My melodramatic 2009


I’ll start by saying that this is my first post here; I’ve been reading quite a bit and it seems like a great place to get some wonderful advice.

Where to start? I think I’ll start w/ 1991. Sorry if this turns out to be really long, I will try to keep it as simple as possible.
1991 - I was 24 and met a wonderful guy (I’ll call him S), very similar background, good catholic family, went to catholic schools, etc. We dated for a brief time, then our relationship just sort of evolved into a great friendship. I always wished it had been different, still feeling attracted to S even after a few years of being friends. At one point I even wrote him a lengthy letter telling him how I felt, that I wish things could be different and that he would see me as a potential girlfriend, that I loved him as more than a friend. He said no, he just didn’t feel that way about me. So we remained just friends, best friends.
1995 - I met my husband to be (I’ll call him J). We had a close connection fairly quickly and without realizing it, I became very immersed, losing contact with many friends because he didn’t like them, or didn’t want to do things with them. I started seeing less and less of S as well.
1996 - S decided to move across the country (from MO to CA). A week before he left, he gave me a letter telling me that he had always been in love with me. He’d had such a horrible track record with women - had really treated girls horribly in his past, that once he realized he was in love with me, which he’d never really felt before, he had set his mind to just be my friend because he was too afraid of his feelings and because he didn’t want to hurt me. I read the letter, tucked it away inside a book so that J wouldn’t see it, and as horrible as this sounds, I thought, "well, it serves him right for never acknowledging his feelings when I told him how I felt, now I’m unavailable and he’s leaving anyway…"
After he moved, S and I corresponded a bit, he came back and visited a few times. And I knew that I still felt that attraction to him, but I don’t know if I was just still upset with him, or because I was involved so deeply with J that I just didn’t pay any attention.
1999 - J and I got married (both catholic, in a catholic church). S didn’t come to the wedding, said he couldn’t afford the trip.
2002 - S moved back to MO, we stayed in touch by email and christmas card but never saw each other.
2006-2008 - J and I were having some difficulties, we’d had two children by now and finances were tight, our sex life was very one sided (in his favor) and I was starting to feel used and cheap. I felt more and more like J’s maid and caretaker. J lost his job and became very depressed and even more incapable of doing things for himself. J becomes negative, angry, emotionally abusive, cursing at me and the children, and he actually hit our daughter once. He also became very paranoid that people were listening to our conversations and that they had gotten him fired. He refuses to get professional help.
Dec. 2008-2009 - Out of the blue, S emails me and asks if I want to go to lunch with him. I say yes, that would be really nice. We met for lunch and he said that he knew there was something wrong in my life, something big, he had just had a feeling that I was in trouble. I immediately feel that old attraction to him. I start remembering bits and pieces of the times that S and I were best friends, but find that there is a pretty large black hole in my memory from that time period. I go looking for my old journals from that time and then realize that somewhere around 2000 I shredded every journal that had a mention of S in it.
Jan-March 2009 - J agrees to check himself into mental health facility and is diagnosed w/ bipolar. He stays at his parents house and attends outpatient therapy. J’s dad thinks the diagnosis might be wrong, he thinks borderline personality disorder w/ narcissim. I feel emotionally wounded and exhausted, hurt and very distant from J. S is there for me to talk to, we don’t see each other, just talk on the phone. J says he is glad S is helping me.
April-June 2009 - J moves back home. Things are improving with him, his meds have his temper under control and his moods are stabilizing. He still does lots of his controlling behaviors and is still much more concerned w/ his own needs than anyone else’s. S and I start doing things together once in a while, usually w/ at least one other person, but if not, we always meet in public. I know that I am still in love with S.
July 2009 - Things have really improved w/ J, except I feel more like his big sister who loves him, rather than a wife who loves him. He is really trying to make things work. I confess to J how I’ve felt and still feel about S. He takes it well and tells me that he wants our marriage to work more than anything. He doesn’t really think there are problems in our marriage.
Wow, this is really getting long…let me cut to the chase. I’m not feeling that I can leave J, especially now that he is really trying so hard to make things right. I do feel that I would probably leave him if he returns to the abusive behavior. I also know that if I left J it would have to be because I couldn’t be with him anymore, not because I wanted to be w/ S. But I don’t feel I have much respect for J left as a husband or man so I just keep praying for guidance and help with re-establishing our relationship. But what I really want to know, is, if I was in love w/ S all along, even though my feelings were repressed for much of the time, does that mean that I’ve been deceiving J all along? Does it even mean that our marriage is valid, considering I was actually in love w/ S when I married J?


Your marriage is valid.


Love is married to suffering, Princess.


I’m sorry peach, I feel for you. :frowning:

But you did make a vow to a Christian marriage and that includes sickness and health, rich and poor. You’re still married and you really, really, really need to cut this S. out of your life. He’s tempting you to abandon vows you made before God.

It’s good to hear though that your husband is getting better. That’s a very good sign!


Sorry for your drama. After 23 years I have figured out that marriage is cyclical. You can have great years with your husband ahead of you, but only if you let ‘S’ (for Satan if you ask me - he tempts us with our greatest weakness when we are at our weakest) know that you are committed to the life you set out upon with your husband. You knew at the time that you married that S had feelings for you. That ship sailed.

‘S’ knows you well and you love him, but he is an impediment to a happy life for your family. We don’t get the ‘happily ever after’ here on earth unless we follow God’s laws. :thumbsup:


You didn’t say if you have invested any time in marital counseling.
I think that will help get your head together. However. Find a catholic professional.

If you can get your husband to attend. That will help. But most of all PRAYER!
For healing. For forgivess in your heart and your husbands. No one can
pronounce a marriage valid or invalid without major research. It all goes back
to your wedding and dating history. Was he mentally I’ll then. ?
Did you marry him under duress? I’d presume I have a valid bond unless
prayer and counseling reveals otherwise. I’ll keep you in my prayers.


It seems to me like S and J aren’t all that much different, given the way S treated you back when you were available. And I’m sure J treated you very nicely when you were courting. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.


I really appreciate everyone’s answers. To respond to some of the questions, and other thoughts I would add that we have been to marriage counseling. We saw a counselor together regularly for 3 months last fall. It did not go well because he would shut down during the sessions because he felt like the counselor was attacking him when she would ask him questions. Since he’s been home we’ve been both seeing individual counselors, and we see his therapist together and talk to his psychiatrist together. I’ve also been talking to a priest recently.
I guess I didn’t really make clear that I am not planning on leaving my husband, I understand the for better or worse, in sickness and in health vows, and I respect them 100%. I feel that a big portion of my problem with getting back my respect and closeness with J is just fear, fear that the old behaviors will return once he is no longer worried that I am going to leave him. I do feel that this will just take time. The most difficult part right now is helping J understand why I am still hesitant and a bit distant sometimes. Also, less than one week after I told him I’m in love w/ S he says he doesn’t think we have many problems to work on. Another point I wasn’t clear on, is that leaving J, if that ever became a necessity, would be because he was a danger to the children or me, not because of S. I honestly don’t believe that S and I would have a chance at a relationship, even if that were possible (which I know is pretty much impossible, because even if we separated or divorced legally, we would still be married in the eyes of God), simply because he no longer has those feelings for me. The questions I was asking were not meant to say that I don’t believe my marriage is valid, in my mind there’s really no question about that, it was a question posed by another friend of mine, based on her thoughts regarding my subconscious feelings for S all along. I guess the real question is how do I stop having those feelings? It seems obvious that out of sight still doesn’t mean out of my heart. I guess I know the answer to that…prayer. The priest I was talking to, who actually knows S, said that I need to pray for the wisdom to know whether i need to cut off all contact with S, or limit that contact. Another factor that I didn’t bring up is that S is not acting inappropriately, he says that he let go of his feelings for me when I didn’t respond to him before he left town years ago. He is also deeply spiritual and a very good Catholic, teaches at a Catholic school, etc. He is very much someone that can be trusted to not be putting himself or me in a compromising situation. I appreciate any additional input that anyone may have. Thanks.


Peach, you’ve got two things going on here that aren’t related…

We all have people we loved who we didn’t marry. Loving one person, them leaving and us marrying another has nothing to do with the validity of the marriage. If we entered a marriage freely, with no preconditions, intending it to be open to children and permanent and exclusive, then it is a valid marriage.

Your husband’s stability of mind is an issue in and of itself that may limit his ability to carry out the duties of marriage or to even have entered it freely. Depending on his mental state at the time of the wedding.

Having said that, I would limit contact with S. You have a lot on your plate. Your husband’s meds are obviously working that he isn’t calling you names and accusing you of infidelities or worse.

Your issue is how to bring back love and respect.

You took him in sickness and health. He hurt you and the children. You have to accept that maybe he wasn’t in complete control of himself when he said those things. If he truly has narcissism going on, you need to recognize how RARE it is for him to go to and continue with joint and individual counseling and to work on things. THAT deserves respect. Because it’s a very painful process for a narcissist to have to admit their weakness and inadequacies and work on it. You have hope the relationship can work.

You can’t sit and think about what could have beens. The other poster was right how similar these guys seem to be. Neither treats you well when they have you and suddenly as you disappear from their grasp you become beloved and someone they want.

Find your strength and support from your family and female friends. If this marriage works or fails you need to know in your heart of hearts and to be able to tell your children that you really did give it everything you had. And you weren’t hoping it would fail so you could run off with someone who is not their daddy.

J’s therapist has to help him evaluate the damage his past behavior caused to his relationships and how he can help rebuild that. If the therapist isn’t dealing with that and helping him see it, you need to talk to said therapist. The marriage didn’t disintegrate overnight. It will take at least as long to rebuild.

And yes, you can stop feelings for people. First you have to stop thinking about them. By being busy with other things and not nurturing the affection by contact and daydreaming and longing for them. Think of it as a plant that you stop watering. It will eventually die out.

If you find you’re still holding a candle for someone… put down the candle. Spend that time concentrating on your marriage and your children. They’ve gone through a lot of upheavel. YOU’RE afraid he’ll regress? Think of how the kids must feel going through this rollercoaster.

I understand exactly how you fear J’s behavior is only temporary. Only time will show that once things are back to “normal” he will revert to “normal.” Hopefully he is getting effective help. But don’t lose sight of the fact that him getting treatment and taking his meds is very worthy of respect because usually people like that never get help because they’re sure YOU are the problem.

Long marriages are long because people didn’t walk away at the low point. Dont’ expect passion. Don’t even expect him to realize the marriage isn’t good right now. HE thinks it’s good because he sees life only from his point of view. Sounds like a real narcissist. But that means he thinks YOU are a good wife. Hey, you’ve got that going for you. It’s more than I had. :wink: Now if he can find out how to be a good husband and father, you both will have something to work with.

He’s trying. Give him time. Give the meds time. Give the treatment time. Treat him in a loving way. You’ll find feelings follow actions. And just like not acting toward S will lessen your feelings for him, being more loving and spending more time and conversation and fun with J will increase your feelings for him. Spend a day treating him really nicely and see for yourself if at the end of the day you don’t FEEL more affection for him.

You have issues that need to be dealt with also. Make sure your counselor is helping. You have been hurt by years of abuse. You need to overcome that. But for your kids’ sake, be sure there is nothing to work with before you leave.

The only think worse than being married to someone with these problems is being divorced from them and your kids going over to his house all the time and him taking care of them without you around.

Do what you can possibly do to restore your family. At least he’s trying. :o


I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this…are you saying that because I’m not happily suffering in my marriage that I think I’m some kind of princess? Or am I misinterpreting?


No, I was just making a bad pun. Princess Peach is a video game character. Sorry :frowning: :blush:

Accept suffering as a gift from Jesus. He gives you suffering so you can grow and so you can offer it to Him for sinners.


You got it…prayer. Particularly the St. Michael prayer and the Rosary. I know from personal experience that this works against any temptation. That’s what you are experiencing—temptation. It’s going to be difficult but when those thoughts of S arise in your mind…think about something else and/or pray the St. Michael prayer or any short prayer. You know you can have perfectly decent feelings of friendship about someone and satan gets in there and causes havoc. You have to nip even the thoughts in the bud. I remember reading that some of the Saints (not just St. Augustine) were greatly tempted in many areas INCLUDING this one. Just think of it as working on Sainthood! lol There are a lot of us there with you…God Bless.


You may want to read “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft (see here) to gain some insight into J’s state of mind and hopefully help you tell if and when he is really getting better. (This is assuming the borderline personality disorder w/ narcissism diagnosis is somewhat accurate.)


Gosh, I should have recognized the pun – my son plays Mario Brothers almost every day. :slight_smile:


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