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Between Scylla And Charybdis

As I read your stories, I am looking into the mirror of grim despair! My wife and I have been married for 40 years. The first 24 were alive with the flames of passion, and filled with the glow of love and happiness. I thought that we were soul mates, and for a time, I think that we were. However, 16 years ago, due to circumstances that were not created by either of us, and well beyond our control, the relationship changed. We did have children, but as they left the nest and had children of their own. our love, lessoned, though I refused to believe it, and the love making became less and less frequent, until it finally stopped altogether.
My wife is 6 years my senior, and it seemed that this gap grew larger and larger until it became a deep, wide chasm that increasingly grew, until all that I could do was stare hopeless, quiet desperation at the woman whom I once loved and had once loved me .
I turned from the beloved into the friend, and the friendship grew weaker with each passing day, until any mutual bond, lay broken and twisted in the pit between us.
Our marriage had become one of comfort, and, as we slipped into this relationship, for me, it became increasingly more stale, dull and boring.
While my wife seemed content, I desperately longed to return to something that had vanished. I hesitantly, tried to look outside the relationship, for what I could not find within it. However, because I had been married to my wife since I was 22, I did not feel at ease in my search, and never could become self centered enough to completely let our marriage go. I thought of looking in at my options in a number of varied places, and, though a few times I started, my repulsion to the word and act of infidelity would not allow me to look very hard or very long for what I was missing so desperately.
As change beget more changes, our situation worsened, and despair grew deeper as all hope was extinguished. Though I did not think it possible, we grew more and more apart and the chasm between us grew deeper and wider. My wife became more angry as I came to accept our situation and started to change for my own protection. Eventually, my wife's anger, turned into hatred and jealousy, and she moved out.
In the months that she was gone, in the physical loneliness of the now almost empty house, I began to reflect on these changes and became more self assured of my strength and more hopeful, too. Although after seven months, my wife did return, it was out of need rather then of desire. I worked hard to repair what was irreparable. We saw marriage counselor after marriage counselor, but my wife's unwillingness to try and her anger at me, more than at our situation, ambushed each attempt until I could no longer try and I no longer cared to try.
Last January, when the hopelessness of our situation fully dawned on me, I moved out of the house. My wife became more bitter and angry with me and I let myself develop resentments, until I was filled with hatred an anger to the point where I hated life as it became harder and harder. I finally had an epiphany, and realized that my only recourse was to accept my situation and accept my wife for who she had become so I could move forward with my life.
Unhappiness and despair ceased to be options and I developed a passion and love of myself and my life, that I had previously not known! I realized that my wife was miserable, and not wanting to see her like that, or to have her misery become mine any longer, I decided to help her, any with that new found resolve and my growing passion to be happy, the separation became less angry and vindictive to the point where our pending divorce, is almost mutually amicable.
I am 62 years old, and though I still yearn for love as beautiful as the one I had experienced for so many years, I am hesitant, and must move forward slowly and cautiously. I am apprehensive about my desire for any type of intimate relationship at this time, and even though I fear that with each passing day, my chances grow dimmer, my apprehension handcuffs me and I remain between Scylla and Charybdis, longing to go forward, but paralyzed by my fear of being hurt again.
All that I can do now is to play my hand out and let the cards fall where they will. As long as I continue to move forward and continue to grow, my life gets better. I guess sometimes we do have to settle, but as long as I continue to evolve, I will continue to have hope...smw
kbgloves1 kbgloves1 61-65, M 21 Responses Jul 25, 2012

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Thank you for sharing. I'm nervous now to my future in the event that something outside the relationship causes it to change. In retrospect, do you think you could have reigned it and saved it? Would it have been worth it or was your experience perhaps necessary in maybe revealing true colors?

I could have done things differently which might have led to a different outcome...or not!

Don't worry my friend, what happened to me doesn't have to happen to you. Everyone is different. I would suggest not to dwell on the past or worry about a future that hasn't and may not happen. Just be the best person you can be today, in all your affairs. Take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place!

On the bright side, as of today which is the one year anniversary of our divorce, my wife and I are best friends again. We support and help each other and while we aren't in love with each other , we will always love each other. We usually spend time together a couple of days a week and call each other often. Our relationship is better than it's been in 5 or 6 years :)

Thank you for the hope-filled response! I think that's a great approach and admire your perspective. Best wishes for your continuing improvement. :)

Thank you. I do what I must to be happy - that's the way life's meant to be. I wish you a long and happy marriage. :)

As I try to relate to what you are going through, being a woman who has given all to her family and husband for 36 years and realizing that he would probably never be content believing the grass is always greener somewhere else and materialistically absorbed, I can understand the resentment that your wife must have endured. I also realize you have tried in many areas to reconcile and for that I applaud you. Relationships take work especially after a long period of time and in most cases, the grass does not stay green. I do wish you the best as I try to pick up the pieces of my own mistakes and messed up life trying to hold on to something not there which should have been evident years ago. As a firm believer in vows and commitment, you can NOT hold on to a relationship another does not desire, but stays anyway due to insecurity in an edifice which is no longer a home with no communication and continued hostilities and built up resentments. I pray you both find the happiness you are searching for and not become numb to embracing love and the many blessings true love brings. You will only get back in this life what you give and giving is truly the best part of what you receive although it is far better to give without expectation. Forgiveness, whether within yourself or for another will cleanse the ache in your soul, but for most of us, forgetting is the hardest part after years of despair. Always realize that people should not have to live up to your expectations, nor should you theirs. I honestly believe when we are truly sorry for our mistakes and any hurt we have caused others, the healing process begins and I believe that you are trying to make amends in your life and will eventually find true happiness.
Blessings from a gal who wishes someone cared enough to understand the grief and hurt he has caused and out of my distress and pain caused a VERY SPECIAL friend I admired, cared about and respected to hurt that didn't deserve it. I am hoping for happiness down the long and winding road as well. You sound like a very nice man who made some mistakes and willing to atone for them. My prayers are with you.

Thank you. I wrote this 18 months ago and I have travelled far upon my path since. I have forgiven both myself and my wife and have found that the happiness I'm looking for lies within me.

My wife and I got divorced last May and sold our house last August. While both situations were confrontational and contentious, I took the high road and I think because of that, over the past few months, my wife has let go of her resentment and anger and we are becoming friends again, which is all I want.

I am still not ready for emotional intimacy with a woman, but I have experienced a great amount if spiritual growth over the past few years and I am happy and at peace

I wish the same for you!

I am so thankful you have found happiness and peace at last. I am also thrilled about the spiritual growth which I have let slip here because of all of the turmoil and trying to rectify. I wish you continued joy and peace in the new year. It is good to know you and your wife have become friends. I know that must have taken a while. Blessings always!

Thank you again. One thing I want you to know us that if I can turn things around, you can too. In fact anybody can. I'm not special, I'm only a person trying to not just get by, but be happy, as we all are!

Keep the focus on yourself and do what us right for you!

1 More Response

I'm sorry for your losses, but you seem like a good man! So although the future may be unknown, I'm sure you will find what you seek one day ^_^

Thank you. I wrote that a year and a half ago. I/m in a much better place now. I still havent found a woman but I have found the one thing that I now realize I've always wanted...peace of mind - just a little, but I'm seeking out more :D

Oh yayy!!

And we're friends Double Yayy!

I feel sorry for your loss of all those years together. Your class act I wish you all the best!

Thank you, so much. The one ting i know is that whatever happens, I WILL be okay :(

yes you will ! You will survive it !

KB, you are a remarkable man. So do not give up hope. I cherish you. And I know there is a love for you out there. I am 10 yrs younger than you and I believe I have found it. I am impressed with your courage to be Free and to live again. You are a rare man indeed. And I adore you. Never settle. Just live. Learn. Grow. Atta, man. :)

Thanks Cyn, I love you and appreciate your friendship...but I\'m not looking for love...there are two people that I am in love with and they both love me, too! Kitties are people, right! These days, I look look on each and every day as an opportunity to grow, spiritually. It keeps me teachable and grateful, and as long as I am willing to grow, I will :)

I think you might consider an extreme solution... move to a latin country like Panama as soon as your pension is in. You would not have to be alone long. The women here prefer non-panamanian men because the machismo and lack of financial support makes their lives so hard. They love noise, dancing, music and parties and they would not be shy about approaching you. That is my two cents worth!

Thanks. That is very interesting. I'm not used to women like that! I will think about that :)

KB. I am glad to hear that you are starting to do better. Though I am much younger and have not been married nearly as long my wife and I are becoming at odds at times. It has to do with some health problems that she is having and refusing to deal with though. It is putting me in a situation where I have to do everything from 2 jobs, taking care of the house, kids, home schooling one because she is crazy shy and just will not do well in school, etc. It's tough. Unfortunately I am the one getting angry because a lot of what is going on is just because she refuses to deal with the issues and she is at a point where she really can't do anything. We were just as much in love as you described so it kills me to both watch her getting worse and worse knowing that she can get better if she would do something about it, and beyond frustrating because I am failing at just about everything i need to do because I am only one person and can't do it all. I am lucky if I can get just a little bit of everything done each day. We keep falling farther and farther behind.

But on a good note I have found a lot of peace with the situation through spirituality. I found a series of books called Journey of the Soul by Sylvia Browne. What a difference that made in my life. I talk about it more in my story "Who am I"

Thanks MissAmy.
Sorry to hear about your situation. Life is constantly changing and all we can do is our best and accept what happens. Is your wife going to any type of support group, or just feeling sorry for herself. My Mom had Alzheimers and when my dad died in 1981 I moved her into our house and cared for her for 6 years. It was very difficult watching her get worse and slowly die. That was long ago and I have managed to move on. Of course it must be harder with your wife...

I am a recovering drug addict and recently I have found a spiritual god of my understanding and about 5 months ago, I finally :surrendered" I know now that i am not in charge of anything. I was given free will and I must do the legwork, but the results, as always are in gods hands. "Faith without work is dead" Keep the faith and keep on trying...peace my friend!

I will check out Journey of the Soul as I want to learn all that I can about spirituality!

In my case KB I believe that most of the time we are back Home on the Other Side in a realm or dimension that is pure Love with no negativity at all. That is where we learn all about life and the hardships that each of a us can endure. But since we are in a place filled with the God and Goddess's Love we can only learn about it. Kinda like you would learn all about an apple from a book or studying. You can know all about what it looks like, what its made of, that it tastes sweet etc. But it is just knowledge without experience. How do you get that experience? Well you have to eat the apple. So on the Other Side when we decide we want to experience some of what we have learned we chart a life on whatever planet we choose. (Earth is considered the insane assylum of the Universe by the way because it is by far the hardest and has the most negativity.) We get to choose all the situations we are going to go through, where we are going to live, body type, and just about every aspect. But we can't choose while planning it how we are going to react to it or if we are even going to learn from the experiences. And how we do so is how we advance our souls and spirits.

Your situation almost mimics mine except for 35 long years and still trying to extricate but expensive. There seems to be nothing left. Your story moved me immensely and I have fear of being hurt again as well. I am, however, stronger within myself and hopeful for a brighter future as the last ten I would not wish on anyone. Don't stop hoping. I won't.

good story from a blokes perspective......must be hard when beauty fades and mediocrity sets in...can understand yearning for the thing of Beauty to Return again......

You sound positive and upbeat, which is Great! :)

Thanks, meteorite. I try to be positive and some days are easier than others. Glad you liked my story :)

I hope things work out for you...

BTW, I know I am not the only one that was not familiar with Scylla and Charybdis, so I decided to past an explanation. I learned something new tonight.
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Being between Scylla and Charybdis is an idiom deriving from Greek mythology. Several other idioms, such as "on the horns of a dilemma", "between the devil and the deep blue sea", and "between a rock and a hard place" express the same meaning of "having to choose between two evils".


Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer; later Greek tradition sited them on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland. Scylla was rationalized as a rock shoal (described as a six-headed sea monster) on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. They were regarded as a sea hazard located close enough to each other that they posed an inescapable threat to passing sailors; avoiding Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa. According to Homer, Odysseus was forced to choose which monster to confront while passing through the strait; he opted to pass by Scylla and lose only a few sailors, rather than risk the loss of his entire ship in the whirlpool.

Because of such stories, having to navigate between the two hazards eventually entered idiomatic use. There is also another equivalent English seafaring phrase, "Between a rock and a hard place".[1] The Latin line incidit in scyllam cupiens vitare charybdim (he runs on Scylla, wishing to avoid Charybdis) had earlier become proverbial, with a meaning much the same as jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Erasmus recorded it as an ancient proverb in his Adagia, although the earliest known instance is in the Alexandreis, a 12th-century Latin epic poem by Walter of Châtillon.[2]

Thanks. sometimes I wax a bit poetic. I seem much smarter than I am - been doing that all my life.

That's a very sad story but you wrote it so beautifully and thoughtfully. I hope you find your happiness.

Your story touched me. It took a lot of courage for you to write this. And to expose this to us even here on the internet. I wish you to find happiness and love again. I will not say much about my "marriage" of 30 years. Except that it is over and I have a wonderful son. And the most amazing and loving man met me here on EP. And soon we shall be living together. His words sing to me. Mine to him. And, in person, he is beyond my dreams...So loving and tender and passionate about life and love and me. I am blessed. I believe that things happen for a reason. Like his finding me when my decision to leave had already been made and I had no destination. And my loving him which is something he so deserves after his hard times too. So your finding love and happiness is also possible. I wish you good fortune. Big hugs. Thank you for this heartfelt posting.

Thank you ,and thank you for sharing your hope with me. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that there are no coincidences (it only seems to follow). We are always exactly where we are supposed to be! While it is still too son for an intimate relationship, I believe that it is in the realm of possibility. All that I must to is to work hard. I do the legwork, but the results never were and never will be in my hands...Thank you again!

Glad I could convince you to post your story. Yes, you might be between the virtual rock and a hard place, but there is a happy medium to be found.

Glad that you did too! I once saw Verna, The Happy Medium, but all she gave me was good fortunes, unfortunately and not good fortune! :>)

The hardest part is always ahead - isn't that great!<br />
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You've shown major resilience &amp; commitment, great qualities to do what you want to do.<br />
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And what you've also done is to avoid the living-death stasis of a dead relationship, you're alive!<br />
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Great writing btw, a good summary of boiled frog and fear which impedes most who come here.

Thanks, you flatter me!

Fear of being hurt is a huge factor in restricting our lives in so many ways. I encourage you to consider dealing with this in therapy. I believe that someone with your attitude and self awareness would benefit greatly from dealing with this hurdle to self fulfilment.<br />
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My partner and I met here on ILIASM and we are now both sixty. We left our marriages and found happiness with each other. It sounds like a cliche - and it is! But it is also a wonderful gift, and not one to take lightly. <br />
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You have every reason to believe that you too can find a genuine and loving woman with whom to share your needs for intimacy and connection. Please hold onto that fact, and don't let fear stand in your way . . .

Thank you so much for your advice, enna! I am in therapy. I have a wicked good Wiccan therapist and she has been so helpful. Her insights into things are amazing! When my insurance changed I had to stop seeing my 1st, (recent) therapist because he doesn't take Medicare. I found a real "schlubby" guy who was of no help. I went looking for another and was soon "turned on" to my current counselor by a friend in AA. God does work through people!

It will be interesting to see what you, an articulate / thinking sort of dude, attract into your orbit in days to come.<br />
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I rather think you might be very pleasantly surprised.<br />
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Tread your own path.

Thank you for not only the compliment, but the wise advice.

I call it our forum like I remember my sexless marriage. Like I said, most, not all have honor and the best intentions toward others who have shared the pain. Wishing you well.

Thank you once again, my friend!

Welcome to our forum, and I assure you anything you have been thru, someone here has a story to cover it. MOST, not all are very understanding.

Thanks, good to be here among friends!

I want to wish you all the best, <br />
you have a great attitude and positive outlook, <br />
2 major factors in having a great future.

It is all that I will allow myself. I dont want anymore pain! Thank you so much. I shall be an avid reader!

OMG why?

I wish you the best of luck in finding your happiness. I am glad to read that you found a way to rise above the anger and hatred and embrace life on YOUR terms.<br />
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This is a story I hope that others (in particular the over age 50 folks who post here) read and heed. <br />
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Thank you for sharing your story!

Thank you mvcmvc. for the most part I am happy, but something is missing. I dont know if I need to be completed, but as a human being, I want to be completed!

Rated Up. So truthful and displays the raw truth of most stories here. In the end you helped yourself by realising that your wife was no longer the person you married and started to move on in life with a positive attitude.<br />
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I wish you well. I hope more people here find the strength you have showed to deal with their circumstances.<br />
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Stay Strong &amp; Good Luck

Thank you so much, you have acquired much wisdom, yourself! Pain is the touchstone for all spiritual progress! There is no easy way to grow!