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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have been together for six years, married for 1.5 years. I'm 35, he's 33. No kids. Over the course of our relationship, he's pointed out several things about me that he's wanted me to change...I'm not aggressive enough, I'm not confident enough, I don't wear enough makeup, I never wear dresses, I laugh nervously, I speak in circles, I slam doors, I let my parents get away with too much etc. All of this came to a head around May of this year when it seemed like he emotionally abandoned me. At first we were arguing all the time and then we just stopped talking. He said that his issue is with me either denying things his said or that I'm not willing to make changes for him to be happy. At first I thought I did need to make these changes but then I realized that most of these things had nothing to do with him. I started to question why he needed me to change all of these things. Why did he have these expectations for who I'm supposed to be? This is when the real problem began.

We tried marriage counseling and the therapist suggested he go to see someone on his own for his childhood issues (his mother died when he was a baby, his dad didn't cope with it well and turned into a severe alcoholic). Even though the therapist thought he might be mildly depressed, my husband denies it. He didn't think too highly of the therapist who yelled at him(we ended it 9 sessions in)...so anything he said gets discounted. He's also very angry at the world and insecure. These are all things I want him to work on with a therapist. I feel like a therapist might be able to help him with things that also help change the way he looks at me.

He agreed to go to therapy by himself a couple of weeks ago (he hasn't made an appt yet). But he's also said he wants to move out to be by himself. I asked that he not make that decision until he's spoken to a therapist and he agreed. He's upset that I'm waiting for him to get help for things to change. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do to make him happy. I'm not sure what sort of evidence he's looking for. But I know he thinks that if I loved him I would change for him.

I love him so much. He's told me that he loves me but it's difficult to believe him. I struggle with being sad and angry. I've been trying to be compassionate and loving but it's very hard when it feels one-sided. I feel rejected. I think he's selfish and maybe narcissistic. What is the best way to help my husband...while still taking care of myself? I miss him.
 

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There are some people in this world, who no matter what you do or what you say, they will not be happy, period. Its hard for someone who isn't happy with themselves to be happy with another. Sounds like that might be the case with your husband.

Most people who can't be happy with themselves are fault finders, which is what it seems your husband is doing to you. He feels if YOU change yourself he will be happy and then he wont have to change anything about himself, WRONG! Doesn't work that way.

Hopefully he will call a therapist and get the ball rolling. My suggestion for you is to find a therapist of your own, tell them what you have told us here and hopefully they can help give you some suggestions of things to do for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for responding. I don't like to think of him as being unhappy, since I've seen evidence in joyful moments of our lives, but he defintitely is. Because of his experiences in the world, he sees people as the source of those negative things. I thought I was an exception but I see now that I'm not. In fact I think it's worse because he has such high expectations of me that he's always being let down. I know how much pain he's experiencing but I also know it's not my fault. I suggested we go to therapy together but he preferred to go alone. It felt like a victory that he agreed to go at all. I'm still considering, as you suggested, going on my own.
 

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Thats the problem sometimes with expectations. Now don't get me wrong, people should have certain expectations of other people, BUT some times, some expectations are not as realistic as others.

If he goes to therapy he needs to tell the therapist what his expectations are and let the therapist help him to determine what is realistic and what is not. Most people who have unrealistic expectations are usually let down and disappointed when another person can not meet those expectations. If thats the case, its little about you changing and more about him needing to adjust his views or expectations so he wont feel so disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jamison, believe me when I tell you we've gone around in circles trying to determine what's realistic and unrealistic. This is why we went to therapy to begin with. We couldn't agree. I think he's come around since then and realizes that don't have to comply when he asks me to change...he may not like me very much but that's OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't returned to this site since the last time I was seeking advice but I felt the need to update my story. My husband moved out April 1. I was heartbroken but relieved since we had been living under the same roof (a one bedroom apartment) for so long without really being together. I struggled quite a bit with pure sadness and anger until I began to focus on myself. I decided to use the time to change. If there was any hope in getting back together or healing myself to be better in my relationships, I had to work. I've put almost all of my time into thinking about what I want and how I want to live my life. I'm quite proud of myself in that I have been able to find my own happiness again. I know now that I am responsible for my emotions and reactions and my husband is responsible for his. We, as individuals, are responsible for our own happiness. I can see now how we all are all invested in our own stories (false identities) but we're essentially the same. I'm trying to dissolve judgement of myself and other people, accepting myself and being grateful for what I have. It became a lot easier to accept other people after I began accepting myself. And when I started to accept other people, I realized I could connect more and be happier.

I spoke to my husband in early June and told him that I have forgiven him as I have myself for the mistakes I made. I told him not to beat himself up over anything...to love himself. I'm grateful that he acknowledged and apologized for judgements that caused me to not be myself in our relationship. But he said he felt like he needed to "walk his path alone".

I'm happy with where I am right now, learning about myself and improving my life. However, I still love my husband and would like him to be a part of my life. If he decides that's not what he wants, I will respect that.

The way I see it, we created drama by bringing our false beliefs about ourselves into the relationship. And judgements and fear controlled parts of it...which caused resentment and created distance. We also enabled each other's bad behaviors when it came to judging other people (habits can be changed).

I feel like our issues are repairable if he's willing to do the work. If he's not willing, I know I have to let him go. He was miserable on his birthday for the third year in a row. I feel terrible that he's miserable but he really does it to himself and I pray (often) that he sees the light.
 

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Wow, what an amazing amount of peace you've found in such a short time. Very impressed with strength. I hope everything works out for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you. I had started working on myself prior to my husband moving out but didn't make much of what I would now consider progress until March. I read a lot of books and visited endless websites looking for answers. Most told me to worry about myself and enjoy my life. I took that message to heart but I wanted practical applications which no one ever talks about...

I am confident that my healing is a result of the courses offered at pathwaytohappiness.com Happiness Self Awareness | Change Core Beliefs | Express Love | Control Emotional Reactions | Happy Relationships with Love and Respect by Gary Van Warmerdam and the teachings of don Miguel Ruiz who has written many books including The Four Agreements. I'm so thankful I googled happiness. (I have no affiliations, just sincere gratitude.)

I guess it is unusual that I am grateful for my husband moving out. I had not realized how much I had compromised myself. I always put him first and lost pieces of myself along the way. What I want most in a relationship is to be free to be myself and be accepted as I am...and I know I can't compromise on that.

I wish much peace to anyone who has found this post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
An update to my story...

My husband and I spoke again recently. He has many issues that he needs to work on...which I think we both knew. However, he wants to work on them without the pressure and potential of disappointing me. This is not what I wanted.(I'm still not sure that what I wanted and what's best for me are similar.) I feel like I have accepted this for the most part. There are times when it is more difficult but I realize that everyone has there own issues to deal with. I'm grateful for the joyful time we had together. Although we still love each other, I recognize it's just time to move forward with my life and look forward to my future. There are no guarantees in life. There are so many stories, romantic and otherwise, perpetually fed to us throughout our lives about how it's supposed to be. Unfortunately for us, we are not entitled to anything. I told myself that he was mine and that we'd live happily ever after. He was never "mine" to begin with and for the ever after; you never know what tomorrow brings so trying to predict the future is a futile endeavor. Everyone can only do their best in the moments they are given. I think we've both done that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The deterioration of my marriage has been boiled down to this sentence:
"I didn't feel that I was listened to or met with an open mind with regards to what I was interested in experiencing...my feelings changed because of that."
 

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This is an old post and a pity I couldnt reply to it earlier. I am surprised you got so few replies.

I am not sure what I say is really relevant anymore.

You have a husband who had no mother to bring him up. That means you also have to be his mother. Since he had no mother figure to watch as he grew up. I take it he didnt have a step one.

I think he is right asking you to dress up for him. I cant understand why you dont want to. If you really both love each other and you seem to you could get through with this together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Perhaps I missed some of the details along the way but my husband and I both had some adversity growing up. We both have alcoholic fathers. And he never had a mother growing up. I struggled with feeling good enough and worthy of love most of my life. He struggles with many things including forgiveness and ego/self-importance. The fact that he didn't have a mother growing up...I think that really made it very difficult for him to relate to other people...including me. I could never understand the way he reacted to situations and people. The emotions that I might feel in any given situation would be very different for him. It was difficult for me when I expected certain emotions to show through him and he'd have a completely different and possibly opposite reaction. Not being able to understand or relate on an emotional level made us disconnected. I couldn't understand why he would react a certain way and he thought I was dismissing his feelings. The truth is that I just couldn't relate or understand. I was and will never be able to do that. I have an unconditionally loving mom and he does not.

He has told me that the reason he wants a divorce is because I didn't listen to him or entertain his wants and it changed his feelings for me. I accept that is his perspective of what happened. I've owned up to all the things I've done in the past. He admits he contributed to the problem but he can't tell me what that is.

I think what's underneath his statement is really that I didn't give him what he wanted and felt like he deserved. We all equally deserve happiness. No one more or less than the next. That includes all of the people that caused him pain.

Today, I want him to seek guidance to start working through the pain of his past while we work through our marriage together. Tomorrow may be another story.

In a fleeting moment today, I chose to send him an email in one last effort to save our marriage. I asked him to consider going to a counselor to talk things through before proceeding with divorce. If he says no, at least I will know that I tried. I pray that he sees something about himself that he would like to be different.
 
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