Dazed & Confused
By mrpuppy1983
7/21/2011 7:04:39 PM
As I sit here with the unfulfilled promises of my priesthood brethren in my head, I’m really wondering what to do. I’ve cleaned up my life and made improvements that even my wife acknowledges, yet she is the first to say that she sees little – if any- hope for our exaltation. After years of neglect, she has made it very clear that she is deeply in love with another man, and cannot foresee that love ever sifting back to me.

Every time she reminds me of how nearly perfect he is in her eyes, I feel a part of me die inside. I’ve been told to take on the lion’s share of the burden, and do everything I can to show her that I love her, but I feel so empty that it’s hard to even speak to her sometimes. On one hand, she expresses her desire for me to gain more self-confidence and self-esteem, yet every time I think of where I’m at in life, I only feel a terrible since of dread and failure come over me. I really don’t know if I can make myself believe that it is truly possible for her to love me as if I’ve never done her wrong; and if not, can the love that she is able to muster up for me really take us into paradise?

Two years ago, I was rebellious and did everything in my power to defame the Church without ever knowing the truth. Now I’m not only a member, but a seemingly worthy priesthood holder with an influential calling. I’m even to the point where I would probably otherwise be ready to take out my endowments, but my bishop doesn’t want to grant me a recommend. In a nutshell, his council is that to the Temple is for families, and you need to take your family to the Temple’. That’s all great and wonderful, except for the fact that my wife has flat-out told me that being sealed to me is equivalent to hell itself in her mind.

I want to be sealed to her and my children, and I want her to love me with all of her heart, but I don’t want to impose on any front to make either of these appear to be happening. I’ve been told numerous times lately that the most important thing right now is for me to learn to love myself, but that is incredibly difficult when the woman I’ve spent so many years relying on for support is constantly reminding me of my inadequacies. Even when her words attempt to lift me up, I still feel a hollowness radiating from her which reminds me that I’m not enough. As she put it, “even if you were perfect, I don’t know that I could ever love you again”. If that’s the case, why am I even bothering?

I know I’m still very new to the gospel, and as such, I have a myriad of holes in my knowledge, and probably some misconceptions to boot. With that in mind, I’m struggling to understand how learning to love myself could ever be sufficient if my spouse not only doesn’t love me, but can barely tolerate my existence in her life. I know I’ve brought this on myself with all my years of mistreating her and being emotionally numb while I’ve pulled myself off of porn, but I guess I’m honestly wondering how the atonement works in all this, and if there’s any hope left. The brethren have specified that divorce is always a last resort, and that both parties should try diligently to make it work, but I feel so alone right now. Even though she refutes the idea, I honestly feel like she is repulsed by me and that she will never trust me again when I say that she is beautiful and want to give her a hug. It feels like my past will never be left behind, which makes creating a new life for myself exponentially more difficult.


"Oh, I feel so bad for you. I don't know what I would do in that situation. If she has put her heart somewhere else than I don't know that there is any solution OTHER than divorce. I do know that there is life after divorce, my friend. One willing party does not, a marriage make. I know there are children involved so perhaps a separation is in order. My wife and I went through two separations early on in our marriage. She dated someone else during one of those separations and it broke my heart. Somehow we ended up back together. I did reach the point that I got the divorce papers and left them for her to sign. I am of the opinion that sometimes separation can put things in better perspective. I just want you to know that when you are in recovery and putting Heavenly Father first in your life, everything else seems to work out the way it's supposed to. I have friends that have been in your boat and even though it was the most painful thing they have ever been through, it led to them finding their true love. In some cases it was their wife of many years and in a few other cases it was someone else.

It sounds like you have made huge changes for the better in the past few years. That change in dynamic, even if it's for the better, can change the way our significant other feels about us. It is one of those awful ironies of life. Some women liked us better when we were "broken" and now that we are getting fixed they don't know what to do with us. I know there is a huge void in intimacy in your life right now. May I suggest filling it with the fellowship of recovery? I know that the painful part is not knowing what she will do. Being involved in recovery will really help you stay in the present and be more "ok" with the uncertainty. Keep us posted on what is going on. OK?"
posted at 20:05:08 on July 21, 2011 by Anonymous

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"By emulating the Master, who endured temptations but “gave no heed unto them,” we, too, can live in a world filled with temptations “such as [are] common to man”. Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us! Turning these unwanted lodgers away at the doorstep of the mind is one way of giving “no heed.” Besides, these would-be lodgers are actually barbarians who, if admitted, can be evicted only with great trauma."

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987