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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
:mad: Just tunes out. Turns in. Clams up. Shuts down. I love him dearly, but he drives me nuts with this crap! Seriously, I tried not to get mad. I wanted to look past it. But I realized I wasn't being honest with myself. We've talked about this over and over, yet nothing ever changes.

So Christmas day consisted of 4 family stops for Hubby and I yesterday. First to his sister's place, then to his uncle's. We had a lot of fun, talking and chatting at both places. Very cheerful and festive environment at both places. I always try to be on my best behavior (as in, I'm a very moody person who often doesn't feel like being around people AT ALL, despite the chatty, very social side of me).

Anywho, fast forward from his Uncle's house, and we head on to spend time with my side of the family. We get to my uncle's house (where my dad and other uncle are all gathered together). We get there, give my dad his gift and exchange pleasantries and holiday greetings. Afterwards, Hubby pretty much brings down the iron door. He's sitting there like a knot on a log, not really saying much to my family. Head hung down. Looking off into space. After sitting around the table briefly, we go outside. At that point, he chats with my dad a bit, but his persona bears NO RESEMBLANCE to the man I just saw at his uncle's house. In his defense, my dad and uncle's have a penchant for being quite arrogant men. They will get around outsiders and proceed to talk about "inside" family business...as opposed to normal people who make an effort to carry on conversation that everybody present can join in with. But there have been other instances where we're around even my cousins/our peers, and Hubby sometimes still doesn't talk much then either.

We leave my unc's and we go to my mom's house. Hubby and I hug everyone, we exchange gifts, pleasantries, etc. and then he picks his favorite spot on the end of the couch and proceeds to start dozing off. Like staying awake, staying engaged and interacting with my family (like I do with his...whether I feel like it or not) is just not important! UGH!!! :(

I realize he's not as chatty/social as I can be, but he knows how to mingle and interact with people when necessary. He's a pastor, for Heaven's sake. Yet over and over, he tends to tune out around my family. I've put up with it for years, and now it's pissing me tf off!! I mean, it's like EVERY TIME we go to my mom's, it's the same thing. I've made excuses for him for years...trying to be understanding about his sleep apnea. But he works 12-14 hour days sometimes and obviously has to stay awake through it. And here again, it can be the same time of day and if we're around HIS fam or friends, he finds a way to stay awake and stay engaged. We can visit my mom in the middle of the afternoon, and he almost always tunes out and proceeds to nap while mom and I talk. I told him that I find that RUDE! Why do I have to keep saying it?!?!

Is it asking too much for him to interact a bit more? At least TRY to engage my family? Interact with the family? When I finally got the nerve to confront the issue today, he made excuses...
~ "I wasn't doing it on purpose..."
~ "But I did talk to you dad..."
~ "Yes, I did respond when your uncle tried to make conversation." (He forgot I was right there. No, he didn't. Unc asked how Hubby's family was, and he gave a few-word answer and retreated back to his silence.)
~ "I didn't realize I was doing it."

That makes me all the more angry. He's basically denying it all, telling me in so many words that I'm imagining things. And herein is why nothing every changes in our marriage. He refuses to "own" his shyte, so things always just get swept under the rug. How in haunted hell can you NOT realize you're doing something that your wife has brought to your attention for several years now?!?! You just DON'T WANT to see it!!! Granted, I'm quick to admit that my family is a piece of work. But that's nothing something that affects him directly. They're always respectful, cordial and friendly towards Hubby. The drama we (my family of origin) tend to keep among ourselves and put on a happy face around others. So that should be no excuse. What I've said to him over and over is this: If you don't have the energy (or desire) to stay engaged and "present in the moment" around my family, just say that BEFORE we go there so you can just stay home!!!

When I confronted the matter today, here's what I requested: You reach within yourself and figure out why it is that you clam up/shut down/tune out around my family so that you/we can fix it. Until then, you go visit YOUR family, and I'll go visit MINE. I'm just sick of feeling like I'm alone when we're around my family. (Mind you, this situation is not the only instance of him using silence in our marriage to achieve whatever it is he's trying to achieve.) But I'm sick of expending my time and energy to make happy around his people, and I can't get the same courtesy! After giving the above excuses, he just shut down (as always) and went about his business. He has now gone to bed with no effort whatsoever to arrive at some resolution. By tomorrow, he'll be looking for sex again. That's the only matter in this marriage that he makes sure gets attended to...

Am I being unreasonable here...??? I hate ultimatums, but sometimes it's the ONLY way to get him to see his selfishness...and that I'm not gonna always put up with any and every thing without expecting some resolution. (And let me be clear...the way I confronted this matter was NOTHING like the tone of this post. I was VERY calm and mild-mannered in my approach. I saved my frustrations for here. :wink2:)

Sorry to make such a long-winded rant. I'd like some honest opinions here.
 

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Going to four different houses in one day seems a bit much. I mean, I'm a big outgoing personality A type, but that would be a bit much even for me.

So, first, I'd say work on paring it down. But I'll admit I'm biased because my family and my in-laws are dysfunctional as hell.

Secondly, is he like this if you go to work functions? Like do you go over to other people's houses and does he space out or fall asleep? Or is this only at family gatherings?
 

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Going to four different houses in one day seems a bit much. I mean, I'm a big outgoing personality A type, but that would be a bit much even for me.

So, first, I'd say work on paring it down. But I'll admit I'm biased because my family and my in-laws are dysfunctional as hell.

Secondly, is he like this if you go to work functions? Like do you go over to other people's houses and does he space out or fall asleep? Or is this only at family gatherings?
I had the same thought; maybe he was just tired from having already made multiple stops.
 
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Like the others said, 4 visits in one day is a bit much, but it sounds like this is normal for him - no effort to engage your family. My H is the exact same way, although he now does much better when my family visits. He will at least look at them and speak to them and even took my cousins sight seeing (OMG a MIRACLE) But he won't go visit anyone on my side (None of our family except his mom are local) ever, but will travel to visit his family and naturally expects/wants me to come.

If your H really just doesn't like your family, he doesn't like them. But if he's like my H, he hasn't TRIED to like them.


I'm curious, how is he with any of your friends from prior to marriage? Is he open and welcoming to them? Or does he tune out anyone from "your" side? Also, does he have specific reasons for not liking each of your family members, you mention your dad & uncle's arrogance, or is it just that they're not his family so he doesn't give a cr*p about them? And the fact that it's important to you is irrelevant? How is he around other people that he's not crazy about (like some members of his church?)

On one hand, I think you shouldn't force your spouse into situations where he's uncomfortable/unhappy. But on the other hand - that's just SO SELFISH if he dismisses your family out of hand simply because he doesn't feel like exerting any effort. Family is important. (They teach you that in church!)

Like I said, no real advise, just commiseration. In my situation I finally did start going to visit family w/out H because I realized I was losing my relationship with them (and they knew he was behind it and really wish I'd not married him). It's really sad because while visiting them

1) I had a great time, and it occurred to me I was having more fun without my H. Like you said, it's no fun to visit family with someone who is shut down.

2)Now he tries harder if any come visit, which I appreciate, but it makes me so sad because I think of all the wasted years where we could have had great times together and gotten closer instead of somewhat estranged, and he still has zero desire to develop any closeness/go see anyone from my side.

ONE idea - You say he is a pastor. You might ask him how he would counsel a couple in his church if they came to him with an identical situation. (I'd think he'd tell the resistant spouse to be more charitable...) Good luck.
 

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Honestly?

He sounds like a complete and utter a*sshole.

We all have to occasionally make 'nice' at social or familial gatherings that maybe we'd prefer not to be attending. Big deal. That's life. There have been plenty of times I would have rather been home in my robe binge-watching a show on Netflix instead of being where I was, but I didn't act like a complete a*sshole because of it. I was a part of the gathering and was charming and polite and graceful.

Purposely finding a spot on the end of the couch and falling asleep - year after year after year after year after year - is the epitome of a*sshole behavior.

I'd be telling his arrogant ass that we're vising my family FIRST next year - both places. And I'd let him know that I will be basing my cooperation for the last two visits to his family based on how he behaves on the first two visits to MY family. If he acts like the a*sshole he is yet again, I'd be going home and not participating in the last two visits to his family.

Oh - and he can jerk off tomorrow if he wants sex so bad. What an a*sshole.
 

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He isn't the center of attention with your family so he zones out. He doesn't care to meet your needs so don't meet his. He'll get the message real quick that if one wants to 'get', one has to give.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Everybody, for your feedback. Preciate that. You guys are right, 4 stops is a lot, but it's not out of the norm for us. As I mentioned, you're talking about a man who pulls 12 to 14 hour days doing manual labor at work. A man who, when his ministerial superiors would say jump, he'd ask "how high?" And be wherever they told him to be...whether that be all-day conferences or back to back church services. In his defense though, I have seen him doze off when other preachers/speakers were up. And, when we visit his aunt/Godmom (who I like a lot and can talk to easily), he's been known to doze off briefly while she and I were chatting. So, no, it's honestly not just a *my* family issue. Just MOST of the time!

I don't even know if the multiple visits is a valid excuse/rationale. There have been times when it's just ONE Sunday afternoon visit to my mom's...and he still does the couch-corner-nap routine. I've been ignoring it for a while since he works so hard and admittedly, since I know he is patient with my idiosyncrasies. Of which there are many. So let me not sound like a saint here. I'm not an easy chica to deal with sometimes.

But I believe in being fair. And I don't think it's too much to ask that he give a little more than he has been in this area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My H is the exact same way, although he now does much better when my family visits. He will at least look at them and speak to them
WorkingWife...I'm wondering if our guys are brothers, LOL! That eye contact thing used to drive me NUTS! He's gotten somewhat better, but we used to visit my friends and fam, and when he did talk to them, he would do so withOUT giving eye contact.

I'm curious, how is he with any of your friends from prior to marriage? Is he open and welcoming to them? Or does he tune out anyone from "your" side?
See above. The few times we were around my friends prior to marriage, he was kind of standoffish. Granted he is definitely an introvert, and my understanding is that lots of socializing drains an introvert...in ways that we extroverts can't fathom, since we we feed off of activity, social settings, high energy scenarios, etc. Introverts, I've read, need to recharge after too much. But...when I see that you can turn your Energizer Bunny on to interact with your family...I fully expect that you can turn him on to interact with mine.

Also, does he have specific reasons for not liking each of your family members, you mention your dad & uncle's arrogance, or is it just that they're not his family so he doesn't give a cr*p about them?
I've asked him to be honest with me. If there are specific reasons, then I want to know...even if that reason consists of something I'm doing wrong. But he says it's not. And as long as he can't (or WON'T) see what he's doing, then I don't know how/if he'll ever put his finger on it. My dad is what I'd consider an undiagnosed case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We recently had a big "intense discussion" I'll call it, about all that is wrong in the family...and how everyone is abandoning him. He owns nothing...everything is everybody else's fault. I shared the whole exchange with DH and how emotionally abused I felt after the convo. Soooo...I don't know if he's harboring some resentment for my dad and just didn't have much to say to him, but I really don't think that was it. He's been listening to my tale of woe for almost 10 years now where it concerns the strained relationships in my family of origin. He doesn't tend to let it affect how/whether he interacts with them.

And the fact that it's important to you is irrelevant? How is he around other people that he's not crazy about (like some members of his church?)
Bingo! You said it well...totally irrelevant! It's not the only area of our marriage where I've expressed concern or a need that he just continues to treat as irrelevant. As for church people, he's pretty well skilled at putting on the happy face around, even the ones he's not crazy about.

Though, that's a whole 'nother post. We're in church transition and haven't been as active lately. He has not been terribly successful in the pastorate role, and I've tried to encourage him for years to find ways to improve his people skills. That, too, falls on deaf ears. So I left it alone. But I stopped letting him drag me to lifeless churches just because he needed to hold on to his pastor role/robe. OMG, I can't tell you the number of small-town (and big ones too) pastors that I believe have jumped into ministry to feed their egos...and/or fill a void that their childhoods left in them...instead of going and dealing with true source of their pain and emptiness.

I'd be telling his arrogant ass that we're vising my family FIRST next year - both places. And I'd let him know that I will be basing my cooperation for the last two visits to his family based on how he behaves on the first two visits to MY family. If he acts like the a*sshole he is yet again, I'd be going home and not participating in the last two visits to his family.
:grin2: Thanks, She'sStillGot It! I like this a lot. Maybe I'll try this before going cold turkey refusal to accompany him to his family's.

Thanks again, Guys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
How's your marriage? Do you love him? Does he love you? Do you have a great sex life?

This sounds like petty complaints. Must be more to it.
GuyinColorado, so you'd be OK if your lady tuned out most every time you guys visited YOUR relatives together???

The marriage is OK...on the mend, I should say. Earlier this year (and a few times before), I was oh, about a split hair's distance from finding a lawyer and filing. So, yeah, definitely not the rosiest of marriages, but we've managed to stay afloat and finally start (I thought) to make some progress. But he'd rather sweep serious issues under the rug than go through the uncomfortable place of vulnerability in dealing with them.

Yes, I love him dearly, and I truly believe he loves me. But we're admittedly both from VERY dysfunctional childhoods, and we don't always choose/know the healthiest ways of expressing that love.

Sex life? Ummm, great is relative. We both have strong sex drives and enjoy each other a lot in that area, but honestly, he's a creature of habit, and sometimes I get a little bored and wish he/we could venture out into creativity a bit more. Maybe this is TMI, but I'm one of those lucky women who has mind-blowing nocturnal orgasms (that'd be the female version of a man's wet dreams). A few times a month, I get my extra special blessing, completely unstimulated (except in my mind, I guess) and honestly, the rare O's I have during lovemaking don't hold a candle to the automatic ones. Probably cause I'm not completely relaxed as I am during sleep.

But I should add that I've been commuting for work for the last couple of years, so sex is sometimes limited to weekends. And yes, when I was shut down and ready for a divorce, there was nothing going on in that department. I know that created a great deal of resentment/sexual frustration in him, but here again...this family silent treatment thing has been going on (off and on) almost the whole 8 years we've been married. I will say this though...if we go out with my family to do something active, he is usually very much engaged. The last bowling trip with DH and I and 3 of my guy cousins...you'da thought they were all brothers. It was really sweet. So, yeah, sometimes it's the setting and time of day. Sometimes when people come to us -- even his own family -- he will doze off in his recliner while everybody around him is talking.

And like many suggested...4 stops was just probably too much for him that day.
 

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If he has troubles with eye-contact and has always been kind of socially awkward - he might just be kind of socially awkward if not on the spectrum a touch.

As such he more easily opens up with people he knows better - AKA his family versus yours. When they are doing something active it takes the edge off a bit because he can focus on the activity and be more natural. If he's kind of introverted than hours and hours of sitting and talking might be overwhelming.

Also ... if your Dad is a true Narcissist and -you- feel emotionally abused after talking to him, how would the DH feel? Particularly if he's already sort of socially anxious person.
 
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