11 Days Of Hellish Self-learning

It has been 11 days since I've really eaten. I've had a few meals since then, perhaps a small meal once every day or two. It has been very emotionally traumatic for me. During those 11 days I have made several hard realizations about myself. These are not aspects of myself I am proud of, indeed I am rather ashamed. I am sharing in the hope of exploring them and hoping that maybe they can help someone else.

11 days ago I realized that although I was working to make my marriage better, and that I had fears that better would not be good enough, that I now knew and understand that it never would be. I realized that without a deep level of emotional intimacy in my marriage, my friendships would end up oozing to fill that role. I also realized that this would prove perpetually unsatisfying to me. Part of this realization was a knowledge that my wife was incapable of providing me the validation and assurance of my self-worth that I craved; that she had never been able to calm and soothe me with her words, never had been able to help heal me.

It was this realization that set-off a set of other realizations.

I came to realize that my intense crush for my EPeep friend was known as a limerence. I realized that although she was a wonderful friend, with many great qualities, that I had used her to project my fanatasies onto. I made her into someone who could solve my problem, who could heal me, who could make me feel sufficiently wanted, loved, desired and worthy. Because she came to mean all that to me, my obsession for her, addiction to her even, were out of control. I also realized two important things as a result.

One of them was that if I thought that my needs could be met by a fantasy, I was fooling myself. That's what fantasy is, it is illusion. To compare my wife's abilities to meet those needs for validation of self-worth to what my fantasy could do was entirely unjust.

The second one was the realization that this pattern of idealizing women as solutions to my craving for feeling desired -- this pattern of limerence, extended back to my adolesence. Put another way, there was something wrong with me that had me looking to external validation for my self-worth. I needed help. I need to find a new shrink.

My wife had an interesting (if not a bit hurtful) observation. She said I had the worst possible situation. Not only did I feel rejected repeatedly in my real life, but that I had even been rejected by my fantasy.

There were a few ancillary realizations too. I spent about 18 hours on Sunday lying on the couch, not quite awake, not quite asleep, crying off and on. Sunday was much like each of the previous 10 days. I realized that while this might've been a sign of depression, this was actually a product of me having not eaten. I have a high metabolism. I was a body builder. When I didn't eat, my body started shutting down, and this had psychological effects too. I've been trying to get food down, but it isn't easy.

I had another ancillary realization, as relates to my EPeep friend/obsession. That although there were many aspects of her and our interactions that I idealized, that I imagined something into them, that she really was a great friend. That she really did care about me. And that I hadn't treated her well. That I had counted on her to save me emotionally, that I had leaned on her in ways that were unkind and unfair. I had not been a good friend.

I concluded that I shouldn't make any decisions about my marriage until I fixed myself.

I also found what I have been seeking for so long.  I wanted a way to, if I did divorce, to be able to do it knowing that I had tried everything.  There was one thing I hadn't tried.  I hadn't tried burdening my wife with all of my needs, honestly with all of my thoughts fears and insecurities.  And so I promised myself, and her that I would do that.  Today is her birthday.  My birthday present to her is me (with all my neediness).

accomplice accomplice
46-50, M
4 Responses Apr 19, 2011

Wow, I can relate to a lot of what you say. I too look outside of my marriage for what is lacking within it, I too turn friends into potential fillers of the emptiness. I hope you can clear your head and get out of the funk soon. Myself, I'm tired of crying, it seems to happen every day just at the moment. And while I don't wish anyone any pain, it is nice to read here of other's experiences and to know that at least I'm not the only person in the world who ever felt this way. <br />
Good luck to you.

Amelle,<br />
At times I just couldn't eat. I just had no appetite. The thought of food did not appeal. That went on for days. Then I maybe would feel better emotionally for a day, my anxiety would ease, and my appetite would return. I ate a large meal. And then, for two days after, I would regret it. It was too much of a shock to my system. By the time I had had recovered from that, the anxiety and upset would have returned, made worse by my malnourishment.<br />
<br />
Now that I'm feeling a little better emotionally, I'm easing back into eating.<br />
<br />
Yes, I too hope that she tries to fix what she broke. I realize that I came to this marriage damaged, but the last 18 years has broken me worse. I have some responsibility in helping to fix myself too, though.<br />
<br />

Thank you, mstub.<br />
<br />
If I am to be realistic, I should expect ups and downs as I look at the path ahead. I don't know where it leads, but I am learning about myself in the process. Sometimes that learning is (very) painful. In a way, though, I regret that I have waited so long to do it. So much time has been wasted that can never be reclaimed, so much agony. I am sure there is more ahead, but I run towards it.

I wish you all the best in handling this situation. I hope your wife is able to accept your gift in the manner in which it is given. My heart goes out to you more than you realize and I truly hope you get what you are looking for and what you need.