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Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16

I''m new to posting, but not new here. I really need some help from those who''ve been through rocky times or through counseling (or are counselers). My marriage is in a rocky spot and for the first time I''m scared. First here is the background--I''ll make it quick:


-married 2 years
-one small child (one year old)
-both DH and I are in our late 30''s (not naive) and dated 4 years before marriage
-both of us are more reserved types (introverts, but still sociable).
-our courtship was one borne of friendship rather than instant attraction/desire

Basically, things have been challenging in our relationship because of external stuff, and it really has forced us to face the flaws in our marriage. In a solid and healthy relationshp--challenges allow you to draw on each other to deal with everything, but we''ve had the opposite. The external stuff that has presented challenges/stresses on us include the new baby, house repairs needed, declining economy and two of us working full time. DH and I have slowly grown apart. I have raised this a few times with him and said we have to try to connect on a daily basis, or at least a weekend here and there. He doesn''t HEAR what I''m saying though and thinks I''m casting blame.


Now we''ve come to the point where there is no affection, no kisses hello and goodbye, no tender words, not even checking in when we are apart (I to go my mom''s now and then). I''ve tried to roll with things because we have alot of day to day challenges and don''t want to make things worse by having arguments or talking things out forever. Plus we never have time!


It came to a head this week because I finally felt so alone that I sent an email (yes, an email). I told him I needed more support and that I was struggling. I told him I knew he had a lot on his plate and was trying but that I often feel very alone. I said that I dont'' feel close anymore and am losing that sense of what is going on with him (that couples usually share). I ask that he give it some thought and let me know when we could talk to try to work through these issues constructively.


He wrote back (we are at work all day, don''t see each other some nights due to hours and baby) and totally missed the point. He wrote back that he is doing the best he can and that he wants to avoid talks until things are less hostile, because right now he is resenting me for pushing us into this situation. He is saying by having the baby when I did, I made things bad for him which is making him resent me. I was so taken aback and frankly angry when I read that. First, he missed the whole point of my email. Secondly, I didn''t trap this guy like some clueless high schooler. We DISCUSSED kids and I included him on every step of the process (stopping the pill, TTC process). He always went along. I verbally asked him over and over if he was ok with things. Thirdly, I have been the sole caregiver of our child so far and also taken care of the finances since I always had a feeling he''d blame me for making his life less carefree by "pushing him to do the marriage and kid thing". I thought it was me being paranoid, but apparently not. This man is in his late 30''s for crying out loud.


I''m stuck and don''t know what to do. I wonder if we are not compatible and made a mistake. I wonder if our personalities bring out the worse in each other. Neither of us seems capable of breaking the pattern or showing the other tenderness. He is not listening and we are not communicating. He is not capable of affection or making me feel safe. I am not innocent either...I am not affectionate to him and have pulled away significantly. To me, I did that out of self-protection. And to me, the man is the one who needs to step up and check in on us..I have the baby in all my free time for crying out loud.


I know most of you will say counseling, but it is not the magic pill. I am reading some books now and couseling is likely a next step, but there is SO little time. I feel lost and scared, and trapped. This isn''t how it''s supposed to be and we are in a viscious cycle (of blaming the other which leads to worse behaviour) which seems to be gaining strength.

 

steph72276

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
4,212
Well, first off I just wanted to say hello and send hugs and support to you. I know first hand that having a baby can make even the strongest marriage a little strained at times. Our son would cry for 10-12 hours on end for the first 8 weeks before the doctor finally realized he had acid reflux and put him on medication. That stress and just the change of my hubby not being the center of my world anymore put a big strain on the relationship. We both realized it and worked hard to make time for just the two of us to reconnect....we planned dates once a week out just the two of us when my mom could watch the baby. We did some overnight dates at nice hotels in our city for special occasions. But the thing is, both of you have to work together on it, or it''s not going to work.
I do think you need to have a face to face talk with your hubby. Let him know how much you love and care about him and that you want to work together to get back that closeness. Show him you care about him...write him notes, make his favorite meal one night, plan a surprise night out with just the two of you. And then see if he responds to these acts and does the same thing. If he''s not willing to listen and try, I do think couples therapy may be a way to go if you really want to try to save the marriage.
Good luck and big hugs!
 

BeachRunner

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Messages
1,493
Shana, I am sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you both have a lot going on, and put each other on the back burner to deal with your "external problems". A baby, house repairs, dealing with the economy etc. . is something you need to handle TOGETHER. To me, it sounds like you are trying to take all these stressor separately. You two are a team, and need to work together at solving situations. With that being said, it sounds like your communication went out the window. I do believe this is one of the most important aspects in a relationship/marriage, and if you can not effectively communicate, then you will have problems.

You must find a way to positively communicate with each other, and if it takes a counselor to mediate, then by all means, do it!

After both of you listen to what each other has to say, you can determine what your problems really are and go from there.

I hope you find peace with your situation!
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
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I’m not a marriage counselor so I’m going to limit my advice because I don’t feel qualified to really give it (I’m not even married).


I did want to first offer support and a big e-hug because it sounds like you are going through a lot. The pain is coming through your words.


I also wanted to provide you with a link to a thread that TGal started last December. It is about how relationships have changed after having children. In the thread there are some helpful tips and reading material as well as honest answers about what happened after the couple had a baby. I hold this thread near and dear to my heart because we are expecting our first soon and I know the relationship will change. Here is the link: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/how-did-your-relationship-fare-after-having-children.101114/


My last thought on this is the topic of your child. I think you are both using the child as an excuse. He is resenting you for having the baby when you did and is pushing away because of it. At the same time, you are placing a lot on his shoulders because you are the primary caregiver (I make this comment based on this statement: And to me, the man is the one who needs to step up and check in on us..I have the baby in all my free time for crying out loud. I think you both need to stop looking for things to blame and start working on solutions. You mentioned that you haven''t been giving any affection either. I know it sucks to be the one to step up but someone has to, right? So why not try to bring the romance back and see what kind of response you get.

Big hugs!
 

LaraOnline

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
3,365
Okay, I'll wade in.
These are just ideas, and please bear in mind I have just read your post ONCE - these are my responses... so take what you need and try not to react to anything. By writing these ideas, I am not making any actual assumptions or judgements on what you are currently doing with your man!!

I think the first thing you should do is start showing affection to this guy.
No conversation, no 'talks', no chats about the existential angst gnawing at your soul, nothing heavy or even personal, at all, in actual fact.

Just a touch on the shoulder, a kiss on the cheek good bye in the morning if you can, and a cheery 'hello! I'm home!!' Smile at him sometimes.

Don't bother with the heavy 'I feels', well it has N.E.V.E.R. worked for me - EVER - and believe me, I do love to chat!!!

However, if he does feel like talking to you, listen. He may give you valuable clues! It seems like his email already has done you this service!


Work on providing shortish, controlled and PLEASANT experiences between your husband and your child. Make sure the child is clean, cutely dressed and pleasant to look and touch. It is obvious your husband is struggling with bonding with the baby, or perhaps with his own idea of his self-image as a father, to some degree. Make it an enjoyable experience for him. So allow your husband to have enjoyable times with your bub, if you do most of the grunt work anyway, try not to grizzle about it, and just let him hold the baby and enjoy.

In addition to creating an affectionate 'space' for him with you, make a small effort to look attractive for him, within the bounds of your timetable, of course. But just the simple act of bothering-to-brush-your-hair-so-you-don't-look-like-a-mess for your man can be somehow therapeutic. He deserves respect. He is the father of your child.

Think like a family. My husband likes to take me everywhere with him if he can. Often, this has been a pain for me, (all the hassle with the kids!!) but it does help reinforce the bond of the family unit. He is more special than the other family members I have...and my family respect that, because they can see the support we give each other every day. Make time for him, and his needs, over the others. Accommodate his preferences if you can.

If, after some time, you realise that he is not respecting you as his life partner in the same way, well, it is good to know that. And making an effort for him means that you have your dignity and can manoeuvre with your head held high.

Try not (for now) to be drawn in to 'conversation about us', where you will be extremely likely to react to a word, a nasty sentiment. Verbal conflict is one reason why men hate having deep and meaningfuls so much, it is just so darn easy to get in trouble with a woman!

Make a note to take an emotion check in six months.

You are in a very difficult stage of family life, there is no doubt about that.
Your child is very young, honestly, it is very hard. My own husband was very keen to be a father, but really reacted to fatherhood by absolutely throwing himself into our business...and telling me to back off!!!
He really gave me little support in my (significant) change of lifestyle during the first few years of the children... now, he is relaxing into their company, and really is becoming a good dad. I, also, am stretching and becoming more 'myself' as our family develops.

Understand yourself, too, in this stage of family life, as he in all likely hood, does not.(!) He thinks you get have finally achieved your aim of having a child... at his expense. He does not realise that while having a child is in many ways a very basic BIOLOGICAL NEED for a woman, the actual practicalities and day-to-day can be really full-on. It takes a LOT of adjustment to being woman-with-child. It's a heavy trip. There are a lot of sacrifices that a woman must make... a man may not even notice those things. Crucially, I found that a loss of negotiating power - power generally, both within and without my front door - was pretty difficult to deal with. I felt less important, in many ways, since becoming a mum. From experience I can say that those feelings, if you have them as well, may well diminish in time.

Look long term. Tough times, in retrospect, become better times. Misunderstandings fade away and you learn to navigate each others' personalities a bit ( a lot) better.

Don't escalate. You have PLENTY - in fact a lifetime - of time to get to know him better.
 

Snicklefritz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,552
First of all welcome. Secondly, I''m feel for you and am sad that you and your husband are struggling.

The only thought that I have that I think might be helpful is to reiterate what others have said - communication is key. And it does seem like you are communicating, but he is not listening. But, you can''t make him listen - it just doesn''t work that way. My advice would be to: A) accept and respect the way he interprets your marital problems even if it makes you angry/hurt (you don''t have to agree with him, just accept it as his reality for the moment), and B) tell him that you accept/respect his thoughts, that you really want to further understand his point of view, and that you''re 100% willing to listen to him. I know it sounds hard, but this might be the only thing that can get him talking. Once he has said his piece, you''ll get the chance to say yours.

Best of luck.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
Just wanted to say I can relate and hang in there. One thing that has helped me is some of Harville Hendrix's books--they are a bit overkill in spots but help with interpreting why some people behave the way they do.
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
Thank you for the responses.

Communication is our main problem and also differences in handling confrontation and conflict. I believe these problems have been there since day 1 and that having a child was not the instigator. This is why I am so angry that he is using that as an explanation for his behavior. It''s so unfair and cruel.

He handles conflict/confrontation by retreating, avoiding, denying.

I try to bury my feelings (when there''s conflict / confrontation) in an attempt to avoid fighting over everything (a tendancy I have)--but then it overflows and explodes. When I''m at that point, I want to talk about why I feel that way so he can understand and maybe help me.

But he is not able to help me and does not want to talk. Right when I need reassurance (read safety, security in the relationship) is when he disappears.

Does this make any sense? It is an awful cycle. And knowing what the problem is (communication, not connecting) doesn''t solve it, it just confirms there''s a problem! In all honesty this is why I have not been a fan of therapists--I don''t see how they help solve the core issue.

I know and have heard others suggest (other friends) that I should be the one to initiate romance, be softer, bring him back. But, urgh it is so hard because I have anger and I''m starting to care less and less. Also I am someone who craves affection, but not good at giving it. Which is why I sometimes wonder if we are incompatible.

Anyway, there are just so many issues. Clearly I need to see a therapist. I appreciate the feedback, it helps give me some clarity. It also really helps to hear others'' experiences during low points.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
First and foremost, I want to offer my support. This clearly is a really serious situation, and I''m so sorry you''re faced with this. I cannot imagine how you must feel, but my heart goes out to you and your family.

Secondly, please know that I am not in anyway shape or form a marriage counselor, and I am not qualified to give you any "strong" advice--or a road map. But, I wanted to at least give you my feelings and thoughts based on what you shared with us...

Right now, America in a transition period. It''s a very scary time for many people, and it''s weighing heavily on families. We''re all facing things we never dreamed we would...and it''s down right frightening. The economy has put a lot of strain on otherwise healthy marriages. You''re not alone in this, but until the economy crests again, there is nothing any of us can do to "fix" it and that includes you and your husband...you both have to find a way to adapt, reorganize your priorities and thrive in the current economic climate. Although it''s easier said than done, you cannot allow the things you cannot fix to weigh your marriage down. Focusing on the positive--the fact that you''re both still employeed and bringing in an paycheck is a good start. From what I learned prior to marrying my husband that I spent in counseling is the number one reason couples fight (and divorce) is often times money. But, if you know you''re doing the best you can, find comfort in that.

As far as the nasty e-mail went...you need to put that in the catagory in which it belongs. I encourage you to read Tgals thread about how marriage changes after a child. Many men, even in their late 30''s, aren''t ready to be married or become a father, otherwise there would be no such thing as a bachelor. And sometimes, as we all know, the theory of something is better and easier than the reality of it. Back to the economy again, even when they aren''t, men feel like they should be the bread-winner...and when they can''t, the stress of that can really sour everything else. Maybe your husband is feeling overly worn out by the things he cannot change or control and it''s causing him to severly act out.

I would suggest counseling...making time for that (which is probably covered by your insurance policy, if money is an issue) is probably a good first step. As "add water" as that sounds, it can really help to infuse a neutral third party to help sort out the big stuff from the nit-picky stuff.

Big hugs, and I''m really hopeful for you...don''t give up just yet...the good is still there!

 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
quote: "Thirdly, I have been the sole caregiver of our child so far and also taken care of the finances since I always had a feeling he''d blame me for making his life less carefree by "pushing him to do the marriage and kid thing"."

i''m sorry, but it appears you were right. i don''t know how you''re going to get around this without a major shift from each of you and some heavy duty counseling. i do note that you said you went to every effort to include him in on all phases but........i think your e-mail to him finally spurred him to some honest interaction. i think you''re missing his point that he''s finally opening up about how he really feels.

i''m so very sorry you''re both going through this. please go to counseling right now even if he isn''t interested. take care of yourself both emotionally and financially. assess what you want for your child. it is possible you will come through this with an intact and healthy marriage. it is possible you won''t. what is important is that you are clear about what you want your life to be like and what you want the life of your child to be like. its good you are reading some books but i repeat: get to counseling. good luck.

mz
 

looking4answers

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
16
I had a friend who had a similar situation. I know one thing they did was the "date night" / romantic weekends and while it was never the same as it was pre-kids, they seemed alot more "connected" at least to the outside world. But yeah, it has to come from both sides. He has to want things to be better too. If he is not showing interest in making things better, that would be a red flag for me.

Hugs and I know it might not seem like it now, but many couples have these problems and it''s a common part of those early days of marriage--where realization sets in that no one is perfect and that marriage is work.
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
Wow, I really appreciate such thoughtful responses.

How do I go about finding a marriage counselor? I know how to search for random therapists (through my insurance) but how do I know that they also cover this area (rocky marriages?). Does it make sense for me to go first? I just don''t see DH being open to it yet.

And how do I get past him saying he is starting to resent me for pushing us/him into this (having a child)? I mean it just is something I can''t get out of my mind, not to mention untrue. How could he take his frustrations out by blaming me for the timing of OUR baby. I would never say such a thing--even though he didn''t say it, it makes me feel like he regrets having her. He does love her and has bonded--but I think he feels that my timing has created the corner he is in (stretched for time, energy, $$). But I don''t GET that..he is stretched for other reasons, that have nothing to do with the baby. I have taken care of the baby (late nights are me and me alone and I never let him even know what $$ is being spent on her). I have struggled to keep working for this reason, so the baby can be my responsibility if need be--but he still has already resorted to equating the baby''s timing with our struggles.
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Date: 4/3/2009 11:01:06 AM
Author: Shana2009

And how do I get past him saying he is starting to resent me for pushing us/him into this (having a child)?
Please excuse me if I sound naive because again, I''m not married.

I don''t think it is as black and white as he resents you for having a baby when you did and that''s why he''s pushing you away. I think he''s searching for any reason to excuse his behavior and the current status of the relationship. I think he does resent the situation you guys are in but I don''t think the baby is the only reason why.
 

Bia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
6,181
I would google names from your insurance list in order to find their specialties (or just call as many counselors don't have web sites). I've been to couples counseling and most of the people I researched specialized in a variety of things (substance abuse, depression/anxiety, marriage counseling, etc).

Although I'm not married, my FI and I did go to couples counseling because we were having a hell of time after we moved in together. It helped us in so many ways, it would take too much time to list, BUT I highly encourage it. Also, keep in mind that you might not 'mesh' with just anyone, so you may have to visit more than one therapist until you find the person who can put you both at ease. Luckily the woman we found was marvelous!

Good luck with this, and keep your chin up
 

Loves Vintage

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Nov 19, 2007
Messages
4,563
I'm sorry if I missed the answer to this question in an earlier post, but had you discussed each other's roles in taking care of the baby beforehand? It seems like you are solely responsible for the care of the baby. I am really overwhelmed by the parts of your post that indicate this is your role. What is he doing in the evenings when you are caring for the baby? I imagine that because you are (or at least it seems) acting as a single parent, that you must be terribly overwhelmed and this is contributing a great deal to the discord in your marriage.

We do not have children, yet, but honestly an inequitable division of responsibilities is one of my biggest fears related to having a child, so perhaps that's why this resonates with me so much. (Note to self: read TG's thread!)

Also, how unfair of him to say this: He is saying by having the baby when I did, I made things bad for him which is making him resent me.

You did not have the baby on your own. You BOTH did. But, it seems this is his way of "defending himself", even though you are just trying to talk things through.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I hope you found a suitable counsellor who can help you figure out how to approach conversations like the one immediately above and how to find a better schedule for you at home.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
Date: 4/3/2009 11:01:06 AM
Author: Shana2009
Wow, I really appreciate such thoughtful responses.

How do I go about finding a marriage counselor? I know how to search for random therapists (through my insurance) but how do I know that they also cover this area (rocky marriages?). Does it make sense for me to go first? I just don't see DH being open to it yet.

And how do I get past him saying he is starting to resent me for pushing us/him into this (having a child)? I mean it just is something I can't get out of my mind, not to mention untrue. How could he take his frustrations out by blaming me for the timing of OUR baby. I would never say such a thing--even though he didn't say it, it makes me feel like he regrets having her. He does love her and has bonded--but I think he feels that my timing has created the corner he is in (stretched for time, energy, $$). But I don't GET that..he is stretched for other reasons, that have nothing to do with the baby. I have taken care of the baby (late nights are me and me alone and I never let him even know what $$ is being spent on her). I have struggled to keep working for this reason, so the baby can be my responsibility if need be--but he still has already resorted to equating the baby's timing with our struggles.
Well, I don't think you'll ever forget what he said...but I think, over time with the right amount of profession intervention, you'll learn to forgive him.

From what you've said, you've taken 100% responsibility for your daughter, prehaps you've isolated him from the parental experience? I mean, you don't even include him in expense of raising a child. Maybe by trying to make it so completely seamless and hassle-free for him, you've made him feel like he's not included in the experience? Maybe you've spread yourself so thin he feels like he's lost his wife and best friend the baby? And maybe feels jealous of that because your life consists solely of the baby and work, period?
 

vespergirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
5,497
Hello, I just wanted to say that I really feel for you & your family & what you''re going through right now. I am also recently married with a small child, so I can really understand some of the feelings that you''re having. I truly hope that you all can work through this rough time together and have happier times ahead.

I got some advice from one of my grandmothers on marriage that I didn''t like to hear when I was in my 20s (first marriage) but really resonates now that I''m in my 30s (2nd marriage) and have my first child. It''s old-fashioned, and kind of goes against a lot of what you hear these days, but I''ll put it out there.

She told me that marriage is more about a partnership than a relationship. Instead of having a romantic ideal of marriage, it''s better to see it as a working partnership committed to raising a family. Once you have children, it''s about providing a stable home for the child, and putting your own needs second. There are times that every wife (and husband) may feel that their needs for communication, or intimacy, or sex, are not being met. However, they don''t last forever, and dealing with not having what you need all the time is part of the sacrifice of being a spouse and parent. There are lots of advantages that come with marriage and parenthood (security, stability, commitment) but sometimes one will feel that they give up a lot as well (freedom, the sexual passion of new relationships, extra spending money, etc.). It''s not bad or wrong to feel frustrated from time to time, but over time, people adjust to their new circumstances and work things out. It sounds like your family has a lot going on right now - two full time jobs and a toddler. That''s a very stressful situation for anyone. I think that many couples have a hard time finding intimacy when they have so many external stressors. But things will change with time - it does take will and commitment to get through it, but it''s worth it for yourselves & your child to persevere through the tough times.

Let me just say too that I think that sometimes marriage counseling can sometimes exacerbate the problem - I went to counseling when my first marriage was having problems, and it really propelled us towards divorce. Sometimes constantly rehashing your problems just makes them bigger, and more in the forefront of a relationship. I know that not everyone agrees with that, but I have found that depending on the counselor, it can sometimes promote venom in the relationship. However, I think that every couple needs to decide for themselves what they need, and what is best for them.

My husband and I had a similar situation to yours when we first got married. Even though we had been together for several years and planned to get engaged soon, I got pregnant just as my then-boyfriend was starting one of the most challenging MBA programs in the country, while we were both still working full-time. We ended up getting married a few weeks later, and in the first year of our marriage, we juggled a baby, my husband''s full-time job and MBA program (which was hours away, almost every weekend - I was like a single parent until DS was 1 and a half and DH finally graduated). I was home with the baby full-time, but we have no family or friends around, so I was totally isolated for the first year and a half. It was very tough at times, but now that the more difficult situations have passed, we are about to celebrate our 3rd aninversary and are very happy now. I''m sharing my story just to let you know that I''ve been there, I know what it''s like to take care of a baby by yourself, and I can definitely sympathize with you. It can get better though, and I''m really pulling for your guys. My best wishes to you & your husband ...
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
I''m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds incredibly difficult and isolating. One resource I''d suggest looking into, that you can do without counseling, is the studies done by a man named John Gottman. Here is his website.

He has researched relationships, in depth, for many years, and he has some really useful thoughts about what makes them work vs. not work. I''d really recommend reading up on it, and evaluating how you might take steps to apply the lessons to your own situation.

I know its so difficult, as I''m one that gets very angry too and has trouble letting go of it, but from your side, I think this will be key to moving forward and trying to salvage the relationship. One thing counseling can do to help is to provide a safe space to help you both let go of all the anger you are holding on to and try to make a fresh start.

My DH likes to say, and I agree with him, that you don''t just wake up to a good marriage every day, and if you let things drift, they will drift. Its a conscious decision you have to make over and over again throughout the course of the marriage - that you want it to work out. And you both have to make that decision and that effort for it to work out.
 

phoenixgirl

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Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
I''m just newly pregnant so I''m probably going to think my advice was naive after baby is born . . .

But as far as finding a therapist goes, the most ideal way would be to get a recommendation from a friend or your GP. I searched for one online after my dad took his life last year and picked her based on location and insurance, and we just didn''t click. My dad had JUST died, and instead of letting me talk about it, she''d interrupt me to say things like, "Talk to me about feeling vulnerable . . . " or "Can you NAME what is hurting you?" and then look at me like she''d just said something profound. Anyway, I asked a few friends and got a recommendation for someone I connect with a lot better.

I think Lara''s advice was the most practical way to make a stab at saving the marriage, to put it bluntly. I have found in various arenas of my life that when you make an effort to fake like you like someone that you can''t just dismiss/run away from, that person (or class of obnoxious teenagers) responds positively, making it easier to like them in actuality. It''s unfortunately the only thing that you can control, and often the only way to stop a vicious cycle.

I would set a short amount of time for the experiment, maybe only a week. Promise yourself for a week that you won''t ever complain, that if your husband does something thoughtless you won''t get upset about it, that you''ll be cheerful and supportive and interested in his life. Give the goodbye kisses. Give a massage or a back scratch. Ask what he wants to watch on tv or for dinner. Just keep all the negative stuff and stress to yourself. Because if he starts doing those things back, then your resentment will heal just a little, and when you get back on good footing, you can address issues individually as they arise.

But if at the end of the week he''s not reciprocating -- giving you kisses and massages, asking about your day, asking what YOU want to do -- then I''d say, ok, maybe it''s counseling or bust. And whatever you decide, individual counseling can help you sort through everything.
 

Sabine

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 16, 2007
Messages
3,446
I agree with a LOT of the great advice given here (especially vespergirl''s), so I''ll avoid repeated it and offer another possibility.

It sounds like you are pretty in tune with how you feel and what you want from him, what you want to change, etc. He doesn''t sound like he is ready to listen. Before going to him with what you think/feel/want, you could try taking a first step of just getting him to communicate what he wants. Be brief, clear, and to the point. Ask him if he is happy with the way things are right now. If his answer is yes, then you have an overwhelming problem that I wouldn''t know how to begin dealing with. But if he says no, ask him why he is not happy, what he would like to change, how he would like things to change, etc. If he is receptive to these types of questions, you can then start to lead him to what he sees as HIS role in changing things.

I wish you all the best and sincerely hope that you are able to work things out!
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
19,456
Gottman is excellent. I''d highly suggest reading some of his research.

I''d also suggest reading this book: The Family Crucible by Augustus Napier

Another resource you could use to find a counselor/therapist is by calling a local divorce attorney''s office and asking for a referral for one they would suggest. A reputable divorce attorney will try to get a couple to go to marriage counseling before they decide to take the divorce (or separation) leap.

Huge hugs to you and your baby.
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
lovesvintage:

we did not discuss exact roles persay, other than that I would continue working and have my mom help for when I needed assistance.

I don''t know how to describe it, but DH was always slightly resistent to marriage/kids. Believe me, I tried to get to the bottom of it, but sometimes men are just men (see LIW thread ;)). He never said he did not want marriage and/or kids, just that it wasn''t a priority. Yet when he discussed others, he always made it sounds like it''s so obvious that everyone ends up getting married and having kids and 40 year old bachleors are creepy. There is/was major disconnect between what he felt was ok for him, but not others. For me, it got exhausting. I asked for honesty--if he didn''t want to be married/have kids, tell me so I can make my own decisions. I did not threaten (he would never respond well to that anyway!). He just approaches decisions in that fashion: stall, think, stall, avoid, go silent. He is very slow to make decisions, but once he does, it''s solid. So I just assumed this was why he was so up and down when it came to marriage and kids. We eventually married and thigns were good, so I thought it was behind us. We discussed kids, he told me he was on board even though he had fears over how we would manage. But everyone has those fears! We were in our mid 30''s, secure financially so to me, it was not a careless decision. Because he is not a good communicator, I had to verbally ask "are you ok with this? If not, please tell me so we can discuss". He always rolled his eyes and would say "haven''t we ALREADY talked about this?". This is why I''m so irritated that he is now identifying this as what is causing HIS resentment. Excuse me, you were always free to say "no"!! I cannot read his mind or always try to understand his side through his communication style (which is to NOT communicate and avoid!).

But, because I knew there was that unsuredness, I decided to protect myself and always be ready to absorb the responsibility of our child so he would not blame and resent me. I always was open to his help, assistance because a) I needed it and b) I want it for my child (for him to be involved), but I never expected it or demanded it. What is he doing during the nights? He goes to the extra bedroom to sleep or he is working on the house. During the wkends, he spends time with her when she is awake and happy. So he sees only the good stuff. Yet I''ve never actually complained about this. I do make comments about me feelign like a single parent (in moments of sadness and feeling alone) or him not really knowing what true parenting is (I mean every new dad comments on lack of sleep--he doesn''t even know what that is!). He will usually say he is doing all he can, and how about I take care of the house (fixing, plumbing, painting) and then he can take care of the baby. That sort of stuff. Even that didn''t bother me, because the truth is he is stretched. But to take a moment when I am asking for more emotional support to tell me he resents me for the very thing I try to protect him from..wow.

Hope I answered some of your ques.
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
thanks vesper, your post reallly resonated with me.

And thank you to you all for the book recommendations--looks like I have alot of reading to do.

As for the suggestions to "fake it" in order to elicit the kind of treatment I want, that''s a tough one. How do people do that..I have all these feelings too and some anger and resentment of my own. How am I supposed to fake it and doesn''t this encourage the behavior that is the problem (his lack of emotional support). I will try it though.

I have actually already asked if he was happy and he said no. We both aren''t. It''s hard having these conversations as it is, and usually the baby wakes up or something once we are in the middle of it. I''ll try to ask more about what is making him unhappy. I know I''m supposed to listen and not get defensive. It''s very hard.
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
Date: 4/3/2009 10:40:17 AM
Author: Shana2009
It is an awful cycle. And knowing what the problem is (communication, not connecting) doesn''t solve it, it just confirms there''s a problem! In all honesty this is why I have not been a fan of therapists--I don''t see how they help solve the core issue.

I know and have heard others suggest (other friends) that I should be the one to initiate romance, be softer, bring him back. But, urgh it is so hard because I have anger and I''m starting to care less and less. Also I am someone who craves affection, but not good at giving it. Which is why I sometimes wonder if we are incompatible.
I can''t speak to your exact situation ... but I can talk a bit about therapy. Therapy can help you change the way YOU are and what YOU do and how YOU react and what YOU expect. For instance: you crave affection but are not good at giving it. That''s something you could work on. Finding ways you are comfortable showing affection. Pushing your boundries. Combating your habits. Conversely, you can figure out why you crave affection so much & take responsibility for some of your own needs/actions/grudges/frustrations etc. In relationships sometimes you have to give what you most want to get -- but its not tit for tat. You can try to figure out how he wants to be loved ... what makes him feel valued etc & I would bet good $$$ he''d start being more affectionate in ways *you* like. Right now you''re in a war. The only person you can control is yourself. Sure, you can say NO FAIR!! I HAVE THE BABY. HE MUST COME TO ME! But that isn''t working. I wouldn''t be so quick to write this relationship off as "incompatible" and throw up your hands & toss away your child''s stable home without some SERIOUS efforts to change the dynamic by first analyzing what you might be contributing to the breakdown (w/o even realizing it).

A first step might be creating some of that much needed "time". Are there friends/family members that could babysit every once in a while? Extra day care hours? Missing an hour of time w/their mom if she''s working on keeping their home together seems worth it to me! And NO its not fair that you''re the one w/the olive branch ... you''re the one rolling up your sleeve etc ... but I don''t think you''ll ultimately care if you''re able to turn this around & have the happy life you''re hoping for. If it doesn''t work there''ll be plenty of time for discussing what an Ahole he''s been.
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
I''m just some chick on the other end of a computer; I might be totally wrong about "faking it"! Best case scenario, he''ll start to reciprocate, and then you''ll feel happier/more committed and you won''t have to fake it any more. But if he thinks it''s a ploy and not sincere, it probably won''t work. You''d have to find it within yourself to really go all out.

I just know that if I feel unappreciated and neglected, it never helps to just accuse DH of this and complain about what he hasn''t done. So I try to channel that into appreciating and taking care of him. I thank him for all the work he did in the garden, even if I was initially annoyed that he spent hours doing something he didn''t have to do when he could have done something that really helped me. Is it a big deal in the grand scheme of things that my husband loves to garden but always forgets to fold the last load of laundry? If I''m going to mention something like that, it needs to be in a "I love you, but you drive me a little crazy because I didn''t have any socks this week!" kind of way, not a "You never do anything and I do everything and I resent the heck out of you!" kind of way.

Then he cooks dinner/buys me a little present/brings me flowers/tells me to pick where he can take me on a date etc., and I feel more appreciated and want to reciprocate, and a good cycle takes the place of the bad.
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
I crave affection becuase it is a natural human need and I have not gotten much of it. I don''t crave an unrealistic amount (ie needy), just would like some reassurance and a sense of security. It''s very reassuring to feel somebody wants YOU, likes YOU and shows it. Even if just in private. Even if it''s just the slightest touch or brush. I know I don''t do this either. I don''t do it b/c it has become unfamiliar to me (doesn''t come naturally) and I don''t feel safe to show affections (not sure if it''ll be rejected as it has in the past). I need to somehow get past this. I don''t know how..I guess I need to think about it.

I see what you''re saying (deco) about some changes needing to come from me. It''s hard.
He is not an a-hole (even if some of his behavior is!), but he does have some deep seated traits which to me make his relationships very very difficult. His coping mechanism does not work either (isolate the other person and assume they have negative traits which THEY need to work on, ie, he is absolved of responsibility).
 

Shana2009

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
16
phoenix, i have done these things (when dating). Tried to step outside my comfort zone and say something caring. It''s awkward since I''m not used to it, but I forced it. I can''t say it resulted in reciprocation, but maybe I didn''t go "all out". But not receiving immediate acceptance/encouragemnt for it kinda led me to stop doing it. I gave him cards, I think they made him feel awkward and he didnt'' really say anything. Again, this is when we were dating. I''ve rarely demanded it back even though I hoped. I thought during preg, maybe some instinct would kick in and he would flower me with attention. He was fine, but still minimal. I often went to dr. appts on my own..again fell into my habit of not asking him to participate in order to protect myself from disappointment and not burden him.

i also used to always thank him for obvious things ("thank you for driving me, I appreciate it", or "thank you for listening to me"). I just think he really missed the point bc he''d often say "you don''t have to say thank you!" like he thought it was weird.

i could and should work harder at it. Just trying to explain that I have made some efforts, but not enough to break the cycle I suppose.
 

purrfectpear

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
4,079
I can understand why you''re so frustrated Shana because you DID try to talk to him about marriage, kids, commitment, and responsibility. In an ideal and fair world he would have been more forthcoming. Unfortunately those just weren''t communication skills that he had. Whether you want to accept it or not, he DOES feel trapped. As you pointed out, you "sensed" this even before you pushed forward. You''re human and it sounds like you let your wants and desires overcome what your gut was telling you. You rationalized it by saying "hey, I told him to speak up and he didn''t say NO".

Anyway, what''s done is done and now the two of you need to deal with the responsibilities you have. I ditto counseling because this resentment of his is not going to go away and it''s not going to get better on it''s own. It''s real. You took a lack of "no" as a yes, and he just put his head in that sand and prayed it would all go away. It didn''t.

I wish you the best of luck. If it''s any consolation you do sound like you''re pretty grounded. I think you''ll make the best of whatever the outcome is.
 

vespergirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
5,497
Date: 4/3/2009 12:24:25 PM
Author: Shana2009
thanks vesper, your post reallly resonated with me.

And thank you to you all for the book recommendations--looks like I have alot of reading to do.

As for the suggestions to ''fake it'' in order to elicit the kind of treatment I want, that''s a tough one. How do people do that..I have all these feelings too and some anger and resentment of my own. How am I supposed to fake it and doesn''t this encourage the behavior that is the problem (his lack of emotional support). I will try it though.

I have actually already asked if he was happy and he said no. We both aren''t. It''s hard having these conversations as it is, and usually the baby wakes up or something once we are in the middle of it. I''ll try to ask more about what is making him unhappy. I know I''m supposed to listen and not get defensive. It''s very hard.
Hey there, I''m glad I could help. A lot of these issues can stem from having a child of that age, as well. My son could be so difficult as a baby, but now that he''s almost a pre-schooler, he''s so much easier to handle. I find that now that he talks and plays ball and stuff my husband is a lot more engaged with him as well - I think that men are just generally better with "kids" than "babies."

I also wanted to say that I agree with Lara on some of the issues that come with "having a talk." My parents used to talk about their feelings all the time, and it almost always escalated into really bad fighting. Once again, I looked to my grandmother, who said that sometimes it''s better to say nothing that day if he does something that really bothers you - sleep on it, and if it still bothers you the next day, then it may merit a talk. Usually, the next day I am not that bothered anymore, and I never have to bring it up. However, if I am, we are both now calmer after waiting a day, and it''s easier to have a brief talk about the issue without it escalating to a big fight.

Finally, sex can go a long way to helping a marriage. This may be TMI, but in our relationship, I have always been the higher sex drive person. After the baby, I felt rejected and frustrated if my husband was too tired for sex (and he really was - he usually works 14 hour days and is up at 5 every morning, so I understood where he was coming from). Still, it really hurt me. We finally talked about it, and when he realized that it was more about him initiating the affection to make me feel desirable, and that I was fine with a 5 minute quickie. He was afraid that if it wasn''t hours of passion, I wouldn''t be satisfied. But when he realized it was more about a few minutes to connect at the end of the day & make me feel noticed, things really improved. I think that in most relationships the roles are reversed, so I always urge that couples try to have sex at least once a week, preferable twice, even if it''s just a short "quickie." Sex releases hormones in the brain that make people feel more connected and protective of each other. Just that few minutes of physical intimacy can do wonders towards creating goodwill in a spouse that was acting petty or nasty. That''s just my two cents ...

Good luck!
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,660
Shana, I''m sorry for your pain. I don''t really have any advice, but I just wanted to link an excellent thread that LtlFirecracker started on one of the other boards on the forum. The main point of the thread is learning how to talk to a person at the level the person is currently at -- basically, sometimes people talk at each other from such different perspectives that neither side can really hear or relate to what the other is saying. I don''t know how much it will help, but perhaps if you can find a different angle from which to talk to your husband, he will "hear" you better and be less hostile. I really don''t know, but the thread isn''t too long and is very interesting, and may help in some small way. It''s here: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/stages-of-change.111538/.

Hugs and best of luck to you.
 
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