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OK, I've been married for almost 5 years and I do love my wife. I was the happiest I had ever been when I married my wife, the wedding day was genuinely the happiest day of our lives. However, shortly after marriage (about 6 months in) I found my feelings start to change. It was like a switch went off in my head and I felt like I had to be something that I had trouble becoming, the sort of stress and pressure a person can put on themselves without any provocation. I felt like I had to be a provider, a carer, someone who was able to pay bills and maintain the house. I ended up distancing my wife from me, ended up making her feel like she had done something wrong (even though she hadn't and she's been nothing but loving) and gave her a complex about herself. There were times where I didn't pick up on any issues and when she did voice concerns, I buried my head in the sand and hoped they would work themselves out. Unforgivable behaviour on my part! :(

We moved into our own home 2 years ago but things didn't improve between us. We were also trying for a baby but the whole process ended up being "mechanical" which put me off. When we found we couldn't conceive naturally we went through the IVF route. The whole time she was having to inject herself and take medication, although I was there physically, it was like I wasn't there mentally. She felt even more alone and neglected as a result. We have had two miscarriages, the last one was very traumatic for us both, however she suffered a lot more than me and all I could do was wallow in my own misery instead of making sure she was feeling OK and attending to her wants and needs.

I've also been feeling very low, to the point where most days I wake up and do not want to interact with the outside world. I just want to lock myself away from everyone and everything, including my wife, because I feel that if I do so, I won't then be hurting people I love. I sometimes feel like I deserve to be locked away somewhere, away from people.

In addition to this, I've also said a few times that maybe we should go our separate ways, as it honestly feels like I'm doing more harm to her by staying when I feel this way. There have been intimacy issues between us and I have found that I do not get turned on by her as I used to. To be fair, I find I can't get turned on at all, whether that is down to my low mood or is caused by something medical I don't know. I have got an appointment with my Doctor coming up soon (the wife will be coming with me), so hopefully we'll get some answers.

We have been seeing a counsellor to try and address our issues (mainly mine, seeing as I've been pushing her away these last few years) but it's come to a point where she has lost faith in me and can't see why she should stay around any longer. I desperately want to return to the person I used to be, as I feel that this person can make her happy (this was the person that she fell in love with at the start, after all) and give her everything she needs but a small voice keeps saying "what if your feelings don't come back at all?" I don't want her to feel like the last few years have been wasted and that there is no future for us but I also don't want her to feel like she is being dragged into something she no longer feels she wants.

I honestly don't know what to do. :( :( :(
 

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Do you think that this is from your depression or do you believe that you're not in love with your wife? I've always thought that if you're having problems like this so early in the marriage, then that means that you didn't marry the right person. I'm not in love with my husband, but I love him and have NEVER doubted that regardless of the issues we have. The dynamics of marriage do change after the honeymoon period (some honeymoons last longer than others).

The communication is an issue because we both like to avoid confrontation. For me, communication is negativity and who wants to deal with that?! I learned this from my parents. It's gotten better, out of practice. I force myself to sit and listen.
 

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What you were feeling is not uncommon. Every sensible man who gets married feels overwhelmed by the responsibility. You chose to cope with it by emotionally bullying your wife. You owe her the rest of your life to make it up to her. Stop trying to turn this into a mental illness. Bottom line. YOU DIDN'T DO ENOUGH. YOU NEED TO TRY HARDER.

You can salvage this marriage. The bases are loaded and you're at the bat. This is not the time to think, "But what if I strike out?"

As for your wife, she's a big girl. If she wants to leave, she'll leave without your permission.
 

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It sounds like you are depressed and since you have an appointment with a doctor I won't say see a doctor. You may have a communication issue but you need to work on yourself and your depression first. Like the air hosts say first put the oxygen mask on yourself then assist others.


I was in a similar situation to yours. We had difficulties conceiving and the constant scheduled sex was a turnoff and I lost enthusiasm for it. I had given up things I used to do when I was single in order to support a family and my communication with my wife became toxic.

What I did was worked on myself. I started to lose weight and did long walks to help get back into shape. I picked up a hobby that I let slip and chiseled out time for it in my schedule. The exercise is a natural way to help combat depression if it's not too bad. I slowly became more of the person I was when I was single. I changed jobs to get into work I liked better. It took awhile but my depression went away.

Next I focused on dating my wife again and removing the toxic communication. First I had an issue where I was always assuming the worst with what she said or did. I made a conscious effort to change that and assume the best. I developed asking questions to figure out what she meant when I didn't understand. I did not become short or agitated when we disagreed. I became understanding of her point of view and would work to negotiate a solution that benefited us both.

I then started to date my wife again. I did all the things I used to do when we first dated. It took awhile for my wife to realized I was changing but she did notice and she changed in response. It took about a year and our marriage was much improved. I also considered what some of our problems were and I worked to address them. One was weekly scheduling. I set aside time for breakfast on the good china on the weekend and we set out the schedule for the weeks activities so that there were fewer misunderstandings.

This really helped my marriage and you can do something similar tailored to your specific issues.
 

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You're perfectly normal regarding the feelings that come with each added responsibility. It probably hits everyone differently though.

I remember that it really hit me when my first child was born. That's the biggest responsibility anyone will ever take on.

Take care of your depression before having any kids.
 

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TALK to your wife, express what you said here, that you felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Ask for her forgiveness AND then realize that you are not the only person in the marriage. Both of you are a TEAM.

And not to rain on your parade, but as another poster said, I too got hit with this feeling when I held my firstborn in my arms. WOW, could just feel the responsibility dropping onto my shoulders.

Instead of being overwhelmed, I am a stubborn SOB, and I from that day forward vowed to KICK the worlds azz in order to take care of my family. I felt a little bit of this when I got married, but kids will really give it to you.

I also go to church and pray a lot! Life will always try to overwhelm you, you need to figure out what is important and let all the other crap fall by the wayside.

ps - you may want to read the book No More Mr. Nice Guy. It may help you be more assertive. So when some schmuck tries to occupy your time, you can nicely tell them to get lost.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi everyone,

Just wanted to update you with what's going on and also maybe get some assistance on what I can do...

The wife and I have both been to see our local GP and discuss the issues we're having, specifically around the lack of intimacy and my loss of drive. The GP was very attentive and referred me to a local group that deal with mental illness. I've booked an appointment for this Friday to go over some profile questions to help determine the best course of action for me. The wife will have a follow-up with the GP early next week to discuss separately how she is feeling and what would be the best course of action for her. At the moment, she is very close to saying "sod it" and leaving. Can I blame her? Not really, considering that she's been so patient with me and committed to this relationship these past 4-5 years despite me being completely oblivious to her wants and needs, thus making her feel neglected. I've been trying to make amends (4 years too late, I admit) but to her, it feels like a case of "too little, too late". She also feels like no one listens to what she wants, or even cares about what she wants. I've asked her on a number of occassions whether she feels like we can work and she says at the moment she doesn't think we will. :(

I'm making more of an effort to speak up, let her know what's on my mind rather than staying closed (even though at times that's all I want to do, which is wrong but it's so ingrained in me, it's hard to snap out of it) and asking her how she's feeling. I want her to be the happy, bubbly person she used to be near the start of our relationship, as do I. The thought of not being with her and not having those things we talked about (kids, a happy future) breaks my heart but it also seems like, no matter how hard I try, I still get it wrong and upset/anger her.

In terms of my mental health, there have been times where I've had dark thoughts and I've even (not really proud to say this) taken a kitchen knife and pressed it against my wrist a few times. It honestly shames me to write that down as I never thought I would do something like that but yet, here I am...and I've had the over-riding feeling that I should be locked away from everyone so that I can't cause anyone harm in any way. I admitted this much to my wife when she asked how I was feeling a while ago and when she heard that, she scolded me for being completely selfish. I guess that is true, as I'm not thinking about how others will feel if I did something like that but when my brain keeps telling me that I'm not worthy enough to be around people and that I only bring them misery...

Apologies if this comes across a bit rambly but this is the stuff going through my head right now. I can't keep going on upsetting and hurting my wife, the one person who has stuck by me and looked out for my well-being for so long and gave me so much self-confidence at the start of our relationship. She deserves the best version of me, the person that she fell in love with all those years ago. I owe it to her to be that person again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What was your relationship like with your father?
It was quite a bit distant, really. He would be out working, so I was around my mother a lot more. He used to frighten me quite a bit when I was a kid, if I was acting up he would boom out to stop it and I would literally stop dead in my tracks. We have a better relationship these days, though.
 

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Make sure you discuss your dad when you make it into therapy. Are you exercising? Aside from antidepressants, that's the best way to reduce depression. Take the family out on walks, go bike riding, do something active, go on picnics. That will also help rebuild a bond with your wife.
 

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Update:

So the wife and I went to the Doctor for follow-up appointments today. We were seen individually rather than together, which I think helped me open up a little more about things. I told him that I had an assessment on Friday about my mental state with a mental health organisation, who gave me access to some resources (websites, phone numbers) that I could use in the interim. I'm waiting for a follow-up from them this week about the next steps in terms of treatments and so on.

I told the doc that the wife and I spoke over the weekend and, after some crying (mainly on my part), I told my wife that the over-riding feeling I have is that my feelings only extend as far as friendship for her. I can't find any sexual feelings for her inside of me, though I do know that I love her and care about her very much. Whether this is brought on by my current low mood or not, I can't say for certain and even the doctor said that rather than making a decision based on an irrational mind, it's best to take time to get myself healthy mentally and re-assess. The last thing he wants for us is that we decide to part only to find a few months down the road that it was a massive mistake. I agree with this, however I can't help but continue to have thoughts that if my sexual feelings never return, then my wife would have only wasted time with me which could have been spent moving on with her life.

I was prescribed Citalopram by the doctor and have started to take them. He will review my progress in a fortnight to see if there has been any improvement in my state. Both the wife and I are starting to think more about ourselves, in the sense that we are trying to do stuff that makes us happy, such as attending gym, classes, etc. Maybe if we can both find happiness within ourselves we'll be in a better position to make each other happy and rekindle our relationship. Or, we could end up parting ways. How do I stop fixating on the "what if"'s and just concentrate on the here and now? Both scenarios make me incredibly upset, as both versions just end up hurting my wife (she'll either risk being in a LTR with someone who'll always end up not showing the affection she needs/wants, or she'll be divorced a second time and risk being disowned by her family) when she does not deserve that at all. :(

Also, has anyone had any experience with Citalopram? Like most anti-depressants there's a laundry list of possible side-effects but what have been the ones that people have experienced, if any?
 

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I was prescribed Citalopram by the doctor and have started to take them. He will review my progress in a fortnight to see if there has been any improvement in my state. Both the wife and I are starting to think more about ourselves, in the sense that we are trying to do stuff that makes us happy, such as attending gym, classes, etc. Maybe if we can both find happiness within ourselves we'll be in a better position to make each other happy and rekindle our relationship. Or, we could end up parting ways. How do I stop fixating on the "what if"'s and just concentrate on the here and now? Both scenarios make me incredibly upset, as both versions just end up hurting my wife (she'll either risk being in a LTR with someone who'll always end up not showing the affection she needs/wants, or she'll be divorced a second time and risk being disowned by her family) when she does not deserve that at all. :(

Also, has anyone had any experience with Citalopram? Like most anti-depressants there's a laundry list of possible side-effects but what have been the ones that people have experienced, if any?
That's great that you are both working things that make you both happy. However two weeks is a very short period to see a real change in my opinion even with the help of Citalopram. I can't give you any advice on the drug or it's side effects. Assuming it helps make you more receptive to resetting neural connections in two weeks, what you are aiming for is to replace your current feelings with the ones you had when you married and unless I'm mistaking it took more than two weeks to build up the those feelings in the first place. But you are headed in the right direction and the new experiencs you have will slowly reset your feelings for your wife.
 
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