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Hello everyone,

I am new to these forums and don't know who else to turn to. I hope that there is someone who can shed some light on this.

My wife and I have been together for 8 years (no kids). Got well really well, and we love each other still, I think. Of course, there were some issues, but I considered myself to be very happy.

Then, my wife about 3 weeks ago (after a rather trivial incident) seemingly got to the realization that she was actually very unhappy for the last 2 years, and that she was hiding it from herself. I actually buy that, there were some things that I did not understand but it is now obvious that she was running away from herself and her feelings.

The primary issue was our loss of emotional connection, and me (besides being very loving, caring, and affectionate) being a really crappy communicator.

Initially, I was quite upset but then decided to look at it as an opportunity to improve our marriage, and was looking forward to marital therapy.


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However, my wife's reaction to her realization was to decompensate utterly and completely. She has lost over 10 pounds in the last few weeks, she hardly eats, she cries all the time, and she feels dizzy from starvation and exhaustion at work, and even while driving! She now looks positively skeletal, and I am really worried about her.

You should know that she has generalized anxiety, and had a few episodes of depression, but those were strictly situational.
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So, during our FIRST marital therapy session today, she tells me that we have to separate!! Reason being that every time she looks at me she has such guilt ("for starting all this", "for hurting me") that she cannot bear it, and it contributes to the downward spiral. She believes this very strongly, and that things have gone too far for her to just "ride it out".

Her therapist was very worried, and told her that given the extremity of her current emotional state, a drastic change such as separation may help to "reset" her, so she can start functioning again (and possibly working on the marriage).

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So, trial separation as a first step in solving a marriage issue I did not know exists until 2 weeks ago.

Although her extreme distress is obvious (I've never seen her like this in 8 years), and I understand the rational arguments, I can't help but feel really really mad at her. In my mind, a trial separation is a last resort, and we are very far away from that. We like hanging out together, we communicate well, and we do not fight very often. As I see it, she is running away from her (extreme) anxiety and guilt by running away from me, as my presence seems to trigger them. And I have really done nothing to deserve that. I also feel that "normal" people can control their emotions enough to turn towards their partners in the time of crisis, rather than to let be carried away with their anxiety. I cannot have a partner that will bolt in panic when we hit a snag, because they cannot handle their own stuff. In a sense, I feel like I deserve better than this.

I feel really betrayed by her. How do I get over this anger and hurt, and do something constructive for our marriage? And am I wrong in feeling like this?
 

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You have asked for input, so here it is unfiltered:

Separating as a means of fixing issues in your relationship, usually does not work. You can't address communication problems if you aren't together and communicating.

Your circumstances are not unique. The other common factor in wanting to separate is almost always (I'm qualifying that statement) is that one of the partners is contemplating or is having an affair. The separation is a ruse.

Keep it in mind. If you insist on wanting to work on the relationship, and she insists on moving out - another relationship is likely.

Although, similar to your case, I can tell you that my 'presence', and our history were direct triggers to her behavior. When faced with fight or flight, she fled - away from me and our marriage and into perceived better circumstances with someone else. Decide if you want to go on chasing someone whose relationship barometer is flawed (depression, anxiety) or if you want someone that is healthy and will choose to fight for the relationship.

Plan accordingly.
 

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I agree with Deejo in that you really need to look at situation. MY situation was similiar to yours with a few twists, but when push came to shove...I learned there was another man. She doesn't want to see you to avoid all the guilt she is feeling, whether it is an affair or guilt for just asking for a seperation. Either way that is her issue not yours, she needs to own it asking you to leave is you owning it, give her space in the house, relationship, but don't leave. I think leaving is the kiss of death.

CNB
 

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McBane,

I have to agree with Deejo and Bob that you shouldn't separate. Something else is going on with your wife and you should not take the blame on your shoulders.

Your wife sounds as if she needs more psychiatric/psychological care than a Social Worker or Marriage Therapist can provide and she probably needs sessions without your being present.

I know a number of Licensed Clinical Social Workers with MS degrees in SW. Out of 10, there's only 1 I would talk to, and she has training far closer to a Ph.D in Psychology than a MSW and is one of the brightest and most thoughtful people I know, and I know several truly world class minds.

I wouldn't see any of them if problems included rapid weight loss, constant crying, etc. Your wife's problems exceed the skills and training of counsellors,

Good luck, please let us know what happens.

Mark
 
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