hi everybody. i need some help/advice. i am a 49-year-old man married to a 44-year-old woman.
warning: this is a long story.
my wife and i have been married for 12 years and together for 15. during this time she has had no signs (at least that i could see) of being bipolar or having any other psychological problems. but she (and i, to a lesser degree) have worked in high-profile jobs and i have noticed that, as the years have gone on, she has become more high-strung. she's had a very successful career and her current, demanding job requires her to get up at 3:15 am every day so, naturally, she often operates on a sleep deficit.
anyway, we have had a very loving and close relationship. we hardly ever fight, have always been kind and thoughtful to each other, etc. if asked, i would have rated our marriage about 9.0 or 9.5 on a scale of 1-10.
she had a tragic childhood -- her mother died when she was 17 of breast cancer, her adopted father when she was 19 and she had no brothers or sisters. an aunt helped raise her but her aunt died about four years ago. she has never much complained about the bad hand she had been dealt, but i noticed that in the last few months, she was thinking more about her childhood. she's friendly and outgoing but does not let people get too close, with me being the exception. throughout our marriage she has been very open with me and honest.
we don't have any children - for years, i think she wanted to have a child but was not quite 100 percent ready for the committment. i come from a large family and know that couples should only have a child if BOTH partners are 100 percent committed to the idea, so i did not pressure her. two years ago (she was 42 at the time) she told me she wanted a baby. she got pregnant very quickly and for four and a half months, the pregnancy went wonderfully. i had never seen her happier. she wanted to know the sex of the baby (it was a boy) and was buying baby books and talking to me about what we should name our child. (NOTE: this was very unusual for her because she has always been very cautious -- because of her life history, she tended not to get excited about something until she knew it was definite.) tragically, she had a miscarriage at four and a half months and we lost the baby. it was horrible.
the doctors said we could try again in a few months. because of her age, she told me she wanted to go to a feritility doctor to increase our odds. i said, "fine." we went through two failed attempts (the second time we got a heartbeat but the fetus didn't take). she was taking her third round of fertility drugs this summer when she turned to me and said, "i want to stop the fertility treatments." i said i was sorry to hear that but understood how she complained that the drugs were making her feel weird. but then she dropped the hammer: "i feel our marriage is dead and that you're more like my roommate than my romantic mate. i want a divorce."
i was stunned. i tried to talk her out of it, telling her that maybe she was just stressed out ... or maybe it was the fertility drugs talking. but she was oddly unemotional and said "i'm seeing things clearly now." she did not want to see a marriage counselor. she said had thought this thing through and had made up her mind. anyway, for the next two and a half weeks, she was like a machine -- lining up a divorce lawyer, calling real estate people to determine how much we could get by selling our house, getting a month-to-month lease for a temporary apartment she could move to in a few days, buying a $2,000 plane ticket for a trip to hawaii with her girlfriends, etc. in the meantime, i spent the first week in a daze, wondering what the hell had happened. by the second week, i was still confused, sad and angry but, realizing that she had made up her mind, trying to figure out what i should do next.
i went away for four days and came back home, finding her crying on the couch. she said she wanted to see a marriage counselor and wanted to save the marriage. "have i ruined everything?" she asked me. i told her she had done a lot of damage but i thought the marriage could be saved.
then a few days later, she became very wound up -- saying she was having trouble sleeping and frantically telling me that her hair was falling out. i couldn't tell right away but she wasn't simply imagining it -- there was a lot of hair in the bathtub and on her pillow. she told me a dermatologist said the hair loss was probably caused by the hormones she had been on for fertility treatment. she was also rubbing her hands and moving her feet nervously. i called an old family friend who's a doctor. he talked to my wife on the phone and then when they were done talking, he told me privately, "i think your wife is bipolar. get her to a psychiatrist ASAP."
we did ... and the psychiatrist said he should be checked into the psychiatric ward. she spent four days there, mostly getting some much-needed sleep and seeing a couple therapists. they started giving her seroquel and she calmed down pretty quickly.
but starting around day three, she started acting very distantly towards me -- just like she had when she first told me she wanted a divorce.
after she checked out, she told me she and her therapist thought maybe she should move to the temporary apartment for a little while. i was a little hurt but said okay. she seemed reluctant to leave and i told her she could stay with me. she said, "no i should go for a couple days." i told her she could come back sooner if she wanted -- whatever she thought was best.
anyway, i didn't hear from her for three days. i finally called her and she sounded upbeat, saying that she thought the new place was helping her get some much-needed rest. three more days passed -- she didn't call -- so i called her. same story: "i think i like it here." she says she's taking her medication (seroquel) and seeing her therapist twice a week. she says her doctors are still trying to figure out what happened to her. she's hoping the manic episode was just a fluke due to lack of sleep and stress. during our 12-year marriage, she could get upset and a depressed at times (sometimes wallowing in negativity) but it never got so bad that i considered taking her to the doctor. prior to meeting me she had made a couple impulsive decisions (quitting school, having a brief marriage with a guy she said she never really loved) but while she's been with me she hadn't done anything remotely like that.
sorry to go on for so long but i am completely lost. she only talks to me when i call. we have always been very close, with both of us making long-range plans together and sharing our hopes, dreams and anxieties with each other. whenever we've had a bad thing happen in our marriage, she would grab my hands and say, "don't ever leave me, you're all i've got." and i never, ever considered leaving her. but in the past 13 days, we have physically seen each other just once -- and she was very distant, analytical and remote, even to our golden retriever (and man, she has always loved that dog).
i have a good friend whose mother is bipolar who is telling me to hang in there, that my wife still loves me very much.
but she sure isn't showing it and i wonder if there is another man (that might explain her wanting the divorce so suddenly and not wanting to see a counselor) and a large part of me thinks i should take the hint, cut her loose and somehow try to move on with my life without her. but i love her and wish the girl i've loved so much for 12 years will come back ... or if she's gone for good.