Have you taken back your mentally ill partner and wish you hadn't? Or wish you had?
November 25, 2009 7:33 PM Subscribe
Do you do this? How do I escape the pattern of going back to, because I can't resist helping, my (I think) mentally ill (or unstable/intense) husband. See, he's not all bad... Do you regret going back? Do you wish you had?
posted by Toto_tot to human relations (42 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My husband of 17 years is one of those very smart, creative, super-funny people that are sometimes (not all the time) crazy. When I met him we were both had theater and music careers. I'd never met anyone like him and he pursued me to another country. We married, worked in the arts together, and had a child. Let me say this off the top, he is an awesome father.
But he is also the most 'intense' person I have ever met and I have, as my therapist says, "managed" him from the beginning. You know the dysfunction--making sure I never made him too mad, making sure he was okay with whatever we were doing... etc. He was a pothead and when angry, intensely angry (never physically). But he's also funny and smart... etc, right, you know....
By the time my daughter was four, I had basically checked out, was on the way out the door, when he woke up to that fact and got sober. He's been sober for 8 years. It's weird though, he's always held it up as an example of how he changed for the sake of the marriage and 'where was my change?'
Anyway, blah blah blah there were good times and hard times. He really stepped up and became an excellent husband and father. But I still sometimes managed him (his anger was under control), and watched as he seemed to build resentments and destroy relationships outside of the marriage, work relationships more than personal.
Flash forward to this past spring and summer where we had one friend die super young (42) and another diagnosed with cancer. He had the pressure of finishing his Masters... He stopped sleeping, became hypomanic, destroyed one of the most valuable professional relationships he had, displayed (mild but definite) delusions of grandeur.
Then 2 months ago he started an affair with a woman half his age (44 and 23) and left me in a frightening, explosion of verbal abuse witnessed by our 13year old. He set up a place of his own and she practically lived there. He has started drinking again, although I don't know how much.
That wasn't enough for my co-dependent self to call it quits. And now that it's settling down, and he can see that he and this woman have nothing in common, I am faced with the decision of taking him back.
And of course now he is smart and insightful and penitent. And of course I understand that I am certainly culpable in any relationship problems that led to an affair. Our daughter misses him. And I still love him. I do.
I believe that he is an undiagnosed bipolar and/or some other personality disorder and so how can I leave him? IF HE GETS HELP, how can I turn away? And the more depressed and distraught he becomes the more I feel sorry for him and can't imagine also taking his family away from him. Yes, I can suck it up and work on our marriage--I know I can--and I know that it will be good and bad again, like all marriages. But what if it all goes horribly wrong again in three years... Trust is definitely an issue, along with the list of resentments toward me that he has dredged up in our arguments and discussions. But those are issues for couples therapy....??? I am already seeing someone on my own, as is our daughter.
Anyone out there have a similar experience? Take your partner back and wish they hadn't or turned away and wish they hadn't? I miss him but I'm also kinda relieved. More than anything, I feel like I'm dying inside on a daily basis.