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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay...married for 18 years. She's from a different country but we met in America.

We have had MANY rough patches. Her culture doesn't communicate very well and I'm a stoic WASP...so communication was ALWAYS a problem.

Frankly, at times we have made ourselves miserable. I got involved with an EA (which I have since dropped). We have three kids. I suggested counseling regularly (even though I think it mostly a crock) but obviously she hates it even more.

The spectre of D raised it's head long overdue and that shocked both of us into talking.

I am a traveling dad. Even with my old job, I was frequently gone for 5 days at a time. She pushed rather hard for me to take up this career (Ladies, be careful what you wish for).

So the burden of the household falls upon her. But I make pretty good money.

She keeps throwing out "My kids have no idea how much I sacrificed for them."

I do not know how to take this. If FEELS terribly offensive to me...like I'm some odious burden she's saddled herself with for 'the kids'. Every time she says it, I want to scream.

Her situation isn't wonderful. She's a single mom who some guy come into her life regularly messing up her schedules. She says she loves me...but I have no idea how to address THIS specific problem. Many times in our marriage, she's made me feel like I was this horrible mistake she's made.

That is rather painful. I've tried to address it once or twice, but I am not sure exactly how she feels...and in some ways, I'm resentful. I've tried very hard to give her exactly what she's wanted...but it isn't good enough.

She said it again yesterday and now I'm coming to TAM about this.

I am not a perfect husband...but to be made to feel like I've ruined everything...that is a heavy burden of guilt to bear.
 

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You glossed over this biut What were the circumstances of the EA? How did you reconcile and atone fit the betrayal? How long ago. Are you still in contact with your affair partner? What effect do you think that has had on your marriage?

How old are your kids?
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I first read that statement and thought she meant that as a way of saying her kids are not appreciative what she does for them as a mother.

Then I read your feeling about the statement and see that you interpret that as she is saying she perhaps sacrificed her life staying with you but she only did that for the kids.

I think you hit the nail on the head: You are not sure exactly how she feels. First if there is communication issues and English is a second language don't take it as a personal attack unless you know for sure it is one.

You said you tried to give her exactly what she wants and its not good enough, seems even you have bought into her making some big sacrifice to be married to you and have children.

First, I would ask her specifically what has she sacrificed. There's not really a communication barrier in that question. Did she sacrifice a career, happiness, freedom to find another mate? what? Then discuss her answer.

Usually a person that makes that statement wants to be a martyr but the fact is she had a choice. She chose to be your wife, their mother and to continue the marriage. If she made sacrifices that was her choice. She is not a victim in her own life. Nor should you be made to feel like you are the one who victimized her.
First off, thank you two for actually giving this some thought and answering. It's not an easily answerable question where ready responses just roll off the tongue.

It isn't just about the kids. I've always felt that it was sort of directed at me. Maybe I'm just soliphistic or sensitive that way.

I think I forgot to mention but we've been married more than 16 years. Her English has gotten pretty good.

The whole 'martyr, guilt complex thing' is another nail. And you are correct, I have bought into that too. I probably shouldn't, though she has thrown a prior arranged marriage and a couple of men who have hit on her since in my face. Which makes me angry and insecure.

You glossed over this biut What were the circumstances of the EA? How did you reconcile and atone fit the betrayal? How long ago. Are you still in contact with your affair partner? What effect do you think that has had on your marriage?

How old are your kids?
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I was on the road a lot. My wife has never been interested in my interests (up to blatant disrespect for them) and I got lonely being in hotels all the time. I made some friendS online for gaming. One of them...I just clicked with. So it was a three year internet relationship who took up a lot of my time both when I was away and eventually even when I was at home. It sucked all the emotional caring and regard I had with my wife...which wasn't much at the time. I've been a year NC, and barely feel twinges to get back in touch with her.

It had a bad effect on the marriage. Wife gave me the 'it's her or me' but I retorted that 'us' wasn't very good at all. So dropping a friend who liked me for a wife who didn't seemed like a poor bargain. We had to work on our marriage if I was going to stay.

Ballsy and horrible but it was less about the girl and more about the marriage. We have since had more conversations and our marriage seems stronger than it used to be...but she still says this kind of stuff.

My kids are 10-15. I initially stayed for them and we have both freely acknowlegded that if it weren't for the kids, we'd have been our of there.

When she is musing, she says she wishes she were living alone on a mountain. I get that it isn't easy without me, and when I get home, I try to remove as much of the burden as I can (sometimes not very successfully...but I try)
 

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Perhaps she's feeling the angst of mid-life? Or perhaps it's cultural differences?

I think most of us make considerable sacrifices for our families and we probably all wonder at some point about the road not taken. Especially as we age. But if she is constantly throwing that up to you, then you need to ask her specifically what she means by that.

And what, if anything, she intends to do about it. Ditch you and the children and run away? Expect you to change careers and be at home more?

She may feel that the two of you are not compatible. But if you can't get her to talk to you, you will never know where you really stand with her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, she HAS given up on a lot. Her family didn't approve of our marriage. Neither did mine.

She's only been back to the homeland 3 times in our marriage.

Our language, food and religions are different. It is a huge adjustment. Trust me. I've lived overseas and switching diets like this isn't easy.

But as coffee4me said, it was HER choice...and she was a bit aggressive in wanting to get married once we passed that threshold.

We were not terribly compatible...but we've worn away the rough edges a bunch during our sojourn.

I would have liked her to be a SAHM, but her 'self worth' includes working. It's what she is. She's a hard worker...but it stresses her time wise...and sometimes I feel she blames me for her self induced stress.

Please keep the advice coming.
 

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Okay...married for 18 years. She's from a different country but we met in America.

We have had MANY rough patches. Her culture doesn't communicate very well and I'm a stoic WASP...so communication was ALWAYS a problem.

Frankly, at times we have made ourselves miserable. I got involved with an EA (which I have since dropped). We have three kids. I suggested counseling regularly (even though I think it mostly a crock) but obviously she hates it even more.

The spectre of D raised it's head long overdue and that shocked both of us into talking.

I am a traveling dad. Even with my old job, I was frequently gone for 5 days at a time. She pushed rather hard for me to take up this career (Ladies, be careful what you wish for).

So the burden of the household falls upon her. But I make pretty good money.

She keeps throwing out "My kids have no idea how much I sacrificed for them."

I do not know how to take this. If FEELS terribly offensive to me...like I'm some odious burden she's saddled herself with for 'the kids'. Every time she says it, I want to scream.

Her situation isn't wonderful. She's a single mom who some guy come into her life regularly messing up her schedules. She says she loves me...but I have no idea how to address THIS specific problem. Many times in our marriage, she's made me feel like I was this horrible mistake she's made.

That is rather painful. I've tried to address it once or twice, but I am not sure exactly how she feels...and in some ways, I'm resentful. I've tried very hard to give her exactly what she's wanted...but it isn't good enough.

She said it again yesterday and now I'm coming to TAM about this.

I am not a perfect husband...but to be made to feel like I've ruined everything...that is a heavy burden of guilt to bear.
My guess is that she is feeling unloved and unappreciated. Stuck. If you think this is possible, can you change that?

Once you get her feeling loved, desired, special, appreciated, then ask her to turn toward you and tell her you want to start over by doing all the things you did in the beginning - lots of date nights (when possible!), sex, romance, and Skypes/texts/cards/gifts. If her need to feel loved and appreciated is filled in her she will feel like her life and job is more meaningful and hopefully she'll return the gesture.
 

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Well, she HAS given up on a lot. Her family didn't approve of our marriage. Neither did mine.

She's only been back to the homeland 3 times in our marriage.

Our language, food and religions are different.
My guess is that this is key. I've known a number of women, including my sister-in-law, who have made a similar choice and have sometimes struggled with the loneliness of being away from family and adrift in a foreign culture. It doesn't even necessarily mean that they regret their choice--but they still may sometimes pine for their home.

My sister-in-law insists on returning to her homeland every couple of years. Is it possible a good trip back home to reconnect with her family and previous life might help your wife?
 

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Please read your post over again. It sounds like a post from a person who has been forced to make bad decisions.

All the following is written with the assumption that your wife has no personality disorder.

Is it true that although you thought that an intercultural marriage was ill advised, you were forced to go along with your wife's plan?

Although your job effects your marriage adversly, it is your wife's fault because she made you take it. The anger she feels at your absence is her own making.

Your wife made you cheat for 3 years because she did not take the trouble to show an interest in computer gaming in the middle of handling a household, two children and work in your absence.

You are faced with 18 years with many decisions made by your wife and foisted on you, that seems to make you regretful and unhappy. You have two children, finacial and moral obligations into the mix.

You do have choices. You can take action and own it. It is possible to make a good faith effort to work as hard as is possible to save your marriage. Yiu could take full resposibility for a entering a marriage that had many challenges and then not addressing them resposibly.

You can change your approach to life by taking full responsibility for alll of your choices and honoring your commitments. You can decide to act compassionately and with emoathy towards your wife and children from now on.

You can make a choice to R and atone properly with your wife for cheating and leaving her with a full burden for 3 years. I don't agree that your retort to your wife about the cheating was ballsy.

Look at it again, it that the response of a man who regrets abandoning his wife and 2 children for 3 years?

Sounds more like and entitled jerk who is immature and cruel. Could this type of interaction with her, be the reason that she would rather be alone on a mountain than married

I am not blaming everything on you but you have to acknowledge that you have not taken enough responsibility for your problems.

Your wife may have a strong and difficult personality but you are not a weak easygoing man. Why not Try harder to turn this around, for your kids sake.

If you try and fail, make an orderly exit and refrain from engaging in acrimony. Again, for your children.
 

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I think you're underestimating the challenge of living in a different country/culture as well as the fact that you are away so much. My ex was only away a couple of nights a week for two years and it was the death of our marriage. Not only have you had an EA but you're away for five nights at a time - even a person relatively secure and stable in a relationship would have a bit of a problem with that...

I also saw her comment as directed more at 'her lot in life' rather than at you specifically. I'm sure she feels loneliness and regret just as you do, but it's more difficult for her to deal with. You can take off to work but she is left with the household to deal with. Does she ever get any time off for herself?

I also think it's pretty depressing to be saying 'if it wasn't for the kids we wouldn't be together' when they are only 10 - 15. That's a long time to spend with someone you don't want to be with (potentially at least another decade). If that's really how you both feel then perhaps you should reconsider ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I fully agree with everything said.

My frustrations are multiple...just as hers are.

Let us use the example of my career. I tried to explain to her that my job would drag me away from home a LOT. That family holidays were a thing of the past. That it had the POTENTIAL for making a lot of money...but that wasn't assured.

I had no problem with making the change. I quickly found I loved my career. Best job I've ever had. But I KNEW exactly how hard it is on people not used to it. My dad had the same career (and pushed my wife to push me) and I grew up with it as normal. So I didn't worry about the kids. I worried about HER.

And the very first Thanksgiving I missed...I had my head almost ripped off. I don't resent the job: I resent that reaction.

I think I put too much emphasis on the job...but my other career options are limited to put it mildly. So if it isn't my current career...it's frankly putting on an Orange apron at Home Depot...which would strongly impact the family.

She has asked if she got a job which would let me be a house husband, would I go for it. I have hesitations because I read too many stories about a wife who goes to work...and suddenly she's sleeping with her employed co-worker...but I did tenetively agree.

I told her if I hit the lottery, she'd need explosives to get my ass away from the family.

But yes. When I said 'ballsy' I didn't mean brave. I meant arrogant and entitled...but I had prior to this tried a few things to strengthen the relationship and been shot down. We were on the opposite wave thing, where when she tried to fix things, I was mad, and when I tried to fix things, she was mad. So my 'counter ultimatum' was that I'd be there, but we couldn't rug sweep our problems anymore. ANY of our problems. That lead to a lot of uncomfortable conversations with her on both our parts.

I own up to my mistakes. I think that she is venting some and trying to communicate something to me and I am trying to understand what so I don't go back into that back and forth of anger with her based on misunderstandings.
 

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I made a similar choice as your wife 15 years ago and am married to a man who travels a lot sometimes 3 months in a row and we have 2 young kids. Its a very difficult process to adapt as a wife and mother away from family and friends and depends a lot on the person's personality. For me, I have no regrets and home is where my kids and H are.

Generally when a spouse travels a lot it puts additional stress and some degree of insecurity into the partner who stays with the kids. It could be handled well by keeping the romance going and making a point to show love and attraction in the way each other desire. To top it up you have had an emotional affair, whether she drove you to it or you chose it to beat your loneliness I believe that has a great role to play in the current state, how did you all handle the affair? If she is not open to MC, is there any other way you can reopen affection and connection you once had (I am sure you two had that, if not you wouldn't be married)

The life she chose is her choice, blaming you for it is not mature, counseling would be great to start if you two can't communicate the underlying problem.

Her saying "I wish I am alone on a mountain" seems like some mild depression, most of the time mild depression goes unnoticed and creates more problems.
 

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I think you're underestimating the challenge of living in a different country/culture as well as the fact that you are away so much. My ex was only away a couple of nights a week for two years and it was the death of our marriage. Not only have you had an EA but you're away for five nights at a time - even a person relatively secure and stable in a relationship would have a bit of a problem with that...

...
:iagree:
 

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If you are working away a lot maybe you have lost that connection with her.
Is there any chance of you getting a job that does t involve so much travel?
She feels like a single mum and she's resentful of it. Having the burden on running a household and looking after the kids might have just worn her down.
Maybe she's lonely? Fed up? Stuck in a rut?
There's more to being a husband than just bringing home the money. It's about companionship and about being there for each other.
Ask her to write you a letter explaining her feelings to you, maybe this will help.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had brought up MC several times in the past. No go. She doesn't want anyone knowing our problems. She doesn't like the fact that I talk about our relationship with other people at all!

I am attempting to do things when I am away to connect with her.

For the first 8 months of NC with the other woman, I was disconnected from my wife. Love was not an option. Since then, it's gotten a LOT better. We had a tough conversation today.

She IS insecure that I am over here and she isn't. I have tried to reassure her, but it seems that mere words can't solve things. I tell her that I tell all my female coworkers I am married...and she says it's to lull them into a false sense of security. Sigh. (I can see that working for some guys. Wish I had that kind of game)

So I will try to keep in touch with her and reassure her that I am thinking of her and try to spend time with her on IM and Skype if nothing else.

But these are choices SHE made. WE choose to continue our marriage. WE choose to take this job...so WE are to blame for the problems that have ensued.

I am looking for a job which will be closer to my family. I will always travel some...but I will mitigate it as much as possible.

Thinking back, besides money (one of our perennial favorite arguments), she has resented the job because I am gone.

I should relish that fact.

And yes, I have suggested looking into other work which would put me closer to home. My ideas, she's shot down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sigh. I told her the standard TAM boiler plate about being responsible for your own happiness...and now she is asking if she should look for her own happiness no matter the cost to others.

She says some people give up happiness to lift other people up. And she mentioned my horribly selfish mother who sought her happiness at the expense her kids.

These are valid questions, but they smack of guilt tripping and veiled threats as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Of course she is. And being distant from her means I have ample opportunity to cheat again.

She is a true champ to try to stick this out. I am working hard to be good (not easy) but her doubts have to resurface all the time.

I tell her I am not bothered that she doesn't trust me. I offer passwords, etc. She says not to bother. If I'm going to cheat, I'll find a way.

I am not. I don't want to be that person anymore. I want to fix things.

So it's only been a year and a few months. I don't resent her lack of trust. I hope to be home soon so she can see me more and SEE that I am faithful instead of having to take it on faith.
 

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Of course she is. And being distant from her means I have ample opportunity to cheat again.

She is a true champ to try to stick this out. I am working hard to be good (not easy) but her doubts have to resurface all the time.

I tell her I am not bothered that she doesn't trust me. I offer passwords, etc. She says not to bother. If I'm going to cheat, I'll find a way.

I am not. I don't want to be that person anymore. I want to fix things.

So it's only been a year and a few months. I don't resent her lack of trust. I hope to be home soon so she can see me more and SEE that I am faithful instead of having to take it on faith.
If my husband traveled all the time I'd be really REALLY lonely. Could you get a job that doesn't involve traveling?
 

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We have also had some rough patches due to his lying and travelling makes it hard for me to work on the trust and insecurities sometimes. Changing job is not an option for him too, so I am still learning ways to deal with his lying.
 
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