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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
:crying: My husband and I plan a trial separation of three months, starting later this month. I will be the one moving out (some details in my profile). Originally, I was raging and suggested trial separation in anger, "Who is going to move out?" But after long convoluted discussion, he took it literally and was looking for apartments on craigslist! I begged him not to leave me, twice in the next few days. I didn't want to be here alone. Ultimately, we agreed on a timeframe and to attempt to co-exist here until then. It's been hard. I was raging because we were supposed to work on our relationship using a book I liked (or any other resources of his choosing) and the book just "made him mad" and we never got to the exercises. He's very angry and hurt.

I'm going to leave a lot of my stuff here. Nothing is terribly valuable, but I still think I should put some in a storage locker. The lease is still in both our names, as is the internet he'll be using. I have never had a reason not to trust him in the least. Just lately because he's angry, I fear that new things may develop.

One odd thing was he went into my desk for his papers, took them out of the bag I had gathered up to take in case of fire. He didn't tell me he was going into my things, even though he'd flip if I went into his. His mother used to mess with his stuff, so it's a sensitive area. So it feels very odd that he didn't tell me he was going in to get his stuff, and I just find this out 2 weeks later when I was preparing my papers and thought to give his to him. They were gone. He thought I might do something vindictive: he's afraid of my anger in this situation, too.

But in fact, he exaggerates. He's ridiculously over-reactive. I think his deeper trauma has been triggered (from before we met) and there's projection. Sure, I have a temper and am frequently irritable. I tried and didn't fix that, but I also didn't get a clear indication from him that, "Hey, there's a problem. How can we solve it." He just left me to fail at it, and his resentment grew. My pain is the lack of communication and working together. When did that really start? Was it always there? See, he's younger and I always gave him a break for his lack of maturity, assuming he'd grow. I always wanted us to be equals, but now he says I dominated him and he is a victim. Oh, boy. I hate this.

So should we put the trial sep terms in writing - just in an email? Or with a lawyer, or what do you all think? He's the one and only love of my life and I can't quite believe he wouldn't forgive me and want me, but he's saying our chances of reconciliation are slim. (See my bio page for brief overview.) But he is generous to me with money for my counselling and everyday material things like picking up my favourite tea he doesn't drink, we cooperate with chores, he wishes me well in my healing, says it's important to him, says he'll miss me during the separation, he worries if I arrive home late, he says he likes me and admires me and even wrote me a note yesterday that, "I really hope we will always at least be friends." It's so confusing.

I know he needs time to heal and grow. That's what the separation is about. I do, too, because I have unresolved trauma myself. The difference is that when this ultimate blowout happened on Sept 17th, I went straight to counselling the next day. He said, "I will do my utmost to forgive you," but after 10 days he said he thinks we're done and we need the trial sep. Later he came to my counselling to support me (always refused counselling together, ever) and he revealed what was happening with that "doing the utmost." Actually all that happened was he recalled more and more hurts, rewriting our relationship as I see it, things I thought were long forgiven. His hurt is coming out. And he's crossing his arms and glaring at me like Eminem. It's almost laughable when I write that, but I am in no sense laughing here.

Oh, and he unilaterally ended our sex life about a year ago. He criticized me, 20 years older, for not having his level of sexual excitement. He's not even 30, okay? Peak of his sexuality. He wasn't frustrated in the past, but things changed. I didn't feel accepted for my sexuality. Like it wasn't good enough for him. Oh, he got turned on by me, but I didn't get excited enough - hey, I'm not going to fake it! I enjoy touch, contact, and acceptance, and the excitement is just fine when it happens, too. But it doesn't always go extremely high. Just a reason to reject me, I think.

Have I said enough or too much? What are our chances? Oh, and he agreed when I asked on different occasions that the "best case scenario would be that we grow and come back together to rebuild." We both think we are on the autism spectrum, btw.
 

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It makes me sad to read how you are being treated.
I don't see why you would want to stay with someone like the one you describe.
Your chances for anything positive sound very poor, since he doesn't even admit that he is causing any of the problems between you.
You can't be friends with someone who is abusing you, and that's exactly what he is doing to you.
I understand what you are saying about not wanting to be alone, but it doesn't sound like he is a partner in any real sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your chances for anything positive sound very poor, since he doesn't even admit that he is causing any of the problems between you.
You can't be friends with someone who is abusing you, and that's exactly what he is doing to you.
Not wanting to be alone? I enjoy being alone, but I don't want this apartment. He works near here. I work from home, wherever that may be. I want to share all the good things we have had - outdoors, intellectual stuff, creative play, supporting each other in most respects, and more.

What do you mean by abuse, in particular? I would really like to know more about how you see it. I see that he's spraying his anger - just as I did. Doesn't make it right, but it's understandable. Perhaps when he calms down he will see. He often does admit he has done something nasty, just that right now he seems to be in a transition - but where to, I am not sure. Right now he is focused on blaming me. Trauma doesn't heal quickly, and probably not in 3 months.

I indeed don't want to be treated as it has been the past months. If he doesn't grow up and heal emotionally and be willing to face things, I don't want him either. Hence my frequent ranting about divorce in the past. Things needed to be fixed. Didn't see it coming to a separation, though.

Thanks so much for your reply.
 

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What I see as abuse in your story:

Calling himself a victim and you an abuser.
Rewriting your relationship history to make you the bad person in everything.
Unilaterally ending your sex life.
When you tried to improve your relationship by reading a book (or a resource he prefers), it "just made him mad".

As for thinking you didn't want to be alone, that's how I interpreted this: "I begged him not to leave me, twice in the next few days. I didn't want to be here alone."
But I see you just meant you didn't want to be where you are alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What I see as abuse in your story:

Calling himself a victim and you an abuser.
Rewriting your relationship history to make you the bad person in everything.
Unilaterally ending your sex life.
When you tried to improve your relationship by reading a book (or a resource he prefers), it "just made him mad".
He didn't use the word "victim" but that's how I characterize his attitude. He's had this neurosis of "I can't do anything right, in your eyes" that has gotten in the way of dealing with actual stuff. I thought this was just his weak point that he needs to work on, and I feel like a broken record having reminded this of him over the years. Clearly I was like a big sister mothering him in many ways. Before we became a couple, he sometimes considered me like a sister that he would have had if his mum hadn't had the miscarriage.

I feel like we are twins and soulmates, so I am willing to take time, but it hurts like hell. He has little insight and used to admire mine a lot, until it shined on his own darkness too brightly, I guess. Guess my little hubby's growing up and I have no idea where this goes.

I always sort of thought of abuse as intentional. I see his behaviour as weak points. Not saying my way is the only way, but it's what I see right now. The sex life thing, again, I wouldn't say abuse just WRONG in general, and not partner-like. But I thought it would be overcome in time as his libido would decrease and insight increase. Playing the long game here. Or just playing the fool?

I appreciate your responses.
 

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I'm not sure abuse has to be intentional, but if so, then call it neglect. It still doesn't sound like much of a basis for a relationship.

As for his growing up, I don't see any evidence for that in your description of him, but maybe I'm just missing it. How would you say he has changed for the better?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't know much about abuse, so my definition is personal. I've always been an angry ranter, and raised by one, and had poor control of yelling, swearing, and name-calling, but no physical violence. But people do find it abusive. I have really been working on the anger and have made some progress, but of course you don't become a new person in 3 weeks either.

Growing up, yes, what evidence is there? Well, basically in every way but emotionally. Physically, intellectually, health-wise and with self-discipline, being more responsible about things, more confident. And now, because he's teaching university as his first job out of his master's, his ego got huge and he's finally asserting himself and making some friends in his research group that he started. Last month he announced he "doesn't need me but still wants me." Disconcerting. But definitely growth and change, again without the emotional maturity I was hoping for. At least so far.

Death by a thousand cuts?
 

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If you are going to separate then separate. Do it right. Limit contact in a way you can both figure out what the future may be.

Obviously ranting will ultimately drive most away. Maybe why he seems to be pushing you out.

I don't see separation as a means of fixing things. If you can't work together through your problems then........
 

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Well, since he is making progress on many fronts, that sounds considerably better, but he will still need to want to make the effort to improve your relationship.
Have you tried marital counseling, not just individual counseling for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, since he is making progress on many fronts, that sounds considerably better, but he will still need to want to make the effort to improve your relationship.
Have you tried marital counseling, not just individual counseling for you?
Yes, I agree with you he will have to make the effort. I think he has to heal himself more than a bit, first, as do I. Our goal for the separation, so we can work on ourselves unentangled.

But he refused counselling together over the past two years and this week as well. I don't think he is going to get counselling for himself either, so I have my doubts how well his weird mind is going to be able to heal on his own. I have fears. But I at least will continue to work hard on myself. I am a trooper, and everyone knows that -- or is it trouper. You know what I mean. I try hard. At least I will try to get a life, and when we rejoin to see what comes of it, I guess we'll have to see.
 

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He seems content with who he is, if he's not interested in counselling. I suspect he hopes that the separation and your counselling will change YOU so that HE doesn't have to change.

That's a pretty selfish attitude, and one that won't sustain a healthy marriage.

I consider a separation is always step one on the road to divorce. I don't believe there is anything a separation can do to fix a troubled marriage. To heal a marriage, you need to both be present, and working on the marriage as a team. You can't do that separated, and you can't do it if only one person is willing to do the work.

I think you nailed it when you said he thinks of you as a big sister. It would explain the end of the sexual relationship, also. He no longer wants you as a live-in partner; he wants to have you as a family friend type person, while he pursues romance elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
>I don't believe there is anything a separation can do to fix a troubled marriage. To heal a marriage, you need to both be present, and working on the marriage as a team.

Yeah, I'm clear that he wants to work on his own pain and healing during this time. The only benefit to my absence I see is that the other stuff that is there besides his hurt/anger at me will also come out, and I won't be there to blame it on. Then he wants to get back together and rebuild what we can, definitely at least friendship and ideally that we could be partners, he agrees, but he's not stressing that. I stress that, and he agrees. I don't like this approach, and in fact I feel compelled to address counselling with him again, even though he doesn't want to hear about it. Some of "the 180" does not resonate with me. To me, he's not thinking straight, but at this point he doesn't want me as a big sister. That was the past. He won't even let me give him a hug now, though sometimes he'll give me one. I feel his deep trauma is coming out, and not all of it has to do with me being an angry person, but he does focus his blame on me right now.

I have my own explanation of the sexual ending, and it's not because he wants to pursue elsewhere, though from the outside of course that looks like the obvious thing. Of course I'm afraid of that happening, even though he says that's not the intention, we are still married, and we won't be getting involved with other people during the break. I can sure imagine, "Sorry, it just happened one night," though. I'm sad. I hate this separation plan, and I want to fight it.

Thanks for reply. He does seem (too) content with who he is and has now started to blame me for my faults and minimize the good things we had.
 

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I hate Separation because it only makes things worse. If couple wants to work on their Marriage then they should stay together talk to each other.

Dont look at your problems in age difference. For me it is a beautiful thing because I am to with a lady who is slightly "older" then me :) and stop having excuses for him. Sure you made mistakes,but he made them too.

You said he got some trauma problems,well I survived a war here on Balkan (EU) and lost a lot of my family. Your husband is only making excuses and he needs to grow up,he is 30 or something.


Stay strong and dont go into depression.
 

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With extremely rare exception, the primary purpose of a "trial separation" is really nothing more than creating an opportunity for one of the effected parties, more especially the wayward spouse, to be able to cheat, all without the knowledge or the physical presence of the the betrayed partner!

It's really just the preeminent nature of the beast!
 

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You're a mother figure to him, which is not sexy. You also sound like you're competing with him to be the dominant one in the marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Some of the decisions you have made are leaving you quite vulnerable. If the marriage fails he could very well become your worst enemy.
Could you elaborate? I'd like to understand.

Keep in mind his first thought was to leave me here, but I don't want this apartment on my own. I do feel abandoned, but that's been going on over the past year or so. That's what hurts.
 

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He had access to all your important papers, and you're leaving him with the apartment and many of your personal possessions even though both of your names are on the lease. You continue to trust him even though you may very well be on the verge of divorce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
He had access to all your important papers, and you're leaving him with the apartment and many of your personal possessions even though both of your names are on the lease. You continue to trust him even though you may very well be on the verge of divorce.
Not really all of my important papers. Actually a lot of it was stuff he wouldn't care about like mementos about my old pets and family photos. Our ID and chequebooks. And I should have had my financial papers in there, but they weren't there, oddly enough. Because I guess those can be accessed online.

Anything important is coming with me, and I have already reserved a storage unit in case I want to store a bunch more stuff for three months. Nothing we have is valuable, and I'm taking my computer with me for employment purposes. We are not possession-heavy people. It's just not our lives. But I can see how it would be in more typical cases.

About the lease, well, we'll be talking to the landlord so he knows I'm away and has the contact info, and I'm going to ask a lawyer about formalizing our separation agreement beyond just exchanging emails. Does all this make sense?
 
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