JR, AS PER YOU ADVICE:
i have made many mistakes in my life with you, and tried to cover them up with short term promises. it is almost, as a smart man has told me, pathological. looking at it from my perspective, i wouldn't trust me. having seen the consequences of my actions and through talk therapy with a very good counselor (Dr. Rice), i have committed myself to be clean and sober for life. the reason i asked you to go to a meeting with me a few weeks ago is so you could see exactly what i see about the risk to relapse. i take this disease very seriously, what you have said to me sounded very genuine, i acknowledge my pathological behaviors of the past. i am extremely fortunate, though. i have found an incredible resource in Dr. Rice. he has opened my eyes to the hurt that i have caused. i realize that chances like the ones i've been given are extremely rare. luckily for me i've found a "new way of thinking," a more holistic way to look at things. a way that will consider you needs for independence, freedom from worry, cherishing your existence, honoring you as a person. the only way you can trust that this is not an empty promise is to see it in action. i intend for you to see these changes. i am a changed man, one you will be proud to sit down at lunch with your friends and talk about, one you will have pride in introducing to your friends i've not yet met and say "this is my husband." alcohol has been the demon. an evil mistress as dr. rice says.i've had an affair with the evil mistress. i apologize to you and our children and your family and anyone else that i have negatively affected.. finally, i know that many years have going into building the "walls" that you have erected, and there's no reason to believe that they will come down fast. when you stated in my first counselor mrs. baze's waiting room, "let's hope that this works fast" i truly saw a glimmer of hope in your eye, one that said "i know this can work, pleaselet's get this sorted out soon." i know you've seen some changes. some will take time. time that 20 years investment in our relationship is worth giving. please know that more, and worthwhile, changes are coming. you'll be relaxed, independent and free. those are my goals for you, my beautiful beth. your loving husband, chris
JR , what do you think?
I feel that what you wrote is very genuine. I do not know how she could listen to that and not want to believe you. Good Job! I want you to sit down and read it to her. Tell her that you have been really thinking and want to share something from your heart with her. She needs to hear this from you and then she needs to see it in action. Read every word and let her know that you mean all of it. It needs to come straight from you. After you do this...let me know how it goes. I think it will really help your situation. Best wishes!
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i didn't get the chance to read it to her, i was so excited i emailed her. she hasn't responded via email. but she did ask me to lunch today and we had a real fun, open, enjoyable discussion. she asked some questions about my individual conseling. unfortunately, i'm having a hard time "taking a breath" as you say. i let all the down time and apart time chew me up. crazy thing is, i do believe we're getting back together at some point. she has no reason to spend this kinda quality time with me unless she wants to. i just want to provide proof that she's making the right decision. 20 years is a long time to be with someone to lose their faith. i want her to know of my integrity, that i have zeroo intention of screwing this up. i swear, the words in my note should answer any questions she might have. i have also given her a gift certificate for an afternoon/evening of calm time where i'll take the kids and allow her so relax time. she deserves that and i can provide it.
question: this seems to be going well. most separated guys would be so happy to be getting this kind of treatment. what's my problem? why can't i relax and let this thing heal? that's what it seems to be doing, right, healing? what else can i do?
I'm so glad to hear that things are going well. It sounds like things are improving and she is slowly letting you back into her circle of trust. This takes time though...that is why I told you to breathe. You are having trouble relaxing because you are desperately trying to control the situation. That is, you are trying to make something happen. You cannot make her do anything...all you can do is try to bring her back to you by behaving like a gentleman. Treat her like your queen! When you spend time with her...you need to be as enjoyable and friendly as possible. Your behavior needs to be welcoming. Eventually, she won't be able to stand being apart from you any longer. It sounds like you are moving in that direction. Go and buy the book "Love and Respect" You need to read this Chris...it will change your thinking in a major way. If you are worrying about your relationship, you should just sit down and read a chapter of this book. It will help you to think of ways you can treat your wife better. Your problem is that you just sit around and think and think and think. Do something instead...read that book! You are doing the right thing...RELAX! Ask your wife if she got your email...just to make sure she got it next time you see her. Other than what I have told you already, you really just need to let time heal this relationship. She is going to come back to you if you keep up the hard work. She will melt right back into your arms my friend...just like she did when you first started dating.
i got both books, and found another that you might want to consider adding to your arsenal. "getting back together" by youngs and goetz. this IS the "take a breath" book. after spending about an hour with it i feel much calmer.
beth made me kidnap her from work today and take her to lunch so she could vent on me about one of her co-workers. i listened, didn't offer solutions, empathized, laughed in the right places, picked up the tab from the repair shop to have her car fixed (just thought i'd throw that in!) and got invited to ice cream tonight.
tonight after her soccer practice (she coaches a youth team that my youngest plays on), she introduced me to her assistant coach "this is my husband, chris." now, i don't remember before how i would react when she introduced me to a male friend, but i think i was a jealous idiot. tonight i said said "jason, i know beth appreciates you help, and i appreciate the time you provide her by keeping practice organized." she was pretty taken aback i think, by my graciousness. i hope so anyway. i'm learnin' man.
so she made no mistake, she referred to me as her husband. she actually backtracked in her conversation to do so. this is good? where do i go from here?
I am so happy for you! It sounds like things are getting back on track! Where do you go from here? BE HAPPY!! It sounds like you are saving your marriage. You have the right attitude and are taking the right steps. I suggest that you read Love and Respect first and start putting into practice "COUPLE", which is an acronym used in the book. It talks about how to spell love to your wife...C = Closeness; O = Openness; U = Understanding; P = Peacemaking; L = Loyalty; E = Esteem. It will give you specific advice as how to do this on a day to day basis. I think this book will open your eyes to the nature of the male-female relationship. You are going to be one terrific man by the time you finish these books. =) That is, of course, assuming you actually put it into practice..which I think you will! So....as I said...breathe....and pat yourself on the back for standing up for your marriage and your children! GREAT JOB! I suggest you read the books and work on that for a while. I cannot think of anything better. Keep surprising your wife and she might just surprise YOU! =) Best Wishes and God Bless! Feel free to ask me questions in the future...I will be here.
i've been home and awake all night (it's 1:47am now)reading and contemplating. today is day 100 of my sobriety, and all beth could say to that is "good for you." cheerily enough, i just might have expected more. each day, i'm having an easier time sorting out the bad from the good. stinkin' thinkin' is my specialty.
i'm moving out of this house, the payment is too much of a stress strain. beth calls the mortgage "a noose around my neck" and i know she attributes my medical event to the stress that goes along with the payment. so i looked at apartments today and had to deal with the embarrassment of asking for special treatment regarding the term of the lease "because my wife and i are separated, and if we get back together..." i can almost see the look in the apt mgr's eyes, like, yeah, right.
anyway dealt with my first dose of rejection from wife tonite, some irony worked itself in though. i asked her if she wanted to go to dinner. she said "you don't understand chris. there hasn't been one day in the last year that i have been able to just relax after work."
luckily, i hadn't given her my handmade "day of relaxation gift certificate yet. so i took the kids to eat, brought them back, gave her the hand made gc and boom! smile on her face! and i saw her eyes today, sparkle, you can't fake that! i wish she wasn't so damned guarded with her emotions
oh yeah, got another "this is my husband, chris" intro today. this is significant, or am i reading too much in?
Question jr, is this: i think it's pretty clear that i'm making the effort. should i expect any reciprocation? i'd sure like to see a little give back on the effort, you know?
UPDATE!!! just had lunch with my lovely princess. today is the first day we've "talked" about US since the separation. one thing she revealed was "when we we're dating, i loved you so much and wanted you to love me so much that i played dumb for you. i wanted you to think you were so smart." and that "when we were together, i could never acheive all the goals i had for us" then she reviewed financial and other goals. many of the things i'm doing are proving out for her. i truly believe we are going to be together again. i told her my counselor dr. rice "figures a separation was inevitable between us for our individual growth" and i told her my thoughts on getting back together too soon (bad idea, we need to grow individually, mature in those areas that need it) and she seemed comfortable with that concept. we talked about my "near death" moments after my stroke. that girl still loves me. i can feel it at times like today.
Again...stop thinking so much my friend. You are over analyzing like crazy. However, I think you are correct with regard to your analysis that it seems like you are, in fact, getting closer to your wife. And No, you should not "expect" anything from your wife at this point. You are in the dog house here...your behavior in the past has been less than trustworthy. You need to be able to keep giving indefinitely...regardless of her behavior towards you. "Love and Respect" will talk an awful lot about this concept. Just keep giving...period. You will find yourself happier if you keep giving. It is truly better to give than to receive. You need to treat your wife like your girlfriend...trying to impress her constantly. As soon as you lose that motivation...things start sliding back downhill. You do not want that to happen...it is a slippery slope. Give everything you got and guess what...you won't be so worried about yourself anymore. It will reduce your anxiety level. You need to take this one day at a time...stop doing an in depth analysis every time something happens between the two of you. You are heading in the right direction Chris. That is all you can do right now...you will get there friend! No worries.
today, after having talked with beth at lunch (again) i'm probably more relaxed than i've been in awhile.we talked in pretty good detail about US and my therapy. i felt comfortable enough to tell her about my plans to use the time apart to grow and mature and she should do the same. she told me something interesting during the conversation.she said, "when we were dating, i loved you so much and wanted you to love me so bad (EXACTLY WHAT I AM FEELING) that i would dumb myself down." she would play dumb to make me feel smarter! this woman...crazy about me! goofy, my iq is mid 140s! by the way, i felt genuine love from her while talking about our relationship at lunch. i can't put my finger on it, i just felt it.she was pretty accepting of my counselors suggestion that a separation was inevitable, as a child from an alcoholic family and one from high dysfunction, both of us missed out on childhood growth and maturation. hmmm....anywau, things went well today, she invited me over for spaghetti even though i YELLED at her. (oops, anger at my boy, he's a button pusher) apologized and moved on. vowed internally to do a mental anger excersize before i let myself get to that point again!anyway, you've been a great help. thank you. i am doing a lot of reading. i have been wondering, do you think it makes sense to use only individual counseling right now or do you think maybe beth could be involved? if so, how can i convince her to go if she's already done several months of individual counseling? i think she feels she's done her work and i need to do mine before we can do ours.also, should it trouble me (cause it does!) that she turned me down to go to the college football game this weekend? we used to LOVE to do that...
I think that things are going as well as you could hope for them to go considering everything the two of you have been through recently. She IS, in fact, spending time with you. A woman who was not interested in you would separate herself ASAP. Trust me on that one. So, don't get so worried when she turns you down for a date. Maybe she has something else important to attend to. You can't just jump to a negative conclusion all of the time...WELL.....You can....but it doesn't make your life any better. Try to look at the positive improvements and focus on that. People are people and sometimes they get tired or annoyed or irritated or whatever. Just roll with the punches and take what you can get from your wife. I do not believe you are ready for couples therapy just yet. You need to continue working on your individual therapy. You need to gain more insight into your behavior and your motivations for your behavior. Ask your therapist about his/her opinion regarding couples therapy. I think it can be very helpful, but both people have to be ready for it. But honestly, the best couples therapy you can do is to just love your wife well. Follow the advice in the books I suggested and put it into practice daily. You will eventually earn her trust back completely. You did a very bad thing to her and she is going to need time to trust you again...even though she does love you very much, I'm sure. Hang in there Chris and become the kind of man that Beth would want to come home to every day. Do not get discouraged...this may take months of work on your part. Is she worth it??? That is all you need to ask yourself. =) Best Wishes!
stupid, silly, overanalyzing me. she wanted to watch the game, just didn't want "every minute of my life committed to being someplace." she's coming over to the new apt. tonight, we're watching together with dinner. as you say "take a breathe."
question for you. do you have any reccommendations regarding these on-line "save your marriage" programs? is the an "expert" you'd say gets it? just wondering. i, like many desperate men, would do just about anything, including drink the snake oil, to cure what ails me.
In all honesty, I am not aware of any online "save your marriage" programs. I would not be able to make a recommendation regarding those, sorry. =( However, I think you are doing just fine, and I think any therapist would agree with me. You are taking steps in the right direction and you show great concern for your wife's happiness. In my honest opinion, if you read "Love and Respect" cover to cover...it is the best "save your marriage" program available. The author teaches the "Love and Respect" message across the country in seminars for couples in trouble. Maybe your wife would be willing to re-read it with you at some point. She might get something out of it too...I know my wife enjoyed the book after reading it all. On another note, I hope this situation with the game helped you to realize that you were over analyzing her behavior. Your IQ is working against you here Chris...you are thinking TOO much. =) Yes...intelligence can actually be a curse for an anxious person. So just take a breath and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you have done already. You are doing great! I am not just saying that either. I never hand out empty compliments. Just enjoy your dinner and game tonight. Enjoy the wife of your youth...treasure and cherish her presence. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet Chris...a happy marriage takes daily dedication and humility. Keep in touch!
we had fun waching the game. enjoyed dinner and everything seemed so good, 'til the last 10minutes. beth asked me about a particular arreangement with the kids (i'd have em one week, she'd have em the next week) thar she said was the "trend." so i asked her what she meant by trend. she said that she asked around her work, and all the "divorced" people were doing it that way. that's the first time i'd heard her use that word.
dammit, i sure a hell don't wanna be lumped in with her "divorced" co-workers. i'm not over-analyzing here, right? what the hell am i supposed to feel about her using that kind of comparison. i feel like i just went two steps back!
Sounds like you need to sit down with her and have a serious conversation about whether she really considering divorce right now. It may be that she is just considering this option (sharing the kids) for the meantime. It may not be as permanent as you think. Do not jump to conclusions...just talk to her about it. Tell her that you want to save your marriage and just want to make sure she is not ready to divorce. Just set up a time for you two to meet and have some coffee. It will help you to feel better and get some answers. Remember...you are not in a good position here because of the way you have acted in the past. Just let her know that you are really trying and want to know there is still hope. So...find out if there is still hope. Just talk to her about this directly...stop reading into everything she says. You need some facts...not just assumptions and inferences. Go get some facts.
the facts as i see them are this: she has not filed. she asked to watch the game at my place on saturday & cook dinner, she accepted invitation to drive-in theater, she asked me to buy pizza and "sneak it in like we used to do." then when the first movie got over, the movie houses power went out, we left, she saw that another movie would be playing next weekend, said "let's come back next weekend to watch it." these are not things that a woman who didn't want to be around would do.
i don't want to put her in a mode of thinking about divorce so i don't really wanna bring that up. also thing are going so well, why would i want to throw a wrench in the machine.
all these "dates" feel like "chances" to me. i want to stay as close as i can to the work, and i feel like i might put unneeded distance between us if i start asking question like that. your thoughts?
I understand your apprehension with respect to bringing up the "D" word. The topic is generally negative and can evoke some strong feelings. I do not blame you for avoiding the issue; however, it will still leave a lot of ambiguity for you deal with. I think you are correct about her intentions to make it work. Everything she is doing is communicating the message that she is interested in making it work. As long as you don't screw it up...things should go swimmingly. =) Just kidding! I'm sure you are doing your best and that is all you can do. I hope you are enjoying "Love and Respect." Keep putting it into practice. You are blessed with a great opportunity to "date" your wife again. She will fall back in love with you if you treat her like your queen. I'm sure she wants to take it slow, just to make sure that you are "for real" this time. As far as splitting time with the kids, she is probably just trying to keep things moving slowly. It probably helps her to feel like she is in control of the situation. I would go along with whatever she asked with respect to the children. Show her that you honor her opinion and want to bring peace to your relationship. I am very happy for you Chris. I think things are going in the right direction. I never like to see marriages end...all it takes is some hard work! You are doing the hard work my friend. You will see results. Your actions will bear good fruit. God Bless!