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My wife feels emotionally numb towards me

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  • #370109
    James
    Participant

    Hi

    I am writing this at nearly midnight because I feel completely lost. I have been with my wife for 17 years and she is my  best friend and I love her and am still in love with her.

    Our life has been difficult and there have been a lot of small things that have slowly driven a wedge between us. The biggest is that I have struggled to be emotionally present and was dealing with unrecognized and as such unresolved abandonment issues from childhood. They drove me to the point of nearing suicide 4-5 months ago but I have slowly been getting on top of those issues and healing. Those problems caused me to emotionally detach and not be present with my wife for years and to a point our three children as well. For years this has led to her having to do so many things by herself for our family that just kept piling up on top of her and meant she was not able to do the things for herself that made her her.

    It got to the point that when I was at my worst I told her I did not love her and she broke and just completely switched off any attachment to me. I DO love her and the reason I know now that I said that was because I hated myself for what I was doing to my family but I didn’t know how to fix it or what the problem with me even was. The inability to communicate my emotions or even make people understand why I could not ate me up inside and I hated myself. After I got to the point of suicide and drove myself to realize what was wrong with me I had the most incredible cathartic release and all of those things – the inability to communicate and empathize and say how I felt or understand me disappeared. All of the things that had slowly driven a wedge between us had gone in me and I feel like a completely new person. I feel able to finally give myself 100% to my wife and children but now my wife has gone and I am in despair.

    For months she has felt nothing towards me but a numbness. She is trying to figure out what she wants with her life and whether she can see me in it in the future but for months has gotten no closer to an answer and the only answer she can give me is that she is still numb and has no answer. We are not able to talk as much or as deeply and that kills me inside as she is my best friend but often she does not even want to look at me let alone talk as she wants space.

    We have started seeing a counsellor together but I do not understand what she wants to achieve from this as she cannot even tell me that she still wants me and is not able to or be in a position to do the things the counsellor suggests that will bring us back together. She is numb and does not even know if she still wants me or doesn’t want me.

    I am confused as we still talk about the future or investigating places where we could live or what type of car we could buy but she cannot even tell me she wants me. I know she is struggling with this as much as I am and I have no resentment towards her but living in this land of no clarity and unable to tell me she wants me is devastating me inside and I have not even been able to tell her really how much as she feels terrible enough and cannot force an answer. I feel like I am dying without my best friend and constant companion to turn to. She does not want me to even touch her let alone kiss her and I am an incredibly affectionate person physically and losing that from her makes me shrivel up and die inside.

    The hardest part is that I could take all of this and let her work through these overwhelming feelings for as long as she needed if she could give me any sign that we can get through this together. She looks at me and tells me she still loves me and I know that she does but for months she has not been able to tell me anything and I am in despair. I do not know if she is going to be able to work through the things that put her in this position and come back to me and try and work on repairing our marriage and without a sign of hope that my best friend still wants me to stand next to her I feel like my spirit is soon going to be completely crushed.

    There are so many other factors to this that I cannot go into as they would take forever and I know it is not all me. Some of it is her and some of it is the shit life has thrown at us.

    If anyone has been through this please tell me as I need to communicate with somebody before my head explodes.

    #370132
    anita
    Participant

    Dear James:

    You shared that you suffered from “abandonment issues from childhood” that drove you “to the point of nearing suicide 4-5 months ago”. These abandonment issues caused you to “emotionally detach and not be present with my wife for years, and to a point, our three children as well”. That left your wife of 17 years “having to do so many things by herself”. When you were at your worst, you told her that you “did not love her”.

    Since that time you experienced significant understanding and emotional healing, and you “feel like a completely new person”. You realize that you indeed love your wife, and that you are able to give yourself 100% to your wife and children.

    But your wife has been feeling nothing towards you “but a numbness.. often she does not even want to look at me, let alone talk, as she wants space.. She does not want me to even touch her, let alone kiss her”, but she did tell you that she loves you. She doesn’t know if she wants you in her life, and for months “has not gotten closer to am answer”, even though the two of you started seeing a counselor together.

    “living in this land of no clarity and unable to tell me she wants me is devastating me inside.. I feel like I am dying without my best friend”-

    – My input: you refer to your wife as your best friend, “she is my best friend”, you wrote in your second sentence. But there really is no friendship at this point. Maybe you can start a friendship with her. What I am suggesting is that you take a from-the-beginning approach. Start a new friendship with her.

    You “feel like a completely new person”. A completely new and healthier person has to start a completely new and healthier friendship with his wife, and new healthier relationships with his children.

    anita

     

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