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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I'm new here but I desperately could use some advice. Long story short. We're married 24 years and have two great kids. I had always thought we had a pretty solid marriage as well. About 18 months ago my husband became moody, irritable and distant. Our physical intimacy took a huge, noticeable nosedive as well. Things came to a head 6 months later and we went to marriage counseling. My husband says basically I have neglected him since the birth of our youngest child (15). I thought about it and said there was some truth in that statement and agreed to work with him and change. But my husband is not happy, in fact since this has been going on he said that since I tried to change I am a hypocrite. IN addition, he said he cannot get over what I did. The counselor said my husband needs to come alone. As time went by I became more hurt, confused and resentful as well. Since this has happened, whenever any discussion comes up, my husband tells me that I brought this on us, I ruined the marriage, he is unable to "forgive" and he basically did nothing to add to our lack of intimacy. I asked him what he wants and he says he doesn't know that he is hurt and angry. Well, since this has been going on so long he has pushed me away completely. As far as I can see, he has emotionally checked out of marriage about 2 years ago. We cannot have any reasonable discussion without him saying that I ruined everything and he is no longer interested in me because I did this to us, etc. I see a man who has viewed our past harshly and unfairly, is unable to forgive my part and is unable to own up to what he did as well. Finally, my needs are of no concern to him since he is just doing what I did for all these years. I have had enough. I told him he has hurt me and he said I hurt him for 15 years. I said he is driving me away, says I did that too him. Now, I refuse to do anything with him except be cordial for the sake of the kids. What is the point? I believe he no longer loves me and wants to let me know the reason he does not is because it's my fault. He agreed to go back to the counselor and I am going with him to tell him what is happening. My husband insists he wants to be married and be with me. But my heart and his actions tell me otherwise. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 

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After being hurt and living in a marriage for 15 years feeling empty do you expect a sorry to change that? After two years you are fire and brimstone at him.

Most times there is a point when people just give up and any change that is do is to late to make a difference. I would ask your husband directly what he wants and expects and see if you can still fill that void or if he just expects to much.

Question to you, do you want this marriage?

draconis
 

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If he is no longer interested in you and you 'ruined everything', then why does he still want to be married?

It takes two people to make it work, and unless you are both willing to make an effort it's a waste of time.

You say you are trying hard to change, and I guess with your youngest now much older, you can spend more time with your husband, but you have to realise that it will be a long slow process to win his trust back. He in turn has to get past this childish 'you spoilt it, it's all your fault, i don't wanna play with you no more' attitude.

As Draconis says, you have to decide first whether you want to make it work, and whether you are willing to put in the effort needed.
 

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15 years of unhappiness is an awfully long time for some one to suffer. You never did say exactly what you were doing that he feels drove him away. Just neglect of his needs? If he has been unhappy that long I’m sure some of his views of you and your past together are jaded. I too wonder why he still wants to stay in the marriage if he is that detached and unwilling to try and repair it.. In order for things to improve he will first need to get over his anger and “forgive” the past. If he can’t do that then your trek will be uphill all the way. Laying all the blame at your feet is not fair. If he had been that unhappy for that long he should have made an effort long ago to tell you. A successful marriage takes a lot of communication so he is at fault for not trying to communicate with you for so long. Counseling is your best course of action at this time and it sounds as if you have kept your end of the deal, it’s time for him to step up to the plate. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all who replied. To be honest, I thought we had a pretty good marriage. Not perfect, of course, but whose is. He keeps saying I ignored him etc., and when the kids were little that was sometimes the case. But he doesn't own up to his neglect as well and there was alot of it. When I point that out to him he turns it around to either I never complained (I did but to no avail) or he was like that because I ignored him blah, blah, blah. I understand resentment can kill a marriage but something seems "off" here to me. Up until 18 months ago we had physical intimacy 2-3 times a week, now it is 2-3 times a month. He said that is the schedule I set and I made him unhappy with it all these years. I think something else is driving this. As to why he wants to remain married is beyond me. When I asked him what he needs for me he can't answer and says he is the problem. Probably wants to stay together for the sake of the kids or God knows what else.
 

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Perhaps you need to think further about whatever happened 18months ago to suddenly bring about this turnaround.. Has he started a new job, joined a new club/hobby, met some new people?

You know it could just simply be that he has found someone he is interested in, and is trying in a roundabout way to get rid of you to be with them. Men of a certain age sometimes go off the rails for no apparent reason.

If you really want to make the marriage work, you'll have to accept that it will take a lot of hard work on your part, but tell him you are willing to put in all the time and effort needed, as long as you hear from him that it is really what he wants and that he'll make an attempt at a fresh start, putting all this behind you both.

Unless you can wipe the slate and start over, you are both wasting your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I think back to when his behavior took a turn like this nothing new stands out that I am aware of. In the back of my mind I wonder if he met someone else about then. Alot of red flags there like rewriting our marital history, unhappiness, being distant and a huge drop in physical intimacy. I have not found any "solid" proff of someone else, but that doesn't mean it's a possibility. I have been willing to work hard to make things right between us. In fact, when I tried to put forth an effort he called me a "hypocrite" for working on our marriage. I stopped my efforts because he seems to resent me more. Whatever is going on it is inside him. He admits this and is going back to counseling. I am going for with him the first time too. While I will work very hard on this marriage, he also must give some effort. He has given none. He only lays blame on me and says he can't get over it. As was previously mentioned here, I wonder if he stays for the kids sake. He's a great father and that would be make sense. I have decided to leave him alone to figure this out. I don't know how long I can take it but I'll take it one day at a time for now. Any further input is always appreciated.
 

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tumblingdice,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am going through something similar. My spouse also feels I have neglected her for many years. One thing you have going for you is that at this point is your husband wants to remain in the marriage. Many (including me) would love to hear those words from their spouse. It may not seem like it right now, but time is your ally. It took me a while to realize this as I wanted my marriag fixed right now. Hopefully the rest of my post will shed some light on this thought.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in your posts is whether you still love him. I get the impression that you do, but I didn't see you explicitly say one way or the other. Sorry if I missed it.

Assuming you still love him, here are my thoughts. Please take them for what they are worth. I encourage you to continue and try to make efforts to make your husband feel like he is important to you. I know he feels this is hypocritical right now. He will have a hard time accepting that your efforts are genuine. It will take much time for him to accept that you truly want to make these changes. But right now he probably feels your efforts are false. I know from experience this will be difficult for you to accept. You must come to terms with this and accept that this will take some sustained time and honest effort on your part.

It is not for me to judge whether your husband's feelings are justified or not. But this appears to be how he feels nonetheless. Feelings like his that have lasted for so long are going to be hard for him to overcome. However, the two of you can overcome this if you are resolved to stay the course. It will be hard, but you can do it. Many others have.

He may need some space right now so don't smother him. But you need to be consistent in showing him you are for real and that the things you are doing are not temporary. Counseling will be good for you and him. It will help the two of you communicate and understand how the other feels. It can be hard to hear what the other is feeling. You will need to go in with an open mind and be willing to listen and understand. This may also help you and your husband figure out the catalyst for his changes that occurred 18 months ago. For my wife it appears she had stuffed herself full of unhappiness and it finally just came spilling out.

I too am in a position where I am working very hard to save my marriage and I don't see much if any effort from my wife. I believe it will take some time before they feel their efforts will be fruitful. I agree with you and some of the other posters that he will have to forgive you for what he is holding against you. I seem to be able to forgive quickly, but my wife isn't. Your husband may be the same. It may take time before he can forgive you (again, I'm not saying his feelings are justified). He may also begin to see the other side of the coin (how you are feeling) and this may help him get to the point of forgiveness.

You have both invested a great amount of time and effort in your marriage. Don't give up on this. Look at Amplexor's signature. Confidence – Love – Patience – Faith. These are good thoughts for you to live by right now.

Best of luck to you. Please keep us posted on how things are going. I have found much good advice and support through this forum. Remember, time is your friend, not the enemy

Blind
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Blind:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I'm sorry you're going through similiar things at home. If you don't mind me asking, in what ways did your wife feel you were negelcting her? Was there any issues that you felt as well? Also, how long were you married? I'm asking because I'm wondering if maybe a midlife crisis or something may also be involved. You asked if I love my husband. It's funny, 18 months ago I would not have hesitated and said yes. I still do, BUT, his actions have made me question his feelings for me. I no longer feel warm, secure and happy, I now feel uneasy and confused, kind of like standing in quicksand. We have a long history, alot of good times, some bad, two great kids and we weathered many storms. I am very hurt by his accusations and his inability to forgive, accept some responsbility for his actions and see my side of things as well. I am leaving my husband alone right now and told him when he ready to sit down and try to work things out I will be here. The thing is Blind, and perhaps this applies to your marriage as well, just how long do you wait? You had said we have time, but how long can you reamain in a marriage where your spouse says you made him unhappy, you ruined everything, you did this and you did that? When do you cut your losses and move on? We are both going to the counselor next week together and agreed to discuss these concerns. Even though my husband says he wants to remain married, I am honestly afraid he no longer feels the same way about me as a friend, confidante and lover.
 

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Tumblingdice, I am sorry for you troubles. There is something that I think you might to read up on; google Angry Man Syndrome and see if it pertains to your hubby. This syndrome seems, to me, to describe your husband nearly to a T. This might help the both of you.
 

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tumblingdice,

I don't mind answering your questions at all. I'll try not to hijack this thread and don't want to make it about me. I have a thread on this forum that contains my story. It is at: http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/640-i-m-losing-my-only-love.html.

First, my wife feels as though for years I have not made her a priority in my life. She feels my profession, friends, and hobbies have always come first. She further feels that when she had a tough day at work or some other important event that I wasn't there to talk to and console her.

Second, my wife has met my needs much better than I have met hers. However, as she began to withdraw my needs have gone unmet. I believe what I need from her most of all is affection and intimacy. I'm not getting these right now. But, I don't really expect to. My wife feels she has given selflessly for a very long time with little or no return. It is not surprising she just doesn't feel she can invest herself anymore into our marriage at this point. Hopefully she can accept my changes are permanent and slowly begin reinvesting. This would make her vulnerable and she is hesitant to do that.

Third, we have been married for 13 years.

I understand how you are feeling. I still love my wife too even though our marriage is very uncertain. I'm not surprised by how you describe your feelings. I feel much the same. But, I still love her and will fight for our marriage even when she can't.

How long do we wait? I don't know the answer to that question. All I can do is tell you my plan. I intend to continue following through on my promises to change permanently. Even if my wife decides to leave and files for divorce, I intend to maintain the course. My children are young and I will need the best relationship possible with my wife even if we divorce. She will be faced with many new challenges in being a single mom and will need help and support. My childrens' happiness and their ability to adjust will be directly affected by how my wife and I are able to handle being single. If my love for ever fades or disappears I don't know how I will react. I'm far from that. So, I don't really have any good advice for how long to wait. I am committed to the long haul. I am not too far down this road yet as I just learned about our problems in the last few months. But, as long as I love her I'll find the strength to carry on.

Just because your husband is ready to really talk about this doesn't mean you can't continue working on the marriage. I have been going through this as well. My wife is slowly feeling more comfortable discussing her feelings and concerns. She has not opened up completely, but I continue to pur her needs first. Just don't smother him or push talking on him right now. For instance, my wife has started working out. She hadn't been working out on Saturday, but I thought she might like to. So I just told her last Saturday if she wanted to workout I would watch the kids for a few hours. She said that sounded good to her. No talking about us, but I think it let her know that she is a priority.

I hope you are able to better understand the issues through counseling. It is tough to address the issues without fully understanding what they are. Kind of like trying to answer a question that hasn't been asked. All situations are different. Ours have some similarities, but differences also. Feel free to read my thread and make any comments you have. It might give you some more understanding of where I'm coming from.

I can say from experience that your emotions and thoughts will be all over the place for a while. You may have been dealing with these feelings longer than I have. I would recommend that you be careful not to make any decisions while you are having trouble thinking clearly. You might regret it.

Best of luck. I'll be happy to answer any questions I can. Others may have different perspective. All I can do is give you mine.

Blind
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks again to all who responded.

Molly: I had never heard of "angry man syndrome" but looked it up. You're right, it does sound like my husband. I printed out a copy and will bring to the counselor next week. I had mentioned midlife crisis a few times, so maybe I was on to something.

Blind: I read your entire thread. There are alot of similarities. I am a teacher like your wife, but I teach middle school. I don't want to hijack my own thread (LOL) but a few things stood out in your story. First, I think I remember that your wife had some depression (I beg your pardon if I am mistaken). Has she been checked for this lately or is off her meds? Second, when the kids are young, the focus in a marriage does tend to shift to family; the kids needs, supporting those kids, etc. In my case, my husband was establishing a new career when my youngest was just born. It was hard on us both. But I accepted that's the ways things were, he obviously did not. I am not seeing a lot of effort on your wife's part to save your marriage. She, like my husband, places a lot of blame on you. However, in any marriage (unless there's major issues like infidelity or drugs), it takes two to make it or break it. I'm sure there were issues on both sides. I hope it works out for you Blind. Your children need both parents. There needs to be an effort from both of you to make it work or it never will.

As for me, we are gonig to counseling next week. In the meantime, I have withdrawn from my husband. As someone mentioned before, you need to be strong and indepedent now, not needy and desperate. When I had been trying, my husband became more upset and I more needy. See, when we went out and sometimes had intimacy, I felt that he was ready to move forward and we could talk. It wasn't the case at all. It was just a convenient time for him, he still felt anger and resentment. I told him I will no longer be intimate or even date anymore until he resolves his issues one way or another. It's not helping us. My needs have been unmet for a long time too. He doesn't want me to say this because if I have needs unmet it's because of my neglect to him that started it. My would love to have some attention or affection from my husband and have told him that our whole marriage. He has every excuse for not doing that, especially "I ignored him, blah, blah". It seems that he refuses to accept any responsbility here at all, that anything we are facing is 100% me. And I know it cannot work out if it continues.

My husband says he wants to remain married. But he will have to put in an effort in order to do so. Talk is cheap. Sorry this is so long but it is catharic to put it in words.
 

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I'm sorry to read about your situation... And honestly, I admire the effort you are making. I would've left after few months, or ask for divorce. I don't have the experience, my longest relationship is now 5 years, and there are no kids... but to face something like what you are facing, I don't think I would wait such a long time.
 

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Some counselling seems like a good idea right now. You need to establish what the issues are before you can try to overcome them.

Can I just hijack the thread as well, and say, how great it is, that two people with similar problems, have managed to help each other in a small way, by 'comparing notes' and offering support.

Isn't this forum great?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have to say that it's great I stumbled upon this forum. It's good for the feedback and also to know others are facing similiar problems in their marriage. Since I am home from school today (snow day) and the kids are out, my husband and I had a private conversation. It didn't go too well. Immediately, the cycle began, I caused all this, I didn't meet his needs, I made him unhappy. I told him I just wanted him to know that he was pushing me away further and further. Also that his lack of interest in any intimacy (it's about 2x a month) is hurtful to me, I no longer feel sexy or attractive. Again, he said that's how he felt for all these years. Well, for sure what he's saying is not all true, there was alot of neglect on his part as well. But, not according to him. The only thing we both agree on is it's his problem and he must work it out. I wonder if he manages to do so where I will stand. I do not know this man who is filled with resentment, anger and unforgiveness and does not understand my own needs. Will I want to be with him if and when he does get through this? I said this to him and he just shrugged and said "I don't know" but again I did this to him, blah, blah, blah. I don't want to give up on our marriage yet. We have a long good history and our youngest is in school and the oldest first year in college. But I feel so hurt and confused and yes, angry by all this. We are meeting the counselor next week and are going to tell him where we are at. We had been going last year but he said my husband needs to come alone. Well husband went once and never returned. We are drifting further apart. I leave him alone and he doesn't mind that but the resentment is silently building in me. Thanks to all for listening and help.
 
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