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Marriage in free fall (very long)


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Old 14th August 2017, 6:34 PM   #1
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Marriage in free fall (very long)

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some objective views on my marital issues which have now reached a tipping point where I'm unsure how there's coming back from. I'm going to break this into a couple of posts as I'm not sure I have the time to give sufficient background information right here and now. So anyway, here it is.

Part 1.

I am 32 and my wife is 45. We met online in 2004 on a chat forum similar to this one. She was a single mom of two kids aged 7 and 10, I was a recently broken up 19 year old living with my mom in Boise, Idaho. We quickly migrated from sending PM's to chatting on messanger and before too long we were discussing meeting up. I flew up to Portland to visit her and stayed with her over that New Year's while her kids stayed with their dad.

Over the week we spent together we talked about why the barriers of a 13 year age gap shouldn't prevent people from getting together. I had some issues as I was barely 20 by that stage and it would be a big thing for me. But I was sick of girls my own age and was looking for someone more mature to relate to and she ticked all the boxes in that regard. She was smart, funny and educated.

At the time I was 6 months out from completing my Diesel Mechanic qualifications so we decided that if I were to move I'd wait until then. We pulled the trigger and made it all happen. I was excited about the prospect of moving to Portland. I liked the city, grew up a Blazers' fan and the thought of seeing them play regularly live excited me. Basically a lot of superficial things on top of what I thought were solid, important things.

We had discussed having more kids. She was happy with that. Eventually so were her own two kids. At the time I moved she was renting but planning to buy a house within the next two years. I had similar aspirations. She already owned some land in a new estate so we were going to build together and have kids if we worked out over the first year. Well, things didn't exactly go to plan, at least from my end.

My wife was overweight after having her previous two kids and being dumped by her ex while studying psych and law at the same time. She was working part-time as a nurse, supporting two kids and studying, with little help from her folks. She wasn't looking after herself and piled on weight over those few years. She's always said she wanted to lose the weight and I was perfect reason to as I was the special person in her life and I'd be the motivation along with her kids. She planned to do it straight away as she wasn't studying any more and had a good job as a lawyer in a government agency.

Anyway, four months since we'd moved in together, she found a place for sale and decided it would be better to buy it and sell the land. She told me it would be cheaper than paying rent and repaying the land and would be easier and less hassle than building. I wasn't sure but just went along with it and agreed. We were approved the loan and moved in. I looked at the positive side and thought it was a vote of confidence from her that she's willing to do this with me so soon after.

A month later, we were lying in bed and she said: "honey, I am worried about my biological clock ticking. You want kids and I don't want to be infertile and/or too old if you want kids in five years. I think we should have kids now." Once again I just went along with it. We did it like rabbits and within a short period of time she was pregnant. I called my mom up and she was happy but concerned from what I could make out on the phone.

Nine months rolled on and we had our son in April 2006. Things had been strained leading up to the birth. It all went well, the birth that is, but we started drifting apart. My wife was getting agitated about how I wasn't lifitng my weight around the house etc. I got fed up with her kids making huge messes all the time and trying to keep on top of it was a pain. She always said that "it's just kids, they're not responsible as adults" which was fair enough, but I got very frustrated with their lack of accountability and being undermined by her when I tried to discipline them.

I decided I needed to contribute in other ways instead and I also wanted a daughter but needed more money before that was feesible. I thought a cleaner might help and if I earned enough that I could pay for one. In the mean time it was 2008 and my wife (who I obviously wasn't married to at the time) was pressuring to get married. She practically asked herself to get married on my behalf. At this point she was using marriage as a reason to lose weight, as no other reason had proven effective thus far.

An old buddy from Boise told me about a job out on an oil rig that was paying real good and I tried to get there with him. I went through most of the process and was accepted in. A few weeks before starting things went south. The financial crisis hit around the same time my wife got her promotion and decided, the year before to send her kids to private school. But I couldn't get a job so I couldn't pay for much of the wedding. My mok does not have much money so my father in law chipped in more than his fair share to help make it work.

We got married October 09 but there were cracks forming. I had another good job lead and in the meantime my wife fell pregnant. It is at this point when things went real bad. I didn't get a high paying job, my in law divorced and my father in law got shafted and was also stupid in how he managed his finances. Because I had agreed to help pay her kid's school fees on the basis our own would get the same education, her dad chipped in to pay the fees to save the kids being pulled out.

With the FIL living with us, tensions were high. It didn't work well. I fought with him, my wife fought with him, I fought with my wife etc. In the end I couldn't get a job in time, her kids were pulled out of schooo and into a regular one (which was very hard on them), FIL became dependant on us and at the same time he wasn't taking advice from his lawyer about settlement. His wife refused to leave the house, the new owners were delayed and massive bills came out of his settlement to the point he had little left. The safety net became dependant.

We had our daughter in September 2010 and I'd found a regular job. My wife became resentful (even though she denies this it is how I feel) towarsds me about our finances. I was trying to step up but couldn't. The pressure on us both meant things went worse, we had to sell our house and rent. After we rented for some time my wife got sick. She had a heart attack at aged 40. She blames me for not helping her, not supporting her. Not understanding or empathising with her.

It's probably true. The pressure and stress made me go into self preservation mode. I was 26 and completely overwhelmed with a life supporting 4 kids and a wife who seemed so consumed with her own problems that she couldn't possibly help me deal with my own. At this point, and in the years to come, not being able to work at a team would prove very costly.
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Old 14th August 2017, 6:50 PM   #2
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I will update this thread with the second part a little later. At this stage if anyone wants to comment, that's fine but based on what I've posted so far, little can be gleaned from my current situation. Thank you for reading even if it's a bit tl;dr.
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Old 14th August 2017, 8:21 PM   #3
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It sounds like you jumped from being a "kid" to an adult without a real transition period. You entered into a series a commitments without having time to date, live on your own, and in general experience life.

Were you attracted to your wife while she was (is?) overweight?
Did you make changes as a couple/family on healthy eating/exercising?
How are things financially now?
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Old 14th August 2017, 9:39 PM   #4
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It sounds like you jumped from being a "kid" to an adult without a real transition period. You entered into a series a commitments without having time to date, live on your own, and in general experience life.

Were you attracted to your wife while she was (is?) overweight?
Did you make changes as a couple/family on healthy eating/exercising?
How are things financially now?
As I said previously, I'll update this thread with part 2 later tonight. I just wanted to post up the first part as I didn't want to leave the window open all day and for it to accidentally refresh and potentially lose everything.

Just briefly, our financial situation is terrible. I'll go in to more detail later. As for what attracted me to her despite her weight: She is a very attractive person despite her weight. Pre kids pics she showed me from her prom and early 20s before kids... she was stunning!

She is still beautiful now. Her face has hardly any wrinkles. She looks under 40 despite everything and her 23 year old daughter is often mistaken as her sister. Weight since kids has been her only.problem.

Besides all that though, she's got an awesome personality for the most part. She's not without her faults like anyone on this planet, but to me I thought it would be a crying shame to turn someone down based on age, or weight which (I thought) could be fixed anyway.
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Old 14th August 2017, 9:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trail Blazer View Post
After we rented for some time my wife got sick. She had a heart attack at aged 40. She blames me for not helping her, not supporting her. Not understanding or empathising with her.
Was the heart attack caused by her unhealthy weight? How overweight are we talking here?

You were soooo young when you got into this! I'm stressed just thinking about everything you piled on your plate at such a young age.
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Old 15th August 2017, 4:59 AM   #6
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Part 2

After my wife's heart attack, due to mounting financial stress, her older two kids not dealing well with having been pulled out of a really good private school and put into a public one and my inability to cope with my own stress which meant I negoected to stsp up in a lot of ways, she decided we'd lost too much and she had to take a break from work.

At this point our daughter was 1 year's of age and after 10 years working tirelessly in a stressful government position, she needed a break. My wife was going to work sick as she had no leave left due to taking it for when our daughter had regular kids illnesses contracted from child care centres. I also had found another job but had exhausted all my leave as well.

My wife left her job at the end of that year as she also went bankrupt from crippling debt. All the bills were in her name as she organized then from the beginning and in some cases they carried over from before I was around.

My wife had a passion for photography so she decided she wanted to spend her time being bankrupt learning a new craft. It turns out photography is a lot more expensive than I thought, she thought different though and said "I'll figure it out" when it came to the money side.

Running a home business, with four kids (her eldest daughter had finished school by this point) wasn't easy, especially with money problems. Her Dad moved out after two years with us and down to Salem where he had a contract who helped him get another job as he'd semi-retired as an engineer. He urged us to move as well, make a change to kick start things.

My job I'd been at for a few years was good but didn't pay the bills to the extent I needed. My mom received some money meanwhile from her aunt who passed away and left some money in her will and I got rid of my old car and bought an 05 F truck. My wife thought it was a stupid buy as it chews through the gas, but to me it was reliable and I could fit my tools in it etc.

I decided to stay at my job, commuting from Salem to Portland daily. My boss was good and negotiated in my contract I could fill my truck's tank with gas once a week. This helps with the fuel bills, but she was still mad that I commute all that way and she said she felt like I'm deliberately distancing myself from thr familiy.

Believe me, I've tried and continue to try to find better work. I am stufldying part time doing a management qualification so I can try to get a better job within my industry. My father in law also has suggested working in wineries as the money is good but it's all seasonal work. I'm busting my ass but under this pressure I am reactive and I juet don't know how to reset and clear my mind and focus.

After 2 years of my wife running her business, it was failing, even though she was very good at what she does. We didn't have the money to invest in equipment, marketing etc so she couldn't keep up. She got really mad with me, with many night hysterically crying and shouting, demanding I "step the f**k up". She would say things like: "when you have a family depending on you failure isn't as option. Saying I can't do it just doesn't wash."

My wife would also look at her facebook friends' pages growing, businesses growing and get very resentful. I told her the common denominator is that most of the successful women run businesses have fairly wealthy husbands funding them so they can grow quicker. She would say stuff like: "So in other words, that's code for somone backing them up".

This sort of dialogue would be ongoing, and when I'm tired from working on some heavy ass truck all day my patience was thin and I'd react very badly. Shamefully, I did shout and swear in front of the little kids. They haven't forgotten. I have gotten control of my anger in recent times, but for a while I was very defensive and would snap when I felt like I was going to be criticized or made to feel guilty about something, even if it was said passive agressively.

Perhaps the bggest strain was when in early 2015 my step son who was completing his twelfth grade announced that his gf was going to stay with us "for a few days". A few days lasted almost 2 years and in that time we were supporting her financially as her parents would not. She ran away from home and they saw us an enabling her behaviour by having her stay with us.

As it turns out this girl has mental health issues just like her mom, so they clashed all the time while her dad stuck his head in the sand. Her mom was medicated, but she was undiagnosed at that point. Given my wife's background in psychology and her generally caring nature, she wanted to help her. Her behavior deteriorated to the point where she was going out and getting drunk (yes at 17 years old) and coming home and fighting with my step son, screaming at the top of her lungs at 4 in the morning.

My stepson wanted her gone at that point after mutliple times she threatened to kill herself. We all wanted her gone but my wife still wanted to help her and bookee her into see a doc. Well, she went wild, told her mom and her mok came around and abused my wife about overstepping her boundaries. Most of this stuff happened while I was away at work so I couldn't do anything.

It was Novermber last year when this girl announced she was moving out. Originally my stepson agreed to move in with her as he felt bad about having her in our home and the impact it caused on the litte kids. He essentially "took one for the team". We found out more after everything came to a head. That was just after Christmas last year.

We'd decided to go to Idaho for Christmas instead of my mom coming over for once, and found out that my stepson was arrested for assult. Because of his girlfriend's deteriorating behavior she lost most of her friends. So when they had a housewarming ceremony and none of her friends came, but all of his buddies did, she got angry. She was whacking him and according to witnesses, he retrained her on the couch as he was tired of being hit.

She called the police and he was later arrested. We ended up getting a lawyer as it went to court. 1000s of dollars in legal fees was hardly what we could afford, but we didn't want to risk him not getting into the police. We got him off and he moved back home with us. But the whole ordeal has left a massive strain, emotionally and financially on everyone.

My wife wanted to join the police also. The business failed and she just had to lose a bit of weight. The weight was hard to fall off and she has had other health complications as well. She accidentally got pregnant and had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. It got infected and she was bleeding non stop until she had an endometrial ablation. Then she found out she's got insulin resistance and that's blocking weight loss. The only long term solution will be to have a gastric sleeve surgery to not only lose weight but to stop the onset of type 2 diabetes.

With all of this going on there hasn't been much time for either of us to bond. I can count off the top of my hand how many times we have had sex in the last year. I have raised the issue of sex with my wife but she's not willing to budge or meet half way. Now recently she's told me that because I haven't stepped up to lead the family and left too much to her, she feels like I'm her fifth child. She says "the thought of having sex with your child is utterly repulsive... so you can understand why I'm not so keen on the idea".

To summarize: I am definitely guilty of many things over the years. Emotional neglect, incapable of doing many things. i.e. even getting my kids.off too school effectively because I couldn't tie my 6 year old daughters hair properly and my hed ridden wife had to be woken up my our upset daughter because her hair sucked.

I'm guilty of getting drunk one night in 2006 after a massive fight when I left angrily and drank with some buddies at the bar even though I had work the next day. I tried to drive to work to sleep in the car park as I was worried I wouldn't wake up if I went home, only to drive off the road and wreck after driving into a pole. Yes, that was my lowest point and most shameful action. I lost my license and couldn't work for a period of time.

I am guilty of a lot of things. I'm not bitching about my wife. In her position I'd be upset too. She always said she never wanted me to earn money, that she would sort out money and that I couod contribute what I could as well as other stuff. But when things fell apart she said "sh*ts gotten real and things have changed. You have taken out your best player so there's no choice but step up".

Stepping up is one thing, but to earn thr money I need to earn to buy us another house, better cars, send kids to better school, go on a nice vacation once in a while and let my wife actually spend some money on feminine things that a lot of women just take for granted... well I'd need to be a whole different person who wasn't a high school drop out that did a trade. I'd need to be someone else.

I am also guilty of leaving my family for a few days. I stayed with a buddy back in 2014 but went back as I was overcome by crippling guilt. I couldn't leave her to deal with all that mess. She now doesn't trust me even to this day and thinks I'm going to walk out again whenever things get too tough. It's fair enough to say that I suppose. But really, I don't know what to think anymore.

Life just sucks sometimes, and in this case I have no one to blame but myself for getting myself into this horrid mess.

If you've managed to get this far, thank you for reading.
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Old 15th August 2017, 6:34 AM   #7
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Depending on just HOW overweight she is I can't help but wonder if both you and she would have been happier if you'd just accepted "that's the weight she is" from the beginning, instead of constantly stressing and waiting and hoping that this time, somehow, she'll finally manage to turn back the clock and look 20 again.

But it's been a hard ride and you have definitely put in a lot of work, after jumping into a situation that was probably more than you should have taken on at that age. You're not perfect, no one is, but you've been pulling a heavy load for a long time.

What are you here looking for? How can we help?
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Old 15th August 2017, 6:46 AM   #8
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I'm not really sure what I want. It's a mess which no one is going to have a magic fix for. I suppose I haven't had anyone to talk to about this ever. My mom has anxiety and is in another state. If I told her everything she would freak.

I've never had a dad around as he left when I was 3 and only saw him a handful of times since then. I've had no male role model in my life growing up as my mom stayed single until I moved out. I just vowed to not leave my kids, which I haven't, save for a fleeting moment three years ago.

This forum seems supportive and perhaps it will help me make sense of some things and spilling it all out anonymously to well meaning strangers might somehow help me get through this never ending rut. I don't know.

I do want to help others as well. So I will be active when I can. I didn't just join to talk about my own problems. Helping others makes me feel better, but I thought it was important others know some of my background before I start giving my own advice/opinions.
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Old 15th August 2017, 6:55 AM   #9
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As for my wife's weight: how she looks has been an afterthought. Sure it'd be nice but it's been about her health and the practicality of being heavy.

She was never SUPER overweight. Her dad's side of the family are all big. The guys are very big and athletic, the women fat after having kids but very fit, strong and healthy before kids.

Both her mom and dad's side have a history of diabetes, so that's obviously a factor for health. My wife was 39 when she had our daughter, so she obviously wants to extend her life span to spend as much time on this planet with her as possible.

But the most important reason currently is she wants to join the police. She is actually quite fit as she's been going to the gym, her basal metabolic rate is quite good, but her BMI (as arbitrary as that measurement is) is too high.

There's never a good reason to be overweight and in the long run it would have guaranteed type 2 diabetes. Heck, she's half way there now, so the surgery she is looking into (she saw the specialist last week) should finally knock the weight on the head.
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Old 15th August 2017, 7:00 AM   #10
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Was the heart attack caused by her unhealthy weight? How overweight are we talking here?

You were soooo young when you got into this! I'm stressed just thinking about everything you piled on your plate at such a young age.
Overweight to a degree, and it was when she was at her worst because of a recent pregnancy plus feeling really down so not eating the best. But the main reason was stress.

She had adrenal fatigue plus a chest infection and pneumonia. She was quite sick and I was at my worst as well. Struggling and mentally checked out as I couldn't cope. She was coping but was overwhelmed and worked herself into such a state her body shut down and then had a heart attack.

Part of her left ventrical was damaged, so all thingd being considered she's done well to lose the weight she has and keep up some form of fitness and have a resting heart rate that is quite reasonable.
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Old 17th August 2017, 9:53 PM   #11
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Your wife's weight is not the most serious problem in your marriage so I don't know why you keep talking about it.

Most women gain weight after having children and also as we age.
Though your wife could do more to look better, it's unrealistic to expect her to look the way she did when she was 20 years old.
I wouldn't want to have sex with my husband if he kept harping on my weight, he wasn't there for me when I was ill and he didn't earn enough to adequately provide for our family if we had children.

Poor choices, resentment and health issues have brought you to this point.

Last edited by BettyDraper; 17th August 2017 at 9:56 PM..
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Old 18th August 2017, 10:39 AM   #12
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Your wife's weight is not the most serious problem in your marriage so I don't know why you keep talking about it.

Most women gain weight after having children and also as we age.
Though your wife could do more to look better, it's unrealistic to expect her to look the way she did when she was 20 years old.
I wouldn't want to have sex with my husband if he kept harping on my weight, he wasn't there for me when I was ill and he didn't earn enough to adequately provide for our family if we had children.

Poor choices, resentment and health issues have brought you to this point.
Holy Moses, the guy wrote two looong posts and barely mentioned his wife's weight in either one except to say that she has wanted to lose weight for her own reasons. He has also said that he finds her beautiful and that the weight wasn't an issue for him. I don't get the impression that he has ever harped on his wife for her weight and it's the posters here who zeroed in on the weight thing.

OP I know money is tight but you and your wife really need counselling. Also it doesn't sound like you will ever be able to make the amount of money your wife is demanding that you make without some schooling or training. It sounds like the earlier years of your marriage were all about spending, buying and living high on the hog. You were working and your wife was a lawyer in a government agency. There should have been enough money to make ends meet but it sounds like your wife wanted to live way above your means. I don't think your wife respects you and I don't think you are going to be able to change that now without professional help.
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:11 AM   #13
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Your wife's weight is not the most serious problem in your marriage so I don't know why you keep talking about it.

Most women gain weight after having children and also as we age.
Though your wife could do more to look better, it's unrealistic to expect her to look the way she did when she was 20 years old.
I wouldn't want to have sex with my husband if he kept harping on my weight, he wasn't there for me when I was ill and he didn't earn enough to adequately provide for our family if we had children.

Poor choices, resentment and health issues have brought you to this point.
I don't harp on about her weight. I don't ever say anything to her about her weight actually. I have never said anything to make her feel bad about it. Her weight is an issue because it's holding her back from doing things like joining the police.

I have never expected my wife to look like anything in particular. She has put this pressure on herself. She's told me that I deserve someone to look better than she does. She is a lot more self-conscious than I ever have been.

If you followed the dialog you would see that I answered specific questions directed to me which revolved around my wife's weight. I only added it in my first posts to highlight the context of her weight in the grand scheme of everything.

Yes, sure - I'm guilty of neglecting her when she was sick. We have talked about this issue over the years and I put my hand up to say that through the worst period I was in my mid 20s and struggling to deal with the burdens of losing a house, missing out on opportunities becuase of the financial crisis and the pressure of 4 kids to support and a wife who just wuit her job.

I'm also guilty of not earning enough money to support 4, and for a period of two years, 5 kids on my income. Guilty as charged. And I'm doing my best to fix it. Really, I am. I work avergae 55 hours a week, study 6 hours plus assignments. I have no other support, no family in this state and I'm an only child.

I do feel downtrodden and from your perspective you probably just see 'loser' written on my forehead. Perhaps you are right. But one thing I've got going for me is I'm a fighter. I don't ever give up and even when things are hard I keep fighting. I don't lose my sense of self, I fight and get through stuff as best I can and try to always be there for others.

I have made a heap.of mistakes and I'm not sure if we can last long term in our marriage. But one thig is for sure, I am loyal and will not leave even if I feel I would be much better off personally. Hell, even if I thought my wife would be better off - which is possible I suppose. But my point is that my character is good, surely that's worth something? Perhaps not worhty of sex in your eyes though...
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Old 18th August 2017, 11:19 AM   #14
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Holy Moses, the guy wrote two looong posts and barely mentioned his wife's weight in either one except to say that she has wanted to lose weight for her own reasons. He has also said that he finds her beautiful and that the weight wasn't an issue for him. I don't get the impression that he has ever harped on his wife for her weight and it's the posters here who zeroed in on the weight thing.

OP I know money is tight but you and your wife really need counselling. Also it doesn't sound like you will ever be able to make the amount of money your wife is demanding that you make without some schooling or training. It sounds like the earlier years of your marriage were all about spending, buying and living high on the hog. You were working and your wife was a lawyer in a government agency. There should have been enough money to make ends meet but it sounds like your wife wanted to live way above your means. I don't think your wife respects you and I don't think you are going to be able to change that now without professional help.
Thank you for understanding. Your first paragraph was absolutely bang on. Exactly what you said.

Yes, we lived beyond our means and it all came crashing down. I couldn't help keep the house of cards from falling.

We can't afford counselling. We have already spoke about it and my wife is not keen. She's a psychologist herself so she thinks she knows what they will say. She's just said they will not provide additional coping mechanisms she does not already know as she has identified the problems that need fixing. All that needs fixing in her eyes is more money.
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Old 20th August 2017, 1:36 PM   #15
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Holy Moses, the guy wrote two looong posts and barely mentioned his wife's weight in either one except to say that she has wanted to lose weight for her own reasons. He has also said that he finds her beautiful and that the weight wasn't an issue for him. I don't get the impression that he has ever harped on his wife for her weight and it's the posters here who zeroed in on the weight thing.

OP I know money is tight but you and your wife really need counselling. Also it doesn't sound like you will ever be able to make the amount of money your wife is demanding that you make without some schooling or training. It sounds like the earlier years of your marriage were all about spending, buying and living high on the hog. You were working and your wife was a lawyer in a government agency. There should have been enough money to make ends meet but it sounds like your wife wanted to live way above your means. I don't think your wife respects you and I don't think you are going to be able to change that now without professional help.
He clearly mentioned comparing his wife's appearance in her 20s to how she looks now. The OP also talked about noticing how all of the women in his wife's family gained a lot of weight after children. His wife's weight was also mentioned several times without any prompting from other LS members. The OP has a problem with his wife's weight even if he says he does not. That is why several members who have posted in this thread have commented on it.
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