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Will therapy be even helpful?

1997 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  IsGirl3
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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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,

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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