feeling bleak....need to vent (m)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
feeling bleak....need to vent (m)
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 10:20am
2nd marriage for both of us. we both feel like we know why our 1st marriages failed, and recognize our parts in their failure. i do not feel like my 2nd husband is anything like my 1st husband and i do not think i am anything like his first wife. and yet, for me, i feel the same feelings beginning to surface in this marriage. am i just doomed to fail? i have vowed to make this marriage work. i cannot put my kids thru another divorce.

i feel so much resentment. i just don't know what to do with it all. i know that resentment played a big part in my feelings toward my ex-husband. where to even start? my husband is the most driven person i know. he works long hours. his commute to work is 40 minutes minimum and then he puts in a 12+ hour day. so when he gets home, he is tired. i will say, he doesn't complain. he just does what he has to do. but anytime we hit a rocky patch and i try to talk to him about it...i am reminded at how hard he works and how long his day is and how tired he is and how he works like a dog to provide for 2 families, etc. his ex-wife works about 8 hours a week. their kids are 17 and 7 - both in school, so she could very well be working more and paying her own way. he paid off her house when they divorced and she gets a huge amount in child support - and yet, she is content to just sit back and depend on his money for her livlihood. i recognized long ago that there is no point in spending any time and energy over this issue because it is all out of my hands and really nothing i can do about that. i work full time and although i make a fraction of what he makes, i do contribute to our monthly income - plus i virtually take care of everything at home except for the yard work. part of my resentment is because i feel like he does not recognize or appreciate anything i do. he has said that our house is a wreck - which, it is NOT. our house is always neat and tidy. i may fall behind on jobs like cleaning baseboards and light fixtures, but our house is clean. it is NEVER EVER cluttered. everything is always put away. the only junk laying around is stuff that he leaves out. so i resent that he says anything about the house because he does nothing to contribute to it and by anyones standards, it is clean. my kids are good kids - they are both extremely bright - top award winners in their classes. my oldest (12) is a hard worker around the house and is always willing to help out with weekend projects (which are NEVER ENDING i might add). i will admit that my youngest (9) is totally lazy and will do anything to get out of any kind of work. but he is so hard on them. he accuses me of babying them - and i don't think i do. so anytime there is a conflict in that area, he will just laugh and say...well, we have two different ideas on how to treat them so there is no sense even discussing it. so i have all this resentment built up about how he treats them. he provides anything they want/need without complaint, but he shows them almost no affection and many times the only verbal contact they have with him is negative - him telling them how they should be outside helping out more or him criticizing their work when they are outside working! i told him about a week ago that we all hated him when the weekends rolled around because of the way he treats us when we are all out working like dogs right beside him. i have finally realized that in his opinion, no one works harder or as efficiently as he does - so we're all just losers in comparison.

man, i am just getting stressed and hopeless feeling just reading this.

i have considered getting some counseling for myself. i am not sure how effective that would be. i have no idea how he feels about counseling in general, but i do know his reaction if i were to bring it up - he doesn't have time because he is working so hard. so what is the point in me going?

the resentment carries over into our bedroom. i view sex totally different than him - he thinks that sex is what brings us together. so if we have been apart physically (because he has been gone traveling for work) or apart emotionally because of some conflict between us, then sex will bring us together and make us stronger. i view sex as sharing or giving....and therefore if we are apart for whatever reason, the last thing i want is to give myself to him. so this is beginning to crop up A LOT in our sex life.

well, i am sure i have not accomplished a thing....except make myself even more aware of how screwed up everything is....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 7:17am
All these things you are saying sound familiar to many of us. Luckily for me, DH isn't negative toward my kids. Men and women are so different when it comes to sex. The funny thing about men is they work so hard to please you and make you feel special when you are dating and then all that disappears when you get married. They don't seem to understand that's what made us feel attracted to them in the first place. I can't make myself want sex with my husband, and if there has been know bonding before we go to bed, it's just not there. I love it when it's there, but I can't make it happen. Men are definitely different that way. I think couseling is a great idea. Hopefully you find someone who is good, because good or bad can make such a difference. There are so many great books out there that explain the differences between men and women--"Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" or "His Needs, Her Needs". That one talks about a woman's need to be bonded with her spouse to feel attracted.

I think the counselling is important because of your DH's negative attitude about your kids. It sounds like they are normal kids, and that you are parenting them. A lot of us deal with the problems that our DH won't "parent". We don't expect the kids to be perfect, but we do expect DH to parent them.

I'm sorry that I can't give you better advice. Hopefully, knowing that many of us really care and really understand will help.

Take Care!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 10:35am
I wonder if things were always like this, even before you married him? Did he do a 180 degree change on you once you exchanged those vows? Didn't you see how he dealt with your kids long enough before you married him?

I know that my attitude towards my DF's kids has changed since we first met. I get annoyed with them much more quickly. I don't like bad behavior to begin with and they are sorely lacking in constant good behaviors. So, I feel like I'm constantly having to remind them, over and over and over, how to be polite, and clean and how to express their feelings without the drama and hysterics. Luckily, I'm not alone since my DF has flat out told his daughters that he refuses to let them become brats. Which I support him in 100%.

But it's been 3 years now and 2 of them I've spent with being around the girls and he sees how I behave towards them. If he didn't like it, then he would tell me or he wouldn't feel comfortable marrying me. So, I have to wonder why you didn't see his constant criticising of your kids before you married him. Also, if my DF had told me from the beginning that I will have to get used to his crazy, long hours because he is providing for two families, I would have told him to take a hike. I told him from the beginning that he doesn't make enough money to warrant not working on a partnership/marriage and spending the time necessary for raising a family. If he were a millionaire, I'd say that his lack of time for me and the kids is a valid part of the deal of marrying him. But he's no millionaire.

So, I ask, again, why did you not lay your cards out on the table for him to see before you got married? It's only fair. You short-changed yourself and you are still short-changing yourself. I have read in books that you cannot change someone else, but that you can change yourself. Why keep your feelings locked because he has no time for you? Why let the resentment build? You are a perfect candidate for couples and single therapy. You have let your DH continue to give you the same excuses as to why he is not contributing to the success of your marriage and family. Yes, he has issues. But he can only work on them when someone other than you points them out and he will change when and only if he wants to. Most men are content to let a situation that is unbalanced continue as long as it is in their favor.

A therapist will tell you that you need to 1. Reprioritize your goals and communicate them to DH, 2. Let him know that you want to make changes to the existing relationships (both between you and him and him and the kids), 3. Enlist the help of a therapist on articulating exactly what changes are doable, and 4. Watch for the "Changeback" period to occur where DH will try to change things back to the way they were.

A good man will recognize that he cannot be selfish and unchanging forever. A man not worth hanging on to will think that nothing is wrong and that he sees no need for a change. I agree with the other advice given. Go seek a counselor because you need to let go of your resentment FIRST before you can even tackle anything else. Resentment is the number one killer of any kind of a relationship. Don't let it go too far before you do something you will regret.

Good luck. Come back to vent some more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 1:36pm
I think counseling would do some good, because a counselor could give you "coping skills" and other mechanisms on how to better deal with these situations. He doesn't have to go. If one person changes how they handle things, then the relationship HAS to change in some way.

I can see his point about working hard, but doesn't he understand that being a DH is more about just working?? What about spending quality time with family?

Maybe he needs counseling because he sounds stressed from his job and it sounds like he takes his stress out from his job out on your kids. That is just not fair.

As far as the house not being clean, ask him what is it about the house that isn't clean. Ask for SPECIFICS. If he picks out nit-picky stuff, let him know that if he doesn't like it, he can clean it up, too. Let him know how the laundry is done, how everything is put away, how dinner is always made, etc. Ask him if he understands what all that entails. Maybe he would like to switch for a week and he can do your job as a SAHM. Is he aware that being an SAHM is a 24/7 job? He gets to work 12 hours a day and leave, you don't.

That's my take on it.