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Hi,

I am hoping for some advice. I am in late 40's with 2 kids age 9 and 12. My DH and I have been together for 25 years now and married for 20. We were early 20's when we met and started our relationship. It wasn't easy even from the beginning. We have an anxious/avoidant style relationship, I was the insecure anxious one, he the avoidant one. We were in our 'party years" where he was a pot head and unambitious and I was just infatuated with him. There was some co-dependancy and we did fight often, especially if he wasn't getting his weed (he was an addict). We also had a very passionate relationship which wasn't very healthy, but we also deep down did love each other and stuck it out.

A few years later he cleaned up and grew up, went back to college, got a good career and we got married. We were happy for the first few years, had good careers, travelled etc. We still had some issues of trust and resentment from the past, but were still focused on creating a good life together. We started trying for a family and I had a few miscarriages then had a baby to then have a few more miscarriages before having the second baby. During this time, these losses were very hard on me and my DH was not 'there' emotionally for me. I felt so alone, and have no support other than him. I also felt very alone when my kids were little as he was working and I felt alone. It was stressful and I feel like all that stress we grew apart and never really have been the same since. He also is the avoidant type and has many guy friends and is into sports and partying on occasional trips to Vegas etc.. I on the other hand was lonely, have no family around as they live far away, not many friends and was a SAHM by this time. We argued a lot as I felt he was selfish and I was overwhelmed. He tried to be a good husband and father but he was not able to be what I needed in a partner. I felt like he was immature at times and this would set him off if I criticized him. We hit a rough patch 13 years ago and it hasn't gotten better.

We did do MC with 3 different counsellors and it didn't really change things for long. I felt like there was so much resentment built up that nothing could ever help us. I read all the best books, he even read one or two. We both have tried everything to get along but I feel like we are just so disconnected in every way.

We both want to stay in our marriage because we love our kids and have a lot of history together. We deep down do have feelings for each other but we are also much older and we both are very different than when we met. We just can't seem to get along and are on two different wavelengths. There is no intimacy and sometimes I look at him and so sad and I think maybe deep down I don't love him anymore but I am not sure if it's hurt or if its real. When we are alone, which is rare as we have no family support around to help with our kids, we have fun sometimes, but there is always a fear of saying something to trigger the other and start a huge fight. Our communication is terrible and I feel like he doesn't get me and I don't get him. I feel like are so different and maybe be better off with different types of people. I am very sensitive and he is not. He can be very verbal when he is angry and has hurt me so much with words when we fight. He can also be passive aggressive and immature at times. I am not an angel, so I am not looking to blame him as I also get triggered and fight back.

Our kids are suffering by being around unhappy parents. I am very depressed and he is avoidant and checked out on his hobbies and friends. We try to communicate on things, but there is always something to bicker about and get defensive about for both of us. We try to get along, but it's so hard.

I am at the point of trying to figure out what to do. I think we both are so unhappy we are ready to call it quits. I wish I could say I don't love him, but I still have feelings for him and sometimes when we do get along I feel good. I then start to trust that we are ok and want to be more vulnerable and maybe even affectionate and then BOOM, we get into a fight and it's 10 steps backwards!! I know he feels the same. We both have been faithful and we both have tried to make this work but we are both suffering and I am suffering from anxiety and depression due to situation.

My 12 year old has told me that she could not handle it if my DH and I broke up. She also suffers from anxiety and begged me to stay at least until she is at college. I have to admit, I am also scared to start over at my age and I do depend on my DH as he is making very high income and am in a comfort zone financially and in my home and lifestyle. I also think I could tough out a few more years for her as we have been together this long and my DH says he would do that for her and even our younger child. It's not easy to know what to do, I think we are both ambivalent and scared but we both care about each other and want to be happy together but we just aren't able. Maybe another shot at MC or even individual counselling? I felt like the books I read were more helpful than MC but I also maybe didn't stay long enough to give MC a chance.

Sorry for the long first post but I am obviously desperate for advice from anyone who has been through something similar.

Thank you in advance
 

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Have you ever read the book, "Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix...??

Here is the link to the Amazon listing... Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples: Third Edition: Hendrix Ph.D., Harville, Hunt PhD, Helen LaKelly: 9781250310538: Amazon.com: Books

I highly recommend this book and the companion workbook for couples in your situation!! Actually, ALL his books are terrific, and his parenting book changed the way I interacted with my children in so many positive ways!

Since you and your husband are so willing to try as hard as you can, and have already read other books, it might really benefit you to read this one together, and to do the workbook too - it guides you through ways to speak and respond and LISTEN to eachother, because from what you've described, it sounds like LISTENING to eachother is what's missing in your communication. You both seem to be struggling with empathy for the other, and that can definitely increase the anxiety and avoidance dynamic between you both.

I also recommend that you start being intimate with eachother, if you were referring to having sex - that is SO important for couples who are having problems, if they can connect on a physical level with eachother at all...it might go a LONG way to improving your softer, generous feelings for eachother if you are having sex, or at least holding eachother.

You have such a varied history, and it sounds like there is still love there for both of you, it's just buried under a bunch of misunderstanding and resentment on both of your parts, and will take some digging and dedication to uncover it!
 
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