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Many complex factors and unable to see resolution

791 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  LiamN
I have been reading several very old threads regarding similar situations to parts of my dilemma but just as we are the sum of our own problems, each one individually did not come up with a suitable answer.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone here. Having a place to talk openly is somewhat of a relief in itself and you will start to understand when I explain below.

I am a 40 year old man who has been in a marriage for coming up to it's 10th year anniversary. My wife and I have known each other for 13 years. We met online and for the first two years communicated almost constantly via telephone and the internet, literally. She was a student getting an associates degree and I was an at home computer programmer. When we were not occupied by our work and school, we would talk on the phone constantly. We would literally drain cordless telephone batteries it was so long. We had a lot to talk about and enjoyed each other's company greatly sharing each other's day, watching movies simultaneously, etc.

Fast forward to the present. My wife started acting very distant after she got pregnant with our second child a couple of years ago. We had agreed that we needed to complete our college degrees and after she got her masters and I got my bachelor's, we decided that it was time to have our second so that our daughter would have a sibling.

My wife was diagnosed shortly after the birth of our second daughter with post-partum psychosis. Things seemed to have been turned upside-down for a while and we didn't know what to do; however, I was very supportive and did what I could whenever things would get out of control. After a few trips to the emergency room for acute feelings of worthlessness, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The cycles between mania and depression were considered ultra-rapid cycling as they appeared to coincide with her menstruation cycle. When in mania, she would spend money...a lot of money. She maxed out credit cards, spent our savings, etc. Then she would feel guilty during the depressive phase. If you are starting to see the picture, read on.

I have recently been diagnosed with having a classic case of Asperger's syndrome. Yes, after 40 years, everything started to make sense.

My wife has never been the kind of person who was a neat person by a long shot; and frankly neither am I, but at some points my tolerance for disorder becomes unbearable and I clean. The reason for me explaining this is coming up.

Over the past couple of years, she has progressed into today where she has no interest in anything. She will pick up her phone and view twitter feeds, news feeds and not even say good morning to me when she does get up. I am usually up in the morning to take care of one or both of our children (her mother takes care of one or both now to relieve some stress on us) and she will get up between 1-3 hours later.

Here comes my dilemma. While I have made it a habit of getting up with the children, she considers it "my choice" to get up. She doesn't understand that "programming" has kicked in, and not a "choice". Someone has to do it. She justifies it rather than acknowledging and appreciating that I do it to let her get her rest.

I clean the house as she gets downright snippy whenever I ask her to pick up after herself and accuses me of not saying things in the best of tones (the Asperger's syndrome: we will just state fact and miss hearing our own tone or timing). I have explained that I need help and I am the one who ALWAYS does the apologizing and I will try to explain why I am saying what I'm saying is not to hurt but to relieve the burden on me. That usually starts the next round as she thinks that the bipolar is much worse than anything that the rest of us are enduring.

Two years of not apologizing, doing most of the housework, taking care of the children whenever I can, taking care of a depressed spouse, receiving no help without having to constantly asking for exactly how I want her help (she would rather just sit on the couch and let me do all of the work...possibly because her mother did everything for her father and the family as a classic stay-at-home mom), and not being appreciated for the things that I do. Sex has completely gone because of the depression and medications on her side. We had sex 6 times in the past 2 years. I even had a vasectomy right after our second child was born so we could be more "spontaneous" and not have to worry about the risk of having another. This was before we realized she had any of the depression and it wasn't until 4 months after the birth did we even "notice" that the sex life was gone.

Next comes the twist for which I regret to this day. She had stated that she wouldn't have sex because she got nothing out of it; however, she understood that there was another side to the equation and had stated that I could seek it out elsewhere, if I needed it. After waiting another month of nothing (2 years of nothing in a 10 year marriage), I thought that I had been given permission (Aspergers syndrome sufferers take things literally) (in hindsight it was the feeling of reciprocation that I was seeking, not the sex).

We have gone to counseling and I have given it a lot of thought about what I did and while I thought I was justified at the time; I realize that what some people say and what they mean are two different things, I know I have broken that trust.

But what am I to do when she and her family sees my action as being so much worse than her withholding sex from a marriage and not sharing in the duties and responsibilities of being a parent or spouse? A marriage is supposed to be the sharing of lives; not being an only parent with yet another child of which to care.

For the sake of the two children, I don't want to split a marriage that might get better and go back to normal with a little counseling or effort being directed; but I don't want to be chasing a pipe dream and subjecting my children to what could be a very disturbing path of despair. What I do toward me is my own choice, but I have to make the choice of my children too.

Every time I go to counseling, the counselor appears to agree with my points of view and asks her a lot of things, but she seems incapable at this point to take any actions needed.

And to top it off, my mother just passed away 2 months ago and I only have work friends to confide in (Asperger's sufferers don't make friends easily because of social immaturity). I'm very intelligent and my own logic has me in a deadlock. Emotions are hard to rise above logic with my condition and usually I get frustrated almost to the point of anger or a feeling of helplessness/loneliness than any other emotion. Everything that I can see from other posts is that I am a possible emotionally abused husband who cannot find good logic to leave or do the right thing to save this marriage.

Every time I want to take action and start moving in the right direction (changing the balance of housework, duties, balance of love and compassion, etc.), I am told that it isn't the right time to bring these things up.

If anyone knows of approaches or things that can be brought up in counseling that has helped, please share. I would like to know more than just a "get out" or "you should stick it out, it gets better". I need to have a little explanation to understand the statement.

Help me please?!
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One of the things that seems to be going on is that (in different ways) neither you nor your wife are really taking responsibility for what is going on. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness first. It's your life and at the very least think of the example you are setting your children by allowing this situation.
Yes you are being emotionally abused - but you are also allowing yourself to be. How about sitting down and thinking about how you really would want your life to be - and then start taking some positive action to creating it. And although it may create WW3 with your wife, don't let her knock you off track. It may mean leaving, and it will probably mean turmoil for a while - but by knowing what you need and want to be happy and going after it at least there will be happiness at the end of it.
Be strong for the sake of your children and so that you can say on your deathbed - "I did with my life what I would want my children to do: I followed my dreams, despite the obstacles."
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