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2 Bumps

Where do i go from here?

Dh and I have been together 12 years, married 10. We have 3 kids. We have had a great relationship for the most part, but the last few years have been a struggle. We started counceling, but it didn't seem to be getting us too far. I did some on my own as I know I needed some help for my issues. Dh slowly slinked off to the side while I worked out my own problems, which I admit has caused a lot of our problems, and things seemed to get a bit better. But he isn't perfect, and issues have still come up. Anyways, we decided we didn't love our counceler and he was game to getting some books to read up on and workbooks to do instead. We went together to get them. So far I have been the only one to really work on them, though we have sat down at my encouragement to read some stuff together, and he has been surprisingly open. I havnet wanted to push him, but we have really been having a roguh go for the last few months, so I have been looking for a new therapist for my own issues and letting him. Know how hard im working on us. Last week he said he really was ready to work on the books and make a bigger effort. Well I don't know what happened last night, but some conversation went up in flames and he basically admitted he doesn't feel like he has to work on anything, he is basically just waiting to see what happens, and that he really isn't expecting any results.

That was quite a blow.

Im devistated. I told him last night that it is completely unfair to leave it all on my shoulders and he is not so innocent. Of course he gets even more defensive and starts turning everything around, totally confusing me and saying he just is working on things his own way but can't tell me how and that he doesn't expect me to understand. I was such a total mess by the end of the conversation and so hurt, all I could do was cry. How did we get to the point that it doesn't seem to matter If we hurt each other? He said he loved me, then fell asleep while I balled next to him. This morning he sat next to me quietly inbed before leaving for work, but said he was sorry for last night, kissed me, then left.

Wtf? Im so angry. I don't know waht to say, or what to think. I don't even want to talk to him about our relationship anymore. I don't want to be around him. I feel like I just work on myself and either he pulls his head out of his ass or. . I don't know.

Is this just a lost cause? I don't even know what I am working for anymore. Why was he supposedly game for everything, including renewing our vows last fall, then admits he thinks we are basically stuck and nothings going to get better?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 9:59 AM on Mar. 29, 2013 in Relationships

Answers (11)
  • This is not at all an uncommon problem. We wives tend to overthink everything, and we also tend to tell our husbands everything we are thinking. The truth is that they are nothing at all like us, and what happens is that they hear everything you say (no matter how you phrase it) as being an accusation against them. If you can quiet your tongue, as well as your thinking apparatus, and speak only of the positive things in your marriage and home, your husband will respond positively. I've rarely seen this fail. He is thinking it's all his fault, and he's also thinking he has no clue what to do about it even with the books and counselors, so he's covering his butt by saying that he doubts it will work. You have to learn to think like a man instead of expecting him to think like you. 'Cause, baby, it ain't happening. I only wish I had figured this out a lot sooner than I did!
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:05 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • That just seems unfair. We sacrifice enough as women and mothers, and now we just have to settle for his shitty behavior but fix ourselves and pretend everything is perfect?
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:33 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • I don't think books and workbooks work as well as an actual 3rd person. I think you need more help than you can get with books.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 10:34 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • You do NOT have to settle for his shitty behavior while fixing yourself, and you do NOT have to pretend everything is perfect. If you aren't happy, you have the right to express that to him and to expect him to work with you to fix it. It takes two to make or break a marriage. If he's not willing to do anything, or doubts it will work, then he needs to be man enough to say that he wants out and be done with it, rather than stringing you along like this. If he's confused and unsure, then he needs to say that, too. And if he doesn't know HOW he feels, then he needs to figure that out - whether by thinking on it on his own, discussing it with you or with a counselor. Do not settle for pretending things are fine and sweeping everything under the rug. I respect that NannyB has her opinion and it works for her, but for most people, ignoring the negative only leads to more frustration and unhappiness.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:40 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • It is hard to know what happened, what was said, what was intended (what he was trying to express), and what it means.
    I don't think it's about settling for someone's "shitty behavior" but pretending everything is perfect. (I think you said that in response to NannyB's comments rather than in response to what happened with your husband, specifically?)

    It sounds to me like he feels sad about how things went & that he cares (told you he loved you last night, sat by you quietly this morning rather than acting like nothing had happened, directly addressed that he knew there was an "issue" by saying he was sorry about it, kissed you.)
    I think even though what (exactly) happened isn't clear, it's clear that you found his words upsetting (probably because of what they meant or suggested to you.) And that matters.
    My guess is that he was expressing feelings of hopelessness or discouragement. Hard to hear, perhaps clumsily expressed.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:29 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • One reason a (skilled) third party can be helpful is that a therapist can "be" more for a stressed couple than they can provide for each other at that starting point. A therapist can hear what your husband is trying to express (pessimistic feelings, a sense of hopelessness, a low feeling, fear of failure) without feeling personally threatened or hurt, and has more to "give" in terms of presence TO the feelings--ability to hear them for what they might be expressing, rather than making assumptions or feeling upset at them.
    When both partners get "heard" that way by someone whose goal is to understand them very well & support their efforts to reach out to each other & reach out for help, they can begin to "hear" each other without feeling as threatened. At that point, the members of a couple are making more space for each other's feelings (rather than being "hurt" by some & responding negatively) but they got there with support.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:36 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • Your feelings in reaction to his words deserve that same kind of presence & acceptance (that empathy likely is hard for your husband to manage, given your reaction is to HIS communication & triggers his defensiveness.)

    I think books/workbooks can be great, and therapy can be great. It depends on what you've got to work with (the content, the professional.)

    Good material is good material, period.

    Have you ever looked at the Harville Hendrix/Helen LaKelly Hunt relationship stuff? I know there's the new edition of Getting The Love You Want and there's also a workbook. (You also can find therapists who work from this perspective.) Hal Runkel's marriage books can be good for either partner (or both, certainly) when it comes to efforts/awareness on the part of one making a big difference on the whole relationship. I really think Thomas Gordon's books on communication (even just his parenting one, P.E.T.) can be transformative!
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:46 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • What are the actual issues?
    PartyGalAnne

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 2:02 PM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • It sounds to me like your husband is confused, not sure what he thinks or feels from moment to monent, or how to act. Maybe he is afraid things won't work. Maybe he is also working on himself, but he doesn't know how to put what he's thinking or doing into words. Maybe partly at the same time, he's "waiting to see what happens" and feeling that a lot is up to you because he doesn't think he has control of the situation. I'm sure it hurts, but perhaps if you sit back and interpret last night as nothingmore than a bunch of mixed messages, you can clear your own mind and approach the subject again when both of you are cooled off and ready to take another look at what you want from the future and what the best way is to get it.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 4:47 PM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • I see it 2 ways. He is in denial about his own contribution to the problems and thinks it's all you. He was game about the therapy books b/c he wanted to trick *you* to do them b/c he thinks you need help more than he does. Or, he is misleading you in a very smart way. Parts of the truth comes out when you fight but then he rethinks it and wants to continue misleading you so that he can plan his exit strategy while you're 1 step behind him. I had an ex once that would try to smooth things over and do a few nice things now and then just to cover for the fact that he was planning on leaving me stuck with an apartment lease by moving out while I was gone at work. I caught onto his plan checking out the #s on his phone were from moving companies. If you really want things to change, sometimes you have to move out and cut off all contact. Then, they really miss you. Guys just aren't in touch w/their feelings like we are.
    hellokittykat

    Answer by hellokittykat at 11:21 PM on Mar. 29, 2013

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