Hi to all,
First post here as a new member. Thank goodness for the internet and all-seeing power of Google which brought me here! I finally feel like I am not imagining things and am not alone in having these medications almost end a decade plus long marriage, while I witness how they have changed my wife. It is currently severely on the rocks, no matter what I try to do.
Just reading your comments, the support given and experiences has already made me feel so much stronger and convinced of what is happening.
An overview of my situation - sorry for the length but thought it best to be specific:
We have been married over 12 years now, and have 2 boys aged 3 1/2 and 2. We knew each other long-distance for about 5 years prior to marriage, and spoke every day multiple times. My wife is from a background of childhood trauma (domestic violence and emotional abuse) but only (finally!) went to a counsellor after our second child was born. She suffered Postnatal depression after the first, but I was working from home so helped her a lot with that by essentially being the primary carer of the baby for an extended period. With the second, I was working full-time away from home so not around as much though provided primary care oround work. She had severe PND with the second, so went to counselling. They placed her on medication for the first time ever: 100 mg of Eleva (Zolof), which she was on for about a year, but was very lethargic from it. She has always been a fitness fanatic, so they changed her to 50 mg of Pristiq (Effexor) 6 months ago as it did not have the same lethargic effect. It allowed her to get back into her training, which we both thought was great.
Well, since that approximate 6 month period, the following has happened:
- I don't love you anymore / I've not loved you for years / I've never loved you
- We're more like flatmates / brother and sister than lovers and partners
- I need space to find myself and be free
- We don't have anything in common
- I want to separate / divorce
- She 'developed a crush' / or actually cheated on me with a male friend she was helping train as a personal trainer (evidence suggests it may have been more than just a crush)
- Osscilations between wanting to separate and not for utilitarian reasons (not feelings)
- Seeing me completely break down in front of her and our children, and literally feeling nothing, nor react at all
- She has gone from wearing her heart on her sleeve to being absolutely flat and uncaring towards me, often times being really derisive and rude/argumentative
Even prior to that, there was definitely emotional blunting taking place on the Eleva.
Just to give some background: Both of us had to struggle for many years for her family to accept her choice to get to know and marry me, and even after our marriage faced a lot of family stigma which we hard to work past together. It was a conscious decision and uphill battle from both of us to make a go of things and build a life together, which we were finally getting happy with. We bought a house a year before our first son came along, and decided we wanted another child.
Everyone who has known us in the last 12 years considered us a great match ('perfect for each other') and so on, and a really strong, stable couple. Yes, we had arguments and issues flared from time to time as they do in marriage (and especially when someone has unresolved childhood trauma), but by and large, we were inseperable from each other. I've done nothing but completely support my wife in any and all aspects of her life, e.g. when she decided that she no longer liked her job and wanted to change career to her childhood dream. This entailed an almost 50% wage cut, but we worked hard to allow her to succeed in this.
Now, just to give some other information: she did admit to cheating on me once way back in 2008, but was extremely remorseful, devastated and shocked by her action. Basically, from what I can tell, she had been played by a seasoned player, who took advantage of her naivity (she is from a very socially conservative family) and her need for validation (self esteem issues due to emotional abuse growing up). She is from a religious family, so it is completely out of character and something she knows is morally wrong.
However, this time, I noticed her behaviour change suddenly around 5 months ago and immediately called her out on it. How she dressed, spending an inordinate amount of time on her phone, going out a lot more 'with her sister' than usual, and so on. I asked her flat out 'Are you cheating on me?' (as I said I would after last time), and her immediate response was 'I think we need to separate.' That was in late October. She had absolutely no feelings at all regarding the situation, and definitely no remorse or empathy as to what I was going through. She went back to watching Netflix whilst I was numb, in shock, and then had a breakdown.
A little while after that, she told me that her counsellor was telling her that she needed 'space' to rediscover herself and find out who she is now, and so on.
By December, we had agreed to take the week off work before Christmas to spend together fully as both kids were in childcare. We had planned a number of activities during that time. But on the 19th, the first day of our leave, I dropped the kids off and rushed home to prepare to for our trip out. As soon as I had walked in the door, she sat me down and said 'Listen, we need to talk. You need to move out as we are separating.' Cold as ice. No empathy or understanding, or emotional investment.
I spent that week looking for apartments, and moved out on December 28. That night - the first night I have slept on my own without at least my eldest son beside me co-sleeping in 3 years - was like being in solitary confinement, or hell. The next day I was also on my own, and had a complete breakdown, panic attack etc. She called me on the phone when I said I was having a breakdown and asked me to come over. But there was no empathy or understanding at all. Just cold, and she knew that seeing the kids would help me.
She and our boys spent New Year's Eve at my apartment as you could see the fireworks from there, but besides that was cold as ice towards me still.
A marriage counsellor suggested that she could still have 'space' whilst we lived together in the same house, so I am now in the process of moving back in, as I've been spending most of my time there anyway with the kids.
She has moments where she says things, e.g. 'I've always said you're such a great father' and so on, but she does not want any physical contact at all, nor any 'imtimacy'. In her mind you can still have sex without being intimate in any way. And it seems completely reasonable to her.
It's a very convoluted and difficult situation, but since reading the accounts of you all, it has given me hope.
I have broached the subject with her and she has told me that she wants to come off the medication anyway, so discussed with her prescribing psych and is going through a weaning process starting this week.
I am really hopefuly that there will be some noticeable change in a few months from now, and that it has not been a permanent change. She is willing to 'try' it, but is not entirely convinced that it's the medication that is the cause of her change of feelings; this is even though so many of the narratives I shared with her mirror ours so closely.
Apologies once again for the length of my (first ever) post, but I just wanted to say thank you to you all again and wish you all the very best.