To stay [gone] or go [back]?
February 26, 2013 12:40 PM Subscribe
My wife and I separated a few months ago (which was my choice, not hers) and it seems that many of the things that I left over may have been addressed, but I still feel cagey about it all. How do I square this circle in my head and in my heart? Blizzard inside.
posted by six sided sock to Human Relations (40 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I thought long and hard before posting this question. I know that it will be testing the patience of some of you who have already been great help to me in the last few months. Nevertheless, I'm struggling with this debate; I hope that maybe the hive mind will be able to help me.
The story so far: after a rough couple of years, which included some borderline abusive situations, my wife and I separated at the start of December. (You can find more details in my posting history.) Since then we've maintained minimal contact. I did try to go completely NC But it didn't work; there were too many times when my wife needed to get in touch with me and I just had to be able to respond (the details are probably unimportant).
A few weeks ago we started seeing a therapist together so what was called at the time separation mediation. I went into it absolutely clear - and stating as much - that we were on the road to divorce, and that my purpose in being there was to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible.
I spent the first couple of sessions rather annoyed because it seemed as though the therapist was more interested in trying to get us back together, rather than talking about the issues that we now faced as separate individuals. This didn't entirely surprise me - I was already aware that many therapists' first responsibility is to try and save the relationship at all costs - but given that we'd explicitly asked for separation mediation, it irritated me. I stuck with it though out of a desire to get things over and done with sooner rather than later.
Similarly, though my wife had agreed specifically to separation mediation, she also seemed intent on trying to fix things. She has stated numerous times how she has changed: her temper is now under control; she is more aware of and is better able to manage her anxieties; she no longer feels the need to interrogate me about my every move or snoop around in my emails, text messages, or social media conversations.
At first I was extremely skeptical about all this. Not least because she waited until I had declared that I was leaving to actually find herself a therapist and to agree to go to couples therapy with me. But as time has gone on the truth has become more and more clear: she really has changed. She no longer seems as anxious about things that she used to, or at least if she is anxious she handles it far better than she ever did before. The only exception to this came a couple of weekends ago, when she asked me a lot of pointed questions about a public discussion I had with a female friend on Twitter - nothing untoward, but it stirred up her anxieties briefly. Even then, though, she dealt with her anxieties in a far calmer manner than I'd ever seen her doing before.
The therapist has now remarked several times what a great couple we appear to be; she has observed that we communicate very clearly with each other about emotionally-charged matters. She has, in fact, used the phrase "it would be a great shame if this marriage failed," which is what really gave me a clue as to where her priorities lay.
All of which leaves me wondering: should I be giving us a second chance? It took so much time and energy for me to get to the point where I felt strong enough to leave, as people who are familiar with my previous posts can attest. And I really did need to leave: the levels of drama were through the roof and there were times where I found myself having suicidal ideations during the worst of our fights - later, I worked out that this was because my mind could think of no other way for me to escape. I built myself up and found the strength, with the help of my own therapist (who at the moment is encouraging me not to rush myself or bury my uncertainties) and in no small part with the help of the good people of Ask MeFi, to walk away and into my own space. I don't regret that for a second.
Some of my friends have pointed out that counselling is not a good idea in abuse cases, but I still don't think of my marriage as an abusive one (though I admit it toed pretty close to the line at times). I honestly don't know which way to turn right now. Being on my own hasn't been easy, but I've got an apartment in which I feel at home, I've been spending plenty of time with friends that I haven't seen for years, and I've largely been having a great time. But I still love my wife; she's incredibly sweet and caring, and it seems like many of the things that led me to leave have changed completely, or at least to the point where, had the change come before I left, I would have been much more inclined to stay.
The slight bonus complication here is that my wife is currently undergoing tests for what could, according to her doctors, be either PCOS or - and they're being cagey about stating the likelihood of one over the other - something more sinister. I want to support her through this, but I realise that I can't make a decision about whether to stay with her based on whether or not she might have something life-threatening going on inside her abdomen.