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Hi everyone. I've been reading different threads on here for a few months, debating about posting my marital issues but haven't had to the courage to do so until now.

I am a full time student and I work part time. My husband works full time and is a part time student.

Long story short, my husband and I (late 20s) have been together for about a decade and married for just over one year. I was a strong believer in the "marriage doesn't change anything" philosophy, as we lived together for three years before we got married and the first seven months after the wedding felt exactly the same. Then we started having problems dealing with my in-laws constantly calling him to fix things at their place to the extent that it was taking a great amount of time away from us. Being the project oriented, Mr. Fix-it man that DH is, and I knew this going in, he would never turn them down. He has always helped his family in the past, and I was happy that he could, so they didn't have to spend extra money. But before he was able to maintain a balance between work, school, me and his family. Now it has become abundantly clear that they are and will always be his number one priority.

We have no children and plan to wait a few more years until we start trying. But I told him that if this pattern continues that I do not feel comfortable having children if he is going to be over at his parents house constantly, leaving me to tend to children all the time.

Over the past few months, I have done a good amount of soul searching and have reached the conclusion that while my husband is a brilliant, wonderful man who has helped me and continues to help me in practical ways, and whom I love immensely; he is extremely emotionally stunted and keeps himself busy with numerous projects either of his own choosing or his family's so he doesn't have to deal with any emotional issues. I have accepted this and also realized that the majority of my life I've been pretty emotionally self-reliant and resilient as well. But it would be nice to be able to share how I'm feeling with my husband and have him engaged and respond without hurtful sarcastic remarks or apathy. I have also discussed with him my emotional needs and we are working on this together but it is progressing very slowly.

My main question/topic I need advice on is the fact that I could deal with all of this more easily if we were not married and especially if I didn't take his last name. When we were engaged, I struggled for a long time about changing my name. He knew this but I don't think he quite understood it. To him, it was just what women do. To me it was a major life decision, not to taken lightly, to basically change how am I known to the world. I did change my name because I love him and he was/is my family now and knew how important it was to him. I put my faith in him. And for the first seven months, it was an adjustment but a happy one.

I feel so incredibly hurt that I am now his wife who shares his last name and I feel like I am essentially a roommate with benefits. Yes, he helps me with many practical things, which I am very grateful for, but he does the same for his friends and family. What differentiates me from everyone else in his life?

I am reminded of this constantly. Whenever I sign my name or introduce myself, it feels like I'm a different person who I don't even know. Before it was exciting and romantic because I actually felt like his wife and now it just feels like a boldfaced lie. Except its reality.

Thank you in advance for any advice or insight!!
 

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I am sorry you are going thru this.

Was your DH helping out in laws and family when you lived together?

I lived with my DH before we got married for six years. After we got married, things did change. The perception of the relationship changed. It felt more secure, more solid and permanent. It was subtle, but powerful. The dynamics in the family changed too. I was now an "official" member of his family and I was treated differently - again subtle differences, but powerful. My DH did spend more time with his family after we were married and did include them and invite them into our lives more than before. We have now been married over 20 years, mostly happy, and we do have one child who we had after we were married. My DH embraced fatherhood too.

Could it be that your DH feels more secure now and feels like you are now 'true" family? I don't know if this true for you or not. But I have experienced that formal marriage changes the relationship because of how others and the couple perceives marriage. It is unconscious, not deliberate.

It sounds like your DH is a wonderful family guy and is doing what he does because of who he truly is. Maybe he is not avoiding things so much as he is embracing family. I don't know.
 

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My main question/topic I need advice on is the fact that I could deal with all of this more easily if we were not married and especially if I didn't take his last name. When we were engaged, I struggled for a long time about changing my name. He knew this but I don't think he quite understood it. To him, it was just what women do. To me it was a major life decision, not to taken lightly, to basically change how am I known to the world. I did change my name because I love him and he was/is my family now and knew how important it was to him. I put my faith in him. And for the first seven months, it was an adjustment but a happy one.

I feel so incredibly hurt that I am now his wife who shares his last name and I feel like I am essentially a roommate with benefits. Yes, he helps me with many practical things, which I am very grateful for, but he does the same for his friends and family. What differentiates me from everyone else in his life?

I am reminded of this constantly. Whenever I sign my name or introduce myself, it feels like I'm a different person who I don't even know. Before it was exciting and romantic because I actually felt like his wife and now it just feels like a boldfaced lie. Except its reality.

Thank you in advance for any advice or insight!!
I'm not sure I understand what you need help with? Do you just want to change your name back to your maiden name? Many married women keep their maiden name when they get married. That is easy to fix, change your name back. The marriage will still stand though you will just have your maiden name back.

If you are concerned about your husband helping his family so much, talk to him about that. If you feel unconnected to your husband emotionally that becomes harder. Is this his problem with being unemotionally available or your problem as perceiving him as not being emotionally connected to you.

It sounds like the two of you need to have some conversations where you both listen and talk to each other. The difference between you and the other people he helps is you and your husband are supposed to have a bond that is formed from emotional ties created by spending time together and having sex; don't you two have a sex life? Don't you feel closer to him then to any other person you have in your life? Do you feel that he feels closer to you then to other people?
 

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Don't worry about the name, or place so much importance on it. Your name is not who you are. You are who you are.

Rather, it's about where your priorities are versus his priorities. He is your priority (hence why I feel you put so much importance on taking his name...) whereas his priority is his biological family.

Have you tried marriage counselling? When he got married, you should have become his priority. It doesn't mean he should neglect his family, but you come first.

Don't have a child together if you're not sure you want to be together.

You mentioned he didn't go over to his parents' place so often at first. Did something change in your relationship that might have triggered him wanting to be away from home?
 

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Then we started having problems dealing with my in-laws constantly calling him to fix things at their place to the extent that it was taking a great amount of time away from us.
It's difficult to strike a balance between all your responsibilities (work, home, school, family). It sounds as if your husband is struggling to find that balance.

he is extremely emotionally stunted and keeps himself busy with numerous projects either of his own choosing or his family's so he doesn't have to deal with any emotional issues.
This is one of the fundamental differences between men and women. Men place great value on their ability to accomplish tasks, to fix things or build things. It correlates directly with their self-worth. He may be demonstrating to you that he's a worthwhile husband and father. Look at all the things I can repair! Look how capable I am with a wrench and a power drill! He wants you to be proud of his ability to provide for you, and his family, in this manner. He wants you to be impressed.

Sometimes, immersing himself in a project is how a man deals with his emotional issues. Women generally talk about their feelings and then their mood improves. Men generally retreat to their "cave" where they can busy themselves with an important task. It's just two different types of responses to the same emotional turmoil. To you, it may appear that he's avoiding his emotional issues when he busies himself with a project. Instead, this may simply be his way of dealing with it.

But it would be nice to be able to share how I'm feeling with my husband and have him engaged and respond without hurtful sarcastic remarks or apathy.
He may be responding this way because of the approach you take with him. If my wife said something to me like, "You're always at your parents' house fixing things! You're never home anymore!" then that would probably put me on the defensive. I would likely get snippy and sarcastic.

If you tell him the same thing in a more loving way, you might get a more favorable response. Something that starts with the word "I" instead of the word "you." Something like, "I really miss when you're not home. I love spending time with you and I'm lonely when you're gone. I would really like it if we could be home together tonight."

When we were engaged, I struggled for a long time about changing my name. To me it was a major life decision, not to taken lightly, to basically change how am I known to the world.
It's only been a year. You're still adjusting. If it bothers you that much, you can legally change back to your maiden name with little or no consequence. Or, maybe you could meet him halfway and hyphenate your last name? That way you're still acknowledging your legal status as his wife, but not completely erasing your own identity in the process.

I feel so incredibly hurt that I am now his wife who shares his last name and I feel like I am essentially a roommate with benefits. Yes, he helps me with many practical things, which I am very grateful for, but he does the same for his friends and family. What differentiates me from everyone else in his life?
He chose you, out of all the other women on the planet, to live with. He fell in love with you and you are the most important person in his life. He comes home to you every night and sleeps with you. That's the difference.


Quigster
 

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. I was a strong believer in the "marriage doesn't change anything" philosophy.
Well, that's obviously a false belief as shown by countless threads pertaining to how a person's SO changed completely right after they exchanged their vows.

At least you figured it out sooner rather than later.
 
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