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We started as equal partners. Then, in the last month of our first pregnancy, I started assuming more responsibility, to make her pregnancy more bearable. We know NOW that she had postpartum depression. She almost never fed, bathed, changed, or played with our babies.

For 17 years now, I've been her "*****". I have 99% responsibility for everything in our marriage. She gives 110% of herself to her job, then has nothing left to give at home. Every 2-3 years, I've done a "victim puke" and she starts giving more. But, the slow slide back to "normal" ALWAYS happens.

I DO NOT feel loved, desired, respected, or appreciated. I believe she gives the absolute minimum that will make me stay. I feel alone. I feel like I'm the only adult in this house.

I don't know what I expect from the forum, but I'm just wondering out loud; is it me? Am I missing or misunderstanding something? Does she really love me even? Or is she just using me?

I DON'T want to get divorced.....but I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years.
 

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Well if you don't want to be divorce your options are; 1. shut up and put up.
if you refuse to be unhappy any longer then see option one, since you don't want to be divorce.

in all seriousness, ONLY YOU, and you only can make yourself happy. Nobody else will. She won't change. She's at where she wants to be because she knows you won't do a thing, no matters the nagging. So, choose option one or two for no divorce. Or decide if you have had enough and trow in the towel. At the end is all YOUR decision.
 

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well, instead of D or just accepting it, how about changing YOU. You can't change her.
SO, STOP doing everything for her. STOP allowing her to get away with giving all to her job and not to you.
Start doing your own thing -- hobby, exercise, etc.. STOP doing HER laundry, making HER dinner/lunch/etc. (just examples -- I don't know what you do since you didn't mention specifics). Do things for you and your kids, that's it.
Don't complain, just start ignoring her like she does to you. STOP being her *****. Be YOU instead.
If she starts to complain, just tell her "I'm sorry you feel that way" and walk away.

BTW, very sorry you are going through this. Your frustration comes through LOUD and clear...
 

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We started as equal partners. Then, in the last month of our first pregnancy, I started assuming more responsibility, to make her pregnancy more bearable. We know NOW that she had postpartum depression. She almost never fed, bathed, changed, or played with our babies.

For 17 years now, I've been her "*". I have 99% responsibility for everything in our marriage. She gives 110% of herself to her job, then has nothing left to give at home. Every 2-3 years, I've done a "victim puke" and she starts giving more. But, the slow slide back to "normal" ALWAYS happens.

I DO NOT feel loved, desired, respected, or appreciated. I believe she gives the absolute minimum that will make me stay. I feel alone. I feel like I'm the only adult in this house.

I don't know what I expect from the forum, but I'm just wondering out loud; is it me? Am I missing or misunderstanding something? Does she really love me even? Or is she just using me?

I DON'T want to get divorced.....but I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years.
Maybe getting a cleaning lady would help? That's what I had to do.
 

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Sounds like having kids and a family wasn't the right thing for her. Are the kids about grown now? When will they be out of the house, do you think? At least at that time, you can be who you feel like being without anyone suffering and then you can both decide if it's enough or not.
 
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How about you sit down and go through all the jobs and things that need doing, and take half each. Write them all down and then you are each responsible for those things. Dont do her jobs ever.
 

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Yes, it's you. You are a doormat and enabler. Perhaps you can fix this, but expect a long hard road to get her to share the load and treat you anywhere near an equal.
 

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Hello, @Meatball

For 17 years now, I've been her "*". I have 99% responsibility for everything in our marriage.

I DO NOT feel loved, desired, respected, or appreciated. I believe she gives the absolute minimum that will make me stay. I feel alone. I feel like I'm the only adult in this house.
It seems you've done all you can to convince her you don't need to be loved, respected, or appreciated. 17 years you say? That's a long time.

You're a "Nice Guy", and you'll do anything to make things work and get nothing in return for it, except hope that you will someday.

Here are a few hints... No man got love or respect by taking on his own and everyone else's responsibilities. Nothing will change until you do! You are responsible for your own happiness! Any changes you make should be for you, not her!

Here read this today "No More Mr Nice Guy" It's a quick read.

There's more to see in the men's section sticky post.

Best
 

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It happens because she knows you are okay with it.

You must be...having put up with it for 17 years.

If you want things to change, it has to start with you.

Read the book linked above. It is a crucial starting point. @anchorwatch knows his stuff.

Accept that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and become resolute that you would rather see your marriage end rather than continue the way it has.

In all of the responsibilities you carry, I want to make a list of the things that, if she were to pass away tomorrow, you would no longer do. Lay that out on this thread for me.

Keep posting. I was in a similar boat when I came here in 2014. It took about 18 months, but I have completely reset the power dynamic in my relationship because I was willing to risk losing the marriage in order to fix it. And you know who is very happy about that reset besides me? My wife.

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It happens because she knows you are okay with it.

You must be...having put up with it for 17 years.

If you want things to change, it has to start with you.

Read the book linked above. It is a crucial starting point. @anchorwatch knows his stuff.

Accept that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and become resolute that you would rather see your marriage end rather than continue the way it has.

In all of the responsibilities you carry, I want to make a list of the things that, if she were to pass away tomorrow, you would no longer do. Lay that out on this thread for me.

Keep posting. I was in a similar boat when I came here in 2014. It took about 18 months, but I have completely reset the power dynamic in my relationship because I was willing to risk losing the marriage in order to fix it. And you know who is very happy about that reset besides me? My wife.

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THIS! 👆🏻
 

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THANK YOU all for the "tough love". That's exactly what I needed.

Rob1 and Jig07, Thank you. I agree, just needed to hear it from someone else.

GC1234, if it was JUST the chores, I'd do that in a heart beat. Thing is, I have 95-99% responsibility FOR EVERYTHING. I thought marriage was going to be an equal partnership. It's more like I've adopted a child.

Downbytheriver, my boys are 14&17. Part of me says, "suck it up" and wait till they're out of the house. Another part of me feels like the worst father in the world because I KNOW that I am TEACHING my boys how to be men, husbands, fathers....but I can't stand the role model I'm setting!

Marriedbuthappy, THANK YOU. I needed that brutal honesty.

Anchorwatch and Farsidejunky, ouch. Ya, I see that now. I read NMMNG, after seeing it mentioned here.. It blew my mind. I also read Married Man's Sexlife Primer and Hold on to your NUTS. I am still trying to grasp and apply all this new found knowledge.

Farsidejunky asked me to list all the things I would no longer do, if she passed away.

i would no longer....
wait for her to go to bed every night when I want to sleep sooner
wait for her to get up when I want to get up sooner
fear working with or having platonic relationships with other women
waste so much money eating out, wasting food, paying for cable, Netflix, HULU, & gym.
fear or feel guilty working overtime or saving money for the future
skip activities I want to do
put my LIFE on hold
watch TV shows I don't care about or think are stupid
 

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"
list all the things I would no longer do, if she passed away.

i would no longer....
wait for her to go to bed every night when I want to sleep sooner
wait for her to get up when I want to get up sooner
fear working with or having platonic relationships with other women
waste so much money eating out, wasting food, paying for cable, Netflix, HULU, & gym.
fear or feel guilty working overtime or saving money for the future
skip activities I want to do
put my LIFE on hold
watch TV shows I don't care about or think are stupid "

SO, don't wait for her to pass away -- start doing this stuff NOW.
 

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THANK YOU all for the "tough love". That's exactly what I needed.

Rob1 and Jig07, Thank you. I agree, just needed to hear it from someone else.

GC1234, if it was JUST the chores, I'd do that in a heart beat. Thing is, I have 95-99% responsibility FOR EVERYTHING. I thought marriage was going to be an equal partnership. It's more like I've adopted a child.

Downbytheriver, my boys are 14&17. Part of me says, "suck it up" and wait till they're out of the house. Another part of me feels like the worst father in the world because I KNOW that I am TEACHING my boys how to be men, husbands, fathers....but I can't stand the role model I'm setting!

Marriedbuthappy, THANK YOU. I needed that brutal honesty.

Anchorwatch and Farsidejunky, ouch. Ya, I see that now. I read NMMNG, after seeing it mentioned here.. It blew my mind. I also read Married Man's Sexlife Primer and Hold on to your NUTS. I am still trying to grasp and apply all this new found knowledge.

Farsidejunky asked me to list all the things I would no longer do, if she passed away.

i would no longer....
wait for her to go to bed every night when I want to sleep sooner
wait for her to get up when I want to get up sooner
fear working with or having platonic relationships with other women
waste so much money eating out, wasting food, paying for cable, Netflix, HULU, & gym.
fear or feel guilty working overtime or saving money for the future
skip activities I want to do
put my LIFE on hold
watch TV shows I don't care about or think are stupid
Perfect.

Memorize that list.

Now...have "the talk" one more time...and it will be the last time.

After "the talk", the first time she begins to revert to her old ways (which she will), anything on that list that has to do with her stops.

ALL OF IT.

Every...single...thing on that list that is for her...STOPS.

Say nothing about it. Just do it.

When she asks...and she will...shrug your shoulders, and calmly tell her the following:

"Wife, it is clear you want a relationship in which you prioritize yourself, so I am accepting and embracing that philosophy."

If she doesn't care...pack it up; the relationship is likely over.

If she listens, and doesn't lose her ****, state your position once, and only once. Make your words matter.

If she loses her ****, shrug your shoulders and say, "I'm sorry you feel that way. When you are ready to contribute to our family for longer than a week/month, maybe I will be willing to revisit these things." Then go do something you want to do.

Simply put, the time for your wife to be comfortable in the midst of your discomfort is over. That has to be your entire philosophy.

In a nutshell, you are going to stop making it easy for her.

ETA: The deeper question in all of this is why you don't love yourself enough to have put a stop to this sometime in the past 17 years. It smells of a lack of self-esteem. Is that the case?

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Discussion Starter #15
ETA: The deeper question in all of this is why you don't love yourself enough to have put a stop to this sometime in the past 17 years. It smells of a lack of self-esteem. Is that the case?

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Oh GOD YES!!!! Are you kidding?

I AM THE GUY Dr Glover wrote about. I've been using covert contracts and all the backhanded shortsighted ways of the "Nice Guy" since before puberty. I hated myself and believed I was worthless unlovable trash. Then an angel appeared. She made me feel whole, worthy, and LOVED!!!

I thought the universe finally delivered on it's half of my covert contract. I thought I had done everything right, "passed the test", and earned my reward!

Our first 18 months together were Heaven. Then the baby came and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since. Every 2-3 years we go through the same ups and downs. But this time, I feel like something snapped. I read a bunch of books, TAM, and listened to podcasts that have opened my eyes. I see now what I couldn't before. I have also come to accept myself....even love myself. I'm an awesome dad and an amazing husband. I AM OK. I am as good, worthy, and deserving of happiness as anyone. I'm starting to get my N.U.T.S back, and I now know, feel, BELIEVE that I deserve better. I'm already on the "Bus to Better". I'm improving myself, my marriage, my family, my career, and my life.

I HOPE my wife comes with me, but I've embraced the fact that she may not. I'm ok with both of us moving on, I'm not ok with the insanity I've been living for 17 years.

So. Short answer. Yes, I had low self esteem, but I'm in recovery now.
 

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I understand, because I was you when I got here in 2014...in a sexless, loveless, passionless marriage.

There are a few posters who were instrumental in my recovery who are no longer on TAM, but they provided AMAZING insight. For that reason, I would suggest giving the below threads a read. They have insight that will apply to your situation that I will struggle to replicate, specifically from Mem2020, JLD, Turnera, and a few others.

Start here:


Then here:


Keep posting. Until you learn and employ the necessary tools, nothing will change.

Also, post your N.U.T.'s here if you don't mind sharing. This will help fellow posters help you when you start to stray outside of your left and right limits.

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My N.U.T.S
(Non-negotiable. Unalterable. Terms.)

  1. I’m a recovering Nice Guy. I silence the boy I was and strive to be the man I WANT to BE.
  2. I do not hold debt. I save and invest for my family’s future.
  3. I DO MANLY STUFF at least once a week. It’s healthy and it makes me more attractive.
  4. I strive to be fit, fashionable, and smell good. I display high value (HDV)
  5. I practice speaking with my “Chest voice”, NOT my “Head voice”.
  6. I get my approval from myself, NOT others. I only care about respect from those whom I respect.
  7. I go to bed and get out of bed when It’s appropriate for ME.
  8. I LIVE my LIFE, here and now, based on MY values. I will not wait to enjoy my life. “Be yourself X 10!”
  9. I develop BOLDNESS by being comfortable with MY intentions.
  10. I am responsible for getting my NEEDS met and I make it a priority
  11. I do NOT use Covert Contracts.
  12. I express MY NEEDS through open, clear, and direct COMMUNICATION.
  13. I err on the side of ASSERTIVENESS.
  14. I will NOT settle for less. It just lowers the bar.
  15. I develop and maintain a balanced mix of ALPHA & BETA traits, including…
  • Acting not Reacting, to problems, conflict, "Betaization", and Fitness Tests.
  • Touching her, invading her space, never rejecting her advances, & being sexually proficient.
  • Building wealth and managing our nest ie, cooking, cleaning, repairing, & parenting..
  • Being faithful & trustworthy, having integrity, caring for others, and showing appreciation.
  1. I Recognize & Reward the behaviors I want in other people and Ignore the ones I don't.
  2. I appreciate and praise others.
  3. I am the only person who controls me, and I am the only person who I can really control.
  4. I allow others to help me.
  5. I do Dude Day, with my sons, at least once a month.
  6. I take Mancation every year for my birthday.
  7. My “Successful Marriage” means: Maximizing MY happiness with the woman I WANT to be with.
  8. I listen to my wife, then make MY decision.
  9. If she changes my perspective, then I may change my mind, but I never let her change my mind.
  10. I run the sex and romance departments of my marriage. (Her sex drive is “Responsive”).
  11. It is the man’s responsibility to make the moves. (Her responsibility is stop/go signals).
  12. I (Men) need sex to feel intimacy. (She needs to feel intimacy to have sex.)
  13. I close the backdoors to infidelity.
  14. It’s NOT Quality Time if one of us would rather be doing something else.
  15. Tolerating leads to Resenting.
  16. I have female friends and coworkers. I refuse to be afraid that this might anger my wife.
  17. I Tit for Tat. IF I’m “always nice”, there's no incentive for others to be “nice” back. Retaliate/Forgive/TIE.
  18. I establish clear expectations for Baseline Behavior and use the Second Date Rule to set boundaries for unacceptable behavior including...
    Lying, stealing, cheating, loafing, disobeying imperatives, interruptions of our intimate time, disrespectful words or behaviors, going over budget, or wasting time, money, or opportunity
 

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Okay. There are some in here I really like. 7 and 9, for example, are very important.

I would encourage you to whittle it down to under 10. That is a lot to keep up with. Many of them have overlap and they could be combined, condensed, then streamlined.

That said, it is your list, not mine. If you can make it work, then beautiful.

What is your plan from here?

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Discussion Starter #19
We didn't talk for 2 days. But today we emailed and texted. I told her how I felt. I basically victim puked and told her everything that was wrong. To my surprise, she said "I hear you and I understand you". She apologized and expressed her intense desire to work things out, be a better wife, and live happily ever after. I feel WONDERFUL, EXCITED, HAPPY, and OPTIMISTIC!!!!!

I am also creating a D Day Diary. I'm recreating, as best I can, a timeline of our relationship that documents our recurring issues. It sounds, and feels, creepy, but it SO powerfully illuminates the fact that we keep going through the SAME issues. It's like Groundhog Day.

I've decided to...
1) get my affairs in order.
2) improve myself and my man-ness.
3) keep reading and communicating with more knowledgeable people.
4) go to counseling with and maybe without my wife.
5) keep working my MAP
6) keep working WITH my wife to improve our marriage.
6) give it till the end of January, at which time, I will go camping alone for my birthday, and reassess.
7) I have determined that this will be the last time I go through this cycle, but I want/NEED to ensure I've done all I can.
8) make my NUTS more manageable!!!

Thank you.
 

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We started as equal partners. Then, in the last month of our first pregnancy, I started assuming more responsibility, to make her pregnancy more bearable. We know NOW that she had postpartum depression. She almost never fed, bathed, changed, or played with our babies.

For 17 years now, I've been her "*". I have 99% responsibility for everything in our marriage. She gives 110% of herself to her job, then has nothing left to give at home. Every 2-3 years, I've done a "victim puke" and she starts giving more. But, the slow slide back to "normal" ALWAYS happens.

I DO NOT feel loved, desired, respected, or appreciated. I believe she gives the absolute minimum that will make me stay. I feel alone. I feel like I'm the only adult in this house.

I don't know what I expect from the forum, but I'm just wondering out loud; is it me? Am I missing or misunderstanding something? Does she really love me even? Or is she just using me?

I DON'T want to get divorced.....but I REFUSE to be unhappy for another 17 years.
I'm in the same boats a similar one anyway, so there's not much I can say to help, other than you're not alone. Ultimately I do believe by doing what we think is right we effectively "train" the other partner to be the way they are. I find it hard to find whatever it takes to just break up, partly because I know she will reap everything I have sown, in terms of money and so on, while I will reap what she has sown, ie depression. I need to find the strength to deal with this, and I hope you do too.
 
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