She's Stuck at Home with the Husband She Was Just About to Leave

Comments

1

....and don't have any kids.

2

It sounds like he is making a genuine effort, so that's at least something.

For all the reasons you've stated, it's important you stay where you are. While you're waiting for this crisis to pass you might as well explore the possibility that your relationship isn't at a dead end. If you still feel the same way when all of this passes, then you'll be free to leave him. But it's at least possible things will shift for both of you and you will rediscover the things you love about each other.

3

Agree with Dan. Sure your mind is made up but it wouldn't be untruthful to say you want to wait for counseling to make any big changes. You've made it this long, might as well stick to your plan, albeit an extended version of it.

I think it would be a lot kinder than asking him to live with the wife that just dumped him for a few months.

4

I dunno, Dan. You don’t want to gaslight the guy. It looks like he’s making a good-faith effort and to string him along just to make him feel better now will only make him feel worse later when the bomb inevitably drops. Campsite rule and all that.

It’s a crazy-tough situation but assuming this guy isn’t going to become violent (if he’s violent then of course tell him what he wants to hear), I’d lean towards being truthful rather than building him up just to knock him down when all this is over.

5

No, don't say "I'm willing to make an effort" [clearly implied: towards staying married] if you're not willing. This is not a self-protection situation that justifies that lie.

Say you're not in a place to do heavy relationship work during a pandemic. Say you're really not sure how to repay things but you don't think it's wise or kind to DIY it under stress. Say let's focus on being decent to each other and revisit the couples counseling when that can happen.

6

*repair things

7

@5: Mtn. Beaver, that was a better response than Dan's suggestion.

8

And if she's doing the classic girl thing: not as much in love with him as in the start and he's doing the classic boy thing (the loyalty of an Irish Setter), won't their next relationships play out the same way?
I don't hear any self-reflection ("I've realized I miss the excitement and romance of a new relationships") coming from her, or for him ("I'm fine with a mediocre relationship and am clueless that my partner isn't satisfied"). I'm thinking it's better for them, individually (and WAY better for their next partners) if they figure that out about themselves and each make their own decisions to settle for that or do the work to change.

9

you wanted to leave him? so leave him.

10

Holey moley, I hope there aren't multitudes in this situation (which is my nightmare). I hope it's that, if it happened to me, I'd want to write Dan just because, well, the worst predicaments make great and cathartic stories.

PMDD, no way on Earth would I break up with someone I'm trapped with.

@5 Mtn. Beaver
I agree with nocutename, that was a wonderful script!

@9 guesty
Deep as a shallow puddle.

11

@7 @10 aw thanks

12

I agree that this situation does justify a little bit of lying-by-omission, or not being fully open about your feelings, or maybe you can call it "soft-focusing the truth to the point that it can't really be discerned."

I bring this up because, in reaction to @4, there have been times when somebody I loved didn't tell me the full truth about something, and when I later discovered the reality, I didn't feel worse. I didn't feel strung-along or betrayed. I felt like, "oh, I can see why they didn't tell me that then, and I can see how their choice was the best alternative, at that time, for both of us." This doesn't happen OFTEN, but it's possible.

If someone does that, and I later find out about it, I will be upset if I think that I would have made other, better choices for myself if I had known the truth. But if I think I really wouldn't have made different choices, or COULDN'T have (because of a global pandemic, or a professional commitment, or something), then I feel better realizing that the person was sparing my feelings, and being (at least mildly) grateful for that. It's retroactively sad, but a retroactively-sad-situation is usually not as traumatic as a right-now-sad-situation-that-you-can't-get-out-of-and-don't-know-when-it'll-end.

Maybe LW's husband will never feel the way I do, I don't know. Just wanted to mention that it's possible.

13

time to be an adult, suck it up, and ride out the coronavirus, you big baby. so terrible. sometimes you can't get what you want when you want it because a once in a hundred years pandemic is sweeping through the world. great opportunity to grow up. hope you do!

14

Anyone else get the impression that "He likes predictability and routine, is very introverted, and has difficulty communicating his feelings. Meanwhile, I like novelty and adventure, have a large group of friends, and crave deep emotional connection" was exactly the reason they were drawn to each other in the first place?

Thanks to Dan for pointing out that Mr PMDD was indeed doing his best to support her through her illness. It may not have been what she needed, but it's all he could think of to do. If Dan's right that he also provided tangible help with taking her to doctors' appointments, etc, PMDD needs to accept that he was not being an asshole but doing everything his introverted, communication-averse self could do in a challenging situation. She needs to drop this grudge. Sure, perhaps the fact that he couldn't handle the situation the way she needed means they're incompatible, which it sounds like she has concluded. She told him a month ago that she's thinking about ending the marriage. So that's the holding pattern they are in for now. They are stuck in this limbo due to circumstance, and they postpone a decision until the circumstances change. If she already knows what her decision will be, she can repay his kindness by withholding it, but not gaslight him by implying in any way that she's made the other decision. She should just tell him that for now, ending the marriage isn't physically possible, and when all options return to the table, they will pick up where they were when the lockdown hit.

Bonzer @4, please google campsite rule. It does not apply to this situation.

Mtn Beaver @5, perfect. I hope Dan prints your suggestion in the weekly roundup.

David @8, their next relationships (or at least hers) will play out the same way if she does the same "opposites attract" thing and goes for a guy who is the yin to her yang, forgetting the lesson that someone who is her opposite may not complement/complete her but be incompatible when the relationship shit (relationshit?) hits the fan. However, they got together in their early 20s. I would not expect anyone to have learned a lesson like this at that stage of their lives, but it's entirely possible she's learned it now.

Guesty @9, and go where? Have you watched the news in the past three weeks? SMH.

15

Yes, LW, he stayed with you when you were sick, for several years. He didn’t abandon you so now, don’t be so quick to dismiss him. He comforted you with his actions, ring your mother or a friend when needed. No partner gives us everything we need, be thankful for what they do give.
Karma. You and he have to talk, don’t pre empt the ending, because he might surprise you.

16

Soap opera.

17

@5 articulated my feelings far better than I could.

18

@ 12 I think this is a great point. It's one thing not to have the information you need in order to make a decision - should I stay here in this city with my wife, or take my dream job in Italy? - and another to not get the information until choices are again open to you.

Right now, their options are limited to, essentially, live together in current mild civility, or live together in post-breakup possible extreme unhappiness. Giving him a message of "Let's just get through this, and then we'll deal with our marriage" isn't giving him false hope, but also isn't destroying what comfort and assistance they are capable of currently giving to each other.

19

Another vote for @5 Mtn. Beaver's suggestion.

20

Another +1 for Mtn. Beaver, whole-heartedly agree, well said! Separation and divorce aren't a good option right now for a lot of reasons that Dan articulated. So just say that, and that you don't know what the future holds, and get through quarantine being as good to each other as you can be. Today is the only day we really have to work with anyway, so make each today as easy as possible. You can revisit your long-term relationship potential when the pandemic has run its course. Thank him for being willing to work on communication in the meantime, and make your own effort, even if just as a roommate.

21

@8: Great observation. I didn't know about the "classic girl thing/classic guy thing" until you related it, but it described the relationship I had with the first girl I was serious about marrying to a 'T'.

She was the first one who was - for me - the whole package: beautiful, had the same hobbies, and great in bed! I was floored a year in when she announced 'I love you, but I'm not IN love with you', and broke up. She came back a couple months later, and we went through a cycle of things being great, then her leaving, then her coming back for another year or so. I finally got fed up and dumped her - for keeps - the first time I caught her cheating.

But it wasn't all bad. I learned a lot, and met and married another girl. We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer.

But I always wondered what became of the other person. I discovered her page on FB, and she's still single.

I guess she was one of those 'classic girls' who loves falling in love, but is useless for anything long-term. I'm glad we didn't get hitched; there would've been a lot of heartbreak there.

22

LW, we express our authentic self in many ways. Keep you words kind and over time he’ll pick up on your true feelings. Look at him with appreciation for being a friend when you were sick /and you did get better, his effort helped here/, and the communication, verbal or non verbal, will go gently.

23

Agreed with nocutename, BiDanFan, curious2, and so many others: @5 Mtn Beaver for the WIN!

LW, you are in one way fortunate that you and your spouse have no children right now during the CONVID-19 pandemic.In these stressful times, bless you both for being healthcare workers. I hope it gets better for you.

24

I can see it from both sides. I am an introvert and clumsy communicator, and I had a painful condition that kept me mostly bedridden for a couple of years in a prior relationship.

I think it is sad that the LW focused on his words (maybe clumsy - I can certainly relate to that as an introvert) instead of his actions and intentions (loyalty, trying to make her feel better). Maybe you couldn't take the jokes, but could you maybe focus on the good intentions behind the jokes?

LW, I speak from experience, you have to get off your high horse. Did you really want you loved one to suffer through your pain as much as you? If so, rethink whether you really loved him or wanted him for utility value only. And (as I learned in my case) try to stay away from "support" groups that often amplifying the victimhood and grudging. If you cannot let go of this, please consider leaving him sooner than later for both your sakes. If not, can you at least consider that maybe he isn't the only one who needs to work on themselves in this regard?

25

Sadly, domestic violence is also on the rise. A distant friend posted on FB that she was going to provide refuge for a gay friend escaping an abusive relationship, but he never made it. He was murdered yesterday. :-(

26

I'm assuming since she didn't mention it that there has never been any domestic violence and that he shows no traits that she need to fear it, I'm seeing the reports coming in that incidents of domestic abuse have skyrocketed worldwide since shelter in place orders have gone out. I imagine for anyone who may be in such a situation, it is still best and even more important to get out. DO NOT risk being locked at home with these psychos. Do not subject any children any further to any more time in such a toxic environment due to them also becoming physical victims (if they are not already).