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Discussion Starter #1
Don't even know where to start. I feel so lost and lonely. I'm sitting on the couch by myself. He did just walk out to see if I was going to stay up all night. But that's it. He went to bed hours ago and didn't even bother kissing me goodnight - not even a pat on the arm. We've been married 18 years. Starting yr. 10 it's been so tough. I thought we had worked things out, a couple years ago, I couldn't take any more and I told him. He finally heard me. He worked really hard to listen and we worked on spending time together. It was really starting to get good. We had a regular date night - I arranged it. We had a closer love life - I became creative and forward and I initiated most the time.

Then life got tough again. I've been so stressed. I homeschool 3 kids, and have an 89 yr. old father who for the last 7 months has required lots of my time. I felt we were drifting apart and tried several times to work on it. Keep the communication going - staying close. But it felt he just kept drifting. He never initiated any closeness. So, after talking to a friend I decided to take control and make a change. For the first time in our marriage, I took him shopping for a couch - without telling him what we were shopping for or why. (in the past all big purchases were thought out for a long time in advance) Anyway,I was tired of him sitting across the room away from me. He always complained our couch was uncomfortable and that was why he didn't sit next to me. (I told him many times I missed being close to him. Sitting on the couch watching TV, snuggling, etc.) So, I had him pick out something he found comfortable. Then I told him why I wanted to buy it. Voila - no more excuses not to sit next to me. Ha - maybe it worked for awhile, but I don't even remember. He sits anywhere away from me. As for closeness in the bedroom, not really any unless I initiate. This is really lonely.

We don't communicate. If I talk to him, he doesn't really hear. And, I always feel worse. If I have a bad day, and I call him, I never feel better. In fact, I feel worse. It happened again today. I called him, felt worse, said goodbye, hung up. Tonight, no comment made about the call. And to top it off, he "fixed" my problem. (computer problem we had had for months and he'd ignored - we talked about it briefly @ lunch. then he deletes the program - off the WRONG computer. kids work is now gone.) All he had to do was let me or any one of the kids know what he was doing and we could have told him what we figured out. It is so frustrating. If I say anything now, he'll say we talked about it at lunch, I'd say yes, but no decision was made. I asked for his help months ago. I get it today without him even informing me of what he was going to do.

I know the computer problem isn't the problem. It was just one point. Lots of the problems occur with the kids. I want us to discuss problems, then have a family meeting with him as head of family. It doesn't happen. I tell him the problem, try to discuss, then he goes and tells the kids what he thinks will make my life easier.

I want a united front. I want a companion. I want a friend. I want someone who shows they care. I want what we used to have. I don't want to live separate lives within a marriage.

I haven't even made sense. I sound superficial. It goes so much deeper, but I'm just running on as it is. Maybe I'll make more sense next time. I just know, he pulled away from me after 10 years of marriage. He pulled away and I felt unwanted. I thought after 2 years of work, we had gotten better. But it's back to the same. He loves me. He just never shows it. And, never really listens. I need him.
 

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It makes sense.

Sorry you are going through this. Sounds like you are trying all the right things. All I can suggest is hang in there!!
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Ouch. I see some of the issues Ive been through here.
Yes, its horrible when you are trying to talk to someone who hears only some but in fact is not listening to what your trying to say.
When the romance, the cuddles, the warmth of togetherness starts to disappear and you are lonely in a room full of people.
Sadly there should be a magic pill thats take and fixes this and there just isnt. As Wazza says it is going to need you to stick in there. Its a big up hill pull but if the marridge was good and is stale (best term I can find sorry) then its certainly got the positive roots which can be worth reviving. And yes, it will need 2 of you.
Im certainly not going to make out a support for your H but have you looked in to his work life is he under pressure there? You have a busy family life 3 children and an elderly parent than needs considerable time from you. Is he distant because hes not wanting to place his issues into the already full melting pot. He seems to be wanting to be the father/husband and has, all be it incorrectly tried to fix things (as you state hes tells the children to behave, tried to repair the computer - but still the wrong one) Is he suffering from a a depressive situation and not vocalising this to you (men dont suffer anxiety and depression, its not a man thing - I wish that was true).
You say he started to connect then has started to drift (disengage) This is a positive things as it does show he is moveable. Its had being the one that initiates se all the time and can become almost embarressing as you start to feel that the spark is not there and its become more of duty for the partner to be involved. That in itself as an issue could fill half the TAM forums. Does he appear to be lost in his own world, faraway? This could really be that hes running issues over in his head and is so focused on that hes not seeing you. When you approach him about this whats he saying, is he dismissal of the issue, is he just saying its OK when clearly its not.

The big question is is he acting in a manner that makes you feel that there is someone else in his life somewhere? (hate dropping it in here)

Or does he rightly or wrngly think youve given time to oters and hes not happy about it (as you said you have an elderly parent to support and he may not be honest in admitting hes missing that focus from you)

Stick in there, but do some soft digging and see where it goes. Your doing the right things so far that force inclusion and as hard as it is by continually providing positive affirmation of your love for him it will not hurt the situation at all.
 

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His current actions.......how long has this been going on and how different are they compared to early on in your relationship?

Sounds like you have done the classic growing apart in a marriage and not making your relationship a high priority.

As you can imagine these are tough times and, not to say anything is going on, this is when men and women are mot vulnerable to EAs and PAs which can make or break a marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the comments. Really feels nice to at least get some of it "out there".

My husband is under stress at work. Has been more so for a few years. It even took a toll on his health. He has been feeling better since summer. He bought some land and did some hard outdoor work. I have often tried to engage him in conversation about his work. And, what if anything I can help him with. (ie - listening or whatever) I suggested many times over the years that maybe he should talk to someone about his stressors. I encouraged, then even nagged, him to try different doctors to figure out why, (it was his stomach & heart rate), he felt bad. The specialists he saw found nothing substantial. After a while, I gave up. You know, like why help when someone doesn't want help.

Anyway, when it was so bad a few yrs back, I worked hard. I haven't quit yet. But I'm at that point. I have enough stress from my choices, homeschooling, my dad, and my dad's son. I can't keep it up. I want to scream and sometimes do. I feel like, when will I be important enough.

From the start, we worked well together. Did for years. There is no one else in his life. But I'd like to be.

Thank you again for writing.
 

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Hi Sol.
Im think youve answered some of your questions without to much help. Youve said your H suffered a stressful job. From personal experience people who have clinical stress/anxiety which is work related frequently dont talk about it to their partners as it now brings the issue to thier safe zone, their home. You are right he needs a phsyc-councillor who understands anxiety generated stress. It could also be he sees you also sliding with stress and feels his will be just another burden. I think looking at the list of triggers you have - home schooling, aged parent, sibling issue that you need perhaps to speak to someone also or at least look at ways to bring in help to take some of the pressure off, if only someone to take on the home schooling which in itself is very stressful without otheer issues to load. Keep talking to your H, try to get him to work with you on a whole family stress relief system. The physical work you mention is great for him, it is something that many stress related depressions are treated with as it does change some of the brains chemistry with physical exersion and also acts as a distraction from the triggers.
As far as being important. You are and I suspect your H is struggling to handle seeing you take such a huge load on and seemingly cope where in his head hes weak and unable to deal with simple everyday household issues like "naughty children". Maybe 2 of you need to be brough togethr by a councillor and in this way youll both see where each can carry some of the load and where both or either can drop something that by right someone else needs to attempt to carry.
 

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I want a united front. I want a companion. I want a friend. I want someone who shows they care. I want what we used to have. I don't want to live separate lives within a marriage.
Hello,
I was curious to know if you did tell him what is above my writing.

You said that your communication was not at is best, but how much does he know what you truly want in your relationship?

An other thing is do you know why he is distant? Did you ask him why is acting that way?
What does he want for himself?
What is missing of your relationship to be fulfilled?

I can see in your post that you are trying hard to make it work, your husband seems to follow and when you need to give time some other places (kids, your dad), he doesn't have the energy to keep up by himself. Everything depends on you...

What is going on in his mind? How committed is he to your relationship?
 

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Oh honey, I feel for you.

Nothing worse that trying to reach out & be closer to your hubby... just to feel him pulling away. Makes you feel like he's saying that he doesn't care anymore.

Maybe start leaving him little notes of affection in his lunches/car// underwear drawer.. etc. See if you get any response.
 

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Solitaire (kudos on the sadly apt handle), I could relate to H if it wasn't going for so long and he was more involved with the kids. Some kind of depression is definitely likely once a man realizes where he's at is nothing that was once envisioned and the youth that's left behind cannot get a do-over. Romantic love morphs into friendly love. You realize that, if you start thinking about your needs or emotions, you might go berserk and take it out on people who don't deserve it. So you calibrate your tunnel vision and plow ahead, because you'll need to do it for the kids' sake for years, potentially decades. I would completely get into the routine of work, work, work (imagine college costs in 15 years!), fixing/cleaning things, more work--and only become human around the kid. Would not see friends, only communicate with them and parents by email, and keep working.

But 8 years is too long and the devil's advocate argument above is probably no longer relevant.
 

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MOCO, you really have hit a nail on the head. I can support that comment 100%. As a father and H I worked 80 hour weeks in a job that took me away from my family, it paid for them to have a nice house, no financial worries etc but when I was home I grabbed every minute I could to catch up on being a husband and father. As you state around the house jobs, going to parents both side, catching up with life making time for my W and child then crasH! No time for me, constant go, go, go -- if I spent time watch a movie with muy wife my head was away with the fairies working on something that needed my attention as well so I wasnt relaxed just surviving in a skin. 16 years of that and my brain told my body enough!. I woke up and had a breakdown. Now instead of leading the family I was being cared for. I cannot go back kto the same work pattern as Im told Im kill myself tryng - Husbands who give all have many of the traits described throughout this posting - men dont get depression (its not a man thing) In fact more men than wormen now suffer the iddue because of lifestyle demand, fears to losing jobs, fear of working all the hours that a god puts onthis earth to make the family comfortable and allow thyen to have something you may not have had and when someting happpens (and it does very suddently) people cannot even work out how this occured. Men do not have girly type chats and texts with friends , its not a man thing but they do show many of the symtoms of the crap debilitating issue. These are normally becoming very introvert, snappy, little jobs look like building the tower block, small everydy issue are larger because they are yet another issue to overcome, so they withdraw somemore, they dont talk as its all to easy to get in to a converstion that requires a small amount of attention and you just havnt got it there to give, cannot just sit and be relaxed because the brain is doing 90 miles an hour, 4 am is a normal waking time and the brain switches on until you finally go to bed again. The relationship with the most important people wife and child is so wanted but you see them move away because your snappy, you become somewhat unpredictable, the sense of humour once had disappreaed sometime ago and little family jokes are taken more as a critisism.
TBH It may be wise solitaire to look past what your seeing initially, with anew focus. Have a word with a healthcare professional both for you (because you too are under pressure ) but to see if some of the traits your H is showing are symtoms of a man no longer knowing where to go and what to do. If they are not symtematic of depression then it may just be something else. Then you can at least see where your going with all this because you appear to be the "backstop" for all family issues and you can only take this for so long before you too will need to have support to get out of a very dark place. I hope Im wrong but I see someone here screaming for a helping hand and at this time no one hears.
 

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This sounds like a problem that comes up a lot.

I heard that:
(a) You're under a lot of stress.
(b) He's under a lot of stress.
(c) You destress from communication. (extrovert)
(d) He stresses from communication. (introvert) And exercise. (just a guess)

On one hand, you could try marriage counseling or some couples communication workshops - they'd probably be a good idea regardless. You could also try communicating with him while he's exercising. It might just be that you're drifting apart.

OTOH, given that your marriage worked in the past, it might be good to figure out whether or not the current workload for each of you is too much. If there's a crisis, most people can work hard for a while. For decades of daily grind, people will fall into a survivable routine. (or die) Both of you seem to be in a difficult situation. He's at a stressful job. Ideally, you'd be able to help him with that. You're home-schooling 3 children and taking care of an elder. Ideally, he'd be able to help you with that. (eg., by listening to you.) In practice, you're both probably out of energy.

I wonder if it would be worth thinking about making some lifestyle changes? It can be easy to get caught up in doing things perfectly and end up neglecting a R/S. Eg., he could switch to a job that paid less, but was less stressful (and adjust expenditures accordingly). You could stop homeschooling or hire someone to help. You could even work part or full-time. You could put your father in a nursing home... Not all of those changes would be worth it to either one of you, but some might be. If none of them are, then the MC or R/S work is probably a good plan.

--Argyle
 
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