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....Should I return to my wife who has accused me of abusing our child?(40 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 alongside the psychiatrist, therapy she has always deserved and needed. I pray it works. She has just now returned to work after a year’s leave on medical grounds. 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?
Beautifully written post. I feel for you all. What does she want to do? Has she taken back her accusations?
Why have you posted this again? Your other thread is still active ?
I was advised to relocate the thread to Relationships because it was a probably a very difficult issue for AIBU? I've now hidden the other thread. Thanks, all advise will be so greatly received!
For the sake of your children I wouldn't go back. You all sound in a happier place now and I don't think it's worth the risk.
I can't quite understand the abuse allegations. If I thought someone was abusing my daughter I would keep them well away, and if necessary I'd involve the appropriate people. However it seems your wife has never done this and has happily agreed to unsupervised shared custody. You have to query whether she ever really thought this .
How would your wife react if you started seeing someone else ?
Wow, all, I am touched by all your fantastic comments and your kind understanding! Thank you.
Pennies; "What does she want to do? Has she taken back her accusations?"
She would like to play happy families again, albeit to take our time and probably date initially. I fear this is not a good idea, it would destroy us all again if everything flared up once more. It is a massive risk to take I feel, as some one said on an earlier post, to break up twice would really damage the children and how would my wife cope again, how would I? Perhaps some risks are not worth taking, no matter what the possible gains!
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 family, I live in a small village and only a handful of very close friends know the real issues involved, amazing really, but this is down to me, protecting the children has been my highest priority. 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 little people, they are very understanding and forgiving. 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 with me - very sad really. It has always been an 'I give and she takes' relationship in those parts.
Thank you all and please keep this going - I am finding your views so very helpful. Thank you!
I don't think my wife is in a strong enough place yet to even tangibly cope with the thought of my being with another woman yet. I wouldn't risk the outcome until I sought advice from her care team, who have been wonderful.
why would you ever consider leaving your children with a woman like this?
she's holding you hostage, writing suicide notes to your children ffs.
you must put your children first! don't resign them to a life this unhealthy because you are being made to feel sorry for her.
My gut reaction is that it's too soon to be making any decisions about trying again. Too soon either way.
She needs to continue in therapy. You need to continue to heal.
You have to be 100% sure if you go back that you are doing the right thing. And I don't think you are.
It might be an idea to wait for a while until your wife is in a better place. Obviously you can consult with her psychiatrist as to when she would be better equipped to deal with that side. That said, you can't put your life on hold permanently for your wife.
It's understandable that you don't want to go back to possibly find that the accusations start again, but as a pp said, if the accusations were true, she could have gone down the proper routes (police, SS etc) and made sure that you didn't have any contact with your children. If she hasn't gone down the official route then I suspect that her condition and abuse issues possibly caused her to think you were abusing your children, but then realised that you were just helping them stay clean and comfortable.
Like many situations, you may need time to get your wife to a more stable state of mind, even just to talk about the situation. You may be wondering if there will ever be a right time to tell your wife that you want to date another woman. If/when you do tell her, you might need to prepare yourself for her possibly exploding with anger as she may think that her nice idea of you all being a family again has been destroyed by you wanting to date. She may simply be incredibly sad and tearful. I think you really need to mull this over for a bit before acting on it.
It's hard to say what you need to do for the best, but in the end you need to put yourself in your wife's shoes and see how you would feel if she (in a more stable frame of mind) started dating other men. The best advice I can give is to do what is best for your children and what makes them happy.
I hope this is of use to you OP, but if not, feel free to ignore it
Unfortunately and sadly your wife has been badly damaged by the abuse she suffered as a child. She is reflecting it all onto you as her safe person.
I think you should only really go back if you can deal living with a damaged person. I can see that she has sought help though and recognised her behaviour was terribly wrong. That is and was the only thing she could have done.
If you are all happier now would it not just be best to keep going in the direction you are?
Amazing mums aren't controlling and volatile. Amazing mums don't cheat on their husbands. Amazing mums don't accuse their husbands of abusing their children. Amazing mums don't write suicide note.
Either your wife believed these allegations or she didn't. Either she believed it and failed to act or she was being malicious. How does she justify leaving her child with someone she suspects of being an abuser ? How does she justify wanting to get back together with someone she's accused of abuse ?
In your shoes I would start divorce proceedings. She has enough support from my team and her family. What if you seek advice from her care team who say she isn't strong enough ? Will you stay married to her for another five years ?
Copied and pasted my responses from AIBU as OP has hidden that thread:
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.
OP I would recommend you read about overwhelming emotions and dialectical behaviour therapy. I think this would give you some insight into why she is behaving in this way and if you understand it more you are better placed to manage future situations as the father of her kids.
She probably will make some improvement with the correct therapy, but I do understand your choice to move on.
I'm not surprised you've left. I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said but the suicide attempts, whilst very sad are emotional blackmail and indicative of your wife's unsettled mind. You've tried all avenues and it seems nothing is changing. I would secure legal advice now in case your wife starts making public allegations. Being accused of child abuse is extremely serious.
I posted on the other thread to say I think you should remain separated from your wife in order to offer your children a stable home. Get legal advice and protect yourself from any allegations she may lob your way. You need to protect yourself in order to be there for your children. Good luck.
Clearly you're not her safety net if she's accused you of impropriety in the past so having you there could make her more mistrusting and anxious. More importantly though, with her policing you and you're daughter, it WILL affect you relationship with her. You've a better chance of a great relationship with your daughter if you parent separately.
Thank you all for your advice. It is pretty clear that my gut has always been right and that although, in an ideal world, I don't want to finalise and end my marriage, who does, it is the right thing to do. Having your thoughts, suggestions and advice which are over overwhelmingly against returning to the marriage, this has provided me with peace of mind that I am not a bad person, I have acted honourably through out these past couple of years and only individuals them selves can save themselves, if this is the right term to use.
So here is my plan. I will continue on my existing path, I will work hard at growing and maintaining a good relationship with my (ex)wife for her sake and for the sake of our children, after all I don't hate her or despise her, I wish her well and feel for her. I will, probably in my next family therapy session, ease and steer my direction gently that we need to work together closely for our children but that we will not be renewing or working toward a romantic relationship ourselves. I feel it wise to state this is a controlled environment where the psychiatric team are on hand and witness to the whole event, aware of the the need to supervise her (hopefully not) and to keep a close eyer on her over the coming weeks. I would imagine either a high or a low will follow this, but I feel that this would be the case whenever the difficult conversation takes place.
In time and at the appropriate time, I will seek legal mediation with regard to the custody of our children, the aim being to obtain shared custody, I feel this is what will be advantageous for the children. In truth, we are nearly there ourselves on this point, but an official binding agreement is definitely a necessity I feel. In time, this will move toward divorce procedures (probably in a year or so), more the formality than the fight, I hope. Again, it's about one step at a time. Although these time scales are long, this does not have to mean that I do not get on with the rest of my life.
I will support her from a distance as a friend without being her crutch and I won't be at her becking call, this I have slowly been working on over the past months and I actually believe slowly she is becoming more independent as a result, which is obviously a positive move for her, albeit difficult I know. I will ensure that the right people help though when and if needed and as has always been the case and as much as it has hurt at times, I will only and always be respectful to her and speak respectfully of her.
As for my own love life, well, we all want one don't we, and I am certainly no different. Once all of this has died down (as much as feasibly possible, but again I won't let time rule me as a controlling mechanism she still holds over me), I feel I am in a good place personally to feel that buzz again. In fact, I am feeling very positive indeed about the future and who knows who might just walk into mine! I do long for that mutual and meaningful relationship and I'm excited that it will now be with some one new, a whole new adventure to look forward to and experience!
Thank you all again, I have so much welcomed and appreciated all of your advice!
From one simple man's point of view, this is one hell of a site, and one fabulous community. Thank you!
Shared custody is for healthy situations. what you are subjecting your children to is life with someone who is going to scar them.
think on. pull your weight and protect those children.
let her sort her mental health out first and then when she is safe/reliable and stable THEN allow unsupervised contact.
Hissy, thank you.
I should make it clear that my ex is a very good mum and I have never witnessed her being cruel, mean, etc .......... or anything but a great mum to our kids. She has problems yes, but these are with her past and with any partner she might have (i.e. me). That aside, she is a wonderful mum, albeit I appreciate it is hard to understand without knowing the situation or her. None of this is to say that I do not keep a close eye on everything, I do and I can see it in the children themselves also. I would never risk the unhappiness or more of our children just for the sake of shared custody. In any case, I see the future as a constantly evolving place where my finger is constantly on the button, a place where I access the situation daily and monitor for the decisions of the future. Please believe me, I will look after my children's best interests, not mine or my Ex's.
Thank you for your comments though, I know exactly what you are saying.
Amazing mums aren't controlling and volatile. Amazing mums don't cheat on their husbands. Amazing mums don't accuse their husbands of abusing their children. Amazing mums don't write suicide note.
Life is not black and white. Amazing mums (and dads) do all sorts of things when the balance of their mind is disturbed. I know I have done things in the midst of mental illness that, when feeling well again, I know I would never have done where I well.
I have no doubt that your wife is a very good mother and it sounds like she is getting great support from her medical team and from you.
I totally understand why you don't want to reconcile and I wish you, your wife and children the very best for the future.
Thank you IrishBloodEnglishHea
In my case, the mental health aspect is one section of it, my decision making to leave and start a new life is not based on this though, it's based on the reality that we are not an effective couple or in a sustainable and loving marriage, we have grown apart and whilst I love my wife, I am no longer in love with her. Too entirely different things, but yes, part of the same problem.
Oh Irishnoodles, you are in between a rock and a hard place.
Your first obligation is to your children. You said this yourself.
You and your DW are not a good mix. Sometimes good people individually are not good together.
I don't have any advice but I wish you all the best for the future.
Sounds to me that your Dw was and still is suffering from PTSD due to the abuse. Her mind will repeat the fear time and time again. She needed help and compassion not anger and aggression which would only compound her fears.
ThirdPoliceman, Thank you. You are right, we are both good people, in reality and considering my wife's history, experiences and resultant issues, no one, including her, is to blame for this situation. I really do mean that.
Thinking further, no one is to blame for this situation and other individuals in similar or resultant situations arising out of child abuse, other than of course the animal(s) who abused her and other victims alike, as children. He, and others like him, deserve the full wrought of the law for the damage they do to individuals and society and they deserve to have their names shamed throughout the land for the rest of their existence.
Sorry to say this but I fear we are only hearing one side of the story. Sounds to me as if you are maximizing your Dws problems so you can walk away guilt free. Bet you've met someone else.
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