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Separating and feeling anxious and ambivalent

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My husband and I have been together for 9 years and married for 5 of those.  We never should have started a relationship as we both needed to heal from past traumas.  It seems to all be catching up with us now.  We have three children 5 and under and I’m at a loss as to how to handle this all.  And as pathetic as it sounds, I don’t have any friends close enough to talk to about any of it.  It’s making me feel a bit crazy to be stuck in my own head with so many emotions.

He has told me how important I am to him and how much he loves and cares for me snd doesn’t want to lose at the very least my friendship in one breath, and then after even the slightest argument now will tell me “this is why I need to get out of this war zone and away from you! My therapist agrees with me!!”  I want to stop the arguing which just seems to happen all the time now (and I take blame for my share of it - I’m no saint!).  I want both of us to be happy.  But when he talks about moving out and finding another place to live I feel my chest tighten and the racing thoughts set in:  How am I going to do this? How can I get through it while dealing with everything else (I’m healing from a concussion)?  How do I tell the kids that their dad won’t live there anymore but wants to still be very much a part of their lives as always?  How do I run a busy household as a mom of three little ones on my own? How do I deal with ALL these emotions?  

I’m in therapy too, but it’s once a week and even she agreed that me venting all the latest news isn’t doing anything to help me so we are shifting our focus to look at the positive instead.  I just don’t have anyone else who understands or that I can talk to about any of this.  

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


And thank you for taking the time to read this.  

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You can take yourself out of the room or find a way to limit how close you are physically to your spouse to diffuse any arguments. How did you get a concussion? Is this an abusive situation? Did you receive any medical attention for the concussion?  

Separating is difficult. It sounds cliche but there is no other way to it than through it. You deal with it one day at a time. I tried a lot of breathing exercises to remain calm and be able to think a little more clearly in the worst moments. You will cross that bridge as it comes when you're talking to the kids and you can discuss how to do it with your spouse or when the right time would be. I wouldn't try to fix everything all at once right now.. it doesn't work that way as it's a letting go process that takes time. I'm sorry this is happening but it sounds like it's for the best. 


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1 hour ago, Anxiousmamaof3 said:

even the slightest argument now will tell me “this is why I need to get out of this war zone and away from you! My therapist agrees with me!!” 

 But when he talks about moving out and finding another place to live I feel my chest tighten and the racing thoughts set in

Read up on abusive relationships. He's doing all of it, particularly making you feel isolated with manipulative gaslighting remarks such as "my therapist agrees." This is to make you feel insane. 

He is also threatening to leave which is nonsense because he would have to file for divorce and pay a heap of child support. He wants to see you cower and hurt you.

Get to a physician and talk privately and confidentially about what he's doing. Ask for a referral to a therapist Do Not Tell him. Do Not agree to or suggest marriage counseling, it's contraindicated in abusive situations such as this.

Consult an attorney to understand separation/divorce and  your options in your situation. Do Not tell him . Never threaten divorce. 

 Most of all Google 'cycle of violence', in case you think there are just some bad times and he'll get better. Google "chaos manufacturing", it's an abusive form of control to keep you chronically off-balance.

Act bland. Never discuss anything vulnerable or your feelings. keep it about milk, toilet paper ,walking the dog, etc.. If you expose feelings to an abuser it's like loading the gun they'll use on you.

In the meantime develop an exit plan. 

Talk to trusted friends, family, neighbors, etc. about what is going on. Your children must be terrified of all the abusive arguments and turmoil  he's subjecting everyone to.

Edited by Wiseman2
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One of the problems with arguing is that one persons a 'slightest argument' can well be another person's war zone.   It all depends on our tolerance levels and how the disagreement is conducted.   And what we our parents exposed us to as children.   So what does a 'slight argument' sound like?   And what are the issues which keep raising their heads?  When you say that you're no saint, what kinds of behaviours are you referring to?

It's hard to know whether your husband is serious about leaving, but it would be foolish to ignore the possibility.   Though I do suspect that he's misquoting his therapist in anger.  If he's unhappy and feeling like he's in a warzone, the therapist may support leaving the marriage.  But it's highly unlikely they are personalising their support in the way he expressed it.  

Yes, negative news can take a toll on us and good on you for removing it from your life.  A few years ago, I changed all of my social media feeds to remove all the shouty negativity.  I removed the shouty politics from both sides of the fence, the conspiracy theory acquaintances, and those who share stuff without fact checking.   As soon as I made this change, life suddenly felt a whole lot lighter and better.  And I wasn't driving those around me nutty with my views.  I promise it will change your life.



Edited by basil67
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On 4/16/2021 at 9:25 PM, basil67 said:

One of the problems with arguing is that one persons a 'slightest argument' can well be another person's war zone.   It all depends on our tolerance levels ......

Yep... I agree 100%  I see it here all the time, and I went through it myself.  Something to me that was nothing other than a heated "Debate" (not even an argument to me) was war to the exW. 

But, if you can't live together, and you are arguing all the time... that's not healthy. Individual therapy isn't the answer either.  That person is there to help you heal... and not to help heal the relationship.   if you want it to work... you need couple's therapy.  To be honest... individual therapy in a lot of cases seems like the tipping point of the break up.   And I hate to say... even myself, I am guilty of it.  While going through my D... I told myself I would never want to wish this on anyone.  But now that I've been through it... and am happy again... It's easier to tell my friends who are having issues to just go file.   I even have a family member who has been struggling for 10 years finally confided in me saying that she has slept in another room, and hasn't been physical with her husband in 10 years.  Her kid is grown and out of the house... I I point blank told her to go file. (She has a good job, and can do it easy) 

As far as... How do you move on, and tell the kids... well... you just do. A lot of us have been there.  The kids won't like it at first... just like you, and your stbXh won't like it.  There will be crying, and high emotions...  But eventually, it will just become life. I worried about the kids the most during my exW's break down... but a year and a half later... I told my youngest daughter "I'm sorry for all of this, and I'm sorry you have to bounce around between homes."  and she actually told me... "I like it.  It's fun being in 2 homes, and having different things."   Even my oldest daughter, who wouldn't talk to her mother for almost a year... she now gets along with her, and goes back and forth. 

Anyway... I wish you luck, and happiness in whatever you decide. 

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@Blind-Sided beat me to my suggestion. While it is good that the two of you are in therapy, you also need couples therapy (and not from one of your individual therapists - they are looking out for your individual best interests. A marriage therapist will benefit the marriage.) There is no reason two people who have each been through a past trauma cannot coexist and help one another through it with caring and understanding. 

You could also benefit from learning about the Four Horsemen - Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. There IS a healthier way to have and resolve conflicts in a relationship. Google it and see if some of the suggestions might help you.

Edited by vla1120
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You have three very young kids. You need each other and yet you feel like a war zone. Maybe you should live separately but still engage as a couple ? If he has his own place, he can be more relaxed and see where that goes. There is a term for it "Living apart together". That is if you don't plan to cheat on each other.

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