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my OH has just dropped a bombshell, i dont know where to go from here.

(31 Posts)
Booooooooooyhoo Mon 19-Oct-09 23:55:24

my OH is away at the minute(navy) and i had noticed his contact becoming less frequent and really just pleasantries when he did get in touch.

today i asked him about it and he said that one of his friends had an accident and has been paralysed from the waist down and that his wife has left him as she couldnt cope with it. OH told me he thinks if the same happened to him, i would leave.

i'm completely gutted by this. we arent married but we live together as if we are, we have two boys and i see him as my husband. i thought he saw me as his wife. i have no doubt in my mind that we will be together forever the same as if we had taken vows. i dont understand why he doesnt think the same.

ive said all this to him, but it was an online chat and i told him i needed space to digest this so i dont know his response.

he just seems so insecure in our relationship. there have been a few times when ive noticed insecurity on his part but never anything like this. ive told him i dont want to have to spend everyday reassuring him of my love and commitment to him. but i dont know how i can make him see that i am committed 100%.

i think our past might be at the root of this but my OH's interpretation of what happened is very different to mine. OH developed a drug habit when i was pregnant with ds1. for the first few months i begged and pleaded with him to stop, he promised he would but, being an addict, always went back to it. i realised that he wouldnt ever quit while i was still there and i couldnt bring a baby into that situation. i left 8 weeks before our ds was born. OH was still using for about 18 months afterwards. we became estranged and it was during this time he joined the navy and got himself clean. then last year he got in touch and we decided we wanted to be a family. however when we discussed the period when we split up, OH believes i abandoned him when he needed me most. i have explained to him that i had tried for months to help him and that i had to put my child and myself first. i told him that i knew he wouldnt quit if he thought i was going to accept it. he said he could see it from my point of view but that he still felt i could have helped him more.

could this be why he is insecure? i know addiction is an illness, is he worried that if he falls ill that i'll leave again? i will be having this discussion with him, i just need to hear other opinions. how do i get him to see that i am here for him? i need him to be confident in us. confident that he has my support, that he can depend on me.

6feetundertheGroundhogs Tue 20-Oct-09 00:31:03

Oh love, poor you! Poor DP too.

The addicition thing is clearly relevant, but many men are a heck of a lot less secure than they would have us believe. I know mine is.

The other thing is your DP is so far away from you, that has to be a huge magnifier to all this.

He's seen his colleague, married too, have an accident and been left by his wife.

On some level, I think he's thought we're not married, she left me when I was doing drugs, what if that happened to me? She'd definately leave me then, wouldn't she. The whole distance thing is really playing on his mind too.

He needs some major reassurance now, If you love him as much as you seem to, tell him. If you'd like to be married to him, tell him. If you want to spend the rest of your life with him, tell him.

Remind him that if you hadn't left him, he'd not have stopped the drugs, and if he hadn't stopped the drugs you wouldn't be with him. It wasn't HIM that you left, it was the addict.

My DH is away to, but abroad, packing stuff up and preparing to move back here. He phones regularly in a bit of a state, needing reassurance and some there-there. Only today I had him telling me he needed a hug, that the place was driving him mad.

They might look all tough, but they are not as hard as they think.

Good luck, go for it!

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 00:46:31

thank you, thats a good way of putting it, that i left the addict not him.

he did say maybe he just needs to be home. i know he misses us terribly as we do him. he will be home in just over a month after being away for 6.

i feel like such a cow saying that i dont want to have to reassure him everyday, but i know i cant do that. i cant cope with clingyness or needyness. it makes me feel very claustrophobic and i physically have to move away from someone when they display it. gosh i sound horrible. but i just know that i cant be responsible for constantly reassuring him. i would feel as though i was dealing with a child.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 00:48:36

i am horrible

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 01:13:08

But honey - you're still with him.

And - the way you acted when he was addicted took him to the path where he gave up the addiction.

As an addict he couldn't - no, he really couldn't - have cared for you and your dc in the way you needed to be cared for, connected with and loved.

You helped him get to the place he is now - with you, your dc, a family.

I think the distance is making him over-think this. NO-ONE knows how they will react if something as major and life-changing as an injury like that occurs. People may think they do - but, honestly, you can't tell. It's life-changing. It takes away the life you thought you had, could count on, and puts you onto the path of a completely other life; looking back at the one you have suddenly left.

I think if you are thinking deeply on this, it only goes to show care.

I don't know what you can do about his insecurity, or even, to be honest, if it is all your responsibility.

You have shown him how much you love him. You're her, now. He has to take the chance, and the risk, and accept that someone loves him. HE has to trust you and love you back.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 01:32:34

i think his take on the separation might actually be his mother's influence. a couple of times she visited me, even took me out for lunch and told me that he was clean (he wasnt, he has since told me) and asked me to go back with him. she told me that he'd been to the doctor and the doctor told him he was fine hmm (this was about 2 weeks after i had left him) i told her he would need to have drug counselling and would need to consider relationship counselling with me before i would go back. i think she saw this as me turning my back on him. she even told me that i'd made my bed (became pregnant)and had to lie in it.

we need to have a long talk, this is bringing alot of things to my head that really havent been properly resolved between us. i think i need to write them all down.

6feetundertheGroundhogs Tue 20-Oct-09 01:34:55

No-one wants to be constantly stroking someones ego, that's natural to think that.

I've been guilty in the past of saying to DH that We are responsible for our own happiness, and to rely on others for it is a mistake.

of course we need to make sure that our partners know we value them and respect them etc, but not when it's stroke stroke stroke all the time..

That's between you and me though, keep that one under your hat. grin

He needs stroking. He's homesick, (understandably) he's thinking about his colleague (totally understandable)

Good post CherryBlossoms, The taking the risk thing is something I'm getting my DH to be more comfortable with.

Argghh, men! such delicate flowers sometimes!

6feetundertheGroundhogs Tue 20-Oct-09 01:40:55

yes, you do need to have a good long talk, a kind of debrief from everything, and to open a way of you and he communicating.

When's he home? You can have a goood talk then! wink

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 01:43:29

Can I ask you something Boooyhoo?

Do you think this might be after-shocks of the time when he was addicted?

Your partner being an addict - effectively choosing a drug over you - a MAJOR betrayal - is a seriously shocking, undermining thing.

You did well. you were strong. Your seeming withdrawal, and I say only seeming - was a way of being with him - making him choose to live his life fully, outside the cocoon, pretend-life of addiction. You waited for him. you believed he could make it back. You were there when he did. That is an amazing thing for you to have done.

On his side - well, he did it. He chose you and the dc. Brilliant.

In theory you have BOTH proved how strong you are, how committed you are to each other.


For you, maybe, you still feel like you can't quite rely on him, can't put all the weight on him you sometimes need to (we all do -that's partnership, and sharing).

So maybe you do withdraw when he is needy. It's just too hideous a reminder that, yes, he might just let you down again.

I know counselling is what EVERYONE on mn recommends but really, I wonder if you two need to talk about this. Just to make sure you lay it to rest.

Addiction is can feel like a big betrayal.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 01:46:17

it would be nice to know that if ever i have a crisis of faith (in our relationship) that he wont just panick with me and run around like a headless chicken. but at the minute i feel as if im carrying him in that respect. i need him to be there for me too. perhaps its my own fault, people know me as fiercely independant, and i do think my independance has stood me in good sted for the tougher times but maybe he thinks that means i dont need any support from him. suddenly i feel very vulnerable.

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 01:46:39

6ft (and Booyhoo) -

Yes. Men can be so weird about their vulnerabilities. It's most frustrating.

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 01:51:59

Thing is, boppyhoo - he has kind of proved it (once). I think now he has to realise that he HAS that strength and can draw on it at will. he needs a bit more courage about his capacities. And he needs to accept that YOU are vulnerable and needy sometimes and can't always be relied on (to be the adult, or whatever) all the time.

You both need to know that sometimes YOU can be flakey and HE will do the being firm and keeping it together.

I really do think counselling might help you because it provides a safe place to talk about these things AND techniques for talking about them.

(It doesn't help you, but you do sound pretty sorted out as a person.)

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 01:55:28

sorry cherry, xpost

what you say makes alot of sense.

i have often said to him in the past that he chose the drugs over me, but my rational mind knows that he was ill. i know he needed to lose everything before he would try and fight for it. and i dont take that personally (i dont think) i know that is a common pattern for addicts, i know it was a path he had to follow before things would get better.

i think your right that i dont think i can fully rely on him emotionally. but again that could be me being over protective of myself, being so used to catering for myself emotionally and not being able to trust him with it.

but thats silly because i know he would step up to the plate if i needed him, would i be with him if i thought he couldnt? i dont know.

he really has knocked me for six with this.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 01:58:08

this has opened up a huge pandora's box. alot going on in my head now that i didnt think bothered me.

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 02:03:43

It's late. I think you should think about how you feel in the morning.

Isn't it interesting that he thought about YOU leaving HIM? What about if it happened to you?

How deep is his commitment to you? What is the shape, depth, possibilities of his love for you?

I do think you sound as though you care about each other. You also have a lot of insight. I was going to post that a counsellor would probably suggest that you should be brave, yourself, and give him the space to show and feel his strength in supporting you. But you posted that.

I do think you should talk about this abandonment thing together. I don't think either of you should see it as abandonment. I can see why his mother acted as she did. It's human. But, you don't have to be a drug addiction expert to see how potentially damaging that was. Can you imagine if you had gone back when he wasn't clean? It would have been appalling.

I have to go off to bed now, but seriously, YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON. And I think you and your dh should give it a real go. It sounds like you both need to find your way back to each other. You've been through a tough experience.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 02:18:11

cherry thank you, i do need to go and sleep myself, although how easy that will be is yet to be seen.

i understand that he thought of me leaving him because i truly believe he would be there for me if the opposite were to happen, and i think he knows the same.

but it is late, thank you for this. im going to get some peace from my thoughts and hopefully wake with a fresh mind and some inspiration for how best to approach this.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 12:05:32

just an update.

OH sent me an email last night before i got to bed.

basically, what i had guessed about this being because of our separation was spot on.
he says he believed me the first time when i told him we where forever but then i left him when things got tough. he says he doesnt think he can believe me when i say it this time. he said i didnt help him as much as i could have.

i sat for over an hour pouring my heart out to him in a reply email. ive told him exactly what i was going through at that time and how i did the only thing i could do at the time, that i had no choice but to leave. i said that i fetlt he had already left me by choosing drugs and that i needed him to be there for me aswell but he wasnt. it was extremely hard to relive it all. i feel emotionally exhausted but i feel as though i needed to get that all out.i feel lighter now.

he's in a different time zone so i havent had a reply yet but im confident that we'll be able to get through this. thank you cherry and 6foot for your support, it really has helped. im not sure i would have opened up like that with him had it not been for the support i received last night form you.

violet101 Tue 20-Oct-09 12:20:35

Don't forget also - the only person that could truly help him - is him. Only he could get himself clean and the fact that he did deserves merit. How he conducts himself now and in the future is down to him.

Its not your job to keep him on teh straight and narrow. He has to stand up and take responsibility for himself. You already have the task of doing that for yourself and your kid(s).

You have told him that you love him, that you're in it now for the long haul (forever) but you can't keep massaging his insecurities - if he can't get on top of them to a degree he could end up really driving you away.

I've spent a decade trying to support someone who has never felt supported - and now its all coming to and end because I don't have the energy left to keep my own head above water let alone his!

This response may sound a bit harsh, but it worries me that you could be setting yourself up for a life time of fruitlessly trying to reassure him.

Be a bit firm!

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 13:03:11

thats what worries me violet, i know i simply cannot carry him in that respect. he has to make the decision to trust that we are together for the long haul or else we will have nothing to go forward with.

i have told him this. i told him i cannot spend everyday reassuring him, i know i am just not strong enough for that and nor should i be. i told him how hard it was for me to trust him again and that it was a huge risk for me to do that but i did and now he has to decide if he wants to take that risk.

i think the word risk scares him because he knows he lost me before, so the only reference he has wrt investing in me emotionally, didnt turn out well.

i have made it as clear as i know how that i am 100% committed to him. its up to him now to believe it. i only hope he thinks we are worth it.

i have just re read his email, he says in it that i mean more to him than our sons. i think that explains why he doesnt understand why i left him. my children are first in my life, he will never come before them and he knows this but he says i am first in his life. i left him for the sake of our son but for someone who puts their lover before their children, that must seem incomprehensible. in the same way that i couldnt understand someone choosing their lover over their children. i'm not sure if that means we wont ever be equal to each other. i dont know if that is how i want my partner to feel. does anyone have any experience of that kind of relationship?

cherryblossoms Tue 20-Oct-09 13:45:23

Morning Boooyhoo.

I think he's v. lucky to have found you.

I also think he's misinterpreting what he should learn from past events in his life - you're with him!! - but, hey, each to their own.

On the last point, that's neatly analysed by you. I was raised in a ridiculously traditional home, where I was taught that men love women and women love children, so I don't think he's alone in that. It's a neat way of sharing out emotional roles but ... not my choice, for sure. For myself, I', now having to negotiate the (quite foreign) terrain of a dh who cares about the dc as much as I do - and puts me second! And sometimes I feel really, really cross about that. So swings and roundabouts, I guess.

All relationships are different. It's a curious thing but most people never, ever reflect on this stuff unless they are unfortunate enough to have some event that forces it to the surface. Many people amble along and never have to do the heavy questioning that you (and I suspect more inarticulately) your dh are doing.

At what point does "love" and "giving support" cease to be "good"? What is the "greater good"? Which do I choose in order to do good? How come life can make me choose between my partner and my children? Can "love" be divided? Isn't "love" something that should be indivisible? What is it to "love" properly? And in the right measure? And how?

All crazy, heavy questions. I truly don't have an answer to them.

I guess all you can do is (both) work out what feels right to you, what will work in YOUR relationship. It WON'T be the same as your neighbour's relationship because you both come to it, carrying the selves your pasts have made, and together you make something unique.

Good luck.

(I know this is almost certainly a really inappropriate thing to say, but you are a very thoughtful, interesting person to talk to ...)

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 14:32:38

not inapropriate, cherry, as you say, i very rarely have to give such indepth thought to things and it helps a great deal to know someone can understand the need to do so, and my probably neurotic way of doing it. i'm quite often told i overthink things and subsequently dismiss my thoughts.

i can handle the full responsibility of my children, i can be the one who puts them first. i dont know if i can cope with him holding that against me. in fact i know i cant. i wont be forever, unforgiven for doing it in the past.

he phoned a while ago and he says he knows why i did it but the faith that i wont leave him will not come overnight and there is nothing i can do or say that will make it happen. all this i know. i just need him to be quicker at coming to his realisation.

deste Tue 20-Oct-09 20:10:00

Would it help if you (together) planned an engagement for him coming home.

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 20:41:24

deste we have decided not to get married for a particular reason.

6feetundertheGroundhogs Tue 20-Oct-09 21:10:09

So glad all this has moved on, and glad too that he has seen that HE needs to be the one to realise that you won't leave him.

That to me is the insecurity talking, he's still blaming himself perhaps for the addiction?

I think counselling would really help both of you, really i do. He needs to forgive himself, and trust himself to be man enough, responsible enough and capable enough to be all that he can be. Perhaps the insecurity is telling him he's not worth being happy, being loved and secure.

You can help show him that he is, by this bit of strategic reassurance. I know it's not a good idea for this to be a long term thing, but I think this is what is really needed short term, to get you two talking again.

You both need to be a team again, there to catch the other if they need it. So that both of you has a support system, that stops him falling back into old bad habits in particular, and supporting you in however you need to be supported.

I'm sure you can do it, I'm sure you can make it, you've both been through so much, and still clearly love each other.

Keep talking to each other, keep that communciation open. It's a great start!

Booooooooooyhoo Tue 20-Oct-09 22:05:10

he definitely does have issues with insecurity, and did have before we split up.

he has sent me another email this evening. he says that it will just take time for him to fully accept that we have done it and we are now together permanently. he knows we are together but sometimes his faith wavers.

this i can understand, he is human.

again, thank you for all support.

sixfeet, i will be considering counselling. we'll see how we get on working on it ourselves.

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