as this is my first foray into online support groups I'm not quite sure how to approach this...I want to give all of the details so that I can paint the picture as best I can for anyone who reads this, but I'm sure that none of you want to read a novel of pain so I'll try to be as succinct as possible.
My wife and I got married in November in Santa Barbara at the court house grounds after a little over a year and a half together. She's originally from Germany and many of her friends and family came from overseas to be there for us. It was an incredible day and one that I will always hold dear to my heart.
We are both actors in Los Angeles and I'm also a writer and a stand-up comic. Money has been and still is very tight for us (as is the case with most artists) and it was something that would cause little hiccups here and there but nothing all that drastic, we would always find a way. I knew in the first month that we were together that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And my timing was convienant because her visa was up in February of 2020.
After about three months together in July of 2018 she moved in and shortly after that during an emotional moment between us I told her that I was going to marry her. It wasn't something I planned on saying, it just kind of came out of me in this moment of deep love and connection. She never asked me to marry her so she could stay, she never even suggested it. She said that if she had to go back to Germany that it would be ok. Fast forward a wonderful year and we began planning how we were going to get married and when. Initially we were going to elope so that we could be legally married but save the pageantry for another time.
Those plans changed multiple times to the point that we ended up having the medium sized wedding that we had both always wanted. As I said the day could not have been better, I married the love of my life and my best friend in the entire world, I was over the moon. After her friends went back to Germany and it was just her and I in the studio apartment we share in LA things began to change a bit. Not so drastically that I would notice there was some big underlying problem, but enough that I knew that she was at the very least uneasy.
There were wonderful days in there, some of the best of our relationship. But she would always let me know when I was doing something that was making her happy, or if I was disappointing her. It was hard because all of them were very vague. She would tell me that this was a really great day but would be specific about what was great about it. Or she would tell me that it was a bad day or moment and wouldn't tell me what was bad about it. I was left to guess if I was 'behaving' in an appropriate fashion or not which caused me to walk on eggshells afraid of her having an emotional outburst.
This is something that started happening more frequently. She would pick fights with me seemingly out of nowhere, and half the time they would be about random stuff that we had no business arguing about. I even had to let her know the stuff that I was willing to discuss and the stuff that I wasn't willing to engage her in. Throughout all of this I never doubted if we were right for each other or not. I have never connected with someone on such a deep level (friend or otherwise) in my entire life. I just thought 'it's ok this is just how she is, I can handle her.' The whole reason she came to LA in the first place was to act and a big piece of that was getting her SAG card. She worked really hard to get eligible for it only to almost immediately change her plans after she reached that goal.
After that is was something else, another goal that she had to reach that once she got it would magically cure her unhappiness. Again, this whole time I was just thinking that she was going through some stuff and it would resolve itself as it always had. After all she was working on herself spiritually and emotionally (at least it seemed that way) and would constantly have new epiphanies almost on the daily. I'd come home and she'd say 'I figured out why...(whatever the thing was) is happening, its because of (x,y,z).' This was music to my ears because I knew that she would be in a better mood for a little while.
Then there were moments that made me feel a little bit uneasy myself. There were days when she would be all bubbly and sweet but I could tell that they weren't genuine, that she was putting on some kind of an act. I didn't understand why she felt like she had to act around me and I called her out on it only for her to tell me that it was 'all in my mind.' Let the gaslighting commence! Once Covid started things took a drastic turn. She would have periods of time where she would not initiate sex with me, and she would spend a lot of time checking herself out in the mirror, something that she previously almost never did.
She started to tell me more frequently that she needed her alone time, which I completely undestood under the circumstances. I mean you put too people in tight quarters during a global pandemic and I don't care how much they love each other there is going to be some tension, and there was. Thankfully my mom lives in Orange County so if she needed a little space for a few days I could easily come here and give it to her. What started shortly after this was her ever changing rationale for why she was so upset. Honestly there is a laundry list of things that came up, but the one that I remember the most is she didn't have her own space to make music in our apartment. Keep in mind that we do live in a small studio so trying to make that kind of space is tricky to say the least.
But it did it for her, no questions asked. I reconfigured the whole apartment so that she could have the space that she wanted. When that wasn't enough, the issue came up again that the apartment never felt like hers because she moved in with me and we didn't get a place together. Again I thought ok fair enough then lets try to find a new place where we both have equal footing and maybe a little more space. Shortly after that she had another emotional outburst and said that she 'drastically needed to have some time alone.' This time it felt a little more serious, but I tried to not take it personally because after all this situation we are in as a society right now is so unpredictable that emotions are running high, particularly for someone who doesnt' call America home.
When I arrived at my mom's place I had an emotional breakdown for the first time about my relationship. It was random and I didn't really know specifically why it happened when it did because nothing had ended at that point. I was just staying apart from her for less than a week. Perhaps my gut knew more than my mind did at the time. After a few days we reconciled as she told me that it was a 'healing process' for her. We resumed our relationship and things seemed fine again. Sex life was good, we were going on walks, writing, talking, drinking, the whole nine. We started talking one night and somehow it got to talking about separating. She kept saying that she was wanting to go back to Germany for a while to 'find herself.' I told her that I supported her in doing that and that I would give her the time and space that she needed.
Where this gets even more complicated is the fact that we are currently waiting for our interview for her Green Card and if she were to leave the country right now she would be forfeiting it along with the thousands of dollars and lawyer fees and everything she's put into it so far. She was still a bit conflicted about that part but was strongly considering leaving mostly because she didn't want to feel the 'pressure' of being a 'wife.' She even asked that we stop referring to ourselves as husband and wife. She told me that she felt cheated out of a 'real' engagement as we were only engaged for a short time before the wedding and because I couldn't afford to get her the ring that she wanted.
To be clear she never asked for an expensive ring (the one we were going to get was an aquamarine that was around 1000 dollars) but at the time I didn't have the money and I told her that we would get it eventually. I take full responsibitly for that. I know that she wanted to be able to be engaged and share that experience with her friends and family and I cheated her our of that. What I didn't know was that her resentment towards over that fact would hang over our relationship for the duration of it. The timeline going forward is a bit of a blur right now because we have gone through this process of me moving out of my apartment four different times, but I'm doing my best to try and differentiate between the times it happened and what went on in between, but I digress...I couldn't really bear staying in the apartment with her knowing that in a short period of time we were going to separate. So I packed up my shit in my truck and came to my mom's again.
This time it was about a week before she called me and told me that she made a mistake and that she was more 'clear' now and wanted me to come home. Since I'm so incredibly good at doing what I'm told I believed that she had processed whatever she needed to process and that the coast was clear. I came home again, moved all my stuff back in and prepared to continue on this journey with my new wife. I even started planning on doing an surprise elopement with the ring that she wanted. Things were equally good and bad during the next two weeks until the one morning I woke up after a long night or arguing feeling that there was something lingering in the air. We talked over coffee and she again basically said that she was going to go back to Germany but also wanted to stay in the relationship with me.
She told me that she wanted to 'prioritize' her art over our relationship and talked ad naseum about how she needed 'her own space.' Even suggesting at one point that I come to Germany and live in a separate apartment. Obviously I said no to this insane idea, not knowing that she was deliberately throwing ideas at me that I wouldn't agree to so that she could get me to end the relationship and then she wouldn't need to feel guilty about it. I told her 'sorry, you don't just get to pop in and out of my life whenever you feel like it.' I almost forgot to mention that she referred to herself as a 'leaf in the wind' and kept saying over and over that she wasn't sure about anything. Call me crazy but I kind of want my 'wife' (oops I used the word) to be in my life in more than just a passing sense.
I told her that I thought that we just needed a clean break so that she could go live her life back home with her friends and family and she wouldn't have to worry about me or my mom ever again (I forgot to mention that she and my mom were incredibly close which she also resents me for somehow). She said that she just needed some time back home putting our whole relationship in limbo once again. So for the third time I packed up all of my stuff barely having the strength to put one foot in front of the other and through so many tears I could hardly see five feet in front of me and came BACK to my mom's place knowing full well that our relationship was on life support. The first day that I was here she texted me and told me that she would be leaving in about three weeks and asked if I would like to see her off.
I said that I didn't as it would be too hard for me. She said that she understood and we would see what the future holds for our relationship. I spoke to her father and her grandmother and they both expressed to me how sorry they were about the whole situation and asked if we were planning on getting divorced. I said that we weren't but that we were taking a good amount of time apart. A couple of days after that she voice texted me and told me that she wasn't going to beat around the bush anymore and that it was indeed 'over.' I dropped the phone and fell on my hands and knees sobbing uncontrollably for I don't know how long. Thankfully my mom woke up and did her best to comfort me.
I stayed up all night watching videos about relationships and reading articles trying desperately to understand where things went wrong. I drove to Laguna Beach to watch the sunrise only the whole beach was closed so I just drove around for hours aimlessly talking to friends on the phone just trying to keep it together. It was 730am and the only thing that I knew is that I wanted to drink so I stopped at a liquor store and got a bottle of champagne and some orange juice because I wasn't sure if I could handle straight whiskey at that time in the AM. Side note, if you haven't sobbed into a goblet of mimosas before I suggest you try it, it's quite the experience. After polishing that off in a matter of about 45 minutes the anger over the whole situation began to arise in me. Specifically at her mother and step father who have been trying to sabotage or relationship from the very beginning.
I've already written way more than I planned so if any of you want to dip out at this point I completely understand and thank you for reading thus far, but I have to explain the mother in law situation really quick for some context. Her mother is Chinese and her father is Finnish and she is an exactly half of both culturally as well. Her mother is very controlling and manipulative and basically runs her life from afar. Her step dad is in lockstep with her mother and the two of them as a team are formidable as far as incfluencing my wife's emotions and her decision making. Lately the person that I feel I have been interacting with is not her, but her mother and step father. They are the type of people who when my wife calls them and tells them that she's scared they respond with 'you should be.' Maybe it a cultural thing, but I grew up in an environment where when I called my family and told them I was scared they would say 'I'm here for you, lets figure it out together.'
So...back to my anger with her mother...I decided that I was going to voice text my wife and tell her how upset I was about how she's being influenced to doubt me and our relationship. After a couple of angry texts we both calmed down and it actually opened up a really nice dialog between us. We were talking more honestly and deeply than we had since the very beginning of our relationship. We were honestly exploring where things went wrong and we committed to one another to do everything that we can to fix them. For two weeks we talked for hours every single day and I had never been more hopeful that we were actually getting somewhere in fixing our issues. In fact three days ago she was talking to me about taking a vacation together and about house sitting for our mutual friends for a month. I had every reason to believe that we were going on the right path. I had no delusions that it was going to be a challenge to fix 'us' but I was up for it and it seemed that she was as well. My plan was to come home on the 27th of May as I had been gone at this point for nearly a month. If you remember way back in the story the last blow up was on May 1st.
She called me on Saturday the 23rd telling me that she had been not feeling well physically for the past few days and that she missed me and wanted me to come home early. I expressed to her (as I had a week prior) that I didn't want to do the whole 'relapse' thing that people do when they are going though a breakup. If we were going to reconcile this time there had to be real structural changes in both of us so that we could rebuild a healthy and happy union. She agreed and assured me that was the case. So with a new lease on life and being ready and willing to do the work to get back to a place of peace and happiness I packed up my truck AGAIN and drove it back up to Los Angeles to reconnect with my wife. Once I got there she bounded downstairs and hugged and kissed me as I began moving back into our apartment. When I walked in the door I noticed a stack of about nine boxes against the wall. I offhandedly said 'well this is awkward' trying to make light of the situation.
And honestly I thought that she just hadn't unpacked from when she was going to leave the first time so I didn't make much of it at first sight. After moving most of my stuff back in I finally asked 'so what's in the boxes then?' To which she responded 'pretty much everything.' Obviously confused and upset I said 'you changed your mind from yesterday?' Keep in mind that she had only the day before talked about vacationing and house sitting. She responded 'I told you that I was going to take the month to decide what I was going to do and I've made my decision.' I asked her when she was planning on leaving and she said 'sometime in July.' She then told me that she thought that we could still live together for the next two months assuming that we could have some sort of normal relationship knowing that she was going to leave at the end of it...I'm not built that way.
She again suggested that we have a long distance relationship and even speculated that we would see each other four to five months out of the year. I'm not entirely sure that I got married to spend the majority of the year away from my wife while she lives in another country. And as I mentioned money is pretty tight right now so the assumption that I'm going to have the time and money to travel back and forth to Germany several times a year is misguided at best. The funny part is that even though I'm a third generation Californian and all of my friends and family are here I was willing to move to Germany for her. Had she looked me in the eye and said 'Shaelan I love you and I want to be with you, come with me to Germany and lets build our lives together.' I absolutely would have said yes. She didn't say that though. What she said was "if I don't stay here, and you don't come to Germany there's no reason for us to be married." Those two statements are a little far apart in tone wouldn't you say? She also told me that she's been feeling this way for about a year, but apparently that information wasn't important enough to share before spending 9000 dollars on a wedding, or pulling me back in to break my heart on four separate occasions.
I then told her that I don't feel like I can rely on her for anything right now and she agreed saying, 'no you cant.' After once again reminding me that she didn't want to be a wife, that she wanted to 'date' me. As I had no interest in being experimented on for the next couple of months while she figures out her situation I decided that once again it was in my best interest to leave the apartment and come back to my mom's place until she leaves. So two hours after moving back into my apartment for the fourth time I moved back out again.
Yesterday she texted my mom to tell her that she was sorry and that she never meant to hurt anyone. She also informed her that she would be leaving the apartment on or around June 1st so that I can move back in. The moment I walk back into that apartment and I don't see her or any of her stuff is the thing I'm most terrified of in the entire world. Just imagining what that will be like right now is causing me to completely lose my mind. I feel like I'm dying, I can't stop sobbing and I don't know what I'm going to do. If you read all the way through this and you have any thoughts or advice or even just a small hug I'd sure appreciate it. Thank you all for listening.
I'm always getting freaked out about stuff. This has bee happening since I was a child. How do you guys deal with it?
Rummi2 and hoping the outcome of your apt went well...take Good Care Of You...sending a Prayer for your Highest Good. ml