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Discussion Starter #1
I am not really sure where to start because I really don't know how I feel. My husband and I have been married almost 18 years and I seem to feel nothing for him anymore. He has been a good provider for my kids and I over the years, but that has come at a cost to us. He reminds us of this often. I gave up a career to be a SAHM for many years (which I will always be grateful for) but have in the past 2 years started my career again. I have been pretty successful in it, but home matters have suffered.

My kids have done fine with me returning to work, and my husband was very supportive of it financially, but I don't think he thought through how it would change our family dynamics. He has been very vocal to the kids about my shortcomings at home and they have relayed these messages back to me. A few weeks ago I told him I had had a bad day and he told me he didn't care, because he wasn't interested in my work....cut me to the heart. I told him regardless of whether he was interested in my work, he should be interested in me...didn't phase him.

I think I am too much of a coward, because I am afraid of what may come if I voice all of my concerns to my husband, but I can feel me distancing myself from him. I struggle to remember why I love him, and really don't have an interest in spending time with him. He has often given me the silent treatment for days or weeks at the time through the years when things didn't go his way, and I would cry and beg him to talk to me and he would not.

He is a really good man, and most people would never believe how he talks about/to me, because he's not like that around other people. I just almost feel after all these years I am about done. I do not want to feel this way, I want our family to be happy, but I just can't seem to find a way past this noncaring feeling...very scary to me. Any advice?......
 

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Print out what you posted and show it to him. Tell him you want to go to marriage councelling & start scheduling time daily for reconnecting & talking.

Your shortcomings? I assume you are referring to cooking & cleaning? That should be discussed as well. If you are both working the chores should be split or a maid could be hired. More take out & family cooking together. This is a ridiculous thing to b1tch about, IMHO. Finding solutions doesn't have to be painful process or placed on the shoulders of one spouse.

You have some work to do as well. You've put up with silent treatments for far too long, basically telling him it was OK to act like a sulky teenager when he got mad. That's not addressing conflicts, its both partners being OK with the problems being avoided.

Think of it as a brand new relationship, neither of you sound like you know each other at all. But someone has to start opening up communication. Yes even if its scary.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for taking the time to respond Last Unicorn. I have read, and reread and thought about what you have said. The part that hit the hardest is that we don't really know each other. I think you might be right. We are not the same people we were 18 years ago.

Most of our marriage I have been focused on family and so of course my interest have changed. While I was thankful to be able to be a SAHM, I was also very insecure because I was not contributing financially. I came to a point that even though I had a good education, I thought I could not make it on my own, that I was totally dependent on him.....so I accepted a lot of things I shouldn't have. In this I became resentful and I think he did too. Since going back to work I have found out a lot about myself. I think my confidence of being able to be more than a mother, that I can be both now that my kids are older is one of the biggest. I have found respect from coworkers and new friends...I see that my interests have changed, and yet they have not really included him. That is separate from home, maybe that's why he said he doesn't care about my work.

I don't know, I just know that my family is the most important thing and that I feel like I HAVE to find my way back to him, I just don't know how. After a long talk about a month ago, he has tried really hard, I just don't know how to. A part of it died for me. When my kids came to me crying because of some of the things he said, I felt like I was done. I thought that if I told him that we could work through it but I think I don't know how. I've got to find the "want to" I guess, and forgive, and move forward.
 

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Pardon the bluntness, but is he content with the frequency of sex? Guys are usually pretty simple creatures. Give us food and sex and we're usually pretty content. He feels he has to remind you of his financial contribution. Sounds as if he's displaying resentment (doesn't even pretend to care about something important to you). You feel emotionally estranged from him and you aren't interested in spending time with him. Have you also been turning him down for sex? If that's what's going on, his behavior makes perfect sense. His behavior sounds like anger and resentment, probably because he doesn't feel as if he's getting something from you to which he feels he deserves or he's getting something from you he feels he doesn't deserve (like disrespect). If I act indifferent, resentful, or hostile towards my wife, 99.99% of the time, I haven't been getting fed and/or laid.
 

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I agree with what the other posters have said but my issue with this is that he's putting your children right smack in the middle of his and your problem. He should be talking to you; not them. This is NOT their fault and they should NOT be involved whatsoever!!!! This needs to stop ASAP!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Heavensangel: I think that is what is the hardest to get past, the involving my children. There is an obvious disrespect for me, but don't disrespect the kids by putting them in the middle. This is when I discussed a separation with him about a month ago when the kids were so upset because of the things he said. He was apologetic and has been trying, but it is just so hard. And if I am completely honest, I tried to take up for myself in the situation with the kids and further involved them....I am so upset with myself for doing that.

Unbelievable: He is probably not happy with the frequency of sex...but I think I am a pretty simple creature in regards to this also. I need to feel like he cares, I need to feel like he is interested, I need to feel like more than just a sex partner...I need to feel respected and cared for. All that takes for me is a hug when I get home, an "I love you" and an interest in me. I gave that to him for 12 years while I was at home with the kids, why do I have to jump in for sex because he wants it when he obviously has no further interest. The house is not spotless, well, I work a 8 to 10 hour day and shuttle kids around to activities that he "doesn't have time to do". So why does it all come down to sex...because he deserves it? I don't understand that. Where is the concern for me, don't I deserve that?

I am not trying to be hostile, I promise. I am truly scared because of my feelings...I don't like them. I am just asking for help to figure out how to get past these feelings.
 

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Lucianne

I am sorry you are going through such a trying time but I think that, with lots of effort on both your side and his, you'll be able to work through this and have a good outcome. The fact that he's willing to try is a good sign.

When you say that your H has been trying since you spoke to him a month ago, what does his trying consist of. I ask this because sometimes people do what they think will help their partner when in fact it is not what their partner actually needs them to do.

Is he clear about what YOU want him to do as opposed to what he thinks you want him to do. I think you need to make sure he knows the difference. I am asuming you want him to help in the house more now that you are working long hours outside (as oppossed to just complaining) the home (as oppossed to just complaining) so I would get specific and write a list of jobs you do and a list of jobs he does. Present it to him in a non-threatening manner and fine tune it together, trial it for a week or two, revise it and try it again.

I really get what you say about not feeling like having sex with someone who shows little or no affection/interest towards you. It's like a vicious cycle for both parties no interest, no affection, no sex. Which came first the chicken or the egg? If the cycle carried on for too long, in the end no one can remember how the cycle started and no one feelsl it's their responsibility to break the cycle. I don't have the answer right now - just saying!

You say you don't know what to do to turn things around. Maybe start with spending some quality time togehter (in and out of the house) and put this in a schedule. Together with him helping out at home, this could be a start.
 

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I need to add that I feel the reason you feel you cannot "care" anymore is likely emanating from all the silent treatment you have endured over the years. Feelings of isolation, confusion as to what you have done wrong, the torture of not knowing when he will speak to you, etc all take a HUGE toll on a person when silent treatment happens time and time again.

When I was given the silent treatment I would feel like the world had stopped - like everthing depended on my H speaking to me again and I would go through a range of feelings, including anxiety, depression, and anger at the injustice of it all but trying to appease him so that the not speaking would end.

Took me decades but finally I am no longer allowing myself to be a victim of silent treatment emotional abuse (that's what it is - emotional abuse) and I take responsibility for creating my own happiness rather than waiting on him to make me happy.

Positive thinking and taking responsilility for your own happiness might lead the way to you starting to "care". At times I wanted to just walk away so I think I know how you might be feeling.

Please have a look at the link below in my signature which gives practical advice about dealing with silent treatment and see if it could work for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses...gives me a lot to think about. My husband and I will be having more conversations, the lines are more open than they have been in quite some time. We did spend a little time together this weekend and discussed a few things. I think we both have to be more honest with each other than we have been in a long time, I can't hold my feelings in. I have to get over the fear of what may happen, because they sure aren't good right now. We'll see how things go.
 

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Few things. First, read His Needs Her Needs. It will explain a LOT of what you're feeling.

Second, your kids must be at least 8 by now, right? Then it's your duty to start teaching them how to do chores (so they can take care of themselves - and be good partners for someone - when they grow up). Start handing out chore duties.

Third, sit him down and tell him you understand he's upset that you're no longer playing his mother, now that you're working, but that you weren't fulfilled just staying at home. So you WILL be working. That said, you now need to discuss how things are to get done. If he's unhappy with the level (and the kids WILL be helping hereonout), you expect him to chip in and bring it up to his level. Ask him which chore he wants to be responsible for, so that you can focus on other ones and do a better job with them. If he refuses, inform him that you will be stopping SOME chore, to make time for the others; if he steps in and chooses which one it is, you'll all be happy. If he doesn't, then it will be up to you to pick it. (and it will most likely be HIS LAUNDRY)

Women have a hard time standing up for themselves, but you need to start treating YOURSELF as an equal, instead of expecting him to.
 

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Intuitively, you know why you are losing feelings. You actually state it quite well when you state that you are afraid to state all your concerns about marriage. By avoiding conflict, things stay polite but at a cost. Passion gets lost in the interest of safety and low conflict.
To regain feelings, sometimes that path is through conflict. We talk about this in "The Couple's Survival Workbook". WHen couples avoid conflict they maintain a calm and polite relationship, but risk losing intimacy. If you are concerned about expressing conflict, a few visits with a training marital therapist could be helpful.
David Olsen, Ph.D, LCSW
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You are right, I am pretty sure I know why I am losing those feelings. We went away for a few days, just the two of us, when I started back part-time. When we came back I actually ached for him because I missed him so much during the day, I couldn't wait to get home at night to see him. Things were really good for us. We had wrapped so much of our lives around each other for so many years that it was hard for us to adjust to me not being here all the time. He is self-employed so he works his own hours and we could plan things around us.

When I started back to work, I was pretty flexible in my hours in the beginning, but that quickly changed when I began working more hours. Last year I went back full time, and it has become harder. There are more demands put on me by my job and the kids, so I think maybe our relationship has suffered because of it. Our priorities have shifted and we left each other behind a bit. Resentment has risen in each of us and maybe we don't know how to communicate that.....

We have never had a perfect relationship, really never even came close, we are 2 very different people, but I always felt during our fights that we would find our way back to each other. We never involved the kids, they were not part of it. I think I am just tired now...I hear the same complaints over and over and I guess he sees what he considers a lack of results. After I stopped working to be home with the kids, I almost felt that I gave up my rights to to have equal say in matters. I have regained a lot of that confidence and express my opinions more than before, but I don't always get the respect and feeling from him that he sees me anywhere close to an equal in the marriage. That is really a problem, I think he gets angry at me for having an opinion that I think is just as important and valid as his. Hence the silent treatment begins......

I had talked to the kids about having to take on more responsibility in the house but tonight I sat them down and gave them specific chores to do. I think this will make a difference. I know they are not thrilled, but that's okay, we will all benefit in the end. My husband and I with a little bit less stress and the kids by having to take on more responsibility.

Thanks for listening and offering advice, I know we have a long way to go, but I can feel a weight slowly lifting off of me as I talk and think about the situation more. I think I am beginning to understand where some things went/are going wrong. I am going to talk to husband about finding 15~20 minutes a day to just sit and talk, not about our problems but about our day and the things going on with us. We have got to find a way to reconnect.....
 

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Lucianne. My wife cheated on me with a 19 yro boy (she's 27) and weeks after, she started acting and talking just like you are now.

She told me today that sometimes, she felt as if I was pretending to love her, to punish her for something she did in the past. She said she doesn't WANT me, she doesn't want to be around me much, she's been happier when I'm not around and much, much more of what you describe.

I commend you for working on your marriage. My wife seems to have given up, or as one person suggested, she may be "protecting" me by leaving me due to her cheating. I have spoken with a woman that's done that very thing. . . and of course she said she's regretted it ever since.

I'm glad you're willing to work on it, it's nice to see someone NOT quitting so easily. Bravo.
 

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What ever you do ... DO NOT start making friends with guys and confiding your problems/issues with them. Channel all your energy into your husband and the marriage. I repeat .... DO NOT start making friends with guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
She told me today that sometimes, she felt as if I was pretending to love her, to punish her for something she did in the past. She said she doesn't WANT me, she doesn't want to be around me much, she's been happier when I'm not around and much, much more of what you describe.

Wow! That sounds exactly like how I feel. I had not really vocalized that before, but your post feels so close to my feelings. Most of the time it feels like it is an obligation that he made, not a commitment that he keeps because of love. I seem to just continuously disappoint him. Now let me say, I do not blame him for all of the problems, I'm just looking for a way to help get to a better place for our family.
 

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Lucianne,

While you're having more talks with your husband, may I encourage you to ask yourself to have one about what your marriage would be like if both of you treated the marriage as the most important part of your lives? If you treated each other as the most important PERSON in each other's life? Without trying to analyze who is or isn't doing what...

Just describe to each other what you think it'd be like. After you have done it, agree to make that the guiding principle in your lives and you *will* find your way back to each other.
 

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Wow! That sounds exactly like how I feel. I had not really vocalized that before, but your post feels so close to my feelings. Most of the time it feels like it is an obligation that he made, not a commitment that he keeps because of love. I seem to just continuously disappoint him. Now let me say, I do not blame him for all of the problems, I'm just looking for a way to help get to a better place for our family.
If you read His Needs Her Nees, you will understand exactly why he's saying what he's saying, and why you are feeling how you're feeling.
 

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I'm to the point in The Divorce Remedy that it's not helping me or my situation. I may stop with it and go to the next town over (no book stores here) and look for His Needs Her Needs. It sounds like it'll help me out a lot.

A lot of people recommended it. You should get it too.
 

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He may feel that you have prioritized your job above him, which was not the case when you were at home. I can tell you from experience that it feels awful to know that your wife will bust her ass at work and has little energy and time when she gets home. In my case, I do equal chores at home. The kids have chores also. We both work.
But I often joke (not really a joke) that my wife uses up all of her passion and "niceness" at work and saves the pent up frustration for me when she gets home. That sucks. I understand that women need to vent, but I try and leave my work, at work. So it sucks that I have to listen to her complain about her terrible day, just so she can go back and do it all again the next day. In the process, all the things you really like about your marriage get prioritized at the bottom of the list, after her work, kids, chores, friends/family obligations, etc.
Men like to think that their wives will always prioritize them first or second, not fourteenth. I don't know if that applies to you. Just giving my perspective on my situation.
 

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Jeapordy. Here's the way I've done a few things to help. Unfortunately, it wasn't all the time :(

When my wife would come home from work, and complain, sometimes I'd listen, sometimes I wouldn't, but I always tried to do something special for her. Take her out for Icecream and a park. Take the kid somewhere and go hang, or get her mind off things with a dinner and a movie. We're movie freaks and mostly watch things at home. Well did, we had a 10' screen I built (less than $100 bucks lol) and a nice projector I bought for the haunt.

I didn't do it enough? I guess. I don't know. I did have a lot of trouble listening to her from her day of work, BUT she had a very VERY easy job... not sure why she was stressed a lot.

I learned from all my sh.t going on, is that I SHOULD"VE LISTENED to my wife's day more. To women, it seems at least with my wife, even when they're just complaining to you about work, you being there means a lot to them. They may not always think of it that way, but you're doing your job, imo, by listening to them. You can limit it, there's things you can do to NOT HAVE to hear it so much, but I think we SHOULD take as much in as possible. Work for women isn't like work for men, typically speaking.
 
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