Since my wife left, I’ve been having these nightmares

My wife left about a year and a half ago now.  I’m actually doing pretty good but ever since she left, I’ve been having nightmares related to the loss.

It’s weird because I’m relatively adjusted to everything now and if given the opportunity, I would never go back into that relationship but I still have really bad dreams on the subject.  These aren’t every night but they’re often enough that it’s upsetting. 

Over the years, I would have these occasional nightmares where I would wake up in the morning, in my house but my family didn’t know who I was.  It amounted to me essentially losing my family. That’s my absolute worst fear because my family is everything to me. 


I think losing my wife, sorta kicked that fear into overdrive a bit. 

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I can’t for the life of me remember the details of my current nightmares but I remember the context and the emotional response ilthey trigger.  I remember waking up in a cold sweat and having to slowly orient myself…

Last night’s was a pretty bad one because I woke up a couple times and had this overwhelming feeling of absolute loss. 

They say that dreaming is our subconscious, trying to work things out while we sleep.  If there’s any truth to that, maybe the fact that what happened in my life still makes absolutely no sense.  I’ve only been able to attribute it to mental illness, that led her down this path. 

It’s tough to find closure when you don’t know what the hell even happened. 

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Anyway, that’s your little peak inside my crazy head for the day… 

I’m always open to your thoughts and insights..  I’d like to better understand this whole thing but I haven’t really made it too far because there was nothing that happened.  One day everything was fine and the next, not so much….

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  1. Braden

    It really wasn’t one day it was fine and the next she was gone.

    I think that you think that is pretty good insight into why she left. I would try and work on that with your therapist.

  2. Kim Gebhardt

    I have a hard time believing that things were fine one day and not the next. I think you were very wrapped up in what you thought was taking care of your family (and people on the internet) and didn’t see that Lizze was becoming unhappy. This isn’t to say that you are a bad husband or bad person, but you weren’t what Lizze needed. I do think mental illness played a part in her decision, but it’s doubtful that it was the only thing in play. You once mentioned that she felt you spent too much time on your website and forums and I can see where she would feel like she came in second to them. You spend a LOT of time on the computer in your efforts to educate and help people, and it probably feels awesome when someone tells you that you helped them. So much so that it takes on a life of its own and you want to help more people so you can hear that all the time. The problem is, you get to a point of chasing this ‘help’ dragon around and start ignoring the people who are right in front of you.

    Marriages rarely end overnight and I don’t think that’s what happened to yours. It takes two people to make or break a relationship, and you’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that you played a part in the end of your marriage. The next step is to figure out and own the behaviors of yours which were contributing factors.

  3. Actually, it was one day everything was fine and the next it was over. Every single person in our life, including the family therapist and her therapist. There was no sign of any issues.

    If there was something changing, it was beneath the surface because no one picked up on it.

    This is why it’s so difficult because there was absolutely no heads up. She’s spent all day sleeping because of her meds.

    She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but never sought treatment. She ended up finding a doctor that changed her diagnosed, put her on meds for bipolar disorder. Shortly after that, everything happened…

    I don’t really care if anyone believes that or not because both myself and everyone else with first hand knowledge, understands that.

    As for spending too much time on my computer, that want really possible because I was doing everything for both her and the kids on my own.

    I blogged from my phone which allowed me to do things when I had a minute. Posts were very often scheduled ahead of time but written when I had time.

    I wasn’t asking for anyone’s professional opinion of the dreams. I was just looking to find out if anyone felt this was normal…

    I have a great deal on my mind tonight so I’m short on patience. I’m upset but it’s off putting to have people assuming that they know better what happened when they weren’t there…

    About a month before she left, she published a really nice letter for my birthday and anniversary. She said how much she loved me and couldn’t image life without me.

    Next thing I know, what happened happens.

    Not even her therapist had a clue.. So yes, it’s absolutely possible that things can be fine one day and the next day it’s not.. Do some research on borderline personality disorder and you’ll learn that actually extremely common.

    I’m far from the only one this has happened to.

    Again, I’m not angry but it’s been a bad day and I wanted to clarify and respond..

    1. Jimmy Rock

      I realize that your response was not directed at any one commenter specifically, but I can understand if you felt like you were being challenged when you read these comments collectively. But to be honest, you invited these kind of comments, as off-putting as they may seem. In your original post, you said you had dreams about losing your family even before your wife left. Was that just completely irrational anxiety based upon unfounded fears? You say that everything was fine, then one day it wasn’t, and that you don’t know what happened. When challenged in the comments with the suggestion that it may not have been all rainbows and unicorns prior to her leaving, you insist that it was fine before she left and that any change is attributable it to your wife’s mental illness. If that’s what it was, then you know exactly what happened. She has a serious illness which caused a drastic, dramatic emotional swing which compelled her to leave. So if that’s what it is, then you have to truly find a way to understand that her decision to leave was not rational and came from the mind of a person who isn’t well, and that’s the end of it.
      If you’re not open to the idea that there may be some other contributing causes to her actions, then don’t pose the question and invite commentary. And if you do, don’t be off-put by the comments you receive.
      It’s sort of like you set up your readers on this one. You share intimate details about nightmares you’re having, invite them to comment, and when you don’t like what you hear, you say you don’t like when people assume they know more about what’s going on with you than you do because they haven’t observed it personally.
      I’m not trying to give you a hard time, and I can’t speak for other commenters, but I just want to make clear that I have no agenda here. My line about “amateur psychoanalysis” was not mean-spirited, but just a light-hearted comment about how you really were letting people into your intimate thoughts and asking for opinions with this post. Anyway, however you decide to work through this, I hope you find a way to some resolution that helps you move forward. Just remember, you have a lot of people pulling for you…

      1. You’re fine. Here’s the thing.. This would be so much easier to put away if something had happened or I did something wrong. Then it makes sense.

        As it stands and I was just talking about this with the therapist last night, this came out if nowhere.

        This is a borderline related because while looking good back on the previous 15 years, the pattern was there. It didn’t involve me but she cut so many people out of her life for insignificant reasons.

        Talking to the therapist last night, I was discussing this same thing because it’s hard to understand what happened when nothing physically happened.

        Did this happen overnight? While it seems like that, especially considering how long we were together, it probably took place over a few weeks.

        There was a massive personality change. The person that I married would never have done the things she did, that led to her leaving..

        There’s just nothing concrete and I have to just accept that it’ll never make sense to anyone but her.

        Leaving me is one thing, wives leave their husbands all the time. Mothers leaving their children and cutting off everyone that had been in their life for 15 years, welcoming back those who were removed from their lives for very good reasons and not allowing anyone to have contact with anyone else, is not normal.

        Again, without knowing all of what actually happened, you can’t put this in proper context.

        Imagine that someone in your life, out of nowhere, does something so against their known character, that you don’t even recognize then anymore. That’s what it was like..

        Honestly, I’m with upset with you at all. You very tactfully present yourself and I appreciate that.

        I’m not really upset with anyone else either, I just get frustrated sometimes when assumptions are made and regardless of what I say, it changes nothing.

        I know I open myself up to this and normally I wouldn’t care. That said, I’m still human and on some days, this just harder to ignore..

        1. Kim Gebhardt

          Regarding the massive personality change, sometimes it’s not so much of a change as it is someone no longer holding back snippets of themselves that their SO didn’t like. When we meet new people, we all tend to reshape ourselves to fit into the mold that the other person desires and then become part of a twosome. Over time, those personality traits that we quashed can start to come back to the surface, and some people decide that they’re tired of not being themselves. So while it may seem that one day Lizze woke up as a different person, that’s probably not what happened at all. Like I said before, I do believe that Lizze’s mental illness played a role in what happened, but it really does seem like there was more present than just that.

          I have a question about the people who were removed from her life prior to your split, did you have anything to do with that decision? What I mean is, did she have issues with her mom and did you say something along the lines of “You don’t need that in your life, you’re better off without her”? Is there a possibility that she cut them out because it made living with you easier? I’m not pointing the finger at you, but I know more than one person who do things in certain ways because it makes dealing with their SO easier. Things that they would never do otherwise.

          I don’t think you’re a monster who got what he deserved, but I don’t think you were completely without blame either. I feel that you need to take a good, hard look at yourself in order to stop thinking of yourself as the victim in all this. And think of it this way, it will help you as you go into your next relationship. Knowing oneself isn’t always pleasant or easy, but it’s almost always beneficial.

        2. Mike T

          You’ve opened up for the feedback re: causes and reasons. Hell, your blog was called, “Lost and Tired”. If it were my partner that decided to set up shop on the internet under such a name, I’d probably be asking some fairly pointed questions about what I was or was not doing that would cause her to think that was a spiffy name.

          Lizze has written about the reasons for the breakup. Some of it is plausible, some of it subjective. An obsessive “fixer” who set to fixing anyone and everyone while ignoring their most intimate relationship? I can see that–Totally. A domineering husband who demanded cutting out her sister? Not so much, but I wasn’t there and can’t pass judgment on either of those assertions.

          Regardless, it’s all water under the bridge at this point. Your best bet is to look at it through an honest lens (providing slanted stories or withholding “unfavorable” info from a counselor simply provides a mirror, not an alternative perspective). With that honest appraisal, you can figure out what worked, what didn’t, and be better prepared for your next partner.

          1. Mike,

            Lost and Tired was meant to describe what it felt like to be an Autism parent. The title was accurate because so many people could relate to it.

            If you actually read my blog back then, I was always trying to focus on the positive.

            As for being a fixer, I own that and never said otherwise. My whole family was falling apart and I did everything I possibly could to keep someone who stopped helping themselves and our children, above water. I knew I couldn’t fix anything but I did what I had to to keep us collectively moving forward.

            As for cutting off her sister, that wasn’t my decision. In fact, Lizze cut her off a few times and I was the one who encouraged her to accept her sister for who she was, just maybe keep a healthy distance.

            The last time she was cut out was when she was arrested for stealing money from the girls scouts of America.. She filed a false police report and lied to us about it.

            This is all a matter of public record, so if you have this information, you should be able to look that up. You’ll find a while lot of reasons to keep her at a safe distance.

            I actually liked her but she came with major problems. She wasn’t a bad person but made very poor decisions.

            If you truly knew Lizze, you would know that even if I wanted her to cut her sister out of our lives, I could never make her do something she didn’t already want to. You can’t make Lizze do anything she doesn’t want to.

            You’re right when you say it’s water under the bridge but it’s not that simple when I’m still living with the problems crested by the decisions she’s made and continues to make.

            The fact that you even have this information tells me that you are somehow connected to her and just using a name I won’t recognize. If that’s the case, than you very likely have a whole lot of misinformation.

            This is a very complex situation and there are important facts that I have chosen to leave out, not because I have anything to hide but instead because I don’t want the boys learning these things about their Mother. I made a promise to her as well, that I would never discuss these things publically and while I don’t owe her anything at this point, she’s the Mother of my children and I’m a man of my word.

  4. I’m closing this thread because there’s no point in leaving it open to comments. While I know at least some of you are well intentioned, none of you know whats happening, outside of what I say.

    This post was never meant to insight all this attention.

    I was simply sharing something that was bothering me and hoping that someone might be able to simply say something like “that’s probably normal” or something similar.

    Instead, it turned into people questioning things based in absolutely no personal knowledge.

    I’m doing this to myself because if I opened up more and explained what happened, all that’s still happening, it would provide the context needed to better understand where I’m coming from.

    Since I’m unwilling to do that, I’ve left myself open and I’m shutting this particular thread down because it went to a place other than I intended…

    Some of you out there actually know the full story and that’s why you’ll find some people way more supportive. It’s not blind allegiance, it’s that they have to context to put two and two together…

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