I dated my husband for three years and everything was normal. The families got along wonderfully.
One month after we married, things changed, and deteriorated over a year.
It started with a slow withdrawal from any independent activities, like hockey or going out with friends. He wasn't interested in doing any of the things we used to do together, including being intimate.
There was always some physical ailment as a reason. I was a newlywed who hadn't had sex with my husband for six months. I couldn't get him to talk about it or admit there was a problem, so I decided to confront him through an argument just to get a response.
He broke down into tears, admitted to Internet porn addiction, and a previous history of mental illness (medication and therapy), which he’d hidden, from me.
For some inexplicable reason, he’d decided to discontinue meds and therapy, on his own. I insisted that for him to stay with me, they’d resume.
I had to leave for my own safety and sanity a month later. But, I arranged through my benefits, for him to meet a therapist, but didn't monitor if he continued.
He’s back after a year, saying he’s been in treatment. But I’m now feeling confident, back to my normal self after a year of my own therapy.
Do I trust someone who lied to me and hid things? I do love him very much, but don't know if I can or want to spend the rest of my life wondering what else he’s hidden.
He says I've abandoned him.... I say I’ve found myself.
The decision is about you, not him. You already know that he has a mental health illness, which, apparently, requires ongoing monitoring and treatment over the years. His porn addiction stresses the need for added behaviour therapy.
You’ve also learned, hurtfully, that one issue with some people with mental health problems, arises when they arbitrarily stop treatment without professional guidance or a new plan.
You have an “escape button” if you choose to use it. He isn’t the man you signed on for as a life partner.
But, then, he IS your husband…. in “sickness and in health,” and you love him.
So it’s about what you can accept and handle, your own maturity, and honesty about your capacity to care for someone enough to forget that he lied (which he did to keep you). And, to be his partner in living with his illness.
Stay with your own counselling as you work out your answer to yourself and to your husband.
I’m 23, dating a terrific girl, we’re in the same University program. We both graduate next year; I plan to do post-grad studies, and the best opportunities are away. She’s already got a job lined up here, this summer, and will have it again.
You’re at a natural turning point in your career path, which is affecting your relationship. It doesn’t mean you don’t care for her enough; you’re just being realistic.
Stay in close contact through email, phone, and occasional visits. Call this a long-distance connection, but don’t insist on being exclusive (and neither should she). It’s too early, and the future too wide-open, for either of you to make a lifetime plan.
You’ll know more about your own ambitions and opportunities once you’ve spent a year in graduate school. And you’ll both know more about your feelings, and how long you can sustain them while apart.
FEEDBACK Regarding discovery that a live-in boyfriend had been on gambling websites (May 4):
Reader - “The girlfriend’s opinions on gambling are absolute.
“She likely opposes it in any form and at any level or amount.
“She should not necessarily impose this on her boyfriend.
“She gave no indication that he had any kind of current gambling problem, or whether he was even playing for money. I’m guessing he lied because it was easier on both of them than trying to convince her that he's only doing it recreationally.
“She seems somewhat of a control freak and he may be better off without her. If she was that serious about gambling (or any other habits or behaviours) she should’ve made it clear before setting up house together.
“I absolutely agree that compulsive gambling can destroy homes.”
Ellie – Thanks for another perspective. She did say she “already has trouble trusting him,” which exacerbates any lies.
Tip of the day:
When a partner has strong needs, the decision is about what YOU can handle.