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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it wrong to ask your SO to change a behavior that is causing problems in your marriage?*

For example, my husband's way of dealing with anything in our relationship that he doesn't like is to ignore it, give me the silent treatment, withhold love and affection and withhold sex. Not just one of those... ALL of them simultaneously. For days, weeks at a time. After 6 years of this I am emotionally dead inside. I have tried to talk to him about how much this behavior hurts me - hurts US! His response is to blame*me, then he says he shouldn't have to change himself for me.*

I am at a loss. Do I have the right to expect him to change for me? For us? Am I really asking too much? I can't function like this anymore!*
 

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A boundary is deciding what YOU are willing to live with/without. So, no, you can't change him. But, yes, you can decide that this behavior is a dealbreaker for you (it breaks some of the marriage vows IMO).
 

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No, you do not have the right to expect him to change. But you DO have the right to tell him that you refuse to live in such a relationship any more.

My husband was similar, and I wish to he!! I had told him I wouldn't accept it. What I did was just ignore it and pretend it wasn't there and that it would go away on it's own. What ended up happening was nothing got solved, I buried my head in the sand, and he cheated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Would this be a deal breaker for most people?

He is so stubborn that it won't matter if he's wrong, he would rather walk away from me and our marriage verses trying to work on changing his ways. He makes me feel guilty for even wanting things to be different. I should just be happy with what I get. But I hate being treated this way!

I'm sorry, I'm a mess at the moment. I know what's in store for me now that I've voiced my feelings to him. I don't know which is worse - suffering silently in my heart, or standing up to him and dealing with his punishments.
 

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That sounds emotionally abusive to me. Now that I know better, you're damned right it would be a dealbreaker for me.
 

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I think we have every right to ask someone to change. But they have every right to refuse your request.

Having said that, in my marriage we have both changed in so many ways, just to communicate better and to make each other happier. To do this, we both had to pretty much get over the need to "be right" and instead, embrace the path to "be happy". We are individually happier now, so it definitely worked.
 

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it won't matter if he's wrong, he would rather walk away from me and our marriage verses trying to work on changing his ways.
He'd rather be right. Being right is above anything else to him, including you and his marriage. Life is too short to live in an emotional he!!. And I'd say that's what you've got.

Would this be a deal-breaker for me? Yeah, in a New York minute!
 
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No, definitely not wrong to ask them to change. But what if he refuses to?

Someone can elicit lasting change if they want to, are open to it.

With that said, you would be better off telling him you're not going to deal with it anymore. That if he continues this behavior, you have no qualms about leaving him. You've tried numerous times to talk to him and he's not listening. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

I wish I had taken action earlier, too. My ex was a fan of the silent treatment. Anything that I did wrong by him, he wouldn't talk to me for days and would get on the computer, put his headphones on, and drown me out. It was he!! and I was relieved when I broke up with him...that I never had to deal with that again.
 

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Your H is exhibiting some classic signs of emotional abuse. The silent treatment, withholding love, affection and sex. He knows what he's doing and he knows that it's hurting you, and he does it maintain control.

If he refuses to change, you have to decide if you're prepared to go on living in such an unhealthy environment.
 

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You can ask sure but the responsibility for how you are treated lies with you.

Personally I think what he's doing is abusive and yes it would be a deal breaker for me. I couldn't live being punished like that. I'm a grown up and I expect to be treated like one.
 

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You CAN ask a spouse/SO to change. You can't DEMAND it.

They can DECIDE to change, or not.

That being said, you KNOW he will not change. You KNOW he doesn't love you in the right way, doesn't care about you, doesn't find you important, doesn't cherish you.

Why would you want to be in a relationship with this man when EVERYTHING about it is so wrong for you?

Do you fear being alone? You won't be! You will still have family and friends. After you've healed (and, believe me, YOU WILL NEED some Individual Counseling), you may find a man who WILL love you in the right way, care about you, think you're important and cherish you.

You'll never find a 'better life' sitting in your house wishing/hoping/dreaming for your H to change. That is wishing your life away. Get out THIS WEEK and make an appointment with a divorce attorney. Find out what your legal rights are and what you can expect in the divorce. THAT knowledge will help you move forward into a new and better life.
 

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He is so stubborn that it won't matter if he's wrong, he would rather walk away from me and our marriage verses trying to work on changing his ways.
Then let him. If that's how he feels, you already have your answer.

I've lived in a marriage very much like yours for 19 years. I've at least gotten my H to agree (albeit reluctantly) to go to counseling with me. 1st session is tomorrow. Like you, I don't feel safe expressing my feelings to my H. Too many years of being shut down, belittled, criticized for my feelings. In the presence of a counselor, I plan to exercise my right to speak up for myself. I can't change his behavior. I can't "force" him to see reason. That's up to him to decide if he insists on "his way" or if I should take the "highway".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@galian I agree, actions DO speak louder than words!

He makes me feel like I'm going crazy. He treats me this way over and over, I call him out on it and he turns the tables on me making it my fault. Then he will be really sweet and loving for a few days, maybe a week until something triggers his anger and next thing I know I'm right back in the thick of it. He does not communicate what's upset him, but expects me to be so happy and loving and affectionate when he's over his anger. He doesn't understand why I find it difficult to snuggle up to him after this kind of treatment. When he's over it, or when he finally lets me in enough to talk about things he will go on and on about how much he loves me, how beautiful I am, how happy he is that I'm his wife and I'm like...? Who are you?! You haven't spoken to me for two weeks, haven't touched me in any way and we haven't had sex in over a month??

I've tried being patient, giving him space, apologizing, humor, cried many tears and lost my temper a few times. It's just getting worse. I've suggested counseling. He goes along with the idea until it comes time to make the appointment and then he changes his mind saying it's too expensive. I've read a ton of books, trying to find ways that I can change myself, ways to understand and deal with this. He gets upset when he sees me reading these marriage self help books, saying that we should be able to figure out our problems on our own. I feel like I've been backed into a corner!

Slowlygettingwiser thank you for your post. My eyes are starting to open and I cannot see myself enduring in a relationship where not only do my needs go unmet, but I am punished for requesting that they be. I am so broken right now.
 

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It will get better, alalove74.

You have to know that you are 'right' in what you seek. You are right!
  • You may be numb now, but your feelings will re-emerge. Physically separating from him will help you. As soon as you no longer share physical living quarters, you WILL begin to feel happier. You'll also begin an emotional roller-coaster as you sort out how you feel about him, yourself, your past, your present, your future. Don't worry, you'll work it out...a step at a time.
  • You will survive this and come out fine.

Keep coming to TAM for good advice, a shoulder to cry on, people who understand (been there, done that), or just to vent.

People here at TAM are the BEST! They really do CARE! They see your worth when you don't. They give you strength when you have no more. They believe in you when you're ready to give up. They hold you up UNTIL you're ready to walk on your own. And you WILL walk on your own...then you'll use your experience to help hold SOMEONE else up.

*hugs*
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And so it begins... Husband comes home from work 3 1/2 hours later than usual. Responds to my text asking when he will be home by saying he needed time to think. Ok, I understand. Finally comes home and I ask him if he wants to talk. He says sure and 20 seconds later proceeds to walk right out of the room. Has now secured himself away for the rest of the evening in his office.

Any suggestions?
 

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Message to all walk-aways/potential walk-aways (yes, I'm talking to you OP):

Your abusive husband does not need to be told what he is doing wrong. He KNOWS IT! He just hasn't seen any negative consequences for his actions. Show him what happens if he doesn't change.

Simple 2 step program:

1 - CLEARLY DEFINE what it is he is doing wrong. Spell it out to him. In writing. Jut to leave NO DOUBT.

2 - Next time he does it (when, not if), you show him the divorce papers you've drawn up. Or pack a bag and leave and tell him papers are following.

That will wake him up. I'm sorry to say nothing else will. You've talked about it already, right? Hasn't changed him, right?

Kick him in the gut (metaphorically, of course). I knew what I was doing wrong in my marriage, but there were no negative consequences. Then I found out my wife didn't love me any more because of it. Did I change? IMMEDIATELY. Right on the spot (there was NO WAY I was EVER going to do the things that caused my life to get ripped apart). But it was too late.

You have to destroy his world to fix him. Do it before it's too late. If it isn't already.
 
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