I am ruining my marriage

I’m a 29 year old female, married for 9 years to my husband, who’s 30. We have two young kids. I’m a stay at home mom. Okay - there’s that info, only because I think it’s relevant.

I’ve had depression and anxiety since I was probably 11 or so. I attempted suicide once when I was 14, self-harmed up until a few years ago, had a brief problem with drinking, and pretty severe postpartum depression after both my kids. After my second kid I started having pretty bad panic attacks. I picked smoking back up and so I just have a cigarette when I feel one coming on and it stops it. I actually hate smoking, but I hate panic attacks worse. So, that’s the fun stuff.

I met my husband when I was 18. We were friends first and have continued to be best friends. I’m an introvert; he, on the other hand, is a total extrovert. He’s always had lots of friends and acquaintances and just really enjoys meeting and being around people. What this ends up as, is us going to parties or whatever, and I just kind of follow him around and talk to whoever he talks to or just have a drink and smile. I actually don’t mind it, it works for both of us. We like being around each other.

The problems come up when he goes to do things by himself. He played in a band for a while when he was young and he would practice a few times a week. Sometimes I would stay home, sometimes I would go out with my friends, but I hated both because he wasn’t there. This did lead to me having a short, minor affair of sorts. He would be out with friends several times a week, or, if he was home, we would have friends over and he would talk to all of them. I felt ignored and lashed out by messing around with someone else. I seriously considered leaving my husband but in the end I couldn’t and ended it with the other person. I told him a year later about it and he said he forgave me. We did talk through my feelings of being ignored and he said he understood.

Since then, we’ve had a lot of other things happen and some falling out with people and it led us to being without any friends. It made him absolutely miserable, and, I hate to admit it, made me happy. I like it when it’s just us. I like going out, but mostly I like just being with him. Except I understand that he needs interaction with other people.

So. He ended up getting this new job. It’s in a major city and we ended up moving there. He absolutely loved it. I started having major panic attacks every day. Between the buildings, the traffic and the people I felt like I was suffocating. About 7 months ago, we decided to move back to a smaller town where family was, and he would commute.

(Good grief I bet no one is even reading this still. If you are- wow, thanks.)

My husband had a cousin that he was very close with growing up. They’re very, very similar and when I met her, we hit it off. We got very close and she was the only other person who I felt I could be myself with. I’ve never had a friend like her, and I don’t know how I ever could again. 6 months ago, my husband had to call me from work and tell me that she was gone. I had talked to her less than a week before. She was just found, on her couch and it was already too late when they found her.

Nothing has been the same, since. We’ve both been really messed up from it.

We were planning on moving already and ended up moving about 2 weeks after that. (It was back to where she lived and I had been hoping to get to spend more time with her.)

Moving back, meant that my husband now had a 1.5hour commute. So he ends up being gone 12 hours a day.

Our marriage had also been getting strained and 2 months ago we had some talks that spanned several weeks and we came to the conclusion that we should split up. He wasn’t happy and I wasn’t happy and we thought maybe we could be happy on our own. We both admitted we still loved each other and we were best friends and wished it could work. We spend time together before I moved out and, somehow, those few days were some of the best days we’ve ever spend together. We were relaxed and happy. Maybe because the pressure was off, I don’t know.

During this time of us talking, though, he started being really secretive and acting funny and working late. I finally just looked through his phone while he was asleep and saw these messages to a girl he works with that were very flirty. He was just saying cute things to her and talking about taking her to see a movie. I waited until he got home the next day and told him I saw. He explained that yes, they were a little flirty and had gone out for drinks once but nothing had happened. We were having problems and there was a pretty girl who was nice and he just responded a little. He apologized. We had been planning on me moving out anyway, and so I went ahead and did it.

I was only gone for 5 days though and we texted the whole time. I was miserable and he was too and so we promised we would work through it.

Here’s where my mental health seemed to kind of crack a little.

He’s gone 12 hours a day. I stay home, in a very quiet town, with no one to talk to during the day except my young boys. He does text me a lot, but if I don’t get a response back I immediately assume he’s sleeping with somebody. Alternatively, if I know he’s been driving, I immediately assume he was in a horrible wreck and is dead. The entire time he is gone to work, I panick. I am getting increasingly depressed and barely get myself out of bed every day. I have been mildly obsessed with the idea of dying since our friend did, and I’ve been having more and more suicidal thoughts every day. I’m terrified that he will realize how crazy I am, and that he could do better and leave me. He is my best friend and the only other person, besides our friend that we lost, that gets me. I can’t imagine what would happen if I really lost them both. I don’t know how I would function.

The only thing that has kept me from totally losing my mind over all these years, is my ability to stay self-aware and be reasonable.

I can tell myself, “Hey, self - you’re being unreasonable and you should stop.” And a lot of times, I can.

But I can’t anymore.

When he’s gone at work, I feel like a dog with separation anxiety. (And apparently, adults can also have that and I guess maybe I do.) I just kind of pace, smoke, cry and try to keep myself from thinking horrible things. If he doesn’t text me a lot, I immediately start thinking of who he could be with and what he could be saying to them. When he is home, I only think about when he’s going to leave next and how I’m going to feel when he does. If he gets a text while he’s home, I freak out and try to see who it is and what they’re saying. He keeps trying to tell me he loves me and he’s not going to leave me and I can barely believe him because my anxiety is so strong. I'm just totally paranoid all the time.

He’s aware of all of this and we’re currently discussing him finding a job where he can work from home. He has the kind of job that would potentially allow that. But - I’m aware enough of myself to feel horrible about it. He absolutely loves his job, he’s made friends and making him stay home is equivalent to my moving back to the city (which we’ve also discussed because it would mean he’d be close and could keep his job. He says he can’t do that to me though.) I don’t want to make him eventually resent me.

We’ve discussed the possibility of me starting medication and decided it’s only a last resort. I’ve been prescribed antidepressants twice before and didn’t follow through taking them. I tried the first time and I hated the way I felt. I’m also scared to have that sort of thing in the house because of the suicidal thoughts and I know there can be horrible side-effects when trying to figure out the best one and I’m afraid it would make things worse.

I just need some kind of advice or help. I would love some outside perspective on the situation. Being inside of it, it’s hard to step back and see what’s going on. I’m trying to distract myself during the day and calm down - but 12 hours is a lot of time to fill.

User Comments

Hey - sorry you had to go through all this, sounds so tough.  I would definitely try to speak to your doctor about the best medication for you, working through different ones can be hard but worth it when you find the right one.  Maybe keep in mind that you are simply trying to help yourself and if you have an adverse reaction, remain positive and go back to the professionals to try something else.  Apporach it in a problem solving way and work your way to finding something that suits you.

Isolation is difficult, it is probably making your seperation anxiety a bit worse.  Are there things you would like to do during the day that can distract you?  Walking has always helped me, and its healthy. Also computer games can distract me for hours, maybe think about that.

Hope you feel a bit better soon.