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I am trying to decide if my husband is simply the wrong person for me or if I have unreasonable expectations and wrong perceptions. I simply don't know 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. When is a relationship good enough? Also, I am trying to figure out if I have too high 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 misunderstood and sometimes 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....I also don't know if we're simply too different to make things work....

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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You met in Europe. Is he from there?

I can tell you that my experience has been that some cultures have a more abrupt manner than we do in the States. Things we would find rude they think nothing of (look at Britain). Sometimes they are hard to open up, seem cold, and even distant. I'm not exactly sure why but it may have something to do with locales as well as cultures. I dated a girl from Northern Europe in the Scandinavian area and she would often come off cold to me.

that said, that's no reason to be rude and it doesn't change how it makes you feel. There still has to be some understanding both ways. Your husband sounds like he has little regard for proper behavior towards you and how his behavior affects you. I think counseling is your best option. If he loves you, then he will listen. You're his wife. You should be important to him (and vice versa). Words matter and even said in a joking way they can hurt, esp. if they're repeated often.
 

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look at your lists... about 25 things that you don't like about him and 10 that you do.

anyone else would have 25 things they like about their husband and 2-3 that they don't, and they don't like them bad enough to post on a public forum.

but to your question, yes you should look into therapy. do you want to end the relationship knowing you didn't do everything you could to salvage it? and you admit that you have issues.

maybe you can work on those while he works on his. therapy can be a guided way of dealing with those issues.
 

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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)
Nobody wants some out of control emotional wreck, however he sounds like exhibits next to no emotions. I am also emotional, however that makes me who I am, and I like to think, I'm kind, caring and compassionate. if i take away my emotions, i would lose a big part of me that makes the person i am.

It says a lot about him that in disagreements he resorts to personal attacks. he really needs to work on that, it shows great immaturity.
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)
A good man, one who is worthy of being a life partner is one with empathy and who is respectful. He sounds very cold. Plenty of men have compassion and empathy.

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.
He should be concerned with your comfort and genuinely care if his behaviour is positively effecting the relationship. A lot of man boys with something to prove, who have low self esteem and don't know who they are behave the way you are describing. They do not make great partners. I care about my behaviour and my partners comfort level. I behave in a way that is good for our relationship. He does the same for me. that is what adults do.

I feel that he has little ambition, which makes me wonder if I will have to be the only breadwinner one day
This is bad. I believe good men have direction and purpose, a man without it loses attraction for women. They seem lazy and unaccountable. They don't have to be rich, but they need to have a desire to take care of the bills and of their family.

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
All of that shows more immaturity. Swaeting the small stuff is akin to being abusive IMo. When someone is constantly getting angry over small issues, it makes them impossible to live with. It also shows again that they feel the need to all ways be right and can therefore never be happy.

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?
That's not about being honest, that is about pushing the boundaries and hurting you. We can all perve on people all the time if we want and be "honest", however what we are really doing is not respecting the ones we love, not focusing on our relationship and what we do have and creating insecurity and divide in the relationship.

It's kind of like the parents who are never happy with their children, when their children are doing well and doing their best, they point out the other more perfect children and harm their children and their self esteem. People who do that to others are mean and cruel.

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.
Marriage is about compromise, and both of you should be willing to spend time doing what the other likes or wants.
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.
You are married and he isn't even sharing with you? I am astounded, he sounds so very selfish. You must feel very alone, and that's not a nice feeling in a marriage.
A good man will want be careful with money so that he knows he can take care of his wife should an emergency arise, however he will also want to be generous with her and ensure there is a good balance.

I feel that he often objectifies women. He seems to be obsessed with pornography.
If you do not like porn he should not watch it. Nothing (particularly not porn) should come before your relationship. Any man who continues to watch porn, instead of focusing on their relationship is not adult enough to take their marriage where it needs to go.

Porn is highly addictive and very disrespectful to women.

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.
From what you wrote it seems like that is where he wants you. he certainly isn't helping the issue.

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.
It is not attractive for a man to have no core values. he is a man you cannot trust nor depend on.

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)
That is what a marriage is, doing things for each other. you should be able to depend on him for things and he should be able to depend on you.

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?
Your fear is paralising you and stopping you from having the life you deserves.

The worse he treats you and the more you put up with it, the more he learns that you are doormat and you will stick around.

this man child is no way ready for marriage and he does not deserve you.

You need counseling.

You could outline what you need from the marriage, the boundaries you have for a healthy relationship and ask him to step up, come to counseling and really try and make a huge changes or move on.

I believe since you are young and have no children that you should move on. Your relationship is unhealthy.

But whatever you do, work on your self esteem.

Oh and I hate to go all Dr Phil on you but I think he said, that the only thing worse then staying in a bad relationship for 5 years is staying in a bad relationship for 5 years and 1 day.
 

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Your problems are somewhat common, as are your concerns.
You say you are very close to him, and you come from a family that you do not feel close to, and that you say is abusive.
There is a possibility that you may find any relationship that you have as abusive.
You say you are dependent upon him, could not survive without him, yet trapped and no longer free.
That is kind of contradictory.
You say he is reliable, doesn't cheat, is attractive, but is rude to his mother. I wonder how his mother feels about this.
I'll bet she doesn't find him rude, since she raised him.
You say that he disagrees with you, is condescending, and disrespects you. Does that happen often, or only when you are having an argument?
So you say he bullies you. How is that? Do you feel bullied if he asks you for an explanation? How about when he disagrees with you regarding vulgarity, or his laziness.

He grosses you out.

Men who still have hormones are attracted to all women.
He is indeed being honest with you when he admits it. You say he doesn't mess around on you, so you should be thankful for that. Men indeed can seem like pigs. Especially in their own home.
Men also are usually much less social than women. That is the way that it is.
Non spiritual people are smarter than others. Do you know your IQ and his?
It is not his fault that he doesn't believe in magic or superstition.
That is your problem.
You possibly could be intellectually miss-matched.
Since you indicated that you are terrified of being alone, and see that your single friends are miserable, my advice to you is to buck up, try being cheery and smile to him when you greet him.
When you have an issue with his behavior or off the cuff statements, whatever you do, don't sulk. It will adversely affect your mood, he will notice it, and then you will feel bullied.
Remember, you have to allow yourself to be bullied.
Don't misunderstand this though. Fighting back when you mistakenly feel bullied is not the answer.
You said that he is smart, so when he does something that irritates you , you should try to remember how terrified you would be being alone, and calmly try to discuss it with him at the time of the incident, not later. Smile when you do that and when he disagrees with you, smile and tell him ok, I just wanted you to know that I don't like that, but anyway, let's have fun.
Don't get angry and sulk. That is a terrible thing to do.
You will find that if you smile a lot, things will change big time.
You both have something that feeds the other. Don't be a prude about sex. A man who is sexually satisfied is less likely to be interested in porn. Keep him spent all of the time.
Since you are in pain a lot, take some pain meds and then satisfy him.
Have a nice day.
Rick
 

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Can't address all of it, but I'll comment on the few things you mentioned that I've experience with.

First, you say he treats you like a child and can be belittling, but you do ask him for a lot of help with things. This can easily happen when an otherwise nice person feels like they're constantly asked to do things that the asker could do themselves. May be his way of trying to provoke you into standing up for yourself and doing things for yourself (doesn't mean it's the best way, but that could be what's going on there..)

What seems like a bad sign for you two is that for one, he's rude to his Mom. If it's habitual, he may just feel that's the way women are treated. Maybe it doesn't bother her, but if it bothers you, that could end up a huge problem.

You say he doesn't seem to have any purpose and there is no core to his identity, and that he sweats the small stuff, you sweat the big stuff. That sounds like doom to your relationship.. You have a low opinion of his nature (to the core) which isn't likely to change, and without mutual respect it's going to be very difficult if not impossible to get along long-term. Counseling may be a good idea just for you if it appeals to you. It couldn't make things too much worse if he agrees to go with you, so I'd say it's worth a shot. Long shot maybe..but who knows. Just an opinion from a total stranger. Good luck.

(Edit) To the last part: You can survive on your own. It's not easy, especially if it drags on, but it can help you see things more clearly, at least what you want and what you can and can't tolerate in someone. Maybe you'll realize his faults weren't all that bad compared to his good qualities (reliability, faithfulness--which incidentally don't sound like qualities of someone with no purpose or identity). Maybe being alone would be a breath of fresh air and you'd find out you're stronger than you thought, and that does sound like something you're looking for.
 

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Oh hon, I am seeing a lot of red flags in the behavior you described. If I could recommend 2 books: 'should I stay or should I go'' by Lundy Bancroft and 'The Verbally Abusive Relationship' by Patricia Evans.
Sometimes when we come from abusive families we inadvertently end up putting up with crap that others would not because it is A familiar and B we do not have the self esteem to set and enforce clear boundaries.
Read those books and then find a therapist/counselor that can help you with setting boundaries & cultivating self esteem.
And please do NOT get pregnant before completing those steps.
The fear of being without someone who treats us poorly is called a traumatic bond. Can you take a trip away from him by your self for a few days to a week? Then journal how you felt being away from him. Sometimes that contrast can bring a lot of clarity.
Best wishes,
Lily

P.s. just a quick FYI: while the vast majority of posters here offer valuable advice & support, there are a few that seem to validate & support abusive and deeply harmful values. Anyone who tells a female (or anyone) to try harder when there are red flags for abuse should prolly be ignored.
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Maybe I'm biased based on my own experience with this, but he sounds extremely emotionally abusive and manipulative. I could have written this post four years ago. I also felt like I couldn't live without him, because he often put me down and told me I wouldn't survive without him or ever find anyone else who would love me. Towards the end of our relationship my sister told me I was like an empty shell of who I used to be. He made me feel bad about who I was for so long and I eventually just stopped voicing an opinion or expressing interest in anything. I'm still recovering from this.

A lot of the things you wrote about how he treats you struck with me. He's condescending, treats you like a child, has no compassion for you, he bullies you, discounts your point of view, attacking the 'dreamer' in you, disrespectful towards women/objectifying women, says you have no sense of humor... yet you can't figure out whether he is actually treating you bad or not because people like that have a way of making you think it's your problem. Comments like that catch you off guard because you don't expect the person who is supposed to love you to say those things. It's called crazy-making.

I recommend you pick up a book called The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engel. I would also read up on narcissistic personality disorder.

I'm sorry you're going through this.
 

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Something else... you CAN survive on your own. I promise.

Get out of this relationship, and work on becoming independently happy. It will be hard but worth it. You will find someone who treats you as a loving partner should. Don't spend a lifetime with someone who makes you feel this way.
 

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i do not believe that therapy will be helpful. you are being emotionally abused, once again. you had this during childhood, you do not need this again as an adult. although you can't conceive of it, it's better to be alone than with an abusive person. he is very maniplulative of you, probably making you think you deserve this. and what a cheap bastard. he doesn't even share his food with you? he is not husband material and he is certainly not father material. you deserve so much better than this. nobody deserves to be treated like this. he is emotionally vacant and belittles you. you made a mistake but you don't need to suck up this mistake forever. you would never want any kids to see you being treated this way, and it would kill you to see them being treated this one. don't repeat your childhood. you do not want to have emotionally abused kids and continue the cycle of abuse. get out. you are financially secure which is better than a lot of posters here who are emotionally abused. you will be Ok without him.
 
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