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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, it's been a while since I have posted here. And I have migrated from the "Depression" area of the forum to this. I made a couple of long-ish posts about my situation in August 2011: link. Things have changed a little, but not enough, and not necessarily in good ways. I am heartened somewhat by those here who say that if both partners love each other and want the marriage to work, it will. Neither of us knows what to do and things have reached crisis point.

To make my history as short as possible: I moved from the USA to the UK to marry my husband, whom I'd dated on a previous trip here. We were together 8 years before we had our one child, who is now almost 10. Things went downhill from there because I didn't work on the intimacy of my marriage while I was looking after my baby, and then I developed depression because I was isolated at home, without a job or income of my own, etc. (I didn't realise this at the time, it took me a long time to understand what was happening to me.) My husband endured this time period, and it has been taking me a long time to try to put my life right. I am just starting to find pieces of temp work, and I have been through counselling. The problem is that my husband is bitter about the time when I was ill and when we lost intimacy; I think he's not sure whether he can find it in himself to trust me again, and he keeps saying so many things are "wrong". I get lists from him of everything I need to put right, from getting the house clean to losing weight. I can't pretend that these requests have no basis, because while depressed I've struggled with the housework, particularly with a messy little girl contributing to it, and I have an eating problem which I have so far not been able to successfully address in the long term; I am quite severely overweight. My husband says he feels bad about telling me, but he very much needs me to slim down. He needs me to be more attractive.

I thought we were at a point a number of times where we agreed that I would lose weight, get the house clean, work on securing a permanent job, etc. I said we should get a babysitter so that we can go out in the evenings, because an ongoing problem for us has been that we have no friends or family to help look after our daughter so that we can get time to ourselves. I also have faced the real possibility of separation, where the best option for me would be to go with my daughter to live with my parents in the USA and get back on my feet. My parents aren't the easiest people to get along with, nor the best role models for my daughter, but at least I would get some support. I know that my husband is distraught about the possibility of me taking his daughter away, but I have explained that I can't see how I can make a life for myself in this country where I would have no job, no place to live after we sold the house, not even any close friends, no family at all.

I just wish we could make a decision and stick to it, but my husband has so far been unable to do this and I'm not going to force the issue by making it for both of us. He is going to pieces before my eyes, it's like he's slowly having a breakdown. He can't concentrate on anything and is afraid of losing his job because of this; he cancels outings with his friends because he's feeling so down, he can't sleep at night, and sometimes he just sits down in a chair in front of me and cries. It's extremely hard for both of us to cope with. He won't see a counsellor together or by himself. He drinks wine to numb himself. I never know what to expect from him, both of us are in incredible pain and his only solution seems to be to vacillate while watching his life fall apart.

Has anyone here gone through anything similar? Any advice would be very much appreciated. I am no longer seeing my counsellor for financial reasons and have no one to talk to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I don't seem to be very good at writing posts that garner responses. Maybe the situation is just too much of a mess, that's certainly how it feels to me.

My husband doesn't want me and our daughter to go live with my parents and frankly, the more I think about it the more I realise that it could amount to going out of the frying pan and into the fire. My mother has a personality disorder and my father has issues too. However, I don't know how I could make a life for myself in this country. With what this government is doing to people on benefits, that is not a situation I want to find myself in.

I thought my husband and I agreed to look into Relate marriage counselling last night, but he is now so distraught about everything that he is struggling to get any sleep or even function. He has a tendency to bury his head in the sand about things until the situation becomes so dire that it is impossible to ignore. I don't know how much Relate could help at this point even if we were fortunate enough to get an experienced and talented counsellor, but it's perhaps better than carrying on as we are.
 

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I don't seem to be very good at writing posts that garner responses. Maybe the situation is just too much of a mess, that's certainly how it feels to me.

My husband doesn't want me and our daughter to go live with my parents and frankly, the more I think about it the more I realise that it could amount to going out of the frying pan and into the fire. My mother has a personality disorder and my father has issues too. However, I don't know how I could make a life for myself in this country. With what this government is doing to people on benefits, that is not a situation I want to find myself in.

I thought my husband and I agreed to look into Relate marriage counselling last night, but he is now so distraught about everything that he is struggling to get any sleep or even function. He has a tendency to bury his head in the sand about things until the situation becomes so dire that it is impossible to ignore. I don't know how much Relate could help at this point even if we were fortunate enough to get an experienced and talented counsellor, but it's perhaps better than carrying on as we are.
Hey there.

My gut feeling, based on your posts is that you're having financial issues, am I correct? If I may ask - are you currently working? If your child is 10, then you surely should be able to get a job while he's at school.

Unfortunately I can't speak for your husband 100%, but from my perspective (I also am male, and british) finances are the biggest issues that married people have to handle.

My advice is - go ahead and get a job. No excuses, no arguments. Get a job, and ease the financial pressure on the family.

I'm curious about your statement on benefits - you're american right? How does an american complain about UK benefits? I'm under the opinion (not having ever claimed in either country before, I can't say for sure) that UK benefits are considerably better than US benefits, so I'm not sure how moving back stateside would totally be an option.

Is there something stopping you from getting part-time work?
 

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I don't seem to be very good at writing posts that garner responses.
Try to shorten it a bit. The longer posts are harder to read.

I skimmed it but don't know what I could add to the conversation. If you can't make a life for yourself in that country then what options do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Oh gosh. OK, I'll try to make my posts shorter. It's a complicated situation so it's hard to try to put it in few words, but I understand that people might tend to skip over long posts.

Caladan, I have been trying to get a permanent job for 6 years, since my daughter started going to full-time school. I am a secondary English teacher and tried at first to get part-time work because doing the job full-time burned me out, and that was before I had a child at home. The best I could manage was a series of temp contracts at a local school. They didn't want a permanent part-timer and other schools don't either. I then went into day-to-day supply teaching as a stopgap, but then that disappeared as schools started to take on unqualified teachers at half the price. As time went on and I was increasingly desperate I ended up trying for pretty much any type of job in school or out but got few interviews, I guess because all I was trained to do was teach, there was a recession on, and I'd already been out of permanent work so long.

I had depression as well, probably caused from the very circumstances I was trying to change, i.e. being stuck at home, isolated, no identity or sense of purpose, no personal income, constantly worrying about money. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to work full time with my physical symptoms, and I had also decided to re-train in another career, which required that I spend one full day a week at university. I could not find jobs to apply for that would allow this in my schedule. I had numerous contacts at local schools and I asked for their help but there was nothing forthcoming. I set up my own internet business proofreading academic papers, but the competition is fierce and it isn't much of an income. I also enter a lot of online competitions and have won some nice perks that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford, though again it's not enough to make a significant difference. It's just better than nothing while I'm not working.

I think you are right in that financial stress can cause big problems in a relationship. My husband has this midlife thing going on as well and he wants to go out and have more fun and travel but these things require money. I recently jacked in my university course just to be available to work all days in the week and I've been office-temping for the past couple of months off and on, which isn't much but it's a start. I'm hoping I'll have a permanent job which will allow me the day off I need to get back on my course next autumn, but it's quite possible that I will have to prioritise working and give up that particular dream. My physical symptoms start to disappear when I've been at work for a period, but so far through no fault of my own the temp jobs have been of short duration. I have a few interviews coming up this month.

UK benefits, nightmare. Our government has been busy ripping away the safety net. They might well be more generous than those in the US, but frankly that's not saying much, and now there's workfare so I could find myself working for free stacking shelves while I am also expected to be looking for work. I read about horrible changes to the benefits system every single day in the papers here and it makes my blood boil seeing that happen to people, and fearing it could happen to me. (The option of moving back to the US would mean that my daughter and I lived with my parents, at least for a time, though I'm increasingly thinking that it would be a bad idea for the various reasons I stated above.)

I think maybe my husband is getting cold feet about the marriage counseling now. We both are exhausted from the disagreements, I think, and are in an uneasy truce at the moment. It is constantly stressful.
 

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From your description, your husband sounds like he's in a serious depression. Can you get him to see a doctor and get on some meds? He needs to be able to function in order to fix your marriage.

Are you still depressed? Or have you come out of it?

Have the two of you read "His Needs, Her Needs"? I think that the book would help you both quite a bit once the depression (yours & his) are delt with.

Often times, when a person is depressed, it drags the other spouse into depression.

Why is it so hard for you to find work? Do you need to go back to school and update skills?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hello EleGirl, thank you. I've discussed depression with him but we get nowhere with it. He won't see a counsellor or his doctor. He also saw what antidepressants did to me and I think both of us would never want to go there again. I really do think he could benefit from seeing a good psychodynamic counsellor but all he ever says is that it won't help and I can't convince him otherwise. As for me, like I said in my earlier post, my depressive symptoms do start to lift when I get the chance to work for a period of time. When I am back at home with all of the issues associated with that for me, they come back. It's so weirdly physical at the moment. During better times I am able to sleep normally; when things are bad I get groggy in the evenings and wake up at 4 or 5 am, it's like being jet-lagged all the time. And I have looked into this with doctors, light therapy for SAD and many other things that could possibly cause it, but it just seems to boil down to the degree of depression I have at any given time.

Part of it for me is the lack of control too. Always in the past I could get the job I wanted without too much trouble. I have been astonished at how hard it's been now, but I tried to explain this in my previous post. They are the only reasons I can think of. If I apply for non-teaching jobs in the current economic climate, I am up against people who have probably been doing those exact same jobs recently but have been made redundant. Who would you hire if given the choice? I'm hoping that the temping will give me the recent experience I've been lacking. I tried to re-train at university as I explained in my last post, and I hope to be able to get back to that but it might not happen if I can't secure some kind of permanent job to tide us over the 2 years it would take by helping us to make ends meet and relieving my depression.

Thanks for the self-help book recommendation too.

Turnera, I could give you my psychological and social history but I don't think that would make very interesting reading here. I don't find such a comment, or its implications, very helpful.
 

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It was meant to be helpful. If you don't include friends, don't seek out friends, it will be hard for you to cope. I've been through the depression cycle for decades, and one thing that is brought forward by my doctors, over and over, is that I HAVE to force myself to get out and make friends, that humans are meant to be social creatures, and they are one of the few things that will help me move forward.

So I want to know what your reasons are for not having friends - so I can counteract them with reasons why you should. Just like my doctors did. (and they were right)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
OK, I think I can see where you're coming from. Yes friends are very important and we all need their support sometimes. I agree 100% with this, but even if I rushed out to try to make some it would not help me right this moment.

The isolation I have experienced for years as an unemployed SAHM has been hard and I've known this for a long time. I went to mums & babies groups quite often when my daughter was little but ultimately I didn't feel I had much in common with the ladies, though I did meet one whom I considered to be a friend for quite some time. She lives across town now though and is very busy with her own life, and despite a number of attempts on my part she doesn't seem very interested in keeping things going. I haven't had the chance to make friends in the temp jobs I've had. Most people seem to make friends when they are younger at school, as my husband did, and as I did myself until we all moved to different corners of the earth. It's a great opportunity, and those can be more limited when you are older. My personality and interests are somewhat unique, but I have recently started attending a hobbyist group one night a week. I doubt if I will make any bosom buddies there but it is a way of seeing people and doing something I enjoy. I loved my university course and the people there were wonderful; my symptoms have been noticeably more problematic since I quit 3 months ago. It will be a loss if I am not in a position to pick it back up in the autumn.

What would probably help me more at this point is just getting out and being with people in general, which is what work was doing for me. I place a much higher priority than I used to on talking with others, helping them out, making the tea, etc. I just need something long-term so that I can get settled and start to heal; I always seem to end up stuck back here at home in the same old situation I'm trying to get away from. This is one reason why my husband says nothing changes I guess, and it hurts when he asks me why -- surely he can see how hard I've been trying to sort it out.
 

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Yeah, I wouldn't expect you to go out and interview people for besties, but just having someone you can meet with, for lunch, once in a while goes MILES for lifting your spirits, making you feel 'human' again. BTDT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is really hard, I don't know what to do. My husband talked with me again last night. He's still barely functioning. I thought I'd just about persuaded him to try seeing a counsellor on his own, and then he heaped all the blame on me (again). I know that I've messed up, but he also can't seem to understand what it's been like for me to struggle for years with depression due to isolation/unemployment, and a compulsive overeating problem that has been at its worst while I've been at my lowest; unfortunately I have gained a lot of weight, which he has a big problem with. I know it's been hard for him to put up with all that and its consequences and I wouldn't expect anyone to tolerate it past what they are able to do. I've never stopped trying to address these issues but time keeps going by. I have recently started office temping work as a stepping-stone to getting a job but it always seems to be too little, too late.

Apparently my husband has been wishing he could leave for years. He packed a bag a couple of times and said he was going, but I thought he just wanted to get out of the house for a while because he was angry. He developed feelings for another woman which she did not reciprocate, this again was a few years back. He also told me he has sometimes browsed web pages for people looking for relationships, though he claims he didn't have any intention of actually doing anything. He's listed my faults for me numerous times and asks me why it's taking me so long to sort them out.

I can't honestly understand why he's made himself stay all these years. I've told him many times that I cannot be a ball and chain that he feels he has to live with even if he doesn't want to. I think he's very upset about the idea of me going to the USA with our daughter, and the fact that his mother died when he was young makes him not want to put his own child through that. I think I understand everything he's saying, but he's putting us all in an impossible situation. He can't bear the thought of "waiting" again for me to put everything right when it might not happen like it didn't happen in the past, and there is a part of me that's saying hey, I bear a lot of responsibility here but he isn't actually taking any for himself -- I think he sees himself as a hard-done-by martyr who wants to do what is right for his child. But we can't stay together with things as they are now because it's awful for everybody. He's so angry and fed up with me, I almost wish he'd just say "enough is enough" so that we can move on. If I told him myself that I was leaving he'd be furious about all the years he "waited in hope" that things would change. He really is just plain angry as it is.

Why does it have to be this difficult and painful? What a mess.
 

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Hi kitsune, i read your OP and it really sounds like your husband has depression. Mine also has it as well and it seems like the way he handles things is alot like yours. My husband is japanese btw and we are in a bi racial marriage. My husband most difinately makes himself out to be the victim no matter what. Any argument we have becomes a circular one where i get blamed for everything. He focuses on my faults to an unhealthy level and uses any opportunity to throw it in my face. Luckly i got him on antidepressents but they dont seem to be doing much for him :(

Your situation is a bit tough because you stated you also had depression for a time.

I wish my husband would make a list of my faults so i could do something about it but he refuses to....and says i should of listened to him.

Any books by Anne sheffield are good, i just finished "depression fallout" and im purchasing " how you can survive when they are depressed." These might give you some ideas to cope with your hubby if he really is depressed.

I know it sucks, im almost at the end of my wits end as well. Hang in there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello LeoNyan, I'm really sorry you are going through this as well. Thank-you for your post. It's hard to try to get any perspective on this because I know I've played a big part in our problems -- depressed for so long (I never stopped trying to address it but it has taken a long time to work out what its roots were and then what to do about it), gaining so much weight, letting our relationship become distanced. There are other complicating factors to throw into the mix, such as the fact that I lost my libido due to depression, antidepressant meds, mothering a young baby, and my husband thought I'd lost interest in sex because I didn't love him anymore, he still can't seem to understand. My loss of interest in my appearance, the fact that it's hard to find the motivation to clean the house to his standards -- he is taking it all personally and thinks it's evidence that I don't love him, or want him to leave. Jeez. I think you're right that there is also an element here of him just blaming everything on me. It's been like this with his job, as well, for as long as I've known him: he is the suffering victim who is bullied there, but over the years he's given me every excuse under the sun for why he can't leave -- and the latest is, of course, that it's my fault because I haven't enabled him to do x, y or z -- which he still wouldn't have done anyway, if I know anything about him.

I keep hoping that a counsellor might gently be able to point some of these patterns out to him. Have you tried to address this with your own husband? I mentioned to mine in an email today (he is at work) that I'd like to try to work on this together, instead of me being seen to be the cause of every problem and him a victim -- followed by apologies and more admissions of what I've done wrong and how I know I've hurt him. I'm still scared that I'm going to get an angry tirade in reply because he really seems invested in heaping all the negative stuff on me. I'm very glad I had counselling because I know my counsellor would disagree with this, and she legitimised the difficulties I have been going through myself -- something I don't think I could have done on my own.

Thanks again for your reply and I hope your own situation has a positive outcome. This is an awful thing to go through.
 

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I think I understand everything he's saying, but he's putting us all in an impossible situation. He can't bear the thought of "waiting" again for me to put everything right when it might not happen like it didn't happen in the past, and there is a part of me that's saying hey, I bear a lot of responsibility here but he isn't actually taking any for himself -- I think he sees himself as a hard-done-by martyr who wants to do what is right for his child.
If he truly DID want to do what's right for his child, he WOULD be in therapy. Make that your #1 point - and keep reiterating it every time he brings up YOUR problems. You don't like me? Fine. I don't like you, either; that's why I'm moving to the US. Don't want us to move? Great, then get some help because I don't like you as you are right now.
 

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Hi kitsune, when I read your original post I thought husband hasn't wanted to be with wife for years but is afraid to lose his daughter, which you later confirmed. However, I believe you can make this better. First off, get walking every day for an hour take your husband and daughter along too sometimes. Don't eat dinner or ear a light one so you are going to bed on an empty stomach. Get on a different anti depressant. The one I'm on is a generic effexor, helps me a lot. Assign everyone in house chores so u work together to keep the house clean. Get a waitressing job. I was also a teacher and burnt out, depression contributing to that. Waiting tables helps my depression because I enjoy it and enjoy the people I work with. You can make friends while making $15 to $20 an hour a few of more days a week. Talk to your husband, tell him u are a family and u will work together to be happy together. With your husband, count your blessings every single day. Hug each other. Plan something together that doesn't cost much like a picnic in the park, a hike in nature, cook a romantic dinner, etc. All easier said than done, just my suggestions. Good luck. This is life. Make the best of it.
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Hi Animal, you are right that my husband would have left by now if it hadn't been for our daughter. I do hope we can sort this but I don't know how. Your advice is sensible, though I think the general situation calls for bigger/deeper action; my husband is at the end of his tether, won't try to get any help, seems to think that he simply has to keep trying to muddle through even though he's in such a state that he could end up being sacked from his job or I'm afraid he might do something foolish, and I don't know how I'll be able to make the changes I need to make myself when he's making it doubly difficult for me to pull out of being depressed. It's exasperating that he won't see a counsellor. I was actually training to be one myself and I have tried to explain to him how it could help, but he always just returns to the same old arguments: It can't help. They can't change anything for me. It would be a waste of money. Argh!

Yesterday seemed to start out well: he had the day off and our daughter was at school. We spent some intimate time together in the morning and generally had what I thought was a restful day at home. When we went to bed at night he lay there next to me sobbing, wouldn't let me touch him, kept saying "I can't live like this" and then went downstairs to spend the night on the sofa. When I came down this morning he got up and went to bed.

I have said that I accept a lot of responsibility for what is happening because I have made some bad choices in my life that led to depression and marital problems, though I had no idea at the time that those would be the consequences. But my husband is not handling the situation well and he is putting himself and everyone else through a lot of suffering that just goes on and on as he vacillates and despairs about how stuck he is. I am so emotionally exhausted. I think I've read the situation wrong for years because it felt to me like we made up in some way after each spat, but I can see now that my husband simply acted for a while like nothing was wrong even though the problem was still there -- yesterday is a good example of that in a short time frame. I should have realised a long time ago how serious things were, regarding both my unemployment and the state of my marriage, and I should have done more, and sooner.

Thanks to everyone who has replied to my OP; it really helps just to feel like I'm not alone with this.
 

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I really feel for both of you. I've been there. I felt stuck in my relationship and moved out. I felt stagnant and suffered depression and anxiety. When I moved out, I was still feeling unhappy. I got on meds and changed my outlook to a more positive outlook and I do feel better. Meds and a new outlook will help both of you. I'm sorry for your pain. Believe me, I've felt it too.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Animal, thank you so much for your support. I'm glad you're feeling better now and I appreciate that you are using your experience to help others here. I will try to make sure that I do the same when the dust settles, whatever happens.

I came across a website today that I think might contain a great deal of good advice for both my husband and me. It's written for people who come from dysfunctional/codependent families, which we both do, and there is a lot about relationships. I will probably buy both of this person's books. Maybe this site even recommends the URL somewhere, I don't know, but here it is: Site index for Joy2MeU codependency recovery, inner child healing, Spirituality

It's right up my street and I think my husband could learn so much from it, and it could help us to work on various issues together. My fear at the moment, though, is that things are too far gone. My husband is still pretty much avoiding me and is utterly distraught so I doubt if he's very keen on reading a psychology/self-help website right now, though I sent him an email with the URL. At least I can make use of it myself, and it's helping me to throw off some of the horrible guilt and blame that keeps getting sent my way.
 
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