Lopsided Marriage - Inequality

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Lopsided Marriage - Inequality
11
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 12:28pm
My husband and I have been married a little over a year (we celebrated our 1st anniversary in February). Lately, I have found myself losing patience with him and seriously wondering if this marriage will last. The problem for me is that I feel that our relationship is lopsided. I give and I give and get little in return. I am very affectionate, always ready with a hug, a kiss, a smile, an encouraging word. His response is often "What's wrong with you?" or he scoffs at me like I'm acting crazy. When I hold his hand in public, he acts like he couldn't care less if I did or not; his hands remain stiff and open and I feel like I might as well be holding a dead cold fish in my hand. Sometimes he doesn't want to show affection in public because he says his back hurts or I'm not on "the right" side - very trivial stuff. He often makes fun of me and I know that it is in jest. I have told him that he needs to balance his jesting with a little more affection. I have told him this many times after I have snapped (one can only take being made fun of after awhile) and he either acts like I'm too uptight or he changes the subject in the middle of me expressing my feelings. He also has no problem with saying mean things to me (mind you, he says he's joking) but when I treat him exactly the same way he treats me, he sometimes gets upset, says I have a "bad attitude" or accuses me of being mad at him "again". I don't feel that I am getting what I need out of this relationship but I want to work at it. The only thing is I feel that I'm the only one working at it and he acts like it is my own fault when I get frustrated or angry. What should I do? I know I need to talk to him but I already have done that and he has not changed. I need help. I feel like I am slowly losing my reserve to make this marriage last. Thanks.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 12:31pm
So, now that I know about how marriage is like....tell me about your dating and courtship.

Becuase that holds the key to the answer

Erin

quickblade14@hotmail.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 12:36pm
Our courtship was different. Since we had a long distance relationship for 2 years, we mostly talked on the phone, but we talked everyday. We also saw each other at least once each month. He was more affectionate when we were dating. He would joke around with me and make fun of me but not as much as he does now. And, at least, he balanced it out with affection (hugging, holding hands, kissing, affectionate words etc.) Now, there isn't much of the affection. In deed, I'm always the first to say "I love you" and to kiss good-night and when I don't do that...boy, oh boy....he thinks I'm mad at him.....It's like he expects me to be nice and sweet and affectionate with him all the time but I can't expect the same from him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 1:05pm
A real man doesn't have to be make fun of his wife, or make mean comments to her, in order to be funny. He's a jerk.

That being said, you DID marry him. Was he like this before you got married? Has it gotten worse since you've been married? Does he really KNOW that it hurts you, or does he think you're just joking when you say something about it?

As far as the affection in public, my husband doesn't like to, either. He did when we were dating, doesn't now that we're married. But he still shows me affection at home.

If you're just completely lacking any affection from him, in public AND at home, and he continues to degrade you even though he truly knows it hurts you, then I don't think you have much of a marriage to work on. He sounds like a prick.

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 1:14pm
You know, it kind of sounds like he thought you were "cute" and enjoyed teasing you about your "querks", whatever they may be. Your personallity may have been endearing to him, at first, but he didn't "respect" you. Now that the honey moon is over, he may not find you as "cute" anymore, hence the lack of affection and more brutal teasing. I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, please don't get me wrong. Teasing eachother is one thing, and if it's mutual, then you know it's all in fun. But one sided teasing is a sign of disrespect and you don't deserve to be treated like ding-bat. Does he treat you like you're stupid? Does he let you make decisions? Is he in charge of everything and he's just carrying you along? I may be way off base, but this is what is sounds like ot me. Am I right?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 1:36pm
Yes, I can make my own decisions on things and we contribute equally to the marriage when it comes to finances. We give each other freedom and encourage each other to maintain friendships with other people and to "hang out" with our friends absent the other person. That part of the marriage is good and our relationship has always been that way.

But the thing that has changed is that he teases me more (everything is a joke to him) and he isn't as affectionate with me as he used to be. Yet, I cannot treat him the way he treats me because when I do, it's because I'm mad at him for something that he considers trivial. When I kiss him, he either acts like he wants it to be over quickly or he doesn't act at all (just like a dead fish).

Sometimes I feel like he's only nice to me when he wants me to do something for him or when he wants sex. Sometimes I feel like he puts his needs and wants above mine or the needs of our relationship.

I don't know....I'm just getting fed up and confused.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:11pm
Have you tried telling your husband your feelings on the whole situation? I know it would be an akward subject but, it sounds like a discussion you both need to have. Does he even know he is making you feel this way? Men are blind when it comes to feelings most of the time so I would try speaking to him about the problems and see his reaction to the situation. Maintaining a relationship is very tricky because people change in both good and bad ways but, you have to be open for discussion. I would have a talk with him tell him how you feel and explain to him you need him to stop insulting you and also ask him why now he can't ever be affectionate. Good luck

rye

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:21pm
Well, the problem with long-distance courtship is that the interaction isn't sporadic and spontaneous enough to allow you "not to be impressing and pleasing" the other person. YOu're happy to see them - because you haven't seen them. You're overjoyed at their presence - because thier presence daily hasn't impacted you negatively and caused any resentments or doubts.

He's as affectionate as he wants to be and he's as affectionate as he's going to be. But...if the relationship prior to marriage was all about you being thrilled that he was in your life...and him being happy that you were in his - because there wasn't reality based interaction (not necessarily cohabitation) for a protracted period prior to marriage - I'd say neither of you truly realized the full character of the person you were marrying and that is where the problem is at the core.

If he wants to act mad when you don't kiss him good night - that's his perogative. And realize you're in a power struggle here becuase YOU continue to interact on this "give/get" level.

If you don't wnat to kiss him good night - dont'. And if he doesn't like it and is mad about it - he has the right to be that. And his anger you're required to respond to per your long-term goals and needs -not the immediate feelings of the moment.

It's you responding to his anger thinking you must placate and soothe it that has you thinking you're giving and sacrificing more than he is.

He's an adult. YOu're an adult. Stop the power play. Don't respond to emotions - respond to facts. And communicate factually - not emotionally.

I want and need more public attentiona nd private affection and this is how I interpret it. Not hard to say and elaborate appropriately on.

If he does it - great. You'll respond based on his meeting your needs and your request. And if he doesn't - great. You'll respond based on his unwillingness to meet your needs and request. But it's not "I'll withhold a goodnight kiss because you won't hold my hand" type of thing. It's got to be depersonalized and desensitized to see it in the bigger realm.

If you sit and communicate factually and are specific in nature and he doesn't respond positively (not to say he's going to lavish attention on you like a new puppy) per a compromised measuring stick that is agreed to by each of you. Realize he's not doing that because he doesn't want to, doesn't perceive he's required to...and you can respond to that fact - that he doesn't want to meet your needs per an agreed compromise and whether you should stay in a relationship with a partner that is unwilling to do that is yours to decide and act on - as a fact.

Erin

quickblade14@hotmail.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:24pm
First, thank you, Rye and others, for replying to my post.

I have discussed my feelings with him many many times, Rye. He would either tell me that I'm "crazy" or imaging things, or he would tell me that he's getting tired of me being upset with him. Eventually, he would apologize and vow to change but things remain the same. Today, when I told him how I was feeling, he interrupted me to ask me a question on grammar! This made me feel like he doesn't even care what I feel and I'm getting tired of being upset all the time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:48pm
Thank you for your reply, Erin.

I understand what you are saying and your approach is a reasoned and intelligent one. However, I find it difficult to have a "depersonalized and desensitized" perspective when my heart is involved. It's difficult to respond to facts separate and independent from emotions when you're dealing with your marriage partner.

I understand and appreciate your advice and I thank you for giving me a very objective perspective. I agree that this marriage is a play (a tug-of-war, if you will) of power but isn't every marriage just that? After all, it's the union of two different and separate individuals and there's bound to be a power struggle in there somewhere.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 5:20pm
When one partner makes fun of and teases the other in mean ways to the point of hurtfulness, and when asked to stop, calls it "jokes" or says the partner is too "sensitive", getting upset over nothing, or is crazy and imagining it, and KEEPS ON DOING IT, this crosses the line into verbal and emotional abuse. It's a matter of one partner trying to be "one up" on another, of having power over them, and they absolutely do it on purpose. They know what they're doing, they know it hurts because you tell them it does. Some people who do this, do it more if they know it hurts you. Respectful people who don't want to hurt you wouldn't tell you you're crazy or imagining it when you tell them that something they're doing hurts you, they would stop doing it. There are other issues you're having that supports that he's being abusive to you and is typical of people who are verbally and emotionally abusive towards another...the fact that he responds with "What's wrong with you?" or acts like you're crazy when you approach him with various levels affection, that you give and get little in return, his ignoring your feelings not even letting you get them out, blaming you for having the problem when clearly he's causing some of them by his own choice of behavior towards you, his expectations of you, the double standard of him being able to behave however he wants towards you but that you have to always be nice to him, his being selfish with his wants and needs being the priority. You do have a problem here because he's not willing to talk this out with you and be cooperative, he continues doing these things directly to you, which are basically verbal or emotional attacks on you, that he knows hurts you regardless of what you say or do. There's a book called The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans that can help you understand what his problem is. And HE is the one with the problem. You could also try the domestic abuse board, they have a homepage that has a lot of information on it about verbal and emotional abuse. What he's doing to you is on the checklists of abusive behaviors by domestic abuse professionals. If you go to this board and read some posts and some documents on the homepage, you'll see that this is very common behavior among some men. It's a control issue - a more subtle one than some people display, but definitely a control issue and a dangerous one that can hurt you with your confidence and emotional well-being. What he's doing is trying to tear you down. You can understand why better with a little research. Here's the link if you want to check it out. http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-rldomesting Good luck to you.

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