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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I am new to the forum and I am turning to "the internet" because I am an isolated stay-at-home mother who doesn't get out much... and I have no one to talk to. I am 33, my husband is 36 and our daughter is 18 months old. We've been together 11 years and married 9 years; none of which have been easy. We have a tendency to argue… a lot. It gets really ugly sometimes. Both of us have misbehaved and said things we shouldn’t have. I don’t know how all of that started and I very much want it to end. But, we seem to be stuck in a cycle.

Things were okay for about 8 or 9 months. Now, because of the circumstances of the past week, I’m stuck in a “fear response” (meaning I am stuck in a place of anxiety and fear) and I’m sort of walking on eggshells, fearful that anything I say or do will anger my husband and spiral out of control into another one of his hateful rants.

My husband is a man of extremes; it’s all or nothing. This extreme approach to life is applied to both work and our relationship. We are either blissfully happy and joined at the hip or he avoids me at all costs and we fight frequently. There is no balance in our lives, no normalcy, no in-between.

Right now, we’re going through a phase where my husband doesn’t feel the need (or desire) to tell me anything about what is going on in his life. That’s right- HIS life. Not “ours”… he kind of lives a separate life. It’s not always that way… but every now and then, he gets stressed out, bored or frustrated and it seems like he pulls away from me and does what he wants to do for a while. That’s what is going on right now. My husband is working late 5 or 6 nights out of the week; frequently not coming home until 2 or 3 a.m. & sometimes even later. Of course, this is very stressful for me. We own a business and the business isn’t doing well. There is a lot of stuff that needs to be done to keep the business afloat.

We’ve talked about divorce several times in the past year, most recently just a few days ago. We ultimately decided that’s not what we want.

However, after this most recent round of arguments, I gave him an ultimatum: we divorce or we go to marriage counseling. I was hoping that couples therapy or marriage counseling would help him see what he is doing to harm our marriage and teach us to “fight fair”. He agreed (reluctantly) to do 1 hour of therapy (nothing can be accomplished in one hour, I hope I can convince him to 1 hour a week). And, when I say he “agreed” to therapy…. he said he’d go, but that I wouldn’t like it and said: “You think you’re sad now? Just wait until you hear what I have to say. You’re not going to like it. You have no idea”, implying that I am crazy, off-my-rocker looney who behaves erratically. I responded with “Well, since you’re perfect, therapy should be a breeze for you, then!”

I feel bad for bringing up divorce again and I regret those words came out of my mouth. Often. I don’t know if I could really follow through with it if it came down to it. I love him. Sometimes, I understand why he is angry with me but I wish he could control his anger and refrain from screaming, calling me names and saying horrible things about me.

In addition to his explosive temper, my husband is not very understanding or empathetic. He tells me he doesn’t have time to listen to my problems or concerns. He doesn’t have the “luxury” of thinking about “feelings”. He tells me to “get over it” when he’s done something that bothers me. He spends hours in the bathroom each day (looking at pornography though he denies it), he doesn’t get up in the middle of the night to help out with our daughter. He sleeps in every morning and leaves me to take care of our daughter’s morning routine. Even if I’ve had little sleep the night before, if I ask him to pitch in in the mornings, he refuses and says he needs to sleep because he is the one who has to work all day. He stays out late to work but treats himself to drinks and sit-down meals at local restaurants before or after he works (meanwhile, I eat cereal for dinner or nothing at all). He doesn’t make time to converse with me because he says he doesn’t “want to have to recite the day’s events” to me and there is nothing that I need to know. He is polite to all other people throughout the day… he has no patience for me. He is abrupt on the phone and often says “Can’t talk right now” and just hangs up or quickly says “Gotta go. Love you, bye” and hangs up. He tells me I am the most stressful thing in his life and that I am making him miserable.

If I ask my husband to not work so late, he is rude. For example, one night last week, I BEGGED him not to leave. I explained I am not handling his long absences night after night very well, that we are not connecting and that I need him home. He got VERY angry with me, said “you aren’t making things easier for me”, “are you going to go do all the work I need to do?” “are you going to go make the money?”, then when I tried to retaliate, he called me the “**** cherry” on top of the “**** sundae” that is his life. He left angry. He has used the “**** sundae” analogy many times this week. He also e-mailed me several rude e-mails after yelling at me on the phone. In one e-mail, he said “shove your fist up your own ass”.

In an attempt to get us back on course, I have pathetically attempted to lure him home with sex. We’ve had more sex in the past week than we have in a month. Last night, he came home early (11:45 p.m.) and was “too tired” to shower and have sex. When I asked him to come to bed around an hour later, he said he’d be right up… but then didn’t come to bed until 5:00 a.m. He said this morning that he was “worked up” and anxious about not being at the business doing work. I told him I was going to try to make him less anxious.. but that he didn’t come to bed with me so I couldn’t. I’m guessing he was looking at porn. A few nights ago, I was a little intoxicated and he was unable to finish. He essentially said it was a turnoff that I was drunk. That has never been a problem before. We have NEVER had any kind of an issue with him not being “into it” before. Granted, this is only once in 11 years… it’s freaking me out. FYI, the obvious thought did cross my mind… but I do not think he is cheating on me. We did talk about it and he was sincere when he said "I'm not putting my **** in anyone" (I know, how sweet, right?)

In sum, my husband and I each have issues (as everyone does). Our individual "issues" have been creating this pattern of chaos in our lives. I want to break the pattern!!! I will turn myself inside out to keep my marriage intact.

I want to save my marriage. We fell hopelessly in love… but I don’t think our relationship has ever been healthy. I don’t know if it ever can be; but I desperately want it to be. I want my husband to love, honor, respect & cherish me. I want him to tell me I’m beautiful (and I am!) not just sexy. I want my husband to want to be with me. I want my husband never to yell at me again. I want to know that I am loved because I am shown love. I want to FEEL loved- all the time. I want my husband to kiss me (he never kisses me- nothing more than a peck)!!! Is there hope? By changing myself, can I show him that change is possible? Do verbally abusive men ever change before it’s too late?
 

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If you are going to make ultimatums or issue red lines you have to be willing to enforce them. I let my wife know if she cusses at me again I am leaving. And I would.

Your marriage sounds rocky to me. I think you and your husband definitely need counseling. There is no reason that he should be speaking to you as brutally as he is, no matter what you say.

I am curious how big a part alcohol plays in your life. Alcohol has the potential to be very damaging to relationships.

Why will your husband not attend counseling?

In short changing yourself may not end the chaos from your husband, but it may enable you to stand back and and asses how abusive your husband really is. Do not threaten divorce unless you are prepared to undertake such an action.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you are going to make ultimatums or issue red lines you have to be willing to enforce them. I let my wife know if she cusses at me again I am leaving. And I would.

Your marriage sounds rocky to me. I think you and your husband definitely need counseling. There is no reason that he should be speaking to you as brutally as he is, no matter what you say.

I am curious how big a part alcohol plays in your life. Alcohol has the potential to be very damaging to relationships.

Why will your husband not attend counseling?
I do not disagree with you; my marriage is VERY rocky. I realize I issued an ultimatum then stated I don't know if I could follow through. Somewhere inside, I know I allow too much misbehavior and I don't know what it will take for me to follow through.

When I ask my husband to go to therapy, he tells me "the only thing wrong in this relationship is you" and that he is "too busy" or doesn't have time for therapy. He is too busy trying to make our business a success to attend to nonsense things like my feelings and emotions. He tells me to get over myself. He DID agree to therapy last week- only because he wants me to realize how "crazy" I am.

Thank you for your response.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am curious how big a part alcohol plays in your life. Alcohol has the potential to be very damaging to relationships.
I hardly drink at all anymore. We used to be social drinkers and would go out together frequently up until I became pregnant. I can barely finish a glass of wine these days (makes me sleepy). However, with this new round of arguing (over my insecurity and trust issues, I guess), I drank a full bottle of bubbly one night last week when my husband was out all night and had 2 mixed drinks at a restaurant (with dinner) 3 nights later.

I drank to calm my nerves because I have been having panic attacks. I recognized that as self-medicating and went to my GP right away. I was given Zoloft yesterday. Have only taken 2 pills and hate it- feel very sleepy and still anxious.

My husband has been having frequent drinks, it seems, at local bars and restaurants as he is out working late. I have only learned of his frequent "tastings", as he doesn't tell me when he's going out. He rarely drinks to excess. He has a "finger" or two of whisky or scotch or bourbon or gin probably nightly. I wouldn't really know anymore, as he's not around.
 

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I do not disagree with you; my marriage is VERY rocky. I realize I issued an ultimatum then stated I don't know if I could follow through. Somewhere inside, I know I allow too much misbehavior and I don't know what it will take for me to follow through.

When I ask my husband to go to therapy, he tells me "the only thing wrong in this relationship is you" and that he is "too busy" or doesn't have time for therapy. He is too busy trying to make our business a success to attend to nonsense things like my feelings and emotions. He tells me to get over myself. He DID agree to therapy last week- only because he wants me to realize how "crazy" I am.

Thank you for your response.

It's very good you got him to agree to do therapy but it sounds like just one session for one hour. What is going to happen when he goes, hears what he doesn't want to hear, and refuses to continue to go to counseling?

What is your plan then?


People can change, but they very rarely do. Because it's hard. The need to change must come from themselves (as much as we wish people would change for us, they need to want the change for themselves as well).

That being said, what are you going to do to change yourself?

What are you going to do when he doesn't support your changes - because they will be for the better for YOU and it sounds like everything is about him.


I would recommend giving this a read when you have a moment:

SurvivingInfidelity.com - Support for Those Affected by Infidelity


EDIT: I'm not sure if it's time for the full 180, but it's definitely got some good suggestions for you to look at right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Can I Change Myself to End the Chaos?- NOW SHORTER

It's very good you got him to agree to do therapy but it sounds like just one session for one hour. What is going to happen when he goes, hears what he doesn't want to hear, and refuses to continue to go to counseling?

What is your plan then?
I haven't gotten that far yet. He has agreed to counseling 3 times in the past 2 years and when push comes to shove, he refuses to go on the grounds he is too busy and he has no problems; I am the only problem in our relationship.


That being said, what are you going to do to change yourself?
I am going to get out of the house! I have been figuratively held captive in my own home for the past 2 years (bed rest 5 months during pregnancy, "forced" to be stay at home mom after husband "fired" me from business- and we only have 1 car). I am going to deal with the depression I've been in for a long time- already going to counseling and trying different meds. I am going to exercise and start feeling better. I am going to try to be the "perfect" wife my husband wants. That way, he has nothing to complain about. I am going to cook and clean and coddle him and cater to his every sexual desire. If that doesn't change his attitude toward me, I don't think anything will.

I would recommend giving this a read when you have a moment:

SurvivingInfidelity.com - Support for Those Affected by Infidelity

EDIT: I'm not sure if it's time for the full 180, but it's definitely got some good suggestions for you to look at right now.
Thanks, I took a look at it. Sounds like a good way to start moving forward with making myself a more independent person. I hope my husband starts acting like a husband soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your husband could have another family entirely and you'd have no clue, based on how often you see him.
I guess it certainly appears that way, yes. His time away from home has only increased in the past 6 weeks. Before that, we were together every night, being couch potatoes and totally bored with one another to the point of apathy. The past 6 weeks, he has been trying to make our business work. We're in a lot of debt. Just got our tax return back and it's not good at all. I think he's just dealing with the stress in a different way... and not including me in what is going on. That doesn't mean he should feel entitled to dine out, go to bars, make friends with waitresses, etc. But, he does. It makes me nervous and uneasy but I don't think he would do anything to risk losing his daughter. If he cheats and throws away our marriage... he'd lose us. I really don't think he wants that. I think he is playing with fire by behaving the way he has been behaving but I also think he is clueless as to how bad it looks. Or maybe he doesn't care because he knows I won't leave.
 

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Re: Can I Change Myself to End the Chaos?- NOW SHORTER

I haven't gotten that far yet. He has agreed to counseling 3 times in the past 2 years and when push comes to shove, he refuses to go on the grounds he is too busy and he has no problems; I am the only problem in our relationship.
You have no set boundaries for this man. He has no consequences. There is no respect, on multiple fronts here, none for your needs, your kids, or your marriage.

So how can we implement these boundaries for him? You can start with the counseling. What is his consequence, THIS TIME, for not going to counseling? We are going to plan now based on his actions from before, that he will do the same (because why wouldn't he at this point? He's gotten away with it with you THREE TIMES already). The difference is, you are changing. And you are going to start by not letting him be disrespectful and make time for counseling.
 

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Also, being his sex slave isn't going to get you anywhere. Talk about rewarding him for bad behaviour!! What man in his right mind is going to change when he gets everything he desires and then some?? I am not advocating that you cut him off, but just stop with the "I am going to cook and clean and coddle him and cater to his every sexual desire." Seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Also, being his sex slave isn't going to get you anywhere. Talk about rewarding him for bad behaviour!! What man in his right mind is going to change when he gets everything he desires and then some?? I am not advocating that you cut him off, but just stop with the "I am going to cook and clean and coddle him and cater to his every sexual desire." Seriously.
Yeah, I guess it does make me sound pretty sick in the head to say that, doesn't it? Just goes to show I am desperate, truly desperate, to get my marriage to work. I'm sick about it.
 

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I'm a man [no really] and maybe I can see what he's feeling. Could he be feeling like a failure because of the business problems? We men take the provider role seriously. And if he's staring bankruptcy in the face that has to be discouraging[BTDT]. Why were you "fired" from the business ? One of my thoughts was to offer to help at the business ? I know I felt resentment at my stay at home wife for 'just spending my hard earned money'.

My .02 is he's feeling a lot of pressure from the struggles of the business, your feeling pressured from his withdrawing from you. And both of you are driving the other away. [BTDT too]

Maybe instead of ultimatums and conditions would getting him to open up relieve that pressure he's feeling ? I'm just a stranger on the internet but I'm gonna offer a prayer for you and your husband if that's OK ? I'm rooting for you two to face your battles in a way that draws you 2 together not driving you apart.
 

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I think from his side it is totally a different story. How long have you been stay at home wife/mom ? Have you worked before and contributed financially to the household?

He apparently does not enjoy spending time with you . I am wondering why do you eat cereal for dinner ? Why not cook a good meal and enjoy it ? If he is eating out so be it . You don't need this victim mentality. Also, why do you expect him to help with the kid morning routine? If he works late at night ,I think this is unreasonable.

He is emotionally abusive to you. I am pretty much sure his abuse is affecting your self esteem. So he thinks YOU are to blame for all the problems in your marriage. You seem to have internalized his messages and you are coming her to fix YOU. I think you should do the 180 . Focus on your daughter , get a job, socialise with friends , work on your business... keep yourself busy. Don't argue for a while. Let things calm down.

I just read your other thread. I know how it must feel with anxiety/panic attacks. Don't drive yourself crazy over this. I really think you should get in IC for yourself . Just to learn techniques to calm down your emotions. You can read books on this. You can't blame your anxiety and overreaction on your "stupidity". You were emotional. You overreacted.

Don't overreact. Distance yourself emotionally from him. I am not saying hate him but you need some emotional distance. You need to protect yourself. When you distance yourself from him and get busy, things will calm down. You need months of no arguing if you want him back. You will attract him with calmness and not sex.


Sorry to hear your going through this.
 

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I feel for you. :(

It sounds like your marriage has gone down a very negative spiral of disrespect for one another in terms of actions and words. This situation can be hard to reverse.

This is going to be an unpopular opinion here, but if you have failing business, going to a therapist is going to add stress to your husband because going to see a therapist on an ongoing basis is expensive. If you start going out more, you could also add stress to your marriage by starting to spend more money on coffees with friends, etc. This doesn't seem like something you can afford right now.

I would concentrate on doing things that you make you feel good that don't cost very much money.

Next, I would think about ways I can help contribute financially. Can you start a home business? Or, find a job, and send your kids to daycare? If you start contributing financially to the household income, you will not only reduce your husband's stress about money, but you will start to feel better about yourself and become less needy, which would in turn relieve more of his stress.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Could he be feeling like a failure because of the business problems? We men take the provider role seriously. And if he's staring bankruptcy in the face that has to be discouraging[BTDT]. Why were you "fired" from the business ? One of my thoughts was to offer to help at the business ? I know I felt resentment at my stay at home wife for 'just spending my hard earned money'.
We opened the business as a couple; as a team. I was "fired" from the business because I was the naysayer; the "Debbie Downer", always reminding him that we couldn't afford what he was wanting/ trying to do. I tried to be a voice of reason and he chose to ignore me. He spent recklessly and now we are in a tough position.

My .02 is he's feeling a lot of pressure from the struggles of the business, your feeling pressured from his withdrawing from you. And both of you are driving the other away. [BTDT too]
Yes, exactly. I want so much to be included in the business. I am, after all, the one with 3 degrees (one in business); he has none. I think he feels emasculated when I try to tell him the "proper" way to do something (i.e. paying bills on time) and this led to tension in the business. I have learned to keep my mouth shut but this has led to lots of past due accounts and no business plan, which is not a good place to be.

Maybe instead of ultimatums and conditions would getting him to open up relieve that pressure he's feeling ? I'm just a stranger on the internet but I'm gonna offer a prayer for you and your husband if that's OK ? I'm rooting for you two to face your battles in a way that draws you 2 together not driving you apart.
Yes, Thank you. We had a good night tonight talking. I finally got him to come home. I think he is feeling tremendous pressure and is too proud to admit he needs my help. I am the organizer of the the family... and he needs me but has been refusing my help. I am going to work with him the next few weeks to help him get caught up and am so grateful he is willing to accept my help. I will finally feel useful. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.
 

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I think from his side it is totally a different story. How long have you been stay at home wife/mom ? Have you worked before and contributed financially to the household?
I was the sole breadwinner for the first year or so of our marriage. The house was in my name only and I worked hard for what I earned. He was fired in 2008 for noncompliance and from 2008-2010, my salary is what funded the business. I was taking out paycheck advances twice a month just to get by, as he wasn't earning any revenue.

We "expanded" and relocated "his" business in 2011, which by that time became OUR business because I had been laid off from my position. I took part in special training to be able to perform tasks specifically related to our new business venture. I was "ousted" from my position as co-owner when I was put on bed rest for complications during my pregnancy in 2012. I was asked not to return to the business because, to be honest, my husband prefers not to have to answer to me (or anyone) regarding (poor) financial decisions.

He apparently does not enjoy spending time with you . I am wondering why do you eat cereal for dinner ? Why not cook a good meal and enjoy it ? If he is eating out so be it . You don't need this victim mentality. Also, why do you expect him to help with the kid morning routine? If he works late at night ,I think this is unreasonable.
No, my husband apparently does not enjoy being with me, you are correct. He has Tourette's and ADHD. I don't know to what degree that influences his adulthood but I have a sneaking suspicion it does more than he will admit. I am attractive. I am intelligent. I am a good wife and mother. I work a part time job (get this: as a THERAPIST!). I don't know what else to say. I don't much feel like preparing a meal for myself in the evenings when home alone. I expect him to help with the "kid morning routine" because we chose to have a child together. At the time, we were both involved full-time with the business. It was NEVER discussed that I would be a stay-at-home-mom. That was the ONLY thing I specified I NEVER wanted to do. We agreed I would be at the business after the baby was born. He finds it easier when I am not there to remind him to keep within a budget. The SAHM thing is NOT by choice. I am a worker-bee. It's what I do best. I'm going crazy not being "allowed" to help when I know I could make a difference.

Thank you for your thoughts and your time. :)
 

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Re: Can I Change Myself to End the Chaos?- NOW SHORTER

You have no set boundaries for this man. He has no consequences. There is no respect, on multiple fronts here, none for your needs, your kids, or your marriage.
I do not disagree.

So how can we implement these boundaries for him? You can start with the counseling. What is his consequence, THIS TIME, for not going to counseling? We are going to plan now based on his actions from before, that he will do the same (because why wouldn't he at this point? He's gotten away with it with you THREE TIMES already). The difference is, you are changing. And you are going to start by not letting him be disrespectful and make time for counseling.
I have been scouring the internet for MALE in-network providers within an 1-mile radius. My husband has stated that he will not see anyone that is not within 1 mile of the business (for he is far too busy to travel further) and I know he is a bit of a chauvinist and will not respond to a female therapist. What is the consequence? I don't know. I will schedule an appointment every week until he commits. I will not back down. We need help!
 

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It was a struggle to convince my husband to see a therapist. He finally went after I told him if he didn't like it he didn't have to go. He has bipolar and would refuse to take any medication for it saying meds dumb him down. He used to be verbally abuse (not all the time but on "down" days). He is regularly seeing a therapist and taking his medication and he says he feels a lot better. We are now working on our relationship which had gone downhill. Lack of communication is our big issue and my tendency to over analyze/micro manage everything. I am working hard to change the negative aspects in my life.

I truly wish the best for you and your husband
 

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I feel for you. :(

It sounds like your marriage has gone down a very negative spiral of disrespect for one another in terms of actions and words. This situation can be hard to reverse.

This is going to be an unpopular opinion here, but if you have failing business, going to a therapist is going to add stress to your husband because going to see a therapist on an ongoing basis is expensive. If you start going out more, you could also add stress to your marriage by starting to spend more money on coffees with friends, etc. This doesn't seem like something you can afford right now.

I would concentrate on doing things that you make you feel good that don't cost very much money.

Next, I would think about ways I can help contribute financially. Can you start a home business? Or, find a job, and send your kids to daycare? If you start contributing financially to the household income, you will not only reduce your husband's stress about money, but you will start to feel better about yourself and become less needy, which would in turn relieve more of his stress.
I do not disagree with anything you have said. However, I am not needy. I am educated and employed. My husband will not "allow" me to go to my JOB on a frequent basis. Granted, it is a part time position, I get $25/ hour as a bedside therapist in a hospital. I am allotted 10 hours a week as per the grant specifications I was awarded.. and my husband is frequently PREVENTING me from going to work because the needs of the business are greater than mine. I have an MA and I am wasting it.

We also have a warehouse location, where we do strictly online sales. This facility and the LLC is in my name only. My husband refuses to "allow" me to conduct business at this facility, as I "do not have the aptitude" to do so. He ran the operations on his own during the winter months and now is doing nothing with the space because he is preoccupied with the brick and mortar business. I have been working on ways to get the online portion of our business up and running but that has been next to impossible, since my husband has bankrupted every aspect of our businesses. Bank accounts are overdrawn for months, our Paypal account is overdrawn, we have no operating capital and we're behind on rent.

I'm trying to think of ways to get us caught up... but that is difficult to do when he has ruined our credit and I can't get financing for our business. He is also subconsciously sabotaging my part-time job by telling me weekly that I "can't go in" because he is too busy to care for our child. And, NO, we cannot afford childcare.

Additionally, I am seeing a therapist who offers a sliding scale and has allowed me to pay $25/ session, which comes out of my (measly) paycheck.
 
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