Wife loves another man
My wife and I have been married for eight years and together for about twelve. She has recently begun to seek help for mild depression, and that has kept me from pressing her on another issue that has recently come to light. I found a news article in our bedside table that she cut out around the same time we started dating; it concerned local residents who were sent to serve in the Desert Storm operation in 1991, and one of those mentioned was a man she had told me she "liked" when they were in high school. When we talked about it, this is what she told me (summarized). She was in love with him in high school, but they never dated because the circumstances were never right; she began a relationship in an effort to make him jealous, and this person was manipulative and emotionally abusive to her. She spent almost three years with this man partly because the man she desired left for the service after graduation, so she never felt closure for her feelings for this man.
She left the abusive man for me and we have been together since. She has admitted that she still wonders what "might have been" with him, and she has been dreaming about him off and on for several months; mostly he's trying to speak to her while she can't hear what he's saying, but she reluctantly admitted that some of the dreams have been sexual in nature. I haven't pressed her further since she started meds for her depression, feeling that she needed time to deal with that emotionally.
How should I approach her about all of the questions I still feel are unanswered about this issue? Or should I wait to see if the "what if" questions she has been asking herself are part of dealing with her depression?
I believe your wife's depression isn't a clinical depression that came out of nowhere. It's more likely based on her current feelings and regrets. Yes, I think you should be concerned. For all you know it's YOU that she's depressed about! It sounds like you suspect that she's merely settled to be with you, and not followed her passion. That she has yearnings and regrets. Although that's her issue and not yours, it still affects you directly. You deserve to be part of an honest exchange with her about all this, including sharing your feelings, which might include fear, resentment, and anger. Whether she likes it or not, she has involved you in her drama, and she owes you some emotional consideration. We're talking about your heart here, and you should be talking about your heart with her.
The question really is one of timing. Do you wait for the medication to help lift her mood before you talk, or do you jump right in and risk aggravating her upset? Although I'm in favor of getting to it, and not waiting, I propose that you and your wife seek out a counselor, who will be able to pace the conversation from a more objective, professional perspective, and help you both stay focused on the outcome you really want, even when the feelings get confusing or heated.
Your wife has to come to terms with the choices she's made, and needs to come clean with you about those choices. You need to let her know how you're feeling. Honesty may be difficult for both of you, but I believe it's necessary. Good luck!
This question was answered by Andy Bernay-Roman, RN, MS, LMHC, NCC, LMT. He is a nationally certified counselor in private psychotherapy practice in South Florida working with individuals, couples, and families with a deep-feeling therapy approach. Andy's medical background as an ICU nurse contributes to his success with clients with difficult medical diagnoses and/or chronic physical conditions. He also serves as head of the Psychological Support Department of West Palm Beach's Hippocrates Health Institute.For more information visit: http://www.deepfeeling.com/