My tale, as requested by TheBoy (WARNING - it's VERY long.... )

Very long.

So, I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this, but it's where I'm putting it until I hear otherwise. *nod*

When I was 17 I met a boy. Well, a man, really. He's 7 years older than me, and, until I was 21, there was nothing but friendship. We would talk endlessly about anything, about everything. We were each others' sanctuary from our significant others, as well as the general world. When I was 20, I had some financial hardships and moved down to Chicago to recoup a little at my mother's. While I was there, this man, named Nate, finally ended his troubled relationship of four years. Maybe two weeks later, while talking, it kind of hit both of us that there may have been feelings for each other that had possibly developing for the previous 4 years. I had been planning on going home for a week to celebrate my 21st and we decided that since I was going to stay with him anyway, we would see what developed.

The night I arrived at his place, it was like all the pieces of the world finally fell in to place. I never did go back to Chicago. For 3 months, we stayed with random friends (initially he was living with his brother, who was not a fan of our relationship and made us leave) until we got a house to rent with a good friend. He would wait outside of my work for me to get off just to see me smile when I saw him. He'd write me the most amazing letters and hide them, waiting for me to find them. It was... perfect, for lack of a better word.

It was very shortly after that the the tone of our relationship changed a bit. The sex became much less frequent (not for a lack of trying on my part, trust me), much less exciting. I began to feel neglected. While, during the previous 3 months, he was more than happy to physically claim me as his in public, with his arm around me, a kiss now and then, simple displays, he no longer wanted to do those things. When we were both at home, he would sit on his computer and play WoW. I began to play, in an attempt to spend more time with him (yes, I still play...). I began to whine a bit, which became a lot, over this feeling of neglect. I eventually came to the conclusion that and this was how it was going to be. I accepted that because there were still moments when it was just the two of us, and I would know I was everything to him, and that's all I wanted.

We began talking very early on about getting married. We'd been really close friends for 4 years before dating. After 6 months of dating, we were engaged. We started talking about what we wanted as far as family (he already had 2 sons). He agreed that he wanted at least one child with me, and that was good. I'd told him that I absolutely wanted children in life, and I wasn't going to give that up. A year after we started dating we were married. We were married at midnight June 1st, 2007 (which just happened to be a blue moon), by a friend of ours. That night, we stayed at a friend's parents' lake house (Nate was almost family to these guys and they volunteered it, since they would be out of town that weekend). Everyone hung out, some got a little drunk, then they all made their ways home, except Nate, our friend Jenica (the one who's family owned the place), and their friend Dan (who had flown in from VA and managed to get out of a Naval ceremony to be there). I went to bed, and expected Nate to be down in an hour or so (he hadn't seen Dan in years, and Dan had to fly out early the next day). I woke up around 8 in the morning to a still empty bed. Nate was still talking to Jenica, completely plastered, and forgotten to come down. Needless to say I was... furious.

He never really apologized for that night. We argued more and more as time went on. It wasn't 2 months into our marriage when he decided he didn't want to have kids, and only said he did because it was what I wanted. I wouldn't call him an alcoholic by any means. He never /had/ to have something to drink, but, when his co-workers would go out for a drink and he'd go along, he didn't have any self control, and always got way more drunk than he should have. We argued constantly about the kids thing, about the feeling of neglect I had, and about more mundane things like money. I also started to resent him. At this point, in order to make this marriage work, I was going to have to give up having children. I, in my resentment, began to dwell on everything I'd already given up for him. Living in Chicago, which I love, going to school rent free while living with my mother, many many friends... I knew this was all wrong, but I continued it. Nothing resolved. We both began to dive in to WoW (soooo stupid, I know) excusing it as time spent together ( :sick: ).

So, okay. This was our marriage until right around this February. At that point, we'd just renewed our lease on our apartment (no longer living with a roommate). I told him then that he had until the lease was up for renewal again in December to straighten our relationship out or we were done. I say HE had to straighten it out, because every time we argued about my feelings of neglect or the lack of sex (seriously, I'm talking, once a week, if I was lucky.... ) he would say that he WANTED to do the things I wanted, he just... never did... and didn't know why.

Now, WoW becomes a bigger problem in the relationship. I joined a bigger guild on our server, leaving Nate's private guild in the process. This guild is run by a 20 year old in New York. We began to talk, we became friends. Talking a lot outside of the game. NOTHING fishy was happening. Nate became jealous, accusing me of cheating on him with this boy from New York. I spent many hours each week reassuring him that this was not the case, and, while I shouldn't have, informing him that if I WANTED to cheat, I wouldn't have to do it online with someone across the country.

One night in May, Nate decided he was going to a friends' house. I had told him earlier that week that I was done asking if I could come along, or volunteering myself. If he wanted me to go with him to places, he'd have to ask. So, Nate tells me he's leaving, asks if I have a raid in WoW, I say, yeah in a few hours (I'd also told him earlier that week that I would NEVER put a raid ahead of him, and if he asked me to, I'd drop it instantly). His response was okay, and he left. around midnight (3 hours later) I called him to see if he was having a good time. I could tell he'd been drinking. I asked him if was, he lied. I let it be and went back to my game. I spent the rest of the night convincing myself not to call him and let him come home when he was ready. 6 am rolls around, and I couldn't take it anymore. I called him. He was quite drunk. He comes home. We start to argue. As typical with him, he knew what I was upset about (him drinking w/o me there to stop him when he went to far), and tried to turn it around on me and started in on the accusations of cheating again. I'd had enough of this. I told him we were done, walked out of the room for a few minutes, and came back in. I asked what we were going to do with the apartment and our cats. He turned, looked at me, and I'm being completely honest, all I saw in his eyes was rage. He said "Nothing. Nothing at all. Because I'm just going to burn it all down. Burn it with you, me, the cats in it."

I looked at him, told him that he was not going to do that to me, and that he would never threaten me like that again, or he'd regret it. The rage then turned to depression, and self hate, and about an hour later he went to sleep. That's when it really sunk in. He threatened my life, and for a split second, he meant it. At the ripe old age of 7, due to an abusive father, I had promised myself that I'd never let a man even threaten me. That, if one did, I'd leave. I started thinking about everything else I'd given up to try to make this marriage work, and... I just couldn't make myself give up that promise.

That weekend I kicked Nate out, until the end of May, when I could leave to go to my mother's in Chicago. I left with every intention of getting a divorce. Since then, Nate and I have talked a bit. He says he knows why everything happened. He says he stopped giving me attention in public because he thought it'd be inappropriate. He says he stopped having sex with me because he didn't think he was good enough at it for me. He says... basically, it was all self hate. Self doubt. Self loathing. He said he always wanted a child with me but said no because he was scared. He promises that he'll never be the same, that he'll never drink again, that he'll do everything so much better, and get professional help, even meds if that's what it takes. He says he's looking for a second job, so he can pay off the lease and save up money to get down to Chicago, to get a place so we can try again here, since he knows this is where I've wanted to be.

I don't know what to think. I don't know if I should give him this chance. If I should put myself in that place again. I don't want to be one of those women that keeps giving chances to man that will never truly change. On the other hand, I don't want to let go of the best friend I've ever had. Of a man that I just know CAN be that same perfect man he was when we started out... anyway... sorry for the long winded tale. I just felt the need to get it out there and maybe get some advice/opinions.

Forums: 
Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Don't move back in with him yet. Let him get his second job, let him move down there, but don't move in with him. Get your emotional shit straightened out and stable before you throw in the issues that come with sharing space and bills. Take him up on the offer of professional help, but not for him, for both of you. A relationship is a two way street. I can understand your feeling of having given up enough, but the things you listed don't seem like that big of a deal to me, and probably wouldn't to you if you weren't already resentful, I'm guessing. Did you have to drop out of school altogether? Was it too far to travel if you wanted to see your family and friends? If that's what happened and it just didn't come across in your post, I apologize for the misunderstanding. My point is that if he's got issues, he needs some support, even if you think (and even if it's justifiable) the blame lies mostly with him.

As soon as you mentioned a prior turbulent relationship and a drinking problem, I could tell he had self-esteem issues. Maybe his prior partner was a harpy, I don't know, but that's two turbulent relationships and the common denominator is him. Your friendship with the guy in New York probably seriously exacerbated those issues. While you don't think you were cheating, you were using someone else to fill a void of intimacy that your husband should have been filling, and the line between friendship and emotional adultery is objective. Clearly for you you didn't cross it, but for him you might have. If he thinks there was more going on that just long conversations (like cyber sex, I'm guessing) then he also has trust issues. If those conversations were enough on their own, then he draws the line in a different place.

When you talk to him about the way you feel, how does the conversation typically start out, and do you have it when he's already inebriated or busy with the thing that's sapping his attention, or does it happen later?

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I hadn't started school yet, but was in the application process when I went up for my week visit that never ended. With him having to pay for child support for 2 children, I was unable to cut my hours enough to make school work and still pay bills where we lived.

While I would agree to counseling for both of us once he's started on himself, one of the things that's going through my head is time. How much time am I willing to commit before we can try again and start all over. I'm not getting any younger, and neither is he. I don't want to wait several years to give this a good go again, only for it to fall apart again. On the other hand, I REALLY want this to work out between the two of us.

When we've talked about how I feel, it's happened at all different times. While he's already drunk, while we're already arguing, while I'm actually feeling neglected, or when I can plan for it and just sit him down and talk.

The cheating thing - nothing happened. I will agree that I was filling a void. But I don't think it was a void directly from Nate. Once I got with him, we shared the exact same group of friends. I didn't have my own friendships, or anyone that I knew I could talk to and it was just between me and that person. Nate had no evidence that anything more was going on, he just assumed it was. This is also why I didn't have any of my own friends. The ones I /did/ have, he didn't like (and for good reason. They were pretty toxic). Any time I tried to go out with the one or two I kept, the jealousy/distrust oozed from him. Essentially, if I was going out with girls, they were definitely going to try to get me to hook up with someone better. If I was going out with guys (which, my friendships tend to be with guys), then they were obviously trying to get in my pants. He always said he trusted me, just not them. Or himself to be good enough for me to want to stick around.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

The way you wrote it up there, the self esteem issues seemed to come as a surprise to you, but in the reply, you seem to have had evidence of them for awhile.

He's starting to sound a little like my step-father, but lacking the permanent bad mood and the physically abusive element. I kind of wonder if something happened when that perfect period ended that seemed inconsequential to you or that he didn't tell you about. Is he involved in his kids' lives? If he's not does he want to be?

As far as time, it's a valid concern. This isn't going to change right away, which is part of why I'm saying, if he wants to move down there for you, go ahead and let him, but don't feel obligated to cohabit. Avoid it until some progress has been made. If you think it will be a waste of time, then maybe his fears are justified and he isn't right for you. You said you started dating at 21, and married 6 months after. How old are you now? 24?

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I completely missed this reply.

I knew he had some self esteem issues before we dated, I just definitely wasn't aware the full extent of them.

We started dating when I was 21, engaged 6 months later, and married 6 months after that (when I was 22). He is involved in his kids lives, when their mother lets him. It's the reason I had to give up Chicago to be with him. He refused to move farther away (because his dad took off when he was 3 or 4 after his mother cheated on him and was never around, though he did keep in contact). This again, is another thing I take fully upon myself. I chose to give that up. I couldn't ask him to give up his ability to see his kids for me, and so I chose to stay in a town I couldn't stand full of people I mostly couldn't stand (I spent most of my childhood in this town, between random moves elsewhere).

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Since we've never spoken before. But ah well, here goes.

It sounds like your relationship was great, at the beginning. Hell, I'm jealous just reading about it, and I'm in a perfectly happy relationship Smile

But that was then. And it sounds like even when you thought things were perfect, he was doing some of the stuff that pisses you off so much now (drinking too much, forgetting things that were important to you, etc). Given that, I think that you just got tired of certain aspects of his personality, and your relationship soured. I don't think it's as much a Huge Personality Change as you wish it was, and I don't think it's all that reversible. If I had to guess, I'd say he's always been insecure, and depressive, and overly fond of alcohol, and from the sound of it very self-centered as well. He doesn't sound like a stable or happy person, and he needs to get control of his life and his emotions before he has any chance of a working relationship with anyone, including you. And if you try to be the one to fix him, or often even just try to help him while he fixes himself, you could quite possibly wind up doing yourself a lot of damage. This man has made you very unhappy for quite a while, and trust me when I say, I know: being someone's emotional support is emotionally and physically draining, disheartening, and ultimately unsustainable. I was in a very destructive one for four years, but mine trusted me implicitly. Having one who trusts you as little as your guy did (internet cheating? really?) would be even more poisonous.

My immediate wariness about the description of your relationship aside: you were right, halfway through. There is no good reason to stay with a man who has legitimately threatened you like that. Ever. If he's right and he can pull his life together and you guys work out, great. If you don't work out, it makes the worst-case scenarios infinitely worse.

For the love of god DON'T rush back into a relationship with him. Or run or jog or walk or anything at all. If you were in a race to a relationship with this guy, A SNAIL SHOULD WIN. This guy has a hell of a long way to go before he's fit for anything, and if I were you and just going from what you've told me, I would stay the hell away from him.

When all is said and done, though, I've never met him and I'm sure you didn't cover everything. Still, though. You spent far more time on the bad then the good, and he's setting off all sorts of Chronic Abusive Boyfriend warning bells in my head.

PS: If you're feeling bad about length, try to find Andyl's post sometime. She did a similar "my last bad relationship" post that at a guess was at least twice as long. No feeling bad about length! Smile

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Good. Glad I'm not alone. *sigh* I do love him. And I do want this to work. I'm also POSITIVE that 99% of the time I'd have no fear of physical harm from him. But, then I start to think... that's what almost everyone says that's been in an abusive relationship. They never thought it'd happen. I want to believe that Nate isn't like that, and that this IS a different situation, but then the bells you talked about go off. ugh...

Again, I have to mention the time line thing. I don't want to wait indefinitely for him to start working on himself and to see real progress before we can start off slow, like you said. But I want it to work. But I'd hate to go through all that only to have it fail again. Bleh...

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

You'd have evidence of it by now, even without him laying a hand on you. Things like preventing you from driving yourself home when he's had too much to drink, physically barring you from leaving the apartment if he doesn't like who you're going out with, and if he's as drunk as much and as often as you say he is, then he'd be trying to physically intimidate you during an argument. The threat you saw could be that type of personality developing, but if it's the first whiff you've gotten in over a year, he's certainly not there yet. That's a definite possibility of where he could end up if he doesn't get some help.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

So many regrets from that fiasco! I managed to get out before marriage, though. Only made it to the engagement stage.

A few things:

Item one: "If I was going out with guys (which, my friendships tend to be with guys), then they were obviously trying to get in my pants. He always said he trusted me, just not them."

This is a whole 'nother level of his brain being fucked up. Relationships with this level of mistrust should not exist. And for clarity, "I trust you but not them" indicates many and often conflicting neuroses on his part including but not limited to:
1. I do not trust you and fully expect that the first time one of your guy friends expresses interest, you will sleep with him
2. I am a Terrible Horrible and Awful person and this is why you will sleep with him
3. You are a Perfect Angelic Goddess and everyone knows it and this is why they all want to sleep with you all the time and you will realize I am not Good Enough and find someone else from your Hordes of Admirers
And anything else you can imagine relating to the fact that you're too good for him, and generally that he hates himself, and that you will leave him given the first opportunity.

Item number two is a quote I used on my own ex-fiancee. "If you want to share your life with someone, you have to have a life of your own to share. You can't base your entire life around theirs and consider that "sharing."" In this case, though, it applies more to you than to the guy. The list of things you gave up for this man kind of shocked me, and your comments about timeline indicate that you at least agree enough to want to get yourself back on track with school and job and such. You shouldn't need a boyfriend, you should only want one. Don't define yourself by him.

Item number three is my guy friend's point of view. He doesn't have an account or actually read the forum or anything, but we're chatting and wanted to know what I was so focused on typing, so I showed him. I apologize for his harshness, but I just quoted it word for word. His response:
she's not accomplished anything in her life, as far as I can tell
just struggled to make the relationship work
She needs to refocus and get shit done
and she'll eventually find a worthwhile guy
She should leave him and never come back
and stop playing WoW
she's just being cowardly because it's hard to be alone
he's just a loser
she needs to move on

Item four is: reading the other people's comments, I freely admit that I know almost nothing about physical abuse. Take anything I say on the subject with a whole damn tub worth of salt. I still think the whole thing sounds very emotionally abusive, though, and emotional abuse is much more a subjective judgment. They're right on one thing though: trust is key. My requirement for relationships and sex isn't love, it's trust. I HAVE to trust them. Unless you can get that from him, it's not worth it.

Since I'm done ranting, I'M SORRY I swear I don't think you're as bad a person as rereading this makes me sound! I'm impressed you're as lucid about it as you are, actually. It just sounds enough like my last relationship that it's bringing out the worst in me, and so.. yeah. Kudos, I swear, this kind of shit is a nightmare and a half and you're doing amazingly well.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I understand what you're saying and definitely didn't think you were making me to be a bad person.

Your friend is completely correct. I haven't accomplished anything in my life. And that is why I am where I am. Why I won't go back to him in that town. Why I'm living with my mother at 24, being driven out of my mind by her and my sisters (oh, that's a whole other mess of issues). I start classes on Monday. I have an interview on Tuesday. I /am/ getting my life back in order. As far as the rest of what he said... he's probably right.

I have to comment on this though:
3. You are a Perfect Angelic Goddess and everyone knows it and this is why they all want to sleep with you all the time and you will realize I am not Good Enough and find someone else from your Hordes of Admirers

That is exactly what is/was going through his head.

The thing is, through all those problems, Nate did what he could for me. He never turned down an hour of overtime, even went searching for it, so I wouldn't have to work so much. When I was sick or injured he always took care of me, did anything I asked or needed (that being more important, as I'm very stubborn about illness or injury and tend to try to take on too much myself). Like I said originally, through most of this relationship, at night, when I was in his arms, there was still the sense of the world being right. It didn't last long into the morning, and there were definitely nights where I didn't feel that way, but never, until the end, did we sleep apart from each other. It wasn't until he started accusing me of cheating on him that we'd ever gone to bed angry with each other.

I really didn't mean to make it sound like it was 3 years of hell with him. By no means was it that.

Pigeon's picture

Hey Nanyque,

I don't know you, so it's a little awkward making observations based on the scant few glimmers of your life, but your story moves me . Mostly because I sympathize with Nate. I know what it's like to feel completely inadequate in front of your significant other. People that suffer through it end up in one of two ways. They either realize they behave the way they behave because of their perceived inadequacies, adapt to that, and learn to trust their significant other, or they just go on in an endless spiral of self-hate. If he's admitted as much as he has to you, and if you feel he is sincere, then it's a fairly safe bet that he'll do whatever he can to make you happy. If you do get back with him, I hope you let him know that trust is everything.

Bona Fortuna.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I really appreciate this and all the comments I've gotten so far. I have so much to think about. Of course, all of this relies upon him getting everything in order to try to start a life of some sort in Chicago. Nate and I had been together for almost 3 years (plus the 4 years of friendship prior) when he threatened me. I agree that I would have seen other indications of physically abusive behavior by now, and by no means was he knowingly emotionally abusive to me. I will admit that I added to the problems by trying to work /around/ his issues, instead of trying to work with them. Meaning, instead of working with him on his jealousy issues, I just gave up trying to go out, because if I did, even though he'd tell me to do it and to not worry about his jealousy, that he'd deal with it, I couldn't just not worry about it. I couldn't have fun because I was too worried about him. That was me. That didn't help. I'm definitely not trying to say that I'm completely faultless in our issues. However, I feel I'm very aware of what I did to contribute to the problems, and I'm working on those things on my own (if for no other reason than to prevent them from happening in a future relationship). It's Nate and Nate's ability to change, improve, that I'm confused about.

Pigeon,
I think this is the first time I've gotten someone's opinion from Nate's perspective. I'm really glad you were able to give that to me. I do believe he's being sincere. I'm afraid though that he has created a very unhealthy dependency on me. He's stated time and again since I'm the only thing, person, whatever that he wants in this life. That I am the most [insert random complimentary trait] woman he's ever met. On the one hand, it's very flattering, and much closer to the way he used to be. On the other, the frequency with which he says these things at times seems borderline obsessive. Then again, it may be that I'm so used to the withdrawn Nate that I don't know how to handle the open version again.

At this point, Nate needs to work on getting himself closer to where I am before we can even think about trying this again. If that doesn't happen, then there's nothing between us. So, this poses another question. Do I put myself back on the market, look for more experiences, another relationship, knowing that Nate might never make it down here?

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

I would say absolutely not, but the reason has nothing to do with Nate. You're starting school and looking for a job and trying to make yourself a little more independent. Focus on that. A relationship will just produce more stress when you're struggling with what you've already got. Don't spread yourself too thin just because you feel like you have to be in a relationship.

Incidentally, if you're still married right now and have not pursued divorce proceedings, the legal issues are another reason to not get involved with anyone.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I don't know of many places where there would be real legal repercussions for any relationships I may have. No, divorce proceedings have not be started. Since I'm still so uncertain about all of this, I don't think it would be a good idea.

Let me clarify, that be relationship, I didn't necessarily mean a serious, meaningful, committed relationship. Eh, I like sex. I like to be intimate with people. I am not opposed to a purely physical relationship. Don't know. Of course, I'd have to get out and about for that to happen in the first place.... Banghead

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

it's adultery, and I don't know what the laws are like in Illinois, but in New York, there are repercussions. Possibly they are only monetary in nature, as in it entitles you to sue for damages, and TB'd probably know more about this than I would (or any of the other lawyers bopping around... there seem to be more sharks in the pool these days than I remember xD). I may be wrong though. Wouldn't be the first time.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Oh, I'm aware that there are laws on the books regarding adultery. I guess I've just never heard of a situation where there were actual legal repercussions other than using adultery as a grounds for divorce, unless the offended party pushed for it. Which, Nate wouldn't do. He's been fully aware the entire time I left, that finding others to do stuff with was a possibility. We talked about it for a long time before I moved to Chicago, when we were discussing separation vs. divorce.

I'm sure TB will clarify for me when he comes back around. Biggrin

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

indisposed from having just taken the bar exam. :biglol:

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

WI is a no fault state. Of course there's also a lower cost of living...

Wraith's picture

Petitioner

That's quite a story. I will start by saying that I am in no way an expert on relationships*. However, I have been in a position that's much closer to Nate's than I would usually like to admit. Growing up I always had self-esteem issues, and that translated directly into my first semi-serious relationship. I can connect the dots in so many ways, the nigh obsession with you, the semi-but-not-really-hidden jealousy, so much of that reminds me of me. In many ways I think that break-up was one of the best things to happen to me, it forced me to re-evaluate myself and figure out what my problem was. That said, there's no saying Nate will come out of this and improve himself the way I would like to think I have. The other thing is, it took me nearly two years to get to the point where I think I've overcome most of those weaknesses (hard to be positive until I do get in another relationship, but that's a whole different story). With your concerns for a timeline, it may be better to move on and give him time and space to sort his own shit out. I'm not saying you're entirely blameless, but it seems you've figured that out for yourself.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, while he may be willing to go through everything he's said to try to get you back, follow through may be difficult at this point, and it may be better for both of you in the long run if you keep your distance, at least temporarily.

*Note: The relationship mentioned above is still my first and only serious relationship, so keep my relative inexperience in mind as you weigh my advice.

**Final Note: I do hope that everything turns out well for you, and that the glimpses into Nate's side of things from Pigeon and myself are helpful when you make your decision.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Now, I may be completely wrong for thinking about this issue this way...

I have no intention of living anywhere but Chicago. At the moment, as I've said, I live with my mother. Nate obviously can't stay here. There are very few jobs around the suburb that my mother lives in that Nate could do and make enough money to support himself. I know that I couldn't with this area. Everything around here is retail and restaurants. With neither of us having a secondary education (yet...), the only way for him, or me, to support ourselves is together. I'm not sure how we would be able to take things as slow as we should once he got down here, due to that.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

support himself financially on his own down there, then maybe staying together isn't viable. If you move in with him you have to sign another contract. While they can be broken, you're just making things more complicated for both of you, and that type of complicated is probably not what either of you need right now, you know?

If he can't support himself because he's got two kids, that is not your problem, it's his. I'm going to sound like such a hard ass about this. That's why I wondered if he's involved and if he wants to be. If he's not and he does but isn't allowed to be, it's one thing, but if he isn't and also lacks interest in it, that's another mark against him. I'm not saying he'd be a bad father, but for whatever reason he's not capable of taking that level of responsibility for that portion of his life. If the kid thing's a deal breaker for you, then, again, maybe he's not the right guy.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

He does take responsibility for that portion of his life. The difference is the ability to dish out 400 a month in child support and still support yourself with a basic warehouse job in central Wisconsin versus doing the same in Chicago, is very different. And yes, it is very much an issue of him not being necessarily allowed to participate in his sons' lives.

He has also said since then that he does very much want to have children with me.

The nice thing is that in Chicago, it's not impossible to find apartments that lease for only 3 or 6 months. Just a note on that.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Hmm, 400 isn't that much. Unless you mean per child? I see where the higher cost of living in Chicago would make that difficult though. Rochester's cost of living is pretty low for a city of its size ($400-$600 for a one bedroom apartment, including utilities, and I can buy enough food to feed myself for two weeks with $30, a bus ticket only costs $1.25), even if it's more expensive compared to other places in New York. Our minimum wage just went up to $7.25, too, so my perspective in that area is a little skewed.

Obviously you have to do what you need to do, but if it were me, I'd help him look for an apartment, but I wouldn't move in with him. Find him a room mate.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

My electric bill was as much as your apartment!

(Okay, it was $520 for 8 people so *I* wasn't paying the whole thing, BUT STILL)

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Good gods. That's... a lot. In our house of 4 (with 3 of us on a computer almost constantly), my mother spazzed with a bill of 230.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

studio apartments in Chicago generally run around 600-700 a month (in mostly questionable areas). Apartments with actual bedrooms obviously go up from there. That also generally only includes water. Maybe heat, if you're VERY lucky.

400 a month is for both sons, but considering that he has to have insurance for them both, that adds another almost 200 a month on top of that.

I don't know. At this point it's all speculation, since my demand that he moves down here is not flexible. Well, I shouldn't say that. Just like I shouldn't have said that I won't move from Chicago. What I /won't/ do is move back to that town. He has family in Washington, I'd be willing to move out there, though that's much too far from his children for him. Oh, and as far as his kids being his concern, not mine... you're right. But, I do really love him, and I'm not going to hold his obligation and his desire to be there for his kids when he can against him. I don't want to let that obligation hold me back, but I'll won't turn away from someone because they're trying to do right for their children.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Yeah, those costs sound closer to what I'm used to here in CA. As far as living expenses.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Okay, I think I'm off to bed for now.

Thank you very much, those of you that responded.

I look forward to reading what the non-nightowls have to say.

Until tomorrow!

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I am not a lawyer. The following is intended only as a statement of my understanding of the law, and certainly not intended as legal advice. It is definitely NOT intended to create any sort of lawyer-client relationship.
Angel In most states (New York is an exception), they have both divorce for fault and without fault.
(b) In most no-fault divorce states, the judge can still consider things like adultery (even during a period of separation) in determining spousal support and child support.
(c) Whether or not Nate is an alcoholic (and I'm not sure I agree with your assessment), he is at the least a serious problem drinker. I vote for AA (unless he's atheist, which is totally cool with me, but not so much with AA) for him, and a support group like Al-Anon for you.
(d) I also vote for Marri's suggestion of a race back into a relationship that a snail would win. Because you wouldn't be playing. Your marriage sounded nothing like any sort of equal partnership I have ever heard of. It also did not sound like any sort of healthy relationship I have ever heard of. Also, he threatened your life.
(e) I'm no expert on physical abuse, so I won't speculate on the likelihood of it happening.
(f) Nonetheless, this sounds like emotional abuse, control, and sometimes neglect. It does not sound like anything I would want any of my friends involved in. Or, frankly any of my acquaintances, or even most people I know and don't particularly like. I think I see more red flags there than at a shark-infested beach with a hurricane coming. (And, apparently, the sharks won't bite me...professional courtesy)
(g) Best of luck!

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

I can see how that would be scary, but I may not react to that in the correct way. I didn't really put any emphasis on it when I read it, because the three times my stepfather did it to my mother, it was a genuine threat, not a threat made out of fear. The first time he put her in the hospital. He never laid a finger on her again, but the second and third times he threatened her with a knife and a loaded shotgun respectively.

So again, maybe this seems more serious to someone without that background, and if it is, get out of it. To me it's just a knee-jerk reaction to the threat made regarding the break up of the marriage.

Quote:
(And, apparently, the sharks won't bite me...professional courtesy)
*cackles*

ETA: I also disagree with the assessment that he's not an alcoholic and why. Is his drinking a compulsion? Yes, because he can't stop himself without someone standing over him, and he can't say no when someone asks him out. Is it interfering with his ability to function or having a negative impact on his relationships? Yes, for two reasons. The first and most obvious is the negative impact on the marriage. The second is related to above. If he's so strapped for cash, where's the money for alcohol coming from? If he's getting that drunk in bars, are his friend picking up the tab? Because it's pretty easy to blow a couple hundred bucks in a night when there's no off switch.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

So I'm just going to reply one or two at a time to make sure I don't miss someone.

Does this sound like emotional abuse and control? Yes. I know it does. But as I said before, it's not being done on purpose. That much I will attest to until the day I die. He IS a sweetheart, and a good man, with good values. They just get lost in his black little world.

I truly don't consider him an alcoholic, though that may be the central Wisconsin upbringing speaking there. I've come to find we have a slightly different definition of alcoholism. Most of the time, yes, his drinks were being paid for. And since I left, there's only been one incident where he's gotten that drunk. Also, I guess I should clarify. He /can/ control how much he drinks, when he wants to. He has. It's also not like he becomes a raging asshole every time he drinks. He doesn't. It's just a possibility. As an example of his control, Nate is one of those people that certain types of hard liquor have a terrible effect on him. He knows this, and will refuse to drink them, even when rather drunk off of several pitchers of beer.

I'll go on about the threat in a later reply as there's is a much longer post about that somewhere down there.....

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

that I thought he intended to control you? In my experience most people with abusive tendencies don't realize they are doing it, and when it's pointed out to them they can't control the behavior, which just leads to more self hate. He's not just being abusive toward you either, he's abusing himself with the alcohol and the self-degradation, and to ignore or minimize his problems will only make them worse.

As far as the drinking goes, if he's been an ass even once and you've said you didn't like it, he should be able to stop himself from drinking to that point. If he can't help but binge, it's a problem. Saying no to drinks you know will make you sick is not showing restraint, it's self-preservation.

nitebane21's picture

Now, I must preface this by saying I'm generally not known for being particularly nice with my advice. I like to call it being blunt and without bs, others have been known to call it being a dick. So, you've been warned.

This relationship is over. It seems like he's obssessing over you because, well, he is. I've been in that spot myself. You build your life around someone, you spend so much time with them and when they're not there, you just don't know what to do with yourself. The other person becomes a part of you. When I broke up with my ex, I relied on fast food, dunkin donuts and poptarts from the gas station for sporadic food because grocery shopping by myself was just too depressing to do. By dangling the carrot of "maybe you can get back with me" over his head, it's just making it that much worse for him. Cut the ties, move on and he will as well and realize that great friends don't always make great relationships.

Here's why I say it's over. You MARRIED him. That is supposed to make you a team. Remember "in sickness and in health, for better or for worse"? You've set the bar impossibly high by basically asking him to do what you're doing (go to school, get his life on track, pay down debt, etc etc) except he doesn't have the advantages of free rent, food and no kids. You're telling him to move to a city where you've stated that neither of you can afford to live in and jobs are scarce. And maybe it just hasn't been stated, but instead of just telling him do all this, are you helping him do it? With your free living situation are you saving up to put up security and 1st month on a place? Are you sending him information on prospective jobs? I have yet to hear you say, "I want to make this work" and you need to if you want it to work. Instead, I just hear you say that you love him, you are afraid of losing your best friend (I think this is the biggest part of it personally) but you want to have sex with others and "Hey Nate, let me know when you get all your ducks in a row and I'll let you know if I'm still available."

If you get back together, things will be better. For a little while. Then the honeymoon wears off, the realities of life and stress and money and everything else comes back, and the resentment and arguing will return. I know because I've done it and I could have sworn you were my ex writing about me. You both can't change inate things about your personalities to "make it work", even though you both know you need to to do just that. I still have love in my heart for my ex after 5 years, and we are still somewhat friends, but I've watched her flourish and be really happy with where she is now and in the end, if you love someone, them being happy is what is most important to you and sometimes you just have to admit that hey, it wasn't going to happen with you. Nobody's fault, no guilt necessary, just a fact of life.

If you disagree, and you're welcome to as I have at best a 50/50 chance of being right, then find a marriage counselor to talk to. Keep the communication open, decide together that you want to make it work, decide together how that can be done. With an impartial 3rd party, he won't have to wonder "Why do I do this stupid shit, why do I act this way?" and you both won't be looking to defend your own actions as "right" which is what leads to resentment. He has some real relationship issues, most everyone does in one form or another, and you both can go the DIY route and maybe eventually identify them, and then maybe eventually get through them or you can work with a professional who has seen these issues hundreds or thousands of times, can easily identify them, can help get you two to the route of the problem and can help you two work it out because that's what they are trained to do.

But, before all that, you need to decide if it's worth the effort and the work and the struggle and the stress. I keep hearing in your posts that you're ready to move on and find someone who is more in line with you. YOU will have to be the one that ends things, as he will never do it.

I know I've written more than most will read, but this is something I really, really know. I know where Nate and your relationship was, I know where he is at now and since there's been a lot of time and reflection, I can relate and empathize with you and where you were and are at. Best of luck regardless of your chosen path.

nitebane21's picture

Of course, in 8000 words, I forgot to cover 1 other thing that I think is very important. This whole "abusive/threatening your life" bit. Come on now, 1 sentence and this guy is suddenly an abusive boyfriend? Now, I can understand how it scared you shitless. And how it still disturbs you. Again, I have been in Nate's shoes on this one.

But think of it this way.
Undescribable pent up anger and rage that now is being released + deep, dark depression and self-loathing + screamfest + need to lash out and strike back at the thing that is hurting you + booze = Shit being said that you will regret for the rest of your life.

While I can empathize and understand the impact his statement had on you, and I don't mean to make it sound like I'm saying "Get over it" because I'm not, I don't think you should hold it over his head and I am certainly not as quick as some here to hop on the "horrible boyfriend" train because of it. I'm sure he's beating himself up more than you ever could over that statement and reminding him of it is grinding salt into the wound with rough-grit sandpaper. If he's apologized for it and you can forgive him, then don't bring it up again. If he's apologized for it and deep in your heart you just can't forgive him, well, not all mistakes are forgivable. Sometimes you fuck up and no matter how badly you regret it, no matter how much you wish you could take it back, you can't. The damage has been done and it's irrepairable. You need to consider the damage done to your heart, because a renewed relationship will not work if you cannot truly forgive.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

actually weren't that abrasive. Everything you said makes sense.

One thing, the controlling factor from the jealousy is an abusive behavior. Because of how he's progressively gotten worse with the drinking (at least, that's what I got from the OP) he could be on a downward spiral and that behavior could happen more often, and in a way where he means it. If the drinking were not also an issue, I'd say no way, wouldn't happen

I don't think it's possible to just become physically abusive. There are all kinds of warning signs early on. If he never seems to get mad about anything when it happens for example. If he' ever lashed out at the cats when he's been angry about something. But none of that's been mentioned. The factor that would worry me is that if he's drunk enough, at some point it won't matter if it's in line with his personality or not. He's uninhibited. That kind of logic no longer functions.

Like I said above, in this case, I think the death threat was more of a scared shitless reaction from him than any real intent to cause harm. He's already insecure about the OP leaving, and now she's actually threatened to. Does it absolve him of the act on its own? Certainly not, he's the one who needs to learn self control with the alcohol. I agree with you that I wouldn't hold it over him, especially not if he's making a genuine effort to make sure it never happens again.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

It scared me shitless. It brought up all sorts of bad memories that I buried a long time ago. And yes, he is beating himself up over saying it. He really is. Let me go back to the drinking thing. Has it gotten worse in the last few years, a bit. But, and most of you probably won't understand unless you're from the area, and I'm sure some of you will say it's not an excuse, but... in central Wisconsin, hell, MOST of Wisconsin, drinking is a hobby. It's done aaaalll the time. My views on alcohol are very conservative for the area. Most people thought that Nate was nothing more than a little annoying when he was drunk. I, however, saw anger rising every once in a while, and signs that it could turn into a problem. Is it really an excuse that the environment of his home town encouraged the drinking? No. But it's part of the explanation.

The point of if he gets drunk enough... that's exactly what ran through my head. He never lashed out at the cats, for example. But, anyone, any single person, could potentially do something destructive with the right mixture and amount of alcohol (which is why I generally abstain). If he gets he can stop thinking of drinking like the town he grew up in, I'll never have to worry about it. Though he's not an alcoholic, in my opinion, it's a very similar process. He stops drinking. Period. Maybe down the road it will be okay for him to have one or two, but it's unlikely. On that note, if Nate and I try this again, I need to make sure I don't let him. That was part of it. He would stop drinking completely, because I was never around. When I did come with, I'd even buy him one or two, because I could watch him, and I felt it was okay. Oh, and our friends wouldn't push more drinks on him when I was around. That just enabled him to justify drinking when I wasn't around, when every one would buy him drink after drink.

My apologies for not clarifying this earlier. I DO want this to work. If I had to pick the perfect, ideal solution to all of this, it's Nate and I together. I miss him terribly, and I want so badly to be with him again. I just haven't decided that it's a good idea yet.

Andyl's picture

Embodiment

Well, since Marri invoked my story, I might as well comment. Blum 3

Your relationship sounds eerily similar in some ways to the one I was in, and almost everything you've said sounds like emotional abuse.

Whether his reasons were good or not, he pulled you far away from your family, leaving you almost entirely dependent on him for support.

Whether his motives were good or not, he kept you from seeing your former friends, denying you any outside perspective or emotional support... again, meaning you had to rely wholly on him.

He wouldn't let you make any new friends. I call bullshit on trusting you but not them - it takes two to tango, after all, and he clearly thinks you're going to fall into bed with the first person who expresses interest, while couching it as blaming the person for showing interest.

He's manipulating you with things he knows matter - first he said he did want kids, because he knew you wanted them, but when you were married he no longer had to pretend. But now that he thinks he's losing you, he's playing the kids card again, thinking you'll be so desperate to have children that you'll come back.

When you try to work out your issues, like sex, nothing is HIS fault. He waaaants to, but he just doesn't - implicitly saying that there's something wrong with YOU, that if only YOU could be more appealing he'd initiate sex.

He pretends to be supportive - when you try to do things without him, of course he says it's fine. But he makes SURE that you KNOW he's going to be sad and lonely and miserable without you, so that you either have to give up going out, or spend the entire time feeling bad for him.

He THREATENED YOUR LIFE. That's not physical abuse, and from what you've said he doesn't seem particularly likely to become physically abusive... but burning you alive is NOT abuse. It's TORTURE, and it's MURDER. AND HE MEANT IT.

"If you ever once, just for one second, see a frightening, mad, staring-eyed look on his face that isn’t the result of something at least as horrifying as him having just been bitten by a venomous snake then no matter how fleeting it was or how deeply you think you care for him, either run for the hills or change the locks (depending on whose house it is). Ignore this one and it could cost you your life."

(From: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/redflaglist.shtml. I don't think they're all accurate, but this one IS.)

One thing I really should point out - him getting any kind of therapy CANNOT change your mind. For the first while, therapy actually makes someone MORE dangerous. One, they've got the "I'm getting help, baby!" sympathy play, making you more likely to stick it out, and two, they're getting armed. They'll pick up terms and start throwing them around as excuses - he can't invite you to go out with him when he's drinking because you're too co-dependent, and his therapist TOLD him you need to do things apart from each other. But then when he comes home drunk, it's your fault because you KNEW he's irresponsible around alcohol and you didn't come with him to take care of him.

Therapy should only make a difference if someone has made a serious (multi-year) commitment to it.

My parting thought, before I leave you with a couple more links you should read, is this: He probably isn't being emotionally abusive and manipulative deliberately, or even knowingly. His behavior seems to stem from a deep-seated self-hatred, a belief that he is not good enough for you, or anybody.

This man truly, deeply believes that you would be better off without him. He has told you that he doesn't want kids with you. He doesn't want sex with you. He doesn't want to be affectionate, or to spend quality time with you. And he knows that you deserve better.

He knows all this, and is still selfishly asking you to take him back because doing so would make HIM feel better for a little while. It would make HIM feel like he's a little better than he was, because he managed to get someone there's no way he deserves. He doesn't want you back to make you happy, he wants you back as an ego boost.

He knows he's a shit who doesn't deserve you. On this, you really should trust him.

http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml
http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/blackmail.shtml
http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/BadRelationships.shtml

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Andyl wrote:

Whether his reasons were good or not, he pulled you far away from your family, leaving you almost entirely dependent on him for support.

Not entirely true. He pulled me away from my mother. My father was still with in an hour's drive. He's the one that raised me in that awful little town.

Andyl wrote:

Whether his motives were good or not, he kept you from seeing your former friends, denying you any outside perspective or emotional support... again, meaning you had to rely wholly on him.

I have to take part of that blame on myself. He never, /ever/, said don't see them. Never were any real repercussions when I did. Nothing more than you'd get from anyone who had a loved one that was going to hang out with someone that you knew was toxic to them. An eyeroll when they tell you they're going to hang out with this person. A caution word or two about the behaviors of this person that you don't like. I made the decisions to not see these people on my own. Was his dislike of them strongly considered? Yes, but by no means the only factor of the decision.

Andyl wrote:

He wouldn't let you make any new friends. I call bullshit on trusting you but not them - it takes two to tango, after all, and he clearly thinks you're going to fall into bed with the first person who expresses interest, while couching it as blaming the person for showing interest.

Same as above. At no point did he actually put his foot down and say no. He did tell me to go out, and, in all honesty, me not doing it, probably made him worse. He blamed himself for me not making my own friends, because he knew I was staying home for his sake.

Andyl wrote:

He's manipulating you with things he knows matter - first he said he did want kids, because he knew you wanted them, but when you were married he no longer had to pretend. But now that he thinks he's losing you, he's playing the kids card again, thinking you'll be so desperate to have children that you'll come back.

I definitely see why you're thinking this. And it's one of the fears I have swimming around my head. My gut tells me it's not the case. Just like my gut told me he was lying every time he said he didn't want kids. That's why I fought with him about it instead of just leaving like I said I would if he never wanted kids. I could very well be wrong though....

Andyl wrote:

When you try to work out your issues, like sex, nothing is HIS fault. He waaaants to, but he just doesn't - implicitly saying that there's something wrong with YOU, that if only YOU could be more appealing he'd initiate sex.

He pretends to be supportive - when you try to do things without him, of course he says it's fine. But he makes SURE that you KNOW he's going to be sad and lonely and miserable without you, so that you either have to give up going out, or spend the entire time feeling bad for him.

Saying he wanted to, but just didn't, and he didn't know why, that was definitely not putting it off on me. The next breath would be full of how wonderful he thought I was and how it was not my fault, it was his.

There was no pretending of the support. I've known this man for almost a third of my life. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hid his fears and jealousy when I wanted to go out. I just know him better than that. I could read it. [b]I[/b] let the knowledge that it was going to bother him rule that for me.

Andyl wrote:

He THREATENED YOUR LIFE. That's not physical abuse, and from what you've said he doesn't seem particularly likely to become physically abusive... but burning you alive is NOT abuse. It's TORTURE, and it's MURDER. AND HE MEANT IT.

"If you ever once, just for one second, see a frightening, mad, staring-eyed look on his face that isn’t the result of something at least as horrifying as him having just been bitten by a venomous snake then no matter how fleeting it was or how deeply you think you care for him, either run for the hills or change the locks (depending on whose house it is). Ignore this one and it could cost you your life."

I would tell any of my friends the exact same thing. But, like has been said before, it was a mistake. It's not like I haven't made some terribly mistakes or said or done things that were very unforgivable in a stressful time, nevermind the influence of alcohol.

Andyl wrote:

One thing I really should point out - him getting any kind of therapy CANNOT change your mind. For the first while, therapy actually makes someone MORE dangerous. One, they've got the "I'm getting help, baby!" sympathy play, making you more likely to stick it out, and two, they're getting armed. They'll pick up terms and start throwing them around as excuses - he can't invite you to go out with him when he's drinking because you're too co-dependent, and his therapist TOLD him you need to do things apart from each other. But then when he comes home drunk, it's your fault because you KNEW he's irresponsible around alcohol and you didn't come with him to take care of him.

Therapy should only make a difference if someone has made a serious (multi-year) commitment to it.

I really hope I didn't paint him out to be this bad of a person. If I have, I'm so sorry. He isn't. I can tell you for a fact that he wouldn't do those things. One of the problems with all of this is that he is insisting that everything that has happened in the last 3 years was his fault. He refuses to accept that any of it was my fault.

Andyl wrote:

My parting thought, before I leave you with a couple more links you should read, is this: He probably isn't being emotionally abusive and manipulative deliberately, or even knowingly. His behavior seems to stem from a deep-seated self-hatred, a belief that he is not good enough for you, or anybody.

Yes.

Andyl wrote:

This man truly, deeply believes that you would be better off without him. He has told you that he doesn't want kids with you. He doesn't want sex with you. He doesn't want to be affectionate, or to spend quality time with you. And he knows that you deserve better.

He knows all this, and is still selfishly asking you to take him back because doing so would make HIM feel better for a little while. It would make HIM feel like he's a little better than he was, because he managed to get someone there's no way he deserves. He doesn't want you back to make you happy, he wants you back as an ego boost.

He does believe that. He also believes he's a much better person with me around. His entire family feels that way. He has only asked me once to take him back. Other than that, it's just him telling me he misses me and he doesn't know what to do and he feels completely lost (which I think is pretty normal when your wife leaves you out of nowhere after one ill-spoken sentence).

Andyl's picture

Embodiment

You didn't leave him out of nowhere after "one ill-spoken sentence". You've been dissatisfied with the relationship starting three months after you first got together. You need more affection than he gives you. It upsets you that he drinks so much. You hate that he spends his free time in WoW and not reconnecting with his wife.

Threatening someone's life for wanting to break up/get a divorce/separate/any cessation of relationship status is NOT a healthy response, and even had you been totally happy with the relationship before then, it is absolutely justifiable to leave after that.

"There was no pretending of the support. I've known this man for almost a third of my life. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hid his fears and jealousy when I wanted to go out. I just know him better than that. I could read it. I let the knowledge that it was going to bother him rule that for me."

(Fixed your tags Wink )

I fell for that really, really hard. He wasn't telling me he was upset, I just knew, so how could I hold it against him? It wasn't his fault.

It's not that simple, though. It's unreasonable to ask yourself to love someone and also be able to ignore it when they're upset, justifiably or not. Most of us just can't compartmentalize that way, and it's not fair that you think the best choice is giving up seeing anybody else. His jealousy is something that he needs to get over, because if he doesn't it's going to keep plaguing you - both of you.

Ultimately, it's your choice if you want to go back to this man, but both of you could really use some time apart building your own lives, getting some (or a lot of) therapy, and figuring out how to have a healthy relationship. And that's true even if you don't get back together.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

/agreed. We both have a lot of things to figure out. Next saturday, we're both going to be at the same concert, and I'm sure we'll spend some time there. It'll be first significant time we've spent together since the threat. I'll probably try to make a few weekend trips up there, until the lovely midwest winter settles in, and just kind of take it from there.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Please, as you're figuring out where to take it, don't loose track of who you are what you want, and if he knows who he is and what he wants (BESIDES to be with you). You are facing some very serious realities, with money troubles, trust issues, and now, a lot of advice that relationship is over, which has made you fight for the good that you had.

Don't just try to do this alone! Don't just fix things between the two of you! And don't let complete strangers affect you more than they should either! GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. You need a mental health professional who has worked with lots of people with the same problems, knows what mistakes to avoid, and has dedicated their whole life, basically to trying to understand these things, relationships, and what we can do to grow, be happy, be honest, and feel more content and successful!

If you don't, it won't be the end of the world. But you might not be able to avoid a lot of unnecessary pain...

NekoMegi's picture

Petitioner

I wish I had seen that Red Flag List sooner. I lost count of how many applied to my ex-husband. Wow. Thank you. Craziness.

And...as to the original post, I'm honestly still figuring out my own weirdass last relationship to give you any good advice. ^-^; Maybe I should be asking for some, though. Wow.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I'm with TheBoy and nitebane (although not for all the same reasons). I wouldn't go back to that man and especially to that relationship if you paid me all the money in the world, if I were you. You both sound like poster children for passive-aggressive behaviour, and, well, like TheBoy said, there's red flags every where in what you've told us. You both need to get yourselves straightened out, or at least make significant progress, before you even think about a renewing a lifelong commitment.

My philosophy has always been that people should be able to take care of themselves before they try taking care of a marriage. I mean, if you hitch a lame horse and one that has learned how to properly work in a harness to a cart, do you really expect them to be able to pull it anywhere, much less with any sort of speed or smoothness?

If nothing else, I'd recommend a set time-period to cool off and work on it. Finding a Good therapist will help you. Encourage him to do the same. I wouldn't even ask him to make it back to Chicago until after you've evidence that you're both making lasting progress on improving your relationship skills and ability to support yourselves. I'd even encourage you to refrain from jumping back into the dating pool for a little while, just to give yourself time to figure out went wrong last time and how you can deal with it in the future with Nate or with someone else (this is where a good therapist should help accelerate the learning curve, among other things like examining how the abuse you experienced as a kid has affected your relationship views/skills if you haven't done that yet).

It sounds like Nate might not be suffering from alcoholism yet, but he's definitely heavily abusing alcohol. Here's the CDC's defintion of the difference: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#12 (the rest of the FAQ is helpful, too).

I don't know if that still makes him a candidate for AA or not, but I suspect that you'd still benefit from something like Al-Anon... especially if alcohol was involved in the abuse you suffered as a kid, too.
AA: www.aa.org - and the link to their questionaire "Is AA for you?": http://www.aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=71
Al-Anon: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/english.html

Oh, and it's a hell of a welcome, but we're glad to have you regardless. Welcome!

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

The abuse I suffered as a child was not alcohol related. My entire immediate family, on both sides, are very anti-alcohol. I need to specify immediate, because my father's extended family are heavy drinkers, and my maternal grandmother, with whom my mother has not spoken in years, lives in a rehab center in Germany.

The sad thing is, I had actually wished it was alcohol related when I was growing up, just for an excuse for my father's behavior. Granted, now I know to be thankful it wasn't, but...

Anyway, the point is, it wasn't alcohol related in the past.

Oh, and thank you!

I'm really very grateful for all the responses, (though I seem to be spending most of my time defending him... I suppose I should take some meaning out of that). Thank you all very much! Biggrin

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

were raised by people who abused alcohol, and were in turn abusive as a result, it certainly is alcohol related, even if your father never drank a drop in his life.

Perfect example is my maternal great grandfather, my grandfather, and my uncle. All three had abusive tendencies. Two were outright malicious. Great grandfather was an alcoholic and was abusive to grandfather. Grandfather was extremely hateful of alcohol as a result and while he never came out and said his father was abusive you could tell. We knew he probably got beat worse than he beat my uncle (with a belt, but we're talking buckle end here) and what my uncle got was abusive but socially acceptable (at the time). Uncle also had bipolar and epilepsy, and was very likely ADD (my whole family is, I'm the only one who's ever tried to get help for it, since they're all in denial). Uncle held a loaded shotgun up to his pregnant girlfriend's stomach because he thought she was cheating on him and the child wasn't his. She was, and my nephew probably isn't, but that sure as hell isn't the right way to handle this situation. Uncle was not a heavy drinker.

All that's still alcohol related though.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I still hope you pursue therapy to address the abuse you suffered. You made a comment somewhere above about the current problems bringing up old issues you thought you had "buried". To me, that comes across as "I've dealt with it by suppressing it, not by actually working through it". I'd bet it's still coming through in your relationship expectations and skills. Regardless, I really really really think you should work on those expectations and skills, preferably with professional help, before you get into a relationship with *anyone*, whether it's Nate or someone new. (And Nate needs to do the same, too). Otherwise I can't see how this will ever work.

Also, heartbreak sucks, but so does a miserable relationship. When you get down, go do something positive to help cope - exercise, take some fun electives, make new friends, write sillyfic for MeiLin's hiatus, read a book, visit a museum, play with a puppy, whatever! "I miss him" isn't a good enough reason to continue a negative pattern.

ETA: fixed tired-induced errors

V's picture

Embodiment

Nanyque wrote:
I'm really very grateful for all the responses, (though I seem to be spending most of my time defending him... I suppose I should take some meaning out of that).
I'll just highlight the bit that jumped out at me the most.

People gave you their real reactions. If you were as honest and unbiased as you could be during your initial post, then even if you don't like what they say, even if you second-guess yourself and want to make excuses...yes, you really need to take some meaning out of that. Most of us aren't personally invested in this--we're just going to be honest about what we see given what we've been presented. We aren't going to tell you what you want to hear even if you try to tilt the table later on.

By the way, welcome! Your excellent literary tastes put you a notch above this guy already Wink

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Instead of a big post, I'm making a lot of little posts.

Grr. I love you, V, but of course her first post was as honest as she COULD be! She was recounting her current confusion and pain and describing the fights that still hurt to remember. These kinds of things are VERY biased! And that's ok! But her attempt to be honest about the things that bothered her also brought out a lot of alarmism from the crowd because they DO personally care! A lot of us are VERY biased about this sort of thing because of our own experiences, and VERY invested in trying to keep others from repeating our mistakes.

Maybe the meaning of her defending him so much was that a lot of people were quick to attack him! He's been called an abuser, a looser, and you ended your post by saying she was better than him. I don't like the ways he reacted either, but she was trying to be honest about her bad ways of handling things as well. Ignoring any blind spots in her narrative about her own behavior, she has already admitted to enabling and not being able to take care of her own needs for belonging, meaning, and when he dropped the ball, among other flaws. A lot of people have tried to call her on her own need for counseling and need to grow up, because they BOTH need to.

So, I'm not surprised she's defending Nate. She's defending herself too! Same marriage! Same high and low points! Different people with matching problems. And yet she got a lot of people telling her they think it's over, when she's still deciding what to fight for!

GRRRRRRR!

V's picture

Embodiment

either of you. I firmly believe Nanyque was as open and honest as she could be, and that she was pretty darn open and honest. I said that hoping she would ask herself that question--not that she would feel challenged or accused. It could *almost* equally have been said "Since you were open and honest..."

I have a bad habit of being blunt even when I try not to be. Amy addressed my point (and a bunch of others) much better than I managed to put it.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

I suppose I forgive you.

...
..
.

:smile2:

I'm happy because I'm not mad anymore. ^_^

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You need to go to Al-Anon, regardless what he's doing or how you guys end up. You have a lot to get straight within yourself before you can even address what's going on between the two of you, and from what you've said, there are some serious co-dependencies going on here. Without going into stuff that's already been said here, I would agree that this relationship is over.

ETA: I'm an Al-Anon/AA alum. Truly, it can help you.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

And the other thing to consider is how much of this might be possibly attributed to mental-illness. I myself can match quite a few things on that list, and my dear belovodes stuck through with me and got me help. If he says he he is willing to go on meds then he truly has hit the bottom and I speak from experience. I was truly to the point of killing myself before I would admit to the possibility that willpower alone wasn't going to fix me, none of the crutches I was abusing were helping me only hurting. ANd I lashed out horribly at the people who loved me most. Thought the worst things and then said a few of them in drug-induced mood-spike. I threatened to kill myself and my cats, to burn up all the art I had ever made and throw myself on the flames... yeah, that bad. But meds have saved my life and my relationship and my sanity. I hope you will give him at least hope and a goal. Yes, don't move in with him right away, and maintain some boundries and make sure that he gets a good therapist who will help him understand himself as well as everyone else. If you really want to make this work it will in fact be work, but you have to decide for yourself if you think it's worth it, if he's worth it. I don't think it was as much the "honeymoon" of an abuser but the early stages of mental-illness that rapidly spiraled down (fueled by his attempts to drown out the awful voices with alchol). How you saw him at the beginning is who he probably is underneath, but the illness has him strong in its grip. The right medicine could give you back the person he is supposed to be, that he clearly wants to be. That he wants to the things that will make you happy but can't, simply can't make himself. He probly can't make himself do things to take care of himself either, I'll bet he was neglecting himself as much or more than he was neglecting you. And the things that he did do- like working constantly/taking every bit of overtime- they were all self-punishing things

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

V, I'm still trying to decide what meaning I should take out of it though.

Blue, thank you. Again, I really do appreciate hearing from the people that can identify with Nate.

I know that therapy is essential for both of us, and I will do all in my power to seek it, for myself at least, given my limited resources. My goal right now is to see what happens at this concert we're going to and try to make some trips up there, as he can make some trips down here, and just see how it goes. It will be months, if not longer, before he can be down here, so that gives us plenty of time to see where we sit.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I believe that alot of places, especially urban centers (e.g., Chicago) have places that provide some counseling on a sliding-scale fee based on one's ability to pay. It might pay to contact the local APA or some other reputable agency to investigate that.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

Someone who has been a counsellor for the past 12 years, the fact that you are still defending him this much tells me that YOU need therapy yourself. This was not a healthy relationship for you. There is no way that it could have been a healthy relationship for either of you. Defending him or it will not change that.

Age differences aside, you wanted to be an adult in your relationship, but honestly lacked the life skills to do so. That is NOT a slam against you, but the simple fact remains that very few 21 year olds any where have the life skills needed to handle a marriage, especially if they are the second wife.

His emotional issues & scars had not been dealt with or healed when the two of you got together. That needed to be done before he could even begin a new relationship with any one. It sounds to me like you have your own issues that need healing NOT burying before you can fully enter into a healthy adult relationship too.

My own Father was abusive, I know the ever lasting harm that leaves unless you do get the help needed. & sadly we can only heal so much of our minds at a time, it does take going to therapy as a child, & then again as an adult to truly get all the help needed.

BTW, I live very near the Genesee brewery. Drinking is a way of life here too, Abusing alcohol, (drinking with out control & or being unwilling to say "no" is abusing the stuff) is still a form of Alcoholism. End Of Statement.

AA and Ali-non are good things to check out. IMO.

I get it that you don't want him to be THE bad guy, you don't want to think you chose a bad guy. He's honestly NOT THE bad guy, and you are not the bad gal. This Was however THE bad relationship.

My advise, Get therapy for yourself, check out Ali-non while you are at it, Have him get help for himself, & start AA. But do not make moving a condition for either of you at this point. Stay in contact while you are both in therapy, & revisit the idea of either of you relocating & starting couples therapy in about a year.

Snails should win this race.

Good Luck.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Amy wrote:
I get it that you don't want him to be THE bad guy, you don't want to think you chose a bad guy. He's honestly NOT THE bad guy, and you are not the bad gal. This Was however THE bad relationship.

Wow, that is an *excellent* way to phrase a break-up. I think a lot of people could benefit from that advice - I k now I wish someone had said that to me when I had my one really bad break-up!

Thanks, Amy.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

I hope you never need it, but if / when you do the truth of that statement is always there for you and anyone who needs it.

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

Wow. That was... very enlightening. Thank you. I am looking in to therapy. I can't say I'm overly motivated about it, as I've had some bad experiences with, well, most of the counselors I've been with (particularly the "income based" ones. I believe his words were "Look, I'll be honest. I'm here to listen. I don't get paid enough to really help you.")

You worded it perfectly. I don't want him to be the bad guy, and I definitely don't want to have chosen the bad guy. I know he isn't the bad guy, in all honesty. You're right, we both have some serious issues that neither of us have dealt with appropriately. In the end, all those issues just exploded in our faces.

I want to thank you all very much for the advice and opinions I've gotten. I've gotten a lot of good advice, and a lot of good POV's to think about. It's much appreciated.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

Shopping for the right therapist is as difficult as shopping for the perfect girdle was before they invented spanx. (shut up TB) Please keep trying when you find one who honestly cares & is willing to help the results are truly amazing. Maybe finding a therapist isn't the right answer here a psychologist might be a better way to go. They are paid to listen & to help.

It does in the end (again shut up TB) come down to a simple question though, Do you want to be as emotionally healthy as you can be? If that is your goal then nothing will keep you from pursuing it as vigorously as you have to in order to achieve it.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Amy wrote:
nothing will keep you from pursuing it as vigorously as you have to in order to achieve it.

Yes, pursue it. Vigorously...

:twss:

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

thank you, sir, thank you very much.

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Yes, listen to the counselor! She said almost everything I wanted to/should have (after reading the comments), minus the ranting. Smile

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I feel as though I'm missing a special joke here..... *eyes TB, North, and Amy*

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

It's all about innuendo and subtext... :twss:

If you can even remotly read something into a comment, it will be...

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Special, yes. That's a good way to describe TheBoy Wink

Now with extra legalese!

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I see... I will have to train myself in searching deeper into these comments.....

MeiLin's picture

Most High

...at the wiki. :ninja:

(yeah, check it: new smiley.)

Nanyque's picture

Petitioner

I love it! Absolutely love it. I have a siamese kitten named Ninja. Biggrin

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

New smiley, squee!

Now I have the urge to go start a new martial arts discussion topic, just so it can get lots of exercise.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

A ninja, finally!

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Wow. The post was fine, the advice was long. For once, mine is short! Let him make all these changes. If he can sustain them without immediate gratification (you coming back), then maybe he's changed some.

Updated post:
*sigh* With more information, my advice ceases to be short. I got tired of reading advice half way through. =/ Kudos to you for sticking with it. And kudos for trying to describe your relationship even though it's hard to such things without all your problems turning into pop-psychology stereotypes.

I think everything's already been said that needed to be said. I had a LOT of ranting in response to all these things, but it would probably do more harm than good at this point. Let me just say, I identify with you, both of you, and trying to grow no matter what happens makes all the difference.

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