A year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I have since made a full recovery, yet the experience has caused me to consider my life choices, particularly with regard to my marriage.
I have stored up a great deal of anger towards my wife and her family over the course of this last year. You see, I initially confided in my wife about my diagnosis and asked that she respect my wishes and not tell the family until I was ready because I needed to take some time to process what I was facing. She proceeded to ignore my request, instead inviting the whole family to the house that very evening to discuss my illness. From that moment onwards, things became extremely stressful and I battled to sustain any sense of hope with everybody around me, constantly catastrophizing and treating me as if I was at death’s door.
As months passed, our relationship took a real turn for the worse and our living situation became increasingly tense. I realised that this was not an isolated moment and that in actual fact, my wife has rarely respected my opinion about many issues. I recognised for the first time our constant struggle to communicate effectively as man and wife.
I have very little energy right now and I am torn as to whether it is the best decision for me to leave and to start again on my own. Is it wrong for me to think this way? I ultimately feel that being alone is the only way I will be able to rebuild the positive life I need in order to remain healthy.
Any guidance that you have for me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Raheem
It is wonderful that you have made a full recovery after what I can well imagine has been an incredibly difficult year. In answer to your question, no, it is not wrong for you to prioritise your health. Wanting to remain calm and to avoid stress is indeed the first step to recovery. There are a few things to consider however, before making the decision to end your marriage and go it alone.
The first step here is to address your anger and to determine just what it is that you are angry about. By this I mean that it is quite possible that your anger stems from not only disappointment that your wife went against your wishes, but also because of the cancer diagnosis itself. This is not to be dismissed. Know that anger is a natural part of the recovery process and it may take some significant time for you to fully absolve the anger that has been raised for you. If it feels overwhelming, then it may be worth your while to have some counselling sessions for additional support. Counselling can help you through your experience and may prove incredibly beneficial for you in processing the range of emotions and feelings you have accumulated over this last year.
The particular incident you described seems to have become the catalyst for you in the way that you perceive the relationship you share with your wife. Cancer, or any disease for that matter, is often a trigger for situations such as this because it causes people to panic and to assume the worst. I fully appreciate that you wished to battle your condition on your own terms and to maintain control over the people you had wanted to confide in, at your own pace and time. This was your right and it was taken from you. Your anger is valid. Do remember, however, that in this instance your wife was confronted with a very difficult and distressing situation. She most likely needed the support of her family around her in order to cope. As such, your wife may also benefit from counselling support in processing the emotions that have no doubt been raised for her.
I gather that this is not an isolated incident and that it has caused you to mull over the value and worth of your relationship as it now stands. Allow yourself some time to make your decision. There is no rush and it is important that you grant yourself the chance to fully reflect upon what you truly want and whether or not you love your wife enough to want to make it work. You identified communication as a major downfall in your relationship. You have the power to change that right away. Be open and honest with your wife in telling her that you need some time to recharge and feel rejuvenated after your ordeal. I suspect that once you feel re-energised, you will know what changes you wish to make moving forwards. It is to be expected that this situation has prompted you to re-evaluate the decisions you have made with your life and caused you to contemplate making radical changes for the better. Embrace this experience as a positive opportunity for you to do just that.
Trust in your intuition Raheem. Choose the life you want. Wishing you health and happiness,
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