Monday, 6 October 2014

Falling out of Love

My shrink has challenged me to think a bit more about what I'm feeling about my husband.  So many things are squeezing their way through my emotional bandwidth pipe that she thinks that this issue isn't getting the airtime it deserves.

Husband and I have been together for close on 20 years.  I began my relationship with him very quickly after I left my abusive first husband and after that horrible relationship, my new man felt like rain in the desert!  He's gentle and thoughtful.  Became a wonderfully attentive and supportive father to my 3-year old son, and felt to me like a complete grownup after my Borderline Personality disordered Ex.  I didn't get any alarm bells about the fact that he was living with his mom at 30 years old, and when he and I moved in together, I just felt compassion for him for the sadness he was feeling in leaving her to move in with me.  I'll tell that story properly here one day.

What I didn't really see properly early on in the relationship was the Peter Pan-ness of him.  I'm a very competent and decisive human being, so I more than made up for his shortcomings - pick up what needs doing, and do it.  We've always had a strong partnership - he has managed the household stuff - grocery shopping, paying the help, kids school stuff, sports days and so on.  My role has been the emotional 'container' of the family, financial provider, strategic head, and money manager.  We've had another 2 boys together and I have put my heart and soul into loving and holding and mothering those boys, even while growing my business and providing for the family.  I breastfed the two little boys exclusively for 6 months each and then well into their second year.  It took a huge toll on me physically, and I ended up with a severe case of chronic fatigue during my last pregnancy.

So hubby and I have had it rough.  A lot of nasty life issues have hit us over the years and we've found various ways of coping with that: I started my business in the same month that my divorce was finalised - left my job and bought a townhouse.  Huge financial pressure, especially when my car was stolen exctly a month later.  A year later I had a severe car accident which took me 6 months to recover from physically - that sent my earning power and new business into huge distress. Then a couple of babies and the onset of my chronic fatigue syndrome. Debilitating as it was, I got out of bed every single day and breastfed my baby and kept my growing business running.  Later, my husband was hit with a dangerous and potentially life-threatening rare disease called Pheochromocytoma: he eventually had surgery to fix it, but we spent months contemplating the fact that his life was potentially ending very soon.  Then I got diagnosed with 2 autoimmune diseases - Hashimotos (a thyroid disease), and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Both of these produce flares of fatigue, pain and restricted movement at times.  I am taking chemotherapy now to treat the RA.  Interspersed into this health place are good years and tough years with our company.  Owning and growing your own business is never a sleep-easy thing, and can get really scary at times.  Like now.  We did also take on a couple of foster kids through this time too, who had their own tough issues.

Through all of this we battled along.  It took a lot out of us both to carry and stabilise our family, but we pulled it off.  We have strong, confident and happy boys, and our business, though struggling at the moment, has created employment for hundreds of people over the past 2 decades.

But now.  In our 40's. It has just become too hard.  Issues that were little and invisible in the first 15 years have suddenly emerged as too much to deal and we have decided to part ways.  There's more to that, but I'll blog about that more later.  I felt that we have such a strong functional partnership that it would be too much for us both to get divorced and go our separate ways.  We're great parents, strong economic partners, we still like and respect each other: surely we can continue the marriage and just step out of the partnership to create intimate connections with other people?  Meet our needs for care, emotional support and sex in other ways?

Well that's what we've been working with for a while now.  It's tough!  I'll tell you more about it in future blogs.

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