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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the longevity of this message, I'm a long time lurker, first time poster so my apologies in advance.

My wife and I have been together for 16 years, married for 13, have two great kids whom mean the world to us. We have been having issues on and off for pretty much the entire time of our marriage. The issues really stem from my Mother whom is quite domineering and controlling in nature. She is really the only issue we ever fight about and lately the Mom issue has reared its ugly head once again.

When my wife and I first became engaged she ended up giving me back her ring due to a large issue that transpired between my sister and my mother on Mother's day. My wife (fiance) at the time saw this and basically said she didn't want any part of this relationship going forward if there was any hint of her being treated the way my mother would treat her own daughter. It was at this time, I told my fiance that I would handle my mother and get tighter reigns over how the two of them would interact in the future.

Fast forward 15 years later and I'm still dealing with reigning in my mother. Therapy has taught me due to my mothers controlling, manipulative nature that no one in my house, even my own father had much of a voice in the family dynamic. I'm now much better at dealing with my mother and her demeanor. However, my wife sees it differently. She still feels I'm not handling "my side of the family," the way she handles hers.

Now I'm the first to admit that I haven't done a good job in the past of handling my mother so I can totally understand why she is upset with me and doesn't necessarily believe what I tell her that I feel I'm doing a better job now. I kept the two of them totally separate. My wife never attends any of my side of the family affairs, holidays, birthdays, vacations etc. And for the past 3 years that has worked pretty well, or so I thought. I also don't give my wife a complete blow by blow of my conversations with my parents. I sort of filtered the conversations so as to not offend my wife or get into a big argument over conversations that most of the time didn't involve her or have anything to do with her. However, when in the past I have involved her and asked her advice, it often times resulted in an argument because she is so sure that my mother is being underhanded, manipulative, and calculating in her entire thought processes and conversations.

So now we have been to therapy on/off for the last 4 years and I understand my wife's hurt feelings. I understand she is mad at herself for possibly staying with me all these years and now might feel slightly trapped with two kids whom she doesn't want to break up the family as a result of her hurt feelings.

Here is some background on me. I'm a paid professional so we have been lucky so that my wife doesn't have to work at a full time job. I love my wife very much. We have a great time together both just the two of us and with us as a whole family.

She is a stay at home mommy and I know what work that can be so I'm not in any way shape or form diminishing what all that entails. My kids lead a pretty active social life with school and sports etc that my wife and I when I can get there is is heavily with. We don't drink, smoke, do drugs or anything like that.

I have snooped into our cellphone records and she is a heavy user of mins talking to her GFs I know because I have all their numbers and I know she isn't cheating on me at all. She isn't hiding money or planning on leaving me anytime soon so far as I can tell.

My questions arise from this. She has in the past been mad at me for my lack of dealing with my "mommy issue" as she calls it but eventually has gotten over it to point where we just keep it on the back burner and don't discuss it. And I thought this was all fine until last November she drops this bomb on me and tells me she is still highly upset with me and we need to go see counseling again.

Now at this point, I get it that I haven't been doing all the little things a husband is supposed to like taking her out on dinner dates, really sitting and listening to her, being interested in her all the time, etc. Our sex life up until this past Nov. had been really healthy and something I thoroughly enjoyed as did she. I was able to give her orgasms both orally and through penetration and she likes games. We had what I would consider to be a very satisfying sex life. That's never been an issue.

Now fast forward to now and its been 4 mos since we have had sex. She is totally unemotionally attached to and told our counselor that she is "Emotionally turned off" by me. When I inquired as did he (the therapist) what exactly that meant she claimed she was upset with me and had tried everything she knew to get through to me about "mommy issues" and the only way she knew now to make me understand her frustration is to withhold sex from me knowing that I absolutely LOVE sex with her.

So now I believe I have a handle on my issues with mom. I know she isn't going to change but I can change how I deal with her which seems to be working pretty well for now. And since November I've tried really hard to be attentive to my wives needs, staying on top of household chores, being a better listener, taking her out on dates, cooking dinner, etc. However, I haven't even asked for sex, figuring she would probably throw that subject back in my face since I was being nice to her now juts so I can get into her pants as she says. While yes, I would love this, I get ZERO reciprocation unless I engage it. No good bye kisses, no good night kisses, won't hold my hand in public unless I initiate.

I guess I'm asking for additional advice that I may not be getting form my therapist now whom I see once a week. She advises me to wait and see and let my wife come to realize what she maybe giving up something and that deep down I'm not a bad guy just have had misdirected attention not necessarily on the family environment like it should be.

I personally think my wife is mad at herself for staying in the marriage because I haven't handled my business and she is somewhat stuck. She doesn't want to go get a job, nor do I want to pay for day care if she were to get a job and our deal was she could stay home and raise kids while I went to work. Which by the way I do feel she thinks my job isn't that big of a deal and hers being at home is much more important.

My questions are this. How long do I continue to "woo" her and get no affection in return?

Am I being crazy for staying in this marriage as long as I have?

Will I always be dealing with these issues?

Thanks for letting me vent. I do feel much better now.
 

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It sounds like the way you "handled" the issues with your mom was mainly avoidance and perhaps your wife was expecting you to stand up for her directly to your mom. 15 years of that can build a lot of resentment and lowers your value as a man in her eyes to the point where she isn't interested in intimacy with you.

You're not crazy for staying in the marriage, you're crazy for not putting your wife ahead of your mother.
 

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My questions are this. How long do I continue to "woo" her and get no affection in return?

Am I being crazy for staying in this marriage as long as I have?

Will I always be dealing with these issues?
Well first of all, put things in perspective. Your wife pleaded with you for FIFTEEN YEARS to fix the issues with your mother (and I assume based on your post that the requests were reasonable in nature). You've been without sex for 4 months, and you are posting about it. Imagine how she must feel.

What exactly are the mother issues? How does your mother affect your wife?

It sounds like your wife is possibly planning her exit strategy and/or is vulnerable to an affair. It sounds like she has given up. Not good.

Are you guys still able to communicate? How does she think you are doing as far as your new changes with handling your mom?
 

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It sounds as though you have spent the entire marriage straddling the fence. I guess your wife got tired of you not having both feet on her side of the fence. Your wife is most likely feeling abandoned and has now unconsciously detached from you.

I'm curious. What advice do your therapists give you when it comes to handling your mother? It sounds as though your wife wanted you all to herself and for you to have no contact with your family. That's not healthy either.
 

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My questions arise from this. She has in the past been mad at me for my lack of dealing with my "mommy issue" as she calls it but eventually has gotten over it to point where we just keep it on the back burner and don't discuss it. And I thought this was all fine until last November she drops this bomb on me and tells me she is still highly upset with me and we need to go see counseling again.
Something definitive happened regarding your mother in November or October. Try and recall what was going on then, and you may have clearer answers to why your wife shut down then.

It sounds like your wife has decided she will not keep it on the back burner any longer. That way doesn't solve anything. Not that withholding sex does either, but I digress.
 

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I think you need to ask her specifically in what ways you are not handling your mother in her eyes. Dont argue, just listen then go from there. If she doesnt feel you have her back or that your mom is still being allowed to negatively effect your relationship/family it will effect everything including her respect for you.She wants to feel protected/shielded from that by you. I understand the type of woman your mother is and how difficult a task it is.

Withholding sex as punsishnment is obviously wrong. You say you had a great sex life prior. That you have been/ are making several improvements the last few months. Stop waiting for her to initiate or give you some signal that she wants it again. Plan a nice date and just go for it...dont ask...just do...see what happens.

She is not "stuck" with you. She chooses to stay. Even if she doesnt want to do the things that would get her "unstuck"....its still a choice. Fix this before she chooses differently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the responses. I truly appreciate it.

Our therapists have always said we need to treat my parents especially my mother as kids and understand their rationale is very "kid like, the all about me syndrome." Once I adopted that stance with them, especially my mother it has helped tremendously.

I do not let her get away with smug innuendo, or negative comments directed towards myself or wife. I used to let these little comments slide because we didn't see them too often and honestly my parents are really the only things we have ever fought about.

Communication except in these instances has always been pretty good. As far as her feeling abandoned, I suppose that is a very real possibility, however, she spends literally hours on her cellphone talking to the aformentioned gfs, again I know because I have their numbers and I see her cellphone bills and it is some days 4-6 hrs on the phone with one person in particular, a girlfriend I know who is sort of going through the same things except with her husband whom I also know and we socially see together.

The mother issues are this. Mom is an only child. Biological father abandoned her and my grandmother when she was 18mos old. Grandmother re-married to much older man whom later adopted my mom. She considers this person her true father. Biological father shows back up out of the blue one day, so I'm told and wants to be back in her life. Mom rejects this man. He ends up dying on Mom's 18th b-day and she gets served with a notice to not contest his will since after he left my grandmother goes and starts another life.

Dad side of the family just as messed up. Grandfather manic depressive his whole life, on lithium for probably 50 years to control depression. My dad stopped him from committing suicide three times before my dad was even 14 years old. His mother was a chronic alcoholic and dies of kidney failure.

Flash forward to now. Mom and Dad in their late 70s so no change is really going to occur and they now, my mom more so than dad, use money as a controlling influence. Both are very well off and upon either of their deaths, my sister and I are very well taken care of.

Now I've never asked for money from them but they have freely provided it when it was necessary however, those have come with strings attached.

Mom's comments are manipulative towards my wife like she thinks shes not good enough for me. Mom always has to be the main center of attention in conversations etc. Mom is never wrong and can never accept blame for something she may have done wrong and will always defer blame to someone else. She constantly makes small lies that I call her out on and she will always tell me I'm over exaggerating these things.

The good thing about the therapy is while I always believed I had a happy childhood, never wanted for anything, always had food, clothes etc. Good schools, was loved, never abandoned, I now truly know the difference between perceived love and real love.

And yes, I have always put my wife ahead of my mother or so I thought. That was especially important I thought because I separated them both so there wouldn't be as much drama and figuring if they weren't around each other then neither could dredge up old memories or hurt and resentment.

As far as the sex issue is concerned, 15 years it hasn't been entirely that I have not been there at least I feel so I'm sorta of taking straw poll is there a certain period of time I should be respectful of letting my wife try and figure it out. She too by the way is seeing a therapist to help her deal with some anger issues. Her home life growing up was completely out of norm and consequently, the internal rage she now displaces stems from her upbringing that wasn't apparent when we were dating or in our early years of marriage.

I know this sounds totally messed up but after reading some other threads on here, I feel we are just a little messed up. LOL!!! Again, I appreciate the feedback.
 

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Dont feel messed up. I can relate to much of what you are saying. The main mistake I see is taking any money from her. Never worth it. You said it yourself...you know why! Its a huge control, guilt inducing means she has, always with strings attached...and its not just money but anything she feels she has given you and so now you are indebted. Be careful. Ive learned...take nothing, owe nothing. You need to put her in her place.

I still dont understand what exactly your wife still takes issue with from what you have said? She is talking to girl friends for hours, thats fine, we do like to talk, but she needs to start connecting with you again. You need to take some of that time back for the 2 of you.
 

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dude you should have put you foot down to your mom 15 years ago, my MIL hates my guts, my wife told her to pound sand when we first meet now MIL leaves us alone and we have never been happier
 

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I don't think this is about your mother at all. I think it's about your wife being a lot LIKE your mother.

The feeling I'm getting is that your wife is a bit of a drama queen. I don't know any adult women who spend 4-6 hours a day on the phone with other gal pals. When I think about what this means, I can only come up with the possibility that there's a toxic friendship that's influencing her feelings about your marriage OR that your wife's "love tank" is so empty that she requires constant attention.

So for this reason, I think wooing her is going in the wrong direction. I'd advise taking the opposite route and putting my foot down. She's the one acting like it's ok to throw a temper tantrum when she doesn't get her way. She doesn't have to deal directly with your mom, so she has no right or reason to come after you for YOUR relationship with your parents.

It's one thing to side with your wife, as you should. It's something else entirely to give up your family for her.
 

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You did not go into specifics about the issues with your mother. Your wife should come first, period. Until your mother learns not to meddle you need to cut her off. Your mother only has power if you give it to her. If you get remarried chances are your new wife won't like a controlling mother in law either.
 
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