About 2 months ago, I discovered that my wife had an affair during a recent visit to her home country. After discovering this, I went ballistic on her, of course. A week or so after the discovery, I agreed to try to forgive her, so long as she went to counseling on her own, and couples counseling with me.
My wife's emotional state went downhill very quickly. The significance of what she has done has hit her, hard, and she's fallen into a depression. Not a surprise, to me, as she's a sensitive person, if selfish, and she's mortified at what happened. I'm still very, very angry, and lost, myself, so I understand that she's an emotional disaster.
Her therapist has strongly suggested against going to couples counseling until my wife can come to the root of why she cheated, and deal with her other emotional baggage. I understand this, I suppose, as these are things that would prevent her from giving 100% effort at couples counseling, and she knows that if I feel that she isn't trying very hard, I'll leave.
I'm trying to be supportive without coddling her. She broke her vows, and it wasn't my fault, after all. I didn't do anything wrong. Any mistakes made were made by us together in our marriage. I can't help feel that I have to backburner my own pain, and bottle up my anger, which isn't a good thing.
Anyone out there dealing with a depressed spouse? How do you be supportive without enabling them?
Your public profile says you're at sea again. Do you travel a lot? If so, perhaps that is part of the problem with your wife. You also state that you have done nothing wrong, but sometimes we do things and aren't aware of the impact they have on others. Suggest you try to explore those two areas with your wife.
I'm not saying this is your fault - it's not! Your wife made the choice and I find it a little ironic that SHE is depressed. The fact that you still want to support her makes you a caring, forgiving and all around nice guy!
Hi Sandy yes, I travel a lot- I put in a lot of extra time away this past year to make sure we had a great time in her home country, but under regular circumstances, I am away 50% of the time. In discussions we've had, my wife hasn't felt lonely, for the most part, and neither of us feels that that explains everything; I'm sure it's part of it, but I'm also pretty sure that it isn't a major part. My fault is limited to allowing our communication to plateau- without meeting each other's emotional needs, we laid the ground for this to happen, I suppose. In retrospect, however, I feel like I've been a good husband, which is why I'm worried that I have no outlet to express my own feelings without sending my wife off on a crying fit. Dealing with her fragile emotional state while I am suffering from mood swings and seriously out-of-character bouts of rage is a real challenge- I'm trying to figure out how other people deal with balancing the needs of the depressed person with their own.
The main thing she needs to do is figure out WHY she was unfaithful. Only then will you two move on.
As for dealing with a depressed person and helping yourself... it's hard. I've suffered from depression for 12 years, and my husband has a difficult time with it. I just asked my husband how he does it, and he says it's situational. You have every right to be upset and mad, and you're right--she can't be coddled. She did this herself, she needs to accept that and work to correct it. Until you get to the root of the problem, the depression is likely only going to get worse.
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