Hi there, this is Athol and this is an Ask Athol Anything episode. If you have a question for me you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it can be potentially part of the show. Let’s just jump to today’s question.
This was very long, it was like two and a half pages when I got it so I’m just going to give you the bullet points of the highlights of it. There was a lot of context here.
Her family was prejudiced against the relationship from the start. No issues except lack of sex from the start, and the little sex that they had she just lay there and sex was about every two months. (Now if you follow my stuff you know that I’m already thinking that is a massive, super massive, giant red flag.) She has a history of childhood trauma, some domestic violence and emotional abuse, potentially sexual but he didn’t know if that was true. They have two small kids together. I think they were like three and two. Wife had severe post-natal depression. She’s been on antidepressants since the birth of their second kid. In September her behavior suddenly changed a great deal. He discovered her affair in October. She says it was just a crush but he kind of doesn’t believe that. When it was caught or the affair fell through or whatever it was, she had a three day breakdown crying, couldn’t get off the couch. (That to me is also a really bad sign.) Some sort of break down or crying when an affair is discovered is pretty normal. Three days is excessive. “She now says she feels nothing for me. Acting like a total ice queen. Prior to this we were really close and she told everyone how much she loved me, etc.” Also back in the past about seven, eight years ago there was a one night stand with a work colleague. She told him about it and she was super distraught and apologetic. She has a super conservative religious family background. Still considers him an excellent father just has no feelings for him.
The question being is there some possibility that the SSRI medications she is on, are the reason she’s doing all of this, and her family and friends were thinking this was a possibility too. So that’s the question, is it medication induced or is it something else, and then what does he need to do from here.
Alrighty, so here’s my answer. And it’s not a whole bunch of good news to be honest. My hunch is that she’s just been struggling with a complete lack of real attraction or interest from the beginning.
It seems like she certainly valued you for your safety and security, and your general kindness and ability to parent. She’s valued you in this way, but that whole lack of sex and certainly that lack of interest in her having any kind of sex other than her just laying there, that’s just a major, major red flag.
I think she’s been advertising to all and sundry that the relationship has been good in part to smoke screen it and send that message out, but also in part to convince herself that everything is fine and she’s made this good decision to be with you.
Now the antidepressants themselves, yes indeed they really can cause mood changes, loss of attraction and cause erratic behavior and people to do all sorts of wild and crazy things. This is absolutely part of the potential side effects for these meds. But when I look at the history, yes she started acting erratically now, but it’s not aligned to when she started on the meds. Also she certainly has a whole bunch of behavior before the medication that’s really concerning. So I get the feeling that the medication may have played some role, but certainly her interest in her affair partner has pulled the veil off the illusion of the narrative that she’s been telling to you, her family, and herself all this time. That whole three day breakdown thing is a really big red flag as well because it, to me it means she was super interested and attracted and that was very real to her, and maybe not so real with you. So I don’t get the feeling it’s a sudden change of behavior I just get the sense it’s this sudden unveiling of the truth.
Perhaps the best example I can give for this are the cases where people who have done things like running gay conversion therapy clinics for a decade or more, and then it turns out in the end that they are in fact gay themselves. They had this whole narrative of anti-gay, but behind that they were actually gay the whole time. They didn’t suddenly turn gay.
So I think she’s just not been into you. She’s not been interested in the marriage. She’s made this conscious choice and settled and she’s had to advertise to herself as much as anyone that this is all good. I also suspect that this is part of the thing that’s going on with her family too. They were against you at the beginning, and then you guys got married, and now they are for the relationship. They might have seen some of the red flags early on and wanted to not have it happen, but now that you guys are married and there are two little kids and they think she’s going off the rails, they’re all certainly going to want you to stay in her life. Being completely honest, they likely think she might need a backup plan, some sort of safety net, and currently you’re the guy. So it’s logical that her family would you to stay committed to her. It’s always a little hard to trust the other person’s parents and friends as to how much on your side they can truly be. They are almost always on your partner’s side, which is fine, why shouldn’t they be? But it’s hard to know sometimes whether they are fully acting in your interest as much as your partner’s.
Without knowing anything more about the affair in terms of what I was sent, it’s very hard to draw conclusions about how it started, how it was discovered, who the guy was, all that sort of stuff. I suspect there’s probably more to it than you’ve discovered or realized or found or she’s confessed to. That whole three day breakdown, crying, can’t get off the couch routine means it was significant. There’s far more than just a crush happening there. She’s probably reached this place where she can’t carry on the script where she’s this happily married woman and everything is fine.
Which is why she’s gone to this ice queen mode of yes I like you for your parenting but I have no other feelings for you. So you have to accept that at this point the marriage is probably over. She is probably not going to have any great revelation and want to come back. You have to find yourself a decent lawyer and start really planning ahead in terms of if this relationship is going to fail what do I need to do to protect myself, represent myself, and try and get the best out come for both of us and definitely the children.
Simply because the marriage is over doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can have a peaceful end as opposed to a very dramatic one. I just get the sense that she’s done, and she probably deeply regrets getting married. This was probably a choice that made sense at the time but turned out to be harder than she thought. It’s the combination of (1) no particular interest in sex at the beginning, (2) that horrific three day crying spell when the affair was discovered, and now (3) the ice princess thing, that worries me.
I’ve now seen this style of scenario quite a few times. Once the lid is torn off and it’s really shown for what it is, they never really want to continue on with the relationship. It’s usually a slow death spiral from that point. So I think you’ve kind of got to lawyer up, accept the end, and play it through from there. I know that’s just not what you wanted to hear but I think it is the truth.
So anyway, all pretty sad. I’m going to leave it there. Feel free to like, comment, subscribe and all that good internet stuff.
And I will catch you next time.