Thursday, June 21, 2012

Therapy the Thirteenth

Someone is mistaken.  I'm getting a lot of mixed messages.

Monday, I saw an individual therapist, M.  Sorry.  I keep saying "therapist," as if she's her title.  Let me call  couples' therapist is A and my new sounding board is M.  

Pretty?  Wow.  March, 2008, one of my first solo outings
I gave M my background, what's troubling me and my marriage right now, and I told her about my wanting a six months "sabbatical" and getting six weeks poured into my lap.  Her comment: "yay!"

This is a little different than my wife's reaction.  My wife has also been heaping on the guilt by telling me how I am "abandoning" my son and this will ruin his life.  M said "well, if you just frame it as a six week housesitting trip, I don't think it'll do any damage."

(note: M suggested that my wife might be projecting the "abandoned" label on my son.  That's probably on the mark.  She feels each of her parents abandoned her, in different ways, at different times.)

That was my feeling as well, but I'm not very good at people so I try to rely on others for that.  The big problem is, I can't rely on my wife because she's a stakeholder here.  Mixed messages.

I think I understand what she feels.  I don't think she understands what I feel.  I think a break will be a literal lifesaver and a probable marriage saver.

The other interesting thing from Monday's session: after I told my tale, she asked if I was an introvert (admitted) and said maybe I can arrange some time alone inside the house, where I can recharge.  Then I said "there's one more thing you need to know" and I handed her five pictures of Meg from various venues that I brought along.  She looked at the pictures and said "I don't understand why you're showing me these."  I was thinking of how to phrase my response and she said "who is this woman?" and I said "me.  It's something I like to do."  She said "I can see why... you're gorgeous."

We talked a bit about how I have to hide at home and how I can be a bit more open while housesitting and how her time at the beach is often an outlet for me ~ for Meg ~ but not this time because of reasons I told you all yesterday.

Surprisingly, she didn't ask if I planned to transition.  Maybe she doesn't know enough to ask.  If so, that may be a problem.  She admitted to not knowing a lot about gender identity issues.  I'm hoping she'll know a bit more before my next visit (which is still about a week away).

She also said that talking about "this" (I don't think she knows what to call it) seemed to make me genuinely happy.  I didn't realise there was that big a difference in my demeanour, but I guess I'm not surprised.

One odd moment: I had told her that I have to hide all of this at home (which is why the in-house time-alone won't work well) and she said "how do you feel about hiding this?"  Well Duh.  But I put it down to therapist reflex.  "I bought $20,000 worth of cheese."  "How do you feel about spending $20,000 on cheese?"

On Tuesday I saw the couples therapist, A, alone.

I led the discussion.  I asked her point-blank what she thought of my six-week plan.  She said "I mentioned early on that maybe you need a separation to avoid a separation."  I don't remember her saying this; when I recapped with my wife, she did remember.  I told A how I felt my life and health were literally in jeopardy, and that I do understand the meaning of the word "literally."

A also agreed that framing this as "six weeks of housesitting" would be fine and not really bother our son.  She suggested a "date night" (with my wife, not her) which I had also suggested to my wife.  She was lukewarm, but she's also angry.  The thought of my behaviour angering someone make me furious [ha ha] but it's really reached a point where I have to move myself to the front of the "care" line and hope I'm forgiven when it all shakes out.

That assumes I'm also doing the right thing.  I'm not convinced.  I'm also out of ideas.

I also showed her my little stack of photos.  She knew who she was looking at; one picture was Meg and a friend and she asked who the friend was; I told her and gave her a bit of background.  I also told her that my wife got very upset when I told her I wanted to meet with Rachel for coffee last weekend.  I would not be dressed and Rachel is transitioning.  To her, I'm "having coffee with a woman" which is a big hooray! for Rachel, but kind of incomprehensible to me.

Oh... A also pronounced me "pretty" and mentioned a couple of pictures she really liked.  One accompanies this post.  Until I looked at the pictures myself, I didn't realise I was in four different states for those five photos!

Friday, we meet with A again, ostensibly to discuss telling my son about my time out.  No, I haven't told him yet, at my wife's request/demand.  She said "not before school ends so he can focus on his work" and "not before vacation so he can enjoy it" and then her plan was to keep him away until I was out of the house.  When was I supposed to tell him?  Beats me.  But she also said she's not going to do it ~ it's up to me.

Yes, she makes this easier and easier.  Yes, I am being sarcastic.


  1. I wish you luck and peace. I have had friends who have taken 'marriage sabbaticals' with varying degrees of success. A good friend moved out about 8 years ago. He bought a condo during the real estate ramp up boom and when he sold it to move home after 2 years made a good profit. His marriage seemed to get better for several years but is now back into breakup mode.
    I am the luckiest guy in the world because I have a wonderful loving wife. I am not saying that life with her is always or even ever easy...just loving and wonderful. I have probably been away from the house an average of 80 hours a week...mostly working.
    What I am suggesting is that perhaps it is good advice to consider a separation to prevent a separation. There is truth to the adage that 'separation makes the heart grow fonder'.
    Good luck

  2. Dear Meg,

    you really do move me with your therapy telling and I guess you are ahead of me in experiencing this phenomena.
    We’re all different but this I know: getting out of balance makes you move to reestablish you position, this happens time after time, let’s say it’s like walking, it’s like life. So keep on walking.

    By the way: the compliments given to you by A and M are totally deserved.

  3. Here's the key part of this post for me:

    "She also said that talking about 'this' (I don't think she knows what to call it) seemed to make me genuinely happy. I didn't realise there was that big a difference in my demeanour, but I guess I'm not surprised."

    Follow your bliss Meg!

  4. I'm not surprised you are confused. Until recently you have always seemed to be pretty upbeat. I reckon that hiding and in effect lying about some thing hat is an important part of who you are will take a toll, but I sense that there may be other factors here as well that you are not telling us. What ever I hope and pray that your son will understand, that you will come to some conclusions and your wife starts to be more understanding, even if she can't manage accepting.

  5. Meg, although you and your wife are going through a difficult time, this is one of the more encouraging posts I've seen from you in a while.

    Your new counselor appears to be sympathetic and understanding and someone you can really talk with. That doesn't seem to be the case with your couples therapist. Being able to talk about Meg without feeling judged is so important. Even if Meg issues aren't the only or even most important part of the difficulties you and your wife are experiencing, being able to talk to someone sympathetic about this significant part of your life must feel very good.

  6. I can only thank my lucky stars I had the courage to come out to my wife (dating at the time, so early on) instead of hiding it like most of us do. I can't imagine hiding something like that for so long, and then coming out. One thing my wife can never do is complain about my lifestyle (which she doesn't) because she knew what she was getting into. Best of luck to you, hope all works out.


My day is brighter when I hear from my friends!