Trying to be strong but my wife is leaving

My wife told me three weeks ago in therapy she wants a separation. I was shocked as earlier at dinner she was planning out Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews we would be visiting this Christmas.

I am trying to be strong and we have worked out the rules for our separation. We will go to couples therapy and individual therapy. I am moving out to an apartment and we will have weekly "dates." The problem is that she wants to date other people because of her lack of "experience". I am the only person she has ever been with and because of her weight before me, she was too insecure to have intimate relationships with other people. 

Part of our problem is that we have a "Parent-Child Transactional relationship" based on my childhood trauma, depression and ADHD. Because of this when I get upset or stressed, I shut down and start lacking in my responsibilities at home. This causes my wife to stress because she takes over the responsibilities. I have been in therapy to address this and it was in this therapy she broke the news to me.

Last night in our first couples therapy she reveled that there was someone she had met months ago that she might consider dating now but did not pursue because we were working on things. I have loved and cared for her for nearly six years and even now, she is the only one I want. It kills me to think of her with anyone else but I understand that I haven't been the best to her because of my issues. I want her to be happy because I love her but I can't help to think that she will find someone better than me and any hope will be lost.

I have never met anyone like her and we compliment each other. She tells me that love and romance were never the issue with us, it was my shutting down and letting stuff in the house go.
I am being strong and respecting her space and moving out soon but I am afraid that she is separating with me not to work on our own self improvement but to make the end of our marriage easier for her. 

I don't know any help or advice is welcomed. I know I have to be patient but right now, I feel like I am in Bizzaro world.

I am the "non" wife of a man

I am the "non" wife of a man who has ADHD, depression, and anxiety.  We are currently physically separated.  I would be upset if he were dating other people at a time when we were still married (i.e., not either legally separated or divorced).  I think you should talk to your wife about the ground rules for the time you're living apart and still married.  I personally don't think it's appropriate for people to date at such a time.

Re:I am the "non" wife of a man

I asked for a two month grace period during the separation to see how things were going but the agreement was that we would not talk about dating others. I honestly have no desire to date anyone else. She views it as making sure I am the one she wants to be with because I was literally the only relationship she has ever had.  I think it is bollocks and a cheap way of playing the field while having a sure thing as a back up. However, she often says that in a perfect world we will work through this and be together. It is the "push-pull" thing my therapist often calls her out on.

If romance and love were not

If romance and love were not the problem with her as she says, is the reason for seeing people of the opposite sex basically to regather her sense of identity that may have been lost due to the lack of communication between the two of you?

When you shut down, it may have shown to her over the years she is not worth opening up to, or that you are blocking her from entering your space. My dh does it quite often when he does not want to discuss or confront. Those are the times when I feel very alone and desperate and entertain welcoming a stranger who will talk with me about deeper thoughts and values. Anything, to feel that I'm not worthless. However I feel pretty apathetic about the opposite sex, having yielded very little "soul-mating" all my adult life.

Your wife might desire to see if she is still an interesting person with plenty to say, powerful insights to offer, or even being remotely interesting to the opposite sex, or even same-gender individuals.

I think a lot of women (and men) always need that affirmation that they are liked by the opposite sex, and it doesn't always include sex or romance but receiving respect or admiration for their thoughts.

Just my 2 cents


Dating vs fulfilment

"in our first couples therapy she reveled that there was someone she had met months ago that she might consider dating now *but did not pursue because we were working on things*"  (my asterisks added)

According to the poster, she's not saying "I want to make new friends, get involved in new activities, try things out for myself to see if I'm valued by others" - she's actually saying she wants to date and furthermore she didn't pursue the other person previously because they were working on the marriage.  So what changed - is she now saying she is not working on the marriage?  Do dates imply romance and sex?  There are plenty of things she could do to see if she is valued by men - sign up for a car mechanics class for instance, or programming or plumbing (all these occupations obviously have women in them but the ratio is probably in favor of men), get a job behind a bar, join a theater group etc .... but she is specifically talking about wanting to *date* others while still "seeing" hubby and still going to "couples therapy".  Is she proposing to talk about the success/failure of her dates vs her date nights with her husband right there in her&husband's couples therapy sessions because they're bound to come up? Uh.

Edited to add: It's also noticeable that she first brought up the separation and the information about this other person in therapy sessions and appears not to have discussed these things with her husband previously. I could be wrong about that.  Either they don't talk very much or she decided to ambush him with fait accompli because the divide between them was much deeper than he knew and she already has one foot out the door.


I agree, Hubbybear

Yes, it sucks to be in a relationship with someone with ADD.  I am the ADD wife and I know I screw things up all the time. But I think it IS bollocks to say you want to go to couples therapy while simultaneously dating other people.

Just my 2 cents!


Another 'non' says mmmmmm?

If it's not fine with both of you (dating others) then it's not fine for her to do it. You can't stop her but you don't have to date her at the same time either.  Why would you? An intriguing question is whether she's intending to tell her 'other dates' that she's married (for instance, regarding the person she met months ago - "Hi, I'm married but I've been lusting after you for ages so I just want to try you out to see if I've been missing anything, by the way I'm still seeing hubby every week so I might drop you like a red-hot brick" ??? She thinks everyone would be okay with that? Then she's only after casual sex and she expects you to wait while she checks out your competition. (The only alternatives would be to lie and say she's single, or that she's married and not seeing you.)

"she often says that in a perfect world we will work through this and be together"

How may perfect worlds have you ever seen?  And to drop this separation on you in front of a 3rd person immediately after planning Christmas with you, including her visiting your relatives?  No, no, no - ADHD-impacted relationship or not this is just cruel and selfish.

"I am afraid that she is separating with me not to work on our own self improvement but to make the end of our marriage easier for her. "

It sounds plausible.  To repeat, I don't think that dating others at the same time as seeing you is a good idea unless you are both agreed that it is okay.  She's trying to have it both ways. Your instinct (bollox) sounds about right.