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Basically, I am trying to decide if my husband is simply the wrong person for me and if I should leave or if therapy will help. I am in my late twenties and we don't have any children. I need to know if there is hope or if I should just give up. Also, I am trying to figure out if I have too hugh expectations when it comes to relationships or if my relationship is actually and objectively bad. My husband thinks I have completely unrealistic expectations, that I criticize him too much, and that I have to stop thinking that there is some perfect soulmate for me out there. I am kind of confused, because I feel disrespected in the relationship. I just don't know if the things he does or says are completly out of line and terrible, or not that bad and simply not exactly nice. I often feel that he is a total jerk to me,but I don't really know if I'm being unfair....

Here is a bit of background: We met 11 years ago in Europe and have been through many ups and downs. We were “broken up” for two years. I broke it off. We got back together two years ago and got engaged and moved in together. I do love him a lot. I feel very attached and close to him. He is my family and my only rock, especially since I am not close at all to my own family. (family history of constant verbal, emotional and physical abuse and lots of other problems) They live in Europe and I moved out as soon as I could. I try to keep my distance and it’s working for me, I think, but it makes me very needy in relationships because my partner is the only family I have. Due to my childhood problems, I might be bringing a lot of issues into our relationship, which might make it hard for me to act functional in any relationship. As a child, I had no friends, but I now have a large social network and a few close friends. My friends tend to come and go though. I am doing my PhD in art history and am kind of financially independent. I am not rich, but I have enough to get by. I feel often extremely dependent and needy with him. I feel I could not survive without him. I often feel trapped and no longer free. This is the only relationship I've ever had.

First, here are the things I love about him: He makes me feel safe. When he is nice, he can be extremely sweet and compliments me, he often says I love you, he is very reliable (when he says sth he does it), he cares about the environment, animal and human rights, and is generally nice to strangers and the few friends he has (although he seems to be rude to his mother), we have some common interests and can do activities together, I find him attractive, we went though a lot of things together, we also have similar family backgrounds, he doesn't have any problems related to addiction. There is no physical or sexual abuse and he has never cheated on me.

Here are the problems: I often feel little respect from him, I feel he treats me like a child, it seems he always wants to be right, I can never have a deep conversation with him, I feel he doesn’t ever respect my point of view if it differs from his, I feel in discussions that he is sometimes condescending (he attacks my beliefs, knowledge, intelligence, weight, and most of all “the dreamer” in me. He criticizes that I am too emotional and not pragmatic/down to earth enough)
He is not very compassionate in general
He calls me too sensitive, but I don’t know how to change that about myself. I would like to learn how to control my feelings though.
I feel little interest, support and compassion from him about my chronic medical condition (nothing life-threatening, but I am often in pain)
He has a mean sense of humor and I often feel bullied by him (which brings back memories of my own childhood, during which I was bullied by my classmates all the time) He can be a bit sadistic and seems to target my insecurities.
He can be extremely rude. He uses a lot of vulgar language, which embarrasses me.
I feel that he has little ambition, which makes me wonder if I will have to be the only breadwinner one day
I feel infantilized and that he does not really see me like a woman
He often gets extremely annoyed, irritated, and angry with me
He sweats the small stuff, I sweat the big stuff
I feel he is a bit egoistic
He is almost too honest sometimes, he keeps telling me when he is attracted to women he sees in magazines. He describes them in rude ways to me, which I find gross. Is he just a pig or do many men do that?
The meaning of marriage seems to be different for us
I feel like we can never do anything spontaneous
I find it sad that he is so anti-social and doesn’t seem to enjoy spending time with people. We have no common friends.
He is often extremely rational and does not believe in anything spiritual. I am very different in that way.
We cannot have any intellectual conversations about my passions/art
He is not generous at all. In fact, he counts every penny. He does not like to share things, especially not food/meals.
I feel that he often objectifies women. He seems to be obsessed with pornography.
I am not my best self when I am with him. I feel needy, scared, depressed, dependent, trapped, disillusioned.
I constantly feel upset about some of the things he says.
He doesn’t appreciate my sense of humor. In fact he claims, I have none.
I don’t really know who he is. He keeps changing his mind about things all the time. He is very hard to follow and is easily influenced by things. There is no core to his identity, I find.
He does do some things for me sometimes, but complains about it and gets very annoyed. I am dependent on him for a lot of things, which is my fault (I often ask him to help me move stuff in the house or install things, plus I’m terrible at handling my finances and taxes)
We have lots of fights about money, which is why we don't even share our food at home.

Also, I am absolutely terrified of being alone, especially since I have no family. I have a lot of single friends and they are miserable.

Is there any hope at all and if not how could I ever survive being on my own?
 

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Wow. Thats a long list of things that make you unhappy and a small one of things that do...

I think thats your answer.

You will survive on your own, and your sound like you will not only survive but flourish too.

Not all single people are miserable and you may not always be single.

Give yourself the chance and the opportunity for someone to be with you that will appreciate you and make you happy.
 

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I agree with Sugar. This is way too long of a negative list for this relationship to last. You are afraid of being alone, but life is too short to spend it being miserable. You should date other people and find the man who will bring out the best in you.
 

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Rainbow, I agree with 4Sure. It sounds to me like you could benefit greatly from therapy. The abusive childhood you describe, together with your dysfunctional family members, means you are at risk of having inherited a predisposition to being overly sensitive and over-reacting in responding to other people, particularly loved ones. If so, that could mean that you are misinterpreting your H's intentions and motivations. Alternatively, he could be at fault and you are seeing his shortcomings clearly.

At issue, then, is whether your perception of him is accurate or, instead, is distorted by an inherited disorder that was made even worse by the childhood abuse. To resolve that question, I suggest you skip seeing a MC with your H and go, instead, to a good clinical psychologist -- on your own -- to find out what you are dealing with.

If it does turn out that you are over-reacting due to an inherited oversensitivity, your prospects for doing well in therapy are very good. I say this because your post exhibits a high level of self awareness, which is essential for therapy to be successful. I wish you and your H the best of luck, Rainbow.
 

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You're into art, you're a dreamer, and having compassion is important to you - which no doubt makes you sensitive but this doesn't mean you are weak or what you feel is invalid or even that you're oversensitive. You're probably highly aware of your feelings and of those around you. This is a good thing.

It's time to discover your own value and learn ways of dealing with him/people in a way that keeps your sense of self in tact.

You're stronger than you know. Don't stay in the relationship just because you're fearful of the unknown. You can be happy or miserable being with someone. You can be happy or miserable being single. Best wishes to you.
 

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Your marriage seems far from over, if you choose to work on it. Therapy can do wonders if you both want it to work and you find the right therapist. I would not focus on the fact that you list more bad than good. You are unhappy, so it is natural to focus on the negative.

I can relate to your H's behaviors, or your perception of them. I was the exact same way. Through therapy, and a select few self-help programs/books, my wife and I learned that we were both equally responsible for the state of our marriage. I had the same list of negative qualities but I was not able to recognize them as being detrimental to our marriage. My wife's role was she lacked the assertiveness and communication skills to call me on them.

The good news, is therapy can help you both. The bad news, if you choose to give up, you both will more than likely repeat the same behaviors and fall into the same trap in your next relationship. Nothing will change because you didn't change(don't assume the problems are just his). Even if you split and go to IC to work on you, you won't make the same lasting changes you would make if you worked on it together. The reason for this is, if you split, anything you learn regarding how you interact with a partner can't be applied. You would be gaining the theory, but without the opportunity to practice. By working on this together, you can not only learn the skills but you can practice applying them with one another.

If you choose to work on it together, he is going to need a swift kick of reality to motivate himself to want to change. This will be the biggest challenge. He talks down to you because he doesn't respect you, but I am betting he used to. He thinks you can't make decisions on your own and you need him, which is wrong of him but I am also betting you unknowingly fed this belief. That ego of his is going to be tough to break. It took my wife actually finding her own apartment to wake me up. You are probably going to need to sit down with him and tell him you are thinking about leaving the marriage. Be prepared for him to "call your bluff" and tell you to leave if you like. It probably won't be until he sees you making tangible plans to do so before he is willing to put the pride away and put the work into it.

Good luck.
 
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