Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Emotionally starved"

This is the definition my psychotherapist used to describe what is going on inside my head and heart. And I realised this is perfectly fitting.

Till we had plans, things to do, to keep busy, etc. I did not notice that my emotions did not get sufficient attention (understatement of the year). Throughout my infertility years I had you: my cyber friends. A couple of whom are very good friends in real life too. I needed this space where I could talk, open my heart and I knew, I always knew I would have gotten the support, the comfort, the kind words. Mike has always been extremely kind, but never capable of sitting down with me and listen to my broken soul. Or better, he listened. Never had anything to say back. That's just not what we do. And for 12 years I think I was ok with this, I had my friends, I had you, I had my many projects. Oliver, the first years, Martina, her first years... we are busy, not much time to think, to observe and take stock. We always had something to do around the house, holidays to plan. I mostly planned everything, Mike very happy to go along (most of the time) and me happy to do the planning.

I know things changed early this year. Or better, they didn't change at all, I just suddenly saw the situation differently.

As I started looking for a job somewhere else, Mike was not there at all for me. Not a word like...ever. No plans, dreams or even curiosity. Surely he saw how impossible the working environment had become for me, surely he must have known I am not the kind of person that just complains about things. I would have acted. And I did. On my own. I wrote in May how he suddenly had a major display of emotions (all negatives) and that for me was a turning point. The turning point. One of those you remember forever. If my feelings had been tested up till that point, there was when something broke. It's not the job hunting, or the event itself, it's how obviously incapable we are of talking to one another. I did not see that coming at all. Not only that, but on that occasion I absolutely did not share nor I understood his feelings. We are scientists, it's in our nature to have a curious attitude, to love new things, to discover. I realised I would be much better off on my own in my adventure. Clearly the children are a significant factor. I am not doing anything rushed only because of them.

I love him, I will always love him. I just wish I was free and love him from afar, like I love my parents. I'd like to be free to do my things without thinking "oh I better let him know this or the other" and it's always only functional. I am not even mentioning my excitement about starting new things, setting up a new lab, new collaborations, new projects. He never asks of course, but also he is always going to be lukewarm no matter what we say/do.

It could totally be me. In fact I think it is me. I tend to get bored. I'm amazed I only noticed it now after 12 years together. With my first husband it took about 4 years total time. Clearly we had no children, it was so much easier to just pack up and go. And we stayed very good friends (if we ever were friends, again we had zero in common, zero conversation, at least with Mike we have the science in common if not so much the emotional connection) we are still in touch for birthdays etc 14 years after splitting up. How do I pick these people? Am I so so blind that I don't see macroscopic stuff like the fact that if I have a concern as irrational as it may be I do not feel understood by my partner? My mom always mentioned how strange it was that Mike had barely any contact with his own family bar the mandatory sunday phone call. And I was getting very much uptight about it answering that the fact that they were less attached didn't mean they didn't love each other. This still stands. I mean...maybe the major thing was when he didn't go home last Christmas when he was told his mother had days to live....I think he loved her. Is that the way I want to be loved? Most definitely not. Can we work on this as a couple? I doubt it. He has not changed, I have.

I need new emotions, new everything. And the children are great, they will always bring something new, it's such an amazing thing seeing the world through their eyes. Now I just have to find a way to move forward, and do the least amount of damage.
As ever, thank you so so much for your shoulders, I desperately need them.


  1. Wow, Fran I'm not sure what to say. :-( I'm sorry you've found yourselves here. I was just thinking the other day how complicated things get the further you get into life. Magnified by having kids. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers as you figure things out. Hugs to you.

  2. I amso sorry! It sounds like you know what you need to do but you have to figure out his to do it. Do you ever get mad and tell at him to get a response, any response to your communication to him? What is under the surface? Is there anything there? Is he one of those strong stoic men if few words but river runs deep? Or not? I'm here for you and I hope you figure out what to do so you can all be happier!

  3. Sorry for all the autocorrect typos!

  4. Oh Fran... this post made me finally get behind my computer again to comment (I still read many blogs on my phone). I think you are incredibly brave. I recognize some of what you say, although our situations are not the same. I'll be thinking of you. Hang in there, take all the time you need to figure things out.

  5. Fran, it sounds to me like you have already made up your mind and now it is just a matter of figuring out how to go about things. I am sorry you don't have a partner that supports you emotionally, in the manner that you need. Thinking of you from across the sea!

  6. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Wish couples therapy could help. I think you are right, not visiting ones dying mother is very telling.

  7. So much to be going through and I am so sorry. I agree with Momasita, it sounds like you've make your choice and are just figuring out the steps. I wish you lots of luck and know that I'm always here to chat if you need it. (((HUGS)))

  8. Good luck, Fran. Whichever way forward you go.

  9. Oh, dear, I am ever so sorry you are going through this. I cannot imagine how hard it must be. I have no piece of advice, and I completely trust you to do the right thing, however heartbreaking that might be. It does sound like you know which way you are heading, and I must say I am curious to hear his reaction.
    I wish you only the best, courage and good fortune.

  10. Hey Fran, sorry for commenting late. How are you feeling now? Have you talked to Mike? your therapist?
    I think with DP we had our emotional-support struggles during our IF years, and the counseling to go with it. My poor brother is having a hard time now, I think his children are the same age as yours. But hey, I have two shoulders, there is always another one to cry on! Wishing you calm.

  11. Fran I am so sorry to be reading this post. I hope in the time since writing it that things have been clarified in your mind as to a course of action. What I will say is that every marriage it seems goes through this patch of misconnection - added to that the extra stress that a long walk with infertility puts on it (even if you don't feel it at the time, it always finds a way to work itself out in the later days often once success has been achieved) and with two small children, working full day it's a wonder to me that anyone stays married at all.

    What I am saying is perhaps Mike too is just bone tired? You are, I can hear it. Understandably so. If he had to understand what it is you're thinking of doing, would it scare him into action? Couples therapy? Is that even what you want?

    Thinking of you and sending much love as you figure this all out.



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