I admit that I've been reading these forums for months now but only recently felt empowered (or possibly desperate) enough to sign up and voice my thoughts and feelings. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, ADD and Fibro. My husband has been diagnosed with ADHD. This is a bit of a long story and I apologize in advanced if it seems a little disorganized. I feel a bit overwhelmed and that tends to affect my thought process. I can't really decide what is relevant info so I just shared all of it.
Before we met:
I had gotten my BA and started my first real job in 2008.. bought my house in 2009 and then got laid off in 2010...joy..it almost got me down but I had time and unlimited optimism ..So I took up volunteering and fostering dogs with my spare time. I was unemployed for about a year because my state was in a slump of mass layoffs...but I'd never have found my passion for rescue if I hadn't so its still la win in my book!
To start, both of us were undiagnosed when we met. I was on Adderall for ADD, that was it. I had a very difficult upbringing which lead to the diagnoses of ptsd. I'll spared you the details but say that it ran the course or abusive ex boyfriends, indecisiveness, and the inability to have a sense of "self". I had learned a lot from my mistakes and had become much stronger and more self aware by the time I met my husband at the age of 30. My husband had a crumby but not overly traumatic upbringing. Mostly he was left to his own and wasn't expected to do much in the way of self care or responsibility. I met him when he was living on his own and working full time. He had an associates degree and plans to work his way into law school.
When we met:
We met on an online dating service. We were both pretty fed up with "dud" dates and decided that we were both pretty cool and bowling would be something to do for the heck of it. We met and talked all night. It was exciting and fun and we had a blast. Two week later he got down on one knee and asked me (with a rose in hand) if I would be his girlfriend. ::cue audience track "awwwww":: It was sweet and we super into each other. Fast forward 6 months, and we were engaged. Yes, it was fast. Here is where we split off a bit... My husband had only been in one other real relationship. It lasted 2 years and was long distance.. I had been in a few relationships, each lasting about 2 years at least and one lasting 6 years. When I met my husband I had reach a point where I felt that chemistry was something that would grow over time and shouldn't be sought after right away...because I always went for what the intense emotions versus the compatibility. When I met my husband, I felt we had compatibility. He wanted to become a lawyer I wanted to further my education online while working fulltime. He wanted someone he could connect with who would support him while he went to law school and build a life together.
6 months later:
Short version, we got married, I went to school for an EMT cert and became a fulltime emt.. he worked as a waiter and started classes to finish is bachelors... We saw a psychologist together...he got on Adderall and she put us both on prozac...and then things started to go so sh--... Little things that stuck with me during this time period was when I asked him, " So have you told your friends about me?" He replied with, " Yes, I told them you weren't winning any beauty contests.." 3 years later he tells me that it was a compliment that he didn't want a super model but a brilliant woman etc etc..I said " You should have started with that and left the contest comment out." I let so many things go over the years but that always stuck in my mind as a red flag I should have noticed.
Fast forward 6 more months:
I am not sure how much of this was the prozac, the ADD, or just poor relationship skills...but I will be as neutral as I can. We started to not talk as much, interact as much... Husband became obsessed with flash games (apparently he always had been but now it was becoming an escape from reality) He kept missing course work and failing classes...eventually he dropped out of school deciding he didn't want to do it anymore (for us) and do something else. I was working as an EMT on grave shift and it was wreaking havoc on my health and mind. I was having mood swings and getting sick a lot. I started to feel his withdrawal and would try to get his attention but he just didn't seem to notice me..One day I stood in front of him and started complaining that we needed to talk and without looking up from his computer screen said, "Your blood sugar is just low. Go eat sometimes." and dismissed me like I was never there. After a few months of this, I finally sat him down, made him turn the computer off and face me. I told him that the relationship was not working and we needed to change it or split up. He angrily told me that, "he was fine with things, the relationship was fine, and I am the one with the problem"....We split up for 5 days. He stayed with friends and we talked everyday and really didn't change much. I was devastated it happened and I just wanted to wake him up and hear me! He apologized, and I forgave and he moved back in.
About 6 months later:
Nothing got better. The affection was gone, sex seemed robotic and unsatisfying (and almost non existent). The pain in my body had gotten out of control (I was still not diagnosed with fibro) and a friend suggested I try something called " fire cupping". It's a Chinese healing thing.. some naturalism therapy that didn't involve needles. (So, I said no to acupunture but was desperate enough to let someone try fire cupping. Go fig.) I was nervous. I didn't like strangers and I definitely didn't like them touching me. My husband was sitting close by playing on his phone and at one point I asked him to come hold my hand. He said " hold on I'm reading something" and never looked up...and never came over. When it was done, I felt no different and was very upset. My shoulder muscles and been so tense the therapist couldn't even get a grib on them to work out the pain.. I felt so lost and upset.. i asked my husband to please come hold me/hug me and he still wouldn't put the damned phone down. I was in tears but then and the therapist.. The EFFFING THERAPIST put his arm around me for a gentle hug! I think that was about the time the depression mixed with the prozac started to get it's claws into me.
I started to stay away from home when possible. I got close emotionally to the men I worked with and found myself hugging and snuggling with one in particular. I say snuggling and I mean it. Just snuggles. but the emotional cheated was a thing that I was not aware of but was happening. I won't act like it was acceptable because I was depressed and feeling neglected. It wasn't ok and I did realize that shortly after I got off the prozac cold turkey...Here's why: I found myself in the shower, calmly putting my things in order. I was not sad, or upset or angry, I was at peace and relieved that it would all be over soon. I was planning my suicide. As a person educated in aid and having heard the stories of many people we have taken to mental care facilities..I recognized the act for what it was. If I hadn't been educated in this, I'd have never realized it, and continued until the plan was executed. I saw my psychiatrist and told her what happened..and she ignored me! She said " we will keep watch of that not send in your husband" without looking up from her notebook...Well, I dropped the prozac AND the shrink. The withdraw was not terrible but without the emotionless veil to numb things up, I got hit with all the depression, but also the wake up call. I dropped the "snuggle buddy". Turns out he had a thing for stealing away married women.. He didn't take kindly to my rejection but it had to be done. I am not cheater and I was not someone guys "conquest". I told my husband about it and he shrugged and said, " I'm not worried, I know your not going any where." I realize that I should take that as a "I trust you" compliment..but it felt more like a "you can't leave".
My husband dropped the prozac too and we began to wake up from that haze. It felt like things had gotten better, but it was more like a short reprieve...I had contacted Mono and was sick for 3 months. It sucked. Husband was as helpful as he could be and I appreciated his willingness to help out a little. We still didn't interact much but then again, I had mono. lol. When I finally got over it, I was really excited to be healthy and get back to work. My first day back and wouldn't ya know it? I got into my first accident. It was a fender bender..but the tine Jetta bumper was no match for my ambulance. No one was hurt and no one was mad cause it was an easy mistake. but the damage to the Jetta was over $5,000 so by default I had to be let go. I handled the news well-ish. My husband was just as supportive. He came up with the idea that I should stay home and try to build up my skills to find a better paying job so when we went to law school ( he hadn't given up yet) I could keep us afloat. It was a " you build now and will work and then we will switch" plan. Good plan if it had stuck I guess.
We are now 2.5 years into our marriage...
The depression of being jobless and unable to focus and feeling like a failure was eating me alive. If you caught on from the beginning of this long post. I have always prided myself on my optimism and independence. I did not have either of those at this time and I had begun to lose all sense of self. It was bad and it just kept getting worse. My husband started working with his union and went to California (we live on the East Coast) to learn about Boycotting and union activism. When he came back he had informed me that he was not going back to school. Dropping the law-school idea and going to volunteer with the union in hopes to someday get a job with them. I was a bit shocked that he had decided all of this one) after one trip and two) without me having a vote. I mentioned it to him and he asked me if I minded...I didn't...Honestly, I didn't have much mind left in me to spare so without fault in him, I just starter to shut down. There were a few other things that happened which can all be summed up to "demoralizing and disrespectful." This post is already too long but witness have informed me that I am correct in my choice of descriptive words.
Three and a Half Months Ago: (3 years married)
I'm not sure why it took so long..but I finally saw a new therapist,... A real Therapist and separate psychologist..and at the same time, my joint specialist referred me to a rheumatologist. Within a month I was diagnosed with PTSD, Fibro and the already diagnosed of ADD. The Rheumatologist helped me sleep well for the first time in my life and get a better grip on my pain. (Fabulous Heavenly Sleep!!!), and since we now knew I needed a depressant AND I had fibro.. the Psychologist had my try Cymbalta....and let me tell you..something...Adderall and Cymbalta boost each other. So, we started with low doses and felt an immediate energy, mood, and overall emotional balance. It was glorious! Within a couple months I was back baby! Less pain, good sleep, in control of my mind and the steady rise of my confidence just kept on going up. The biggest turn was I no longer fought with suicidal thoughts, I stopped feeling hopeless and worthless.. I spent my first few weeks learning what healthy non-oppressive emotions were like.. and learning about self care and .. I am not sure what it is called but it was like learning that I deserved respect and to stand up for myself and genuinely mean it. (I know that sounds weird..I mentioned coming a long way earlier, :P )
With this awakening..I realized that my husband was really happy to see "the woman he married returned to him"... but I also learned that he wasn't seeing the therapist with me. When I asked him why he hadn't made an appointment he said, "he was find and I was broken"... excuse me?? He then lied and said the therapist said he didn't need to come in. I asked the therapist and she had him come in at the end of my appointment and told him we needed couples counseling and he needed to see her separated. He started to tell her how he felt he could handle his own issues, and then he switched to "we don't have the time"..I of course said " is this relationship worth some time?" which he caved them. So, we both started seeing her.
A month ago:
I can only really tell you what my side is and I will do my best to be fair. When my mental and physical health became balanced, my ambition and optimism came back full force. I have been powering through resumes, going to ever educational , unemployment assistance meetings and networking options that I can get my hands on. I am confident that I will be working soon and regain my independence and knowing that I am doing everything in my power to do so gives me a sense of completeness. I am doing all in my power and that is enough. Sadly, my attraction to my husband did not return.. and I started to wonder why.. for women (in my experience) sexual attraction is effected my emotional connections, trust, feeling respected or desired...and I realized that I felt none of these things for my husband. He is my best friend, my partner and my companion...but at this point, only in title not in action.
I tried to talk to him about it one evening..I started with, " I am starting to think I get why I am not feeling an attraction to you-" he cut me off and said, " We just need to find the write pill for you." ... other words followed.. like "fix" and I just stood up and realized that he was once again being dismissive, demoralizing and I did not deserve-NO ONE deserves to be spoken to in such a way. I turned to him and said, " There is not a pill on this earth that is going to MAKE me want to sleep with you." (Yes. I know..tasteless..but I was exercising my newly found anger and that was the best I could manage..) He just looked past me..got a smug look on his face and said, " I know how to fix this.. we just need to see the Therapist."...??? I walked away. I just didn't trust my mouth and truly felt that the therapist needed to be a mediator.
I once again will say for the record that my husband is on Adderall for ADD. He takes it regularly and says it helps.
At this point, I was ready for a divorce. I didn't know how to reach him since words didn't work. So, I got symbolic. I stopped wearing my ring, stopped saying I love you and stopped fighting my instincts that didn't like his touch. He onces kissed my on the neck and I flinched and said I didn't like it. It actually surprised me. I didn't realize I was that uncomfortable with him until it happened. I know it all sounds childish but I was working with what felt like a child. Two weeks later.. he noticed and asked me what was going on.. And I told him. He said he didn't blame me for wanted to leave but he needed to be %100 sure it was over...I was shocked...since I just said i was done...He still wasn't listening! I said, " Do you need me to punch you? Because I just said I wasn't happy here and I'm not going to be happy here..and even if this could be worked on, I don't think I want to.".. he just replayed his last statement," I need more proof"...
We saw the therapist the next day and I said the same things. She said she understand why I would want out but also its obvious we care for each other and talk as friends and are worried for each other's well being which means that if we wanted to work on it, there is a possibility to reconcile our differences. We talked a little.. I know my face had " no" all over it. The next day, my husband comes into the living room all upbeat apologizing for being distant all last evening but he was sure it was over yesterday and needed to shake off the vibe... I hadn't slept because I was really trying to convince myself that working on it was worth the pain...I looked at him like he had 3 heads and said, "Opposed to what?" He says, " We are going to work it out...right?"... I just stared at him and said " I haven't decided yet." Seriously! He decided that since the therapist said it was possible, it was going to happen...still not consulting me on things... The therapist also suggested a separation so we can start fresh but he apparently didn't like that part and left it out... He spent the next week brooding sitting down on the couch across from me and not saying anything.. just sitting quietly, brooding and then after a few minutes gets up and goes to bed...I decided not to mother him. When he was ready to face me as an adult to another adult in a respectful manner he would speak up. Well, he spoke up at least...A week later he sits down and asks to talk to me...wanting to know what my decision was..I said, " It took me 2.5 years to lead up to this point where I was ready to walk and you wanted me to change my mind in a couple days." I also mentioned the above stuff and how that was not ok either. He was clearly not use to confrontational and self respecting wife 2.0. He demanded an answer so I said, " If you need an answer today then the answer is, no. I don't want to work on this marriage. "
Then he got angry.. like shaking and teeth gritting angry. Once upon a time, that would have scared me. He knew that I had an abusive scary past and that I responded to is by freezing in fear..but that was wife 1.0. This time around I crossed my arms and told him to get it out of his system, I could wait.. He went off about how you don't give up on a marriage and some thing about we made a vowel.. it was a little hard to hear cause he was gritting his teeth. I understand that he was angry and I expected him to be. He said that separating would mean a divorce for him..So, I gave him an ultimatum. We separate and work on the marriage (but I was clear that it probably won't work with his current attitude), and two, we separate and divorce immediately. One way or another, staying in the same routine was not an option. He agreed with the first option.
The now now:
Next therapy appointment is next week. I know the above is very neutral but I am very torn about all of this. I do love him and care about him and I am crushed by the displays of disrespect and lack of attention to the marriage. We haven't split up yet, obviously, because I'm still unemployed and he can't afford to move out and cover the bills here. We are peaceful and friendly..but the routine of this place makes it easy for him to forget there was an issue. And it's hard to get use to change when change hasn't occurred. And we can love each other till the sun expires but I don't trust him with my privacy ( he has a flapping lip problem), I don't feel cherished or desired...I'd just once like to get a "wow" instead of a "your eyes are baggy despite your make up," or some other cold critique. I once looked at my future in misery trying to tell myself to just shut up and settle, this is familiar and the best you can hope to get." Now there is a light at the end of that pain...sadly, it's called divorce. And still, I keep trying to tell myself that there could be a work around. Can I accept that he has a problem with stepping out of his head and remember that there is someone else in this relationship? I remind myself that he was with me when I was in a dark place and it's messed up for me to leave now. I think, maybe someday the idea of having his kids will be appealing instead of what it is now, " a trap springing on me" (Note: We don't have any kids. I love kids, but the idea of having them with my husband causes all kinds of alarms to go off in my head.) My husband once told me that he wanted marriage to be easy. He needed to find the right person to marry, to complete him before he could progress in life. But marriage isn't easy. It's takes two...and I just don't think I can take another conversation where he agrees that we are both broken but only I need "fixing"...
FYI..Despite the heart ache and marriage issues I am having.. I'm still really happy with who I am now, the balance and upbeat person I see in the mirror each morning makes me hopeful. I love who I am and know that I can and will be ok.
Hey! If you made it to the bottom, Thanks! :)