I think this is where we are headed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2013
I think this is where we are headed.
9
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 7:35am

I woke up in the middle if the night and can't sleep.  My dh is sleeping downstairs, and it broke my heart to not find him in our bed.  My heart is breaking and I'm in so much pain I can't stand it.  

We've been together for 22 years, married for over 16.  We met in college, got married after and have 4 children.  we've had our shares of ups and downs, and have close to calling quits twice before.  This time I don't think we are form to make it.  My dh is a good man, he just isn't the best at dealing with his emotions.  His own parents divorces as a preteen and it took many years of work to deal with residual issues from that.  He's a very hard worker and takes pride in what he does, but I'm realizing that a lot of our problems stem from when things are not going well at all for him career wise.  He can't handle it and just shuts down, checks out, whatever you want it.  While we used to be affectionate early in our relationship, over the years we've both put up barriers.  He needs space to decompress and I they very hard to give him that.  When he comes home in a pissy mood, it's just not a person you want to deal with.  just to clarify, he's bout abusive, just grumpy and needs space.  The worse work is, the more spac he needs.  its backfired on me because I think I've given him to much space.  I have a hard time showing him affection because I'm scared of rejection, and not sure if he wants it.  He is horrible acommunicating to me the timea that he needs it.  You would thiknow that agree these many years we would be better at it, while it has we are obviously in trouble.

Another side effect if these bad work cycles is that he tends to develop friendships with another woman at the job.  he's had girls as friethat before that I'm totally comfortable withI. My issue is when I feel it's interfering in him communicating to me.  I don't know why he can open up to others and can't to me (except if he's drinking).  maybe because more is at stake?  We've fought over it before an it's taken him to trip realize the damage it's done to our marriage.  In the past he was always open with me about their friendships. that doesn't mean I don't take action when I feel that gut instinct.  I want to say that I'm pretty positive that they were not physical relationships, but the first one crosse lines into an emotional one in the sense that we was pushing me away.

the last several years have beeextremely hard work wise.  The company e was with went bankrupt and be was in top management, so felt a lot of blame an guilt.  after that he started up a company with some partners using his know how and their money.  His salary was a fraction of before, but we wanted to give it a chance.  It's been hard, momey has been so tight and we've incurred debt.  while the business has been steadily growing, it wasn't turning a profit and the partners werent able to invest anymore.  He's now lookin for a new job and is other partner will be stepping up.  My dh will continue to help on the side.  He feels a ton of guilt about not being a good provider, and I think it explains what happens.  I'm not making excuses, just trying to give info.

i found out last night (after getting that icky gut feeling for a few weeks) thy he met a woman through the business, they exchanged numbers, and have been talking , texting, and have met up for lunch several times.  He told me the only physical thing that happened was some hand holding over the table (I can't type that without feeling like I'm going to puke).  He admitted to some previous lies he told me.  He said he knew he was playing with fire and has felt guilty the entire time.  some of our history has done a number to my self esteem.  It makes me feel that I'm never going to be what he needs.  he tends to develop friendships with girls that have similar characteristics, more athletic, runners, more outgoing.  I'm bright, funny, a good friend, but it's not enough.  Neither of us slept much, we covered a lot of ground.  He said he checked out earlier this year because he thought I was having an affair (which was untrue, I wish he would have asked me back then.) he said that hes tired of this continuing cycle in our marriage and not sure he wants to try because its too hard.  He did break things off with this woman because we need to work on this.  He also told me this morning that he's been thinking about me pointing out that he does have a type and its got him wondering if I'm right.  I hurt so bad, and have been taking anti anxiety meds I had to use when flying.  I can't stop having crying jags and am so incredibly Angry. I've given him so many years of my life and its never good enough.  I'm not sure I should just tell him it's over.  We don't have the money to live separately. he says that he doesn't know if he can try anymore but doesn't want to lose our marriage.  I looked into counseling today, its only partially covered after our high deductible is met, so wecant afford it.  He tells me he's not sure he can be the husband I need him to be.  I just so mad when I think that he'll leave and find someone else, and I'm alone with the kids for the rest of my life.  After all this, I don't think I  ever want to be this vulnerable to another man.  Here come the tears again. Please help me. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 11:20am

I don't know if I have any great advice.  It's just sad to read about your situation.  Yes, I think a lot of men have trouble talking about their emotions and the job situation makes him feel like a failure.  The answer is certainly not talking to other women about his problems.  It's too bad that counseling is too expensive for you cause that's really what you should be doing.  Can you investigate to see if they have any centers that charge less or if your church provides counseling (if you have one)?  I mean if you get divorced, that's going to be expensive too.

I would ask him what he thinks is going to be "so hard" to work on in the marriage?  Does he not have feelings toward you any more?  What does he need from you that he's not getting and that he's looking for from other women?  you really have to be honest with each other if you have any hope of staying together.

and you really shouldn't look at your future as "I'll be home forever with the children."  First of all, the kids can't be that young so they are going to leave home at some point.  Your DH also will have responsibilities toward the children--it can't be all on you.  And I just know so many divorced women (me too--twice).  You do what you have to do but then at some point, you either make a decision to be miserable or start living your life and having fun.  And that even includes the possibility of finding someone else.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2013
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 1:58pm

Thanks for your response musiclover.  I'm sorry for the crappy grammar and spelling, I was on my phone and it kept doing horrible autocorrects.  

I think he feels so defeated right now about everything in his life, he's just doesn't know what will change enough to make it worth it, that we won't be in this exact same cycle in 2 years.  That he's not getting what he needs, feels unhappy and possibly looks for friendships that provide it.  I pointed out to him this morning that these cycles always coincide with him having work problems.  I hope that he really thinks about that.  He's just unhappy, unsure what will make him happy. He says that he loves me, but isn't in love with me.  I think that he would be if we just communicated more and worked on it.  I think when he's with the other women he doesn't feel any pressure, he gets a break from being married, the kids, all the stresses in life that bring you down.   I told him that this morning, along that even if he leaves, he still has to find a way to work through all of that.  I think the crux of the problem is that he doesn't know how to deal with feeling like he's failing.  

I know you are right about the kids, I just don't think I'll be able to mentally handle the thought of not being good enough for him to stay, and he goes on to find someone else. It's just not fair that he has all the control at this point, it makes me so angry.  I've supported him, put up with his moods for 20+ years and I get left behind.  

I'm considering telling him tonight that I'm all in, that I'm going to work on it and it will be up to him to decide.  At least I won't be huddled in a corner waiting for the axe to fall.  I feel myself emotionally closing off to protect myself, and I don't think that's probably the best avenue right now.  I'll have to battle down the walls he builds up and let him know I'm not giving up.  I have to work with him so that we both communicate with each, I think that's a huge problem in our marriage.  Do you think that's a bad idea?

 

 

 

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 4:42am

Here's my blunt two cents:

1)Don't you go and cheat because he's acting like a jerk.

2)Get into marriage counseling right away. And don't go thinking a)you'll "fix" him or b)he'll "fix you." It's not just about saving a marriage it's about your kids and your ability to parent. It's also alot of work to get divorced. Put that hard work into saving your marriage first. P.S. He has to stop picking up other women to bury his problems. You need to make that an absolute requirement or all bets are off.

3)Your husband needs to get his resume updated and get it out there. It's always hopeless if you stay in a job you don't like or can't deal with if you're not looking for a new job. No one else can hire him if he's not making himself available for a new opportunity. It will also boost his self-esteem if he gets interviews even if he doesn't take a new job. It will make a huge difference in his ego.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 8:16am

Sosad,

Sorry you are going through this.  Your DH seems to have alot of similarities my ex did.  He is trying to find happiness and is looking for someone to hand it to him.  You are playing the role of the pleaser and until he takes responsibility for himself you will wear yourself out trying.  Take care of you and the kids first.  He will not find anything better than you and you should not be afraid of that.  I'm not saying not to work on your marriage but be realistic of what you can do for him and start doing more for yourself so you are happy.  You should never feel that you are not good enough for him. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 11:56am

This reminds me of what my MIL said when my ex & I were having problems--"it's not her responsibility to make you happy or entertain you" or something like that.  I feel that my ex wanted to get a divorce because he was immature and just kind of expected things to be fun all the time, which they are not going to be when you are parents--a lot of the time is just boring.

I also think the identity of men is tied up in their jobs a lot more than for women so when things aren't going well on the job it's difficult--but that is the time when he should be turning toward his wife, not turning away.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 12:05pm

  I think when he's with the other women he doesn't feel any pressure, he gets a break from being married, the kids, all the stresses in life that bring you down.   I told him that this morning, along that even if he leaves, he still has to find a way to work through all of that.  I think the crux of the problem is that he doesn't know how to deal with feeling like he's failing.

I think that you really have a good handle on the problem here.  with other women, he can just relate to them as a person and forget about his problems for a while.  at home, he is probably always thinking about the kids, unpaid bills, etc. and then you become kind of a symbol or reminder of the problem, which really isn't fair.  Unless you are constantly harping on him about money or his job failings, he just has to take responsibility that things didn't work out, but he'll try something else.

 </p><p>I know you are right about the kids, I just don't think I'll be able to mentally handle the thought of not being good enough for him to stay, and he goes on to find someone else. It's just not fair that he has all the control at this point, it makes me so angry.  I've supported him, put up with his moods for 20+ years and I get left behind.  </p><p

First of all don't get into the trap of thinking "I'm not good enough."  If he decides to leave, it's not because you didn't do this or that--it's on him.  If he feels that getting a divorce will make him happy, which I think is what my exH thought, in reality it probably won't.  He'd still be stuck w/ problems w/ the next woman and on top of that will have to be paying child support, making time to see the kids, etc.  A divorced guy w/ kids & not much money may not be tops on women's list of dating partners either.  And he only has all the control if you let him.  How about you making decisions about what you will and won't accept, like you will not accept him talking to other women and you won't accept being a doormat.  I got in the position that I was afraid to complain about anything cause I was afraid my exH would leave me so I kept a lot of things in--and then he left anyway.

>I'm considering telling him tonight that I'm all in, that I'm going to work on it and it will be up to him to decide.  At least I won't be huddled in a corner waiting for the axe to fall.  I feel myself emotionally closing off to protect myself, and I don't think that's probably the best avenue right now.  I'll have to battle down the walls he builds up and let him know I'm not giving up.  I have to work with him so that we both communicate with each, I think that's a huge problem in our marriage.  Do you think that's a bad idea?

I don't think it's a bad idea for you to tell him that you want to stay married and it's always good to try to communicate with each other better--but he also needs to be invested in wanting the marriage to work out as well.  My ex also said that he never loved me, which I look at as a lot of BS--I surely didn't force him to get married.  I think it's just what some guys will say cause they need some kind of justification in their own minds to get divorced.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 12:47pm

I would definately see what other counseling options are out there. 

I am no expert, but I think you have something that can saved.  Like op already said, men tend to tie their "good enough" to their job or career; and the ability to provide.  It can be a big to hit to some men when they feel like they can't provide. 

Number one here, counseling or not, is he has to stop talking to other women about things he should be talking to you about.  If he can't say or do the same thing with you in the room, then it is not appropriate.  He needs to find a T or a male friend he can talk to about all of this stuff.   I know, men struggle with this and don't chatter like females, but he has to find another way.  Period.  I am not saying that men and women can't be friends, but you get the gist here. 

Keep making phone calls about T.  Some places to sliding scale, based on your income, or have other arrangements for people who are uninsured, or underinsured. 

Hugs....

Serenity CL making a second marrige work

 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2009
Sun, 10-20-2013 - 12:22pm

I know what you're going through because I've been there with my own marriage, only in my case my husband was a loner so he basically checked out and developed online addictions. One thing that sounds different is that he still loves you, whereas mine didn't (and, truthfully, vice-versa, I just didn't realize it and kept deluding myself because I didn't want to break up our marriage). Even if he is not "in love" with you, that should not discourage you because all long-term marriages eventually become stale and that "in love" feeling wanes no matter how good of a couple you are. Trust me on this. I have gone through enough counseling and talked to other couples. So the fact that he still loves you is huge. Do not yet give up hope.

I agree that many men define their self-worth through their jobs and when they can't "provide" for the family as well as they would like, they feel like failures. You can't change that. Only he can. What you can do is try to reassure him that you love him no matter what happens financially, and I know that is hard when he's shutting you out and seeking the attention of other women to reassure himself, which is highly inappropriate.

One thing that struck me when I went to a seminar storytelling presentation -- which had absolutely nothing to do with couples or marriage -- was at one point the storyteller admonished the women in attendance to treat their men like men if they wanted them to respond to them as men. What did she mean? Realize that your man wants to be loved and appreciated. He needs that in order to be able to give you what you need in the relationship. If you give him that love and appreciation he, in turn, will step up to the plate and do what is expected of him as "the man" in your relationship. That can be defined as anything, i.e. change diapers, take out the garbage, make love to you, watch the children, drive carpool, shop for groceries - whatever. It's different in every relationship. But whatever it is that you expect from your man in the relationship, make sure that you treat him with the respect and dignity that he needs to feel like a man so that he is able to fulfill your needs and desires.

In your case, maybe you are expecting your husband to be successful in business and when he isn't, you are unconsciously communicating to him that he is a failure. He, in turn, looks elsewhere for that reassurance. And then it turns into a bad cycle. If you really truly love him, whether he is financially successful or not, you have to communicate that to him. You have to make him feel like "a man" so that he will not beat himself up for not living up to your expectations. I know it's hard to have a happy homelife when money is tight, but money isn't everything and there are plenty of ways you can enjoy yourselves as a couple and as a family without spending lots of money. Maybe what you need to do is sit down together and plan a long-term budget based on your current circumstances without blame or recrimination. If your man knows you love him and value him regardless, he may begin to open to you more or want to spend more time with you doing things that will bring you closer together as a couple.

Changes will not happen overnight. Things have obviously been bad for a long time, so you need to be reassuring and consistent. I would also insist on a couple's night out at least once a week until things start to turn around and you naturally begin spending more time together. A date night can do wonders for a relationship. Just being together and doing something, even if you don't have much to talk about can help bring the two of you closer.

You definitely need couples counseling, but if you can't afford it, maybe you can seek counseling from a spiritual authority like the head of your church, synagogue or mosque. Maybe your community has low-income options for couples in the midst of marital strife. It is worth investigating. At a reduced fee, the option is affordable and will be well-worth your time. Believe me, divorce is hard work - I am going through it now and it is overwhelming. You would do much better to put that time and energy into trying to save your marriage.

I know this a long reply, so I will conclude by saying that at some point, after you have given the marriage all you can possibly give, if things don't change significantly and you are still unhappy, you do need to start looking out for yourself and your own needs. But I don't believe you are there yet. From the sound of things, there is still hope for you and your husband. Hang in there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2014
Sat, 03-15-2014 - 11:54pm

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