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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

My marriage has been rocky for some years now. I feel my husband may be emotionally detached (he was raised in an environment with no emotion/intimacy like hugging). I was raised the opposite where we always spoke about things and weren't afraid of showing our feelings with hugs etc or by saying 'I love you'. This difference in upbringing has proved a major hurdle for us.

Several years ago, I spoke with my husband about how I was feeling and why. This was the first of many such talks. He promised to try to be more affectionate. It would last a week or two and then go back to normal (normal being him doing his thing at the other end of the house while everyone else lived their lives). We have 2 children and even my daughter, at 6 years old, picked up on his behaviour asking various questions such as "why doesn't Daddy ever watch movies with us?" when we have movie nights at home.

I once tried an experiment and stopped initiating any affectionate contact to see what would happen. Nothing happened. It feels like we're a convenience for him to have around and perhaps that he settled because he was worried that at his age (he was 36 when we met and hadn't had a relationship for years) he wouldn't find someone to settle down with in time. I was there. I was convenient. He's never given me reason to think otherwise.

A couple years ago, when yet again I tried talking to him and ended up telling him I wanted to separate for a while, he suggested marriage counselling. I asked him about it again a few days later (I hadn't left due to guilt) and he said "Oh, you actually wanted to do that?" To me, if your wife is saying she wants to separate and agrees to MC, wouldn't you do everything within your power to at least try and work on the marriage? It's always like that after an argument or discussion. He's completely forgotten about it within 5 minutes, never to cross his mind again. He has since flat out refused MC.

Now, for the past 5-6 months, something feels like it's changed with him. On a suspicion, I started looking at his phone (I know, very wrong!). I saw that he'd been messaging with a girl from work. There was nothing sexual about the texts but they were pictures of each other with drink in hand and "your turn to bring in lollies tomorrow". Innocent enough but I find it strange when he doesn't (and never has) done this with me. All he's sent me is "can you get milk on your way home." I also find it strange that he only deletes messages from her, no one else.

From a guy’s perspective, why would you be sending jokes and (non-sexual, at least that I've seen) photos to another woman and not to your wife? What does it mean?

I know that a few photos and texts is not proof of a physical relationship, perhaps an emotional relationship? I've asked him if he has anything to tell me or eluded to the fact that I feel there's someone else. He knows that and said so, so I asked him straight out if there is anyone else and he said there isn't.
I've held on to any piece of hope I could for years, hoping the seriousness of marriage and working on relationships would sink in but to no avail. In a last ditch desperate attempt to get him to see how serious I am about it all, I said I was moving into the spare room. His response was "Ok." I asked him why he suggested counselling a couple of years ago and then refused and he said that he didn't think it would even work. I asked how he could give up so easily and he said that he didn't know what else to try. He hasn't tried anything!

Now I'm left with years of repressed anger and resentment at his lack of trying coming to the surface in full force and on top of that, I am now feeling very hurt that he gave up so easily without trying. Am I being over sensitive? Is it normal (as he believes) to lead entirely different lives at different ends of the house? He honestly believes that a relationship with no emotion or intimacy is normal.

Sorry it's so long - and that's the summarised version!
 

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I know that a few photos and texts is not proof of a physical relationship, perhaps an emotional relationship? I've asked him if he has anything to tell me or eluded to the fact that I feel there's someone else. He knows that and said so, so I asked him straight out if there is anyone else and he said there isn't.
I've held on to any piece of hope I could for years, hoping the seriousness of marriage and working on relationships would sink in but to no avail. In a last ditch desperate attempt to get him to see how serious I am about it all, I said I was moving into the spare room. His response was "Ok." I asked him why he suggested counselling a couple of years ago and then refused and he said that he didn't think it would even work. I asked how he could give up so easily and he said that he didn't know what else to try. He hasn't tried anything!

Yes, he is having (or starting to have) an emotional affair. Why? Because neither of you is getting your needs met.

Now I'm left with years of repressed anger and resentment at his lack of trying coming to the surface in full force and on top of that, I am now feeling very hurt that he gave up so easily without trying.

Quite often, men do try but their efforts can't be perceived by their wives. I was married to a guy like your husband. I'm not a touchy feely type, so it was comfortable for me. However, I didn't recognize what made him feel loved and left him short on that end. It sounds like both of you are doing this to each other in your marriage. If you haven't read the book yet, I would encourage you to take a good look at The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts: Gary D Chapman: 9780802473158: Amazon.com: Books and talk to him about what you learn in it.

Am I being over sensitive? Is it normal (as he believes) to lead entirely different lives at different ends of the house? He honestly believes that a relationship with no emotion or intimacy is normal.

No, you're not being over-sensitive!! As far as what's "normal" the answer varies. For some couples, that's normal. For some individuals, like him, it is normal. For others, like you, it's not. The bigger question is whether the two of you have enough compatibility to love and accept each other as you are, and enough of a bond to WANT to meet the other's needs. It sounds like his answer is no, but I think you have betrayed yourself as much or more than he's betrayed you.

It's up to YOU to uphold the things that are important to you, but you dropped the ball. If you agreed to marriage counseling, and he didn't take action, you should have gone back to your separation or made the appointments.

Of course, that's now water under the bridge, but the same thing applies. You will need to shock him into remembering his love for you in such a way that he gets motivated to work on this, but you also need to follow through and make sure your desires and priorities don't take a back seat.


Sorry it's so long - and that's the summarised version!
 

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To me, he sounds to be more like a robot.Does he show your children any loving affection?You sound more like room
mates to me.

Your husband sounds very disconnected and a very cold person.
I find his behavior strange.I'm a 50yr old father and husband and my 20 something kids still ask for hugs.

I think if he really loved you all,he would be willing to change his behavior.
 

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From a guy’s perspective, why would you be sending jokes and (non-sexual, at least that I've seen) photos to another woman and not to your wife? What does it mean?
Sending jokes, pictures to another woman and deleting the texts to her is very inconsiderate and selfish. It is also one of the ways that an affair begins.




He honestly believes that a relationship with no emotion or intimacy is normal.
It is normal for a bussiness relationship with an out of state seller or buyer. For a marriage such as yours it is damaging. I agree that your husband needs a shock that will hopefully make him more considerate and appreciate you more.

Separating from him for a long enough period to shock him maybe one way. That maybe very hard on you but it will be less hard than you having to live the next 20-30 years with anger and resentment. Think about it, make a plan, and then shock the hell out of him!
 

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You are correct to be hurt. But I doubt he is evil.

I second the five languages of love thing

I would pack two suitcases for him and tell him that it's MC or it's seperation...and you got kids.

I would also take half the money out of your accounts and tell him you are considering a lawyer.

He thinks he has a 'friend'. But a 'friend' like that will either turn physical or will suck what little emotion and attachment he has left for the family.

I know. I was someone who got sucked into that.

But you need to RAP HIS KNUCKLES HARD.

But..if as you say he IS so emotionally detatched...please be emotionally ready for him to shrug his shoulders and walk.

This does not mean that he isn't hurt or crushed inside. But he won't show it. If I had to divorce my wife, I'd fight to not show it too...
 

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You are correct to be hurt. But I doubt he is evil.

I second the five languages of love thing

I would pack two suitcases for him and tell him that it's MC or it's seperation...and you got kids.

I would also take half the money out of your accounts and tell him you are considering a lawyer.

He thinks he has a 'friend'. But a 'friend' like that will either turn physical or will suck what little emotion and attachment he has left for the family.

I know. I was someone who got sucked into that.

But you need to RAP HIS KNUCKLES HARD.

But..if as you say he IS so emotionally detatched...please be emotionally ready for him to shrug his shoulders and walk.

This does not mean that he isn't hurt or crushed inside. But he won't show it. If I had to divorce my wife, I'd fight to not show it too...

1. Every relationship has the potential to be dynamic.

2. Relationships do not occur in a vacuum. Each and every relationship has the potential to affect, either negatively or positively, all other the relationships that you have.
 

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Was he like this before you guys married? =/

From what I've seen though some folks are like that, met alot of folk who had dads like that. That's a line all the folk tell the children about their dads "He loves you, he just shows it different (aka providing)"
Love language I guess
 

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You have waited YEARS to change him into the person you want him to be.

It's not going to happen.

He may be content, he may be happy with the status quo, he may be unhappy, who knows? but he sure as Hell isn't going to do what YOU want him to do to fight for your marriage....unless you do something to wake him up...like leave him....and even then he may do nothing.

Go to marriage counseling alone. Invite him to come along. If he refuses, don't get mad, simply go. Maybe it will wake him up. Maybe not.

I don't know if he is starting an EA but it sounds like it.
 

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A couple years ago, when yet again I tried talking to him and ended up telling him I wanted to separate for a while, he suggested marriage counselling. I asked him about it again a few days later (I hadn't left due to guilt) and he said "Oh, you actually wanted to do that?" At this point you should have followed thru and told him to leave. Then maybe he would have taken you seriously.
To me, if your wife is saying she wants to separate and agrees to MC, wouldn't you do everything within your power to at least try and work on the marriage? Yes, but perhaps you have made it easy for him.
It's always like that after an argument or discussion. He's completely forgotten about it within 5 minutes, never to cross his mind again. He has since flat out refused MC. Please consider individual counseling for yourself. If he refuses counseling, and doesn't think there is a problem...then he leaves you with little choice.

Now, for the past 5-6 months, something feels like it's changed with him. On a suspicion, I started looking at his phone (I know, very wrong!). No, it's not wrong. You are trying to protect your marriage. I saw that he'd been messaging with a girl from work. That's wrong. There was nothing sexual about the texts but they were pictures of each other with drink in hand Very Wrong. and "your turn to bring in lollies tomorrow". It's really not appropriate to text (especially opposite sex) co workers, unless it is about work. Innocent enough but I find it strange when he doesn't (and never has) done this with me. Red Flags are waving. All he's sent me is "can you get milk on your way home." I also find it strange that he only deletes messages from her, no one else. Yes, BIG red flags are waving.

From a guy’s perspective, why would you be sending jokes and (non-sexual, at least that I've seen) photos to another woman and not to your wife? What does it mean? I'm not a guy, but he is establishing a connection with another woman. He is investing time and effort into her that he should be investing in you. He is crossing the line by deleting her texts, if he didn't have anything to hide then why delete them? If he wants to work on the marriage then he should be transparent with you...no privacy, no secrets. Also, I am of the opinion that married people shouldn't have opposite sex friends.

I know that a few photos and texts is not proof of a physical relationship, perhaps an emotional relationship? Absolutely. Especially when you consider that he doesn't even do this with you.

Am I being over sensitive? No, you are not.Is it normal (as he believes) to lead entirely different lives at different ends of the house? For room-mates maybe, for spouses NO. He honestly believes that a relationship with no emotion or intimacy is normal. That's just not human to behave that way. Nor is it a fulfilling way to live. Ask him if that's the legacy he wants to pass to his children? A stunted life, devoid of human connections, joy and love.
 

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The messaging is definitely a problem - because he's trying to keep it hidden from you. Also because he knows how you're feeling and if he loves and respects you he'll apologize and stop - period.

On your other point, his emotional detachment. It's hard for me to think he hasn't always been that way, at least to some extent. People rarely just start being a different personality, so I'm guessing you knew about that at the start but it didn't bother you as much in the past.

I'm not as hard on him for that. My wife is not a very outwardly emotional person, and it wasn't until I stopped trying to get her to show more emotion that she started showing more. But even then I know she'll never become as emotionally expressive as I am. But that's ok. It's who she is and I can't change that. But like I say, since I've quit worrying about it she's been a little better at it. And she does show it ways that are non-verbal, ways I wouldn't even have caught, if I hadn't changed my focus to learning more about who she is, rather than who I wanted her to be.

Also, she'll respond to me more when I initiate reaching out than she used to. But she's like your husband in that regard ... she could still go a long time without appearing to need the level of words and touch that I want if I don't initiate it.

On the flip side, she's also quit trying to change me into someone I'm not. That's been a real key in our marriage. Our accepting and living with each others differences. Accepting doesn't mean I wouldn't still like it more if she was different in some ways. But I promise there's plenty about me she'd change too, if she could make me into whatever she wanted. Fortunately she has enough other qualities I admire that set her apart from everyone else, and cause me to say I'd marry her all over again.

In your situation the biggest problem you have (at least in my opinion) is his interactions with his phone messaging. As well as the content of the messages, since he's expressing himself to another woman in ways you've always wanted from him and he won't give. That's got to be addressed.
 

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You are absolutely not alone. It took me many years to understand my husband's behavior as well. Diagnosed by 2 different counselors as passive-aggressive and anotehr counselor diagnosed him as emotionally unavailable. First, let me say DO NOT blame yourself. Emotionally unavailable men are not just unavailable to their wives
but they will also be unavailable to that woman across the hall he is flirting with too. Sure he wants a thrill and he knows how to seek that but they cannot become emotionally available.

I'd like to suggest some reading material. Read a book about the emotionally unavailable man. There are books out there that are 2-fold, one section for the spose and one section for the person who is EU. You need to understand his thinking and understand that you ahve to find a life for yourself that is not dependant on his input. Yes, we crave emotional intimacy but seriously step back and look at where your relationship is right now....is it going to happen? Probably not and no matter how much you complain, try to get him to understand, tears, yelling, threats will only send him further away from you. You have to stop all of that. Do I understand? Yes, I have been there. YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR HAPPINESS....get a job, a hobby, go out with friends, take a class...do something that invests your time for you. We are so chained to "shoulds" and obligations, le them go. One thing he needs to see is that you can be happy and you can enjoy life without him, very important.

Is he on board for help? There is help. Counselors that will work you together as a couple but find a good one. We are with one right now that really helped my husband alot to make him see just how unavailable he has been and the error of his ways but in a good way. If he says he isn't the one with the problem ask him to read just a few characteristics of the EU man and see if he can identify. I can almost guarentee he does not get what you are saying and only thinks you are harping on him. He has built his whole world and his whole life around him to be what it is and he sees nothing wrong with it.

I would like to suggest too that you read The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine. This book will help you udnerstand the male disconnect emotionally in the brain and the way they see the world. Once you can understand the way his brain works a little better than it might help you feel less of a victim to his hurtful/neglectful acts.

Two other very good books that both you and your husband could benefit from are Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, and Fall in Love, Stay in Love by Willard Harley.....this last book talks about our emotional love bank and how when a spouse does not make deposits into that bank by supporting us, showing their love for us, being avaialbale to us, etc we eventually run dry and there is nothing left....when we get to this stage the hurt is great and we feel there is no other solution but to walk away. I instantly connected with this premise and when my husband read it he completely understood and he could see my love bank ws bankrupt.

He needs to understand you and you need to understand, both your brains are wired completely different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi all, thank you for your replies, I do appreciate every one of them and see the truth in everything you've said. Sorry for not replying sooner. I've been rather busy trying to mentally sort through everything and make plans for MY future.

"...please be emotionally ready for him to shrug his shoulders and walk."
I thought I was ready when I told him I was moving into the spare room but was still shocked when he simply said "Ok". It was still a few days later (on the train on the way to work) until it hit me emotionally. The pain that he could so easily give up.

I've been trying to talk with him for so long but he'd always avoided it. I forced the issue that night and we ended up having a very long 'discussion'. I bought up the subject of his texting another women (among many other things) and his reason when I asked why he'd do that with her and not me was "because she's the receptionist". He couldn't comprehend why that would be emotionally upsetting for me.

He is a nice guy. He's not cruel in any way but he simply can not comprehend human emotion. And yes, it's from his upbringing. His mum is the same way. His parents sleep in separate rooms as do his brother and SIL. So in hindsight, me moving into the spare room is obviously 'normal' for him.

I've realised after our last discussion that his typical mode is Avoid-Deny-Deflect-Forget. Every time. He avoids discussions at all costs until he's forced into a corner and can't back out of it. He denies/refuses to believe or listen with his every response being "I don't remember that" or "I don't believe that", never actually discussing any points. He then deflects - "you've always been *****y! There was one time just after we moved in together (this was 11 years ago) that you sat there with your arms folded and not saying a word all night!" One time makes me a lifetime *****, apparently. And then he forgets everything and goes on as if nothing has happened. Even now, 2-3 weeks later, everything is still friendly and 'normal'.

He's capable of feeling anger/frustration but it's the only emotion he ever shows. I believe that it's because he's never been taught to deal with his emotions. In his household, it was always a 'we don't discuss emotions' mentality and so he was never given the tools to cope with emotion. His anger at being forced into discussions and not knowing how to deal with his emotions is just his frustration.

But for me, going over the discussion in my mind afterward, I realised that while it's not his fault that he was never taught about coping with emotions, I can't keep going with someone who refuses to get help for himself or our marriage. I've started seeing a psychologist for myself. Part way through the first session, I kind of felt like I was wasting her time because I seemed to already have all the answers but it did actually help. I think I needed someone who could assure me that I wasn't being rash or mean in my decision. She feels, only from my description of events, that he is unable to process emotion, most likely due to his upbringing. I asked if there was anything else I could do and she basically said that if someone refuses help, then it's time I start to look after myself. I think I was feeling guilt that *I* was giving up too easily but now I see that I'm not.

My heart and mind are now consolidated. I've started looking online for homes to rent and have contacted a few agents. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go looking at homes this weekend. I haven't told him that I'm looking at rentals yet. I need to work out the logistics of it first - it's kind of daunting but I'm excited at the thought of having my own place and a new beginning too.

Thank you again everyone for your input. I do appreciate all of it. :)
 
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