A week after he had thrown the word ’divorce’ at me, he came home and was ready to talk.
He told me that despite me telling him not to think about therapy right now…he had done and he had realised that he needed help. Basically he gave the ultimatum that its therapy (not starting tomorrow but within the next 2 weeks and with a different therapist) or it’s over between us because he couldn’t allow me to put myself through this unless something was going to change for the better.
I had asked if he loved me and he told me honestly that he didn’t know…but he did know that he didn’t want to be without me. He enjoyed having me around, he liked spending time with me and I was the only person in the world that didn’t make him feel alone. He wanted me to be the one by him side, the one to help him through this… but he understood if I wanted to leave.
I told him that I intended to stay with him, to support him but until I had experienced the real him I had no idea how I would cope or react. I would need to keep seeing my own counsellor for moral support and I would need to understand his frame of mind…his motives…his world. I wasn’t going to push him into anything again but at the same time I wasn’t going to allow him to shit all over me. If he wanted 2 weeks until he started thinking about therapy then fair enough…but if it gets to 2 weeks and nothings been booked then I would choose one for him and hand him the fucking phone!
I had asked what would change…he’d said he wasn’t sure. I’d asked if hugs and cuddles were out of the window if he came back (he said no) which prompted me to ask whether he would benefit from them…or actually want to cuddle…or whether he would be doing it to shut me up…he’d said he could go for cuddles.I asked why he had done it, why he didn’t just be himself from the start and see what happened, and why he had gone as far as marrying me when it hadn’t worked? He’d said he thought maybe I could be the person to change him, he wanted to change and he wanted to feel something. He felt guilty…which I pointed out was a feeling…an emotion…he thought maybe he felt a little guilt, sometimes a little sad or a little happy but he didn’t know for sure. Mainly the only thing he ever felt was numb. He didn’t look numb though, he actually looked quite sad -which of course I pointed out- but he said he didn’t feel sad…maybe he’d repressed it that much that he didn’t realise it anymore.
I told him I would need to ask him questions all the time in order to try and understand what was happening…that’s just the way I am; that I was worried that that alone would push him over the edge or simply push him away. I told him he would need to be honest and “himself” in order to go anywhere…there was no point in falling back into the old habits because that would just prolong the bullshit. He agreed with all of the above, he seemed OK in general, just a bit quieter…sadder than the normal him.
Of course I was apprehensive about things to come but there was no way I was giving up on us. By this time I had googled ‘emotional numbness’ until my eyes ached. It was actually reassuring and a massive relief to see that so many other people were going through the same thing as him. I had cross referenced symptoms and causes, downloaded articles…talked it out with my counsellor…with people on specific forums…my trusted friend…everything I could think of. It was through doing this that the idea of mental illness/disorders (apologies if that’s not the right terminology) in particular PTSD (which i have an added an info page about here) came to light, everything fitted, my counsellor agreed and I felt better in the thought that there was an answer to all of this…a reason…a cause. OK so its still shitty and we still dont know for sure but at least its something we can work with, something we can try to understand and most of all its not because he’s just a massive dickhead. It doesn’t excuse everything but it does make sense of it all…most of all it gives me hope.
He was home, for me that was all that mattered right then. The fact that we have a chance to work through this and a chance for closure one way or another; a chance to figure out whether we could live with the changes that were due to come…and I felt ready…until he went up to bed…without saying ‘I love you’
- Don’t Call It an Ultimatum (cosmopolitan.com)
- Ultimatum (complications1996blog.wordpress.com)
- Letter from Another Jane Doe (makemeasammich.org)
- Beautiful Suicide (Previously titled: An angel was a devil once) (cheyennemickley.wordpress.com)
- Talking someone back from the brink of despair (smh.com.au)
- Reader Question: Treating Emotional Numbness (drkathleenyoung.wordpress.com)