Friday, March 03, 2006


"A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences." ~ Dave Meurer

A few days ago, I wrote about gambling, and the devastating impact of a gambling addiction on families and individual lives.

I used a little of my marketing experience to create an impression that helped me make my point. I did it on purpose. Call it poetic license. Or selling the sizzle instead of the steak.

Within that particular post, I mentioned my ex-wife had become addicted to gambling. I then added this line:

Today (Feb. 28) would have been our 16th wedding anniversary.

Both of those statements are true, but they are unrelated. I gave the impression that her gambling was the cause of our break up. It wasn't. My marriage didn't break up because of my wife's gambling addiction, although gambling may have been indicative of the bigger problem, which was that I had become boring to her. I had become humdrum.


She longed for excitement in her life and I didn't fulfill that need in her. I worked hard, and I came home and crashed most nights. We rarely went out and did anything together. So, she gambled.

She also suffered from Depression, or at least, that's how the psychiatrist diagnosed her problem. I am not a psychiatrist, but I disagreed with his diagnosis. I realize it is presumptuous of me to contradict a professional, but I knew her better than he did. He diagnosed her based on what she told him. And what she told him was merely an appeal for attention.

I believe my wife suffered from Munchausens Syndrome. Munchausens Syndrome is defined by Wikipedia this way:

In Munchausen syndrome, the sufferer feigns, exaggerates, or creates symptoms of illnesses in himself or herself in order to gain attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. The role of "patient" is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Munchausen's.

That describes her symptoms perfectly. The symptom she created was Depression.

The very reason she went to a psychiatrist in the first place was because she had experienced what is referred to as a "Hysterical Pregnancy". She had begun to experience symptoms of pregnancy, including morning sickness, mood changes, failure to menstruate, even a swelling of the belly. Actual physical symptoms. She went through an entire 9 month pregnancy in about one and a half months, accumulating with her insisting she was having labor pains and demanding I take her to the hospital, which I did.

We were enjoying a rare family event at the time. A traveling Shark exhibition at Crown Center.

At the emergency room, she became angry and agitated with me and would not allow me in the room with her as she was being examined. She was angry because I stubbornly insisted she wasn't pregnant, a fact that the doctors confirmed a short time later. The doctor would not release her unless she consulted a psychiatrist first.

By the way, the psychiatrist she visited at the VA hospital (she was a veteran) spoke at length with me and declared that I was very unusual as I didn't seem to have any psychosis of any kind. In other words, I was absolutely normal, as far as he could tell.

That was the turning point in our relationship. She began to hate me. That is probably my fault, too. I was simply tired of feeling sorry for her, and that is the only thing she wanted from me. She was miserable. And I had ceased caring.

The Christmas before our break up, I had put a great deal of time and thought into finding her a Christmas gift that she would love. She needed a new coat and I found a very nice, attractive, warm one, made of some new synthetic waterproof material, and in her favorite color, purple. I also placed in the pocket of the coat, a new watch, very feminine and expensive looking. The idea was for her to try the coat on, and insert her hand in the pocket and find another surprise. I thought I had found a great gift for her.

Christmas morning, she unwrapped her gift, and the first words from her mouth were, "I hate it!" After some pleading, I managed to get her to try it on, and it fit perfectly, and it looked very good on her. Then I got her to reach into the pocket where she found the watch. "Oh, great." She said, with disdain, "A cheap watch."

Shortly after that, while driving her to work one morning, she looked over at me from the passenger seat, and said, "I hate you. I want you out of my life."

So I left. I granted her wish.

Since Tuesday (our anniversary date), I have been thinking more and more about what I could have done differently. Perhaps I should have tried to get her to agree to marriage counseling. But I didn't even try. In retrospect, I think I may have already given up on the idea that our marriage would last.

I wonder if our problems were really so serious that we couldn't have fixed things. I wish I could have another chance to make things better. But I can't. She moved in with a control freak, the kind of man that she really wanted, in spite of previous bad experiences with that sort of person.

And now, she has disappeared. No one in the family knows where she is. We don't know if she's living or dead. She has ended all contact with me and her sons.

I loved her. And I miss her.

I am sorry that I used this post to air my dirty laundry. I won't blame anyone if they don't read it or comment. Sometimes my blog is the only place where I can share my feelings with at least some degree of anonymity. Sometimes I just need to vent. It is a catharsis.

I hope you all understand.


Timothy said...

I don't mind you sharing. Sorry that you went through that and are still questioning all of it.

May the Lord fill that gap in your life, and may He bring you your help mate...

Marie's Two Cents said...

Mark it sounds like you were a very caring and sweet husband to her. It sounds to me like you did everything you could have done. I really dont think marriage counceling would have worked. And it also sounds like she had all the symtoms of Bi-Polar. She definately had a mental disorder of some kind. And you can only force a person into treatment for so long, they have to do the rest themselves. Do NOT blame yourself. There could have also been issues she went through in whatever branch of the Military she was in that could have brought on a whole host of other problems compounded by some that may have been hidden.
In any case I hope she turns up someday just to at least let her kids know she is ok, but she may also be in a Mental Hospital somwhere seeking treatment which would be the best thing for her.
I dont know your Marriage situation but it sure doesnt sound to me like you had anything to do with her mental stability. She may have even had a hormone imbalance, lord knows that can have an affect on a womans mental stability. Because sweet Jesus I know I am a nutjob!

Poison Pero said...

Crazy stuff, Mark.....I can only imagine.

Take care of your boy. You can't control the world, but you can be a good dad.....And as much as you miss her, he does even more.

Hang in there my friend.

Goat said...

Mark, been there done that. I had a bipolar wife and when we went through counseling the counselor heard my side of the story turned to her and said so what is the problem, he doesn't have any, I signed the papers without a word six weeks later. I can empathize with you, but bashing ourselves over screwy women doesn't make our own lives any better after the fact. Ad to add to Perot, you and your boy enjoy being men together, camp, fish , hunt, be hysterical at his games, wreck the place and clean it up. Enjoy life!