.....to not wish to return to my wife who has accused me of abusing our daughter?(33 Posts)
I left my wife of 10 years just over a year ago now and it’s been a very difficult process. My wife is a beautiful, loving and caring woman who, because of the sexual abuse she herself suffered as a child, has had on going issues for as long as I have known her with social anxiety, trust, intimacy etc. When we met, as with all new long term relationships, she excited me beyond imagination and I fell in love with her very deeply and quickly. In our time together she has always been someone who suffered anxiety socially and I have helped her hugely along the way to cope. From the beginning she was very honest with me about the sex abuse she suffered as a child and I understood that she had received help for this, I too was always there as a shoulder to lean on when she needed it. Our marriage had been turbulent as various events along the way (abortions x 2, I wanted the child on both counts; no follow up counselling after either; very little intimacy following these for obvious reasons; money worries mainly arising from my businesses failure). She has always been very controlling and very volatile (very high and low mood swings) and in the last 7 years or so of our sex life was very infrequent (perhaps once every three weeks or so, and less often) - I always wanted intimacy, not just simply because I am a man, but rather because I loved her and fancied her like crazy, in all honesty, part of me still does to this day. Over years of constant rejection, this wears you down.
When our 9 year old boy was born (3 years into marriage), he was a ray of sunshine and we were naturally besotted - she is and was an amazing all consumed mother, perhaps to the detriment of not having a balanced life with other interests too, but still an amazing mum. When our 7 year old daughter was born (18 months later), she was equally beautiful and we were equally besotted. I'm a hands on Dad and I am always very involved with everything to do with our children. I love(d) every aspect of raring them, however things began to change whenever my wife would see me alone with my daughter. Sink baths, baths, bed time story routines as a baby and up until I left (when she was 6) turned into "do you have to clean her down there" or " do you have to clean her so intensely" or "you're hurting her" or "why are you lying so closely beside her", all said without good reason, all a mixture direct and/or passive aggressive and all very hurtful. Essentially over the years, it was obvious, she didn't trust me with our own daughter and it was beginning to affect my relationship with my daughter too. I was feeling guilty for doing the most innocent of things and my daughter herself was not as close to me as I felt she needed to be - the over protectiveness of her mother was rubbing off on her I believed. In truth, I was heartbroken that A) my wife could think I could do such a thing and B) because I felt my relationship with my daughter, whom I love(d) dearly, was being threatened. I was made to feel guilty about the most innocent of things and my wife and I had no longer a fully functioning marriage. I believe my own personality changed and I too became angry and aggressive in retaliation for her own controlling, accusatory and non-understanding attitude. Again, in truth, I still loved her very much and understood and believed strongly, that our marriage was failing as a result of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and the resultant effects it had on her. Even amongst all the heart break, I wanted to help and understand. My professional life (I am and have been successful at work) really suffered as a result, I do believe you are only as successful outside of your home as you are within your home, and unfortunately I worked from home as a consultant!
I asked my wife to seek help many times over the years for her own sake and for us as a family, to this day she says she can’t remember my asking. We separated briefly for 1 month three years ago after I had had enough - I said that I would return once she sought help and that I needed to refocus on my own career. We attended Relate for 5 months or so and it was a huge help - I can honestly say, I fell back in love with her all over again and we were becoming close again. Relate counselling finished (I was very happy again) and after 1 month and after being out for dinner together, we went to a village dance where after too much to drink, my wife became intimate with another man, not sexually I don't believe, but engaged in pretty heavy kissing I understand. She was always so loyal, but how can a woman who refuses to be naturally intimate with her husband be so intimate with another. When it all sank in, being honest, it broke me, over the following months and year, I was slowly broken down. More counselling and sex counselling at Relate followed and it was suggested she needed her own private counselling, as I had always requested and suggested. Whilst on holiday 9 months later and after spending a fortune for a fabulous resort to treat us all and relax together, my wife accused me (passively aggressive, not direct) again of touching our daughter after she got herself covered in sand, was in pain as the sand got into her privates and I attempted to clean her down. This lead to arguments, drinking, aggression from her and, well, an end to the dream holiday I had planned. That was it I guess, the last straw and three months later having planned my exit, a nice rental property for my kids and I, we separated. Once again I said I was not closing the door but stated I could not live in a marriage where these accusations floated, where my relationship with my daughter was suffering, where I was suffering with guilt for no reason and where my professional life was being destroyed. The plan was to see the children 50/50, or so I hoped.
This separation has led to this past year of hell. A week after I left my wife self-harmed and/or attempted suicide after drinking heavily in the morning by cutting her wrists, on a Sunday after I had taken the children out to play for the day. She had written 3 suicide letters to our children, her Dad and her Mum, the saddest notes I have ever had to read, all stating how she could not live without her children full time. No letter was written to me. Whilst a section of her family hastily and aggressively pushed for solicitors involvement, I have managed to keep them at bay believing their involvement would only destroy her further - I am not interested in removing our children from her and believe strongly that they need her as much as she needs them, a woman in ill mental health does not need to be stressed with the possibility of having to fight for her children. There was never going to be a fight from me. At present we amicably see the children half the week each. A year of intensive therapy has followed, thankfully all under the supervision of a psychiatrist including 'family therapy' where I have attended each and every time - I will do anything and everything to help my wife, I love her, I feel I owe it to her and I feel I need and want to for the sake of our beautiful children. She has been diagnosed with bi-polar and is now beginning the long road of therapy under the direction of a clinical psychologist also, therapy she has always deserved and needed. I pray it works. No matter how hard it has been, I am determined if at all possible to have a good friendly relationship with my wife and again, at times I still love and want her very much, indeed I miss her.
My wife wants me back and for the sake of attempting a 'happy family' scenario 'one more time', part of me feels I could do it, my heart wants it......so does my bank balance. Another part of me, my head, tells me not too, I am too scared of a repeat, to scared of being hurt all over again, too scared of her attempting suicide if we break up again, too scared of the constant rejection, of being accused of being inappropriate with my daughter again (this has all stopped now, separate houses has made it so and my relationship with my daughter is better than it has ever been, we are best friends!!), too scared of the repeated aggression, lack of respect and fight towards each other and, I too, have found myself again, the old happy self who is confident without any self-guilt. I am not there yet, but I am slowly rebuilding my professional career also, the appetite for calculated risk and entrepreneurial flair is slowly returning.
I am now at the stage, 14 months on, where I want a relationship again with a woman. I want to love again and be loved.
I am right, am I not, to turn my back on this past relationship and to maintain whatever amicable friendship we have, and search out a new, fabulous and exciting romantic adventure with a whole new woman? Am I?
YANBU in any way shape or form.
That your wife has had a hard time and is now wanting you to be there for her own reasons, may be less stable than she should be and may be making you feel guilty for not agreeing to help her regain her 'happy family', is not a reason for you to jump to order.
Be sure you can do what you set out to do, make no promises you cannot keep, look out for your own best interests as they may well be best for your kids too, and good luck.
Difficult. You say you still love her, and you have clearly been very supportive of her through the hardest of times. Would it be worth trying to start again, and date? See if that leads naturally on to a more solid relationship, rather than jumping back into happy families?
Otherwise, you would be well within your rights to keep things as they are with good co-parenting, since it is working, and you are right, there are risks with going back to a relationship with your wife.
I think, if you do decide to try again, you need to take it very slowly.
I didn't want to read and run.
Op, your opening post is very moving and I agree with Nomama that YANBU to question whether going back into such a turbulent relationship is a good idea.
What you've got going on now for yourself and your children sounds like it's working well and I don't think, if I was in your situation, I would be willing to give that up.
You've shown/are still showing how much you want to help your wife but I don't think you need to sacrifice yourself to continue to do this.
Good luck OP.
OP what a tough situation for everyone. It's good that you can see, however toxic, your wife's behaviour is due to being a victim of abuse. Desperately sad. Only you can say whether you are ready to permanently close the door. If you do, can I suggest you enlist professional help to break the news to your wife. She may take it very badly which could be harmful to her and the children. Best wishes.
Difficult one OP, and I'm so sorry that you've been through all this.
Some points occur to me which you may want to reflect upon:-
You say you still love your wife, so do you think you're emotionally free to start again with another lady?
And what might be the reaction of your wife if/when she learns you have found another person to love?
Could you weather it if you returned to your wife and all the problems began to manifest themselves yet again? Have you the inner strength to recover once more?
How would your children react to the appearance of another lady in your life?
I totally agree with both posts above. I should take things very slowly. If you decide to give it another try, start with 'dating' her as suggested, and see how things progress. Or, if seeking another relationship, don't be swept away by passion alone; let things develop at a sedate pace and protect yourself from any more emotional distress. I think you've had more than your fair share of that already.
I sincerely wish you well; you sound like a very nice person.
There seems to be a place for therapy, specifically focused on her perception of sexual abuse, to continue. It's interesting that she is rejecting sex with you but not intimacy with another man, I wonder if she associates 'father' with sexual abuser? And I can't imagine what must be in her head to be so constantly afraid that you are abusing your daughter. If she even has the tiniest suspicion that you could be then I can see why she'd be watching you like a hawk and of course she is suspicious that you could be because it happened to her. She probably also feels that her caregivers failed her by not noticing and protecting her from abuse so she's being hyper vigilant to any perceived threat to her own little girl.
Has she ever spoken to you about this and admitted she's over the top or why she might be so suspicious? How old is your daughter? Is she old enough to speak up if there was a problem or still so little that she wouldn't hence why your wife feels she had to over protect?
Tbh, it sounds like your life is better living apart from her. Your self-esteem is better, your relationship with your daughter is better, and you're getting on better in work.
It sounds like your marriage was an insidious form of Hell.
Going back is a massive gamble. You're gambling on her continuing her therapy, continuing her meds, continuing to be on an even keel emotionally, continuing not to drink too much.....and thats not even touching on your mismatched libidos.
You're gambling that she would no longer look askance at your every interaction with your daughter - it sounds like its mainly improved cos you get truly private time to be free with her within your own four walls, not because your ex has made any breakthroughs about her paranoid behaviour.
But crucially, you wouldn't only be gambling your happiness, you'd be gambling your relationship with your children. Cos lets face it, if it all goes wrong? It would be horrendous on the kids. For their parents to break up twice would just be hellish.
Why go back? Cos you love her? Turn that love into a fantastic co-parenting relationship, but you are not her crutch, and I suspect she wants you back partly for that reason. But who is YOUR crutch? Who helps YOU? It would be nice to meet someone who wants to be a true 50/50 supportive partner, wouldn't it?
I am struck by her not leaving you a suicide note even though she left three others - that seems quite cruel. I think that alone would be a dealbreaker for me, tbh.
You're better off as far away from her as humanely possible. Don't put yourself in a position to be falsely accused by her again, she will always project her abuse issues on her daughter. She's a selfish, toxic person who happily destroys everything around her for the drama.
Find a good solicitor. The threats of suicide, suicide attempt and her history of false accusations make her a very unstable influence and potentially dangerous in your children's lives, what if next time she decides to take them with her?
Stay away and let her ruin the next poor saps life. Try to get full custody of your children if possible (and let her kill herself if she threatens that - as long as she doesn't get the opportunity to harm them to) and stay away from personality disordered people in the future. Create a stable home for your children.
To long to read so i will answer based of your subject post.
Answer is NO
You kept trying, OP. Now you're ready to move on and I think you should. You've been fair and kind and given many more chances and attempts at reconciliation than I would have - and that's with out the insidious accusations of abuse of your child.
Your wife not leaving a note for you is horrible, very accusatory. I don't know if notes ever really help but to not leave one for your spouse but for everyone else, is vile.
Regardless of your wife's wishes or antics, you should plough ahead with your own life now and continue being the father you've always been for your children. You'll carry on treating her with respect as the mother of your children, there's no doubt about that.
YANBU. But it does sound like there has been an awful lot of active intervention and she is getting treatment. Potentially this could make a big difference to what your life is like together. I guess it just depends on whether you want to take the risk of trying again or not. I don't think you would be unreasonable which ever course of action you take.
Wow, all, I am touched by all your fantastic comments and your kind understanding! Thank you.
makeitabetterplace; My daughter is now 7 and no, thankfully, she is completely unaware that any of this is as a result of issues arising over her. I am very protective of my entire family, I love in a small village and I only a handful of very close friends (4) no the real issues involved. My daughter is a strong character, bless, and we have always taught both our children to be confident about telling either of us anything that is playing on their mind. We have been open with both children about our separation (essentially that we do not wish to row any more) and thankfully, as with a lot of children, they have shown immense resilience and are very happy and content, innocent people. My wife has admitted, after the calming of each storm, that she can not help the thoughts that enter her head, she herself feels dirty for thinking them , as she does when she is intimate - very sad really.
Annarose2014; I loved your openness, thank you!
You say you still love your wife, so do you think you're emotionally free to start again with another lady? Yes, I feel I am, but fear the consequences of being found out!
And what might be the reaction of your wife if/when she learns you have found another person to love? As above
Could you weather it if you returned to your wife and all the problems began to manifest themselves yet again? Have you the inner strength to recover once more? no, I fear not, it would destroy us all again
How would your children react to the appearance of another lady in your life? *I suppose, I would not introduce them to anyone until I was 100% sure that A) she was the one, so after 6 months to a year, B) that my wife was well and receiving treatment and being watched. Essentially, it's a catch 20 situation, I wouldn't introduce my children to a new woman without first informing my Ex I was about to do so, but I couldn't do that until I was comfortable that she herself could handle the situation. Also, my children are thankfully well balanced and as much as they would love to see us getting back together, its a drip feed situation, whereby they are constantly informed of what they need to know in a loving and caring environment and they feel that they too can speak out loud of what ever is on their mind. If and when the time comes, I will only introduce them slowly, informally, and cautiously.
Thank you all and please keep this going - I am finding your views so very helpful. Thank you!
You are not being unreasonable...I fear that whatever you do, you will be torn. Perhaps decide which, in 20 years time, you would more regret not doing? One tiny glimmer in the darkness...if she really, truly, believed that you were molesting your daughter, then lawyers, social services, and the whole kitchen sink would have been thrown at you so that your dd was never alone with you. On some level, she does know that you are not like the evil bastard who abused her. But whether she can consciously realise that, and whether that would be enough to change things, is another matter.
YANBU to step away. She sounds extremely damaged.
I would suggest you get this moved to Relationships btw, I don't really think AIBU is the place for such a difficult issue as this.
No, your children have been through enough.
You are their only stability, put yourself first for their sakes.
No matter how you try to repair it, this is not a healthy relationship and never will be. The counselling may temporarily help, but not for long.
Relationships are meant to be an equal partnership, but if one does all the giving and the other all the taking it's never going to work.
You also need to think about taking care of and protecting yourself, as well as your children.
I woukd steps away and start afresh. There is always a chance this behaviour çoukd start again. I woukd remain amicable and friendly for the children, it's for the best. Listen to your gut.
From what I have read, this is the first time your wife has got help? Could you make it a condition of you even thinking about returning, that she continues with this help and is seen to be getting an understanding of why you left? If you can see that she has really tried to get to grips with her irrational behaviour then maybe you could give it another go? I feel you would always wonder if things might have succeeded if you tried once more?
People with PTSD, and it sounds like she might have it, are a nightmare to live with. It's all well and good you want to be with her, but not at the expense of your personal happiness.
You only live once, go be happy. Stay on at least cordial terms with her for the sake of the children.
I think the answer is an easy one.
Who is happy right now?
- Your kids
- Your wife
Who was happy before?
It's great that your wife is doing better but it doesn't change the past. It doesn't change whose happiness is at risk. It doesn't change the immense risk. You wouldn't just be risking your happiness and the happiness of your kids, you would be risking your relationship with them.
You can't baby her, it's very patronising as she's an adult, but that doesn't mean you should be a bull in a china shop either.
The first stop should be getting officially divorced. This would be the first step to you finding someone else. Remember you do not need to tell her that you're dating. You might need help to introduce the idea of the kids meeting the new person to her though...
Best of luck
OP you fell in love with a survivor of sexual abuse, unfortunately, she is so damaged by her past experiences that the chances of you having a 'normal' relationship with her are almost none existent.
Its good that she is getting help with her MH issues. Keep building a good relationship with her and so support your children and minimise any damage to them.
Make a life of your own and be happy.
I have bipolar disorder. With the correct medication you can live a normal and stable life. Problem is psychopharmacology is not an exact science. What works well for one person does not work for someone else and so it is trial and error until the doctors hit on the correct combination. Took them 6 years with me to get it right.
It sounds to me like her issues go beyond bipolar though. Childhood sexual abuse can result in victims experiencing overwhelming emotions. These additional issues can be dealt with successfully by psychological therapy. I think dialectical behavioural therapy would be especially helpful to deal with her overwhelming emotions.
She can change, however she would have to want to change and to so this she would first have to develop insight into how damaging and upsetting her behaviour is not only on you, but on her as well. She would have to really want to engage in therapy and be committed to change, even then it is a process that takes months or years, it does not happen over night.
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