Dear Chump Lady,
I have been reading your blog since my husband left me in June 2013. I would like your opinion. I should start by telling you a bit of background about myself. I have constantly struggled with depression and anxiety and in June 2012 began a particularly severe bout of depression which lasted until just a few months ago.
We have been together for 17 years and married for 10 years. Those were truly the best times of my life. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, travelled all over the world together and just loved each other to death. First sign of trouble was in May 2013 when I got a phone call while he was out taking our dog for a walk. His voice loud and clear says “Hi are you in your nightie?” He swears to this day that this was a pocket dial and he was speaking to the neighbour who was outside her house.
Next was a few weeks later when we went to a friend’s cottage and he was constantly checking his phone (only found this out later through my friend). Let me take this opportunity to tell you that he is not in the least “a phone guy,” always made fun of those who constantly carry them. He left in June 2013 stating that he was tired of dealing with my depression and because he couldn’t do anything to make it better, he felt his only option was to leave.
Fast forward to July 2013 and my friend sees him and the OW together. We both worked with this woman and so this was a double whammy. They are seen at least 4-5 more times throughout the summer. He claims since they were old friends they were merely comforting each other in their times of need. Her husband passed away in Dec 2012 and he said to me in a letter that they were together since both of them had “lost” their spouses. We had virtually no contact all summer, then out of the blue he e-mails me in Sept 2013 and wants to talk. I ignored this and he wrote three more times, the last e-mail saying that he had done some hard work with a counsellor and he hoped that I would join in the counselling. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I agreed and attended a marriage counselling session with him. I was all messed up for days after that. Started believing things he said in the session that now I think back, just don’t make any sense. An example is that when one of my co-workers saw them at a fair holding hands, he stated he never attended that event.
As you can imagine I’m heartbroken, feel betrayed, lost, abandoned, etc. I just want the marriage to be like it used to be but my counsellor says it can never be that way again, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be different.
We have another session tomorrow night and I have so many questions for him, but don’t even know if I’m getting the truth.
So what exactly was the “hard work” he did with the counsellor if the idiot cannot admit he’s been cheating on you and left you for the other woman?
I’d try another shrink. This one seems snowed by your husband. The whole canard that the marriage “can never be that way again, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be different” is laughable. No, it’s EXACTLY the same marriage because your husband is still gaslighting you. He’s still not taking responsibility for his affair and abandoning you. But let me guess — I bet there was a lot of talk of how difficult your depression was on the poor sausage, right?
Imagine your shrink is a realtor and she’s taking you to look at “new” houses. And here’s a house that was previously condemned in a gentrifying neighborhood. When you go to look at it, there’s the same moldy carpeting. There’s still the backed up gutters and a weird rotting smell. But it’s got some new paint. But when you look, you see that they didn’t do any prep work. They just painted over the old cracking, peeling paint and the giant cracks in the wall.
It’s a NEW house. Move right in Denise!
You hear gunfire? Pay no attention, says the realtor, consider the potential! The neighborhood is turning around! Get in early, while the getting is good!
You remember what the neighborhood used to look like decades ago, when it was sturdy and prosperous…
This is a bad investment Denise. This guy’s soul is still a moldy carpet with a putrid stench. He wants you back if you’ll just do him the small favor of denying reality.
Why are you confused? Do you want this guy back? A man who bailed on you and blamed you for it? He couldn’t deal with your depression. Okay. I hear abandonment really improves depression symptoms. But whatever. He could’ve been honest about his decision to bail. He could’ve called a divorce lawyer, ensured that your health insurance was covered through spousal support, paid a fair and generous divorce settlement, and left you honestly.
He didn’t do that. He cheated on you for God knows how long — and THEN he left for the other woman and pinned it on your depression.
I know depression is an illness, but has it occurred to you that you may have suffered depression as a result of his double life? Your worst bout was a year before he left. Six months after the OW’s husband died. You got butt dialed 11 months later. He clearly was in an affair by then, to be on “nighty” intimate apparel terms. Ever consider your gut was screaming at you? Telling you something was off? That maybe this guy is not as sparkly and wonderful as you’ve always believed?
You’re in counseling. You’ve got questions. If he doesn’t answer these questions honestly, what’s the POINT? If he cannot admit his affair, and take responsibility for abandoning you, why would you spend two seconds around this mindfuck? Please don’t tell me you’re going to go session after session while he works himself up to it. Oh! Hey! I see a ray of sunshine! The fog is lifting!
Start calling the tune, Denise. Quit waiting on him, looking to him for answers, and letting him gaslight you. Set the terms of engagement. You want to reconcile? Demand a post-nup. Demand accountability. If you don’t get it, you’re hiring a divorce attorney and filing.
If he’s truly “sorry,” and working on himself, he’ll keep on his self improvement journey regardless of what you do. He’ll accept the consequences.
Otherwise Denise, this is all a ploy for cake. He misses clueless you. He misses the narrative of being the martyr to your depression, who needs the help and understanding of another woman, to admire him and stroke him and tell him how brave he’s been to face all that. Perhaps the OW dumped him and you’re plan B. Who knows. The question to ask yourself in therapy is — is this relationship as it is NOW, moldy carpet and gunfire, an acceptable one for YOU? If not, what are YOU Denise going to do about it?