ex wife struggles

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Separated from my wife four years ago. She had a breakdown when we lost our business. She lives with our two teenager kids tho they stay with me often. I look back..and I look at things now and cannot believe what I see....it is hard for me to understand it all and take in even after four years. That said I am generally OK myself..but my wife and the way my kids live at hers seems chaotic...the place is always so upside down....not always clean...never very tidy. She is trying hard to get things sorted...but I can see it actually never will be. My wife adores the kids. She claims to have had councilling..my eldest gets embarrassed and frustrated at it and they have stayed with me longer at times. No particular question... Just my wife was so bubbly...fresh....alive...she still is at times but seems running hard but actually never getting anywhere and it's not great for my kids either. It is so sad to see a perpetual state of mess and chaos....?

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  • Posted

    Hi Ron, you sound like a lovely man, it's so good to hear compassion for mental health struggles.

    What your wife is experiencing sounds very familiar. There comes a point where stress has exhausted your brain and endocrine system so much you can't achieve anything. I've felt like this for a while, and what I want most is some practical help. Someone to take the strain of making decisions for a while, until I feel in control again. I know I can do it, but I'm mentally exhausted so even small things like calling an electrician feel like an uphill struggle. Do you have a good enough relationship with your ex to give her a hand with absolutely no strings attached for a while? Things like putting up shelves, sorting out the garden, even send her on holiday? She needs a break from feeling as though she has a mountain of stuff to do on her own. Counselling will help, and the more the better - sometimes it takes a few different therapists before you get a breakthrough - but if you feel unsupported the rest of the time it's like treading water, a lot of effort to get nowhere. Money won't help. It is psychological, and consequently biochemical, so when she gets better everything will start to get easier, but she won heal until she's given the space to. Or perhaps if she'll take it the wrong way if you offer to help you could rope in a relative or friend of hers? I hope this helps.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your thoughts. She is very hands on and practical. She has been doing lots of diy over the years...she actually likes to and she is good at it. But the jobs keep rolling on..on to the next before another is fuloy finished. She fainted a couple of years ago...banged her head badly...headaches..stiffness..and was off work alot tho sort of back now. When she had her breakdown she had frozen me out by then...just used to cry...until she said her feelings had changed..did not love me. It is tho her personality changed...in part after having children. We have an ok relationship. ..she knows I love her and would try again ...she talks ...but is private about most things as she established her independence. She has friends..good friends....but I feel no one really takes the issue of her well being seriously....I think they would say...oh..thats just her..how she is. I see a real health issue...not sure anyone else does.
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    • Posted

      By the way...no she doesn't want my help...I think she would see that as a failure....that its gone wrong since getting me out. Oddly..I feel there is a lot of trust between us....inside I suspect...I am guessing. ..she knows I am loyal and someone she can trust...but can't really admit to that. She has never ..if you like...slagged me off...or me her....there is a mutual respect.
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  • Posted

    Ron, keep trying. I think Claudia is right and your wife is burnt out. That's how I feel. I've had years of upheavals and upsets (also including a loss of husbands bunisess and our house). Except in my case my husband was never there for me except financially. He left a year ago. I'm meant to be looking for a job but I barely have the mental/emotional/physical energy to look after the children and the house.

    What I really want/need is someone to look after me. That sounds pathetic when I write it, but its the truth. I just have no fight left in me anymore. All my reserves have been used up I think. But that is an incredibly hard thing to admit. I feel completely unable to tell my parents and friends how I feel, becasue I'm terrified of admiting that I am completely unable to cope with 'life' anymore. I wish there was someone that I could completely trust and rely on. Just to take the pressure off. I desperately need time (and I mean quite a lot of time) to just not have to worry about anything. To rest my mind and body. 

    I have a feeling that is how your wife feels. She WILL be feeling like a failure but she won't be able to admit that to anyone. It's the worst feeling in the world to admit that you can't cope. So I wouldn't go behind her back and tell any of her friends/family. Not yet. You really need her 'permission' to do that or she might become incredibly defensive/angry/resentful. I know I would be.

    Just keep trying Ron, but be gentle about it. Don't force help onto her. That won't work. She first needs to acknowledge that she needs the help.

    You know your wife and the situation best so I can't tell you how to go about doing things. But please don't give up on her. 

    I hope that helps.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind medsage Maria. And the very best wishes in your endeavours to stay in there and get thu successfully. I think you sum ut up as I think it. I am a very fair and balanced person...I have my failings too of course...but look at how she is over the whole time I have known her...and she has changed a lot. She flits from one thing to another. ..often is tired...my boys have had regular stomach aches which mite be due to lack of cleaning. ..she has pets.she has a lovely free spirit and can be up for doing interesting things...but somehow it appears muddled and she is so jaded. We had a lovely home...a real home with warmth and love. She has changed it all but it lacks that feel. I was strong and supportive to her but when the business failed and u was doing much to help care fir my mother that had dementia. ..my hands were full too.. and not the support I ciuld and should have been...and under strain myself. I know I will not give up on her. We lead seperate lives..tho we meet often..to swop care of our boy's. Sadly..the person who knows her best and can help so much is me. ..perhaps not advice ..as I am the seperated partner...but in many ways....but she would not accept my help...but I would never walk away from her.
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  • Posted

    Ron, I think it's time to decide what it is you want from this discussion. Mari and I have both told you what you can do to help your wife, and yet you seem more interested in talking about your relationship with her. You have an ex who is really struggling at the moment, and needs a helping hand. The question is, do you actually want to help her heal or do you want to be reassured that what went wrong between you is down to her mental health problems and not you?

    It may be that her mental breakdown did cause the break up of your relationship and if she got better she'd want you back, it may be that the two are entirely separate and she fell out of love with you. At this moment it's impossible to tell, and actually it's irrelevant. You have correctly identified that she's struggling, and you have been given very good advice here about how to help her. So do you help to save her from drowning, or only pull her out if there's something in it for you? This may sound harsh, but she's suffering. You say you would never walk away from her, but talking about it isn't enough. If you really care for her you will put aside your own desires and help her to tackle her illness. If you are unable to help her yourself because you are too emotionally involved, then find someone else who can help her. Don't just stand by and watch. 

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