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Hello Everybody,

First of all, I must say that I am shocked I'm on here. I guess I've either stereotyped these sites as being for ‘other’ people or too blind to recognize my marriage is in trouble. Regardless, I've always considered myself to be a very strong minded, independent man that GIVES advice, not accepts it. My wife would say that I'm a bull headed isolationist. Either way, I'm going to be as blunt as I can & accept the criticism & advice from anybody willing to take the time to help. Truly, I appreciate it.
OK, so like the title says, my marriage is always hot or cold. I have been married to my beautiful wife for 12 yrs & we have 2 kids, aged 10 & 12. Yes, my wife was pregnant when we got married & yes that is often a red flag. However, we were not careful at all & I think actually wanted the pregnancy to happen. Fact is, I had a 3rd degree burn hot marriage for the first 5 years or so. Then, it was hot for 10 months out of the year. And for the past couple of years, it's hot about 5 days a month. Not good. I'll give a brief, point by point overview of why I think we've gotten to this point:

1. I can be an ass & generally want things my way.
2. We are having a difficult time financially as I change careers.
3. My wife hasn't & doesn't work.
4. My wife LOVES animals, I do not. She has brought home a cat, then a dog & finally bought a horse for our daughter without discussing it with me...she knows I'd say no.
5. I have gotten fat & lost a lot of respect for myself. I used to have a bodybuilder physique, now, not so much.
6. My wife is a major socialite, but only with other animal lovers. I have nothing in common with most of these people. Half don’t or won’t work.
7. My wife CONSTANTLY says that I think she's just a useless, housewife. I vehemently deny it as it isn't true…or is it? Maybe I deny it so that I don’t look shallow?

I'll leave it at 7 for now as those are the ones that came to mind immediately. If I need to think about it longer than 5 minutes, then I don't think it's a major contributor to why we're where we are. Of course, there’s more to the above than a brief one line description but it has led to a lot of nastiness. She has said that "we just move on" or "end it" or the actual "D" word, but ultimately, we're at it like teenagers in the bedroom again within a week or so...which is probably very telling of a larger problem. I think she's says it to hurt or shock me, I've actually said it or agreed to it too. Actually, it seems to have lost significance. It's mentioned like other couples say I love you. I don't know, guess I'm just rambling. I'll end it here & see if anybody has something to offer. I do love my wife, I really do. I have never cheated on her nor would I. I'm just a lost, proud man who would NEVER discuss this with friends or family though I think she has. I want to save my marriage but cannot go on suffering or hurting my children with our fights. Thanks for any help.
 

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Thanks for your prompt reply.

You know, that's an interesting question. I say that because early on there was no question I did. Especially as a mother. Recently, I would have to honestly say no. She dedicates a lot of time to animals as she volunteers at a horse rescue as well as the time she spends with my daughter's horse. At home, it's endless fish, a cat & a dog. Bottom line is, I feel she has taken her 'free' time & used it only for her pleasure. I now resent the animals.
Anyway, does that answer your question?
 

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there’s more to the above than a brief one line description but it has led to a lot of nastiness.
This was quite the summation but I couldn't quite grasp what the key problem is. Can you elaborate on the 'nastiness'? What is that dynamic like and how does it start?

Right off I can tell you desperately need some self love. Your wife has a passion, a hobby and it isn't you. But until you learn to love yourself she won't. How do you spend your free time?
 

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This was quite the summation but I couldn't quite grasp what the key problem is. Can you elaborate on the 'nastiness'? What is that dynamic like and how does it start?

Right off I can tell you desperately need some self love. Your wife has a passion, a hobby and it isn't you. But until you learn to love yourself she won't. How do you spend your free time?
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Hi Mavash,

Yeah, this was what I was looking for, but also fearing, a candid self analysis.
First off, the nastiness can be a few things. Most commonly, it involves verbal attacks. It generally starts if I feel she has done or not done something she should. IE, her not picking the kids up from school or making last minute party plans or assuming I'll make dinner. Nothing overwhelming, but I view it as more solo 'social' time for her. Generally, these events escalate to where it becomes a full on fight.
As far as your "self love" comment, I agree. That's on me 100%. I used to golf & I love sports, football in particular. I coach my son's youth football which is nearing the end of the season; I'm dreading that moment. I honestly love my time with those kids. After my own, they are the biggest joys in my life.
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This was quite the summation but I couldn't quite grasp what the key problem is. Can you elaborate on the 'nastiness'? What is that dynamic like and how does it start?

Right off I can tell you desperately need some self love. Your wife has a passion, a hobby and it isn't you. But until you learn to love yourself she won't. How do you spend your free time?
I should add with respect to the nastiness that it is intended to hurt. Whether it is her or me, we shoot to cause pain. I still believe most of it is related to the differences we have as far as animals are concerned...obviously, I could be wrong. It's just miserable when it starts, but it usually subsides & leads to 'make up sex'. Again, not healthy, but when it happens it resembles how we were over 10 yrs. ago.
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1. I can be an ass & generally want things my way.
2. We are having a difficult time financially as I change careers.
3. My wife hasn't & doesn't work.
4. My wife LOVES animals, I do not. She has brought home a cat, then a dog & finally bought a horse for our daughter without discussing it with me...she knows I'd say no.
5. I have gotten fat & lost a lot of respect for myself. I used to have a bodybuilder physique, now, not so much.
6. My wife is a major socialite, but only with other animal lovers. I have nothing in common with most of these people. Half don’t or won’t work.
7. My wife CONSTANTLY says that I think she's just a useless, housewife. I vehemently deny it as it isn't true…or is it? Maybe I deny it so that I don’t look shallow?
I'll respond to your list as follows:

1. Okay, you can be an ass. I can be an ass. All God's children can be asses. However, I'm getting the drift that you become an ass when you don't get things your way. In the hopes of not being redundant, all God's children want things their way ... at least some of the time. And a lot of people? They want things their way most of the time. Regardless, you are seeing, upfront and personal, that things ain't going your way in your marriage. Being an ass will not bring about the changes or circumstances you desire. (As I believe you are realizing; thus, your post.)

2. Financial problems are stressful. These are stressful times. You need to set a budget, sit down with your wife, and plan how to allocate money. At least getting a handle on one's finances alleviates some stress. Everyone has to keep receipts on what they spend and where they spend it. I keep a running spreadsheet. It sucks. It is tedious to do. But it keeps me reality-based in what I can and cannot afford. Be thankful you have a job in this economy. Reallly.

3. Here is where I started picking up a vibe in your post. Your wife hasn't and doesn't work. Do you have less respect for her because she isn't making a financial contribution? Being a SAHM is a difficult job, but your kids are old enough that your wife could be working, even if it was only part-time. Do you have an issue with her not working?

4. As an animal lover, I can still respect that some people just don't like animals. My mother didn't like them. They didn't like her either. So you have one dog and one cat. That's not exactly a menagerie. I have two cats, but when I lived with my husband we had a rather large crew of pets. The horse issue is another matter. Horses are expensive to feed, board, and maintain. I'd let the dog and cat thing go, but the horse is an issue.

5. If you are fat, you can do something about it. That issue you own. Get off your backside and hit the gym again. Eat healthy. Lose weight. You'll be doing your health a huge favor, not to mention your self-esteem.

6. The "animal lover" group don't or won't work. Somehow I'm getting the vibe again that you feel these people are dead beats who just hang out trying to save the seals or something. I have worked in animal rescue, so I gravitate towards people who are of like mind. Some are retired. Some can't find work, so in the interim, they are volunteering. Hey, they could work in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen ... but they prefer helping four-legged creatures.

7. I'm afraid I've gotta lean towards your wife on this one, based on what you have written. However, I doubt you "constantly" tell her she is worthless. Body language and an attitude CAN go a long way in conveying, non-verbally, that you feel she is wasting time, spending your money, and not holding down a 9-5.

JMO.
 

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Hi Prodigal,

I'll respond as you did, point by point.

1. Ass. Yes, I can be difficult, as can anybody. Though I think my unhappiness makes it worse.
2. Financial is relevant, I'm somewaht embarrassed I brought it up because as you said many are truly suffering. I'm simply adding another 'division' to my business which has cost a lot of money & has resulted in some sacrifices.
3. Being a SAHM (wasn't sure at first what that meant, newbie)WAS difficult. I currently share the responsibilities with respect to the kids and, as you mentioned, they are much more independent now. Yes, I do have an issue with her not working. Volunteering your time to work with animals is comparable to me volunteering my time to coach kids; it's not a job.
4. Animals. Sigh. You know, this is really sad. I actually owned a dog before I knew my wife & was married. Having kids ended my need to live with a pet. Maybe when they grow & are gone, but for now I do not want a dog. But, being forced to have a cat, which I do not like & owning a horse, which I do not agree with has hardened me on the subject, it's become a battle.
5. Absolutely, you're right.
6. Yes, except some collect welfare to do so.
7. Again, agreed. But she has mentioned the lack of funds so should I not mention the reduced 'housewife' role she has assumed over the past couple of years; prior to the cash crunch?

Thanks Prodigal, I look forward to any further comments you may have.
 

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Sounds to me like you're not liking yourself much these days, and you're projecting that onto her.

Being an ass is hardly a loving act. Get over it and make it a point to be appreciative and grateful instead of getting your way. Make yourself into the man she cannot resist and I think you'll find her animal loving friends and such will become less of an issue. The women I've known who behave this way often feel a kinship with animals because the animals don't criticize, blame, or try to change them, where the people in their lives do.

If you made it a point to do the Four Minute Workout a few times a week, and remind yourself that you *will* start seeing results in your business that will make the sacrifices worthwhile, and remember that your marriage is more important than assigning blame, you'll be on track to getting back to your burning hot marriage. And while you're doing this, make sure to schedule some time for fun - together AND alone.
 

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Far from being an azz, you seem to have given your wife all of the control while you ruminate. Are you sensitive to being seen as a controlling male?

It would be a pity for such a passionate marriage to end. i think it may come to that if you continue to live in misery. i mention control because you may be the best one in the relationship to assume a leadership position to turn this floundering ship into the wind.

You have the [email protected] to start your own business and expand it. With such drive and boldness, you have to ask yourself why you are reluctant to take charge in your marriage. Maybe this reaching out on this forum is a start?
 

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Sounds to me like you're not liking yourself much these days, and you're projecting that onto her.

Being an ass is hardly a loving act. Get over it and make it a point to be appreciative and grateful instead of getting your way. Make yourself into the man she cannot resist and I think you'll find her animal loving friends and such will become less of an issue. The women I've known who behave this way often feel a kinship with animals because the animals don't criticize, blame, or try to change them, where the people in their lives do.

If you made it a point to do the Four Minute Workout a few times a week, and remind yourself that you *will* start seeing results in your business that will make the sacrifices worthwhile, and remember that your marriage is more important than assigning blame, you'll be on track to getting back to your burning hot marriage. And while you're doing this, make sure to schedule some time for fun - together AND alone.
With respect to the animals, she has referenced how they give her unconditional love. She grew up an only child whose parents divorced early, so I believe as things have deteriorated with us, she has gone to what has given her security in the past. I think the unconditional love argument is simply used as an excuse to get what she wants. Compromise is not something either of us do well. Being appreciative of a wife who has imposed her wants & desires into the home without regard to the 'big picture' is difficult.
Four minute workout? Not sure what that is, but we have a gym in our house; I'm just too lazy to use it right now. Maybe throwing some iron around as I did in the old days would not only produce results, but relieve stress! Or not...tough to do right now.
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Far from being an azz, you seem to have given your wife all of the control while you ruminate. Are you sensitive to being seen as a controlling male?

It would be a pity for such a passionate marriage to end. i think it may come to that if you continue to live in misery. i mention control because you may be the best one in the relationship to assume a leadership position to turn this floundering ship into the wind.

You have the [email protected] to start your own business and expand it. With such drive and boldness, you have to ask yourself why you are reluctant to take charge in your marriage. Maybe this reaching out on this forum is a start?
I wouldn't say I have given her control, I think it is more accurate to say we both fight for it. As far as me ruminating while that battle ensues, yeah, fair statement. Meanwhile, I feel she puts little thought into the situation other than maintaining what she has.
I have been sensitive to if others view me as a controlling male in the past because she has referred to me as being one to her friends. However, I'm not sure anybody would think I am a controlling male as things stand right now. Perhaps it is a fair question to ask if she is a controlling female?
Finally, having the 'goods' to start your own business is over rated. Anyone can try, in fact I think many who do, should not. You need to have a strong type 'A' personality to have a chance. With that, I must say if you are that type plodding along in a 9-5 is virtually impossible. That's me. I should also clarify the whole 'expansion' so to speak. My original company has suffered in this economy to the point where I needed to do something. I have put a lot of money into the new venture to where we are living a life closer to what it was when we were married. We are month to month so to speak, but we are not going without at the same time.
Finally, I agree, reaching out for help (this forum) is something that is very difficult for me. I am hoping to get a completely neutral perspective on the relationship as I want to save what has been, as you say, a very passionate marriage.
 

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Damn, didn't mean to hit the submit button on the blank post; things are a lot smaller on the phone! Anyway, I did want to ask for opinions on the following:
I feel like we can ultimately compromise on the other issues...with the exception of the dog. I cannot accept the dog. She was brought here under the guise of being house sat for 3 weeks; a complete lie from the beginning. As a result, I've grown to hate the dog. And that makes me feel worse because I don't hate dogs at all. But this one represents so much more than a pet. Is it fair to say it has to go? This is extraordinarily difficult for me to propose as my daughter has 'bonded' with the dog, my son really doesn't care. But how do we go on the way things are now?
BTW, please don't hammer on me animal lovers. Instead, look at how the dog was introduced to the home & if it's fair...for anybody.
Thanks.
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I used to be nasty to my wife when I disapproved of something she did or did not do. It doesnt work and I almost lost her.

Here is my prescription for your ill.

1. When she drops the ball, just bite your tongue. It accomplishes nothing to ream her. Instead pick up the pieces and fix it. i.e. make dinner with a smile

2. do something for yourself like get back into shape

3. drop the resentment about the animals. That also accomplishes nothing. Accept it to a healthy point.

4. Slowly work towards getting her reinterested in other activities WITH YOU that do not involve animals

I am a contractor and have met a few animal rescue types and they are all divorced because of the animal rescue cult. These people seem to get sucked into a saving the world mentality and cant shut it off. It is very unhealthy for a person and a marriage. I suggest you research it because everyone of these people was unhinged about it. It becomes a 24/7/365 obsession and my crazy meter always went berserk around them.

Once you figure it out, you need to have an effective approach because your past history of ridicule and angry tantrums will just drive her away.
 

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I used to be nasty to my wife when I disapproved of something she did or did not do. It doesnt work and I almost lost her.

Here is my prescription for your ill.

1. When she drops the ball, just bite your tongue. It accomplishes nothing to ream her. Instead pick up the pieces and fix it. i.e. make dinner with a smile

2. do something for yourself like get back into shape

3. drop the resentment about the animals. That also accomplishes nothing. Accept it to a healthy point.

4. Slowly work towards getting her reinterested in other activities WITH YOU that do not involve animals

I am a contractor and have met a few animal rescue types and they are all divorced because of the animal rescue cult. These people seem to get sucked into a saving the world mentality and cant shut it off. It is very unhealthy for a person and a marriage. I suggest you research it because everyone of these people was unhinged about it. It becomes a 24/7/365 obsession and my crazy meter always went berserk around them.

Once you figure it out, you need to have an effective approach because your past history of ridicule and angry tantrums will just drive her away.
Hey 'Yup',

So, essentially you believe in 'happy wife, happy life'. Fair enough, as do I...to a degree. On the rather mundane stuff though, no? And what is mundane to one, is not to another. For example, you may have a marriage where making dinner scores some points. Or surprising her to a lunch out. I do those things so in my marriage, it is accepting who I live with I guess. It may come across as a frivolous concern but, again, she knows what I do & don't like & has does what makes HER happy anyway. So, at what point do I say "no, I will agree to the bird, fish, cat & find a way to make the horse work, but I will not be steamrolled into letting you have your own way on everything". Is that wrong? Is there not a fine line between making your wife happy & being 'whipped' so to speak. What if she then decides to bring home another animal? Point is, a line in the sand needs to be drawn with parameters set or we're doomed anyway, aren't we? What did your wife do in the past that you disapproved of? Does she still do them? Are you happy only because you still have her? in other words, have you accepted that you will not the fairy tale & have learned to live with it?
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