Do I Stay or Do I Go?

I’ve wrestled with the question “Do I stay, or do I go?” especially at times when Dave makes an attempt or when I feel he’s sliding toward it.  My therapist explained it as holding both fear and hope.

On the one hand I’m struggling with my fears–Fears that it could happen again, fears that ultimately I could lose him, and fears of investing my heart and time in a relationship that could end abruptly, tragically, and traumatically.

On the other hand–I love Dave. We have a history together. I dated him for 4 years prior to marrying him. I’ve invested 18 years of marriage. We have a 12 year old daughter. There have been and there will be heartwarming memories.

Unfortunately the history includes memories of the trauma. The devastation left in the wake of an attempt.

I’ve swung back and forth. I should leave. No, I should stay.

6 years after his first attempt and a year after his second attempt I’m still here. Part of the reason I stayed was Dave’s willingness to go to couples therapy for the past 6 years.

After his second attempt I needed additional support so I started going to individual therapy. In couples I was learning to have a voice, but it took individual therapy to help me solidify it. One stand that I wanted to take was that Dave needed to go to individual therapy.

6 months ago, I asked Dave to start individual sessions. After Dave’s first individual session he said he wasn’t going back. I was alarmed. I told him that I would really have to take a hard look if I was willing to stay with him (not divorce, but separate initially) because unless he worked on his deeper issues like why he goes to suicide, why he doesn’t take care of himself, look at his black and white–“I’m all good-I’m all bad thinking,” he would keep making attempts. And I could not go through that again.

He went back to individual and has been attending regularly. He says that he’s having really good sessions and uncovering new understandings about himself.

In couples recently, Dave started sharing more about how he thinks. At home, he’s not walling me off as long. This morning I was upset at him for letting the bills slide but I said that I still loved him. He came home after work and said that he was able to hear that I loved him and that he didn’t think of himself as all bad. He’s battling the negative self-talk and stopping himself from spiraling downward with negative ruminations.

I am hopeful.

This was penned on August 10, 2012 according to my editing history.  I have several posts in the work, but I’m behind in my editing. This post is not advice.  It is simply the path I’ve taken.  Each couple’s situation is unique. I’ve been blessed to have the guidance of a therapist in helping me to understand my situation and the different factors that come into my decision making.

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