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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, let me introduce myself: I am a married woman, 36 years old. My husband and I have been together for 13 years. We've been married for 11 of those. We have 2 children.

For the last 6 years, I feel like we're headed in completely different directions in life. At some point, our lifetime goals ceased to be one and the same, and we're full speed ahead on opposite sides of the highway.

In looking back, I realize that I have tried so hard to support his every whim, accept all of his faults, forgive his bad moves, solve the problems, and give in to him for the sake of saving an argument, that he has not only been able to do whatever he wants without much consequence, I have not let him know when I have been disappointed or unhappy, much less angry or pissed off. There have been a lot of times where the double standard comes into play - where it's OK for him to do something, but not me, and I have just saved face or swallowed the argument. So, I feel like I have essentially put myself where I am right now. Not only do I harbor some resentment for all that I've poured into our relationship, but I've poured a lot of time into him personally, trying to help him, his family, and trying to be there for him and everyone. I don't get the same in return and I never have. He only seems to have tried to become more and more controlling, and dammit I've allowed him to do that, too.

I can't take a walk around the block by myself anymore. I'm ready to change careers, and I can't do that without some further education. He adamantly denies that I will be allowed to step foot on the local college campus. What I wear is scrutinzed, when I cut my hair I'm questioned. There is no trust coming from him, and I put up with it for what?

Intimacy has been a chore for me for the last couple years. For him, it has also become about control, and I no longer enjoy the forcefulness of it. Nothing about it is about trying to please me at all, yet he complains when I don't climax and we argue half the night. This only puts pressure on me for the next time, a horrible cycle. So I try to avoid intimacy with him. We kiss only to say goodnight or goodbye.

I'm very strong willed and there is no doubt in my mind that I will survive leaving. So I question, does that, alone, mean that I've already gone over the edge of the line where the relationship is too far gone to try to work it out? Or am I a fool to have stood in here this long?

He's a wonderful father, if nothing else, and I think that's what makes me stay. I feel like my boys need their father, since I am the 'push-over' mom.

I'm just looking for some opinions or thoughts, some input from some people who have been here before and either worked it out or moved on. Call it a mid-life something-or-whatever, but I can't live the rest of my life like this. It needs to get better than this, and I'm just not certain life will improve if this marriage doesn't, and I'm not sure if this marriage can.

I look forward to being a member of the forum. Thanks for reading. :)
 

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First of all, at 36 years of age this is no mid life state. Another 10 year and you can call it mid life. ;)

You relationship dynamics sound similar to mine, except roles reversed.

I know this may seem counterintuitive but if you have never really been honest with him when he's done or said something that upsets you, if you have always given in and let him have his way, if your responses to him have consistently been luke warm to tepid, he must be wondering if you care at all. As he pushes more and more for a deeply honest (passionate) response from you, he's actually pushing you away.

As you withdraw more and more, seeking fulfillment elsewhere, he desperately grabs for more control, because he doesn't want to lose you.

Can your husband tell the difference when you give in because it truly doesn't matter to you as opposed to when you are simply giving in to avoid an argument? You may have to ask him that question. You'd be amazed what we women think men know that they have not the first idea what we're talking about. If, as I suspect, he can't tell the difference, then he has no idea he's bullying you, crowding you, and keeping you developing as a person and in your career. He senses you are withdrawing but doesn't understand why. He jumps to conclusions that your withdrawal is due to an affair and, from what you describe, he is so afraid of losing you he can't even bring the subject up, so instead he takes actions to "mark his territory" and keep you on the leash.

Your ambivalence has to stop. His control has to stop. You both need to learn to develop insight AND communicate honestly with each other. That means sharing fears and feelings. That takes trust and it doesn't sound like your relationship has much trust at the moment.

Seek marriage counseling. Make sure it is with a therapist you both feel 100% comfortable with. If either of you are not this wont work, in which case you should seek individual therapy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The issue is not that that I haven't been honest with him, because I have. The issue is that I've been so accommodating over the years that I seem to have painted myself into a corner...a corner which he would rather I not come out of now that I'm there. The longer I stay in that corner, the more I realize I don't want to stay here.

We're not on the same educational level and therefore we are on different earnings levels. We always have been since we met. Not once have I ever had a problem with this, and not once have I ever judged him for it. Not once. I know it bothers him. He feels like it's his responsibility as a "man" to do the earning. I know that this is partly why he has a control issue. I think he feels empowered somehow when he is controlling towards me.

The truth is, I have supported his every endeavor - self employment, switching jobs, investing in side businesses, working from home - whether it worked out or not. In supporting him, then, every time he gets involved in something, there is is this expectation that I am supposed to also do or be involved in it. He opened a garage several years ago; I did the books to help out at first, but after a while I ended up also working on the cars. I would finish a full work day at my job and then go help him. After a while, he got to the point where he'd sleep half the day and wouldn't even bother to get started on his work day until I got done my work day. I was there to HELP him see his dream, but being a garage worker wasn't my dream. So when I drew the line in the sand and he was basically forced to stand on his own 2 feet, he threw in the towel on it and tortured me for years for not "being there." Every other endeavor he's attempted has followed this same path.

Several years ago, he signed up for an online school to get his high school diploma. The course was costly, but he could do it at his own pace over 2 years. He failed to complete it within the 24 months, so he bought a 6 month extension. He failed to complete it again, and purchased another final 6-month extension. A month before the final deadline, he still wasn't even a third way through. So he asked that I help him get through it so that we didn't lose our money and he didn't lose his opportunity. I ended up doing more than help. I finished it all. And he is incredibly proud that he earned his diploma. I'm glad that he's proud, but I would have honestly felt like a failure if it were me.

He works part time at home online. The money he earns from this job pays for him to buy himself things. On my weekends, in order to NOT have arguments with him, I help him do his online work. I despise taking my free time to help him do a job which feeds his selfishness. But I do it anyway so that we don't fight. Because it's easier to get it done and over with at this point than it is to have scream matches that drag on for hours upon hours.

I don't mind helping; I don't hold it against him, or rub it in his face that he needs me to do things. I'm glad to be there to help him through things. But I don't like it when he quits and dumps me with everything. I already do so much that he doesn't have to help me with at all. I think that's also part of why he has a need to control me...he feels like he needs me more than I need him. And that's honestly very, very true.

I am very strong willed and there isn't anything that I couldn't get or make happen if I wanted it. He used to say he admired that about me. But now he says I'm too independent. I find this incredibly ironic, since I have essentially surrendered said independence by allowing him to tell me what I can and can not do and doing whatever he wants me to do when he wants me to do it.

I have been in the same job for over 10 years and I've reached the point where there are no more rungs to climb on my ladder. Where I am in my career is not where I want to be for the rest of my work life. Now that my kids are teens and need less doting from me, I'm ready to invest some over due time in myself and get the education I need to move forward in my career. My husband is refusing to allow me to leave the house to go.

I have never pictured myself to be the woman who is bullied by her husband and disallowed out of the house. Yes, he is my husband, and every decision we make we should make together. But I feel like his ego and control complex are now keeping me from making forward progress which would benefit all of us, as a family. That just makes no sense to me. He should be encouraging me as much as I've encouraged him all these years. But instead, I get chopped off at the ankles.

I've told him this - in those exact words, actually - "chopped off at the ankles" - and his response is, yes, I know I do that, and I'm sorry. That's it. He doesn't change his mind, and he doesn't make any effort to reconsider.

Let's mention that, right afterwards, he enrolled in classes at an online college to take up a different career. While I am glad that he has put forth this enrichment effort, if he enrolled locally, he could have saved us a lot of money and perhaps gotten grants, scholarships, or student loans to help pay for this education. Now, he has made this financial obligation which will no doubt affect my ability to attend the local college. I'm not certain that he didn't do it out of spite, but I don't appreciate that he made this decision without consulting me. Especially since I had discussed my hopes to attend college with him only days before.

I've suggested counseling and he refuses to consider it. He says there's no reason to tell a stranger all of our problems. I am willing to go alone, but then it will just be another case of where I pour all of my effort into working on something for us while he sits back and watches.

There is no question that I love and care for him very much, but I no longer feel like our marriage is an equal partnership where we are moving forward together. We're bickering about every little thing and every big thing, but as long as every thing is going the way he wants it, in his mind we're ok. Intimacy is a chore for me, but as long as every thing is going the way he wants it, we're ok. I'm not ok with the way things are going, but as long as I don't tell him I'm not ok with the way things are going, we're ok.

I am tired of being in this weird corner.

:(
 

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Hey Bluegreen.

I'm weird in some ways - I rate ambition and personal achievement quite highly. I also rate "balls".

Here's my (extremely biased and most likely totally unreasonable) take on this: Grow a pair (a bit simple I know - from your previous post, whatever you may be lacking is certainly not a pair. But now it's time to put some action behind it).

There's no assurance that if you made this sacrifice it'll work out. There's no certainty that he won't turn around tomorrow and walk out on you for a more "zesty, full of life, woman with an improved career". Grow a pair.

Go out, take the course, do what you need to do. Tell him first if it makes you happy, but do it. This is a relationship, and nobody has veto power. If he doesn't want you to take the course, make him justify his reason, not just "No".

The doormat analogy cuts both ways. Nobody likes one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your reply. You made me laugh - "grow a pair." I have a pair - they're made of brass and I keep them in my pocket. I just can't seem to pull them out when it comes to my guy. WTF.

If it were just me I were considering in all of this, I'd have left 6 years ago. There are no doubts in my mind about that.

We do have a great family relationship. When we are all together, we get along well and he is fun to be around. He is a great father to our children. He's just lousy at being a spouse. My spouse. (He might make a better husband to someone more like-minded, maybe?)

I am not just talking about taking a college course. I have enrolled in a 4 year degree program which will mean going to school some days, some nights, summer school days instead of beach days, studying late nights and on weekends, etc., in addition to working my full time job. Yes, it is going to consume a good bit of my time. But it's only 4 years, not forever. And if I pick up extra classes I could finish a little early. I view it as a temporary sacrifice for a long term resolution. He says, "it will just take you away from me".

And yes, I have already enrolled for the summer session. I haven't told him yet. :-/ I can still back out at this point.

He has also indicated that he is afraid I will meet someone else better who will take me away from him. He regularly searches through my phone, looks at my online browsing history. He checks the incoming/outgoing call logs on the phone bill. He asks about every number he doesn't know. He also checks my dirty clothes when I take them off. Bottom line, he can't find what isn't there in the first place. I'm 100% legit faithful.

I'm not interested in looking for anyone else. I'm just interested in getting him to stand by me instead of standing in front of me for a change. Since the day I became pregnant with my first child, I put my needs last. Now that I'm ready to think about myself first for a change - and ultimately, make changes which will make life better for ALL of us - he's made it clear he's not going to stand for that. He talks about me failing to compromise - but where is he compromising here? And since I've been thinking of all of this, the question occurred to me, when has he EVER compromised?

The consequence of doing what I want appear to be a splitsville. The consequence of doing what he wants is me sitting here bitter, one hand with a thumb up my a**, the other making a "what-if's" list.

It's as if he's going to try to force me to choose between myself and our marriage. I don't know what drives him to think we can't have both, other than it's just not the way he wants things. Is it so wrong to want to ever want to choose yourself when you are married?
 

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I think he is a little insecure and gets threatened by your ambition because you lack emotional intimacy and he senses the detachment can enable you to live without him. Men want to know (just as we do) that they are important and needed- show him first you want to get closer to him, plan things together that disarm you both (as conflict free environment as possible- check into a hotel or go out and get silly). Make the investment to reconnect before you tell him of your ambitions so he feels its a collaborative journey. If he cannot support you despite your efforts, I absolutely recommend you pursue your interests despite his resistance and then you will have more objective cause for your position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've been surfing the forum, reading all kinds of stories and advice in an attempt to gather information and advice as it may pertain to my own situation.

There are a lot of people out there with relationship issues far worse than my own. That makes me very optimistic about the outlook for my marriage. Some people are in desperate or violent situations that I am grateful I don't have. So what am I complaining about!?!?

I am sure my issues seem stupid to some. I probably need to just get the hell over it and move on. The other day, the weather was unseasonably warm and beautiful. I took the afternoon off and went for a 5-mile run alone. A., it was the best afternoon I've had in a very long time. B., I did a lot of thinking. 5 miles is kind of a long distance when you're armed with your thoughts.

So anyway, I just wanted to provide an update. There have been a couple of changes. And maybe this is far too much to read and no one will actually read it, but I guess since I have no one to actually spill my guts to, this is really just some long overdue put-it-out-there therapy for me.

My husband told me yesterday that he decided to cut his work hours down to 4 only days a week. He has made yet another major decision for us without so much as mentioning it to me until after the fact. This week is his last 5-day work week. Not that this will break us financially, but losing 8-10 hours' pay each week will mean tightening up our finances to make up for the loss. Since I do the bill paying, the budgeting, the grocery shopping, etc., this means I may have to get creative. It may mean I will have to stop paying something. We will see.

My employer told me a few days ago that he's considering retiring this year. This means closing the doors to my workplace. I have told my husband this, but he's really more concerned about his future right now. This is a reality we both knew would come some day, and I have said that if/when that happened, I'd DEFINITELY attend school. So, since I have already been accepted into the program I wanted into at the local college, I have also applied for and been approved for grant money which will completely fund my education. So really, the timing couldn't be more perfect. I would qualify for unemployment which would make it so that I could have the time to attend school full time and fit in more classes. Unfortunately, unemployment benefits won't completely cover my loss of wages, so now both he AND I will have income losses to make up for. Ahhh, touche.

I have to take a placement test at the college next week. I'll know within a couple of days just what/how many courses I will need to take after I take the placement test. I found out that I already have some transferable credits I earned in high school (which I didn't realize), and I'll know next week just exactly what I'm facing as far as a completion timeline for my degree goes. I'm not opposed to doing any other kind of job in the interim while I study, just so long as it doesn't force me to put my education aside. I will wrangle shopping carts at the local WalMart if I have to.

I haven't shared any of this with my husband yet. Is that hypocritical? Yes...yes it is. But, this is probably the first thing that I didn't completely run past him before acting on it, even though he's always popping major decisions on me (see paragraph 5). Caladan said, "this is a relationship and nobody has veto power". That has struck a chord with me. Why, I can't say for sure, but if my husband decides that he can not live with me going to college, then we can certainly change our living arrangements. Our marriage is supposed to be a partnership, and it's long overdue that he realizes that we both have to make sacrifices to make things work, not just me and the kids.

My husband seems to have an old fashioned mindset where the man needs to be the primary earner and the woman is the homemaker. I've always been the primary earner AND the primary caregiver. I don't mind being both. I struggle to comprehend why he can't just accept that, so I need to work on understanding him a little bit better in that regard.

We were intimate once this week. If I don't make an effort to be intimate with him at least weekly, tension gets incredibly thick and we fight terribly. This is because my husband equivocates sex with love. For me, sex is sex, and I would enjoy sex more if I felt that he craved it rather than expected it. But this time, I tried really hard to observe just what it is about it I don't like. There is a lot I don't like about it.

Before anything even begins, I get "Are we gonna do anything, or what?" Which, as I am sure everyone can imagine, makes me so incredibly hot. (I hope that my sarcasm is being picked up on right here, because I am laying it on kind of thick.) Regardless, I said sure, why not, and even put on a sexy negligee I know he likes. He yelled at the dog to go elsewhere and slammed the bedroom door closed. Hotness. I know this wakes up my kids. It's a little difficult for me, mentally, to relax and focus on intimacy knowing my 12 and 14 year old boys are now fully engaged wondering what we're doing. He turns on the TV, strips down and gets in bed, flips through the channels.

I used to think the purpose of the TV was to drown out the noise, but he actually does watch the TV. If I turn it off, he complains that he can't see...I've left dim lights on instead, but he insists on lights off, TV on. I may get a kiss, or a hand on my thigh, a breast tug, maybe he will awkwardly stretch his hand towards my crotch, but he still very much focuses his attention at the TV and there is nothing directed towards me.

His kissing has become lazy; the passion is gone and it's regressed. It's very methodical and routine. He sticks a stiff tongue in my mouth and spins it around in circles. I feel like we're 13 and he's gotten bad frenching lessons under the bleachers. :( It's ridiculous and annoying and it aggravates me. I am a passionate kisser, and when I try to kiss him passionately and make him kiss me differently, he will just stop kissing. This makes us disconnect. This needs to be fixed. I don't know how to fix it.

The only way I get his full attention is when I give him oral. He will turn the TV down and get serious for that. He gets very forceful with oral, and while I've always been able to accommodate well, he has become increasingly more forceful over the years. When I begin to experience pain or physical discomfort, he loses my interest entirely. It occurred to me that this is when he seems to be the most aroused. This is a huge problem and also needs to be fixed.

There are only 2 sexual positions he'll consider, and 1 of those he rarely wants to do, so usually I have to be on top. He's a visual guy, I get it - and I do try to do things that I know turn him on. But that position doesn't do for me what it does for him. I can't climax in that position; I know what I need to do in order to climax, and because of his physical shape (his tummy) I can't make it happen. He's not much of a long-time kind of guy these days, so within a couple of minutes he's done. While I could work with the timing part, sometimes I'm still recovering from the physical effects of the oral from 5 minutes prior, so I'm nowhere near climaxing. He very much wants me to climax every single time, and he gets angry when I do not. This is also a huge problem. If we don't end up fussing over why I didn't climax, he'll end up passing out and will start snoring, and I've found myself crying myself to sleep more than a few times afterwards on nights like that.

There is another huge problem during sex. He will ask me questions. Questions he expects answers to. I have a rather sordid sexual history I haven't been shy about, and I have taught him a lot of fun things over the years. But we have been together for over 14 years now, so what happened in the past with other people truly IS in the past. I wish he would leave it there. And, while I don't mind him asking about it, sometimes he'll ask me hypothetical things about the present which make me uncomfortable. We will be in the midst of sex and he'll ask me things like, "would you like if (insert name of person) were here doing you instead of me?" or "does (insert name person) turn you on?" Sometimes the people he asks me about are close friends and relatives. I'm afraid to answer these questions; if I do, it does turn him on, and while that's nice for the moment, the next day he'll fly into a jealous rage and imply that I might cheat on him with that person. So the next time we have sex, and he again starts with the questions, it feels like he's trying to incriminate me. This completely turns me off and totally loses me. I've told him numerous times that this turns me off, and he may stop doing for a month or so, but he always reverts back to doing it again. I don't understand this. If he told me something I did turned him off, I'd never do it again.

If you made it through reading this far, thanks for hanging in there. I'm amazed that you made it, LOL:lol:. Thanks for taking your time out of your day. I really appreciate it. I'd be a more contributing member in other threads, but I really don't think I'm qualified to give advice to anyone about anything relationship related at the moment. Maybe if we can make it through this, I'll have some wise words to share about my experiences.

I wonder if he'll be committed enough to work through what's ahead. I wonder if we have what it takes to turn things around and make them work. I guess I will know the answer to that soon, and I will provide updates as they become available.

Thanks.
 

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BlueGreen, in SensationalMommy's thread, you said your H exhibits all of the following traits except for the very last one:

  • 1. Black-white thinking, wherein he categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" and will recategorize someone -- in just a few seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor infraction;
  • 2. Frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "you always" and "you never;"
  • 3. Irrational jealousy and controlling behavior that tries to isolate you away from close friends or family members;
  • 4. A strong sense of entitlement that prevents him from appreciating your sacrifices, resulting in a "what have you done for me lately?" attitude;
  • 5. Flipping, on a dime, between adoring you and devaluing you,;
  • 6. Frequently creating drama over issues so minor that neither of you can recall what the fight was about two days later;
  • 7. Low self esteem;
  • 8. Verbal abuse and anger that is easily triggered, in seconds, by a minor thing you say or do (real or imagined), resulting in temper tantrums that typically last several hours;
  • 9. Fear of abandonment or being alone;
  • 10. Always being "The Victim," a false self image he validates by blaming you for every misfortune;
  • 11. Lack of impulse control, wherein he does reckless things without considering the consequences (e.g., binge eating or spending);
  • 12. Complaining that all his previous GFs were abusive and claiming (during your courtship) that you are the only one who has treated him well;
  • 13. Mirroring your personality and preferences so perfectly during the courtship period (e.g., enjoying everything and everyone you like) that you were convinced you had met your "soul mate;"
  • 14. Relying on you to center and ground him, giving him a sense of direction because his goals otherwise keep changing every few months;
  • 15. Relying on you to sooth him and calm him down, when he is stressed, because he has so little ability to do self soothing;
  • 16. Having many casual friends but not any close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away);
  • 17. Taking on the personality of whatever person he is talking to, thereby acting quite differently around different types of people; and
  • 18. Always convinced that his intense feelings accurately reflect reality -- to the point that he regards his own feelings as self-evident facts, despite his inability to support them with any hard evidence.
Significantly, all 18 of those behaviors are the typical traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW has. I therefore suggest you take a look at my description of them in my post in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522. If that description rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, BlueGreen.
 

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BTW, your husband has learned to accept your role as the primary breadwinner by trying to dominate you and control you in the bedroom.

The oral sex is rough because he watched too much porn and thinks that by being rough with you somehow he is evening the score since he can't earn bank.

This guy is blaming and projecting on you like there is no tomorrow. Selfish, narcisstic, BPD.....he's a ticking time bomb.

If I were you, I would hold tight and get that degree. Get your life in order. Get balanced. Use him for now as a father. At some point, you can leave and your kids will see a very very happy and stable mommy. They will also see a selfish and controlling Dad.

You have nothing to lose. And I am sorry you have suffered for so long. Please though, if you date again date within your class! :)
 
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