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My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We've been struggling for quite a while now, and it's taken a long time for me to understand the root of our problem. We met online, and I made it very clear from the beginning that I am not the housewife type. I am also not the type of person who likes to spend every weekend sitting in front of the TV. Travel, outdoor activities, and the arts are all very important to me, that's where I prefer to direct my focus and energy. In the beginning, he told me he felt the same way, and we developed our relationship through shared new experiences.

After we got married and bought a house, we put the majority of our free time and energy in shaping the house into our home, and building a life together. Somewhere in the midst of all the life changes we experienced in the last 15 years, job issues, health changes, infertility, each losing a parent to cancer, participation in my interests fell by the wayside. As we slowly stopped traveling, stopped hiking, stopped going to galleries and museums, we started sitting at home watching movies on TV, every night after work, and all weekend. I have come to discover through years truly studying my husband as a person that he never had any interest in the things that were important to me, they were just things he had to endure so he could sleep with me. He is woefully lacking in self awareness, and has a deep, unresolved childhood issue that drives his every move.

The true goal of his life to to replicate his boyhood existence before his sister was born. He has openly stated that he feels a "happy, bouncy, loved feeling" when he's sat on the couch with the TV on while I clean the house. His mother was a housewife, and he was her first born, on whom she doted obsessively. When he was quite small, he was diagnosed with indoor and outdoor allergies. His mother was convinced that he might die of the sniffles, and she felt it was imperative that she literally crawl upon her hands and knees scrubbing the home to keep him alive. She also mistakenly believed that she could give her second child the exact same amount of attention as the first, but being that she was only one person, with dad working long hours outside of the home, and him being largely a "hands off" parent, that attention came at the expense of the first child. My husband has never recovered from what felt like abandonment to him when his sister was born. In his mind, the only thing his mother still did just for him was clean the house. Every Saturday was devoted to the purification ritual that would save her baby boy from certain death, and a wise person would do well to stay out of her way while she did everything with no assistance.

When I learned about her cleaning habits while we were dating, I made it known that a life with me would be very different. I'm a "clean as you go, dust before company comes" type, and that won't change. When we bought our home, it was 3 times the size of the house he grew up in, and there's no way I can, or should, keep it clean purely by myself while also working full time. He claimed he was fine with that, but he's not, and he's spent a fair amount of time making me feel bad for not being like his mother. Our lives are slowly drifting apart because I have no desire in playing housewife, and there are still plenty of safe, socially distant outdoor activities I'd prefer over taking root in front of the TV. This sedentary life has begun to impact my health, and I will not let the absence of the things I enjoy cost me any more than it already has. I fell in love with my husband on the premise that he was a companion with similar interests, but that is not at all true, and now I feel we are trapped in a situation where neither of us can be happy. I stay because it's part of my faith that marriage is for life, and I can not have another partner while my husband lives, whether we are together or not. I have no fear of being alone, I intentionally remained single until I completed college, established a career, and truly understood myself and my motives. I did a lot of hard work to overcome my own childhood traumas so I wouldn't carry that damage into a relationship. What I learned about myself is I require a close confidante, an intimate partner who is on my side. My mental well-being suffers when I don't have someone to share things that I can't tell anyone else. An insurmountable flaw in my character. So I stay. I just don't know when it will start to feel like there's no point in being married when I have to do the things that are important to me by myself.
 

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participation in my interests fell by the wayside.
Do you mean his participation only, or your participation also?
The true goal of his life to to replicate his boyhood existence before his sister was born. He has openly stated that he feels a "happy, bouncy, loved feeling" when he's sat on the couch with the TV on while I clean the house.
You may well be right, but if you don't do anything w/ this information it is useless. Also, maybe it's not quite right. Why don't the 2 of you go to MC and discuss this? It's not healthy for him to expect you to recreate this scenario, but if counselling can make him not need it you may both win.
 

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For quite some time, whenever he backed out of plans for my interests, it was due to claims of illness, and I felt compelled to stay home with him. Canceling plans turned into such a habit that I stopped making plans for both of us, and just wait until he takes a nap to go do what I want to do. We tried counseling once, but our therapist wanted to try some experimental hypnotherapy treatments she had very recently discovered at a seminar, which turned out not to work well for us. We haven't looked for another counselor during the pandemic.
 

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For quite some time, whenever he backed out of plans for my interests, it was due to claims of illness, and I felt compelled to stay home with him. Canceling plans turned into such a habit that I stopped making plans for both of us, and just wait until he takes a nap to go do what I want to do. We tried counseling once, but our therapist wanted to try some experimental hypnotherapy treatments she had very recently discovered at a seminar, which turned out not to work well for us. We haven't looked for another counselor during the pandemic.
Thanks for the added info.

Many people do remote counselling, i.e. via computer or smart phone.

How does he view your marriage? Does he think anything ought to change? Does he think his childhood plays into his wanting to "Nest"(hang out at home)?
 

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My question is was he really always other than what he said, or did he regress back to what he is now? People can change. Not that it makes much of a difference with your here and now, as you want a certain lifestyle, that he no longer can provide. But I do think that the reason makes a difference with how this is viewed. If he faked his interests to get you, it is a relationship based on deception and betrayal. If he simply changed, then there is no negative on him, or anyone, per se.
 

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I have no fear of being alone.....What I learned about myself is I require a close confidante, an intimate partner who is on my side. My mental well-being suffers when I don't have someone to share things that I can't tell anyone else. An insurmountable flaw in my character. So I stay.
I kind of feel like those two statements are contradictory. You don't think so?

I'm wondering what you hope marriage counseling will accomplish. Your displeasure surrounds one main issue with no mention of any problems in the marriage other than that. So, do you want counseling to make him stop being a couch potato? It can't do that. Energy pills might but counseling can't. hmm Energy pills, vitamins, testosterone (have him get his levels checked), and change of diet might be a good idea lol.

I'm thinking you discovered that you were duped into a relationship and then marriage. He played the game long enough until he didn't have to anymore. It took a while to figure it out, but I'm not sure what you can do about it now. Marriage counseling isn't for working on and reversing his childhood damage. Individual counseling does that. But even then, I don't think it will make him a more outgoing person. That's not who he is on the other side and never will be.

Oftentimes, a person changes when they realize they have something to lose. If he understood you are not going to stay in this marriage without having the life partner he presented himself to be, then maybe he'll get up off the couch. That kind of change is usually short-lived but may be worth a try to see how he responds.

And honestly, that silliness about his ""happy, bouncy, loved feeling" when he's sat on the couch with the TV on while I clean the house" is just a bunch of bullhockey since it's not what he gets. You're no suzy homemaker, right? So when does he get that happy, bouncy, loved feeling? I'm not saying you NEVER clean, but certainly not enough to sustain him, so that simply isn't true. Tell him to shut up and clean the house his darned self whenever he starts trying to make you feel bad. He isn't giving anything in terms of being the husband you need, so he has nerve requiring anything of you, especially not to be fulfilling his childhood fantasy. That one has to be a brand new kind of kink. "Scrub the floors while I get off on watching you and watching TV at the same time." Seriously?
 

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Oh how well I can relate to what you have posted. There was an episode on The Big Bang Theory were Penny and Leonard had broken up, but went out together as friends. It opened a whole Pandora's Box when Leonard admitted how many chick flick movies he claimed to enjoy, along with other interests Penny had just so he could sleep with her.

It may be funny on a sitcom, but in real life there's nothing remotely amusing about it. I was married to a man who, much like your husband, lost all interest in anything that interested me. It was rather like a slow motion bait-and-switch. In fact, my husband not only lost interest in MY interests, he basically lost interest in ME. End of story.

I left. We never divorced. But I started living life on my terms again. He eventually died as a result of his alcoholism. If you don't want to get divorced, fine. But why stay with someone who doesn't want to share your lifestyle? Consider leaving. Life is too short to stay with someone who sucks the life out of you.
 

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It sounds like you have a victim mentality. Who cares what his expectations are. If he wants the house clean he can do it himself, or hire a housekeeper. Don’t blame your laziness and health problems on him, you can go hiking by yourself or make friends and do it. Marriage is a very small part of who and what we are.
We are still suppose to have our own dreams and goals and hobbies and friends outside the marriage.

To me, you are making your life your marriage, then blaming it on him when your not satisfied with it.
 

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Life is too short to stay with someone who sucks the life out of you.
This is a false and inaccurate statement that people use way too often.

It is not only false but it sets people up to think that their misery will be short lived because......well,, life is supposedly short.

Wrong.

Life is not too short to live in misery and disappointment- it is too looooonnggg.

The average age in America is about 80 years give or take. Do you want 40 more years of this???

What if you live to 90? To 100? More and more people are.

Is this where you want to be and this this how you want to look back on your life as you lay gurgling for breath and crapping yourself on your death bed?
 

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It sounds like you have a victim mentality. Who cares what his expectations are. If he wants the house clean he can do it himself, or hire a housekeeper. Don’t blame your laziness and health problems on him, you can go hiking by yourself or make friends and do it. Marriage is a very small part of who and what we are.
We are still suppose to have our own dreams and goals and hobbies and friends outside the marriage.

To me, you are making your life your marriage, then blaming it on him when your not satisfied with it.
I agree with the above. Your trying to martyr yourself while blaming your woes on his mother and sister.

Frankly, that all sounds kind of pervy and creepy to me.

Has he actually said that about his history and how he feels about his mother and sister or is that your interpretation?

I’m not sure he misrepresented himself or if he is simply 15 years older.

When my wife and I were dating and first married, we traveled the country rock climbing and white water rafter. There are times we’ve gone out dancing and hitting the clubs. We used to go camping and heeding the call of the wild in a little tent in the woods and skinny dipping in the river on over night canoe trips.

We haven’t done any of that in years. Not because either of us misrepresented ourselves but because we are in our 50s.

She still wants to go camping but now she wants to do it in an RV that costs more than our first house.

This is life and things change and evolve as we age.

Is your house crawling with bugs and rodents and is a health hazard due to unsanitary conditions? If not , then he can get his happy, bouncy self off his azz if he wants it cleaner.

Want to go to a concert of art exhibit? It’s called get in the car and go. If he doesn’t want to go with you, ask someone else if you want.

If you don’t want to be with him any more and being with him is hurting your well being, you can try informing him and seeing if he’s willing and able to step up to the plate and reengage with you but if he doesn’t want to then move on without him.

You are both free adults and will be fine. Sad for awhile- yes. Tears in the pillows for a few nights- yes. Disruption in your normal daily life for awhile- yes, until the new normal begins.

But dead? No. Disabled? No. Despair? No.

We need to get away from the term “get a life.”

We don’t get lives, we make them. If you want a rich life, you are going to have to make it with or without him.

It’s his choice whether he wants to join you on your journey or not.

If he’d rather stay home and watch tv shows where people sing in front of judges or compete with a bunch of other dudes for some chick that is screwing a bunch of other dudes. That’s his choice and his life.

His life and his choice does not have to be your choice and your life.

Stop martyring yourself and make your own life. You only have one and it is very llloooonnnggggg.
 

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Can you hire a house cleaner and split the cost of it? It's ok that you don't enjoy the same things if other areas of the marriage are doing well. A mistake people often make in relationships is thinking that they have to do everything together. It's ok to for you to have some friends to do some of these activities with, just like it's ok for him to go watch a game with the boys on Sunday and have a couple beers. It's pretty much impossible to get all of your needs met by one person, I'm not implying that you should get some male friends to start hanging with but that if you have some female connections in your life (sisters, cousins, friends) that they can help fill that void.
 
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