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Author Topic: My ex husband is in denial  (Read 912 times)

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Offline Bonnie

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My ex husband is in denial
« on: September 18, 2014, 04:34:17 PM »
Been lurking for a while, the last month has been just awful.... I have been separated from my husband (D) for 8 years, but our marriage was over 10 years ago. My youngest son wanted to go with his dad and my older son stayed with me...so we have remained civil with each other. In 2006 I came home unexpectedly to find my house bolted up from the inside with all curtains closed.... Eventually my husband opened the door to tell me some one was also there...I went upstairs to find a young man in the en-suite bathroom ... D was in a panic, but I knew what was going on... D had struggled with sex for quite a while, we rarely had sex, when we did it was failed attempts so in the end I just gave up. I had become suspicious he was seeing someone else, what I found on his computer was gay porn... He blamed everyone else, saying I'm married with a son, I'm not gay....this attitude I fear was his downfall. 
I left him, for lying mostly and potentially playing Russian roulette with my life. In 2007 he shacked up with another woman and that's how it remained.... Fast forward to August 2013, D had a serious flu, it turned into a chest infection and didn't really clear up till December. By which time he had lost about 2 stones... He had stomach cramps and the doctor sent him for a scan on the gall bladder and in Feb 2014 he went in for a gal bladder removal.... But, it went horribly wrong for him and he got sepsis, he was discharged in April and got double pneumonia, and taken back in for a week.... By now, his weight has plummeted, down by 4 stones, his hair kind of went thin and I just knew.... I asked him in private whether he had HIV, he said how could he as he was a ' normal guy' with a son...so I left it.....then his girlfriend of 7 years left him..... I went around to see him, as he has my 15 year old son....I looked at his meds and saw he had been prescribed atripla among other things....antibiotics and anti fungals..... So I approached him again,, he denied it, said he was not being treated for HIV and that he only need the drug for 12 weeks and his blood count is better than his doctors now. He doesn't understand that I need to know in case he get sick again, I need my son to ensure that if his dad is ill then he calls an ambulance straight away ... But he just keeps saying, ' I'm normal, how would I get that'. I keep saying HIV does not discriminate but it falls on deaf ears. I'm worried his denial will be the end of him... What should I do??  I don't know how to deal with this.

Online Jeff G

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 04:42:05 PM »
Welcome to the forum Bonnie . Is it possible he is still taking hi HIV meds but just does not want you to know so he is denying it to you ?  The only thing you can do is be there for him when or if he ever wants to talk about it ... not much you can do if he does not wish to share his diagnosis with you .

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 05:06:57 PM »
So I approached him again,, he denied it, said he was not being treated for HIV and that he only need the drug for 12 weeks and his blood count is better than his doctors now.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis is 4 weeks.  That is what people take if they had a risk and within a time limit from the risk, take HAART to try to block the infection.

I am aware of no treatment situation that calls for 1 time 12 weeks of Atripla.

Something is rotten in Denmark, there.

We only have what you tell us about him. So going by what you said, sure, he is in denial about his sexuality and maybe also about his HIV infection. 

On the other hand, this:
"He doesn't understand that I need to know in case he get sick again, I need my son to ensure that if his dad is ill then he calls an ambulance straight away ..."

He obviously doesn't want you to know anything about his sexuality NOR about his infections.  Also, why do you need to know? You don't need any information from him. You have your sound suspicions, and that's enough to go on.  Also, it doesn't matter if he has HIV, or EBOLA, or whooping cough, or cancer, or whatever, because if your "son's dad is ill" - so ill that he needs an ambulance, he can just go ahead and call one. HIV is not some special case that someone needs critical care more or less than for some other critical illness.  What Im saying is that if he keels over, one calls an ambulance, no matter what the medical reason, right?

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 05:09:50 PM »
 ;D OK I know. Bad analogy. If he had Ebola you'd want to get your son out of there because its causally transmissible.  HIV is not.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Online Jeff G

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 05:13:29 PM »
;D OK I know. Bad analogy. If he had Ebola you'd want to get your son out of there because its causally transmissible.  HIV is not.

Thanks for clearing that up  ;D .

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 05:21:34 PM »
True, but my son has Asperger's syndrome and that complicates everything, believe me.

We live in Brighton UK FOR F**ks sake....the gay capital of Europe...no one cares here, we have loads of activists. I'm a bloody hairdresser,this is part of my life and has been since 1985- anyone would think I would bash him if he came out....I wouldn't, I left him because he lied and cheated....man or woman, it doesn't matter, he still cheated.

I don't know why I'm so cross with him.

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 05:23:45 PM »
I'm really cross actually. 😖😖

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 05:29:47 PM »
True, but my son has Asperger's syndrome and that complicates everything, believe me.

We live in Brighton UK FOR F**ks sake....the gay capital of Europe...no one cares here, we have loads of activists. I'm a bloody hairdresser,this is part of my life and has been since 1985- anyone would think I would bash him if he came out....I wouldn't, I left him because he lied and cheated....man or woman, it doesn't matter, he still cheated.

I don't know why I'm so cross with him.

You are mixing two different topics into a soup.

If you want to talk about the experience of being married and divorced to a closet case, that is one conversation.

Also, yeah, I've been there with the infidelity, and how it can hurt and remain a source of bitterness way after the couple breaks up....  But that is yet another conversation.

As for the germane discussion in this forum about living with HIV - my opinion is that he's not going to let you in on this topic so whats the point?  OK your son has Aspergers.  I work with a fair amt of people with Aspergers (Sci/Tech university).  Why don't you spell out the scenario you are fearing because I don't really get it.

You fear your ex will get very very sick and your son won't know what to do?  Is he high functioning? Can't you keep a eye on the progress of your ex just in your normal contact with him?  If he has untreated HIV and is on a downhill slide, you are going to notice. At that point, can't you tell your son - if he hasn't noticed himself - that you think his dad is sick and that your son can just call upon you if he is ever faced with a situation he can't handle?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Almost2late

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2014, 05:34:07 PM »
Hi Bonnie, Sorry about the situation your in and sorry bout your ex.. Best you can do is offer your help if needed but thats really up to you.. Could you not offer to have your son stay with you to make things easier on him?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBkwPYq4nhQ

“Nothing in the world can one imagine beforehand, not the least thing, everything is made up of so many unique particulars that cannot be forseen.”
― Nostradamus

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2014, 05:34:21 PM »
How about this:
To you, your ex is a bit of a louse.
But to your son who has grown up close to his dad, dad probably isn't a louse.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2014, 02:59:38 AM »
Life in general Is a soup is it not?

I will keep an eye out for him...  As for the boy, he is high functioning yes, but he is in the middle of his exams and will go on to do his highers next year so don't really want rock the boat there.. I would say my ex has been a great dad, and yes they are close...I'm sure my son knows his dad has been sick but doesn't like to talk about it.

You are all very sensible- thanks

Love and rockets from Brighton UK

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2014, 03:44:00 AM »
Hi Bonnie, Sorry about the situation your in and sorry bout your ex.. Best you can do is offer your help if needed but thats really up to you.. Could you not offer to have your son stay with you to make things easier on him?

My son comes to me in the holidays and weekends but not every weekend. I can offer support to my ex, I'm happy to offer the help if needed.   I really only want him to take his medication and be aware of his health so my ex sees his son grow up , graduate etc etc.  I worry because I have seen this before back before the ARV's were available.. My friend denied he was sick, became more sick, carried on with risky activity and became co- infected with Hep B within 2 year he was dead. I remember vividly being in Brighton General Hospital and the specialist HIV doctors said that treatment was just around the corner, that was 1992. I learned a lot about the disease and of course living in Brighton, everyone is HIV aware. Brighton folk tend to be less judgmental,more accepting and he can get so much support  that could potentially enrich his life. I'm not being a drama queen or anything, I just worry.

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2014, 09:06:27 AM »
People dying from untreated HIV is a horrible experience for everyone around the dying person, of course. I am sorry you had to experience that and know that there are numerous people on this site who have, as well.

Of course you are concerned.

Are you asking for tips on intervention?  I don't know.  I think staying calm and being informed and giving feed back that works on cognitive dissonance.  Cognitive dissonance is what is faulty in a person who manages to live in denial about something.  So saying informative things based on fact, like: "there is no such thing as a 12 week, one time, treatment with Atripla. So please explain." and see what response you get if any.  You have to look for an "in".

But it really sounds like he doesn't want to let you "in".  Also, you don't know for sure if its denial to himself (you don't know that he ISN'T taking treatment) or if he is just lying to you to save face and keep you out of it.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline wolfter

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2014, 09:29:27 AM »
You seem more invested in wanting to be a part of his life than he is with sharing with you. 

As someone who was still legally married with a child when diagnosed, there are a lot of dynamics at play.  If he truly is conflicted in terms of his sexuality, you're probably the LAST person he wishes to discuss it with. 

My range of emotions were devastating; fear, shame, remorse, regret, embarrassment...etc.  The only conversation I ever had with her was that she needed to be tested for the virus.  I couldn't bring myself to utter that I was actually positive.  She obviously understood and demanded an in-depth conversation.  I refused!!!!

Her and my son luckily both tested negative but here it is 20+ years later and we've still never discussed it.  Deep down, I still hold a lot of original emotions including being a failure in her and my son's eyes. 

Being your ex and your mutual son's father are two totally separate issues and should remain so.  Don't interconnect them too much in regards to his status.  Being positive changes nothing in his ability as a parent. 
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2014, 01:29:03 PM »
Wolfie, thanks for the frank post, I do understand, it the mother hen instinct kicking in..  We are separated but not divorced and as such a long time has elapsed since we were together I guess he just doesn't need to have that conversation with me. He has always been a great dad, and will continue to be, I've no doubt about that....but, as I have witnessed the horror of an untimely death from an AIDS related illness, I don't want him to go down that road..for his and our sons sake.

I can't have this discussion with friends for obvious reasons, it's been really helpful talking to you about this and getting other perspectives ....I grateful to you all.

Love and rockets from sunny Brighton UK 

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2014, 01:45:25 PM »
Mecch, I guess I am asking for help ...everything I remember from 1992 has come flooding back. Maybe this is about how I can help to prevent it happening again. I hope he is taking the Atripla..seeing a councillor , seeing his GUM consultant and so on....everything is free at the point of need...there are no excuses.

My feelings about it, I'm cross but don't know why, I'm sad because we had a life together. I'm not going to discuss it with him again unless he brings it up. As for my son, the worry there is that he loses his dad... The other worry is that the last time he said he was fine he was not and had pneumonia, his ' girlfriend' called the ambulance. God knows what would have happened if she didn't.

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2014, 01:57:45 PM »
Mecch, I guess I am asking for help ...everything I remember from 1992 has come flooding back. Maybe this is about how I can help to prevent it happening again. I hope he is taking the Atripla..seeing a councillor , seeing his GUM consultant and so on....everything is free at the point of need...there are no excuses.

My feelings about it, I'm cross but don't know why, I'm sad because we had a life together. I'm not going to discuss it with him again unless he brings it up. As for my son, the worry there is that he loses his dad... The other worry is that the last time he said he was fine he was not and had pneumonia, his ' girlfriend' called the ambulance. God knows what would have happened if she didn't.

However whatever is happening to your ex is quite different to your 1992 experience in this - all of us who had loved ones die before there was treatment couldn't do anything.   You could't do anything to prevent it back then.

Now of course, "someone" can help an HIV+ person in denial about what "needs to be done" but that someone may not be you.

We can get very cross, these years, when we know an HIV+ is being self-destructive.  Angry and frustrated. At that person. About ourselves for our helplessness.  Its natural to feel anger at someone who lets a manageable disease destroy him/herself AND puts his/her loved ones through that.

You are always entitled to speak your mind to your ex, your son's dad.  Whether doing so helps or hurts, who knows.

I'd be careful to compartmentalise your residual bitterness or anger about the marriage, into one box, and in another box - put any anger you feel about a theory, with some (but not complete) evidence of HIV denial.  Cause the first box isn't going to help doing anything about the second box.

What do you think?

I don't think anyone here is a therapist so maybe you should go talk it out with a trained professional who could help you find a place (action or non-action plan, feelings, etc) you are OK with going forward.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2014, 02:01:35 PM »
Remember, besides anger, such situations also evoke sadness and fear and love. Its pretty volatile.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Bonnie

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2014, 02:08:21 PM »
Mecch- thank you ....even though it goes against my british stiff  upper lip , I will see a therapist...it's probably long overdue....My stiff upper lip is wobbling now.




Offline Joe K

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Re: My ex husband is in denial
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2014, 05:33:46 PM »
Hello Bonnie,

I was married when I became poz and I remember the issues very clearly.  The one that I believe may help you is the reason for some of your anger.  In speaking with a therapist about my eventual divorce, they mentioned that my wife was so angry at me, not only because I had cheated, but especially because I cheated on her with men.  She may have felt she had no way to compete with a man for my affections and that maybe she was somehow a failure as a woman and that's why I cheated with men.

Personally, I don't know is any of this conjecture is true, because my ex and I have never, ever discussed our divorce and the reasons for it.

Just some food for thought.

Joe

 


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