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My Wife and I

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2022 8:53 pm
by Hadrian

I'm new here and before I begin, I'd like to thank you in advance for taking the time to read what I have to share, as well as for any suggestions/advice you may wish to offer.

My wife and I have been together for 14 years, married for 12. Despite the fact that around the age of 6 or so, I was inappropriately touched by an older girl on several different occasions, I do not consider myself to be a survivor (no effect on me); however, my wife most definitely is one, and was forthcoming about it very early on in our relationship (from approx. 9-13 by stepfather and another one-time incident at around 15). We've had some rough patches throughout our relationship, the most recent of which almost resulted in divorce and completely devastated me as an individual. So, in the interest of getting the best support possible, perhaps a backstory is needed:

We started our relationship very strongly and quickly. Within a month, we were living together and everything was...great. Then, probably within a couple months of us living together, things started to change. As if a light switch had been flipped off, my wife's intimacy (both sexual and non-sexual) was gone. I was perplexed at first and had no idea what was going on, and after starting a dialogue with her about my concerns, she told me that she doesn't know why it happened/happens, but it has in every long-term relationship she's ever had; I'm just the only one who has "stuck around." Being in love with my wife and an overall fairly optimistic person, I obviously decided to stay for the long haul and make things work. Time went on and although nothing improved, nothing really got worse either.

In 2015, we experienced a fairly traumatic household situation that had occurred while we were away on vacation. A few weeks later, my wife was unrecognizable to me, as she started drinking heavily and became very verbally and emotionally abusive to me and threatened to separate, which was something she had never done before. A few months later, she came home from work one evening and told me she was moving out, which she did a few days later. While away, she continued to drink heavily and incurred a massive amount of debt. Six months or so later, we got back together and things were the way they were before, but I was most certainly very happy to have her back in my life.

In 2017, she experienced another traumatic event via the death of a loved one, though this time she didn't treat me any differently.

Most recently, she told me this past summer that she loved me but wasn't in love with me, and was considering a divorce; she even had the paperwork printed but not filled out. Around two months after that I discovered that she had been engaging in inappropriate contact with numerous other men via social media/dating apps, as well as texting/sexting, phone sex, videos, etc. A week later, I found proof of actual physical cheating, and I confronted her. During the confrontation, she also admitted to inappropriate sexual acts (exposing herself) much earlier on in our relationship. We decided to try and make it work, and then a few weeks after that, I discovered that she had been continuing to contact these other men via her phone on social media/apps. All of this devastated me, and we've been in marriage counseling ever since.

Since last summer, she has been attending individual counseling every other week, which includes some EMDR.

I'm not here to vent, nor am I here in an attempt to "fix" her; rather, I want to do everything I can to understand what I can do as her husband to help her, and us. I'm also curious if the above listed behaviors might be a way of her "acting out" by being triggered due to her past?

Any insight or advice is greatly appreciated, and I'd be more than happy to answer and questions or provide clarification if needed.

Thank you.

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2022 12:54 pm
by Serenity
Hi Hadrian, and welcome to isurvive. I'm sorry for the reasons, but glad you are here.

It's great that your wife is seeing a T (therapist), and that the two of you are in counseling together. Have you thought about individual T for yourself, to help you work through your feelings on everything? It can be helpful to have a space of your own in situations like this. As for your wife's behaviors, yes it is possible (probable even) that her behaviors are linked to her abuse. It's also possible that, in addition to typical PTSD there might be some other diagnosable mental health issues going on with her. But, I'm not a professional so I can't know for sure. Hopefully she's being honest with her T, and hopefully her T is knowledgeable in these things.

It's good that you know you can't "fix" her. You can't control anyone's actions but your own. And as far as helping her goes - you can only help someone who wants help. I've found the best thing I can do for myself and for others in any relationship is to set and enforce healthy boundaries. You get to decide what is acceptable for you, and how you want others to treat you. Setting boundaries can be really hard at first, especially when there weren't boundaries before. And people tend to push back, so enforcing and maintaining them can also feel very difficult. But in the long run it's vital for a healthy relationship. This is also something a T can help you with.

I wish you all the best, and hope for a good outcome for you, whatever that ends up looking like. And I hope that you find care and support here.

With care,

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2022 10:07 pm
by heavenlydove
Hi Hadrian,
I am sorry you are facing a challenging time in your marriage at present. Long term relationships always have their challenges but I am glad that both you and your wife are having some therapy to try to correct things and get yourselves to a better place. I think it is very likely that your wife's past experiences are affecting her in her present. ( I am assuming she suffered sexual advances etc. at the hands of her stepfather when she was young) and that would mess with anyone's sense of self and the way one views/experiences sex and related issues around men, strangers etc. Maybe she is feeling worthless so seeking these thrills or subconsciously sabotaging things with you. This is something that can come out in therapy and explain why she feels the need to cheat on you with other people. Maybe therapy can help her realize why she has a block in regards to physical intimacy with people she is in a serious relationship with - there may be underlying issues that are making that difficult to do. I am not a therapist, but do believe that sometimes how one views/experiences sex is based on other things that one has experienced in life and until other things are healed, that side of things can be unhealthy and problematic. Having said that, it may be worth you having therapy on your own too so you stay authentic and true to yourself in your own marriage and maybe get to a better place yourself, as these sorts of problems with a partner can lower one's own confidence about oneself. It is at least good that things are now in the open and hopefully can be worked on in counselling/therapy etc. for you both to get to a better place. Good luck with all that.

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2022 5:55 am
by Hadrian
Thank you for your responses.

I recently started IT for myself as I've come to realize that this isn't something that I seem capable of *properly* handling by myself. I also believe that without it, the difficulty that I've been experiencing will continue to manifest in ways that will be detrimental to her own IT, which will hinder her ability to properly focus on and address those problems. It's certainly a difficult situation and times as of late have never been more trying in my entire life, but I believe that she/we are worth it.

I will certainly continue to be active here as developments arise, be they good or bad.

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:57 am
by Serenity
Hi Hadrian. It's great that you are starting individual therapy. I hope that you find it to be a helpful, healing step for yourself. You are important, and you deserve some support.

With care

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2022 4:50 pm
by Progress
Reading along and offering my support. You seem like a very caring person, and your wife is more than lucky to have you in her life.

I look forward to updates.


Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 10:51 pm
by the husband
Hi Hadrian

I am sorry to have come in late on this thread. Your story and mine have many commonalities. I'm here for you if you would like support or just to vent - you are allowed to have your own feelings in this safe space and I am honored to listen.

Re: My Wife and I

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 11:39 am
by Zedd

A bit late to reply, but I would just like to wish you good luck. These situations are always difficult to get through.