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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping to vent a little (oops, a lot!) about my situation and possibly to gain some advice about wading through a few issues that my husband and I are having in our marriage. I just joined today and I'm a little nervous about getting outside comments on our relationship but right now I feel like I have nowhere else to turn. I am completely open to comments and suggestions on my behaviour as well as my perception of my husband's.

I am in the 25-30 age range and my husband falls into 30-35. We have been married close to 4 years and have known each other for over 8. We have been very close from day one. Never have I wanted to spend so much time with someone right off the bat and never have I had someone who felt the same about me. We clicked, we meshed...we still often do.

One thing to mention about the dynamics of our relationship is that my husband deals with bipolar. I knew this when I met him, I love him. This has caused a few major fights along the way. His tendency is to recoil and build a giant wall between us when he's going through a depression. This can happen very suddenly and he cannot put words to his feelings until after he has come out of the depression. My tendency is to struggle through this process, wanting him to speak, wanting him to just say, "I'm depressed, I need to be alone" instead of getting quiet and agitated and often displacing these feelings. I know I need to change the way I act when he is depressed but it is proving to be very difficult for me. I find the sudden emotional disconnect very hard to process and I do the classic thing of trying to figure how to blame myself. I also sometimes get angry...the funny thing is that anger is the thing he responds to the most but I hate the person I see myself becoming as I get isolated more and more. I don't want to have to yell at my husband for him to be present. He has actually said that on occasion he needs me to do this, it kind of makes me feel sick.

Another repeated behaviour that I have noticed is that he will often happily agree to something and then change his mind later only to claim that I forced him to or he only did it because I wanted him to. It's happens with plans big and small. For example we will make plans with friends and he will happily talk about how fun it's going to be all week and then the night of he will start saying he doesn't want to go or that he's only going cause I want to. This flip flopping behaviour rose to a new level last night and I find myself in the middle of a huge fight.

A little backstory... I recently left a job that I had worked for about 5 years. I was going nowhere fast and I was extremely unhappy in that work environment. The last year I spent there was out of sheer necessity while my husband finished his schooling and entered into his chosen field. Now that he has a stable position he encouraged me to quit my unhappy job and find something that I found fulfilling. I accepted this offer and this support and I started a small side business to work on while I search for my calling. I am not delusional, and I know that I need to work so I have been looking for little filler jobs here and there but coming up short. I'm quickly realizing that although I have a post secondary education, I am not qualified for many of the available jobs I see. This is distressing and I know it has affected my mood. I have low energy right now and I need to kick start myself into action. My husband has been extremely supportive during this time.

Well, last night my compassionate , supportive, helpful husband flipped a switch and left me blindsided. I brought up a question about my side business and my husband quickly began to interrogate me about how much money I think I can actually make, what my plans were, do I really think we can afford to put any money into my business right now? I became immediately defensive and asked where all this was suddenly coming from and he eventually admitted that he had been talking to his step mother about it and she didn't think I could make it in my newly chosen field...and apparently he was now full of doubt. I was livid! These things are our business! How dare he talk about this to his mom before he ever said a word to me?? The last thing he has said to me about my business was, "you have to spend money to make money!" and now he was coming to me with this out of the blue?? The fight, as they say, was on.

We both said things I'm sure we regret. I slept in the spare bedroom and he was gone to work when I woke up. Now I'm dreading the time when he gets back. Should I go out and leave him to be by himself for a while before he gets home? Should I stay home and get ready for round two? I don't know what to do but I'm going crazy watching the clock and waiting for it to all start up again...
Bare in mind that I do not want to trigger another round of depression. I cannot deal with that on top of this.
 

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I hesitate to respond, because I don't have experience with being in a relationship with someone who is bipolar. My SO has had an anxiety attack before which made him speak to me in a very angry way, and even though I knew not to take it personally (because earlier in my life I had anxiety attacks for a long time, and I know I acted similarly), I was in shock for some time after. That was bad enough; the kind of mood swings you're talking about are much more difficult to process and maneuver around.

I think, first of all, that one thing you need to do is find out from him, or with his help, how you can improve his condition. It's likely a sensitive issue, but it's an important one. Are there meds he can take? Is he willing to? And is he willing to keep taking them, even if he eventually doesn't feel like he needs to anymore? Is there anything else that can be done?

Another thing to talk about: Your boundaries in the relationship, in terms of what's private. I don't think you can assume it wouldn't be okay for your husband to talk about your home business. He could have just mentioned it in passing, and it turned into more of a conversation. I think your mother-in-law wasn't being very prudent by giving her opinion. If your husband did anything wrong, it was telling you about it in an upset way, rather than just calmly talking to you about it.

Here's a suggestion: Is there any way you can schedule talks with each other, so that they only happen when he's in a calmer mode? Maybe schedule a weekend trip down to a coffee shop, to sit and talk about your shared life and what would make it better. If you set the date ahead, you can always cancel it if your husband is in a temper (I suspect he wouldn't want to go out to a coffee shop at that point anyway!), and reschedule for another time.

Maybe discussing major issues should be off-limits when either one of you is in a highly emotional state.
 

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Well, one of the things about bipolar disorder is that the mood flips happen without triggers, so while you might be in the habit of perceiving triggers, those swings aren't because of them. A happy (manic) person can have anger, and a depressed person can still have some light moments.

This doesn't sound to me like his bipolar has much to do with this, if anything. It sounds like maybe he had some fears of his own that he raised with stepmom, who confirmed them. Maybe he didn't, and she just pushed her opinions and he received them and adopted them.

Either way, though, it's still just an argument that the two of you need to find common ground on. What *is* valid about his concerns? What *is* justified about taking the risks you're taking on when you launch a business? What are some reasonable, manageable boundaries that will ensure you're not overspending for the amount you're making back?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much to both of you for taking the time to read and reply. Faiora, I agree that it was the delivery method of his concerns that threw me off. I feel like I am open to discussing all aspect of my business but it is definitely hurtful to feel like I am suddenly being attacked and interrogated. Just to clarify one little thing though, all the money I have put into my business has been from my savings, not from our joint money...even so I don't want to leave him out of the loop.

I appreciated the idea of scheduling time to talk about this. Currently he is home and we are still not speaking really. All I want to do is have this resolved but I know he is still angry and my emotions are right on the surface. So if I bring it up now Im sure I will be just sentencing myself to another night long battle. I'm going to bite my tongue and lay low until the mood simmers and then I will suggest talking in a public place. Home seems to volatile right now.

Thanks again, it's nice to have somewhere to vent!

Ps.
In regards to improving his situation ... He is taking regular pills for his BP but he doesn't have a therapist or a counsellor, just a GP. It's very hard to address this but I will add on to my list of things to gently approach at a later time.

Phew, doing a lot of walking on egg shells over here!
 

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I feel for you as walking on eggshells stinks.

I hate to say this but you need to do what makes YOU happy right now...you can't live forever on eggshells.

You need to give this some long hard thought regarding the business you're running..is it worth staying in it..ALONG with the fact of a huge discussion with your husband regarding involving his mother in things that are none of her concern.

I would not want to be in your shoes right now as your hubby being bipolar...how do you know when the right mood he's in for you to approach the issue.

I'd like to suggest the two of you go through counseling together if that would help.
 

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Is there a concern about finances? I mean..... can you truly afford to keep doing what you are doing, and he is being forced to make up the difference, are you going into debt?

If not, then you have the right to "find yourself" with boundaries.

If you are going into debt, and need to get a job to pay the bills... then do your best to make that happen.

Emotions and finance don't mix.
 
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