts or whatever then I can just work through it because I won’t get to see her anyway. I was as much part of the problem as she was. She kept gaining weight after our 3rd child and this ate away at her also. I would try and help but she did not like healthy food, she would just grab fast food while she was running the kids around. Then she did not like exercising. I would try and get the whole family out and take walks or bike rides, but we didn’t have enough time to do this very often. I did not mind her weight gain. I still found her attractive and I would try and tell her but she never would take a compliment. If someone gave her a compliment she would immediately put herself down and dismiss the compliment. It drove me nuts because it would just eat at her self-esteem.
She no longer believed that she was attractive and she quit even trying. She would have days where she would not get out f her pajamas all day. I am sure some of you would love this and it would be okay every once in a while but it was becoming more frequent. She felt like why change out of them when she was only going to lay down for a nap in a few hours then she would only be up for a few hours before dinner and bedtime. It frustrated me so much that I backed off. By this point I was doing the house work, laundry, dinners, paying the bills, plus working what amounts to 2 jobs. I only would sleep 5 or 6 hours and be good to go. I did all these things to make her life easier so she would have less stress. Yes, it added a ton of stress to me but she was having a rough time so I picked up the slack. She needed me and I desperately wanted her attention. Less stress and more time would equal a relaxed wife and more time/attention with me. This all backfired. I did not know at the time but it did not work. She saw me picking up the slack and would just beat herself up more. She thought she was a failure because I had to take over some of the responsibilities. Or she would try and fill that time with another volunteer activity. She was sleeping more and more and we were spending less and less quality time together.
This went on like this for about 6 years and it probably would still be the same, except I got very board on my drive to work (60 min commute). This is what led to the end…
If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good. – Dr. Seuss
Try taking deep breaths hold them in for a few seconds (count to 3-5) then exhale, do this until you start feeling calmer. And try not to think or dwell on the thoughts that put you in panic mode. (I know easier said than done.) I learned that this breathing technic helped me when I was heading down the road to panic Ville.
And about the therapist cross that bridge when you get there. But it is important to try to open up or else it will just be futile. When I was going through my depression I knew well the root of the cause, but I never admitted it, so therapy really did little because I was not forthcoming.
I like the guy I have and I will continue to see him but it took over a month before I actually told him anything and he was safe. This counselor could make my life difficult, maybe if I didn’t know so many of them in real life and hear their stories I would not be so worried even though they never revealed or even hinted at who they were talking about.
Thanks for the breathing. I will keep trying it hopefully it will calm me a little.
Even if they know you they can’t divulge anything. Doctor-Patient Confidentiality.
Yep – what she said. They know they will get sued if they violate confidentiality, so you’re safe.
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The rational side of me knows this but I still have a hard time getting past it. There is virtually no one who knows about my past or my problems. My wife knows a lot but there is still a lot about me she doesn’t know and we have known each other for 22 years and married for 20.
We spent half the session today on privacy and her trying to settle my fears. It didn’t really help but I am willing to try.
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As long as your willing is a start in there right direction. Just one step at a time. And remember things won’t change over night. It takes time, effort and will to get where you want to be.