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Discussion Starter #1
Laying awake at 2am, really jacked up tonight. Thinking about how our family life is ruined, how our kids won't get to see their mom and dad loving each other anymore. I was thinking about our anniversary we had just 2 months ago, how much fun we had (even though she was stressed for the first half of it). Wondering how we got here so fast.

Essentially going through every emotion that someone in a codependent relationship would go through: what can I do to make this work? How can I fix this? What could I give up to just stick it out?

I replayed the tape from our MC session, which was quite horrible and set me back emotionally and in terms of my wife getting help (95% sure at this point she is suffering from BPD). I spoke gently and factually for 5 minutes about how my wife's recent behaviors were triggering my emotions from the affair. I got no empathy or understanding from her, she was insistent that she isn't cheating and I am just making stuff up to make her look bad. Even after I mentioned that I'm not out to punish her or make her look bad or acccuse her, just wanted to share how her actions were affecting my emotions, and looking for some empathy and understanding.

She called me controlling and mentioned that I had been treating her poorly and accusing her and making her feel bad about herself.

It was an hour session and I didn't have time nor the desire to correct every statement she was making about me, I was trying to listen and get a fix on what her feelings were. Of course the counselor had no choice but to assume everything she said was true.

My "homework" for the week was:

1. Stop reading her messages and "snooping" - something I would never agree to do if I was staying married
2. Stop treating my wife "like crap"
3. Start talking to my wife respectfully

At the end I told her my homework was pointless, as at some point I have to stop pretending that I can do more to work on this marriage, and that I believed in my heart that I was already treating her to the best of my ability and giving her as much respect, care, love, and understanding as possible.

At the end my counselor undid all the conversation we had in our individual session by just outright believing my wife that I was being controlling and treating her poorly, even though we spent most of the hour discussing the reasonable and well communicated boundaries I had set up and how my wife is displaying several BPD traits.

After everything was said and done I told my wife flat out, there has been too much boundary crossing and I can no longer accept being with someone who consistently depletes my sense of self. If you want to get help to stop crossing my boundaries, I will be supportive and work on whatever I need to have a happy healthy relationship. She said she didn't know what I was talking about, I mentioned the sarcastic snide comments and attacks during our conversations, and a complete lack of empathy for my feelings. She told me I do the same thing to her (which I can no longer accept as true).

So we confirmed that we will be moving forward with the divorce. Things she's been saying confirm to me that she wants to move on, though it's hard to tell if that is a defense mechanism, or if the talk about wanting to stay married that she says to everyone else privately is a defense mechanism.

I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, which I know is normal in these situations dealing with someone with BPD, but I hear her say things in confidence, that she is doing great, everything is fine, she feels really strong and finally at peace, and I know she is about to snap. The woman who is assuring everyone that everything is great and she's so strong and at peace, is 30 minutes later having panic attacks and an emotional breakdown about everything and saying she can't breath and needs to go to the hospital.

Anyway this has turned ranty. I'm out of the house and got some sleep this week for the first time in many weeks (though not tonight obviously). I'm trying to take my life back, exercising, finding activities, and I'm going to a codependency anonymous group next week. Most of the time I've been handling it well, but I just can't shake that ache right now that this is so wrong and we should stay together and just need to work it out. I would give up everything in my life to hear her say, "I'm so sorry I've been acting like this, you were right, I need help, I'm going to a therapist to work on getting better. You're the best husband and you're all I want."

That should tell you something about how messed up I am....
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh and moving back in with my parents short term gave me some insight into how I ended up in all this mess to begin with. I forgot how controlling my dad was (being on your own for over a decade will do that to you). When my dad started following me around telling me how things needed to be open, shut, turned on and off, I heard my inner dialogue say, "just do whatever he's saying and don't make a big deal about it, keep the peace."

It reminded me that I had been doing that all my life. I think my childhood was a setup for getting myself in this position. My mom, who has the exact same traits as me in this regard, acted similarly. She just did whatever it took to make the peace, at the expense of her own feelings and sense of self.

It sucks to think that I am just now realizing this. I'm just now, after 30 years, deciding that I need to have healthy boundaries and limits and have a right to my feelings. Now after 2 kids, and a failed marriage, and tons of heartache....
 

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I know it's a bummer tonight. There will come a day when you are free of this and hardly think of it. You can make a good life for your child.

Unfortunately, most of the time the only way to get through the pain is to trudge right through the middle of it. It's a journey that you have to take. Think of it as a quest like in a fantacy novel, or a video game. Slay the dragons .. (or seth, or zombies, whatever haunt you). At the end of this is a new life.
 

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I know it's a bummer tonight. There will come a day when you are free of this and hardly think of it. You can make a good life for your child.

Unfortunately, most of the time the only way to get through the pain is to trudge right through the middle of it. It's a journey that you have to take. Think of it as a quest like in a fantacy novel, or a video game. Slay the dragons .. (or seth, or zombies, whatever haunt you). At the end of this is a new life.
I'm sitting here tonight going through the five stages of grief. Stages that I remember all too well from the infidelity. The sadness is a tough pill to swallow, but I remember that I got over the infidelity, and I did it in what I considered to be a short period of time, and that I will get over this as well. I just have to ensure that I allow myself to feel and process all the pain.

The saddest thing about divorce, or infidelity, we don't have our partners to go through it with us. I'm glad I have a lot of great friends and family. My heart breaks for my wife because she has so little support.
 

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So sorry COguy!

Not everyone is like your wife and your father, who breathes to "control" everything around them.... I wish you well in your future to find another (if that would even be a desire)... who is not controlling & genuinelly cares about the feelings of a good man.

I'm glad I have a lot of great friends and family.
A blessing indeed during this time.



You'll get there...not matter how bad it feels right now...you will muddle through all of these stages, it can't be helped, Divorce is a heavy grieving.

Coping with a Breakup or Divorce Moving on after a relationship ends




 

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I replayed the tape from our MC session, which was quite horrible and set me back emotionally and in terms of my wife getting help (95% sure at this point she is suffering from BPD).
COguy, if she has strong BPD traits -- even if they constitute full-blown BPD -- there is little chance any therapist will tell her, much less tell you. As I've discussed on many threads, therapists are LOATH to tell a patient she "has BPD" even when that diagnosis is warranted. Hence, your best chance of obtaining a candid professional opinion (not a formal diagnosis) is to see your own clinical psychologist -- by yourself for a visit or two.

Relying on your wife's therapist for advice during the marriage is as foolish as relying on her attorney's advice during the divorce. To obtain a professional opinion on what you are dealing with (when it is a PD like BPD), it is important to see a psychologist who is ethically bound to protect your welfare, not hers.

As to the MC, my experience is that MCs are totally useless if your spouse has strong BPD traits. Until she has worked hard for several years in IC with a psychologist, MC won't make a dent in her issues. Moreover, the chances she will stay in IC long enough to make a difference is very small. I would be surprised if as many as 1 in 100 BPDers will do so.
I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, which I know is normal in these situations dealing with someone with BPD.
Yes, if you are living with a BPDer, that is exactly how you should be feeling.
I'm going to a codependency anonymous group next week.
Great idea. Like you, I am an excessive caregiver. I spent a small fortune taking my BPDer exW to weekly visits with six different psychologists (and 2 MCs) for 15 years -- all to no avail. When I finally started enforcing stronger personal boundaries at the end of our marriage, I found out -- just as you did -- that she reacted in another rage.

In my case, however, she called the police and had me arrested on a bogus charge of "brutalizing" her (never mind that our grand daughter and her sister were 20 feet away in the next room). If you would like to read about some of my experiences, please check out my posts in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522.

With the codependency group, keep in mind that codependency is not listed in the diagnostic manual. There therefore is no officially accepted definition of what it is. Indeed, the world's largest association devoted to this issue (CoDA) doesn't even try to define it.

Instead, CoDA simply posts a web page listing over 50 traits. That's as many "traits" as are included in the diagnostic manual for all ten personality disorders combined. This everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach used by CoDA does not define what codependency is. Rather, it only reflects CoDA's need, as a political organization, to accommodate the varying views and demands of its thousands of local chapters.
 

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Uptown, I just want you to know that your story a few months ago is what started my journey. That was the first time I had heard about BPD. Although at the time I didn't think it applied, it gave me the tools to start researching it and realized that this was more than just a depression or someone with childhood issues.

When my neighbor who is a counselor was mentioning a patient he had with BPD, I started to link more things together. I went back and finished Stop Walking On Eggshells and doing more research on BPDfamily.com and realized that though she hadn't been suicidal or self-mutilating, and isn't displaying any consistently outwardly wreckless behaviors, she has almost every other sign. More importantly, the dynamics of our relationship are very similar. Every time I see a response to how someone in those relationships feels, I get a sense of resonation in my own life.

I didn't mention all the details from our MC session, basically I had gotten a DBT specialist in my area, of which there are only 3 and they are extremely busy, to agree to see my wife. My wife had no idea why this person was chosen. She was just going to go and get an evaluation. These specialists are specifically trained to keep people with BPD involved in therapy without necessarily labeling them. What the MC did is actually tell my wife what that specialist does (DBT), what DBT is for (personality disorders), and then tell my wife she didn't need that in her professional opinion. This had the wonderful effect of validating to my wife that nothing is wrong with her, while also enraging her that I felt she had a specific disorder. Also, any advantage the counselor could have provided is gone, as now my wife would view her with complete skepticism and actually go in defensive instead of open minded.

I was kind of pissed, it was as if she short circuited my attempts to get help for my wife because I disagreed with "her professional opinion" of which she has had 3 visits to ascertain a complex diagnosis that could take months of therapy to uncover.

I can't help but think it's a blessing in disguise, maybe that would have dragged this on longer, additional hope.
 

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COguy,

I'm so sorry that it has gotten to this point, but I believe that you are doing the right thing. You are a member whose integrity, compassion and willingness to sacrifice really come through in your words, and I think that your closest friends consider themselves lucky to have you in their life. You have done all that a man can do. You fought the good fight, setting aside all of the hurt, shame and loneliness she inflicted upon you. I hope you can find peace in letting go.

Even in letting her go, you can still care for her in a new way. Pray for her, if this is your way. Uptown is right about her therapist taking her side. That's what your wife pays her to do.

I hope you can get some rest and then start thinking about the next steps for you, as a single father.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I love you guys. Thanks. If it was not for the support of you all on this forum, my friends and family, and people at my church, I doubt I would have had the courage or esteem to stand up for myself and believe that I am a good person and that I am not crazy.
 

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I feel the same Coguy. Many times, I've allowed my wife to just about convince me that I'm literally crazy for not taking non-stop verbal abuse and living w/ her extreme double standards and acute mood swings.

This forum and the posters and the information in it, have given me strength and a clear understanding of what really is happening and that allows me to have a much more clear thought process and course of action. Its a blessing no doubt.


Hang in there. Our happiness is right around the corner!! ;)
 

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You are very focused on your wife's BPD. There is nothing wrong with that; after all, you are trying to get a handle on what is happening as your marriage disintegrates. However, being a "codie" myself, who attended CoDA for quite awhile, I can "hear" your codependency coming through. It's difficult to detach from the problems of others, because we codies are, by nature, the ones who want to fix everyone else's problems, at an expense to our own peace of mind.

I've gone through the agony of a divorce. It was no picnic, and I had to practically live in CoDA and Al-Anon meetings to keep my head from exploding. But I made it through. You will too.

I was raised by a control-freak mother. Obtrusive. No respect for my boundaries. No sense of privacy. And on and on it goes. We get shaped this way by a parent, as a rule.

I sympathize with you. All I can tell you is you WILL get through to the other side. Just a word of warning: when you get despondent and lonely, hang out with friends. Don't get involved in another relationship until you feel strong enough to keep the codependency at bay.
 
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Though she hadn't been suicidal or self-mutilating, and isn't displaying any consistently outwardly wreckless behaviors, she has almost every other sign.
Colorado, the suicidal and self-mutilating behaviors are characteristic of low-functioning BPDers. They often turn their anger inward onto themselves -- which is more self-destructive than directing the anger outward onto their spouses.

The vast majority of BPDers, however, are high functioning and therefore rarely direct the anger inward. In the 15 years I lived with my exW, I saw that happen maybe 3 or 4 times. When it does happen, the HF BPDer temporarily becomes low functioning.

If your W were low functioning, you would not have been dating her for very long, much less marrying her. Hence, if she does have strong BPD traits, you should not expect to see self harm or suicide attempts because they are very unlikely. Suicide threats, however, are common among HF BPDers as a way to control the spouse and prevent abandonment.
 

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I agree with Uptown on nearly everything he said. The one thing he wrote that saddened me and is different from my own experience as a counselor is that "counselors are loathe to diagnose" BPD.

While it's true that there's little hope of recovery, ethical counselors *will* at least address a person with BPD's issues as if they have a BPD, not as if they are "just fine."

I'm not familiar with other posts you may have made in the past, so this is more or less me playing devil's advocate for a moment, but I found myself wondering what your wife's homework for the week was, and if the counselor really said you treated your wife like crap. If she did, what exactly does she think is crappy and controlling, and whether there's any truth to that opinion.

I'm so glad to hear you'll get to a codependency group. I think that the 12-step programs are wonderful for getting us - everyone - through difficult times even if we're not alcoholic or codependent. If we are, they're a good foundation for a way of life. You'll get a ton of support and good tools to use no matter what happens to your relationship - it can help you feel a lot less "crazy" when life just doesn't add up.
 

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While it's true that there's little hope of recovery, ethical counselors *will* at least address a person with BPD's issues as if they have a BPD, not as if they are "just fine."
Kathy, I agree. Thanks for clarifying what I was trying to say. When I said therapists are loath to tell a BPDer the name of her disorder, I did not mean to imply she would not be provided good treatment. Rather, I meant that they generally do not tell high functioning BPDers the name of the disorder being treated. Hence, for anyone married to an abusive angry spouse, relying on HER psychologist to give you a diagnosis likely will be a disastrous course of action. I say this for four reasons.

First, psychologists may never witness the BPD traits. Because BPDers generally are excellent actors, it is a cakewalk for them to hide their BPD traits during a 50-minute session held only once a week. It therefore may take a psychiatrist years to see the dysfunctional behaviors you see all week long -- and it is highly unlikely a BPDer will remain in therapy that long (in the unlikely event you persuade her to even start).

Second, even assuming that the psych has sufficient time to identify a BPDer's disorder, it is unlikely that the psych will ever tell you. Therapists are loath to tell a BPDer -- much less tell her spouse -- the true diagnosis. Because BPDers have fragile egos, giving her the name of her disorder almost certainly will result in her immediately quitting therapy.

Third, in the very unlikely event she stays in therapy, telling her the name of her disorder may cause her behavior to become WORSE, not better. Because BPDers have a fragile, unstable sense of who they are, they are often looking to other people for cues on how to behave. The danger of disclosing the disorder name, then, is that it will give the patient a new identity as "the BPDer." The result is that a patient who had been exhibiting 5 or 6 BPD traits may suddenly start exhibiting 8 or 9.

A fourth reason is that therapists know that listing the diagnosis as "BPD" almost certainly means insurance companies will refuse to cover it. It therefore is common for the "diagnosis" to be listed, instead, as one of the side effects or comorbid disorders, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or adult ADHD -- all of which are covered by insurance.

No secret to therapists.
This withholding of information is no secret in the psychiatric community and has been discussed in academic articles for decades. See, e.g., the classic 1992 Dartmouth Medical School article at The Beginning of Wisdom Is Never Calling a Patient a Borderline; or, The Clinical Management of Immature Defenses in the Treatment of Individuals With Personality Disorders -- VAILLANT 1 (2): 117 -- Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research. More recently (May 2009), the Columbia Univ. College of Phys. & Surgeons devoted a workshop to this very issue, i.e., when to withhold and when to disclose the BPD diagnosis. See http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/documents/APA_2009_Disclosure_Hersh.pdf.

No secret to attorneys. Likewise, this withholding is no secret to the family-law attorneys who specialize in divorces and spousal abuse. One such firm -- located in Calif and NV -- explains on its website why there is little chance of being able to use a BPD diagnosis in the divorce proceedings against a very abusive spouse. This article, by trial lawyer Joel Douglas, states:
"Often mental health care clinicians in completing their DSM list of differential diagnoses will “defer” or simply leave an Axis II diagnostic impression blank, irrespective of whether a personality disorder exists."
Douglas gives four reasons as to why "many psychotherapists are loathe to list Axis II personality disorders." See full article at Bonne Bridges, Mueller, O'Keefe & Nichols - Do You Know Someone Like This: The Borderline Personality Disorder.
 

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I'm so sorry you're hurting.

You will come through this though.

Keep posting on here if it helps get the buzzing thoughts out of your mind and helps bring perspective/reassurance/know you've been "heard".
 

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Coguy,

I'm going through the same thing with a BPD wife. Read my story in the Private forum.

You're not alone (you already know that).

Life certainly sucks these days
 

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Kathy, I agree. Thanks for clarifying what I was trying to say. When I said therapists are loath to tell a BPDer the name of her disorder, I did not mean to imply she would not be provided good treatment. Rather, I meant that they generally do not tell high functioning BPDers the name of the disorder being treated. Hence, for anyone married to an abusive angry spouse, relying on HER psychologist to give you a diagnosis likely will be a disastrous course of action. I say this for four reasons.

First, psychologists may never witness the BPD traits. Because BPDers generally are excellent actors, it is a cakewalk for them to hide their BPD traits during a 50-minute session held only once a week. It therefore may take a psychiatrist years to see the dysfunctional behaviors you see all week long -- and it is highly unlikely a BPDer will remain in therapy that long (in the unlikely event you persuade her to even start).

Second, even assuming that the psych has sufficient time to identify a BPDer's disorder, it is unlikely that the psych will ever tell you. Therapists are loath to tell a BPDer -- much less tell her spouse -- the true diagnosis. Because BPDers have fragile egos, giving her the name of her disorder almost certainly will result in her immediately quitting therapy.

Third, in the very unlikely event she stays in therapy, telling her the name of her disorder may cause her behavior to become WORSE, not better. Because BPDers have a fragile, unstable sense of who they are, they are often looking to other people for cues on how to behave. The danger of disclosing the disorder name, then, is that it will give the patient a new identity as "the BPDer." The result is that a patient who had been exhibiting 5 or 6 BPD traits may suddenly start exhibiting 8 or 9.

A fourth reason is that therapists know that listing the diagnosis as "BPD" almost certainly means insurance companies will refuse to cover it. It therefore is common for the "diagnosis" to be listed, instead, as one of the side effects or comorbid disorders, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or adult ADHD -- all of which are covered by insurance.

No secret to therapists.
This withholding of information is no secret in the psychiatric community and has been discussed in academic articles for decades. See, e.g., the classic 1992 Dartmouth Medical School article at The Beginning of Wisdom Is Never Calling a Patient a Borderline; or, The Clinical Management of Immature Defenses in the Treatment of Individuals With Personality Disorders -- VAILLANT 1 (2): 117 -- Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research. More recently (May 2009), the Columbia Univ. College of Phys. & Surgeons devoted a workshop to this very issue, i.e., when to withhold and when to disclose the BPD diagnosis. See http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/documents/APA_2009_Disclosure_Hersh.pdf.

No secret to attorneys. Likewise, this withholding is no secret to the family-law attorneys who specialize in divorces and spousal abuse. One such firm -- located in Calif and NV -- explains on its website why there is little chance of being able to use a BPD diagnosis in the divorce proceedings against a very abusive spouse. This article, by trial lawyer Joel Douglas, states:
"Often mental health care clinicians in completing their DSM list of differential diagnoses will “defer” or simply leave an Axis II diagnostic impression blank, irrespective of whether a personality disorder exists."
Douglas gives four reasons as to why "many psychotherapists are loathe to list Axis II personality disorders." See full article at Bonne Bridges, Mueller, O'Keefe & Nichols - Do You Know Someone Like This: The Borderline Personality Disorder.
100% on this post. :smthumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I'm not familiar with other posts you may have made in the past, so this is more or less me playing devil's advocate for a moment, but I found myself wondering what your wife's homework for the week was, and if the counselor really said you treated your wife like crap. If she did, what exactly does she think is crappy and controlling, and whether there's any truth to that opinion.
My wife's homework was to stop making snide, sarcastic comments, stop attacking me while sharing her feelings (ie it makes me sad when you said that instead of "you're so hateful"), and seeing an individual counselor (the non-dbt one).

So far the sarcastic comments are still coming, and I'm still being attacked, the counselor I could give a crap about because she won't get anything from it.

She didn't say that I treated my wife like crap, but she took what my wife was saying at face value and there was no time to get into specifics. For example, if it came up at the top of the hour I would have asked for details and specifics on how to not treat her like crap, but it was like in the last 30 seconds so I'm left baffled as to how to actually accomplish this feat. Another comment was made when she said that her friends all said that she wasn't the same since she married me, I asked her who specifically said that and she wouldn't tell me (I suspected it was some twisting of the truth, and it was). The counselor told me that she probably didn't want to say because she felt that I was controlling who she could and couldn't talk to and didn't want to add another person to the list of people she wasn't allowed to talk to. Which I understand if you listened to my wife at face value you would probably think I was a monster.

But the week before in my individual session I gave her the full story, which is that she's not allowed to speak to ONE person, because she was encouraging my wife to sleep around on me and not tell me about her cheating, and the counselor 100% agreed with me that that was bullcrap. So to watch her do a 180 and then start backing up my wife was pretty annoying. I'm going to call the counselor next week and let her know she can either get with the program and take off the blinders or I'm not going to show up anymore.

I don't want to say that I'm not controlling at all. But in the general spectrum of men, I would probably be somewhere in the bottom 10%. There's certain things I don't want her doing right now (like going on trips with certain friends and things like that), that has less to do with my personality and more to do with the fact that we're 6 months out from her infidelity. Until that point, I could give a flip about who she hung out with or what she was doing because I trusted her 100%.

Anyway, the level of craziness is increasing every day. Today I posted a facebook status that was about becoming a better man, and she sent me a pagelong text about how I should stop attacking her and how I have my family ganging up on her to like my facebook statuses aimed at her (literally one person liked the status). Then in the next sentence she talked about how she wanted us to get back together, and then she asked why I was being so hateful and was pushing so hard to get a divorce.

Yesterday I felt guilt. Not because of anything I had done, but it was the first day where I thought about her telling me that she wanted therapy and how awful she had treated me and how much she loved me and wanted to be my sex slave love goddess, and I just thought "I wouldn't even want her back if she said that." Now I'm sure that will change many times in the next few days, but I don't know how to respond to that feeling.

She's my wife, I love her, I committed myself to her, I've been praying and begging she gets help. If she really did want to get help and go for it 100%, shouldn't I have some desire to want to stay together and work on it?

Edit: Oh and on a side note, saw the lawyer yesterday. I know we shouldn't trust lawyers but the guy listened to my plan on how to move forward and handle the finances and said, "Over half my clients that come in here are immature a$$holes, I can tell just from talking to you for 20 minutes that you are really mature and respectful, and whatever is going on in your marriage is not your fault." Kind of felt good to hear someone say that, even if it was from a soulless liar.
 

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She's my wife, I love her, I committed myself to her, I've been praying and begging she gets help. If she really did want to get help and go for it 100%, shouldn't I have some desire to want to stay together and work on it?
COguy, I understand the conflict you are feeling. My wife is a child sex abuse survivor, and so her half of the marriage dysfunction is rooted there. She refuses any therapy, and in fact refuses to admit to any real contribution to our marital problems. She'll admit to being a perfectionist and "sometimes being a bit controlling". :rolleyes:

If my wife would come to me and say she understands how the things she has done or said would be hurtful, and she is seeking therapy for her issues, it would be reason enough to have some hope. If she would apologize for the lies and deceptions it would be enough to start rebuilding some trust.

Like you, I do love the woman I married. Though, to be honest, that woman never really existed. But we do have a lot of history, shared experiences, children, etc. Wouldn't it be rewarding and deeply satisfying if we could recover this marriage into what we once dreamed it would be?

You should realize that it is ok for you to feel you have given all you can. It is ok to know that you have given her a more than fair chance in the relationship. Indeed, you have given her every chance, while she has given so very little to you.

It is ok for you to decide that it is too late for you to continue in this relationship even if today the miracle happens where she sees reality and commits to a genuine recovery.

Remember that no matter what happens, you can handle it.
 
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